- - Monday, August 17, 2015


Hillary Clinton dismisses her email troubles as a joke — she was having a high old time with it in Iowa the other day — but there’s no evidence that the FBI agents assigned to her case are laughing. Joking about your transgressions while an FBI team is examining your life and times is not smart.

The investigators assigned to her case are said to be the same agents who handled the investigation of Gen. David Petraeus. They got an indictment, forcing a plea bargain, and he broke far fewer laws, and less serious laws at that, than Hillary, both as the secretary of State and as a collector of family boodle since.

She continues to tell fibs and stretchers (only gallantry prevents our calling them the lies they are) about why and how she finally turned over her server to the FBI. Rep. Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House committee looking into Hillary’s misadventures, says, with a certain heat, that the server was not turned over, but “taken.” On the stump, she had been saying that she would never give up the server, and when the server changed hands, from Hillary to the FBI, it was only because she had a change of her big and gentle heart. The facts are that she surrendered to the inevitable with as much grace as she was capable of. Her expensive lawyers no doubt told her that if she didn’t surrender it the FBI would be back with a subpoena.

The delay gave her an opportunity to take bleach and a Brillo pad to the hard drives, to make sure that the hard drives had been wiped squeaky clean. It was as if she was taunting her pursuers by saying, “I’m smarter than you, so while you may think you’ve got something, I know you don’t.” The FBI labs can accomplish wondrous feats with a hard drive, and she can only hope that nothing incriminating was left on them when she gave them a scrubbing.

Joe diGeneva, a former U.S. attorney who has followed the case closely, says the law is clear, and he thinks there’s no question that she broke that law. If she escapes an accounting it will be for purely political reasons, and further damage the reputation of the Justice Department, which was badly abused when President Obama enabled Eric Holder, the former attorney general, to make a political weapon of the department.

Mr. Obama’s successor can fix some of this if he finds an attorney general who has read the Constitution and understands the plain English of the Founding Fathers. What won’t be easily fixed is the damage to the body of law that was put in place to protect the secrecy of sensitive government documents. If Hillary Clinton does not have to pay for crimes and misdemeanors a precedent will have been established, and proving the guilt of transgressors in the future will be difficult. The legacy that is so important to Mr. Obama just grows and grows.

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