NY Times Calls Out Comey For Planting ‘Hottest Political Football’ Of 2016

The New York Times editorial board criticized FBI Director James Comey on Monday for his “election-shaking” letter, which it asserts inappropriately politicized the intelligence community and threw the presidential election into turmoil with just days to go.

The editorial board called Comey’s letter announcing to Congress the discovery of emails that “may or may not be new or relevant” to the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server “rash and irresponsible.”

“This is not how federal investigations are conducted. In claiming to stand outside politics, Mr. Comey has instead created the hottest political football of the 2016 election,” it wrote.

While Comey wrote in his letter to several House committee chairs that he was updating them on the Clinton server investigation in the interest of transparency, the editorial board noted that it’s difficult to square that with Comey’s efforts to shield the FBI in other instances. The board pointed to Comey’s reported efforts to avoid signing onto a letter from various intelligence agencies blaming Russian-backed hackers for the theft of private emails from the Democratic National Committee, Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and others.

Comey reportedly agreed with the conclusions laid out in the letter, the Times noted, but did not want the bureau to appear overly political ahead of Election Day.

So why did Comey break a long-standing Justice Department rule not to disclose sensitive information about an investigation within 60 days of an election?

“[H]is logic makes even less sense than it did on Friday,” the editorial board wrote.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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