Many Americans are still recovering from Donald Trump’s upset victory on Tuesday night. As they try to understand how Hillary lost, they are pouring over poll data and exit surveys to make sense of the election outcome. For some, it seems clear that James Comey should shoulder some of the blame after releasing a vague letter accusing Mrs. Clinton of possible criminal activity just a few days before the election.
Comey is the director of the FBI and has been investigating Secretary Clinton’s emails for several years. When he closed the case this summer, Americans hoped the political discussion could return to policy issues. Unfortunately, Trump’s campaign continued to focus on Hillary’s emails, with Trump even claiming he would appoint a special prosecutor and arrest Mrs. Clinton if he were elected.
Eleven days before Election Tuesday, Comey sent an email to Congress indicating he may re-open the investigation into Clinton’s emails. He cited new potential evidence disclosed during an investigation of former congressman Anthony Weiner, who is married to one of Hillary Clinton’s top aids. Comey’s letter caused a slight dip in Hillary’s lead in polls, and some Americans feel he may have cost her the election. Even Secretary Clinton herself seems to blame the director on a recent conference call with major donors.
The FBI’s director should be politically neutral in choosing who to investigate and what information to release to the public. Comey was appointed director of the FBI by Barack Obama in 2013 for a 10-year term. He is a long-time Republican, but President Obama may have been forced to appoint him by the Republican-controlled federal congress. Given the recent controversy over refusing to accept any of President Obama’s Supreme Court nominees, the legislature has shown that they will not hesitate to leave important positions vacant.
Hillary Clinton led in every major poll for most of 2016. Her numbers surged following several controversies, including the release of Access Hollywood’s audio of Donald Trump using vulgar terms to discuss his enjoyment of touching women without their consent. Clinton also surged after each debate, as her decades of political experience allowed her to dominate the conversation while Trump interrupted and demeaned her. After Comey’s letters, her lead dropped to within the margin of error. Although she recovered in the following days, she did not ultimately win the presidency.
Her loss stunned followers, and a wave of protests has followed in Portland, Los Angeles and New York City. Across the nation, the public is calling for Comey to resign, calling him a disgrace who ruined the democratic process. Unfortunately, with a Republican majority in the Senate and House of Representative and Donald Trump in the White House, Comey’s job will be safe until 2023.