I phrase the central question of this article as a question because it’s a crime, and that means Hillary Clinton deserves the benefit of the legal system, from indictment through trial and judgment. We should all be sick to death of the “guilty until proven innocent” or even “guilty after proven innocent” approach Obama-era government takes towards citizens.
But it’s very difficult to imagine a scenario in which Hillary Clinton’s private mail server was not used to conceal, and perhaps destroy, documents covered by Freedom of Information Act lawsuits and congressional subpoenas. This is not just a political food fight, or the tale of an arrogant politician who bent a few arcane rules to avoid the inconvenience of carrying two cell phones. The number of special legal privileges reserved in American law for people named “Clinton” is zero, and if Hillary can withhold documents covered by legal orders, then so can everyone else.
That would be a boon to criminal conspiracies of all description, not to mention the effective end of anything resembling oversight of the government – which, in all honesty, has been coughing up blood for the past six years as it is. The American people are being pushed into a new model of post-constitutional absolute government in which total power with zero accountability is given to a single benevolent ruler and his court, authorized by winning a single election every four years.
Maybe it’s time we demanded some honesty from the Ruling Class and demanded some clear legislation to make that new model of government official. As it stands, the pretense of limited, supervised government by rulers who feel free to ignore laws and policies inflicted upon the rest of us gives the Administration a veneer of respectability it does not deserve. There’s not much worse than an aristocracy pretending to be far less powerful than it actually is. (At least, things can’t get much worse as long as reasonably fair elections are still held on a regular basis.)
So: how is it possible that Hillary Clinton routed 100 percent of her email through an off-the-books server for four years without handling a single piece of classified information, or concealing a single document from legal discovery? It really isn’t possible, and as Byron York reports at the Washington Examiner, congressional Republicans are wisely disinclined to take Clinton’s word about the fullness and timeliness of her disclosure:
Here’s what Republican lawmakers are thinking after news that Hillary Clinton deleted 30,000-plus emails she deemed beyond the range of congressional inquiries: 1) During Clinton’s four years as secretary of state and after, Congress sent dozens, perhaps hundreds, of document requests, subpoenas and other inquiries to the State Department. 2) Many of those requests, probably the majority of them, covered the secretary of state’s office. 3) Congress never received Clinton’s emails as part of the Department’s response to those requests. 4) Clinton destroyed at least half of her total emails at a time when those requests from Congress — including subpoenas — were fully in effect. 5) Congress wants to know what was withheld.
“It’s not just Benghazi,” says Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. “Part of what we need to do is take an inventory of congressional requests, including subpoenas. It appears on the surface that none of the State Department’s responses was complete. We’re going to go back and ask them again.”
Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., head of the Select Committee on Benghazi, will continue to lead the investigation into the attack that killed four Americans in Libya in September 2012. But Congress’ oversight of the State Department extends far beyond Benghazi, and as part of the effort to undo the damage done by Clinton’s secrecy, Chaffetz says he is going to ask every member of Congress to come up with an inventory of what they have requested from the State Department. Those requests will then be re-sent to State in light of the revelation about Clinton’s emails.
Rep. Chaffetz went on to observe that Clinton’s own statements about the absolute lack of classified material on her private server should trap the State Department into releasing a huge volume of Clinton correspondence with absolutely nothing hidden beneath black bars: “She claims everything was unclassified. So none of it should be held back. One hundred percent of it should have been made available to Congress. If 100 percent was unclassified, there should be no redaction.”
In other words, the very first swipe of a redaction marker on anything State provides would make an abject liar of Clinton, assuming that still matters to anyone in a nation accustomed to endless lies and deception from its above-the-law rulers. Also, anything State provides that wasn’t handed over by Clinton would shred her claim of (eventually) surrendering everything except her wedding plans and yoga workout routines. The hitch in that strategy will be the Obama Administration’s penchant for dragging out disclosure requests for years, using absurd “dog ate my homework” excuses as needed. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn the State Department suffered a freak cascade hard drive failure like the one that hit the IRS.
There really isn’t any question that information requested by Congress and the courts was concealed by Clinton with her “homebrew” obfuscation machine. Watching her claim that she’s the very soul of transparency because she coughed up documents three or four years behind schedule would be amusing, if the matter were not so serious.
Among those not laughing is the Associated Press, which filed suit this week because, as the Washington Times put it, “the State Department has foiled five years’ worth of requests for Mrs. Clinton’s emails, but never told them or the court that she kept her own server — meaning that her emails weren’t being searched.”
“We had hundreds of requests. The State Department knew from the beginning these records weren’t being searched, and no one told us about it, no one told the courts about it,” says Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch. Again, what is the point of having any sort of “transparency law” if the law is this easy to evade, without consequence? Just stash everything on a server in your basement, and the Freedom of Information Act becomes a joke? Isn’t FOIA “the settled law of the land,” as Obama and his robots love to taunt American citizens who are trying to escape from ObamaCare?
As for Clinton’s claim that she never handled a single classified email, even the New York Times had a hard time swallowing that whopper, noting that State classifies material so routinely that Clinton is essentially asserting she was completely out of the loop at the department she headed. She’s saying she was sent fewer briefings and alerts than some of the lowest-level employees beneath her. That’s not much of a recommendation for higher office, although in fairness, it might go some way toward explaining her negligence in Benghazi.