The continuing refrain from Hillary Clinton supporters and other observers that FBI Director James B. Comey’s action was “contrary” to Justice Department policy is flatly wrong. Given the particular circumstances facing Comey, it is absurd. While I do not agree with everything done and said over the summer in connection with the email investigation, I think that, last week, Comey had no choice but to issue the statement he did. Indeed, it would have violated policy had he not done so.
Earlier this year, everyone was calling for a responsible investigation and rapid resolution of the email matter. The FBI pushed ahead, and in July, Comey announced that the matter had been thoroughly investigated and that he would not recommend prosecution. That announcement was a great boon to Clinton’s campaign — she touted it as a vindication, and, in the wake of Comey’s announcement, her poll numbers appreciably improved.
The FBI then discovered that the investigation had not, in fact, been a complete one. It appears that thousands of emails exist on a computer belonging to former congressman Anthony Weiner and Clinton aide Huma Abedin that had not been turned over during the investigation. The failure of the Clinton camp to provide all pertinent evidence rendered Comey’s July announcement misleading. The FBI’s investigation was not comprehensive and not complete, and the conclusions announced by Comey three months ago were therefore premature.