- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 17, 2016

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that FBI Director James B. Comey’s decision to announce a renewed investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails dragged down Democrats in the 2016 election, as the California Democrat refused to shoulder “full responsibility” for the party’s poor showing.

Mrs. Pelosi is looking to head off a rebellion within the House Democratic caucus amid rumblings from rank-and-file members that it is time for her to be replaced with someone who is more in tune with working-class voters in the Rust Belt and Midwest who have abandoned the party.

“We cannot be taking the full responsibility for what happened in the election,” Mrs. Pelosi told reporters at a press briefing on Capitol Hill, before pivoting to Mr. Comey’s actions.

“I believe the Comey letter was a foul deed,” she said. “It was the wrong thing to do. I have had great administration for Director Comey. I just think he couldn’t take the heat.”

Mrs. Pelosi also called for an investigation into whether former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a Trump ally, was tipped off about the renewed investigation. And she dismissed the idea that the Democratic agenda needs a major overhaul, saying the party has been a champion for working class Americans in the face of Republican obstructionism.

“As far as we are concerned, the problem was more with the communication than it was with our policy,” she said.

House Democrats picked up five of the 30 seats they needed to take control of the House. Frustrated, members successfully pushed Mrs. Pelosi to delay a vote on leadership elections until Nov. 30 to give them more time to mull over how best to move forward, and whether it is time for a leadership shakeup.

Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio is flirting with a challenge to Mrs. Pelosi, and he has argued that the party has become too coastal and needs to revamp its economic message to regain the support of blue-collar workers in states such as Ohio, Wisconsin and Michigan.

Mrs. Pelosi, though, brushed off the reports of a potential challenge, saying she orchestrated the Democratic takeover of the House under former President George W. Bush and that she is optimistic she can do it again.

“When President Clinton was president, the Republicans took the House,” she said. “When President Bush was president, the Democrats took the House. When President Obama was president, the Republicans took the House.”

“So we have an opportunity, it doesn’t mean any guarantee, but it means that we will do very hard work,” she said.

Mr. Comey has caught a lot of flak from Democrats over his handling of the FBI investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s use of a private email server when she was the secretary of state.

In July, Mr. Comey announced he was not pursuing criminal charges against Mrs. Clinton — though he said she did mishandled classified information, but she was too inept to know the risks she was running.

That changed in late October after the FBI unearthed new emails that it thought might be pertinent to the case during a separate investigation into former Rep. Anthony Weiner and allegations that he sent illicit messages to a 15-year-old North Carolina girl.

Two days before the election, the FBI cleared Mrs. Clinton again.

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