Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) went on CNN to do what Democrats have been doing for awhile now: complain about FBI Director James Comey. Now, Clinton’s former running mate stopped short of saying that it was the factor that cost them the 2016 election, but touched upon the frustration about the FBI seemingly having two sets of protocols regarding the Clinton probe into her email usage and the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence.
Kaine declared that Comey’s decision to inform Congress that they had found additional emails, which turned out to be on the laptop of Anthony Weiner that were forwarded to him by his wife and top Clinton aide Huma Abedin would be one of the low points in the history of the FBI. He said it “will go down as probably the lowest moment in the history of the FBI, probably next to the decision of J. Edgar Hoover to wiretap Martin Luther King.”
Now, Democrats are irked by that move since it occurred 11 days prior to Election Day. Hillary Clinton is confident that she would have won if it weren’t for that letter, despite the polls being way off throughout the cycle, with most giving Clinton 70+ (even 90+) percent chances of winning. So, that narrative is fraught with uncertainty. Moreover, Clinton lost because she was an abysmal campaigner, who totally ignored the areas that eventually went for Trump. The Russians and James Comey didn’t tell her to avoid campaigning in the Rust Belt.
Second, as some have noted before, Comey was between a rock and a hard place. He could sit on the Weiner development until after the election, but he would be accused of politicizing the investigation for withholding information about a presidential candidate. If he revealed that they would review the new emails 11 days prior, he would face the same accusation. He felt the former would be the more catastrophic choice for the institution.
Third, as we know, J. Edgar Hoover deployed grossly unconstitutional surveillance operations while serving as the director of the FBI. The Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) was one of the most egregious operations run by the FBI. The Comey letter to Congress is not the same thing. It was not illegal. It was not surreptitious. It did not violate constitutional rights. In fact, the legal questions didn’t surround Comey. It was Clinton—who had an unauthorized and unsecure email server from which she conducted all official State Department business. Classified information came through that server, which brought the allegations of mishandling. This was a totally avoidable scenario. And the fault rests totally with Clinton for losing the election no matter how much she whines about Russia, the FBI, or misogyny.
She just sucked.