Arun Kumar’s Washington Diary focus on Clinton mails
America’s top cop had called her “extremely careless” in guarding the nation’s secrets. But Hillary Clinton couldn’t care less as she sauntered down Air Force One emblazoned with the presidential seal with the Commander-in-Chief in tow.
Hours earlier, FBI Director James Comey had in a stinging rebuke demolished step by step her defence of using a private email server to do official business as Secretary of State for four years and yet declined to bring criminal charges against her.
Contrary to her public statements, Clinton had sent or received 110 classified emails, including eight chains with ‘top secret’ information, on an email system even less secure than Gmail that may well have been hacked by hostile actors.
And here was the Democratic nominee-to-be addressing a campaign rally in Charlotte, North Carolina standing in front of a lectern with the “Seal of the President of the United States” as Barack Obama sat clapping on a backless stool beside her.
Her rival turned boss, who had upset her applecart eight years ago, was now ready to “pass the baton” to her saying, “There has never been any man or woman more qualified for this office than Hillary Clinton, ever, and that’s
And by the evening, Attorney General Loretta Lynch had accepted Comey’s recommendation that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring a criminal case against Clinton.
The reprieve from the country’s top law officer came just a week after Lynch had kicked up a firestorm when Bill Clinton by “chance” came over to her plane to say hello and “chat about their grandkids” in the midst of a probe of his wife’s email practices.
Democrats suggested Clinton’s email troubles were over with her “vindication of sorts”. Not so fast, said the Republicans and their standard bearer to be Donald Trump.
“FBI director said Crooked Hillary compromised our national security. No charges. Wow! #Rigged System”, he tweeted in Donaldspeak.
“I don’t think the voters will forget the rigged system that allowed Crooked Hillary to get away with ‘murder.’ Come November 8, she’s out!” the Manhattan mogul said in another tweet.
The House Republicans called in Comey for a painful grilling for almost five hours without a “humanitarian” bathroom break that he gamely declined as he defended his decision not to charge Clinton or any of her aides.
Even as he acknowledged a federal employee would face “consequences” including dismissal for similar conduct, Clinton and her aides were let go as FBI found no evidence of “intentional and wilful mishandling of classified information.”
Nor did she lie to FBI, Comey asserted, though he was “unqualified” to say whether Clinton lied to the public.
He was also no more qualified than any American citizen to answer “why should any person follow the law if our leaders don’t.” “The broader question is for democracy to answer, not me,” said Comey.
The “dishonest” liberal media, as Trump has branded it, too was quick to come to the aid of the Democratic nominee to be.
“Clinton was ‘extremely careless.’ That is not a crime, but she must do better in the future,” admonished the Washington Post editorially as others like The Week wondered “Why the Clintons always escape the axe.”
“The Clintons – both Hillary and Bill – are very smart, but also quite reckless,” said an opinion piece in the New York Times while suggesting Comey’s refusal to bring charges against “Ma’am Survivor” also “seems to be the right call”.
For days the media also pilloried Trump for sending a graphic tweet with a picture of Clinton on a pile of cash with “most corrupt candidate ever” written over a six-pointed star saying the ‘Star of David’ evoked anti-Semitic imagery.
Trump first changed the star to a circle, but as the media firestorm grew fiercer he defiantly sent out another tweet featuring a famous Disney book with a similar six pointed star.
“Where is the outrage for this Disney book? Is this the ‘Star of David’ also? Dishonest media! #Frozen”, he asked suggesting a star is a star.
Meanwhile, with the FBI probe over, the State Department decided to reopen its own investigation into Clinton’s email saga leaving a political cloud still hanging over the former first lady.
As they say, it’s not over until the fat lady sings and she is not going to sing until November 8 when the American voter gets to choose between the lesser of the two evils, as the media would have it – a wily politician or an unscrupulous businessman.