James Comey stands tall, and alone, in a tight corner in Clinton email mess

The Daily Beast reports: Former President Bill Clinton and Attorney General Loretta Lynch insisted there was nothing improper about their little chat when their planes chanced to be in Phoenix and he strode across the tarmac to her plane.

“I did see President Clinton at the Phoenix airport as he was leaving and spoke to myself and my husband on the plane,” Lynch said afterwards. “Our conversation was a great deal about grandchildren, it was primarily social about our travels and he mentioned golf he played in Phoenix.”

The fact remained that the former president had met in private with the country’s top law enforcement official when the Department of Justice was actively investigating his wife in a criminal matter. His wife being Hillary Clinton, who could quite possibly be our next president.

Lynch then could have simply recused herself from the probe, as prosecutors have in the past. She did not.

And, say some who know FBI Director James Comey, this left him in what he felt was an untenable situation.

Comey had essentially come to the end of the investigation and he had concluded that there was insufficient cause to charge Hillary Clinton with a crime. The usual protocol called for him then to refer the findings to the attorney general and let her make the prosecutorial decision.

But the attorney general had been sitting on a plane with the target’s husband less than two weeks before. And for Lynch now to announce that Hillary Clinton had been cleared would call into question the integrity of all involved, including Comey and the FBI.

Comey decided that he had to present the results directly to the public. He did so, insisting that the evidence did not establish the intent he said was necessary to bring criminal charges. He made clear that he felt Hillary Clinton had been reckless and irresponsible and that she had shown terrible judgment.

“He wasn’t going to indict, but he was going to scold,” a former federal prosecutor said on Saturday. “Scolding in the first degree has never quite made it.”

Along with their surprise at Comey’s break with protocol, some veteran agents were outraged by the decision itself. Few of them are Hillary fans. And all of them had learned from their first days the importance of treating classified materials properly. They viewed it as the highest arrogance to ignore the strictures to which they adhere. [Continue reading…]

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