Astounding

Evan Vucci

Here is one of many truly astounding revelations or rather non-revelations about today's news. This from the Post ....

Officials familiar with the inquiry said it was too early to assess the significance of the newly discovered emails. It is possible, they said, that some or all of the correspondence is duplicative of the emails that were already turned over and examined by the FBI.

Comey made a similar point in his letter, sent to congressional committee chairmen, saying that the FBI “cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be significant.”

I don't think we can be certain that any of the information we're getting from unnamed officials is complete or accurate. But if this is accurate, it's astounding this has been treated as it has. This suggests that FBI investigators know no more than that there are emails between Huma Abedin and Hillary Clinton on one of the computers Abedin shared with her estranged husband Anthony Weiner. Given their relationship that is hardly surprising.

The fact it is possible that all of the new emails may be copies of the ones already reviewed in the original investigation strongly suggests that they know nothing more than that there are emails between the two women. And yet, the way this was announced presented it as the reopening of a closed investigation, which inevitably suggests that there was new information that might change FBI's decision to recommend against prosecution. If they have not done a close enough examination even to know whether any of the emails are new, there's simply no basis for any such conclusion.

I said earlier that I do not think James Comey is operating from partisan or other dishonorable motives. Indeed, I told people that I thought they might be surprised at how naive someone at the highest ranks of American government could be about the impact of such a vaguely worded letter less than two weeks before a national election.

The Post also just published this letter Comey sent to FBI employees which suggests that, yes, he can be just that naive or perhaps better to say oblivious or indifferent.

To all:

This morning I sent a letter to Congress in connection with the Secretary Clinton email investigation. Yesterday, the investigative team briefed me on their recommendation with respect to seeking access to emails that have recently been found in an unrelated case. Because those emails appear to be pertinent to our investigation, I agreed that we should take appropriate steps to obtain and review them.

Of course, we don’t ordinarily tell Congress about ongoing investigations, but here I feel an obligation to do so given that I testified repeatedly in recent months that our investigation was completed. I also think it would be misleading to the American people were we not to supplement the record. At the same time, however, given that we don’t know the significance of this newly discovered collection of emails, I don’t want to create a misleading impression. In trying to strike that balance, in a brief letter and in the middle of an election season, there is significant risk of being misunderstood, but I wanted you to hear directly from me about it.

James Comey

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Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.
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