FBI Director James Comey’s shocking announcement Friday that the agency has reopened its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server after the discovery of new information has left the world wondering just what that new information is — and how it will impact the Democratic nominee.
“In connection with an unrelated case, the FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation. I am writing to inform you that the investigative team briefed me on this yesterday, and I agreed that the FBI should take appropriate investigative steps designed to allow investigators to review these emails to determine whether they contain classified information, as well as to assess their importance to our investigation,” Comey wrote in an official letter to various committee chairmen in Congress.
“I think the public is starting to actually understand a little bit more about the breadth and scope of the criminal enterprise called the Clinton Foundation.”
According to the FBI, the new emails were uncovered after the FBI seized electronic devices belonging to top Clinton aide Huma Abedin and her husband, disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner, as part of their investigation into Weiner’s conduct. Weiner is under investigation for sending explicitly sexual text messages to a 15-year-old girl.
Many have speculated that the new emails must contain explosive information, given Comey’s decision to reopen the case. “I suspect they got new information that wasn’t in their possession when the earlier pronouncement was made [and] I suspect it was quite substantial, enough so that they felt compelled, vis-a-vis the ‘unusual transparency’ that has guided them so far, to make this statement to Congress,” former FBI agent Ron Hosko told LifeZette.
“DOJ guidelines point to doing nothing that would tend to influence an election, any election, particularly presidential. So, I again suspect it is momentous enough to do this now,” said Hosko, who was the special agent in charge of the Washington Field Office’s Criminal Division.
[lz_ndn video= 31572415]
Brady Toensing, a white-collar criminal defense attorney, agreed the new evidence must have been truly substantial.
“The FBI would not have made this decision lightly under normal circumstances,” Toensing said. “The fact that it made this decision in such close proximity to the election indicates evidence turned up that has caused them to rethink the decision not to recommend prosecution.”
“What the FBI just discovered must be far more serious than what’s already public,” conservative activist group Citizens United, which has forced many of Clinton’s emails to become public through Freedom of Information Act requests, said in an official statement.
However, others aren’t so sure and think the whole decision could be a gambit from FBI Director Comey to save his own skin politically. “That just sounds silly to me because there’s been so much information that they bypassed, that they didn’t act on, and haven’t reacted to,” Jim Kallstrom, former assistant director of the FBI, said. “I mean, what does it take, a brick sh**house to fall on them? I guess the brick sh**house fell on them.”
Kallstrom said he did not have the facts of the case, but said that — in light of the way the agency conducted the investigation from the beginning — he found it hard to believe that the FBI could have uncovered some new information so damning it finally prompted them to act.
“From the very beginning, this investigation was not a legitimate criminal investigation,” Kallstrom said. “They looked the other way on so much information, so many cases of obstruction of justice, [and] so many cases of the destruction of subpoenaed information. The whole thing has, in my view, been a farce,” he continued.
“For him now to sort of say, ‘You know, we did the right thing in the past, but now there’s something new and we’re going to act,’ is preposterous — but maybe there is some new information that’s so damn convincing,” Kallstrom said.
If the FBI did not discover groundbreaking new information, Kallstrom speculated that Comey’s announcement may have been tied to his own self-preservation. Kallstrom said he believes “it’s more politics than anything else … He’s had compelling evidence scattered around for months now.” He said that to have compelling evidence and do nothing before the election would leave Comey’s reputation forever marred.
“I think the public is starting to actually understand a little bit more about the breadth and scope of the criminal enterprise called the Clinton Foundation,” said Kallstrom. “Maybe he’s reading between the lines that he may not have his FBI job very long under a president that isn’t Hillary Clinton.”
“It’s like he made this broth and the broth tastes like sh** … Nobody would drink this sh** even though he says it’s gourmet, but now he’s got some new ingredients he’s gonna put into the f***ing thing and it’s going to make it taste good. I don’t think so,” Kallstrom said.
Toensing, the criminal defense attorney, suggested the FBI could get the investigation right with a second chance.
“I imagine that they would, at a minimum, have to conduct additional interviews,” Toensing said. “Let’s hope this time the FBI conducts a real inquiry. Maybe this time the government will use a grand jury and issue subpoenas, as it should have done from the start.”
Ultimately — barring a Trump presidency — the reasons behind Comey’s announcement will likely have little bearing on the outcome of the renewed investigation, and those wishing to see how Clinton looks in prison orange will be sorely disappointed. “If it’s actually true and [Comey is] actually going to do something and the attorney general is going to authorize him to have a grand jury, those decisions are made by the Justice Department and administration, not the FBI,” Kallstrom noted.