July 6, 2016

"F.B.I.’s Critique of Hillary Clinton Is a Ready-Made Attack Ad."

Headline at the NYT for a piece by Patrick Healy.
... the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, all but indicted her judgment and competence on Tuesday — two vital pillars of her presidential candidacy....

She is running as a supremely competent candidate and portraying Mr. Trump, in essence, as irresponsible and dangerous. Yet the director of the F.B.I. basically just called her out for having committed one of the most irresponsible moves in the modern history of the State Department....

Her clearest selling point — that she, unlike Mr. Trump, can manage challenging relationships with allies and adversaries — has now been undercut because she personally mismanaged the safeguarding of national security information.
Trump has been saying that all along. What's different now is that Comey, based on what looks like unshakably careful investigation, has verified a set of devastating facts that will not be controverted and that can be set — with Comey video — alongside Clinton's repeated statements that must be seen as blatantly wrong.

Read the whole Healy piece. He generates hope for Clinton by portraying Trump as falling short because he is not a "typical" candidate: He's not ready to go with lots of TV ads:
And he has a tendency to choose the wrong targets and overcomplicate his arguments. On Tuesday, for instance, he chose to attack Mr. Comey for not bringing charges against Mrs. Clinton, writing on Twitter, “The system is rigged.”

A few hours later, Mr. Trump issued a longer statement full of insinuations and conspiracy theories... But he did not attack her judgment... “Her judgment is horrible — look at her judgment on emails, who would do it?” Mr. Trump said. But he did not prosecute the argument in any depth, and quickly moved on.
Interesting word there: prosecute. Comey would not prosecute — in the formal sense — but Trump must prosecute — in the political sense. Healy is saying Trump probably doesn't know how to do that. He's all over the place, throwing out little jabs (in speeches and on Twitter). But he needs more solid presentation, a concerted effort to prosecute her in the political arena.

If Trump the Political Prosecutor can't do that, she skates.

48 comments:

David Begley said...

Trump's speech yesterday was very poor. He didn't start with Comey's stuff. He started with poll results. He wandered all over the map.

tim in vermont said...

What I find most amazing is that the press seems to genuinely not have seen all of this coming. That they believed her pack of lies. Were they at all willing to think for themselves, they would not have been shocked, but here they are, shocked.

It's like Climagegate, which shocked absolutely no skeptics who had been following the whole FOIA drama that led to it, but seemed to shock only the true believers in "The Cause," as Michael Mann called it..

tim in vermont said...

I am not sure Bernie would be a great president, but I am sure he is not a liar. But a liar is what the Democrats baked in to the nomination, before the first vote was cast.

tim in vermont said...

I was at an airport in Canada yesterday, watching the news crawl, and CNN was still going on about the clip art in a Trump tweet. I guess that the Clinton campaign was slow getting to them about what they should talk about.

Michael K said...

Boy, a spam thread.

rhhardin said...

It shouldn't be political. Try her for the crime and show that the law applies.

Political law application is corruption.

rhhardin said...

The only plus is that Obama can't pardon her, and Trump maybe can fix it.

Mark said...

Didn't the Bush White House also 'lose' s giant amount of emails relating to the US Attorney firing scandal?

I recall reporting how Rove and others used campaign email accounts for a lot of official business, subsequently deleted a lot of them before they could be FOIA'ed.

Don't let me distract from the straw man being built, but I find it funny in the 1000 posts on the subject in the last week no one looks back a couple years to see Bush's email scandal.

Yawn.

grackle said...

The Morning Joes are not as happy today as they usually are.

I’ve looked at the Comey presser again. I think he looks angry. Could the presser and all the Hillary lies confirmed at the presser be some kind of revenge by Comey? Because I do not believe that it was necessary for Comey to be as complete and detailed in his presser as it turned out to be and what it turned out to be was a complete, ready-made political ad for Trump.

I think Comey’s reputation is stained and perhaps that matters to him.

Funny thing is … Obama said Clinton was “careless” with her emails during an interview with FoxNews’s Wallace months ago. And here Comey says the exactly same thing at yesterday’s presser – that Hillary was “careless” with her emails. But Obama DID NOT interfere with the FBI, oh no.

http://tinyurl.com/jnbywjk

damikesc said...

