Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) says that FBI Director James Comey is sitting on “explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government.”
Comey isn’t telling the American public what he knows about Trump and the Russians, Reid says. But, he says, Comey seems eager to dish dirt on Hillary Clinton.
In the course of investigating Anthony Weiner for sexual misconduct, the FBI gained access to a computer that had also been used by Weiner’s estranged wife, senior Hillary Clinton adviser Huma Abedin. The computer contained emails that may have been relevant to the FBI’s earlier investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
When Comey found out about the computer, Reid points out, he notified Congress immediately — if vaguely — that the FBI had come across this new evidence. In Reid’s view, that presented a strong and troubling contrast to the FBI’s silence over Trump’s supposed Kremlin ties.
“The double standard established by your actions is clear,” Reid writes.
This letter is serious business. Reid writes that “my office has determined that these actions may violate the Hatch Act” — the law that prohibits most federal employees from engaging in partisan political activity.
“Through your partisan actions,” he tells Comey, “you may have broken the law.”
The Hatch Act is what prevents members of the US military from attending political rallies in uniform, or government workers from wearing campaign pins to work. In other words, it applies to activity that’s a lot less significant than what Reid is accusing Comey and the FBI of: selectively telling the public about information that could be damaging to one candidate, while not telling it about information that could be (much more) damaging to her opponent.
“The clear double standard established by your actions,” Reid concludes, “strongly suggests that your highly selective approach to publicizing information, along with your timing, was intended for the success or failure of a partisan candidate or political group.”
There’s reason to be skeptical of Reid’s claims: In 2012, he famously claimed to have seen proof that Mitt Romney paid no federal taxes — a claim that was proven false when Romney released his tax returns. But sending a letter on official Senate letterhead accusing the head of a federal agency of violating federal law is a different level of seriousness.
Either Reid is lying about something incredibly important — or, at very least, taking advantage of his position to hint at malfeasance where it doesn't exist — or Comey is abusing the powers of his office. Either way, someone very highly placed in government is doing something very wrong.