Something which should have become abundantly clear over the course of this presidential election, if not sooner, is that things as simple and seemingly trivial as “basic facts” are in dispute. The unfavorable way in which a majority of the American electorate views both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump means voters may be more apt to believe the worst in the nominees. Conversely, given the increasingly partisan nature of American politics and as a result American elections as well as the prevalence of “negative voting” supporting partisans are less likely to believe the worst. Add to this the fact that only 1 in 5 Americans “trust the federal government to do what is right just about always/most of the time”. Furthermore, institutions tangentially related to the U.S. government, such as the media and the FBI, are also distrusted by large sections of the American public.
In the case of the FBI’s ongoing investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails this indicates that no matter your political persuasion and partisan leanings it is possible to find and internalize information which conforms to prior expectations. Additionally, sources which do conform to these expectations are more likely to be chosen as information sources and contribute to affective polarization. That is to say those who believe Hillary Clinton committed a crime will (and do) no matter what is reported by many news sources as well as what is said by the FBI. Similarly, those who believe Clinton did not commit a crime are unlikely to do so absent clear and abundant evidence.
Therefore, it becomes interesting, if not important, to view the many contrasting opinions which purport to describe this story as well as what should be done about the emails, both politically and from the perspective of the FBI.
From Zero Hedge:
“Yesterday, we reported that the FBI has found “tens of thousands of emails” belonging to Huma Adein on Anthony Weiner’s computer, raising questions how practical it is that any conclusive finding will be available or made by the FBI in the few days left before the elections.
“Now, according to the WSJ, it appears that Federal agents are preparing to scour roughly 650,000 emails that, as we reported moments ago were discovered weeks ago on the laptop of Anthony Weiner, to see how many relate to a prior probe of Hillary Clinton’s email use, as metadata on the device suggests there may be thousands sent to or from the private server that the Democratic nominee used while she was secretary of state, according to people familiar with the matter.
“As the WSJ adds, the review will take weeks at a minimum to determine whether those messages are work-related emails between Huma Abedin, a close Clinton aide and the estranged wife of Mr. Weiner, and State Department officials; how many are duplicates of emails already reviewed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and whether they include either classified information or important new evidence in the Clinton email probe, which FBI officials call “Midyear.”
“And, as we further reported earlier today, the FBI has had to await a court order to begin reviewing the emails, because they were uncovered in an unrelated probe of Mr. Weiner, and that order was delayed for reasons that remain unclear.
“More stunning is just how many emails were found on Weiner’s computer. And while one can only imagine the content of some of the more persona ones, the WSJ writes that the latest development began in early October when New York-based FBI officials notified Andrew McCabe, the bureau’s second-in-command, that while investigating Mr. Weiner for possibly sending sexually charged messages to a minor, they had recovered a laptop with 650,000 emails. Many, they said, were from the accounts of Ms. Abedin, according to people familiar with the matter…
“The WSJ then connects the dots between how the Weiner emails were linked to the Clinton reopening of the Clinton probe, despite Loretta Lynch’s and the DOJ’s vocal urges not to do so…
“Recall that this is the same Andrew Mcabe whose wife the Wall Street Journal reported last week received $467,500 in campaign funds in late 2015 from the political action committee of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a longtime ally of the Clintons and, until he was elected governor in November 2013, a Clinton Foundation board member…
“While much of the latest developments are known, or could have been inferred assuming more corruption within government agencies, the punchline is that the weeks if not months of upcoming work means that if Clinton wins the White House, she will likely do so amid at least one ongoing investigation into her inner circle being handled by law-enforcement officials who are deeply divided over how to manage such cases. It also means that Trump will be hounding Hilllary for the remainder of the campaign as being the only presidential candidate to seek election with a recently reopened criminal probe hanging over her head.”
From Daily Kos:
“From previous reporting, it is known that the emails have nothing to do with Clinton, her campaign, the Clinton Foundation, the Russian hacks, the State Department, and any emails she sent or received. Now, we know that the emails were not on her server. FBI Director Comey completely bungled this announcement, and he needs to explain what the FBI is analyzing, because it doesn’t sound like it has anything to do with Hillary Clinton.
“So, if those new emails are not from the private server, have nothing to do with Hillary or her campaign, nothing to do with the Clinton foundation or the Russian hacks, or the State Department and any emails she sent or received, WHAT exactly is Comey looking at?
“Anthony Weiner emails. Three of them? Comey is trying to put his thumbs on the scale of this election, a disgrace.
“The bombshell Donald Trump, the media and the GOP thought they had does not exist. Not that they won’t try to throw shade, but this, THIS, is just plain ridiculous. Come clean, Comey, you have a lot of ‘splaining to do.”
From the Chicago Tribune:
“If ruling Democrats hold themselves to the high moral standards they impose on the people they govern, they would follow a simple process:
“They would demand that Mrs. Clinton step down, immediately, and let her vice presidential nominee, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, stand in her place.
“Democrats should say, honestly, that with a new criminal investigation going on into events around her home-brew email server from the time she was secretary of state, having Clinton anywhere near the White House is just not a good idea.
