By Phil Mauriello Jr.
In what has been an incredibly dramatic and unpredictable election season, a new twist has unfolded. In a tweet heard around the world, Congressman and Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform committee, Jason Chaffetz, stated that he was informed by the Director of the FBI, James Comey, that new information has come to light in the investigation into Secretary Clinton’s emails. Due to this new information, the email investigation has been reopened.
The revelation did not come from WikiLeaks, foreign hackers, or the Russians. It came from former Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner.
In a separate investigation into a “sexting scandal” with a fifteen-year-old girl, the FBI received numerous devices from Weiner, including those used by his former wife, Huma Abedin, who is also a close aide to Hillary Clinton. The implication is that during the FBI’s investigation into those devices for evidence relating to the sexting scandal, they came across new emails that involved Secretary Clinton. After this discovery, Comey sent a letter to Congress informing them of the new information and that the investigation was reopened. Further, Comey stated he directed his agents to take all appropriate investigative action regarding this new information.
The content or specifics about what has been discovered has not yet been released, but the implication alone has rocked the Presidential election with less than two weeks to go. Carl Bernstein, the former Washington Post reporter who uncovered Watergate, stated in an interview with CNN that for the FBI to reopen the case means that he believes what they found must be a “real bombshell.” Comey declined to offer a specific timeline of how long this new investigation would take. If the investigation continues up to November 8th, the weight of a possible indictment could hamper Secretary Clinton’s turnout at the polls.
The announcement could not have come at a better time for Republican nominee Donald Trump. The L.A. Times/USC, IBD, and Rasmussen polls all have Clinton and Trump within the margin of error, and therefore, a statistical tie. During an appearance in front of elated supporters in New Hampshire, Trump stated that he respects the FBI and Department of Justice for “righting the horrible mistake that they made.” All while his supporters chanted, “Lock her up.” Later in the day in Maine, Trump stated, “This is the biggest political scandal since Watergate, and I’m sure it will be properly handled from this point forward.”
Meanwhile, the Clinton campaign was reeling from the news. Secretary Clinton and her team only learned about the news when their plane touched down in Iowa because there was no Wi-Fi on the plane to receive the news. The Clinton campaign was not given any heads up or prior notice of the news and learned about it through news reports. Secretary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, called the release of the letter so close to the election “extraordinary.”
But the question remains, why reopen this case now with less than two weeks to go until Election Day? Several theories have been floated. First, Comey has been facing so much scrutiny over the prior investigation from within his department, this was a blessing in disguise to save face. Several FBI agents questioned the prior investigation and were so upset over the outcome that there were rumors of mass resignations. A second theory is WikiLeaks has forced the FBI’s hand by releasing more emails every day. This is the FBI’s way of getting ahead of it before new information comes to light. If WikiLeaks releases Secretary Clinton’s 33,000 deleted emails for Americans to see, then it would look even worse for the FBI if there was indeed a smoking gun in the emails and nothing was done.
Finally, it is most likely that Comey is simply in a no-win situation. If this new evidence was discovered and he withheld the discovery until after the election, there will be more calls of corruption and favoritism. If the information is truly incriminating, imagine a scenario where Secretary Clinton is President-Elect and is under indictment from the FBI. The lid could blow off what is already a pressure cooker electorate. Since he released it now, he faces scrutiny from Democrats who claim he is politicizing the FBI and trying to influence the election. Neither option was great, but it appears Comey decided it was best for the American people to know considering the impending election.
With a week to go, WikiLeaks is still releasing new information every day; and with this new investigation, expect for more dramatics to come in the home stretch of what has already been an incredible and historic Presidential election.