Explain to me how FBI interview exacerbated Hillary’s problem

On the way to the beach Saturday, I had my phone off my hip, plugged into the car and sitting perched on the ashtray pulled out from the dashboard. My wife, who insists on continuing to use a flip phone and is not accustomed to such distractions, kept picking it up to look at it when a tone would announce a news alert.

There were some bulletin-worthy items, such as the death of Elie Wiesel and the arrest of Columbia City Councilman Moe Baddourah on domestic violence charges. But one puzzled her:


Why, she wondered, was that interesting enough to bother people with? I couldn’t really answer that, since I thought the same thing. It was a turn of the screw in an ongoing process, very much dog-bites-man. Maybe you take note of it in the course of the day’s news; it might even have its own headline. But even in this bulletin-mad era we lived in, it was hardly worth asking people to stop what they’re doing to read about it.

Others seemed to disagree. In fact, it was treated like some major blow to the Clinton campaign, on a level with Bill “It’s All About Me” Clinton’s idiotic tête-à-tête with the attorney general.

As The Washington Post said,

Hillary Clinton’s weekend interview with the FBI stands as a perfect symbol of what is probably her biggest liability heading into the fall election: A lot of people say they don’t trust her.

Clinton sat for an interview of more than three hours as part of a Justice Department investigation into the privately owned email system she operated off the books when she was secretary of state. The timing — less than three weeks before she will claim the Democratic presidential nomination — is an attempt to make the best of a situation that would look bad for any candidate but is particularly damaging for Clinton.

That the interview at FBI headquarters was voluntary does not expunge the whiff of suspicion surrounding the entire email affair that, for many voters, confirms a long-held view that Clinton shades the truth or plays by her own rules….

OK, y’all, explain to me why this was a big deal, or any kind of a deal. If she had refused to be interviewed, that would be news. If they interviewed her and learned something new and told us about it, that, too, would be news. But this? How is it more than a take-note-of-in-the-name-of-transparency thing?

We knew the FBI was investigating Hillary’s emails. They’ve been doing so forever. That’s why it was a big deal that Bill chatted with the AG.

The FBI interviews the subjects of investigations. I mean, right? Why wouldn’t they? It’s not like the headline was “FBI interviews Clinton and decides to charge her.” That would definitely be bulletin-worthy, because it would mean that it’s even more likely that a neofascist will occupy the White House. It would be more than news. It would be history. And not the good kind…

13 thoughts on “Explain to me how FBI interview exacerbated Hillary’s problem

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    OK, I just got another device bulletin telling me the FBI director is about to hold a presser to talk about the Clinton interview.

    Here’s a link.

    Maybe THAT will produce information that is a game-changer. I’m kind of doubting it, though. I think this is him feeling compelled to respond to people making such a big deal about it over the weekend…

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      OK, he’s making news… I didn’t expect that.

      She “should have known” that an unclassified system was no place for some of these conversations…

    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      Recommendation to prosecutors… No reasonable prosecutor would bring a case.

      OK, major news here. Why isn’t my phone bothering me NOW?

  2. Bob Amundson

    If her attorneys thought she were guilty of some crime, they would have advised her to not talk with the FBI. So I think it is news.

  3. Michael Bramson

    If someone had asked me yesterday, I would have said that it was newsworthy in that it suggested that the investigation was wrapping up. Turns out that that was correct. I’m just as confused as you, though, as to how the actual interview with the FBI supposedly hurts her campaign.

  4. Brad Warthen Post author

    Of course, I didn’t find those notifications that came while I was driving to the beach anywhere NEAR as irritating as the one that woke me up (normally I keep my phone on vibrate, but I had had the sound on while driving home yesterday, and had not switched back) at 4:55 a.m. today:


    Really? REALLY? You thought it was a good idea to wake me up for THAT?!?!?!?

    I never did quite make it fully back to sleep…

  5. Burl Burlingame

    You live in a state where the majority party loves to hear negative info about Hillary Clinton. This is a group that equates “being interviewed by the FBI” with “guilty.”

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