by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Andrew McCarthy of National Review Online explores Hillary Clinton’s change of mind about the FBI director’s involvement in election-year politics.
How rich of Hillary Clinton to complain now that FBI director James Comey is threatening the democratic process by commenting publicly about a criminal investigation on the eve of an election.
Put aside that Comey did not say a single thing last week that implicates Clinton in a crime. The biggest coup for Clinton in the waning months of the campaign has been Comey’s decision not to prosecute her — a decision outside the responsibilities of the FBI director and publicly announced in a manner that contradicts law-enforcement protocols. There has been nothing more irregular, nothing that put law enforcement more in the service of politics, than that announcement. Yet, far from condemning it, Mrs. Clinton has worn it like a badge of honor since July. Indeed, she has contorted it into a wholesale exoneration, which it most certainly was not.
Just to remind those whose memories seem so conveniently to fail, Comey is the FBI director, not a Justice Department prosecutor, much less the attorney general. The FBI is not supposed to exercise prosecutorial discretion. The FBI is not supposed to decide whether the subject of a criminal investigation gets indicted. The FBI, moreover, is not obligated to make recommendations about prosecution at all; its recommendations, if it chooses to make them, are not binding on the Justice Department; and when it does make recommendations, it does so behind closed doors, not on the public record.
Yet, in the Clinton e-mails investigation, it was Comey who made the decision not to indict Clinton. Comey, furthermore, made the decision in the form of a public recommendation. In effect, it became The Decision because Attorney General Loretta Lynch had disgraced herself by furtively meeting with Mrs. Clinton’s husband a few days before Comey announced his recommendation. Comey, therefore, gave Mrs. Clinton a twofer: an unheard-of public proclamation that she should not be indicted by the head of the investigative agency; and a means of taking Lynch off the hook, which allowed the decision against prosecution to be portrayed as a careful weighing of evidence rather than a corrupt deal cooked up in the back of a plane parked on a remote tarmac.
Now, suddenly, Mrs. Clinton is worried about law-enforcement interference in politics.