Since Friday, the Hillary Clinton campaign and its allies in the press and elsewhere have been panicking over FBI Director James Comey’s letter informing Congress that new information is being investigated related to Clinton’s e-mail practices.
They’ve accused Comey of illegally interfering with the election and of violating federal policy, and they are working overtime to tie Trump to the Russian government. (To be fair, there is an ongoing investigation related to this.) Comey has also been accused of hypocrisy for allegedly not accusing Russia of interfering with the elections to avoid interfering with the election, though this accusation is a) unsubstantiated, and b) ignores that other federal agencies accused Russia of interference.
One might expect President Barack Obama to join in this condemnation, which has spread to former prosecutors and DOJ officials who signed onto a Clinton campaign letter against Comey. Not so fast, according to spokesperson Josh Earnest:
Director Comey is a man of integrity and principle and well regarded by officials in both parties and served as a senior position in the Bush administration and got bipartisan support when his nomination to be director of the FBI was considered by the United States Senate… they speak to his good character and the president’s assessment of his integrity and his character has not changed. For example, the president doesn’t believe that Director Comey is trying to influence the outcome of the election. And the president doesn’t believe he’s secretly supporting a candidate or political party. He’s in a tough spot. He’s the one who will be in the position to defend his actions in the face of significant criticism from a variety of legal experts including officials who served in senior justice position for presidents led by both parties.
Earnest had a lot more to say that Real Clear Politics didn’t include, but can be read via the White House’s transcript. Earnest essentially said that the White House was staying neutral, and not going to opine on the FBI’s investigation.
This throws some solid cold water on the Clinton campaign’s claims. The highest office in the land, held by one of Clinton’s top allies, says Comey was doing his best to do his job. It’s going to be hard for Clinton to get around that.
The argument that Comey is playing politics also runs into another wall — namely, that Comey declined to prosecute Clinton over the summer. I am not a legal expert by any stretch of the imagination, but many conservatives have pointed to this section of federal law to say that the FBI should have pressed charges. If Comey wasn’t going to press charges despite Clinton clearly breaking the law — just days after Comey’s boss, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, met with Bill Clinton in a clear conflict of interest — he’s highly unlikely to do anything to purposely interfere with the election now.