In the wake of FBI Director James Comey’s decision on Friday to reopen his agency’s investigation into Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Democrats are delivering a mixed message.
The Sunday morning talk shows were flooded with Clinton campaign staffers, as well as Sen. Harry Reid D-Nev., chastising Comey for daring to reopen his investigation with less than two weeks until election day. Comey was blasted by Democratic vice-presidential nominee Tim Kaine, Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook, Sen. Reid, and even former Attorney General Eric Holder. But the White House is singing a different tune today apparently distancing the Obama administration from the fray.
During a White House press briefing, White House press secretary Josh Earnest was asked about the FBI situation.
“In the past including after the FBI announced that it was not proceeding with the recommendation to bring charges in the case, the White House did defend Comey and defended you’ve him a number of times. So is that a substantive shift in the language you’re using today is that you won’t defend or criticize him? The fact that you’re not defending him is that some signal to us that there is a reason for the White House to maintain some additional distance here?” the reporter asked.
Earnest game the following answer:
“Well, I think Josh what I have observed in the past is that Director Comey is a man of integrity. He is a man of principle. He is a man who is well regarded by senior officials in both parties. He’s somebody who served in a senior position in the Bush administration and he’s somebody who got strong bipartisan support when his nomination to be director of the FBI was considered by the United States Senate. So all those things are true.
They speak to his good character and the President’s assessment of his integrity and his character has not changed. For example, the President doesn’t believe that Director Comey is intentionally trying to influence the outcome of an election. The president doesn’t believe that he’s secretly strategizing to benefit one candidate or one political party.
These statements are in stark contrast with those coming out of the Clinton camp that allege that Comey only reopened the case and notified Congress in a partisan attempt to affect the election. Comey himself has reportedly said that he took the actions he did only after FBI agents brought him new and relevant information pertaining to the Clinton investigation which was originally closed in July.