The Clintons and the media sources that support them seem to have been somewhat successful in spreading the impression that the whole “email thing” is just a few overzealous FBI agents obsessing over whether or not Hillary successfully dotted every “i” and crossed every “t” according to the minutia of federal regulation. That, however, is not the issue.
It is an uncontested fact that while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State several powerful foreign interests (both government and corporations) that were seeking favorable decisions from the Secretary of State’s office just happened to send massive amounts of money to the Clinton foundation just before or just after they received the decision they were seeking. One of the examples of this was chronicled by a NY Times article last year entitled “Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation Amid Russian Uranium Deal.” It’s illegal (and the very definition of corruption) for the Secretary of State to sell her decision making power for self-enrichment. But the response from Clinton’s supporters has not been to encourage her to return the money but rather to sneer at the rest of us ‘you can’t prove it beyond a doubt in court.’ Again, see the article linked above for an example of such a statement.
This is true but it brings up the interesting question of why it can’t be proven in court. One of the most powerful anti-corruption tools in our government is the Freedom of Information Act. This law gives the press (and the rest of the public) the ability to access the documents of our government (with a few obvious exceptions for national security). So the communications necessary to prove in court what anyone reading the NY Times article above can infer should be available through the filing of a request with Freedom of Information Act office.
But, of course, they aren’t. Hillary Clinton chose, in violation of federal law, to conduct her communications as Secretary of State on a privately owned server where these communications would not be accessible by the Freedom of Information Act office. This is illegal not only because it endangers national security but also because it obviously renders meaningless the anti-corruption benefits of the Freedom of Information Act. A subpoena was issued for this private server but by the time it was handed over multiple attempts had been made to erase the data on it and while they were able to restore/retrieve some of it the FBI was not able to retrieve all of it.
It was widely thought that even if this evidence was unrecoverable it might still be possible to prosecute Clinton for using a private email server for Secretary of State business (including a great deal of classified information). In July, however, the FBI Director announced that he was not recommending prosecution because they were unable to acquire enough evidence to prove beyond a doubt in a court of law that Hillary Clinton had set up this server with the intent of circumventing the Freedom of Information act or any other nefarious intent.
He’s probably right.
Anyone with two brain cells can infer from the NY Times article linked above why Hillary Clinton wanted her communications on a private server but there probably wasn’t enough evidence in July to prove “intent” in a court of law. This, as the FBI Director pointed out, left Clinton free to claim she was only being reckless and the normal punishment for federal employees who are reckless with classified information is that they are fired, not prosecuted. The wikileaks emails claim to show intent but due to the way they were acquired (illegal hacking) those are obviously not admissible in court.
Last week, however, the FBI came across something of note while they were investigating Anthony Weiner (a former Democrat Congressman who happens to be the husband of Hillary Clinton’s top aide) for “sexting” a 15 year old girl. They haven’t been very specific about what they found but whatever it was caused the FBI Director to inform Congress last week that the Bureau would reopen one of its investigations into the Clintons (bringing the total back up to four running investigations). Yesterday FBI Director Comey sent a follow up letter to Congress reclosing that investigation but the other three remain active.
The FBI may or may not ever be able to find admissible evidence that would allow them to prove in a court of law what any objective and fair-minded individual can already infer from the information presented by the NY Times last spring. That is, namely, that while she was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton enriched herself by exchanging the decisions of her office for donations to her foundation and that this corruption (as should be obvious if you know what uranium is used for) put everyone else in our country at risk. But as these three investigations continue no one should be fooled into thinking the email investigation was trivial.