Nobody seems able to explain how there was no intent when she set up the private email server that caused all of this herself? Specifically so her personal emails wouldn't get mixed in with official documents.

There really is no actual debate about intent.

Didn't the Bush White House also 'lose' s giant amount of emails relating to the US Attorney firing scandal?

Hillary kept NONE of her emails on government servers. We have no clue how many she lost.

And the firing of the US attorneys is immaterial as they are political appointees and can be fired, at any time, by the mere whim of the President. The now-dead FOIA was not that.

tim in vermont said...

Didn't the Bush White House also 'lose' s giant amount of emails relating to the US Attorney firing scandal?

So what's next Mark, are you going to defend Hillary's war in Libya by saying "Bush did it"?

damikesc said...

So what's next Mark, are you going to defend Hillary's war in Libya by saying "Bush did it"?

Nah. That was probably, somehow, Bush's idea. It was all detailed in Hillary's emails...which are now missing. Shame. But they were there.

Michael K said...

Blogger Mark said...
Didn't the Bush White House also 'lose' s giant amount of emails relating to the US Attorney firing scandal?


This appears to be a Democrat talking point. I saw it yesterday on HuffPo.

How about a link to the story, Mark ?

Or is this another DNC email to the devoted.

Michael K said...

By the way, firing the US Attorneys was LEGAL.

shiloh said...

If Hillary is indicted her presidential campaign is over.

And who would Althouse and her con lemmings talk about the next (4) months?

Indeed, as we're talking some serious withdrawal symptoms ...

Brando said...

If the Republicans weren't nominating an obvious con man who has the same trustworthiness issues as Hillary, they would have a much cleaner line of attack. They'd be better off convincing every Senate and House candidate to run on the platform of balance of power in that if (when) Hillary does something impeachable they will be ready to impeach.

damikesc said...

They'd be better off convincing every Senate and House candidate to run on the platform of balance of power in that if (when) Hillary does something impeachable they will be ready to impeach.

Unless they get about 80 Senate seats, there is, literally, no threat. No Dem will EVER vote to impeach a Dem for any reason. There are plenty of shit Republicans who don't want to "have a coup d'état" by, you know, following the Constitutional role of removing a President from office.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

I watched Trump's speech last night to see if he would be more effective in his attack. As usual, he was all over the map, wasting time talking about polls and mentioning Hillary only occasionally. I really don't understand his approach. Unless he can focus and improve his presentation, I fully expect him to blow this opportunity.

Michael K said...

"No Dem will EVER vote to impeach a Dem for any reason"

You can see it right here with shiloh.

Brando said...

"Unless they get about 80 Senate seats, there is, literally, no threat. No Dem will EVER vote to impeach a Dem for any reason. There are plenty of shit Republicans who don't want to "have a coup d'état" by, you know, following the Constitutional role of removing a President from office."

Normally I'd think so, but it depends on just how bad what she does is perceived by the public (I say perceived because the only thing the congresspeople care about is their polls). If there's only a 20% chance of the GOPers impeaching her in the event of a major crime, that number would be less than 5% if we had to rely on the Dems.

The real issue is how the GOP plays the scandal in the media. If they ever figured out how to do that right, it'd be a different game.

damikesc said...

They cannot "play a scandal right" when then press is dedicated to that not happening.

Mark said...

Yes, Michael. Apparently you are unaware how to Google and look it up yourself?

Keep dricing yourself into a lather, the average voter doesn't give a shit and once it is heard that the Bush White House lost many times more emails than Hillary your average voter will see this as an extension of the Beghazi witch hunt.

Paul Ryan is about to start the Congressional witch hunt on this topic, just to make it clear to the electorate. Thanks, Paul!

Brando said...

"They cannot "play a scandal right" when then press is dedicated to that not happening."

I don't let them off the hook that easily--there's plenty of conservative media out there, and if there's hay to be made even a left-leaning media won't let themselves get scooped. The problem is the GOP has no idea how to focus their attacks--look at how much time was spent on Whitewater to no avail, when Clinton was taking tainted campaign money and compromising national security with Chinese spies. Look at how much they've focused on Benghazi and not driving home the point that Hillary used her post at State to give favors to people who oh so coincidentally donated to her family foundation.

Part of the problem is they're unable to consider what will resonate with the general public, so they feed this leftist narrative that the GOP is making scandals out of nothing and the Clintons are only guilty of "behavior that looks sneaky but isn't really corrupt". Then when they fail, they say "well, we would have had a shot if the media wasn't covering for these people."

