Posted by Curt on 13 January, 2017 at 9:02 am. 1 comment.


David Harsanyi:

Democrats have reacted to Donald Trump’s victory in a number of ways: they’ve demanded the Constitution be retroactively changed; they’ve pinned the blame on “fake news;” they’ve allowed paranoia about Russia to corrupt their thinking; and they’ve blamed the loss on the FBI, specifically the “Comey letter,” which is most perplexing excuse of all.

In response to pressure from congressional Democrats, the Justice Department inspector general will now review how the FBI and Justice Department handled certain aspects of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. (Perhaps the inspector general could also look into why Attorney General Loretta Lynch reportedly asked Comey not to send the letter even though she had promised not to get involved in the investigation. While they’re at it, maybe the inspector general can find out why Lynch attended an off-the-record meeting on a tarmac with the husband of the person under investigation?)

It’s all very dramatic. The importance of all of this is to create the impression that something corrupt has happened. Paul Krugman has claimed the FBI “rigged the election.” Nate Silver (in a nonpartisan argument) says late-deciding voters broke strongly against Clinton in swing states, enough to cost Hillary the states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. Others have come to the same conclusion.

The idea that the Comey letter, which merely confirmed something most voters already believed about Hillary, would push hundreds of thousands of people into the Trump camp seems, to be kind, implausible. Voters have often broken late in national elections for unknown reasons. It’s also worth mentioning that many of the same experts making these argument got much of 2016 very wrong, so it’s a bit difficult to trust them to know voter motivations now.

Still, I only read polls. I’m in no position to argue the science behind them. So for the sake of this post, let’s concede that the Comey letter, in some part, helped secure the election for Trump.

Good. Or, as “good” as any other reason.

Democrats seem to be functioning under the belief that 2016 was Hillary’s to lose, and anything that spoiled the plan is a perversion of democracy. Yet Comey’s letter to Congress is legitimate. And voters had every right to plug it into their electoral calculus.

That’s mostly because the letter informing Congress that the bureau had found a cache of new evidence relating to a criminal investigation of Clinton was entirely Clinton’s fault. She’s the one who initially set up a secret server to circumvent transparency, likely to hide favor-trading related to her foundation. She’s the one who sent unsecured classified documents through that server, although she almost surely knew it was wrong. (Many experts, as this New York Times piece points out, believe chances are high her documents were intercepted by foreign powers.) She’s the one responsible for attempts to destroy all evidence related to that server. Her people, as Comey noted in his congressional testimony, had “cleaned their devices in such a way as to preclude complete forensic recovery.” Her aide failed to inform the FBI about emails on her computer.

Lastly, Hillary is the one who lied to the American people about the incident. If she was innocent, and there was no there there, she could have cooperated and none of this would have mattered — certainly not the Comey letter.

Simply because the FBI didn’t think the case met a prosecutable standard — and after giving her staff immunity, there would be little chance they could indict — doesn’t mean she was innocent in the eyes of the electorate. The FBI simply couldn’t prove intent. Donald Trump was not prosecuted for saying despicable things about women, yet many voters weighed the NBC tapes before determining their vote.

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