Monday, July 11, 2016

Looking for clean hands in the debate over Hillary's emails

The debate over the Hillary's emails is over the top and across the field (cue up the video of Daffy Duck hooting and hollering and hopping off into the sunset). Now that FBI Director James Comey has announced that he will not recommend indictment, he didn't do so without a parting shot. In his announcement, he not only let her off the hook, but gave us numerous reasons not to let her off the hook. He also made one tacit admission during his announcement. In so many words, he said that she was too big to jail.

What do we mean by "too big to jail"? Well, Hillary Clinton is a multi-millionaire. She can pay for all you can eat legal representation. With the right legal team, she can bury government attorneys in discovery, motion practice and delays while waiting to secure the Democratic nomination. She could make it seem like a political witch hunt, yet, Comey is the Director of the FBI in Barack Obama's administration.

Congressman Trey Gowdy, R-SC, has been in Congress since 2010 and was elected in a Tea Party wave of anxiety and resentment after the banking crisis in 2008. He was named as chair of the Select Committee on the Events Surrounding Benghazi in 2014. Since then, he has been crusading against Hillary Clinton and now it appears that he is setting Hillary Clinton up for perjury charges with his latest hearing in Congress, featuring FBI Director James Comey. It seems that Gowdy has joined the effort to disqualify Hillary Clinton as a candidate for president.

In that hearing, the exchange between Gowdy and James Comey seemed to prove that Hillary had lied about the emails, the email server and her motivations for setting it up. The hearing seems to have been setup as a way to give publicity to the questions that remain about her emails, the servers, and the devices she used to conduct official business as Secretary of State. I qualify my statements because Hillary is innocent until proven guilty. But that didn't stop Comey or Gowdy from doing their best to tar Hillary during her campaign for president.

There are some who might ask why I'm bringing up Republican talking points. I bring them up because Hillary Clinton is going to answer the same talking points in a series of debates leading up to the November election. If she can't deal with that now, there is no way she will deal with that in November. Her polling is already slipping as a result of being roundly criticized by Comey and being let off in the same breath. She now has only a 4.5 point lead over Donald Trump in the polling average maintained by Real Clear Politics. That is getting closer to the margin of error than Clinton supporters will find comfortable.

But this post isn't about whether or not Clinton can sustain the attacks and prevail in the coming election. This is a search for clean hands. While the Republicans are working hard to discredit Hillary Clinton over her deliberate act to delete 30,000 emails, they would like us to forget that they had their own email scandal in 2007. Here is the heart of the story from Wikipedia:
The administration officials had been using a private Internet domain, called gwb43.com, owned by and hosted on an email server run by the Republican National Committee,[6] for various communications of unknown content or purpose. The domain name is an abbreviation for "George W. Bush, 43rd" President of the United States. The server came public when it was discovered that J. Scott Jennings, the White House's deputy director of political affairs, was using a gwb43.com email address to discuss the firing of the U.S. attorney for Arkansas.[7] Communications by federal employees were also found on georgewbush.com (registered to "Bush-Cheney '04, Inc."[8]) and rnchq.org (registered to "Republican National Committee"[9]), but, unlike these two servers, gwb43.com has no Web server connected to it — it is used only for email.[10]
This private email server was only discovered after Congress began an investigation into the firing of a group of US attorneys and found that not all of the documents were on government servers. The Bush email scandal was every bit as serious as the Clinton email scandal, just on a much larger scale, and the uncertainties of how that server was used are even greater.

Upon discovery of this email server, more than 22 million emails were deleted. Where was Democratic outrage when Karl Rove and his associates deleted 22 million emails from a private server that was apparently used for government and political business? Were there any calls for indictment by any Democrat anywhere? Not that I can find, at least not on this Wikipedia page. But David Brock at Correct The Record, a SuperPAC for Hillary Clinton, wrote an open letter to Mr. Gowdy to remind him that he does not have clean hands. How nice of you, David.

Private emails, private email servers, deleted emails, unsecured servers, and the list goes on. What we know is that if government officials are using private emails and servers, they are not doing the people's business. They're not working for the people, they're working for their donors, the big money in politics.

How do we know this? Perhaps James Comey's decision not to recommend indictment is instructive. Have a look at his Wikipedia page. He was US Attorney for the southern district of New York in the Bush Administration. Since then, he has worked for Lockheed Martin, the largest defense contractor, investment firm Bridgewater Associates, and HSBC after their $1.9 billion settlement with the Justice Department for laundering money for Mexican drug cartels. Don't let that revolving door hit your ass on the way out, James.

Neither party has clean hands. (Don't even get me started on Trump. :) ) Could the Democrats take the high road by asking Hillary Clinton to drop out of the race? Can we sweeten the deal by adding several primary elections under investigation, and a few lawsuits to prevent certification of the primary results without counting all of the ballots? I really don't know, but if the Democrats want to unify the party, and show that they are willing to hold people accountable, then perhaps they could.

Guess who has clean hands in this entire fracas? Bernie Sanders. No scandals, no FBI investigations and certainly no body trails. Bernie Sanders doesn't change positions on policies with the wind. No one is asking him for his emails. Yet, the Democratic elite seem content to ignore him, hoping he will go away. They must be hoping that people will forget that he is still running for president. Yes, he is still running for president.

I haven't forgotten. Neither have millions of die-hard Sanders supporters. I'd like a president with clean hands before setting foot into the White House. How about you?
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