Hillary Clinton’s camp is spinning the FBI’s discovery of new evidence as many ways as they can in a panicked attempt to minimize the damage a criminal probe might do to her already floundering presidential bid.
“If you’re like me, you probably have a few questions about it,” Clinton told a crowd of about 900 at a small community center.
The four main axes of spin seem to be that FBI Director Comey never wrote “reopened” in his letter to Congress, that the timing is “strange”, that Comey needs to release everything “immediately” or he’s being political, and that voters have already gotten past this whole “email” thing.
To be Reopened or Not Reopened – that is the question…
Social media, mainstream outlets, and Sunday talk show interviewees have engaged in a nauseating and partisan word-parsing war, but hey, who doesn’t like watching a good dumpster fire?
Tom Winter of NBC News (yeah, I know) tries to explain that Director Comey didn’t really mean “re-open” when he informed congress that the FBI was again investigating Hillary after they had stopped investigating Hillary…
NOTE: House Oversight Chair has called this a "re-opening" of the investigation into Clinton. However, FBI Director used no such language.
— Tom Winter (@Tom_Winter) October 28, 2016
To be mind-numbingly detailed – and irrelevant – the case was not officially closed. The FBI had just stopped doing much of anything on it – which looks to most normal people like CLOSED. So basically, the left is arguing that a case that was not officially closed has now not been officially reopened .. or something. Maybe this is a play for the Gary Johnson “weed vote” in Colorado…
Failed democratic candidate for president Martin O’Malley went on Sunday morning talk shows to argue that the subject of the FBI’s investigation is a server and/or Weiner, but not Hillary.
Tucker: “The front-runner in this race is under criminal investigation by the FBI.”
O’Malley: “No she’s not.”
O’Malley stunningly tries to make the case that the FBI isn’t doing a criminal investigation as if the FBI does any other kind of investigating.
When that tactic fails, O’Malley then redirects the criminality to the server and Weiner. Wholly spin-crafting Batman!
Why Now Mr. Comey?
The next task is to portray Director Comey’s letter to Congress as a partisan hit job by attacking the timing of the announcement.
“It is pretty strange to put something like that out with such little information right before an election. In fact, it’s not just strange; it is unprecedented and it is deeply troubling.” Hillary Clinton said at one of her lightly-attended rallies.
First, it’s not unprecedented. In fact, the Clintons piled-on when a special prosecutor raised charges against Bush the weekend before the election:
That’s because 24 years ago, as former President George H.W. Bush was surging back against challenger Bill Clinton, a special prosecutor raised new charges against Bush in the Iran-Contra probe, prompting Clinton to claim he was running against a “culture of corruption.”
Comey, in an FBI memo, not only stated that the timing was an issue, but that it is THE issue. Imagine the fallout if he had sat on this new, possibly criminal, evidence until after the election and voters ignorantly went to the polls and put a to-be-indicted Hillary Clinton into the White House?
The spin-meisters also attack Comey for having informed Congress of the reopened investigation. In this matter, he had no choice. Comey had previously informed Congress that he was no longer investigating Hillary. To suddenly reopen the case and fail to inform Congress may have opened him up to perjury, lying to congress or a multitude of other legal dangers.
“We don’t ordinarily tell Congress about ongoing investigations, but here I feel an obligation to do so given that I testified repeatedly in recent months that our investigation was completed. I also think it would be misleading to the American people were we not to supplement the record.”
Comey should reveal everything immediately (even though we’re preventing it behind the scenes…)
Hillary immediately came out and demanded that Comey must release everything he’s found.
‘Voters deserve to get full and complete facts. And so we call on Director Comey to explain everything right away,’ Hillary said and that Comey needs to “put it all out on the table.”
The media, Clinton’s campaign staff, and others repeated the call for the complete and immediate release of the new evidence. The tactic has two main objectives: Make Comey appear to be hiding something and to make Hillary appear to have nothing to hide – except, the DOJ and Huma Abedin are hiding lots of somethings for Hillary.
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch is holding back a search warrant for the evidence the FBI has found. FBI agents cannot investigate, much less release to the public, the evidence until either Huma gives them permission or the DOJ issues a search warrant. Loretta and Huma are team players so it’s unlikely that’s going to happen.
There’s no there there…
In obvious attempts to limit the damage the FBI investigation may do to Hillary’s campaign, her staff and the media again collude to soften the blow.
When asked about the new evidence Clinton campaign chief John Podesta said, “it’s had to see how this amounts to anything.” Podesta added that “the more explanation that comes out the more overblown it all seems.”
Hillary spoke with reporters on Friday and tried to downplay the email scandal. “People a long time ago made up their minds about the emails,” she said.
The Washington Post refers to Clinton’s illegal use of a non-government server an error and reminds readers that this whole failure to secure classified documents has been wildly overblown:
“On the merits, Ms. Clinton erred by using a private email server for her official communications as secretary of state — though as we have previously argued, the matter has been greatly overblown.”
But Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein disagrees:
“it is unthinkable that the Director of the FBI would take this action lightly, that he would put this letter forth to the Congress of the United States saying there is more information out there about classified e-mails and call it to the attention of congress unless it was something requiring serious investigation.”
Will the new evidence and
reopened awoken FBI investigation affect the 2016 elections?
Election day is but 9 days away and a large number of people have absentee or in-person early voted so those votes won’t be impacted by Director Comey’s announcement, but will it impact those who have yet to vote?
An ABC tracking poll asked if the new evidence and reopened investigation would affect their vote. 34% said they would be less likely to vote for Clinton while 63% said the issue would not change their vote. What the headlines said of the poll question is that it shows that very few people are turned away from Hillary because of the renewed investigation, but when looking at the wording of the question, who was asked, and the wording of the answers – the results tell an entirely different story.
The question was asked of all likely voters that participated in the poll, not just those that were going to vote for Hillary. That means that a Republican voter that answered that the new evidence would “not make a difference” in their vote is saying that they will continue to not vote for Hillary. The 34% that said the FBI probe makes them less likely to vote for Hillary are people that might have otherwise considered doing so. There was only a 30% sample of independents in the poll – that’s who is likely to be swayed by the news and it looks like just about all of them are moving away from the damaged candidate.
Then again, this whole election may come down to the actions of two people that no one could ever have predicted:
The two oddest and unexpected players in this campaign: Anthony Weiner and Billy Bush. Go figure
— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) October 28, 2016