Email # 156: “It defies logic”?

President Trump has long criticized FBI Director James Comey for not pursuing Secretary Clinton more aggressively for her handling of classified emails. He tweeted last July:

“FBI director said Crooked Hillary compromised our national security. No charges. Wow!”

He tweeted the same opinion earlier this month:

‘‘FBI Director Comey was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deed!’’

You responded similarly to Comey’s announcement that Clinton would not be prosecuted:

“It defies logic and the law that she faces no consequences for jeopardizing national security.”

But when Comey announced publicly that he was reopening the Clinton case just days before the election, Trump approved:

“I was not his fan. But I’ll tell you what he did, he brought back his reputation. He brought it back. He’s got to hang tough because there’s a lot of — a lot of people want him to do the wrong thing. What he did was the right thing.”

You approved too:

“The FBI’s decision to reopen its investigation into Secretary Clinton reinforces what the House Judiciary Committee has been saying for months: the more we learn about Secretary Clinton’s use of a private email server, the clearer it becomes that she and her associates committed wrongdoing and jeopardized national security.”

And yet now we are to understand that the President Trump fired Director Comey not despite but specifically because of his reopening of the Clinton case? Deputy attorney general Rod J. Rosenstein explained in the memo that accompanied the President’s letter dismissing Comey:

“The FBI’s reputation and credibility have suffered substantial damage, and it has affected the entire Department of Justice. I cannot defend the director’s handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton’s emails, and I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken. Almost everyone agrees that the director made serious mistakes; it is one of the few issues that unites people of diverse perspectives.”

Do you agree with the deputy attorney general? If so, why have you never expressed any criticism of Comey for the timing of his second investigation and its well-documented influence on the outcome of the election? Have you, like the President, completely reversed your opinion in the last week?

Other members of Congress are very concerned. Senator Burr said on Tuesday:

“I am troubled by the timing and reasoning of Director Comey’s termination.”

Senator Corker said:

“his removal at this particular time will raise questions.”

Senator Lankford said:

“the American people need clarity and deserve an explanation for his immediate firing.”

Senator McCain said:

“I have long called for a special congressional committee to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. The president’s decision to remove the FBI Director only confirms the need and the urgency of such a committee.”

Rep. Amash said:

“My staff and I are reviewing legislation to establish an independent commission on Russia. The second paragraph of this letter is bizarre.”

Amash was referring to President Trump’s letter to Comey:

“While I greatly appreciate your informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgement of the Department Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau.”

The President’s statement is “bizarre” because multiple members of his campaign are under investigation for possible collusion with Russia in its well-documented interference in the election. These are concerns voiced by your fellow Republicans in Congress, and so none can be dismissed as politically biased. The President’s decision, however, appears highly biased.

As chair of the House Judiciary Committee, it is your job to oversee the executive branch, and yet you said nothing about the influence Comey’s reopening of the Clinton case had on the election. Your response to Comey’s firing also says nothing:

“The FBI is the premier law enforcement agency in the world and it is critical to have a director who holds the trust of the American people. It is clearly the President’s prerogative to remove the FBI Director, as was recommended by the top two officials at the Department of Justice. I would like to thank Director Comey for his many years of faithful service, and I look forward to working closely with the White House to identify a suitable successor as quickly as possible.”

Your statements of the obvious would be comically vapid if they did not also distract from the fact that Comey was unexpectedly fired in the midst of his investigation into the Trump’s campaign’s ties to Russia–and just a week after requesting funds to expand that investigation.

The FBI’s reputation and credibility have suffered substantial damage, but yours are suffering far worse. What will it take for you to set politics aside and do your job?

Your behavior defies logic.

Email #118, Subject: “witch hunt”?

“When you are given immunity, that means you probably committed a crime,” Michael Flynn said last September when Hillary Clinton’s aides were granted immunity during the FBI’s investigation into her private email server. Donald Trump echoed the opinion: “The reason they get immunity is because they did something wrong, if they didn’t do anything wrong, they don’t think in terms of immunity. If you are not guilty of a crime, what do you need immunity for? Right.”

Flynn has since been forced to step down as National Security Advisor after reportedly misleading the administration regarding his communications with Russia, and now he has requested immunity himself to testify in the investigation of Russian ties to the Trump campaign. Like Flynn, President Trump now supports immunity: “Mike Flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt (excuse for big election loss), by media & Dems, of historic proportion!”

I do not know if Flynn committed a crime, but the reversal is disturbingly hypocritical. Even the use of the phrase “witch hunt” is embarrassingly familiar. The Washington Post warned last November that “the GOP’s Clinton witch hunt could backfire.” The Guardian reported in July: “The tirades against Hillary Clinton at the Republican national convention this week have resembled a witch trial more than a political event.” And even former Secretary of State Colin Powell called the Benghazi controversy a “stupid witch hunt.”

I do not know if Clinton committed a crime, but I do know that FBI Director Comey concluded that she did not.  While this would seem to settle the issue, you were not satisfied, demanding in a letter to Comey: “What sets Secretary Clinton apart from [other] persons prosecuted for mishandling classified information?” You were also unsatisfied with her aides who received immunity, writing to the Attorney General for explanation for why “side agreements” were approved for their testimonies.  “Like many things about this case,” you said on TV, “these new materials raise more questions than answers.”

While some may characterize your actions toward Clinton as part of a “witch hunt,” I am willing to view them as part of your Congressional commitment to policing the executive branch. Or at least I would be if you applied equal vigilance to all executive investigations. You, however, have shown little interest in the spreading allegations that the Trump campaign may have colluded with Russia during the election.

While the mishandling of classified documents is criminal—you cited an example of an individual being fined and serving a two-month jail sentence—collusion with a foreign government to influence a Presidential election could be treasonous. I would think that given your vigilance in pursuing Secretary Clinton you would now feel an even greater duty to investigate the current administration.

Unless of course your motivations are not based on principles but simply politics. In which case, rather than fulfilling your role as chair of the House Judiciary Committee, you have been abusing it. Do you believe in the integrity of your office, or were you just a Hillary witch hunter as hypocritical as Flynn and the President?