By now, you know that FBI Director James Comey has effectively reopened the Bureau's investigation into Hillary Clinton's handling of classified materials through her improper, unsecure email server. You know how Donald Trump and Paul Ryan have responded to this development. You know that the hysterical Left is reacting with its own frantic versions of "rigged" conspiracies. Let's take a deeper look into what's going on here, starting with a review of Comey's somewhat cryptic letter to the relevant Congressional committees:
He writes that new discoveries from an "unrelated case" (the Podesta hack? the Clinton Foundation?) were brought to his attention by an investigative team, who briefed him on the fresh information yesterday. Based on what they found, Comey determined that the emails "appear to be pertinent" to the email case, which had previously been informally closed -- without any charges being filed, but not before Comey publicly exposed Clinton's reckless conduct and many lies on the matter. He stresses that the FBI "cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be significant," and more or less signs off with a 'stay tuned.' Twelve days before the presidential election. Wow. Without further information -- and I agree that voters deserve more context and details as soon as possible -- it's impossible to draw any definitive conclusions. Pete Williams of NBC is reporting some insights from his stable of sources:
NBC's Pete Williams says Clinton email FBI investigation not related to Wikileaks or Russian hacking— Jesse Rodriguez (@JesseRodriguez) October 28, 2016
Pete Williams sources say in course of a separate investigation, FBI came across "a device." found emails there. but emails NOT from HRC— Sam Stein (@samsteinhp) October 28, 2016
If accurate, this rules out the Wikileaks hack case as the source of the new information, and would indicate that the new emails originated from someone other than Mrs. Clinton. Let's recall that Comey is clearly very attuned to the politics of this whole situation, which is why the FBI raced to complete (or not, it seems) its probe months before the election. For him to write a public letter of this nature with less than two weeks until November 8 suggests to me that whatever his investigators have unearthed must be significant on some level. Why would he close the books on this matter, having strained to justify his extremely controversial lack of a criminal referral, only to pull a U-turn in late October (!) over a small development that had no chance of altering his recommendation on criminal charges? Comey says that he was briefed by the people who found the new evidence, then agreed that it looks serious enough to take new "investigative steps." Based on his previous defenses of passing on an indictment, it seems reasonable to conclude that the only factor that might change his calculus would be smoking-gun proof of intent -- beyond, of course, Clinton's numerous "false exculpatory statements" and ordering the set-up of a bootleg system in the first place. Is that what they've found? We don't know yet.
Here's another possibility, and perhaps the likelier one: Agents attached to another case ran across some significant or relevant information that the Bureau had not fully vetted or reviewed in its previously-ended investigation. Comey, recognizing that this new evidence is at least serious on some level, decided to go public because he realized that the inevitable discovery that he'd kept it under wraps until after the election would massively escalate criticisms of the FBI's impartiality, and lend credence to the "rigged" narrative. Which is to say, the new information may not ultimately change the legal status of anything here. May not. But it's possible that Comey recognizes how bad it would look if "pertinent" information was suppressed at this key juncture, and therefore decided that inflaming the Left (and quite possibly hurting Hillary's campaign -- with polls already tightening a bit) by making this disclosure now is less damaging than the alternative. He'd be accused of directly meddling in the election either way, so he chose Door A. To conservatives who believe today's news may finally lead to the moment when Hillary Clinton gets frog-marched away in handcuffs, don't get your hopes up. Things are fluid, and details are scant. Celebrations are premature. And to liberals livid at the FBI for scraping off this scab in the heat of a major election's home stretch...
Psst, maybe you should be mad at the woman who endangered nat'l security w/ an unsecure email scheme & lied about it endlessly--not the FBI.— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) October 28, 2016
Every single bit of agita she experiences as a result of her email scandal is totally and completely on her. She did this.
UPDATE -- It looks like the new email(s) weren't even on her server, but were found in the course of the...creepy Anthony Weiner sexting investigation. Because 2016:
New emails tied to the FBI's Clinton inquiry were discovered during the investigation into Anthony Weiner's sexting https://t.co/FMHEkn03B0— The New York Times (@nytimes) October 28, 2016
UPDATE II -- "Possibly thousands" of new emails to review, a process likely to hang over the remainder of the election. And were the Hillary/Huma emails classified? Were they among those deleted and wiped by Hillary's team? Might they contain additional evidence of criminal intent, or disprove statements made to the FBI?
NEW: Review of new emails -- there are possibly thousands -- anticipated to extend beyond Election Day, sources tell @jeffpeguescbs .— CBS News (@CBSNews) October 28, 2016