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I’m sure everyone heard the news that the FBI is once again looking into Hillary Clinton’s email problems. But the real question is, which news did you hear?

As Wired points out, most of the reporting on this has been misleading at best.

In one huge example, if you believed that the FBI was re-opening their investigation into Clinton’s email you could be excused, because even NBC News got that wrong. The FBI did NOT announce that they were reopening the investigation. NBC changed their story moments later, but on the internet, by then it was too late. Other, more right-wing news sources are still reporting misinformation.

Or you could believe that they found more missing emails. Nope. Or that the emails they found were from Clinton’s private server. No again. Or that the emails contain classified information. Wrong. Or even that the emails are related to the closed Clinton investigation. Negative.

And if you were listening to Donald Trump, you might believe that the FBI was admitting they were wrong when they cleared Clinton of any wrongdoing back in July. But (big surprise), Trump was misrepresenting reality.

In fact, depending on your agenda, you can make of this story almost anything you want:

Are you a Trump supporter looking for a smoking gun? Here you go. Or maybe you’re a different kind of Trump supporter, the kind who thinks this is a conspiracy to distract from the real issues coming out of Wikileaks? Hot-take reactions accept all kinds! Are you a Bernie Sanders-type who’s sick of hearing about her “damn emails?” Well, then you might view this as the FBI being overly cautious.

If you doubt any of this, just read the original (short three-paragraph) letter from James Comey.

My big question is, given that Comey isn’t really saying anything that significant and isn’t offering any details at all, why did he feel the need to reopen this can of worms just 11 days before the election? As Electoral-Vote points out, there is no good answer to this question:

Indeed, it’s difficult to conceive of an explanation here that doesn’t make Comey look at least a little bit bad. He’s Republican, and maybe he’s trying to help the Republican candidate? Or, maybe he’s smarting from the criticism he received when deciding not to prosecute, and is trying to throw a bone to Congressional Republicans? Or maybe he’s trying to prove that he does his job as he sees fit, and politics be damned? In any of these scenarios, he would be giving top priority to his own needs, or to his own image, or to his agency’s image.

And if Comey wasn’t aware that he was throwing a monkey wrench into the presidential election, then he is incompetent.

Darrin Bell
© Darrin Bell



  1. Ralph wrote:

    This latest e-mail scuffle may be an even bigger, long term problem for Huma Abedin, whose emails with Clinton et. al. were uncovered while the FBI was investigating her (subsequently) estranged husband, you-know-who, on a shared computer. Using a shared computer, notwithstanding a spouse’s, to ostensibly conduct official state department communication? If true, how lame and lax is that?! I believe hearing on Smerconish’s CNN show this morning from one of his guests (Sean Spicer, RNC Comm. Dir.) that she signed a legal separation agreement in 2013 obligating her to turn over any and all classified information in her possession upon leaving her position at the State Dept.

    I’ll take him at his word, he held up a copy of the signed document and it begs the question once again why her, Hillary, and presumably others holding positions of high office and responsibility, can be so cavalier with sensitive and potentially confidential government information.

    Yes, we don’t yet know whether the information being extracted from said shared computer contains any new bombshells or confidential documents. Maybe it’s all very innocent chitchat between friends about weddings and baby showers and favorite movies. The FBI is being very opaque about it all at this point, which doesn’t cast Comey, a Republican, in good light either, putting this out only a few days before the election. We would assume there’s at least some smoke there to be bringing this issue up again now in public, and certainly gives Trump another whistle to blow. And she hasn’t done her friend any favors as we head down the final stretch by possibly mixing her personal and professional life on a shared computer with her husband (was she aware of his dickpics by then?) that only exposes them both to further suspicion and gives Republicans new ammo with which to attach her and her campaign.

    If you can’t laugh, you’d have to cry.

    Comey Praises Brave F.B.I. Agents Who Had to Touch Anthony Weiner’s Computer
    WASHINGTON—James Comey, the embattled director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, presided over a special ceremony on Friday evening to commend the brave F.B.I. agents who had to touch Anthony Weiner’s computer.

    Saturday, October 29, 2016 at 8:55 am | Permalink
  2. paradoctor wrote:

    Lest we forget:

    Once an orange deplorable toad
    Who was riding a bus on the road
    Bragged on mike to a pal
    He could grope any gal
    But we heard, so he reaped what he sowed.

