Hillary escapes email indictment: Now for the politics of it all

Clinton and Trump

The FBI decided not to recommend prosecution of Hillary Clinton for what agency head James Comey described Tuesday as her “extremely careless” handling of classified information via email during her tenure as secretary of State. This wasn’t terribly surprising, except that Comey prefaced his announcement with extended remarks about how far over the legal line Clinton and her team had operated. It was always unlikely the presumptive nominee of a major party would be charged criminally with anything just four months before the election. That’s not an exoneration of Clinton. It’s just a recognition that in this country, it pays to be powerful — and even more so to be on one’s way to gaining more power.

That said, even without an indictment, any decently competent Republican nominee should be able to turn Comey’s remarks into a legitimate and effective argument that Hillary shouldn’t be allowed anywhere close to the White House for so much as a state dinner, much less to lead the free world. Comey knocked down every one of the excuses Team Clinton offered for her email use. She didn’t just receive classified information; she also sent it. The information in question wasn’t only “upclassified” after the fact, but was in fact classified at the time she sent/received it — and it was her responsibility to know that. She didn’t hand over all of her work-related emails; the FBI found some others on its own. She used her private, unsecured email while “in the territory of sophisticated adversaries,” and not only in situations that probably weren’t risky. Most damning were a couple of Comey’s lines that ought to be replayed over and over and over again between now and Nov. 8:

  • “there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information”; and
  • “this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences.”

It’s clear that Hillary received special treatment because of who she is. And that she lied about what she had done. Voters shouldn’t tolerate that, and a decently competent Republican nominee should be able to make the case to them.

Unfortunately, the presumptive Republican nominee is Donald Trump.

There’s no doubt that the decision not to indict Clinton fits thematically with what Trump has blasted as a “rigged system.” It’s of a piece with Bernie Sanders’ message, although that was largely economic, and Trump has made some attempts to woo Sanders’ supporters to his side.

But Trump also spent part of the Fourth of July defending his social media team’s use of a meme apparently first used on a message board filled with anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi comments. A rule of thumb in politics and life in general: If you are explaining what you did wasn’t really anti-Semitic, you’re probably losing. A second rule of thumb: If your own problems distract from your opponent’s, you’re going to have a hard time winning.

And this gets to one of the basic problems with Trump as a candidate, setting aside whatever concerns someone (cough, cough) might have with Trump’s policies and rhetoric: He’s undisciplined in the extreme, and seemingly always inclined to turn media attention back to himself even when he’d benefit by letting his opponent drown in bad press.

From a political standpoint, the line to be walked isn’t all that narrow: Hillary jeopardized national security for her personal convenience if not her paranoia; she has lied to the public repeatedly about what she’d done; her staff misled the FBI about how they’d handled the situation after it arose; she simply can’t be trusted to oversee the entire national security apparatus with a track record like that.

But there are a few claims that lie outside those bounds, not on the smooth fairway of friendly fact but in the tall rough of unproven (indeed, probably unprovable) speculation: that President Obama ordered Comey to stop short of recommending prosecution; that Bill Clinton’s private meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch just days ago (followed closely by the floating, in a New York Times article, of the possibility Lynch would remain in her job during a new Clinton presidency) signals that the fix was in; and so on. Can Republicans trust Trump to stick to the facts, which are bad enough for Hillary, and leave it to voters to fill in those other, unseemly assumptions on their own?

The track record of Candidate Trump suggests they can’t. And that’s a shame, because someone with Clinton’s “extremely careless” approach to national secrets shouldn’t be the president. A key premise of self-government is that the people will, with their votes, correct the problems that are bound to crop up in government on a regular basis. When political parties nominate unfit characters for any office, and especially the presidency, it is up to the people to reject blindly loyal tribalism.

The other candidate in that case is supposed to be able to make the argument in such a way as to free voters from the guilt of going against their usual “side.” The abominable thing about 2016 so far is that neither Clinton nor Trump has proved up to that task.

Reader Comments 0

86 comments
Jefferson1776
Jefferson1776

The head of the FBI is not a stupid republican, like the know it alls that disagree with him.

lvg
lvg

@Hedley_Lammar I heard enough when I heard the GOP interrogator ask Comey two   questions:


Q. Did HC lie to the FBI (Crime)? 

A. No.

Q. Did Hilary lie to the public?

A. Not for me to decide.


How about he ask him if Trump ever lied to the Public?

