There is something ugly happening within the FBI and it could have major implications for the presidential election.
On the heels of FBI Director’s bone-headed, possibly illegal letter misleadingly suggesting Hillary Clinton is being re-investigated for her emails, the FBI’s “Records Vault” Twitter account doubled-down on the pro-Trump Hillary smears by inexplicably tweeting the records of “a 2001 FBI investigation into the pardon of Marc Rich” – a matter that was settled over a decade ago and has absolutely no bearing on the current election.
William J. Clinton Foundation: This initial release consists of material from the FBI's files related to the Will… https://t.co/Y4nz3aRSmG
— FBI Records Vault (@FBIRecordsVault) November 1, 2016
The ancient nontroversy was provided with absolutely zero context or explanation. In fact, this single cryptic tweet is the only thing the FBI Records Vault has tweeted in the past 36 hours. However, just like FBI Director James Comey’s letter to Republicans, it will be used by Clinton’s opponents – particularly Trump’s campaign – to fan the flames of “scandal.”
The question on everyone’s mind is: Why? Why tweet this? And why tweet this just one week before an election that has already been marred with too many false scandals and misleading announcements?
The decision is baffling and unprecedented. As demonstrated by Washington Post‘s political reporter Peter Stevenson’s stunned reaction.
So, an FBI account is tweeting things about the Clinton foundation. Appears to be from 2001 investigation into several of Clinton's pardons https://t.co/PDIwBYueIO
— Peter Stevenson (@PeterWStevenson) November 1, 2016
And Clinton campaign staffer Brian Fallows’s even more stunned reaction:
Absent a FOIA litigation deadline, this is odd.
Will FBI be posting docs on Trump's housing discrimination in '70s?https://t.co/uJMMzX6rtI
— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) November 1, 2016
Comey has been rightly slammed for his decision to meddle in the election contrary to FBI policy not to get involved in politics, but even his critics were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Former Obama Attorney General Eric Holder – a staunch Democrat – called Comey an “honorable man” who made a massive mistake. Now that assessment seems far too kind. The FBI is dumping opposition research to the public that hurts Hillary Clinton and favors Donald Trump.
Not that the FBI Records Vault has been completely silent about Trump – but when it does speak about him, its tone is much more deferential. If the FBI’s policy is to keep politics out of it, they are only achieving that when it comes to Trump. Two days previously, it tweeted a brief write up about Donald Trump’s father. It describes him a “philanthropist” and the release appears mostly harmless.
Fred C. Trump: Fred C. Trump (1905-1999) was a real estate developer and philanthropist. This release consists of… https://t.co/21KgtPpmzk
— FBI Records Vault (@FBIRecordsVault) October 30, 2016
At the same time, it’s carefully withholding information regarding its investigations into Donald Trump’s businesses and his connections to the Russian government. This imbalance is so clear that it stretches the imagination to the breaking point to believe it was done on accident.
As the race tightens in the closing week of the election, the fact that a government agency would repeatedly throw its weight behind one candidate over another – and do so in a way that is inherently dishonest – is infuriating. The damage being done to the FBI’s claim to objectivity is possibly irrevocable.
Featured image via Alex Wong/Getty Images