11/2/2016—I admit that in releasing his letter to Congress, James Comey may have violated Justice Department rules or customs. And he did so as well when, in announcing no criminal case against her in July, he went on to criticize her as careless etc.
Nevertheless, having testified before Congress that the investigation was over, how could he not have informed Congress that the investigation had been unexpectedly reopened? This aspect—misleading Congress—is the reason the usual rules of not commenting on ongoing investigations does not apply.
As for affecting the election, it is of course ridiculous to accuse him of bias against Secretary Clinton since all he had to do to really hurt her was recommend prosecution. The Justice Department would not have followed the recommendation, but the whole thing would have irretrievably damaged her.
Actually, his decision to inform Congress aids Clinton because it shows he is willing to harm her politically and thus retroactively legitimates his decision not to charge her with a crime.
Did the letter to Congress lead to the tightening of the race? Yes and no. Yes, it reminds people of the reasons they already have for not liking Clinton. This emboldens Trump supporters and reduces Clinton votes as well.
But, on the other hand, the race is tightening largely because Republicans are returning to support their Party’s nominee. That was inevitable, letter or not.
If only Clinton could be gracious about these things. Why attack Comey? Why not just say you have nothing to hide and welcome the further investigation of emails—especially since Comey never said there was anything there.