The media villagers all had their panties in a bunch over the weekend because the F.B.I. Interviewed Hillary Clinton Over Private Email Server. Oh noes! Begin the uninformed wild speculation and conjecture to fill air time and column space.
This useless media exercise over the weekend was a waste of time. It was clear from the beginning that the FBI was wrapping up its investigation, and that no grounds existed for charges to be filed, despite what that orange Oompa Loompa with the road kill on his head posts on Twitter (and the media villagers gratuitously report as if it is news). All the experts had said that there was no violation of law and that Hillary Clinton was not in legal jeopardy.
Today the FBI confirmed it. F.B.I. Director James Comey Recommends No Charges for Hillary Clinton on Email:
F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, said on Tuesday that the bureau would not recommend criminal charges in Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information, lifting an enormous legal cloud from her presidential campaign, hours before her first joint campaign appearance with President Obama.
But Mr. Comey rebuked Mrs. Clinton as being “extremely careless” in using a personal email address and server for sensitive information, declaring that an ordinary government official could have faced administrative sanction for such conduct.
To warrant a criminal charge, Mr. Comey said, there had to be evidence that Mrs. Clinton intentionally sent or received classified information — something that the F.B.I. did not find. “Our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case,” he said at a news conference.
This is exactly right. But the GOPropagandists of the right-wing noise machine who dwell in the fever swamps of conspiracy theories and the fact-free world of FAUX News will no doubt assert that there is a “cover up” and that “the fix is in” from the Justice Department — there is always another conspiracy theory to explain the conspiracy theory that fell apart under examination. It’s all they know. And for the “Hillary Haters,” nothing less than burning this witch at the stake will suffice, to hell with the rule of law and the evidence.
The Justice Department is highly likely to accept the F.B.I.’s instruction. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said on Friday that she would accept the recommendation of the F.B.I. and career prosecutors in the case, after questions were raised about an impromptu meeting between her and former President Bill Clinton at an airport in Phoenix.
Mr. Comey’s statement came three days after F.B.I. investigators interviewed Mrs. Clinton, a sign that the case was winding down. He described an elaborate yearlong investigation, in which the F.B.I. examined multiple servers, read 30,000 emails and interviewed dozens of people.
During the investigation, Mr. Comey said, the F.B.I. recovered additional work-related emails that Mrs. Clinton’s lawyers had not turned over to the State Department, including some that contained classified information. But he said there was no evidence that she or her lawyers had intentionally deleted or withheld them.
Still, Mr. Comey delivered what amounted to an extraordinary public tongue-lashing. “There is evidence to support a conclusion,” he said, that Mrs. Clinton “should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation.”
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The discovery of Mrs. Clinton’s email practices grew out of a request by the House Select Committee on Benghazi for communications between Mrs. Clinton and other officials surrounding the September 2012 attack on the diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.
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After a negotiation between the State Department and Mrs. Clinton’s lawyers, she agreed to turn over 55,000 pages of email from her time as secretary of state. She withheld email — roughly half the total number of messages — that she said touched on personal issues, from yoga classes to the flower arrangements for her daughter’s wedding.
The State Department turned over to the House committee roughly 800 emails pertaining to Benghazi. Mrs. Clinton asked the department to release the remaining trove of emails, which set off a complicated, politically charged process of vetting each one to determine whether it contained classified information.
The C.I.A., the State Department and other agencies reviewed the emails, designating hundreds of them with varying levels of classification.
Mrs. Clinton has asserted that she did not send or receive any information marked classified at the time it was sent. But about two dozen emails were designated “top secret,” the highest level of classification, and Mrs. Clinton’s critics say she jeopardized national security.
After a year-long investigation, there is no evidence to substantiate that Clinton actually did jeopardize national security, and there is no evidence of any hacking by foreign operatives. Security Logs of Hillary Clinton’s Email Server Are Said to Show No Evidence of Hacking. So the “Clinton critics” should STFU with their unsubstantiated wild speculation and conspiracy theories. But it is only entering the next phase.
As Charles Pierce of Esquire explains, “One mock epic ends and another mock epic begins. This is the way of things in the endless saga of the Clinton non-scandals.”
