Did the boss just send a message to the Department of Justice that no action should be taken on the investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server, even if the FBI recommends otherwise?

Appearing on Fox yesterday, and under questioning by Chris Wallace, President Obama said, in several verbal formulations, that Mrs. Clinton's use of a private server did not harm national security, the subject of an official FBI investigation. An editorial in the Wall Street Journal comments:

Hold on there, big fella. That is one loaded apologia. A more scrupulous President would have begged off the question by claiming that he can’t comment on an ongoing investigation in a department he supervises. So saying anything was bad enough.

But even more notable was Mr. Obama’s use of the word “intentionally” regarding Mrs. Clinton’s actions. As a lawyer, the President knows that intent is often crucial to determining criminal liability. And he went out of his way—twice—to suggest that what Mrs. Clinton did wasn’t intentional but was mere “carelessness, in terms of managing emails.”

Why would Mr. Obama discuss the emails in those terms? He certainly isn’t helping Attorney General Loretta Lynch or FBI Director James Comey, who must decide how to assess Mrs. Clinton’s actions. If they now decide not to prosecute based on a judgment that Mrs. Clinton was merely careless, President Obama has opened them up to reasonable criticism that they were publicly steered by his comments.

Mr. Obama was at pains to “guarantee” to Fox’s Mr. Wallace that there will be “no political influence” from the White House over the email probe. But if you’re trying to send a message to the FBI or Justice, it’s probably shrewder to do it publicly by apologizing for Mrs. Clinton’s “carelessness” than it is to say something specific in a private meeting that could leak to the press. Mr. Obama can say he never said a word to either one, while those two take the heat if they give Mrs. Clinton a legal pass.

In a way, the president's defense of Mrs. Clinton may have been quite damning:

As former Attorney General Michael Mukasey has written on these pages, “gross negligence” in handling classified information related to national defense is enough for criminal liability. That Mr. Obama would issue such a public defense, and use such legally potent words, suggests that there’s more culpability than he cares to admit.

We've grown accustomed to a president who weighs in on just about everything, but to comment in on an investigation of the women he hopes will succeed him and give him his third term to cement his legacy is unconscionable–especially given that those who will make the all-important decisions in this matter work for him. He should have taken a hands off position instead of issuing a defense that, as the Wall Street Journal notes, has legal implications. But that's not who he is. 

Essay Question: Will the president's remarks affect the outcome of the investigation?