The FBI has once again raised some eyebrows by seemingly injecting itself into the 2016 election — although it’s far from clear at this point whether this particular incident was intentional.
On Tuesday afternoon, the FBI Records Vault Twitter account posted a link to files related to Bill Clinton’s pardoning of Marc Rich on his way out of office in 2001. The FBI investigated the pardoning last decade, but closed the case in 2005 without any charges being filed.
William J. Clinton Foundation: This initial release consists of material from the FBI's files related to the Will… https://t.co/Y4nz3aRSmG
— FBI Records Vault (@FBIRecordsVault) November 1, 2016
Given that the FBI has come under fire after director James Comey last week lobbed a bombshell into the 2016 presidential race by announcing a new development in the Hillary Clinton private server probe, many people on the internet felt that the bureau was once again trying to put its thumb on the scale of the election.
WTF, @FBIRecordsVault? No wrongdoing was found in this ancient case. Why on earth would you release this a week before the election?
— Jaclyn Friedman❄️ (@jaclynf) November 1, 2016
you don't even care about hiding your bias anymore, do you?
— 🌺Suzanne💐 (@Tumultuous) November 1, 2016
you are meddling in an election. I hope it's proven you're colluding with the republicans.
— debra nyberg haza (@djhaza) November 1, 2016
why are you releasing these records from an investigation closed in 2005 a week before the election?
— Shoshana 🥂 (@shoshpd) November 1, 2016
Despite the angry reaction from Clinton supporters, however, there might be a more innocent explanation. It’s worth noting that the account late last week posted a link to case files related to Fred Trump, Donald Trump’s father:
Fred C. Trump: Fred C. Trump (1905-1999) was a real estate developer and philanthropist. This release consists of… https://t.co/21KgtPpmzk
— FBI Records Vault (@FBIRecordsVault) October 30, 2016
All the same, the timing of the release is sure to raise some eyebrows — as Talking Points Memo notes, the FBI Records Vault account hadn’t been active for a long time before mysteriously coming back online this past Sunday.
“This head-scratching account reactivation came just two days after FBI Director James Comey’s announcement that the agency was looking into more emails potentially tied to its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state,” TPM notes.