Every day on Facebook I see several posts claiming that FBI Director James Comey said Hillary Clinton had lied about her emails, and several posts counter-arguing that Comey proved Hillary didn’t lie. It all proves to me one very unimpeachable fact: James Comey did a crappy job of clearing things up.
In his July 5th press conference, reading from a prepared script, Comey mixed up his explanation of what material was marked classified, what wasn’t, and whether it was indeed classified at the time or not. He further expressed his opinion that Clinton exhibited “extreme carelessness,” a subjective opinion not bound in law and therefore beyond the scope of his official responsibilities. The FBI director is not supposed to give opinions or pass judgments beyond what is legal and what is not. His job was to find evidence of criminal wrongdoing, not to evaluate Mrs. Clinton’s performance as Secretary of State.
Then, in his July 7th testimony before congress, Comey backtracked on most of the so-called facts he had laid out a few days earlier. He acknowledged that only three out of 30,000 emails were indeed suspected of containing any material that was classified at the time, that those emails had no formal headers to show them being classified, just a small (c) marking in the body of the text, and that it was therefore a “reasonable inference” for Clinton to think they weren’t classified. He also changed his characterization from “extreme carelessness” to “great carelessness” (a distinction lost on me) and gave plenty of other testimony to either exonerate Clinton or dilute his earlier, stinging rebuke from behind his FBI lectern. Continue reading Why Not Indict James Comey?