Hakeem Jeffries, a Democratic congressman from New York who supports Clinton, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room” that the development is very puzzling
Clinton’s campaign team are already fuming after FBI Director James Comey revived the specter of her email scandal in the tense final days of the presidential election, a move that played right into Donald Trump’s hands.
But their frustrations and suspicions intensified Tuesday when the FBI suddenly released redacted files about its 2001 probe into President Bill Clinton’s pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich.
In an election hinging on voter perceptions of character and trustworthiness, the move revived memories of yet another political fracas surrounding the Clinton family.
Jeffries said the move leaves the FBI in an unprecedented position: very publicly at the center of a presidential race one week out from the election.
He said the apolitical agency’s actions over the past four days are leaving the FBI exposed to arguments from Democrats and some Republicans that it is improperly intervening in the fight between Clinton and Trump.
Reports say Comey, who was once a registered Republican and contributed to GOP nominees John McCain and Mitt Romney, will remain in the spotlight for the remainder of the campaign.
But Jeffries, questioned why the FBI took such steps in the final stages of an important presidential campaign, “Because of the FBI’s actions, we are talking about emails, Anthony Weiner and a 15-year-old pardon.”
He continued: “That doesn’t make any sense and it undermines the integrity of the democratic process. The FBI and the director owe the American people an explanation as to what is going on,” Jeffries said.
He further said that the FBI sought to make clear there was no political motive around the sudden appearance of the Rich documents, saying they were released in line with procedures relating to Freedom of Information Act filings.
“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,” the statement said.
But before the statement, Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon questioned the timing of the release nearly 16 years after Bill Clinton left the White House but only seven days before the election involving his wife.
“Absent a FOIA litigation deadline, this is odd. Will FBI be posting docs on Trump’s housing discrimination in ’70s?” Fallon tweeted.