A Clinton Cover-up?

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Now that it appears that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are the presumptive nominees for the Democratic and Republican Parties, the two standard bearers are expected to focus their attention and their attacks on each other the rest of the way to the November general election.  It also means that the months-long investigation into Clinton’s use of a private server to conduct official State Department business will receive more intense scrutiny as will the claim that she traded government favors in exchange for donations to the Clinton Foundation and for lucrative speaking fees to her husband.

Trump has already questioned whether Clinton will be able to run for president due to legal charges that she might have to face.  He has said that her use of a private server, which contained classified information, is far more serious than what General Petraeus did when he was indicted for sharing classified information with his girlfriend.  The attacks by Trump and his supporters against Clinton will surely escalate as we get into the thick of the presidential campaign.

Many are wondering what is taking so long for the FBI to complete its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s inappropriate, many would say criminal, handling of classified government information.  The FBI has assigned up to 150 investigators to the Clinton probe.  For that many FBI agents to be involved must mean that deleted files must have been recovered from Clinton’s private server or a backup server in addition to her emails that have been made public.  Many of her publically-released emails have been heavily redacted because they contain classified, top-secret information.

We are told that the FBI is interviewing Clinton aides, who are familiar with Clinton’s email setup.  By now, there certainly must be mountains of hard evidence that show, at a minimum, that Clinton is guilty of gross negligence, which is an indictable offense.  Based on the number of Clinton emails that have been determined to have been classified, even the village idiot knows that Clinton’s decision to use a private, unsecured server was highly irresponsible and negligent, not simply a self-described innocent “mistake” she made for her own convenience.

Perhaps, the FBI believes that it is also necessary to gather irrefutable evidence that Clinton intended to circumvent State Department procedures so that her correspondence could not be divulged to the public and could not be accessed by Freedom of Information Act requests.  It is much more difficult to prove willful misconduct than it is to prove gross negligence, but either condition, in and of itself, is sufficient to file criminal charges.  The fact that FBI believes it’s necessary to satisfy themselves that she was both negligent and intentionally tried to conceal government correspondence means that her case is being afforded special treatment, which would not be available to most other Americans.  But given the political stakes, the FBI would naturally prefer to garner evidence of both gross negligence and willful intent by Clinton to make their case as airtight as possible and as politician-proof as possible.

Even if the FBI felt compelled to make a case beyond any doubt that Clinton deliberately intended to conceal her state-related email exchanges from the public, the FBI should have already found enough evidence, by now, to make its case, especially with so many of its personnel assigned to the case. There wouldn’t be 150 FBI agents assigned to the case if there wasn’t anything for them to review and numerous leads available for them to pursue.

Normally, it isn’t necessary to nail down every single piece of evidence to bring criminal charges in a case.  It is sufficient to gather enough evidence to convince a jury in a court of law that a suspect is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  Sure, more is better, but at some point enough is enough.  If you find a roach in a bowl of spaghetti, you don’t need to look for every single one of them.  You simply throw the whole bowl out.  How many roaches are the FBI looking for in the Clinton case or being asked to find by the prosecutors at the Justice Department before they release their findings and take action?  Probably way more than they need.  You would think this investigation would have been concluded by now.

Unless, of course, the objective is to slow-walk the investigation because the target is as well-connected a political figure as this country has; in fact, one who is about to be named her party’s nominee for president.  The career FBI agents and prosecutors know they are investigating someone who could very well be their next boss and anything they do now that is inimical to their future boss could come back to bite them, if she is elected.  They could become targets for retaliation.  Although that specter overhangs the entire investigation, Americans would like to believe that professional FBI investigators, paid by taxpayers, will do the right thing and will not let some high-profile politician or party operatives within the Administration intimidate them from doing their job.

It doesn’t help matters that Clinton laughs off any question that implies she did anything wrong or committed an indictable offense.  She must know that blowing off the FBI’s probe doesn’t endear her to the FBI agents who are investigating her.  Perhaps, she believes she is invulnerable and that the Justice Department will never indict her given her political stature.  So, she smirks at the mention of any malfeasance on her part regarding the setup and use of her private email server while she was Secretary of State.

When does extreme caution cross the line to become obstruction of justice and a full-blown cover-up?  We are probably very near or already at that threshold.  We have heard Loretta Lynch, U.S. Attorney General, say publically that she can’t discuss details of an ongoing investigation, but that she is certain career prosecutors and FBI agents will do their job and let the evidence guide them, just like they would in any other case.  Does anyone really buy that argument when it comes to Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party presidential nominee-in-waiting?

So, what happens if this investigation, which is already long in the tooth, continues without resolution through the rest of the election season?  One would expect the leaks from inside the FBI and Justice Department to continue unabated.  It has been reported, without sources being named, that there are mountains of evidence that warrant that Clinton be indicted on numerous counts.  The murmurs will grow louder that Obama appointees at the Justice Department are stonewalling the FBI and refusing to impanel a grand jury to determine whether criminal charges should be leveled against Clinton.  The party hacks within the Administration more than likely will pressure the Justice Department to resist indicting their party standard bearer because it would be inconceivable to do otherwise and would ensure the next president is a Republican.  As a minimum, it is likely that the Justice Department will slow-walk the progress of the Clinton investigation and will throw one roadblock after another in its path until the election is over.

If this is what’s happening, one can also expect that cries of a Clinton cover-up will begin to grow ever louder and more urgent as the presidential campaign proceeds.  Murmurs will become screams for justice.  And those screams will build into a crescendo.

It behooves the Justice Department to treat Clinton as it says it would treat any other American citizen and actually do it.  Americans demand equal justice under the law.  They are sick and tired of bought-off establishment politicians and their cronies giving themselves a pass.  This Administration is playing with fire if it thinks it can sweep the Clinton investigation under the rug in the middle of a presidential election.

Either exonerate her or indict her.  And do it promptly.

There is no in-between because a cover-up is always worse than the crime.

–        LV

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