Hillary Clinton’s top aide Huma Abedin is already a person of interest to investigators, thanks to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by Judicial Watch to learn more about her highly irregular employment arrangements at the State Department, and her possible abuse of paid leave time.
Among the many eyebrow-raising features of the Abedin story is the State Department’s assertion that she simply never received multiple requests, sent both electronically and by surface mail, to hand over all of the government documents in her possession.
This is one of the most famous women in Washington – once a celebrated rising star, groomed to be Hillary’s Mini-Me, a duchess in the Clinton royal court, subject of a hundred fawning profiles in political and pop-culture magazines – and the Obama Administration claims it could not successfully send her a letter. Furthermore, it’s a letter they shouldn’t have to send. Why do Clinton and her persons of hench think they can sit on documents belonging to the American people for as long as they please?
It looks like Abedin is sinking deeper into the Clinton email scandal. One recalls hearing a few half-hearted denials from Clintonworld that Abedin had an account on Hillary’s black-box mail server, but that talking point is now as dead as the “no classified information ever passed through my system” lie. Politico reports that Abedin is lawyering up, as she becomes a “central figure in the email scandal that’s haunting her boss on the campaign trail”:
The 2016 Democratic front-runner on Monday told a federal judge that Abedin — long considered her boss’s keeper and even dubbed her “shadow” — had her own email account on Clinton’s now infamous home-brewed server, “which was used at times for government business,” Clinton acknowledged. That’s an unusual arrangement, even for top brass at the State Department.
Abedin has hired a team of lawyers, one of whom is a former Clinton aide, who are responding to information requests from the courts and State. They’ve denied any wrongdoing on the part of their client and said Abedin is cooperating with requests for official emails in her possession, aiming to turn over all her correspondence by the end of August.
But her lawyers didn’t respond to questions about emails on Clinton’s separate server.
And after an inspector general found that Clinton had at least two “top secret” emails stored on her unsecured computer network, Abedin is likely to face more questions from congressional investigators, and perhaps others, about her access to Clinton’s system.
Abedin had been granted “special government employee” status, allowing her to work both for Clinton and the private sector — and it’s unclear if she continued using the server that appears to have held classified information following her departure from her full-time State gig.
That would be the “special employment status” that allowed Abedin to pull down both a plush government salary from taxpayers and paychecks from private-sector employers – one of which a company that benefited greatly from Abedin’s, shall we say, creative use of her State Department position. The other was the Clinton Foundation, the dodgy charity set up by the Clintons to keep their political retainers paid off and ready for her presidential campaign.
It is entirely appropriate for law enforcement and the intelligence community to investigate the consequences of someone with Abedin’s unusual employment situation having access to a mail server that was illegally processing top-secret information, with the top-secret classifications stripped away, perhaps even after she was no longer a government employee at all.
“What happens if [a former government employee] still retains access through a prior server, to information that was justified by a previous position? That’s not supposed to happen — and that’s one of the anomalies that are created by the private server,” said Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists, as quoted by Politico.
Replace “anomalies” with “federal crimes” to grasp the full magnitude of the storm descending upon Clintonworld. The exposure of top-secret information is not a little bitty mistake, and the people who create such insecure environments are not patted upon the head and told to do better next time.
Politico also relates the words of a “well-informed but unnamed tipster” to the Senate Judiciary Committee that the State Department is very quietly investigating Abedin for criminal misconduct in connection with her very special status as a hybrid government / private employee. Abedin’s legal team doesn’t so much dispute this report as insist they haven’t been formally notified of any such State Department investigation.
The usual Democrat stonewalls are up, as lawful investigations by duly-elected representatives of the American people are dismissed as partisan “Republican” political ploys, which means the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chuck Grassley, can spend two years asking for details about Abedin’s special deal and get blown off by the Administration he supposedly oversees.
In a similar vein, a federal judge can order Abedin to hand over all of her work emails, with a sworn statement indicating total compliance, and she can simply ignore the request. Another federal judge ordered the State Department to “expedite” processing of emails related to a lawsuit from the Associated Press, and got nothing for two years.
If the rule of law ever returns to this country, Democrats are in deep trouble, but for right now they and their media pals can treat judicial orders and subpoenas as “requests” they are at liberty to ignore.
Will Hillary’s email scandal perhaps mark the beginning of the Rule of Law’s return, and the end of aristocratic special privileges for high-ranking members of the ruling Party? It’s difficult to imagine someone with a much-touted status as Hillary Clinton’s right hand – the person who often answered the phone when even Bill Clinton tried to call Hillary – could trot away from Emailgate without a scratch on her.
On the other hand, Abedin looks like an excellent choice to be the fall guy, the Clinton minion who takes the hit to keep Madame Hillary from being indicted in the midst of a presidential campaign. Her close relationship with Hillary would seem to make her an odd choice for the flunky who goes under the bus, but that’s not how things work in Clintonworld.
In fact, one of Abedin’s private employers, Douglas Band of Teneo Holdings, was essentially the male version of Abedin for Bill Clinton back in the Nineties – described by many as the “son Clinton never had,” according to a profile of Abedin at National Review – and he was cast aside when scandal turned him into a political liability.
NR suggests a similar fate would be unlikely for Abedin because Hillary Clinton is already stuck deep in the quicksand of her email scandal, and it would be hard for her to make the case that she was wholly unaware of the conflict-of-interest issues Abedin is under scrutiny for.
Are those really such insurmountable obstacles for Clinton damage control tactics? Hillary will do her “confused old lady” routine and claim Abedin was responsible for managing the Secretary of State’s communications infrastructure – why, she even handles Hillary’s phone calls, don’t you know! She’ll pronounce herself surprised and disappointed by anything objectionable Abedin did with the unique immunity to conflict-of-interest regulations she was granted.
Abedin might be a good enough soldier to go along with it, especially if she thinks Clinton’s presidential campaign is still viable, and can perhaps count on an Obama pardon to shield her from anything worse than mild embarrassment.
She is, or was, a political superstar who was not yet broadly famous among general news consumers. The Democrat political establishment will be quite willing to grant her sympathy, and victim status as the target of a Republican political jihad, especially if Clinton ends up winning the presidency. In that case, Abedin might even get left-wing folk-hero status as the loyal retainer who took a hit so Queen Hillary could ascend her rightful throne. It would hardly be the strangest tale ever told in that greedy, dishonest, lawless, and inept kingdom along the Potomac.