Jim Clark: Hillary’s FBI email probe works to GOP advantage (opinion)
The FBI investigation into Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s unorthodox email arrangements could have been an exciting plot in the TV series “Madam Secretary,” except no one would believe it.
Take a look at the events leading up to the riveting conclusion of the storyline. Former President Bill Clinton just happened to be getting ready to take off from Phoenix in the Clinton Foundation’s private jet when he got word that Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s (taxpayer funded) private jet was due to land at the same airport.
Clinton let it be known (presumably through the control tower) that he would like to visit with the attorney general when she landed. As soon as her wheel chocks were in place, Lynch sent FBI agents to clear the area and ensure no photographs were taken (isn’t it the First Amendment to the Constitution that guarantees freedom of the press from governmental harassment?).
Nevertheless, a local reporter captured the story of the secret meeting between Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch just as the FBI (which answers to Lynch) was winding down an exhaustive investigation into whether Clinton’s wife broke federal law and exposed America’s most guarded secrets by her constant failure to observe government communication security protocols.
This “chance” meeting seemed fishy, even to Democrats. Obama strategist David Axelrod joined with liberal law professors to denounce the optics of the Clinton — Lynch meeting particularly in view of the FBI investigation into Hillary. Finally Loretta Lynch, while not recusing herself, publicly stated that she would support whatever recommendation the FBI came up with.
FBI Director James Comey has been a Republican most of his life, worked in the Bush Administration and donated to John McCain’s 2008 campaign. Although he was appointed to his current FBI position by President Obama and is currently registered non-partisan, he enjoys a reputation for fairness, so most sceptics took a wait-and-see attitude. On Saturday, July 2, in an unprecedented weekend interview, the FBI spent several hours questioning Hillary Clinton, the final witness in the “email gate” investigation.
On Tuesday, July 5, Comey scheduled a nationally televised press conference and in 15 minutes laid out an indictment of Hillary Clinton for her persistent lies to the public and “extremely careless” handling of critical national communications all the way up to top secret. Then he concluded, somewhat illogically, that no charges should be filed because he found no evidence of specific intent to compromise US secrets.
In what can only be described as a monumental coincidence the very same day, President Obama and Mrs. Clinton boarded Air Force One headed for a campaign event in South Carolina, raising questions about who may have had advance information about the nature and timing of Comey’s decision so as to allow such instantaneous scheduling of the president’s time. Had the decision been to prosecute, it is doubtful Obama would have lent the prestige of his office to her campaign appearance.
The following day, testifying under oath before Congress, Comey unhesitatingly said that he had informed no one in advance of his press conference what his decision would be. It’s possible some FBI agent close to the investigation leaked the result, but I’m convinced Comey did not.
All in all, though, not a bad result for the GOP. A post-event Rasmussen poll showed 81% of voters believe rich and powerful lawbreakers get special treatment. Former Republican Congressman and war hero Allen West pointed out had there been an indictment the Democratic machine would have turned to Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders as candidates, tougher competition for Trump.
Additionally, Comey’s indictment of Clinton’s “extremely careless” handling of the nation’s secrets and exposition of her past public lies on this subject are excellent fodder for Republican attack ads for the fall campaign.
Remember that old Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times?”
Jim Clark is president of Republican Advocates. He has served on the Washoe County and Nevada GOP Central Committees. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.