Opinion: FBI, Comey do the unthinkable just days before election

Matt Poe

The long and grueling campaign that has been this year’s presidential election will finally come to a screeching halt this Tuesday when Election Day commences. I’ve written in this column many times on the antics and out-of-this-world storylines that have surrounded both Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s respective campaigns.

I was ready for a nice, quiet week leading up to the election. I had my champagne and bubble bath both ready to celebrate the end of this long election that has made a mockery of just about everyone.

I thought we had finally waded through every last possible scandal in the books. That, of course, was foolish on my part — and wishful thinking at best.

This past week, FBI Director James Comey essentially reopened Clinton’s email scandal, and decided to review more emails in the scandal that has plagued her campaign and her brand for several years. Comey allegedly decided to do so when investigating former New York congressman Anthony Weiner’s (what a shmuck) alleged sexting with an underage girl. In that investigation, the FBI apparently found more emails linked to Clinton and her on-going scandal.

It’s an unprecedented move on the part of supposed nonpartisan government leadership: reopen a major federal investigation on a presidential candidate just days before the election. The impact of this decision could affect elections going forward, regardless of who you are voting for.

Clinton’s email scandal has been reported and discussed ad nauseam, to the point where all you have to do is mention her name and the word “email” to rile up both Republicans and Democrats alike. It’s become the easiest blanket statement in this election to dissuade voters against Clinton and is bordering on a witch hunt at this point.

Clinton was undoubtedly negligent in the use of her private email server to send government documents and information. She’s owned it and most of the public at this point agree. I’ve defended her many times in these columns but I’m not that stubborn to admit what she did wasn’t foolish and reckless.

But the fact that Comey and the FBI have decided to essentially reopen the investigation at this pivotal point of the campaign is alarming. To do so just days before the election could have serious impacts on undecided voters (which there should be none left) and swing votes towards the Republican Party.

I’d say the same thing about Comey and the FBI’s decision in this case even if Trump — who I have scolded and belittled, again, ad nauseam — was at the epicenter. He’s got his own problems with the abundance of alleged ties to Russia and the role that has had in this year’s election, so fear not, The Donald is staying busy.

Maybe reopening this investigation is a good thing; Hell, most of us agree the government should be more transparent with the public in its operations. Many would agree that we deserve to know every last bit of detail about Clinton’s email scandal. I can only assume a great deal of Republicans and those who oppose Clinton are thrilled by the FBI’s timing. More votes our way!

But put partisan beliefs aside, as hard as that may be. Think about how much influence both the FBI and Russia have had on this election season. It’s otherworldly. America has long prided itself on having virtually little to no corruption in regards to conducting elections, both internally and externally. I’m not ready to go full-conspirator and say we’ve reached the end of that. What I am ready to say is this is a no-win situation that makes everyone involved look bad.

Comey and the FBI are potentially dissuading people from voting for a certain candidate, plain and simple. Hillary supporters will continue to scream and shout until they are blue in the face to move on with this entire email scandal.

Republicans, both for and against Trump, will continue to rally the mobs (both metaphorically and literally) and demand to keep probing into this investigation. In the end, nobody wins and everyone looks foolish; the horse was dead long ago yet we continue to take the bats to its decomposing carcass.

So for these final days of this entire mess we call the 2016 presidential election, I won’t hold my breath for some other shocking revelation (or lack thereof) to reach the light of day.

To expect these storylines not to be dragged in the mud straight to the finish line with this entire election would be both wishful thinking and foolish.

Matt Poe is a columnist, contact him at [email protected].