Yesterday, the director of the FBI offered 15 of the most puzzling minutes in the history of American law enforcement. James Comey spent the first 12 minutes or so laying out a devastating case dismantling Hillary Clinton’s email defense. Then, in a whiplash-inducing change of narrative, he announced that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring the case he had just outlined, an assertion that was contradicted within hours by luminaries including former U.S. attorney (and mayor) Rudy Giuliani and James Kallstrom, former head of the FBI’s New York office.
How can we possibly explain the FBI director deliberately inducing mass cognitive dissonance?
If, as many on the right fear, the fix was in, Comey did not need to lay out such an overwhelming case that already has provided ample ammunition to refute Hillary Clinton’s many lies about her email practices.
I think it is possible that Comey was grudgingly complying with the reality that he learned in the wake of the covert meeting between Bill Clinton and A.G. Lynch (that became public only because a Phoenix TV station was doing a story on VIP arrivals at Sky Harbor Airport). I suspect that he learned, directly or indirectly, that no case would be brought against Hillary Clinton. As Karin McQuillan noted today, he provided a “tell” when he said:
We … engage in productive conversations with prosecutors about what resolution may be appropriate.
This would leave him with a decision to respond the hard way or the easy way. I have no idea what the hard way would involve, whether it involved losing positive inducements to cooperate and be a good team member or whether something decidedly unpleasant might happen to him or his loved ones, as has happened to so many people inconvenient to the Clintons, by sheer coincidence, of course. The easy way would be no recommendation for prosecution, allowing A.G. Lynch to keep her promise to follow whatever the FBI recommended. That would call off the dogs.
So did Director Comey cooperate the way American prisoners of war did, when forced to read statements praising their captors, by in effect blinking Morse code? He gave exactly what he was supposed to. But he did it in a way calculated to do political damage to Hillary Clinton.
Then there is the small matter of the ongoing investigation into the Clinton Foundation, and potential quid-pro-quo corruption lining the actions of the secretary of state to donations to the foundation. Comey let us know that quite a few deleted emails were recovered from Hillary’s servers but said absolutely nothing about the other investigation.