One Police Plaza

Whining Hillary; Conniving Comey

May 8, 2017

Let me begin by saying I voted for Hillary Clinton.

I did it despite her apparent lies about her email server; despite WikiLeaks revelations, allegedly from Russian hackers, that supposedly neutral Democratic Party officials had worked underhandedly to secure her nomination over Sen. Bernie Sanders; despite multimillion-dollar contributions to the Clinton Foundation while she served as secretary of state; and despite FBI Director James Comey’s last-second announcement over new evidence regarding her emails.

My reasoning, like that of many Americans: Donald Trump was worse.

Last week, Clinton blamed her defeat mostly on the Russians and Comey. “If the election had been on October 27,” she said, referring the date of Comey’s email announcement, “I would be your president.”

That remark, an aggrieved, self-righteous whine, will, I fear, haunt and define her.

Comey, meanwhile, has played a strange and inexplicable role in the 2016 presidential election. In July, he took the extraordinary step of announcing the FBI had recommended no charges be filed against Clinton for using her private email server for official State Department communications, despite calling her handling of classified information “extremely careless.”

Republicans claimed he had employed a double standard. The bureau had recommended felony charges against Gen. David Petraeus after discovering he provided classified information to his biographer and lover. Petraeus was forced to resign as CIA director. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of mishandling classified information.

Comey then promised to advise Congress if new evidence emerged in the Clinton emails probe.

Ten days before November’s election, he announced the FBI had uncovered Clinton-related emails related to the bureau’s investigation. The emails had turned up in an unrelated investigation of sexually explicit text messages allegedly between Rep. Anthony Weiner and a 15-year-old girl. Weiner is the estranged husband of Clinton’s top aide, Huma Abedin.

Then, two days before the election, Comey again announced no charges would be filed against Clinton. The FBI determined the emails were mostly personal and duplicates of what the bureau had already seen.

So why did Comey announce the evidence in the Clinton email investigation less than two weeks before the election? He testified before Congress last week and said that he felt “mildly nauseous” about possibly influencing the election. But said he was faced with choices between “really bad” and “catastrophic.”

That remark, with its hyperbolic self-aggrandizing, will haunt and define him.

Some law enforcement officials say Comey spoke as he did to head off leaks about Clinton by angry FBI and other Justice Department investigators. “All I heard were former FBI agents telling me that there’s a revolution going on inside the FBI and it’s now a boiling point,” said former mayor and Trump ally Rudy Giuliani, who had previously served as U.S. attorney for New York’s Southern District.

Self-serving as his comments may be, sources told NYPD Confidential there was another reason for the investigators’ anger: the discovery of an apparent correlation between Clinton’s overseas trips as Secretary of State and contributions to the Clinton Foundation.

“They put together maps and overlays,” said a source. “There were three components. First, Hillary visits a country. Second, Bill Clinton gives a speech there. Third, money flows into the Clinton Foundation.”

So here’s my advice to Hillary. You didn’t lose the election only because of the Russian hackers or Comey. You lost because you were a disaster as a candidate; because you focused on the demographic of women and minorities, something you avoided in your run in 2008; because you chose not to pay more attention to key Midwestern states that you lost; because you no longer seem to have the ideals and principles you started out with; and because many voters feel you can’t be trusted.

And if you’re using the Russian hackers and Comey to position yourself for another run at president, it won’t work.


Copyright © 2017 Leonard Levitt