On Tuesday, July 5, the FBI announced that they ended a months-long investigation on Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email while working as Secretary of State under the first Obama administration. FBI director James Comey announced that the FBI is not recommending any charges against the presumptive Democratic nominee. Before the FBI’s decision, Loretta Lynch, the Attorney General, had come out and said that she would indeed follow the recommendation of the FBI in terms of pressing charges, and not involve herself in the case because of her personal involvements with Secretary Clinton. So, the FBI’s recommendation means that Hillary will almost certainly not be prosecuted.
Overall, the results of this investigation are a huge win for the Hillary camp. If this investigation had recommended charges, it would not only deal an immense blow to Hillary’s campaign, but also to the Democratic Party in their bout to win the presidency. She is already seen as untrustworthy to the majority of Americans, which is one of the main reasons that she has such a high unfavorability rating. As the Democratic convention grew closer and closer, many Hillary supporters became increasingly worried about a possibility of her indictment. If she had gone into the convention still under investigation, it would have been a big risk for the Democrats to nominate her.
Even though Comey did not recommend charges, he severely chastised Secretary Clinton. He stated that "Although [the FBI] did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information." His biting remarks, and the negative press associated with the scandal were still very damaging to her reputation. To many undecided voters, it has served as another reason why Hillary can’t be trusted, even as her supporters vehemently denied the allegations.
Eager to beat down the inevitable cries of favoritism and bias towards Secretary Clinton, FBI Director Comey stated that “[the] investigation was done honestly, competently and independently. No outside influence of any kind was brought to bear. Opinions are irrelevant. ... We did our investigation the right way. Only facts matter, and the FBI found them here in an entirely apolitical and professional way." Yet, even with this decisive statement, major Republican leaders still were quick to voice their displeasure, including presumptive nominee Donald Trump, who tweeted that “The system is rigged. General Petraeus got in trouble for far less. Very very unfair! As usual, bad judgment.” In that specific tweet, Trump referenced another public official who had recently been embroiled in a national security scandal, General David Petraeus, a former CIA Director. However, differing from Secretary Clinton, General Petraeus did in fact have criminal charges brought against him for mishandling classified information.
This investigation had an impact on the minds of many voters, probably including some of our readers. As entering freshman, most all of us have the chance to vote for the first time. And, it will be in arguably the most unusual election in recent history, with both of the presumptive nominees having the lowest approval ratings of any in history. It will be interesting to see how the results of the investigation affect the voters in such an unpredictable election cycle.
Lead Image Credit: National Broadcasting Company