Almost a week after shocking the country with the announcement of a new investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails while she served as secretary of state, FBI Director James Comey cleared the Democratic nominee of criminal mishandling of classified information.
In a letter to the Congress, Comey told lawmakers that the agency hasn't changed its opinion that Clinton should not face criminal charges after a second probe of her emails.
"Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July," he wrote.
However, despite the fact the decision brings good news for the Clinton campaign, Comey’s first letter to the Congress — dated Oct. 28 — will most likely have a lasting impact on the election race than the new one.
Here’s why: Comey’s first letter, which vaguely informed the congressional committee chairmen about new emails that could or couldn’t be “pertinent” to the “completed” investigation into previous Clinton emails, came nearly 11 days before Election Day — at a time when the Clinton campaign was soaring while the Republican nominee Donald Trump was struggling to deal with numerous scandals including tax-avoidance and a plethora of sexual assault allegations.
The timing was as impeccable for the Trump campaign as it was troubling for the Clinton campaign.
Suddenly, everyone was more concerned about what the agency found on the disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner’s laptop than what Trump allegedly did to a dozen women over the course of many years.
“When the attention was on Trump, Clinton was winning. Now, the attention is on Clinton,” political consultant Frank Luntz, tweeted on Oct. 29.
Yet, Comey, somehow, refuses to believe his investigation could influence the election race.
He may have cleared Clinton of criminal wrongdoing but, while doing so, provided enough anti-Clinton ammunition in an election race, where both candidates running for president are the most disliked in American history and voters are already trying to choose the lesser of two evils.
And given the fact that only 11 percent of voters describe Clinton as “honest and trustworthy,” it doesn’t take an expert to analyze that Comey’s new investigation was sure to tip the scale in favor of Clinton’s opponent.