And how many politicians lie to the public who are Cons?

MarkVV
MarkVV

There is a crucial misunderstanding, whether real or pretended, between other cases and Hillary‘s, demonstrated here by various comments and arguments. The typical examples are Kyle’s claim that Hillary received “special treatment, comments like “if one of us did the same we would go to jail,” and claims by Trump and others that “General Petraeus got in trouble for far less.”

Secretary Clinton dealt carelessly with e-mails while performing her official duty as Secretary of State, but as Director Comey emphasized, without intent to break the law or do any harm. It is absurd to argue by someone out of the government that he/she would go to jail for doing the same, when it is impossible to do the same – without becoming Secretary of State. For the same reason, it is foolish for Kyle to claim that she received “a special treatment;” she has received a treatment appropriate for her position and actions.

General Petraeus shared classified information with his lover. In no way can that be considered performing his official duty, carefully or carelessly. The comparison is completely bogus.

MikeHammett
MikeHammett

Republicans try and try

Again, and yet there's no crime.

Now they can just cry and cry

Because it's Hillary's Presidential time!

lvg
lvg

Must say yesterday's performance by Trump, Newt and the Mosquito was better than most circus performances I have seen and some SNL political skits.


Now that Trump has praised, Sadam, Putin, and  Kim Jung Il ,when will he fess up and praise that German guy?



TGT88
TGT88

D.C. Obsessed with Punishing Secrecy Violations, Until Hillary: 


Bryan Nishimura of Folsom, California, pleaded guilty to the unauthorized removal and retention of classified materials. Nishimura, deployed in Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008 as a regional engineer, admitted to downloading classified briefings and digital records onto his personal electronic devices. He carried the materials off base and brought them back to the U.S. when his deployment ended...He was sentenced to two years of probation and a $7,500 fine, and was ordered to surrender his security clearance. He is barred from seeking a future security clearance.


http://www.navytimes.com/story/military/crime/2015/07/29/navy-engineer-sentenced-for-mishandling-classified-material/30862027/


And:


Petty Officer First Class Kristian Saucier is accused of using a cellphone camera to take photos in the classified engine room of the nuclear submarine where he worked as a mechanic, the USS Alexandria, then destroyed a laptop, camera and memory card after learning he was under investigation.


Last July, Saucier was indicted on one felony count of unlawful retention of national defense information and another felony count of obstruction of justice. He pleaded guilty Friday to the classified information charge, which is part of the Espionage Act, a prosecution spokesman confirmed. No charge of espionage was filed and no public suggestion has been made that he ever planned to disclose the photos to anyone outside the Navy. The sailor now faces a maximum possible sentence of up to ten years in prison, but faced up to 30 years if found guilty on both charges...


“I just don’t think it’s fair,” said Gene Pitcher, a retired Navy sailor who served with Saucier aboard the Alexandria. “In reality, what she [Hillary] did is so much worse than what Kris did. ... I think it’s just a blatant double standard.”

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/05/kristian-saucier-investigation-hillary-clinton-223646#ixzz4DgqYxV1b 


MarkVV
MarkVV

@TGT88 If you do not see the difference between the above unlawful actions and Hillary Clinton's carelessness, there's no hope for you.

lvg
lvg

@TGT88 Have you seen the dozen e-mails Comey said were determined to have "classification markings"?

What were those markings? 

What was the subject matter of others that be construed to be classified?


Did Hillary personally destroy classified documents, a hard drive and a computer to hide evidence?Proof?


Have you seen the full FBI report?


Did Hillary lie to an FBI agent or US Prosecutor or under oath? Where that proof and charge?



If you can't answer the above, your entire post is BS just like Kyle and Ryan saying Hillary clearly broke the law.


stogiefogey
stogiefogey

Probably not unreasonable to speculate that if the NY billionaire wins in November Director Comey (among others) will be summoned to the oval office for the "you're fired" treatment.

MarkVV
MarkVV

We can paraphrase the old saying about war to say that the first casualty of politics is truth, and also add that it brings out the worst in some people.

