Here are the facts as I understand them.
An investigation regarding Anthony Weiner was in progress in a New York FBI field office. During the course of reviewing evidence in this investigation, agents found emails associated with Huma Abedin’s email address on a device. The NY agents were not involved in the investigation into Sec. Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server and therefore contacted the FBI’s DC field office for direction. Due to the sensitive nature of the information and the timing – the information landed on the desk of the current director, James Comey.
Subsequently the Justice Department learned that Comey intended to alert the Congress and reminded him that Justice Department policy is: “that we don’t comment on an ongoing investigation. And we don’t take steps that will be viewed as influencing an election.”
Director Comey decided to send a letter to Congress on October 28, where he said:
“Due to recent developments, I am writing to supplement my previous testimony.” After being briefed the previous day on the new information he agreed that the information should be reviewed to determine if classified information is contained within. He concluded with, “Although the FBI cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be significant, and I cannot predict how long it will take us to complete this additional work, I believe it is important to update your Committee”.
So, what were Comey’s options?
Comey says nothing and…
The information is leaked prior to the election. This makes it look as though Comey was trying to hide something/playing politics and is in cahoots with Clinton because of course the entire system is “rigged”. RESULT: FBI and Clinton damaged long-term; Trump benefit long-term.
Comey says nothing and there is no leak (but it comes out after the election)…
There is the likely chance that the “new” information is really not “new” but simply duplicates of evidence already evaluated by the FBI. This is only good for Clinton, Comey and the FBI in the short-term.
However, in the long-term the optics are very bad for the FBI as it looks like they were playing politics and feeds into the belief that the system is “rigged”. This is also bad in the long run for Clinton as it supports the narrative that she is a trickster and gets away with things that regular people do not. Further, it embolden’s the likely Republican House who add even more investigations during the Clinton Presidency. Keep in mind this is certain even if the “new” information is irrelevant aka 100% NOTHING. Remember Whitewater, Benghazi, Planned Parenthood. Telling a Republican House majority “move along, nothing to see here” is like telling a Trump supporter to vote for their economic self-interest – it doesn’t compute. RESULT: FBI and Clinton damaged long term; Trump and supporters benefit long-term
Comey says something…
Clinton takes an immediate hit, which energizes voters and she maintains her lead, wins the election AND keeps Comey on (given the attacks on the FBI and Comey from the Clinton campaign I realize the part after “AND” is delusional). Comey and the FBI cannot be accused of being “crooked” for Hillary or crooked period.
Trump and his minions reverse course and sing the praises of the FBI and it’s Director. A few months ago Trump had the following to say about the FBI and Comey: “The system is rigged. General Petraeus got in trouble for far less. Very very unfair! As usual, bad judgment.” and “FBI director said Crooked Hillary compromised our national security. No charges. Wow! #RiggedSystem”.
Given that Clinton wins the election, some of the “rigged system” steam has been let out of Trump and his minions. RESULT: Short term damage for Clinton, and FBI; short term benefit for Trump. Long-term benefit for Clinton, FBI and the American People.