Is Hillary Clinton a criminal, one who broke the law when she decided to homebrew her emails and compromise national security? That’s the question Attorney General Loretta Lynch faces, according to a report in The New York Times.
It seems that Clinton may have stored “hundreds of potentially classified emails” on her personal server in possible violation of the law.
That Clinton’s move was stupid and bad politics is beyond doubt. But even worse, it may have been criminal, according to the two Inspectors General who want a Justice Department investigation into the latest Clintonian escapade.
Politically, this latest bombshell means that Clinton can no longer rely on the Trump Circus as a protective cocoon. Trashing illegal aliens and humiliating Lindsey Graham are one thing. Like it or not, much of America applauds. But a Secretary State of State who jeopardizes classified information for personal convenience is a completely different story. Can you say betrayal?
To put things in context, China had to go to the trouble of hacking the computers at the Office of Personnel Management, and then stealing personal information. By contrast, it looks like Clinton simply gave it away by leaving the keys in the ignition switch, while leaving the motor running. Clinton excelled at Wellesley, and went to Yale Law School, but at this moment she looks two-bit crook caught on a Seven-Eleven video camera, smiling and pointing to the loot as she runs out of the store.
All this comes at a bad time for Clinton, as the country was already having doubts about Clinton herself, and what she was selling. The reality is that Swing-state America already distrusts and dislikes her, according to the latest Quinnipiac Poll. An honesty deficit isn’t a deal-breaker, but when coupled with an inverted favorability rating that can be a lethal combination, a poisoned chalice for Clinton’s presidential ambitions. Marie Antoinette never won an election.
Unlike Bill Clinton, who could grope Monica with one hand while feeling your pain with the other, Hillary strikes the public as imperious and aloof. Folks didn’t believe Bill, but they liked him. Hillary, on the other hand, reminds you of someone who would fit right in with House Lannister on Game of Thrones, and when you’re running for president that’s a dubious honor.
Clinton’s troubles are further compounded by the fact that in Colorado, Virginia, and Iowa, voters are actually more comfortable with some of the would-be Republican nominees than with Clinton. Clinton trails Jeb Bush, Scott Walker and Marco Rubio in each of those states where she is also viewed negatively, while the three Republicans are judged as honest.
Further, in each of those states, Clinton is seen as “not” caring about voters’ “needs and problems.” In contrast, Walker and Rubio get decent marks on the empathy scale.
To add to Hillary’s woes, white working class disdain for Clinton and the Democrats is on parade.
According to Stan Greenberg, Bill Clinton’s pollster, working class men are even less fond of Hillary than they were of Barack Obama. As Greenberg exclaimed to his own surprise, “amazingly Democratic gains with working class women are partially offset by losses with white working class men. With the men, Clinton is trailing Obama’s performance by 5 points.”
Still, none of this should have come as a total surprise given the drumbeat of revelations about the non-stop Clinton cash dash, earlier stories about Hillary’s email system, and her demeanor that screams “let them eat cake.” It takes a far more dexterous politician than Hillary to proclaim solidarity with working Americans, while simultaneously emptying Wall Street’s wallets into her campaign coffers.
Obviously, plenty can happen between now and November 2016, and polls a year out are poor predictors. Still, they tell a story. Just as the Republican core is uncomfortable with the GOP Establishment and looks to Donald Trump, America is far from sold on a Clinton presidency, one where Hillary occupies the Oval Office.
But it’s no longer about just about optics, polls, crowds, and visuals. It’s coming down to a drip-drip-drip of foot-dragging and wrongdoing by Clinton and the Obama administration. It’s about whether or not Clinton broke the Criminal Code, and whether or not the government itself is above the law.
- Item. According to a June 29, 2015 memo obtained by the New York Times, inspectors general for the State Department and the intelligence agencies concluded that Clinton’s private account contained “hundreds of potentially classified emails.”
- Item. According to a memo sent on July 17, 2015, also obtained by the New York Times, the inspectors general determined “that at least one email made public by the State Department contained classified information.”
- Item. On Monday, Judge Richard J. Leon of United States District Court for the District of Columbia zinged government lawyers about why that had dragged their feet in responding to Freedom of Information requests made by the Associated Press, some of which were four years old. As the Judge put it, “for reasons known only to itself,” the State Department “has been, to say the least, recalcitrant in responding.”
- Item. On Wednesday, the House committee investigating the Benghazi attacks announced that it planned to call Secretary of State John Kerry’s chief of staff to explain why the State Department has not produced documents subpoenaed by the Committee. As Trey Gowdy, the committee chairman, framed it, “The State Department has used every excuse to avoid complying with fundamental requests for documents.” Can you say cover-up?
If the Department of Justice commences a criminal investigation into Clinton, expect to see a distracted candidate juggling the demands of the grand jury and the campaign. It will not be pretty.
If DOJ and Attorney General Lynch decline to move forward with an investigation, Clinton will be able to heave a sigh of momentarily relief, with the knowledge that she will be followed through the primaries, and possibly beyond, by the cloud and stench of criminality and distrust.