It Took 19 Tortured Interpretations of the Law to Let Hillary Off the Hook
FBI Director James Comey engages in doublespeak as he ignores and dismisses piles and piles of obvious felonies.
FBI Director James Comey announced on Tuesday that he won’t recommend criminal charges against Hillary Clinton, despite detailing her wrongful behavior in a lengthy speech. He didn’t believe any of her actions rose to the level of crimes, he said — a claim he could only make by employing tortured interpretations of the law. Nineteen of them.
One of the most unbelievable interpretations of law was Comey’s statement that Clinton and her colleagues were “extremely careless” in how they handled highly classified information. The applicable felony she was facing requires that the subject show “gross negligence” in handling classified information. How is “extreme carelessness” different from “gross negligence?” They sound like the same thing. Comey didn’t explain.
Even if Comey didn’t think her conduct rose to the level of gross negligence in handling classified information, that is not the only charge he could have brought. In 2009, Clinton signed a non-disclosure agreement as secretary of state, agreeing not to reveal classified information. It included “unauthorized disclosure, unauthorized retention, or negligent handling.” If she was “extremely careless,” that would easily qualify as at least a basic standard of negligence, a much lower standard to prove than “gross negligence.” Comey could thus have recommended a low-level misdemeanor charge, like knowingly removing classified information from appropriate, secured storage. However, he didn’t offer a tortured interpretation of the law to explain why he didn’t do this — instead he didn’t mention it at all.
A “Reasonable Person” Should Be Prosecuted
Another tortured interpretation of the law is Comey’s refusal to invoke the “reasonable person” standard, even though he showed clearly that any “reasonable person” would have known he or she was dealing with classified information. Incredibly, he defended his decision not to recommend charges to Congress, by saying that Clinton just did not realize the 110+ emails were classified.
Clinton and her colleagues didn’t just send one email with classified information. Comey admitted the investigation found 110 emails were sent — some may have been received or responded to by Clinton, not necessarily sent, the record is not clear — containing classified information at the time, which made it into 52 email chains. Eight email chains included Top Secret information, 36 included Secret information, and 8 contained Confidential information. All higher intelligence levels than regularly classified levels.
In fact, as Sen. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), a former prosecutor, told Comey during questioning today, Clinton would have been much more knowledgeable than the law’s “reasonable person.” “This is no average person: this is a former First Lady, a former United States Senator, and a former Secretary of State that the president now contends is the most competent, qualified person to be president since [Thomas] Jefferson.” Clinton reportedly has a 140 IQ.
Additionally, the fact she hid her private email server from anyone in government except a handful of aides shows intent.
Perhaps the most tortured interpretation was Comey’s conclusion that Clinton should not be charged when the evidence he presented showed that she clearly violated the law. He claimed that “no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.” Several reputable prosecutors and former prosecutors responded and said that is not accurate. Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who served in the Justice Department and as a US Attorney, said he was “shocked” by Comey’s decision not to recommend charges.
There are plenty more violations of the law by Clinton that Comey chose to explain away with twisted interpretations of the law, listed in the box to the right.
Others Prosecuted For Far Less
Clinton is being treated differently than 4-star General David Petraeus, who was prosecuted for a misdemeanor for giving classified information to his mistress and for lying to the FBI about it. He accepted a plea deal of two years probation and a $100,000 fine. Clinton’s defenders have claimed that Petraeus providing his mistress and biographer Paula Broadwell with some classified information was worse than Clinton’s actions.
Yet none of the classified material ever made it into his biography or anywhere else, so no damage was done. In contrast, Clinton transmitted the classified information electronically, to multiple people — including some like her friend Max Blumenthal who were hacked — and in the electronic sphere it may have gotten into the hands of hundreds of hackers.
Now, even if Petraeus’s actions were “willful,” the law is still the same if the actions involved “gross negligence.” But he was prosecuted and she wasn’t.
Several members of Congress are now calling for a special prosecutor to be appointed. The FBI is still investigating the Clinton Foundation. Also, remember what Comey said Tuesday? “This is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences.” His words may be coming to pass. Thursday evening, the State Department announced it was reopening an internal investigation of possible mishandling of classified information by Hillary Clinton and her top aides.
If Clinton was really that unknowledgeable about highly classified information as secretary of state, at a minimum, maybe she is not qualified to be President. And let’s not forget what Clinton herself has said, “There should be no bank too big to fail and no individual too big to jail.”