Which is to say, they’re desperate, which is making them overreach, which is making them shoot themselves in the foot.
FBI Director James Comey gave the Republican Party a gift when he described Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as “extremely careless.” But because he made the decision not to recommend that Clinton be prosecuted for her carelessness, Republicans in Congress are having a collective hissy fit, parading Comey before Congress to attack his credibility and ask bizarre hypothetical questions. (Republicans, for example, are particularly concerned if Comey would hire Clinton to work at the FBI.)
Judging by the first hour and a half of testimony, Republicans brought Comey before Congress to try to trap him into saying that Clinton broke the law or lied under oath. But unfortunately for them, Comey—who, by the way, was a Bush appointee—is not being nearly as critical as he was on Tuesday. Instead, he’s made it very clear that he believes that Clinton set up the email server because it was “convenient” for her, not to break the law or avoid scrutiny. And, if anything, his testimony has only made Clinton’s mishandling of classified information seem more plausible and the FBI’s decision not to recommend prosecution more reasonable:
But that hasn’t stopped Republicans from taking their shot, over and over again. Rep. Jason Chaffetz has already indicated that he will ask the FBI to investigate Clinton for lying under oath. But by attacking Comey’s credibility, Republicans risk turning the email scandal into a transparent political witch hunt, letting the opportunity to attack Clinton’s judgment slip away.