by Brent Budowsky
When FBI Director James Comey publicly revealed that he was investigating emails on the system of former Rep. Anthony Weiner, and again injected himself into the center of a fast approaching presidential election, he was once again applying a double standard of justice to Hillary Clinton.
According to the New York Times and other sources, multiple senior officials of the Department of Justice urged Comey to not go public because doing so would violate a long-term FBI practice of not interfering in an imminent presidential election and not opining about ongoing investigations when the facts are not clear.
A growing list of former Justice Department officials, who served Republican and Democratic presidents, have strongly criticized Comey’s intervention in the presidential campaign.
Lets be clear about this. At the time of Comey’s public letter to members of Congress, Comey did not know the contents of the emails in question, or whether there is any legitimate grounds for concern about Clinton’s role with them, or whether any and potentially all of the newly discovered emails had previously been disclosed and found to create no legal problem.
Comey should have known is that his Friday letter to members of Congress –– a number of whom are Republicans who have been promoting partisan witch hunts against Clinton for years funded by taxpayer money –– would inevitably disrupt the presidential election. In fact, Comey’s action has predictably turned the administration of justice into a political circus and fomented the kind of banana republic politics that Americans have come to detest.
Both Comey and a number of hyper-partisan Republicans are promoting a double standard of justice against Clinton that should appall and anger Americans of all political persuasions.
In this double standard of justice against Clinton, first multiple GOP-controlled congressional committees have abused the rules of the House by using committees as partisan political weapons against Clinton.
Some Republicans have at times actually claimed credit for taking down Clinton’s numbers in polls during these taxpayer-financed witch hunts.
These Republican inquisitions shamefully began before the presidential election in 2012 and continue through the presidential election of 2016.
When Comey concluded his original investigation and found that no legal action was warranted, and said that this decision was not even a close call, he then allowed himself to be turned into a political football when his testimony was sought by various partisan committees conducting these four year old inquisitions.
Comey should have said no. He should have agreed to testify before authorizing and appropriating committees only but should never have let himself –– and the FBI –– become a traveling road show, going from committee to committee before bloviating partisan Republicans who sought to attack and intimidate him to pursue their vendetta against Clinton.
My view is that Comey was, indeed, intimidated, which is why he violated the long-honored practice of not interfering in an election.
Comey not only violated that practice, he violated it aggressively only days before the election, as he also violated the time-honored practice to not publicly discuss ongoing investigations.
My view is that Comey was so intimidated by partisan Republican congressional witch hunts against Clinton that he allowed himself to become a virtual political and legal pundit, first repeatedly opining after the original decision was announced, and now publicly discussing an investigation that about a matter he did not even know existed 72 hours earlier.
There is a double standard of justice being applied against Clinton that is every bit as wrong when it is applied by a director of the FBI as when it is applied by partisan Republican congressional witch hunts.
Indeed it is even worse when the double standard is applied by an FBI director, because that post should be above politics, political pressure and political interference from partisans in Congress as much as partisans in the White House.
Every progressive and liberal should be angry and outraged when an FBI director appears intimidated into misguided action because he fears the reaction from congressional committees that act in ways similar to the dark days of Joseph McCarthy, by conducting a perpetual vendetta against Clinton which they now promise to continue if she is elected president.
Every principled conservative and libertarian should be equally angry and outraged because when justice is deformed by partisan congressional attacks and an FBI director who appears to act in fear of them against a Democrat, he or some future FBI director may view this as a precedent to apply the same double standard against a future Republican or conservative.
Voters should reject the double standard of justice against Clinton. The American bar should rise against double standards of justice against any person, of any party, at any time in a nation that honors equal justice under law for all.