Doug Schoen has worked for decades to help elect Democrats, and by his own reckoning, he’s known the Clintons for almost a quarter-century. Until now, Schoen has made no secret of his plan to vote for Hillary Clinton in next week’s election. However, the latest bombshell from the FBI has Schoen reassessing his choice, and not because he’s suddenly fallen in love with Donald Trump. Electing Hillary, Schoen told Fox News host Harris Faulkner yesterday, would instantly create a constitutional crisis with no end in sight:
DOUG SCHOEN: As you know, I have been a supporter of Secretary Clinton… But given that this investigation is going to go on for many months after the election… But if the Secretary of State wins, we will have a president under criminal investigation, with Huma Abedin under criminal investigation, with the Secretary of State, the president-elect, should she win under investigation. Harris, under these circumstances, I am actively reassessing my support. I’m not a Trump —
HARRIS FAULKNER, FOX NEWS: Whoa, whoa, wait a minute. You are not going to vote for Hillary Clinton?
SCHOEN: Harris, I’m deeply concerned that we’ll have a constitutional crisis if she’s elected.
SCHOEN: I want to learn more this week. See what we see. But as of today, I am not a supporter of the Secretary of State for the nation’s highest office.
Will he learn more this week? It seems rather doubtful. As AP noted earlier, NBC’s Pete Williams hears from his sources that the sheer volume of evidence makes it very unlikely that Comey will offer any more clarification other than what we already know. The only points we know for sure at the moment are that the FBI found a massive trove of Hillary server e-mails on Anthony Weiner’s laptop, and that the FBI could only start perusing them yesterday after securing a new warrant.
That’s enough for Schoen, who can already foresee the difficulties of having a president sworn into office at about the same time she might have to get sworn in to testify at a deposition — or a grand jury. The specter of a constitutional crisis has hovered over the Hillary Clinton campaign ever since the exposure of her secret e-mail system, but Democrats went full steam ahead anyway in nominating her for the presidency. At the time, they could have chosen Martin O’Malley, or even Jim Webb, if they didn’t think Bernie Sanders was prepared to be a chief executive — or even drafted Joe Biden despite his understandable and legitimate reluctance while grieving the death of his son. Even now, they could demand Hillary withdraw and push Tim Kaine to the top of the ticket, which would almost certainly boost their electoral chances and avoid the oncoming constitutional crisis.
Gary Gross argues that this may make it difficult for Democrats to push back against Comey:
It isn’t that difficult for the Clinton campaign to criticize FBI Director Comey. He isn’t one of their people. He’s causing heartburn for Mrs. Clinton’s campaign so he has to be vilified. It’s different with Schoen. It isn’t that Mrs. Clinton, Robbie Mook or John Podesta will hesitate in criticizing Schoen. It’s that they’ll have difficulty getting credibility criticizing Schoen because he’s a reasonable Democrat.
If so, they haven’t gotten the memo yet. Democrats have begun calling for another resignation — from James Comey:
Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) is calling on James Comey to resign after the FBI director sent a letter Friday to lawmakers telling them the bureau would be reviewing new emails it says are “pertinent” to its investigation into Hillary Clinton‘s use of a private email server while secretary of State.
Cohen criticized Comey for sending the letter against the advice of the Justice Department and echoed Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid‘s charge that Comey may have violated a U.S. law the prohibits government officials from interfering with an election.
“FBI Director James Comey’s recent public comments on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her emails, apparently before seeing any evidence, and against the advice of the Justice Department according to press reports, and even, some have suggested, in violation of the Hatch Act, make it clear for the good of the FBI and the Justice Department, he should resign his position effective immediately,” Cohen, a supporter of Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, said in a statement.
The Hatch Act accusation is sheer nonsense, as I noted earlier, but that doesn’t necessarily validate what Comey did, either. If the new probe turns up nothing — or, more likely, if it does but doesn’t change Comey’s no-action recommendation after the election — the demands for his resignation are likely to get very loud indeed.