Janet Napolitano rips FBI director's handling of Clinton email probe
Dan Nowicki , Arizona Republic, October 30, 2016
Former Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano on Sunday rebuked FBI Director James Comey for what she called his "inexplicable" decision to disrupt the presidential race days before the election by disclosing that the FBI is continuing to review emails related to Democrat Hillary Clinton's use of a private server as U.S. secretary of State.
Republican nominee Donald Trump's campaign has made political hay out of Comey's announcement on Friday. Trump and his allies say the development has breathed new life into to an investigation related to Clinton's handling of classified information that this summer was wrapped up with no criminal charges.
Napolitano, a former U.S. attorney, Arizona attorney general and U.S. secretary of Homeland Security, told The Arizona Republic: "It's inexplicable, totally outside Department of Justice policy. And I think sending a memo that raises innuendo, without any questions answered, is not what the FBI or the FBI director should be doing."
As a general rule, "you're not supposed to be announcing what you're investigating anyway," she said, minutes before rallying campaign workers at the Arizona Democratic Party's headquarters in Phoenix.
More importantly, this close to an election, announcing "something like this where you don't even have the ability to examine what it is that you think you have is, for obvious reasons, not good policy and not what the FBI should be doing,"
Napolitano served as U.S. attorney during President Bill Clinton's administration from 1993 to 1997; she said the Justice Department policies date back earlier than that.
She said voters should remember that Trump is an unfit choice for president.
"My view is that the difference between the two candidates is so clear, people need to vote," Napolitano said. "They can either vote for the future, and vote for Hillary, but this is just kind of more background noise to distract from the central choice of this election, which is the choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton."
Napolitano was elected Arizona attorney general in 1998. She was twice elected governor, in 2002 and 2006, before stepping down in her second term to become President Barack Obama's Homeland Security chief. Since 2013, she has been president of the University of California system.
Napolitano was in Arizona on Sunday for a memorial service and celebration of the life of former Gov. Rose Mofford, who died Sept. 15 at age 94.
She returned to a state that has become a major presidential battleground. Trump held a rally Saturday at the downtown Phoenix Convention Center. Clinton will campaign in the state on Wednesday. Her running mate, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, will appear Thursday in Tucson.
"Hillary's got a great ground game, and all eyes are on Arizona," Napolitano said. "You know what? If I were a betting woman, I'd bet on Hillary in Arizona."
Later, Napolitano fired up the Democratic ground troops with similar remarks. She was joined at the brief midday event by U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., who this year is running against incumbent U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
Napolitano urged campaign workers to reach out not just to fellow Democrats, but to independents and even disillusioned Republicans.
"Lest you think Arizona cannot be blue, just harken back. It wasn't too long when I was running for election and we carried every legislative district and every county in this state," Napolitano told the group. "With good candidates, you can do it. We have great candidates. Now we need to have great energy. ... Let's go win an election!"
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