Donna Brazile's Criticism Of James Comey Echoes A Widespread Demand For Transparency In The Email Probe
In a statement on Friday, Democratic National Committee interim chairwoman Donna Brazile strongly denounced the FBI's decision to reopen an investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server. The reopening of the investigation, which was announced on Friday, was spurred by the discovery of thousands of top Clinton aid Huma Abedin's emails on her estranged husband Anthony Weiner's laptop during an unrelated investigation.
In her statement, Brazile heavily criticized FBI Director James Comey, questioning why he was choosing to re-open the investigation so close to Election Day, especially considering Comey previously closed the email investigation in July and cleared Clinton of any wrongdoing. Brazile's critiques particularly center around the timing of Comey's announcement as well as on the lack of detail the FBI has provided into the purpose of the investigation and the investigative process.
Brazile accused the FBI of interfering politically by announcing the re-opening of the investigation so close to Nov. 8, a tenet which, if accurate, would lie counter to the expected neutrality of the Department of Justice. By law, the FBI cannot take any actions that could be seen as influencing the outcome of an election in the 60 days prior to the election. According to Brazile:
The FBI has a solemn obligation to remain neutral in political matters – even the faintest appearance of using the agency’s power to influence our election is deeply troubling.
Brazile further expressed concern that the FBI had not divulged enough information regarding the impetus behind its decision to reopen the investigation, or about specifics of the investigative process that will entail. Brazile called on both Comey and the FBI to readily address her concerns, saying "At the very least, Director Comey must immediately address the serious outstanding questions over what, precisely his letter means, and what action or actions his agency plans to take.”
Other Democrats have expressed concerns similar to Brazile's. Senate Minority leader Harry Reid sent a strongly-worded letter to Comey on Sunday, accusing him of possibly violating the Hatch Act, which makes it illegal for government employees to engage in partisan politics. A group of four senior democratic senators also signed a collective letter sent to Comey and Attorney General Loretta Lynch, echoing Brazile's concerns and demanding that the FBI release more specific details on investigative steps by Monday.
How the investigation unfolds, as well as whether the FBI's announcement will impact voters, remains to be seen; however, you can sure that Brazile will likely continue to play a significant role in the rhetoric and actions around the issue.