“Since Oct. 7, WikiLeaks has released 35,000 emails hacked from Clinton campaign boss John Podesta. Now WikiLeaks, no longer a neutral player but an active anti-Clinton agency, plans to release another 15,000 emails.
“What if she is elected? Think of a nation suffering a bad economy and continuing chaos in the Middle East, and now also facing a criminal investigation of a president. Add to that congressional investigations and a public vision of Clinton as a Nixonian figure wandering the halls, wringing her hands.
“The best thing would be for Democrats to ask her to step down now. It would be the most responsible thing to do, if the nation were more important to them than power. And the American news media — fairly or not firmly identified in the public mind as Mrs. Clinton’s political action committee — should begin demanding it.”
“The FBI investigation has already revealed Hillary Clinton’s perjury, and a new investigation of additional classified documents shared through her personal email server can lead to criminal indictments—unless the FBI itself wants to fall on its sword in a far more visible and viral cover-up than we have seen to date.
“It is not at all clear that the FBI has not already been hopelessly compromised: Did the FBI have knowledge of Barack Obama’s participation in the illegal email server and the president’s lies about it to the public? Who will investigate the investigators?
“What happens if Clinton wins the election and is then indicted on criminal charges prior to January 20? What happens if the FBI again fails to recommend criminal charges but the House of Representatives finds her in contempt of Congress and asks the Department of Justice to prosecute her for perjury? What happens if the Congress holds up all presidential appointments and all Democrat legislation until a nonpartisan Special Prosecutor is appointed?
“The likelihood of a constitutional crisis grows each day that Clinton continues to lie about her classified emails and continues to avoid criminal penalties for her possible perjury. If Clinton wins the election and is sworn in as President, she can only be removed by impeachment by the House and conviction by the Senate. If Democrats win majority control of the Senate on November 8, Clinton could defy the Congress and either refuse to appoint a Special Prosecutor or appoint someone who would rubber stamp her criminal behavior.
“The patriotic thing for Hillary Clinton to do would be to step aside and let the DNC select Tim Kaine as the party’s presidential candidate. But since that would almost certainly lead to a tidal wave of support for Donald Trump, that will not happen. The national Democrat Party is not famous for its fidelity to constitutional norms.”
“The revelation that the FBI has discovered additional emails convulsed the political world, and led to widespread (and erroneous) claims and speculation. Many Republicans proclaimed that the discovery suggests Clinton may have broken the law, while Democrats condemned FBI Director James Comey for disclosing this information less than two weeks before the election, claiming he did it for political purposes.
“Donald Trump, the Republican nominee, said the development showed his opponent had engaged in corruption “on a scale we have never seen before,’’ while Clinton called for the FBI to release all of the information it has, saying the American people have a right to know everything.
“The truth is much less explosive. There is no indication the emails in question were withheld by Clinton during the investigation, the law enforcement official told Newsweek, nor does the discovery suggest she did anything illegal. Also, none of the emails were to or from Clinton, the official said. Moreover, despite the widespread claims in the media that this development had prompted the FBI to “reopen” the case, it did not; such investigations are never actually closed, and it is common for law enforcement to discover new information that needs to be examined.
“As of Friday night Comey had only said the bureau is seeking to determine whether these newly discovered emails involved classified material.
“The FBI found the new evidence during an unrelated inquiry into former Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner regarding an allegation that he sent illicit, sexual text messages to an underage girl in North Carolina. In the course of that investigation, agents seized a laptop computer Weiner shared with his wife, Huma Abedin, a longtime Clinton aide who has already been questioned by the FBI during its investigation. The bureau found the emails now being examined on this shared device, which agents obtained some time ago.
“This new evidence relates to how Abedin managed her emails.”
Depending on which of these articles you decided to peruse, there are numerous, contrasting narratives and explanations at the tip of your fingers.
- Hillary Clinton is either part of a vast government-conspiracy in which she and others peddled their influence in order to benefit themselves and others politically and monetarily, has been found not guilty in the previous FBI inquiry, though negligent, and this new announcement of emails really has nothing to do with Hillary Clinton
- James Comey is attempting to gain some fame for himself and influence the election, even though he knows the new emails have nothing to do with Hillary Clinton.
- Clinton should step aside from the election for the good of the Democratic Party as well as the good of the American public.
- Clinton should step aside from the election for the good of the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law., though this is unlikely to happen because Democrats are not patriotic.
- These new emails may provide further evidence and insight into Hillary Clinton’s email practices and her use of a private email server, but current information suggests the emails have little to nothing to do with Clinton, or at least her personal use of email.
What can be almost certain is that none of these articles are individually completely correct or completely incorrect. They all present different information, or at least use similar information to come to dissimilar conclusions. And without confirmation from the FBI as to exactly what these new emails entail, as well as the FBI’s conclusions about the emails, it is impossible to know exactly how they pertain to Hillary Clinton and what, if any, relevance they have to the presidential election. Reading any one, or even two, does not provide a complete picture, or even attempt to provide a complete picture.
Which is why you should read more, both in volume and perspective, as the election approaches. Concerned about developments pertaining to the Clinton campaign or the Trump campaign? Read about it in multiple sources. Don’t take someone’s word on it.