The visible tip of the iceberg was James Comey’s Oct. 28, 2016, letter to Congress. All data proves that, but for that letter 11 days from Election Day, Hillary Clinton wins the presidency.
But evidence suggests that below that iceberg tip was, in effect, a “deep state” campaign, comprising certain active or former FBI agents, mostly from the powerful New York City office, former NYC Mayor and pathological Hillary hater Rudy Giuliani, and the vast right-wing media complex (amplified by the Russian government and bots).
The trigger of the campaign was Comey’s July 5 public announcement that no criminal case could be reasonably brought against Hillary Clinton for her email practices. Shortly thereafter, the effort to pressure Comey to change his mind and reopen the criminal investigation went into high gear.
But not too quickly. If possible, Comey’s decision to reopen needed to be delayed until the closing days of the campaign. And, with more than a little bit of luck, that is exactly what happened.
In August and September, on Fox News and other conservative talk show media and among right-wing Clinton haters in the U.S. House of Representatives, the criticism of Comey’s non-prosecution decision reached a crescendo. Leading the public criticisms on Fox and other media were Giuliani and his close friend James Kallstrom, former head of the New York City FBI office and a Fox News Channel contributor. The Guardian newspaper subsequently quoted a “currently serving FBI agent” as calling the FBI “Trumpland,” saying Clinton is “the antichrist personified to a large swath of FBI personnel” and “the reason why they’re leaking is they’re pro-Trump.” In a February 2017 Vanity Fair article, a former prosecutor stated: “New York [FBI office] leaks like a sieve.”
Then came an unplanned, extremely lucky break — at least for the anti-Clinton “deep state:” On Sept. 28 or 29, New York City FBI agents found some 600,000 emails including Clinton’s name on the laptop of former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner (D), who was under investigation for illegal texting to an underage female.
Comey was reportedly not told about this find until a week later, around Oct. 3.
And then, according to The New Yorker’s Peter Elkind, the New York FBI agents “proceeded unhurriedly with their investigation.”
Three weeks later, on Oct. 25, Giuliani showed remarkable, miraculous clairvoyance. He told the morning audience on “Fox & Friends,” “You’ll see … We’ve got a couple of surprises left … Ha, ha.” Three days later, on the morning of Oct. 28, Giuliani told a national radio talk show audience that he had received leaked information from some former and “a few active” FBI agents. (In subsequent interviews, he tried to walk back the word “active,” using the word “former.”)
On Oct. 28, about 1 p.m., Comey’s letter to Congress about the Clinton emails on Weiner’s laptop became public. Comey offered no facts. Indeed, he stated in his letter he didn’t know whether any of the emails were significant. He hadn’t seen a single one.
Yet, as documented by the Harvard Shorenstein Center on media and the Columbia Journalism Review, the national media in all venues focused almost entirely on Comey’s fact-free letter for the last 10 days of the campaign, reporting on the “new,” oft-described “criminal” Clinton emails investigation.
Not surprisingly, Clinton’s poll numbers immediately collapsed and, especially in the key battleground states, kept collapsing through Election Day.
Two days after Comey’s letter, on Oct. 30, the New York City FBI finally obtained a warrant to review the emails — more than a month after they first discovered them. And within six days, the FBI agents completed their review and found nothing new. On Nov. 6, two days from the election, on Sunday morning, Comey wrote another letter to Congress and, in effect, said: “Oops. Sorry. Nothing there. Never mind.”
The irony is that in the last week, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was forced to resign because of Trump’s pressure, accusing him of alleged pro-Clinton bias. The right-wing media and their GOP congressional allies are now alleging that Comey and McCabe delayed examining the Weiner/Clinton emails when they first learned about them in early October 2016 and that delay helped Clinton.
The truth is exactly to the contrary. Had the FBI examined the Weiner lap top/Clinton emails immediately in early October, we know with certainty that six days later, the headlines would have been, there was no “there” there. Thus, there would have been no Oct. 28 Comey letter just 11 days from the election; no round-the-clock headlines in the last week about Clinton under a “new” criminal investigation and therefore, as all post-Oct. 28 polling data prove, Hillary Clinton would have been elected president, not Donald Trump.
One question remains: Where in the world is Rudy Giuliani?
Days after Trump’s election, the media-hound Giuliani was all over the news as the most likely next secretary of State or U.S. attorney general.
And then, literally all of a sudden, pffffft. He just, disappeared.
You think Giuliani did not want to be subject to confirmation hearings under oath about his role in the “deep state” operation that led to the Comey Oct. 28 letter?
This column appears first and weekly in The Hill and TheHill.com
Lanny Davis is the principal in the Washington, D.C., law firm of Lanny J. Davis & Associates, which specializes in strategic crisis management. He served as President Clinton’s Special Counsel in 1996-98. Read more reports from Lanny Davis — Click Here Now.