Hillary Clinton’s campaign ripped into FBI Director James Comey during a call with reporters late Monday afternoon, saying the head of the FBI had made an error by sending a letter to Congress about the latest Clinton email developments last week—but also calling on the bureau to be more forthcoming about the Trump campaign’s alleged connections to Russia.
Taking charge of the call was Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager. Mook is far from a fiery personality, but on Monday he was heated. “That announcement has allowed for Donald Trump to take advantage of the absence of facts to wildly speculate and lie about Hillary Clinton,” Mook said. “This demonstrates exactly why the DOJ prohibits such an interference into our elections.”
Mook pointed to a CNBC article published earlier Monday, in which an unnamed former FBI official claimed that Comey had said privately that the bureau should not assert publicly that Russia was involved in the hack of the Clinton campaign and other Democratic entities, in order to avoid interfering with the election. “That Director Comey would show more discretion in a matter concerning a foreign-state actor than one involving the Democratic nominee for president is nothing short of jaw-dropping,” Mook said.
Clinton campaign press secretary Brian Fallon piled on, saying if Comey was going to dig into Clinton, then the FBI needs to be more open about how it views the Trump campaign’s interactions with Russia. “Donald Trump has certainly rattled America’s national security experts throughout this campaign with bizarre overtures to the Kremlin,” Fallon said. “Beyond his incessant praise of Vladimir Putin, his adoption of Putin’s policy agenda and his business interest, many of Trump’s top advisers have drawn scrutiny for their deep ties to Moscow.”
It was a strikingly negative tone for the campaign of the presidential front-runner. When a reporter asked Mook how, as president, Clinton would handle Comey’s ongoing investigation, Mook punted. “Well, we’re completely confident that whenever this particular review of these emails is complete that it will reinforce the conclusions from this summer and won’t reveal anything new or anything that was covered in the investigation,” he said. “As for after Election Day, we’re really focused on winning this election and getting to those 270 electoral votes.”