Monday, October 31, 2016

Give ‘Em Hell Harry

For all his soft-spoken demeanor, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (R-NV) can go back to his roots when he was a boxer and throw a few punches.

Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid on Sunday accused FBI Director James B. Comey of breaking federal law in disclosing possible new evidence in the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

Reid (D-Nev.) said in a letter sent to Comey that his disclosure to Congress, made 11 days before the election, might have violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits partisan politicking by government employees.

“Your actions in recent months have demonstrated a disturbing double standard for the treatment of sensitive information, with what appears to be a clear intent to aid one political party over another,” Reid wrote. “I am writing to inform you that my office has determined that these actions may violate the Hatch Act, which bars FBI officials from using their official authority to influence an election. Through your partisan actions, you may have broken the law.”

For good measure, he also suggested that the FBI overlooked some of the Trump Foundation’s activities.

In the letter, Reid drew a contrast between how Comey has treated the Clinton email probe and how he has handled what Reid described as “explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government.”

“The public has a right to know this information,” Reid said. “I wrote to you months ago calling for this information to be released to the public. There is no danger to American interests from releasing it. And yet, you continue to resist calls to inform the public of this critical information. By contrast, as soon as you came into possession of the slightest innuendo related to Secretary Clinton, you rushed to publicize it in the most negative light possible.”

Sen. Reid is retiring at the end of his term in January, so he has nothing to lose and everything to gain by taking on Director Comey, at least as far as making the FBI look like it is not only taking sides politically both within and outside the agency but doing it so ham-handedly that no matter what they may conclude about the e-mails that they uncovered on the Weiner laptop, no one will trust the findings.

So far the news hasn’t seemed to change the polling much; Clinton still has a lead and a lot of votes have already been cast thanks to early voting.  But Harry Reid is right: you’d have to be really naive to think this letter to Congress happened in a vacuum and wasn’t timed to do something about the political fortunes of next Tuesday.