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Email scandal is just another Clinton loose end

WASHINGTON – Even some former FBI agents are perplexed by FBI Director Jim Comey’s decision to recommend that no criminal charges be brought against Hillary Clinton after a yearlong investigation into some of the issues surrounding her decision to use a personal email server and several other vulnerable private email links.

In a letter to 13,000 alumni, Larry Langberg, president of the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI, said many of them are “weighing in” with “varying perspectives” on Comey’s ruling. The letter was obtained from a confidential source.

To review, Comey chose to make his recommendation to the Justice Department public, instead of simply shunting it privately across Pennsylvania Avenue to his boss, Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

In congressional testimony before a Republican-controlled committee, Comey revealed under questioning that he did not attend the long-delayed FBI questioning of Clinton, as he said he would last spring; that her answers were not recorded or filmed, and that she was not put under oath. It is already a felony to lie to the FBI.

Comey declined to answer questions about whether the FBI was still investigating Clinton on whether she used her power as secretary of state to influence contributions to the Clinton charities.

The only record of the three-hour session, Comey testified, were the “notes taken” by her unnamed FBI questioners who were, unlike Comey, in the room with the heavy favorite to become the next president of the United States, and effectively Comey’s next boss.

Comey made his findings on Clinton public and testified openly before Congress to protect his and the bureau’s cultivated reputation for scrupulous honesty and political impartiality.

He did not succeed with the House Republican majority, who used to praise him. At the hearing, skeptical Republicans asked Comey pointed questions about process: why, for example, was Clinton not indicted for the crime of “gross negligence” in handling classified information, instead of “extreme carelessness,” which he charged her with, and which he claimed was not indictable.

Democratic panel members labored on about the Zika virus and Comey’s squeaky-clean reputation. Both parties were unswervingly in lock step. Which is part of America’s unfolding national political tragedy.

Among skeptics, few doubts were dispelled by the rapid-fire sequence in which Clinton and her closest associates were cleared: 1) the egregious meeting between Attorney General Lynch and former President Bill Clinton; 2) the New York Times story that Hillary Clinton might if elected retain Lynch as AG; 3) the long FBI interview; 4) Lynch officially ending the probe, and 5) President Obama’s Clinton endorsement.

The Clintons have a habit of leaving loose ends, with barbs: Their practice of willfully dancing along the ethical edge leaving others to pay the price, in this instance the Justice Department, the FBI and Comey himself.

Obstruction, Democratic style: Sens. Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand joined other Democrats in preserving a filibuster last week blocking a floor vote on the so-called “Kate’s Law.” It was named for the late Kate Steinle, a woman murdered by an illegal Mexican immigrant previously deported five times. Authorities in San Francisco, a so-called “Sanctuary City,” released him anyway, enabling the man to kill Steinle. The bill, which was killed by the vote, would have increased minimum federal penalties for aliens who re-enter the United States after being once deported.

President Obama had threatened to veto the measure because it conflicted with his immigration policies.