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Right Hooks

Will the FBI's Clinton Investigation Be Politicized?

Comey insists, "We don't give a rip about politics."

Nate Jackson · Dec. 10, 2015

In October, Barack Obama declared, “I can tell you that [Hillary Clinton’s unsecured email server] is not a situation in which America’s national security was endangered.” Never mind that she sent and received hundreds of emails containing classified information. Obama’s blatant attempt to influence the still-ongoing FBI investigation into Clinton’s server outraged agents at the bureau, who rightly viewed it as meddling — and as an expression of the conclusion Obama wanted them to reach.

Nevertheless, in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday, Sen. Charles Grassley asked FBI Director James Comey the obvious question: “How can you assure the American people that you will not let the White House influence the FBI’s inquiry?”

Comey was incredulous. “Anybody’s view about an investigation they’re not involved in is irrelevant,” Comey said. “We care about finding out what is true, and doing that in a competent, honest, and independent way. I promise you that’s the way we conduct ourselves.” Finally, he concluded, “As I’ve said many times, we don’t give a rip about politics.” Forgive us if we don’t take him at his word that no political influence will find its way into the investigation, but we certainly hope that’s the case. Based on what we know, it’s pretty clear Clinton violated the law and should be held to account.

Grassley, for one, was unconvinced. “No matter what the FBI finds, a political appointee of the Justice Department will ultimately make the decision of whether or not to prosecute,” he said. “If the FBI refers the matter to the Justice Department, but the Justice Department refuses to prosecute, the public will not learn the facts that the FBI independently established.”

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