So, on Tuesday, when FBI director James Comey announced that neither Hillary Rodham Clinton nor any member of her staff would face criminal charges involving her use of a private e-mail system, the epic involving the actual e-mail system ended, but what began was the epic of Unanswered Questions and Curious Timing and Lax Culture.
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Let us state plainly at the outset that Comey’s report gives more than enough for HRC’s opponents to chew on, and there’s certainly enough there to fuel an elite political press desperate to create a competitive election between HRC and He, Trump. It’s only a matter of time before the documents produced in the investigation come pouring into the public domain.
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Let us also state plainly at the outset that what Comey is describing above is a more than legitimate issue in the presidential campaign, and that “Hoorah! I’m Not Indicted!” isn’t exactly an inspiring Message Of The Day for your first appearance on the stump with the president.
And while Comey is not the shining knight that his official story makes him—almost two years ago, Marcy Wheeler explained why the legend of Comey as midnight-riding defender of the Constitution is incredibly overblown—he’s not a partisan hack, either. His words carry real weight. So if, in this summer of its existential crisis, the Republican Party has not been gifted with the nuclear bomb of its dreams, it still has been handed enough ordnance to distract the nation’s attention from the vulgar talking yam it is preparing to nominate in a couple of weeks.
However, the apparently inexhaustible ability of the Clintons to prompt Republicans to hysterical overreaction is working to HRC’s advantage. Of course, He, Trump hit the electric Twitter machine with his hair on fire.
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More intriguing was the reaction of Speaker Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny starver from the state of Wisconsin, and (allegedly) the grown-up in any room also containing any other prominent Republican.
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USA Today rounded up some of the other reactions from GOP luminaries. Rand Paul, whose name I seem to recall in some context related to the 2016 election, seems to have been the bullgoose hysteric of the ensemble. While attacking the integrity of the investigation may give The Base a tingle in all their naughty bits, it’s exactly the wrong thing to do. First of all, it won’t have legs in the elite political media because, as we said, rightly or wrongly, Comey’s built up a stainless rep within the Beltway.
Second, to anyone who hasn’t been marinating in Clintonophobia since 1992, positing Comey as a tool of the Washington Illuminati will look like the ravings of people who’ve been munching on the mushrooms in the InfoWars green room.
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And if He, Trump will get the hell out of his own way, the elite political press will do a lot of pretty good work for him. I even heard one correspondent speculate that the president “will pay a political price” for whatever went on at the State Department. Pro Tip: the president, as he has demonstrated every day since his big bag of fcks became empty, has no political price to pay for anything, and he knows it. He certainly didn’t look ambivalent on the stump Tuesday afternoon.
“Let me tell you, North Carolina, my faith in Hillary Clinton has always been rewarded.”
Barack Obama with no fcks whatsoever to give is a helluva political insurance policy, I’ll give him that.
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Ian Millhiser at Think Progress had the best analysis of why HRC wasn’t going to face criminal indictment anyway. The most fundamental reason is that any prosecution would be nearly impossible because the classification system in the United States government regarding e-mails is both technically obsolete and hilariously insane.
Setting aside the bare language of the law, there’s also a very important practical reason why officials in Clinton’s position are not typically indicted. The security applied to classified email systems is simply absurd. For this reason, a former CIA general counsel told the Washington Post’s David Ignatius, “‘it’s common’ that people end up using unclassified systems to transmit classified information.” “‘It’s inevitable, because the classified systems are often cumbersome and lots of people have access to the classified e-mails or cables.’ People who need quick guidance about a sensitive matter often pick up the phone or send a message on an open system. They shouldn’t, but they do.” Indicting Clinton would require the Justice Department to apply a legal standard that would endanger countless officials throughout the government, and that would make it impossible for many government offices to function effectively.
The only way today’s events transforms the campaign is if He, Trump can restrain himself in order to let other people do his work for him, and if enough allegedly establishment Republicans can let go of the fever dream of a Clinton in an orange jumpsuit that has consumed them for almost 25 years.
I’m still taking pretty long odds on any of that.