The evidence suggests that FBI Director James B. Comey is a decent man. The evidence also suggests that he has been intimidated by pressure from Republicans in Congress whose interest is not in justice but in destroying Hillary Clinton.
On Friday, a whipsawed Comey gave in. Breaking with FBI precedent and Justice Department practice, he weighed in on one side of a presidential campaign.
I don’t believe this was his intention. But his vaguely worded letter to Congress announcing that the FBI was examining emails on a computer used by Clinton aide Huma Abedin accomplished the central goals of the right-wing critics Comey has been trying to get off his back.
Especially disturbing is that some of those critics are inside the FBI. As The Post’s Sari Horwitz reported on Saturday, "a largely conservative investigative corps" in the bureau was "complaining privately that Comey should have tried harder to make a case" against Clinton.
For a major law-enforcement institution to be so politicized and biased against one party would be a genuine scandal. If Comey acted in part out of fear that his agents would leak against him, it would reflect profound dysfunction within the FBI.
It seemed obvious from the start that Mrs. Clinton’s decision to follow Colin Powell’s advice and bypass State Department email was a mistake, but nothing remotely approaching a crime. But Mr. Comey was subjected to a constant barrage of demands that he prosecute her for … something. He should simply have said no. Instead, even while announcing back in July that no charges would be filed, he editorialized about her conduct — a wholly inappropriate thing to do, but probably an attempt to appease the right.
It didn’t work, of course. They just demanded more. And it looks as if he tried to buy them off by throwing them a bone just a few days before the election. Whether it will matter politically remains to be seen …
… just as the larger Republican Project remains a subject of morbid fascination: that of destroying or throwing into chaos every last American institution — except Republicanism.
Which part of the Project fascinates me the most? Republicans' endlessly expressed love of their country, and all its traditions.
See: preceding post.