Most of the headlines after Monday’s White House press briefing noted that Josh Earnest had vouched for Comey’s personal integrity, but there was much more to what he said than that. Earnest made a point of noting how many esteemed “legal experts” had criticized Comey’s decision to announce last week that the email investigation had been reopened. The upshot of the press briefing was that the White House didn’t believe Comey had any untoward political motives in doing what he did — but that doesn’t mean they thought what he did was right.
So here’s Obama, presumably having gotten an earful from Clintonites about his tepid criticism of the FBI since then, now all but accusing Comey of having made the wrong call.
Speaking to NowThisNews in an interview released Wednesday, Obama said he didn’t want to meddle in the process. But he said it was important to follow a practice of not allowing intimations or suggestions to pervade the public’s view of the case.
“I do think that there is a norm that when there are investigations we don’t operate on innuendo and we don’t operate on incomplete information and we don’t operate on leaks,” Obama said in the interview, which was taped Tuesday. “We operate based on concrete decisions that are made. When this was investigated thoroughly last time the conclusion of the FBI, the conclusion of the Justice Department, the conclusion of repeated congressional investigations was she had made some mistakes but that there wasn’t anything there that was procecutable.”
His FBI director’s spent five days being shanked hourly by the entire Democratic Party and every last one of its media sycophants, all thanks to a legal nightmare foisted on him by Hillary Clinton’s recklessness with national security, and O’s solution is to accuse Comey and the Bureau of incompetence? If I were Comey, I’d have my resignation letter written today and ready to be tendered the day after the election. Why work for a president whose confidence you’ve lost because you won’t put his party’s electoral interests above the interests of justice?
Let’s talk about “norms,” though, since Obama seems interested in that. One solid norm in government administration is that you should conduct all official correspondence, particularly when it involves classified information, on heavily protected government servers. That norm hasn’t mattered so much to Team Obama. Another valuable norm is that the Attorney General shouldn’t be granting chummy private meetings to the politically connected husband of someone who’s the target of an ongoing federal investigation. No one cared much about that norm either. A third sound norm is that when a law says that gross negligence in handling classified material constitutes a felony and the evidence against someone indicates gross negligence, that person should be prosecuted regardless of their political stature — especially if they held a high-ranking position like Secretary of State. There’s another norm that went out the window in 2016. And one more norm that usually serves the country well is for the president not to insert himself into a criminal investigation that’s been reopened by suggesting that the matter is settled, whether or not there’s new evidence to be examined. Oddly enough, none of these norms being torn to pieces seems to bother the left. Only the one about the FBI not updating the public on an investigation two weeks before an election does. Any theories why?
Exit question: What are the odds that Obama preemptively pardons Hillary before he leaves office? Near-zero, I assume, if Clinton wins next week, as Obama wouldn’t want to taint her administration by doing something that suggests she’s guilty before she’s sworn in. He can rely on political pressure to stop the FBI from recommending charges against a president-elect without formally intervening himself. If Trump wins, though, I’d say there’s a decent chance of a pardon. Republicans will howl, but because Trump and his fans have made such an issue of “locking! her! up!” this year, Obama could frame his pardon as a high-minded attempt to spare the country from what would surely be a vindictive show trial of a political opponent by the incoming Republican administration. The left would back him to the hilt, of course. Stay tuned.
We spoke with President Obama about the FBI's recent investigation into emails related to Hillary Clinton pic.twitter.com/3ivMp2TfVi
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) November 2, 2016