Not for nothing have so many referred to the United States as “the American Experiment.” After tens of thousands of years of rule by kings and queens, dictators and tyrants, aristocrats and oligarchs, it’s been an open question whether a people could maintain a constitutional republic, where no one is above a just law fairly and equally applied, such that at the founding, Benjamin Franklin said to the American people “you have a republic, if you can keep it.” The experiment is over.
There is a law against being “grossly negligent” in the handling of classified material, which must be kept secret as a matter of national security. On July 5, when the embers from Independence Day celebrations still glowed and the latest memories of this most special American celebration were still fresh, the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, one James Comey, stepped up to a microphone in Washington, DC, and began talking. His FBI team had just completed its investigation of alleged serious national security breaches by Hillary Clinton when she was Secretary of State in the Obama Administration. Comey, himself an Obama appointee, recited a litany of findings that he described showed “extreme carelessness” in the way Clinton and her subordinates handled classified material. Furthermore, he recited findings that contradicted numerous Clinton statements to the American people and to Congress, under oath, about her handling of classified material.
Astoundingly, but sadly not surprisingly, Comey then blew smoke over the whole matter. He began talking about “intent” to compromise national security, although intent is not a requirement to be found guilty of mishandling classified information. He said there was no clear evidence that Madame Hillary had any intent to compromise national security, although, he said, her email correspondents had their email traffic with Madame Hillary hacked by nefarious outsiders. Never mind that Madame Hillary quite intentionally set up her own unsecured personal server for all of her government emails, contrary to rules and common sense, presumably in order to keep secret her dealings with foreign and domestic moneymen (otherwise known as Clinton Foundation donors) in a pay-to-play criminal operation. She then lied repeatedly to the American people and then to Congress, under oath, that she never received or passed along classified information. We know of many of her lies because the FBI has found them out. Madame Hillary has had intent from the start in this sordid affair.
How’s this for the way Madame Hillary cared for precious national secrets? – “We do assess that hostile actors gained access to the private commercial e-mail accounts of people with whom Secretary Clinton was in regular contact from her personal account. We also assess that Secretary Clinton's use of a personal e-mail domain was both known by a large number of people and readily apparent. She also used her personal e-mail extensively while outside the United States, including sending and receiving work-related e-mails in the territory of sophisticated adversaries. Given that combination of factors, we assess it is possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton's personal e-mail account.” Possible? Rather, a near-certainty.
But against the evidence and against common sense, Comey then concluded that Madame Hillary had no “intent” to compromise national security, reading the requirement of intent into a statute that only requires gross negligence. Comey said Clinton and her people were, in their ongoing security transgressions, “extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information,” as if that isn’t gross negligence. (As an aside, one might ask – if Comey really wanted to clear Hillary Clinton completely, why did he recite her long list of transgressions? Answer: because he and the Obama people feared that one still-patriotic FBI agent would go public with it all, so better to bring out all the dirty laundry proactively and then play it down. A classic trial attorney strategy.)
To cement the conclusion that this was a political decision to “clear” Madame Hillary of patently illegal (and traitorous) activity, if more evidence is even needed, Comey two days later admitted under oath, responding to pointed questions by certain Congressmen skilled in eliciting the truth from reluctant witnesses, that the FBI did not put Madame Hillary under oath when they questioned her – a shocking admission of a shocking omission. Furthermore, they shockingly did not record the question and answer session, so there will never be a video or transcript to prove up any false statements. And the FBI acknowledges but waves away other illegal behavior, such as Clinton’s admission that she shared her emails, many determined by the FBI to contain classified information, with her lawyers who have no security clearance – a clear criminal act, with intent; such as evidence that emails and other electronic documents were erased after a subpoena was issued for them, which would be intentional obstruction of justice. The FBI then said it would not recommend to the Obama Justice Department that Clinton be prosecuted for her national security breaches, and quickly thereafter the Justice Department said it was ending the matter without prosecution. The Obama FBI and Justice Department have made it quite clear that Hillary Clinton is above the law. Their inaction is legally indefensible and morally reprehensible.
Comey is just the latest in a long line of Americans, with Supreme Court Justice John Roberts not far in front of him, who have betrayed their oaths and betrayed the trust of the American people. [Comey, by the way, in the Bush Justice Department was the one who appointed as Special Prosecutor in the Plame Affair one Patrick Fitzgerald, who disgraced himself (link) by turning the investigation into an unethical anti-George W. Bush witch hunt; so much for Comey’s ethics and judgement, and Bush’s as well.]
Yes, liberals will roll their eyes over all of this and declare it all to be a molehill. But they truly do not realize what has ended here, what line has been crossed. The United States is entering a different era, one of the strongman politics well-known in Latin America, where laws, such as they are, only apply to the little people, the unconnected, and where the societal trust necessary to underpin any democracy is all rotted away. These American so-called progressives, grabbers of power and privilege like all the aristocrats and oligarchs before them, who peddle their socialistic ruse to the foolable, are only in it for themselves. American liberals have sewn the wind, and they will reap the whirlwind.
It can be hard to pin an exact date on many shifts in history. Just when did the Roman Republic die? Just when did Athenian democracy wither away? Perhaps it’s a series of corrosive events, eroding the landscape until after a sudden stumble we look up from a downward slope to see we cannot climb back up. From now on, when asked whether one should study American law and the Constitution, a fair response would be, to quote Madame Hillary: what difference, at this point, would it make?