FBI Twitter Feed Gone Rogue?

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Following the controversy regarding James Comey after last week’s announcement, there was a much stranger development as an FBI twitter feed started dumping links to a large amount of old material. This included material related to Donald Trump’s father and Bill Clinton’s controversial pardon of Marc Rich, along with a large amount of other material. Many pro-Clinton sites posted misleading accounts making it appear that the feed was releasing links related to Clinton alone.

While there were legitimate reasons for Comey to have sent the letter to Congress regarding new evidence related to Hillary Clinton’s email, there would be no legitimate reason to release information related to Bill Clinton’s pardon of Rich at this particular time. This is old news and the release could have been kept separate from the election. The question is whether this is an intentional attempt to harm Hillary Clinton or some sort of misguided release of large amounts of information to the public at an inopportune time.

If intentional, this would also strengthen an argument I previously made that Comey could not have avoided discussion of the resumption of the investigation into Hillary Clinton as it was likely the information would have come out regardless of what Comey had done.

The FBI has responded to questions regarding the Twitter releases with a statement: “Per the standard procedure for FOIA, these materials became available for release and were posted automatically and electronically to the FBI’s public reading room in accordance with the law and established procedures.” However, that does not explain the timing.

Think Progress reports that the FBI is initiating an investigation, as it should. It would be improper, and very likely a crime, if someone did release this old information now with the intent to affect the election.

Besides coming during the debate over Comey’s announcement, there are also a number of questions being raised about inside disputes between the Department of Justice and the FBI, reportedly with disagreements between career and political appointees as to whether Hillary Clinton should be prosecuted. This infighting includes  questions surrounding the Clinton Foundation in addition to the email scandal. While Clinton clearly violated the ethics agreements she entered into before being confirmed as Secretary of State, it is a different question as to whether her actions, and actions of others at the Foundation, could be successfully prosecuted. Bret Baier of Fox News claims that “sources in the FBI have told him that indictment is likely in the case of pay-for-play at the Clinton Foundation” unless prevented by the Justice Department. This cannot be independently verified.

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5 Comments

  1. 1
    Mike Hatcher says:

    Imagine this, regardless of who gets elected, (probably Hillary) the president elect, will likely have so much baggage, that they may be the first president to be effectively a lame-duck prior to their inauguration. While I know my statement fails the technical definition of lame-duck, I predict the disgust for the president elect will only increase over their four year term, both parties will want to distance themselves from the president and the president will only be a place-holder for the next election. This also makes me wonder if there has ever been a serious primary battle for any major party against a sitting first term president running for re-election. I guess I'll have to hit the history books and google searches for such information.

  2. 2
    Mike Hatcher says:

    I found the answer to my own question rather quickly, it only happened once to an elected president, Franklin Pierce. However it has happened to a number of presidents who became president via other means, i.e. Vice President becoming POTUS because of the death of the President and then failing to win the party's nomination for next election.

  3. 3
    Ron Chusid says:

    LBJ was forced to drop out after the first term he was actually elected to. Kennedy ran against Carter, unsuccessfully.

    I do think that whichever party wins the presidency will be worse off for it. The Democrats first lost control of Congress under Bill, and I bet they will suffer huge loses in 2018. Similarly, if Trump becomes president, the Republican Party could suffer serious harm.

  4. 4
    Mike Hatcher says:

    I know very little about Johnson not running for re-election, but I did find this story that seems to oppose your idea that LBJ was forced to drop out.

    http://www.nytimes.com/1988/04/16/opinion/behind-lbj-s-decision-not-to-run-in-68.html

  5. 5
    Ron Chusid says:

    The conventional wisdom has been he dropped out because it did not appear like he could win, but there were probably multiple factors which affected his decision. He did face a primary challenge but it would have been irrelevant if he really had not planned to run.

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