It doesn’t take much intelligence to figure out who tilted the 2016 election.
If the House Intelligence Committee wanted to find out about illicit election influence, members missed an opportunity in failing to question FBI Director James Comey about his Oct. 28, 2016, letter to Congress, released to the media, which sensationally announced the discovery of new emails in the long-standing case of Hillary Clinton, dooming her presidential candidacy.
It is understandable that Republicans would not want to raise questions that would take the luster off their come-from-behind White House victory.
Democrats, unprepared for introspection about party failures in 2016, choose instead to blame Russia for the outcome, fanning the flames of a new Cold War while failing to explain why Russians suddenly like Republicans.
So both political parties were incentivized to ignore the 800-pound gorilla in the hearing room and official Washington, have moved on from the November election, with Republican leaders pushing for a $640 billion Pentagon budget, fueled by fear of Russia which is heightened by allegations of interference in the election.
Let me help my former colleagues who are vexed by the politics of the moment. But first we have to go back almost four months.
The implication of the sudden unearthing by the FBI of concealed information on Oct. 28, 2016, firmly placed Clinton under suspicion at best, and guilty at worst, of mishandling classified information at a time when America was preparing to vote.
The ensuing tidal wave of negative media coverage and commentary had a measurable adverse impact on Clinton nationally and in key states.
An excellent analysis by Vox of the ‘Comey effect’ measures the media’s impact, the shift of votes in key states, a three-point swing in national polls, changes in voting behavior the last week, as compared with early voting, and changes in voting patterns evident on Election Day.
This does not excuse the insufficiencies of the Clinton campaign and their candidate, but it does bear on the final outcome.
Comey broke a longstanding practice of Justice Department officials recusing themselves from politics in the closing days of an election, to step forward with what proved to be unfounded accusations. Announcing later ‘oh, nevermind’ doesn’t cut it.
The director of the FBI interfered in the 2016 election and more than likely changed the outcome. He was not called to account by President Obama. He has yet to be called to account by Congress.
He has not been called to account by President Trump, even as Comey drops another ‘bombshell’ that he is investigating whether “possible illegal coordination between Trump’s campaign and Russia,” influenced the election.
If Comey really wants to investigate who interfered with and changed the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, he does not have to look 4,857 miles to Moscow. He should look in the mirror.