James Comey has told Congress that, having reviewed the emails the FBI recently obtained, he has not changed his opinion that Hillary Clinton shouldn’t be prosecuted. “Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July,” Comey said in the letter to top Republicans on the House Oversight Committee.
This result seemed inevitable to me. The conclusions Comey expressed in July were based on his view that Clinton lacked the requisite criminal intent. His view of the intent requirement in this context made it nearly impossible to find it. New emails were never remotely likely to supply the evidence of intent Comey demanded.
Comey was right, however, to review the new emails (who knew for sure what they would show?) and to tell Congress he was doing so. He was also right to have them reviewed them as quickly as possible and to let Congress know the result of the review before the election, if possible.
Only Comey’s view of intent is incorrect, in my view. That’s a big “only,” however.
What’s the political impact of Comey’s latest statement? It probably depends on how one thinks the tide was running.
Most people think the bleeding had already stopped for Clinton. If it hadn’t, Comey’s statement should stop it.
Beyond that, I doubt that Comey’s statement will provide Clinton with any significant momentum. But if the election is close enough, the swaying of even a relatively small number of voters might be important.