By some reports, the agents gave Comey some warning that they might have new material. But a month passed before they were ready to tell him that the emails justified reopening the investigation just before the election.

That was on Thursday. Comey notified the appropriate Department of Justice officals, who reportedly instructed him to let them handle it, apparently with the intention of not informing the public until after the election, if at all.

Comey went ahead and publicly announced his decision just as he had in July. He informed the House Committee on Oversight and Government by letter that the investigation he had declared closed had necessarily been reopened. He added no further facts and had none, as the Justice Department only secured a warrant Sunday evening.

But Comey’s letter pre-empted leaks and the talk of a conspiracy that would have surely ensued. He, in so doing, became the target of all kinds of verbal abuse by Clinton surrogates, who were slow to allow that their prevaricating candidate and her plane-hopping husband were at all to blame.