WHAT REALLY HAPPENED AT FBI DIRECTOR COMEY'S PRESS CONFERENCE?
13 July 2016 -What really happened at FBI Director James Comey’s press conference this week? After giving a textbook case of why Hillary Clinton should be charged, he surprised everyone by saying she should not. Did he simply blow it? Did he wimp out knowing the wrath he would face? Unquestionably, Hillary committed offenses for which the average Joe would be arrested. Was he blackmailed or bought off? Was he politically motivated?
There’s truth somewhere in or around those guesses. Hillary, as Comey’s testimony of what she did exposed, certainly deserved to be prosecuted. Others have been put in jail for much less, including an innocent video maker she blamed for Benghazi. Personally, I think he wimped out. But with no answers from Comey and giving him generous benefit of the doubt, I’m reminded of the Vietnam War performance of Jeremiah Denton, a US prisoner of war (POW) hauled before cameras early in the war by his North Vietnamese captors to attest to US “war crimes.”
Denton, who would become a US senator from Alabama but at the time was a high-ranking naval aviator, pulled a spectacular stunt on his enemies. While mouthing the lies they made him say about US bombings, he blinked his eyes in Morse code relating “torture” while feigning the lights were too bright. It was the first credible confirmation that our POWs were being tortured, valuable information used from then on by US war planners and negotiators.
Was Comey, in his own way, doing something similar? Quite a stretch. But in view of the devastating case he presented before letting Hillary off the hook, his schizophrenic press conference seems to have had much the same effect. As a result of the naval officer’s dangerous ruse, Americans finally got the truth. In Hillary’s case, Comey’s reputation and position as the nation’s top cop, appears, regardless of his intentions, to have shown Americans truth about Hillary many had not believed prior - namely that she lied about her emails and put US security in jeopardy, certainly something no presidential candidate should have on a resume.
For most of his press conference, Comey gave a list of seemingly indictable offenses, including: She had an unauthorized server and exposed information to “hostile actors.” She lied to the public and authorities. She was “extremely careless” with secret documents. She was so unofficially indicted that The Washington Post, usually favorable to her, wrote that Comey “systematically obliterated many of the key defenses Clinton…offered to reassure the public” about her private email system. Similarly, The New York Times, usually in her corner, wrote Clinton “has emerged from the F.B.I. investigation…a wounded candidate with a large and growing majority of voters saying she cannot be trusted.”
They based that on a Times /CBS poll following Comey’s press conference saying “67 percent of voters say [Hillary] is not honest and trustworthy.” Overall, according to an ABC News poll – again, a pro-Hillary entity – “57 percent disapprove of…Comey’s recommendation not to charge Clinton.” And these are just the first polls following Comey’s testimony. Will they continue in that vein? Presidential polls indicate yes. While Hillary lead by substantial margins in most earlier polls, the latest Quinnipiac poll – a very respected one – shows her for the first time losing ground in key swing states.
“With a drop in grades on honesty and moral standards [Clinton] loses an 8-point lead over [Trump] in Florida and finds herself in too-close-to-call races in…Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.” It’s early. Is this change because Hillary is seen as a favored elitist who doesn’t have to obey the laws that unfavored citizens must? Or is it that contrary to some opinions, America has not yet lost its moral compass and, when alerted, distracted Americans still disparage candidates shown to lie and cheat, even those who otherwise would favor Clinton. Probably some of both.
Intended or not, Comey, in effect, did what Jeremiah Denton did. Truth emerged that otherwise would have not. Hopefully his testimony, schizophrenic as it was, continues to build the case against Clinton. That should benefit the nation on election day.