In the last few weeks there have been a few in the media – like at ABC News for example – who have assured the public that Hillary would not be charged over her homebrew server while Secretary of State. Now that the news is out – cynics would say the fix is in – the question is: did they have access to what the FBI and especially the Justice Department was going to rule?

The chess pieces are moving in place with what feels like an almost too perfect alignment: from a media perspective of course. Not a policy perspective or an ethical perspective if you happen to be one of many Americans who can’t, won’t, and don’t trust Hillary. Or her husband.

But the narrative is being delivered like a fictional left-loving TV series about the West … oh. Right. Consider: FBI Director James Comey delivers his agency’s decision to not prosecute just after 11 AM, EST. And a few hours later, a weeks-long planned event takes place with Obama and Hillary on stage and happy as all hell in North Carolina, which may be a crucial swing state in November. It isn’t quite dead bodies stacking neatly, to put in Underwoodian terms, but it does have an uneasy symmetry that feels even more staged than the typical narratives that get constructed and ripped apart in Washington D.C.’s echo chamber.

Who knew what about Comey’s decision – or the legal likelihood of Justice bringing charges – and who told whom? No one can accuse Obama of being wrong-headed about political strategy. As opposed to respecting the separation of powers and the Constitution. And the recent spreading certainty in the mainstream media seems to suggest that people in the know were doing a fair bit of heavy leaking, breathing into the right media ears with warm assurances of no charges being laid. Like Huma Abedin with Hillary at one of her endless conferences.

How do you – if you’re President Obama – manage a process like this and maintain plausible deniability? For now at least. Maybe this is the end of the server story. And maybe Obama can hand, not the metaphorical baton but rather a cold and frosty beverage or two, to his once-rival, then-subordinate, and perhaps now-successor. That’s a lot of roles that Hillary has had to play. And somehow she pulled it off. For now. Hard to believe for someone who is not a natural in the spotlight. Is Obama that good a puppet master?

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