    Saturday, October 29, 2016 at 12:19 pm | Permalink
  3. Wildwood wrote:

    A poet in our midst. lol.

    My first thought on hearing this was “CRAP!!!”. My second thought was the FBI needs investigating. My third thought was why did he do this and do it now? He is either very dumb, or thinks we are very dumb, (not a bad assumption given the electorate), or he’s trying to affect the election. The word perfidious also cropped up in my head and I had to go look it up to see if I was right in thinking that. I was. And after a few hours of digesting, I thought, I hope he has another job lined up, (like chairman of the dogcatching committee in New Jersey). I don’t know if what he did was criminal, but it sure seems close to that mark, if not over it.

    I’m also waiting for more sex tapes on the “orange deplorable toad” to come out. I think they are coming, but how many and when, I don’t know.

    Saturday, October 29, 2016 at 1:46 pm | Permalink
  4. westomoon wrote:

    I’ll admit it, just this once — I am a retired Federal bureaucrat. This afternoon, I suddenly saw Comey’s actions in context of his career — no Fed would ever do what he just did as a sort of well-intentioned blunder, as he’d like us to see it.

    The Post had an Op-Ed piece titled: “James Comey Needs To Clean Up His Mess.” I responded with this:

    “No, James Comey does NOT need to clean up his mess; that task should fall to his Deputy. James Comey needs to be removed from his position Monday morning — at minimum suspended — and charged with election tampering and Hatch Act violations.

    For anyone with Comey’s background to have made the “blunders” of June and last week UNintentionally is simply not possible. He is a career law-enforcement professional — silence and discretion are second nature. He is an experienced Federal manager — treating Congress as the radioactive substance it is is second nature. He is a seasoned bureaucrat — writing a clear and comprehensible memo is one of his most basic skills.

    If Comey actually believed he had a duty to inform Congress the instant Clinton-server emails were discovered on the home computer of her top aide — a dubious premise to begin with, as any law-enforcement professional could tell you — his duty would have been to send a VERY precisely-worded memo to the Speaker of the House and the Senate majority leader, and no one else. Any Federal manager could tell you that before their morning coffee.

    Comey went for maximum splatter when he sent this mush-mouthed piece of innuendo to every boy and his dog in the House, still our least-functional branch of Federal government. He should not be allowed back into any Federal office building, starting immediately — his actions were transparently wilful and knowing. If I were Mrs. Clinton, a defamation suit would be filed Monday morning, too. Not only were Comey’s actions deliberate and criminal, they were knowingly false and misleading.”

    Saturday, October 29, 2016 at 8:45 pm | Permalink
  5. David Freeman wrote:

    Westomoon, I’ve known several Federal bureaucrats and all of them have been fine hardworking people doing hard jobs under difficult circumstances. I’m sure there must be bad apples but I haven’t met them. Come to think of it, I’ve met in person very few bad apples. Perhaps I’m just lucky … or my standards are too low 🙂

    Saturday, October 29, 2016 at 9:20 pm | Permalink
  6. notycoon22 wrote:

    I’m also a retired fed and Westomoon hit the nail on the head. Am I correct that there was a release that indicated that the Attorney General was opposed to the letter or, at a minimum, had to provide approval for stepping outside of Department of Justice guidelines?

    Saturday, October 29, 2016 at 10:54 pm | Permalink
  7. Wildwood wrote:

    After some thought, I think he has a cushy job waiting for him when he retires. Whoever is pulling his strings must have promised something big.

    Saturday, October 29, 2016 at 11:36 pm | Permalink
  8. Iron Knee wrote:

    And now it turns out that neither Comey, nor anyone else at the FBI, has actually seen the emails, because the FBI hasn’t gotten a warrant to read them yet. So his pronouncement that the emails may be pertinent to the Clinton investigation is unfounded speculation. See

    Also, there are reports that the new emails were neither sent nor received by Clinton, and were transferred to the laptop in order to print them out. Bottom line, there is no evidence of any wrongdoing. See

    Sunday, October 30, 2016 at 7:55 am | Permalink
  9. westomoon wrote:

    Here’s a very interesting link — Richard Painter, who was “W” Bush’s chief White House ethics lawyer, explains why he filed complaints against the FBI on Saturday, with the Office of Special Counsel and the Office of Government Ethics.

    Sunday, October 30, 2016 at 12:08 pm | Permalink