When this disastrous year is over, the Right needs a reckoning. The Clinton Restoration is no time to be napping on the job.

Guildofcannonballs said...

The current Secret Service Drug-Fuck-Rape beasts and a much higher number of female staffers when Hillary!(!) is elected means more rape.

#WhyAreYouProRape

David Docetad said...

Channeling David Brooks, the last paragraph of the linked article reads:

"After eight years of a relatively scandal-free administration, voters listening to Mr. Comey describe the intricacies of the F.B.I.’s email investigation received a bracing reminder that things tend to get complicated with the Clintons."

Never mind absurdity of "scandal-free" given IRS,VA, etc., Obama is up to his neck in the email scandal because the White House was obviously on the other end of Hillary's emails.

Darrell said...

Maybe President Trump will ask for the resignation of all 93 U.S. attorneys--as Bill Clinton did in 1993.

Matthew Sablan said...

"Never mind absurdity of "scandal-free" given IRS,VA, etc."

-- Just like this, no one charged, therefore, no scandal.

Unknown said...

Trump won't do if because that would open the door to his own dealings. He wrongly thought he could intimidate Clinton into silence about his own scandals by threatening her with her or her husband's scandals. She wasn't intimidated, maybe because she knows what he has in his closet.

khesanh0802 said...

It's fourth of July week. How many people are really paying attention? Trump needed an immediate reaction, but will save the real attack for later. I commented yesterday that I had become convinced that the lack of an indictment allows Trump more room to beat on Hillary's judgement with out the defense saying we can't discuss an ongoing prosecution. Comey's statement reminded me of what little I remember of Marbury vs. Madison: Marshall established the precedent of judicial review while giving the government a weak victory. Comey skins Hillary then lets her walk away.

Sebastian said...

"has verified a set of devastating facts that will not be controverted" But not bringing the case means the FBI won't supply the actual facts, just the Comey summary. This lessens the impact.

"Trump's speech yesterday was very poor. He didn't start with Comey's stuff. He started with poll results. He wandered all over the map." But, but, he tells it like it is! He takes down the GOPe! He's a great communicator!

Chuck said...

Great post, Professor Althouse. I like how you addressed this. I agree that the task at hand is careful political prosecution. And one of the few ways to lose that, would be for the political "prosecutor" to get in his own way, make it about himself, and blow it with stupid comments to put himself in the dock.

Gahrie said...

What's different now is that Comey, based on what looks like unshakably careful investigation, has verified a set of devastating facts that will not be controverted and that can be set — with Comey video — alongside Clinton's repeated statements that must be seen as blatantly wrong.

First of all, her statements aren't blatantly wrong, they are lies.

Secondly,...what makes you think that 47% of the population will give a shit?


Brando said...

""Trump's speech yesterday was very poor. He didn't start with Comey's stuff. He started with poll results. He wandered all over the map." But, but, he tells it like it is! He takes down the GOPe! He's a great communicator!"

He's also great at communicating unhelpful new conversation changers at a fortunate time for Hillary to change the subject. Yesterday it was about why we'd be better off with Saddam Hussein going around killing terrorists. Hillary should send him a thank you note.

Unknown said...

One almost could believe he really doesn want to win. Cold feet maybe?

Big Mike said...

Told you we should have picked Cruz. I can imagine Ted Cruz, the former prosecutor, using what Comey gave him.

Big Mike said...

@Mark, I have no recollection of the Bush White House losing Emails. Were you thinking of the time Bill Clinton's White House lost all the archived Emails sent from accounts beginning with the letter 'M'?

Real American said...

unfortunately, Trump is the wrong person at the right time.

Brando said...

"unfortunately, Trump is the wrong person at the right time."

That's an excellent way to put it. This is a time when the GOP needed serious overhaul (as with any party that loses two straight presidential elections, and seems to lack solutions to modern problems) and the Right needed to take the fight to a lot of Leftist idols. It's also a time where the country and the world are facing serious long-term challenges economically and politically, and someone who could face all of that would be sorely needed. I can understand the desperation Trump fans must have felt when he came around and they figured he could be the answer. However, I can't see him as anything other than a cheap con man peddling garbage that will if anything make everything worse--and that's even assuming he somehow wins. Throwing this election to a vulnerable Hillary would really mess things up good.

hombre said...

