From VANITY FAIR:
The media frenzy ignited by James Comey’s decision, less than two weeks before the election, to disclose that the F.B.I. uncovered a fresh trove of e-mails that may pertain to Hillary Clinton’s e-mail scandal continues to reverberate throughout Washington. While a number of high-profile Republicans, including G.O.P. nominee Donald Trump, have praised Comey, the F.B.I. director’s October Surprise has incited withering criticism from both sides of the aisle. No one, however, has attacked Comey with more force than former pugilist Harry Reid. In a fiery letter on Sunday, the outgoing Nevada senator argued that Comey’s “partisan actions” may have violated federal law and accused the Republican official of withholding “explosive information” linking Trump and his top advisers to the Russian government.
Less than 48 hours after Comey sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee disclosing that his office discovered thousands of additional e-mails that “appear to be pertinent to the investigation” into Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server during her tenure at the State Department, Reid lambasted the director for the timing of the announcement, which he argued was politically motivated. “Your actions in recent months have demonstrated a disturbing double standard for the treatment of sensitive information, with what appears to be a clear intent to aid one political party over another,” Reid wrote. The senator added that in demonstrating partisan motivations, Comey may have violated the Hatch Act, a Depression-era law which prohibits government officials from exploiting their authority to influence an election. “Your highly selective approach to publicizing information, along with your timing, was intended for the success or failure of a partisan candidate or political group.”
Comey’s decision to release the letter, which he surely knew would have an inflammatory effect, led Reid to question why the F.B.I. director would choose to highlight an investigation involving the Democratic nominee while withholding equally scandalous information about Trump. “In my communications with you and other top officials in the national security community, it has become clear that you possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government—a foreign interest openly hostile to the United States, which Trump praises at every opportunity,” Reid wrote. “I wrote to you months ago calling for this information to be released to the public. . . . And yet, you continue to resist calls to inform the public of this critical information.”
(CNBC confirmed Monday that Comey had, in fact, worried about unduly affecting the election by announcing that the F.B.I. was looking into the Russia connection. According to a former F.B.I. official, Comey believed that “a foreign power was trying to undermine the election” but “was against putting it out before the election.”)