Hillary Clinton made a serious mistake with the e-mail servers and was appropriately chastised by the Director of FBI.  But the core of the Director’s decision is in his finding that there was no “clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information; or vast quantities of materials exposed in such a way as to support an inference of intentional misconduct; or indications of disloyalty to the United States; or efforts to obstruct justice.” This provoked some ignorants to claim fallaciously that intent was legally immaterial, and it would not be surprising if the most rabid Clinton haters saw such an intent here. After all, we remember comments on this blog and elsewhere from the far right about Obama’ intentional actions to harm the country.

But really, what does it matter what people like that think and say? They would not vote for Hillary under any circumstances. What is some sensible argument to offer from the right to more moderate voters? Kyle offers here one: Because of the mistake she made in this matter, “Hillary shouldn’t be allowed anywhere close to the White House for so much as a state dinner, much less to lead the free world.” Ignoring the fatuous words about “state dinner, one recalls another line, this one from the world of art: “Why is logic never even tried?” How is the technical ignorance of internet vulnerability, a new technology for people of Hillary’s age, a disqualifying factor for the office of the President? What exactly would President Hillary Clinton likely to do wrong because of what happened here?

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

About Trump's praise of Saddam Hussein...

brutal dictators look better from a distance. Over the years leftists have argued against aiding in their installment and aiding in their removal.

Messy business, ^^^ that. 

lvg
lvg

Anyone know what is happening with the FOIA lawsuit against Hillary for hiding and destroying official e-mails? She was supposed to be deposed some time. I bet Bubba will prep her based on his stellar deposition.

CardiganBoy
CardiganBoy

How many of us think, during introspective moments,  neither HRC or Trump are worthy of the office of POTUS?  We think that because it's true.


So what happens next?  So far we seem to take turns trading barbs about which presumptive nominee's feet stink worse.  Not a real productive debate.  


Our nation's leader, a very divisive man, has thrown his support behind HRC.  Besides maintaining his progressive agenda, does he believe she's worthy?  Probably not.


Trump?  He has no track record in politics to speak of, but other than his appeal as a speed bump to slow down the progressive hotrods racing down America's streets, he's a worrisome fellow.


These two suck!  They are awful.  Do we just sit by and bicker among ourselves - gratified by whatever morsels the rules of our respective parlor politics offer us?


Here's a sobering thought:  come January 20, 2017, either HRC/Bubba or the Yuge One (sporting his Make America Great Again ball cap to thwart the wind's effort to embarrass him) will be sworn in as POTUS. 


There's gotta be something we can to about that.







lvg
lvg

@CardiganBoy Used to be that 's what conventions were for. Our primary system sucks. What percent of potential voters truly decided who will be the nominees by their vote?

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

 And for the record, Benghazi doesn't have anything to do with this


It establishes a pattern


So yes it has EVERYTHING to do with this.


Care for me to list the Clinton  scandals that have ended up with nothing. No evidence whatsoever ? Its a long one.

Doom Classical liberal
Doom Classical liberal

@Hedley_Lammar


"It establishes a pattern"


Uh huh. Sure buddy. Whatevah you say. 


The various Clinton scandals? What scandals? Whitewater is about the only one I can think of. What else is there? All the different floozies that Bill had on the side? Are those "scandals" ?


Scandalghaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazi!

Doom Classical liberal
Doom Classical liberal

@Hedley_Lammar


Desperation there, Hedley? Who cares about one sexual harassment lawsuit at Fox news? Geez loweez. Is this what constitutes a big deal in your world? LOL!

Doom Classical liberal
Doom Classical liberal

@Hedley_Lammar @Doom Classical liberal


"I understand in the Trumpian misogynistic world this isnt a big deal."


Misogynistic world? Reminds me of Bill Clinton 


"Women  should just shut up and put out from time to time right ?"


Opined by no one but you. Do I need to have my brother deliver a bale of hay for ya to build another straw man?


brewman1161
brewman1161

Based upon the FBI's findings while there may not be grounds, in their eyes, for an indictment there's certainly more than enough grounds to revoke Hilary's security clearance.  If she wins the election it will be interesting to see a President without a clearance.

lvg
lvg

@brewman1161 Bubba has security clearance. He needs to be doing something as First Husband.

CardiganBoy
CardiganBoy

Based on Comey's comments below, one could reasonably conclude that he is stating exactly what you said, Wingfield: Hillary got special treatment that would not have been afforded others.  

  • there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information”; and
  • “this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences.”
Given the incumbent  chaos, suspected/confirmed skullduggery and lame explanations that follows the Obama Administration, HRC and Bubba around like a rapper's entourage; and Comey's cryptic/contradictory statements yesterday, somebody needs to ask some follow up questions for some elaborative answers.



Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@CardiganBoy Yes


11 investigations into Benghazi and nothing.


ELEVEN


We need an independent counsel here so we can waste more taxpayer money on a political witch hunt.





CardiganBoy
CardiganBoy

@Hedley_Lammar @CardiganBoy I see your point.  I disagree with your bupkis analysis however. 


There's a lot of stuff the public wouldn't know  were it not for Issa and Gowdy and their respective committees.   You can argue whether or not we got our money's worth, but at  least we got something.  The media is worthless in this regard.




lvg
lvg

@CardiganBoy I understood his comments to say  that he does not think Justice Department currently would prosecute Hillary. If GOP had an ounce of sense (which I doubt) they would have demanded a special prosecutor long ago. Question is  can they still demand one?What if they choose to prosecute based on the evidence?

We could still have Hillary on trial before election and Trump being deposed about his cavorting with his pedophile buddy, Epstein and their attraction to sex with underage girls.  TV ratings would explode.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

Comey, a lifelong Republican and McCain\Romney  supporter, got what he wanted


A public opinion trial where Clinton has no chance to defend herself.



Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Hedley_Lammar "no chance to defend herself"? You mean other than speeches at the official POTUS lectern? And the microphone of every major network any time she wants to speak? And hundreds of millions of dollars to spend on advertising?

Give us a break.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Hedley_Lammar Also: Funny how yesterday, according to you folks, Comey's status as a GOP appointee meant he was surely being fair, if even he knew she shouldn't be indicted.

Now, after the reactions to all of his revelations were so negative, he was just another member of the vast right-wing conspiracy.

"Let's see ... vindication or victimhood? Which card do we need to play? .... Looks like victimhood!"

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Hedley_Lammar "What Comey did was HIGHLY unusual."

You mean explaining that someone committed a crime, and then saying that person wouldn't be prosecuted? I agree, that was highly unusual!

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Kyle_Wingfield @Hedley_Lammar It plays both ways.


Like the Benghazi hearings where the GOP reports eventually exonerated Obama/Clinton


But they made one helluva show of it.


He used the same strategy.


Have a nothingburger of a Clinton scandal. Scream to the high heavens and see what sticks.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Hedley_Lammar The politics was in his recitation of the facts, not his knowledge DOJ was never going to prosecute her based on those facts? Riiiiiiight.

Tell us which part of his "rant," as you put it, tells us "there isnt anything there."


Doom Classical liberal
Doom Classical liberal

@Hedley_Lammar @Kyle_Wingfield


You just need to put your tail between your legs and scurry on over next door. This schooling your getting is as bad as it gets. 


And for the record, Benghazi doesn't have anything to do with this. Deflecting to it only weakens your already weak argument. 

lvg
lvg

@Kyle_Wingfield @Hedley_Lammar If you see that he has been involved four times with investigating Clintons and drew a blank each time, there are some questions someone needs to ask since there was considerable evidence each time.

He was hung out there yesterday to try the case in the public  rather than push to indict based on  politics  and it was clear he knew the charges would not be prosecuted by Justice. But I disagree with Trump that Petreaus situation was even remotely similar.

lvg
lvg

Where's Lil Barry? Kyle silence him? I am sure he could give us a  detailed legal analysis on Comey's decision. 

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@lvg For the record, I've done nothing to stop him from posting here. Maybe he's on vacation.

lvg
lvg

Waiting for someone in the media to discover fact that this is not the first time Comey has given the Clintons a pass on a criminal investigation. Does that make him guilty of something? don't know.

PappyHappy
PappyHappy


*She sent and received classified information

* Some emails have been lost

* Her email might have been hacked

* Many servers, not one

* Clinton careless and reckless

BUT, could not prove that she ‘intended’ to do harm

(In other words, guilty as sin, and she has lied to the

American people for over a year on her ‘EMAILS’!)

But, no ‘reasonable’ prosecutor (IN THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION)

would prosecute her!

It is now left to the American people if the want a liar and reckless crook as their president!

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

Can Donald Trump stick to the facts?

No!

Why? Because it's easier to grab hold of media/pundit speculation and go with that.

Can Hillary Clinton be trusted with classified information?

No!

Why? Because her right to privacy trumps national security.

We're screwed!