Saturday Morning Post: The Weekly View from Washington
For everyone who had “Anthony Weiner’s Sexting Scandal Rears It’s Head as a Late October Surprise” on their Election 2016 bingo card, congratulations. For everyone else, hey, only ten days left. There’s some poetic justice in a presidential campaign that’s snaked its way through more revolting muck than most voters thought possible now arriving, for perhaps its final act, in Weiner’s fetid hard drive.
We don’t know more than we do about what’s waiting in the emails the feds discovered on a computer Weiner shared with his now-estranged wife Huma Abedin, a top Hillary Clinton aide, that compelled them to revisit their investigation of the Democratic nominee’s email practices. And the feds themselves appear similarly in the dark. FBI Director James Comey acknowledged as much in a letter to Congress announcing the discovery, which came about as part of an unrelated probe of Weiner’s sexually explicit communications with underaged North Carolina girl. Comey wrote that the emails “appear to be pertinent “ to the probe the bureau all but concluded in July but that investigators hadn’t yet reviewed them. One official told the LA Times, however, that the emails weren’t to or from Clinton — and contained material that appeared to duplicate what they’d already turned up — and investigators decided to press ahead in an abundance of caution. The scarcity of information prompted some rare bipartisan agreement, with both Democrats and Republicans calling on the FBI to release more from the finding.
Whether the bombshell reshapes a race that Clinton looked on track to win is anybody’s guess. At a minimum, the compounding effect of the new federal look on top of Wikileaks revelations exposing a pay-to-play culture surrounding the Clinton Foundation appears primed to convince some disgusted undecideds to simply stay home. And that could tip the balance in closely contested races down the ballot. It also means that whatever closing argument Clinton hoped to make to voters, a presumably issues-based appeal to shore up a governing mandate, now must take a back seat as the Democrat’s campaign scrambles to contain the damage. And a race that focused on two unpopular personalities to the exclusion of much substance will conclude in the same depressing spirit in which it was waged.