Evidently, his impetuousness has not been punished up to now because of his wealth. The Democrats and the mediaswine will unite to change that.

He needs a clever advisor with a hand over his mouth.

Jupiter said...

"... the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, all but indicted her judgment and competence on Tuesday — two vital pillars of her presidential candidacy...."

Wait. Someone imagines that Hillary Clinton is competent and has good judgment? Who? Where? Hillary Clinton is essentially a token, a sort of debenture or security. Her election to the Presidency would ensure that certain political and financial promises will be kept. Those who stand to benefit from those promises wish to see her elected. No one supposes that Hillary Clinton actually has any useful skills or qualities.

Mark said...

Big Mike, perhaps you forgot the multiple scandals like Cheneys week of missing emails or the overall lack of archiving in Bush's first term.

Don't you know how to Google?

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/23367672/ns/politics-capitol_hill/t/cheneys-subpoenaed-e-mails-missing/

And this
"Waxman was told today by a Republican National Committee attorney Rob Kelner that "roughly 50 White House officials have had e-mail accounts on RNC servers" at some point since President Bush came to office, accounts that were controlled by the RNC. "Mr. Kelner stated that to his knowledge, the earliest e-mails records of White House officials on RNC servers are from 2004. Although White House officials used RNC e-mails since 2001, the RNC has apparently destroyed all e-mail records from White House officials from 2001, 2002, and 2003."

Read more: http://www.politico.com/blogs/politico-now/2007/04/white-house-e-mails-from-2001-03-deleted-but-rove-messages-kept-from-05-on-001007#ixzz4DeTYyECf

khesanh0802 said...

@mark I read both pieces and though they may be enough for you to excuse Hillary there is no comparison. let me say I trust none of the assholes in government today - either party. I don't doubt that everyone of them shaves every corner they possibly can. However, Hillary set out to avoid having any - ANY - of her e-mail communications available for FOIA requests; she then had any number of e-mails destroyed and made irretrievable; she then lied that there were no classified e-mails on her system and then she lied that she had turned over all work related e-mails.. The two cases you reference don't approach Hillary's performance.

Big Mike said...

@Mark, were the Bush people alleged to have done government business on RNC computers and Republican Party business on government computers? My information is that they were quite scrupulous and very security-aware (both in marked contrast to the present administration).

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

F.B.I.’s Critique of Hillary Clinton Is a Ready-Made Attack Ad
F.B.I.’s Critique of Hillary Clinton Is a Ready-Made Public Service Announcement

Mark said...

Khesanh, I hear you on them all being dirty. Walkers second email system, like Hillary, was meant to protect against FOIA.

The fact that people focus entirely on one side really cheapens the discussion and makes it politiCal online point scoring.

To admit that Bush clearly did wrong but this is a step past that, I can accept that. This pretending no one else does it (or complete minimization of their crimes) is just sad.

Rhythm and Balls said...

It sure is.

Which is why conservatives complaining about the lack of an indictment should thank their lucky stars that he disqualified her politically in about the strongest and most authoritative terms you could expect.

And now Paul Ryan makes the completely plausible case that she should be barred from receiving intelligence reports after being nominated.

That FBI director handed you guys the strongest case against Hillary that anyone could make. Use it to your full advantage. She now goes into this more damaged than probably any favored front-runner I can think of in modern US history.

CatherineM said...

Yes, Bush admin "lost" emails, but they were FOUND because they weren't on a secret privy server in a bathroom in Crawford, TX.

Just keep repeating the lie and the truth will be forgotten.

CatherineM said...

I don't get how Anne and the rest of the Trump supporters don't see how he wastes every opportunity.

"Political prosecutor" you call him? He came off looking crazy repeating Liarrrrrr, liarrrrr, liar liar liarrrrrr! He looks and sounds unhinged. Then he goes off on how good Sadaam was at killing terrorists and Newt is getting a role, "because he thinks I'm the best thing to happen in politics."

Today when Sen. Flake calls him out to his face on his shitty remarks (like John McCain was a loser for becoming a POW), and Trump's response? "I haven't come after you yet, but that can change."

Trump doesn't even have a 6th grad level knowledge of civics.

This is a brilliant political prosecutor? Insanity.