That said, Democrats would now have you believe that history began on October 28. In reality, the critical context of that day’s letter to Congress was the Comey press conference four months earlier — on July 5 — followed by the director’s extensive congressional testimony in the days that followed. It makes no sense for Democrats to complain about the letter and its departure from protocol but ignore the press conference’s far more extensive departures. To the (debatable) extent that there was a need to notify Congress in late October that the investigation had been reopened, it was precisely because the director, in early July, had made a highly unusual, highly public pronouncement that the investigation was complete and the case too weak to charge.
You may recall the unrestrained Democratic glee over that particular breach of protocol.
Of course, smarter Democrats perceive this incongruity. Thus, rather than ignore the Comey press conference, they bowdlerize it, choosing to remember only the first three-quarters of Comey’s bravura performance. That, you’ll recall, is the part in which the director rebuked Clinton for her inappropriate conduct, her “extreme carelessness” in handling highly classified information, the cavalier culture that prevailed during Clinton’s State Department tenure regarding the need to safeguard intelligence, and so on.
What Democrats choose to forget, and hope you will too, is the closing section of Comey’s remarks. That was when he seized the power of the Justice Department to render legal conclusions about both the prosecutorial merits of the case and the interpretation of the relevant criminal statute. In this conclusion, not only did Comey claim that Clinton’s conduct did not warrant an indictment, he gratuitously added the declaration that no “reasonable prosecutor” could disagree with his assessment.