It would be so easy to write about the decision that came down yesterday about Clinton and her email server. After all, everyone else seems to be putting their opinion about it out there. I’ve seen posts ranging from declaring the final fall of our judicial system to others saying it just proves the system works. So, guess what? I’m going there.
Me, I guess I’m a bit more pragmatic – or maybe just a bit more realistic. I never expected charges to be filed. For one, Clinton has long been tapped to be the Democratic candidate for president, no matter what Bernie and his followers thought. There was no way in hell federal prosecutors were going to ask for an indictment against the woman who could soon be their boss. That would be professional suicide. It would have been different, in my opinion, if she wasn’t the presumptive nominee.
Then there is the fact that this is a Democratic administration. More than that, the Obama administration, one that has shown it has little regard for the Constitution and one that does recognize and embrace the Chicago rules of politics. Who could have thought the Administration would allow the case to go forward?
If this had been a Republican administration, things might have turned out different. But who knows?
Frankly, in some ways, this is the best decision that could have been made, especially from the Republican point of view. Now Trump and his campaign have a report put out by the FBI that condemns Clinton for being extremely careless with how she handled her server and those email messages. This is something tangible they can hit her on time and again and her “everyone makes mistakes” will soon wear thin for those sitting on the fence about her as president. After all, if she was this careless as Secretary of State, especially after already being in the White House for 8 years as first lady, what would she be capable of as president?
There is another reason this actually plays into the hands of the Republicans. Clinton’s right to a speedy trial hasn’t started because no charging document has been filed. Double jeopardy has not attached yet because the trial hasn’t started. She has not been arrested. Yes, the statute of limitations is running but there is time for a Republican administration to reopen the case if it so desires.
Then there is the ammunition the FBI report could give to anyone filing a civil suit against her for her actions. I haven’t read the report yet, but I can see the families of those killed in Libya or those who might have had their security compromised by her actions filing suit. Since the burden of proof is lower in a civil suit, it would be easier to prove wrongdoing.
Still, in some ways, I have found myself drawing a comparison between the Kennedys of the 1960s-1980s and the Clintons. It is as though they are coated in teflon and nothing sticks. Still, just as the shine wore off the Kennedy family, it is wearing off the Clintons as well. The media, albeit inadvertently, is helping. We never would have known about Kennedy meeting with the AG on the tarmac but we found out about Bill Clinton and the AG meeting and the release of that knowledge forced Lynch to basically recuse herself from the decision-making process where HC and the her emails were concerned.
Of course, that was a polite fiction in some ways. Even though she said she would follow the FBI’s recommendation, she is still the head of Justice and that makes her the FBI boss. Gone are the days of J. Edgar Hoover who basically told presidents what to do and not the other way around. But how many of us will be surprised — not — when Lynch or Clinton’s campaign point out the AG had nothing to do with the decision and that meeting with Bill was just coincidence? (Riiiight. We all meet folks we know on the tarmac of airports)
Am I disappointed in the decision? Absolutely. I’m not a fool. I know if the average Joe Schmoe had done what Clinton did, he’d be up on charges. I listened to the press conference — the hastily called press conference — and noted the very careful language used to describe why charges weren’t being brought. The telling phrase, in my mind, was “no reasonable prosecutor”. That goes back to my earlier comment that no one would want to bring charges against someone who very well could be their boss in just a few months. That’s a way to commit professional suicide.
But do I feel this is the end of our judicial system? Hell no. It just proves what we have all known, if we let ourselves know it. The system isn’t perfect. There is no way for it to be, not as long as humans are involved in the administration of justice. And, as I said, I would rather this happen than for double jeopardy to attach and Clinton not be able to be brought before the bar later.
So here’s the thing, folks. If you don’t want Clinton to be our next president, quit bellyaching about how the system is broken. Instead, read the full statement and see what can be used against Clinton in the months leading up to the general election. Make an informed decision but quit throwing your hands up in the air and whining that this proves justice no longer exists in this country. That’s especially true if you never thought she would be indicted to begin with.
It will be interesting to see the full report – if they ever make it available (I’m having a failure of google-fu this morning. I haven’t found the report, only transcripts of the statement.) In the meantime, here is a link to the full statement and an article breaking down the statement from the Washington Post. In the meantime, I will do whatever I can to make sure she is not elected. That probably means voting for Johnson because Trump is too much of a loose cannon (as his instant accusation that Clinton had bribed folks to avoid being indicted. That’s the sort of thing you don’t say, especially as a candidate, without having proof at hand, something he hasn’t offered up.)
So quit acting like the sky is falling and get to work. Help elect the candidate you believe will best serve this country as president.