The FBI threw the 2016 election into chaos for nothing.
On October 28, less than two weeks before the end of the 2016 presidential election, FBI Director James Comey defied Department of Justice guidelines against disclosing politically sensitive details of an investigation by writing a letter to Congress, informing it that the Bureau had potentially discovered new emails from Hillary Clinton’s private server.
That letter upended the race just days before its conclusion. And on Sunday, a little more than a week later, Comey informed Congress that in fact, the emails they had discovered did not alter the original decision not to pursue charges against Clinton for issues related to her use of a private email server while secretary of state.
The FBI guidelines against releasing politically sensitive information close to an election exist for precisely this reason. Comey’s announcement, and subsequent leaks from the Bureau, not only cast suspicion on Clinton days before an election, during a period in which millions of Americans were already voting. They did so for no reason whatsoever, because the new emails did not alter the Bureau’s conclusion about whether or not Clinton had committed a crime. Details of investigations are kept secret precisely to protect the reputations of those being investigated, so that their good names are not enveloped in a cloud of suspicion, and so that the Bureau itself does not become a political tool to be manipulated by partisans to their benefit.