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Analysis: Despite Recent Rollercoaster, Comey's Fundamental Mistake Came in July

On Bret Baier's Special Report panel last evening, I had an opportunity to react to the weekend's major news that FBI Director James Comey reiterated his unchanged decision not to recommend criminal charges against Hillary Clinton in an updated letter to Congress. Partisans on both sides reacted predictably to the development, which wasn't especially surprising, given the context and circumstances. My core points, followed by the segment:


Via Right Sightings:

In short, Comey's urgency to resolve this stage of the investigation prior to the election was understandable -- while the separate Clinton Foundation FBI inquiry remains ongoing, it should be noted. His decision to alert Congress to the reinitiated email scandal probe at the tail end of October was also the right move, on balance. Suppressing that information would have been a mistake, especially since it pointed to a less-than-exhaustive initial investigation (Abedin's personal computer, and this reported detail about Mrs. Clinton's maid handling classified material, were apparently overlooked).  In the end, I concur with the conclusions of several former federal prosecutors and judges who've contended that Corey's original error was not insisting on a grand jury investigation with subpoena power, and eventually recommending no charges against Clinton. His own testimony and statements demonstrate that she violated the letter of the relevant statute, and his "no intent" excuse doesn't withstand legal scrutiny.  Two more points: First, many Democrats are suddenly rediscovering their faith in the FBI as the decisive arbiter of truth on this matter, again declaring the scandal over and done.  What a turnaround from the last week-and-a-half, when they were openly calling the FBI a partisan appendage of the Trump campaign -- openly suggesting that Comey was a hack who must resign, or even a criminal.  Now they can go back to feigning horror over Trump's conspiratorial rhetoric, which presents an unique threat to Americans' faith in our institutions, or whatever.  They'd never do such a thing:


Second, the claim that the FBI couldn't have reviewed 650,000 emails in such a short period of time fails on multiple levels.  (1) This stage of the investigation lasted well over a week and commanded major manpower.  (2) Software makes the review of large amounts of digital data much more streamlined. (3) The 650,000 number encompassed the total tally of emails on the Weiner/Abedin computer, most of which had no connection to Clinton's server.  Of that smaller batch, only a fraction were new -- i.e., not duplicates already reviewed by the FBI.  There are plenty of valid criticisms of the FBI's handling of this entire matter; the "too many emails to review in a week" strain isn't among them.  I'll leave you with this truth, which remains as relevant as ever:

Pro tip: If you don't want the FBI "meddling" in an election, don't nominate a candidate who is under active FBI investigation.  Paul Ryan's framing gets it exactly right, regardless of one's views on Trump:


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