FBI Director Comey is undermining democracy
FBI Director James Comey, left jokes with House Judiciary Committee Chairman, right winger Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va. | Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

WASHINGTON – FBI Director James Comey has handed the right wing another club to use in smashing American democracy. He has all but assured that if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency, the right wing will continue their efforts to render the legislative branch of government dysfunctional.

Comey sent a letter Friday to the chairs of various Senate and House committees announcing that “in connection with an unrelated case, the FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation [of Hillary Clinton’s personal e-mail server]…” and that the FBI is going to review these e-mails.

Comey said in his letter that “… the FBI cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be significant,” but he did not say that chances are the e-mails are not “significant” at all, that they are probably duplicates of e-mails the FBI already has.

In their investigation of former U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner for sexting, the FBI was checking out e-mails he had sent to his wife, Huma Abedin, a top aide to Clinton. These e-mails had in turn been sent from Abedin’s personal computer to Clinton’s.

Abedin had been in the habit of copying e-mails from her personal computer into Clinton’s because Clinton’s printer worked better than hers.

In other words, the e-mails from Abedin’s computer has been among Clinton’s e-mails all along and the FBI had already gone over them with a fine tooth comb.

By not making this clear in his letter to the committee chairs, Comey threw red meat to Donald Trump and all Republican candidates.

They ran with it, saying that Comey’s letter somehow “proves” Clinton is guilty of something which they did not specify because they could not.

According to Justice Department officials and former Attorney General Eric Holder, Comey broke the rule against speaking publicly about ongoing investigations. Comey might even be guilty of violating the Hatch Act, which makes it illegal for officials like him to publicly engage in politically partisan activities.

Was Comey trying to hurt Clinton’s chances of winning? Maybe. But as a political professional, he probably anticipated what all polls are showing: although his letter has hurt Clinton, she is still more than likely to be elected President.

What we know for sure is Comey has given the right wing another excuse to continue what they have been doing for at least eight years: diverting resources and time away from attempts to put in place programs and policies that serve the American people.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz R.-Utah, a right winger and chair of the House Oversight Committee, has already made clear that if Clinton wins, the GOP’s top priority will be to block her from accomplishing anything by tying her up in hearings and investigations. Chaffetz told the Washington Post, “Even before we get to Day One, [the Comey letter gives us] … two years’ worth of material already lined up.”

And on ABC Sunday, Rep. Bob Goodlatte R.-Va., chair of the House Judiciary Committee, spoke gleefully of beginning impeachment proceedings against Clinton almost before she takes office.

Such actions are part of a strategy aimed at stopping the president and both houses of Congress from conducting the people’s business.

And as long as the federal government doesn’t function, the right wingers and their billionaire backers are free to run the nation through the states and courts they control. Among many other things, they’ve been successful in destroying unions, undermining the Affordable Care Act, stopping climate control measures and continuing their war on women.

Comey himself helped initiate this strategy. In1996, during Bill Clinton’s Administration, he served as deputy special counsel to the Senate Whitewater Committee, which investigated a land deal involving Bill and Hillary Clinton.

That committee found absolutely nothing illegal or improper about anything the Clintons had done, but it did pervert legislative procedures enough to slow down or stop the implementation of some of the more progressive plans of the Clinton Administration.

Sen. Harry Reid D.–Nev., today presented evidence that Comey is a Republican partisan. Reid said Comey has been keeping under wraps findings that could damage Donald Trump’s presidential bid.

Today, the stakes are even higher than when Comey worked for the anti-Clinton Whitewater Committee.

Hillary Clinton will come into office pledged to promote the most progressive agenda since the New Deal: the agenda adopted by the Democratic Party as its platform.

The danger of continuing right wing-caused “gridlock” is particularly acute because this close to November 8, it is still uncertain which party will have the majority in the Senate.

The best way for progressives to work toward minimizing the long range consequences of Comey’s letter is to re-double all efforts toward electing Democratic challengers to incumbent Republican senators and representatives.

In fact, it’s the only way.


Larry Rubin
Larry Rubin

Larry Rubin has been a union organizer, a speechwriter and an editor of union publications. He was a civil rights organizer in the Deep South and is often invited to speak on applying Movement lessons to today's challenges. He has produced several folk music shows.