Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Is Hillary off the Hook? Not by a Long-Shot - Ari Lieberman

by Ari Lieberman

Three ways the law may catch up to Clinton yet.

Last week’s stunning announcement by FBI Director James Comey exonerating Hillary Clinton from criminal liability in connection with her email malfeasance came as a shock to many and leaves three lingering questions of import.  First, does the closure of Emailgate mean that Clinton is off the hook and no longer faces the prospect of criminal prosecution?  Second, what effect does Comey’s recommendation have on future investigations involving individuals who engaged in similar misconduct? And third, will Comey’s decision not to recommend charges have any impact on the 2016 general election?

In January, Fox News reported that the FBI had expanded its email probe against Hillary Clinton to include the possible “intersection” of Clinton Foundation work and State Department business and whether the overlap violated public corruption laws. 

Companies with close ties to the Clintons and their foundation received highly lucrative contracts in the aftermath of Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake and Hillary’s brother received a cushy job with one of those companies despite his lack of requisite experience. In addition, Hillary approved a deal that allowed Russia to acquire 20 percent of all uranium production capacity in the United States. It was later revealed that entities with vested interests in seeing the deal go through donated $2.5 million to the foundation. In addition, before the deal was finalized, Bill Clinton received an invitation to come to Moscow and give a speech and in return, was paid a cool $500,000.

These well-publicized cases are illustrative of potential rampant corruption plaguing Hillary Clinton during her tenure as secretary of state. Significantly, Comey made no mention of this malfeasance during his announcement and limited his conclusions and recommendations to the email probe. Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) of the House Oversight Committee asked Comey directly whether such an investigation was ongoing and Comey refused to issue comment “on the existence or nonexistence of any other ongoing investigations,” leaving the door open to the possibility that this aspect is still actively being pursued.

Clinton also faces the potential for perjury charges for lying under oath to Congress. Chaffets made this clear during another remarkable exchange with Comey. During her testimony to the House Select Committee on Benghazi, Clinton falsely testified that “there was nothing marked classified on my emails either sent or received.” Comey however, indicated otherwise prompting Chaffets to note that Congress would be submitting a perjury referral to the FBI.

Clinton is not out of the woods just yet. Despite her current “victory” in circumventing an indictment for utilizing an unsecured bathroom server to send and receive classified emails, Clinton still faces other legal challenges stemming from allegations involving pay for play and perjury.

Comey’s decision to exonerate Clinton is already having reverberations in cases involving individuals who have committed far less egregious actions but are still facing draconian punishment. The case involving Marine Major Jason Brezler is garnering significant attention. 

Brezler sent one email with classified material to his comrades in Afghanistan warning them that an Afghan police officer, with whom they had been working, was unreliable and could potentially pose a risk to U.S personnel. Brezler’s assessment was later validated when three U.S. soldiers were killed by the Afghan officer’s subordinate. Brezler was forced out of the Marines for his so-called dereliction.  By contrast, Clinton sent or received 110 classified or highly classified emails for personal convenience and there were no negative ramifications. 

The double standard is glaring. Perhaps Brezler would have been better off if he had changed his name to Clinton before warning his comrades of a potential threat to their lives. 

Lastly, though Comey exonerated Clinton of criminal culpability, he highlighted egregious acts of negligence by Clinton that placed national security assets at risk. Despite this, if recent polls are to be believed, his conclusions have had little impact on the electorate. The left will continue to back their candidate no matter her shortcomings. 

Moreover, elements within the mainstream media have succeeded in keeping most of the negative publicity off Clinton and shifted focus on to Trump. They have managed to set the agenda. Gross negligence in handling national security material plays second fiddle to comments about the partiality (or lack thereof) of a particular judge. Clinton’s connection to Sidney Blumenthal and his notoriously anti-Semitic son is remarkably overshadowed by an idiotic Twitter gaffe involving sheriff stars and Stars of David. And Huma Abadin’s confirmed ties to the fascist Muslim Brotherhood are shelved in favor of Trump’s alleged ties to phantom extremists.

Ronald Reagan was pejoratively referred to as the “Teflon President” presumably because of an uncanny ability to escape blame. They have yet to invent the material that coats Hillary Clinton. 

Ari Lieberman is an attorney and former prosecutor who has authored numerous articles and publications on matters concerning the Middle East and is considered an authority on geo-political and military developments affecting the region.


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