I have to admit that I have somewhat mixed emotions about watching the Clintons squirm as new information about the email investigation comes out. Although Hillary Clinton is the only person responsible for the mess she is in, the mess beautifully reflects the ethics of the Democratic party and the Justice Department in recent elections. The difference is that after the election, if Hillary Clinton loses, the charges won’t go away. Handling classified information is a serious responsibility. People who have positions that require a security clearance are investigated thoroughly and educated on the handling procedures for classified information. Whether this was done in the case of Hillary Clinton remains a question.
He reminded us:
The prosecution of Sen. Ted Stevens — found to be without merit and, indeed, abusive by a federal judge — influenced the Senator’s election (he lost a close one). Comey’s statement this summer that Hillary Clinton would not be charged was viewed, correctly, as influencing the election. (I didn’t hear anyone complain that Comey announced that decision, though there were complaints about the decision he announced, as well as his lengthy summary of the evidence). Comey’s decision to investigate Clinton in the first place also had the potential to influence the election.
Paul Mirengoff also reminded us that the claim that the letter to Congress stating that the investigation was being reopened was against Justice Department policy is not entirely true:
“Comey’s decision contrary to policy,” shrieked the lead headline in today’s Washington Post (paper edition; online headline is similar). But what policy did Comey violate?
At the very end of their article Post writers Sari Horowitz, Tom Hamburger and Ellen Nakashima cite a 2012 Justice Department memo by Eric Holder. It states that employees “must be particularly sensitive to safeguarding the Department’s reputation for fairness, neutrality, and nonpartisanship.” If anything, it seems to me that Comey has been too sensitive about playing the Clinton investigation down the middle, giving something to both sides in the election.
Holder’s memo went on to say that if an employee faces “a question regarding the timing of charges or overt investigative steps near the time of a primary or general election,” he should contact the department’s public integrity section “for further guidance.” Comey reportedly did seek guidance from top Justice Department officials (I’m not sure about the public integrity section). As one Justice Department official told the Post, “Director Comey understood our position; he heard it from Justice leadership.”
This is the same Justice Department that began its term by dropping the voter intimidation charges against the New Black Panthers in Philadelphia. Frankly, I find tall people with billy clubs intimidating, evidently the Justice Department didn’t see it that way.
Remember the video?
The Justice Department dismissed the charges against the New Black Panthers, which later resulted in various lawsuits charging that political appointees in the Obama Administration interfered with the handling of the case.
The Justice Department under President Obama has been political. I don’t know how easily that can be fixed. I do know that if Hillary Clinton is elected, it will get worse. If Donald Trump is elected, considering the way some Republicans have treated him, he will not really have an allegiance to either political party. That would be a good thing. There might be some serious house cleaning in Washington.