Tuesday, July 05, 2016


On emails, Hillary Clinton seems to be in the clear:
The FBI will not recommend criminal charges against Hillary Clinton for her private email setup, Director James Comey said Tuesday....

Despite evidence that the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee and her senior aides were “extremely careless” with government secrets during her time as secretary of State, Comey said investigators had concluded there was not sufficient evidence to recommend an indictment against Clinton.

“Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case,” Comey said....
This is consistent with precedent:
... as Comey noted in his announcement, the FBI could not “find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts” as “all the cases prosecuted [in the past] involved some combination of: clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information; or vast quantities of materials exposed in such a way as to support an interference of intentional misconduct; or indications of disloyalty to the United States; or efforts to obstruct justice.”

“We do not see those things here,” he added.
So, um, it's over? Ed Kilgore thinks so:
... Republicans will allege political tampering with the investigation and its fruits, even as they wring whatever they can from Comey's censorious statements about Clinton's recklessness. Beyond that, the email "scandal" will slowly fade into the background as part of a more general political indictment of "Crooked Hillary" and her crooked husband.

... an enormous boulder in the road to the White House has now been removed....
Except that's not how Republicans usually operate. Nothing is final until they say it is, and if things aren't going their way, they never say it is. Obamacare survives two trips to the Supreme Court? Vote to repeal it a dozen more times! Clinton is vindicated by several Benghazi investigations? Start up another one!

So while I think Chris Cillizza goes a bit overboard when he says that Comey's announcement is terrible news for Clinton, he has a point:
For a candidate already badly struggling on questions of whether she is honest and trustworthy enough to hold the office to which she aspires, Comey's comments are devastating. Watching them, I could close my eyes and imagine them spliced into a bevy of 30-second ads -- all of which end with the FBI director rebuking Clinton as "extremely careless."
This is what any Republican presidential candidate other than Donald Trump would build his or her entire campaign on, from here to November, in a relentless, disciplined, focus-grouped way. If Clinton were running against Jeb Bush or Scott Walker or Marco Rubio or John Kasich, this would be the main thrust of the opposition campaign. We'd be told that Comey and Loretta Lynch are part of a massive Clinton-led Democratic web of corruption, and that the only way to truly clean house is to vote GOP. All this might well define Hillary the way the Willie Horton ad defined Mike Dukakis or the Swift Boat story defined John Kerry.

But won't Trump do exactly the same thing? Yes -- but not in a disciplined way. His proclamations about the emails and the lack of an indictment will be loud and persistent -- but they won't be carefully shaped to win over targeted groups of swing voters, and, most important, he'll keep being distracted by shiny objects and his own unforced errors. Just as we spent days talking about Trump's attacks on the judge in the Trump University case, and have now spent days debating his "Star of David" tweet, we're going to be focused on whatever brier patch Trump wanders into every week or two for the next four months. Trump will try to focus on Clinton's emails, but the race will continue to be about him. He won't be able to help himself.

So while Trump might seem like the ideal Clinton scourge right now, he really could be the worst possible candidate for the GOP -- fortunately for Hillary.


Unknown said...

It there is one thing I have learned in my life it is this: Chris Cilizza is so full of his own self important Bullshit and having Andrea Mitchell confirm that bullshit it just boggles the mind. "Andrea I sit in my office on my computer all day and the things I learn are astounding". If you moved your ass maybe got out of your office you would not be such an obnoxious self important delusional 40 year old clown. He and Ron Fournier really are the epitome of why people despise the print MSM.

Victor said...

Careless, maybe...
But not as reckless as David Petreus, who sent a whole bunch of confidential and secret stuff to his mistress.
Not that I'm comparing, but...

And yeah, Donald is too undisciplined to stay on point.
And he's too disenfranchised and distant from the powers who could help him. He wants to win HIS way!
On his own!
And no one but HE, tRUMP, knows the right way!

Thank the FSM for ridiculous opponents!

Lucia said...

Trump is a con artist, full stop. Clinton is a human being with normal human failings. Chait covers it pretty well, though he just touches lightly on Trump's bilking of the gullible and the vulnerable. Kevin Drum covered that side of it last week.

Unknown said...

1. Hillary says "I didn't receive classified emails on my personal email server."
2. Comey says "Hillary did receive classified emails on her multiple personal email servers".
3. Cilizza says "Comey's findings disprove Hillary's assertions."
4. Lamonica says "Cilizza is so full of his self important bullshit".

Cilizza didn't make Hillary Clinton a liar. That's something she accomplished all on her own, without even any help from her husband.

KenRight said...


Trump needs to do one of his "if they take the nomination away from me" hints of trouble but out it on the obvious sellout. Trump can make civil disobedience about him, if he has the slightest intent.

Unknown said...

THIS SAYS IT ALL: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/most-corrupt-candidate-ever-is-donald-trump.html

Orthodox said...

Once the announcement came, I steered clear of social media, figuring the internet would lose its collective mind. I'd been telling skeptical friends of mine--both liberal and conservative--that there wouldn't be any charges against Clinton, and not because of some conspiracy. It boiled down to little more than the Democratic Party having to be absolutely nuts to put all its chips on one candidate without a viable alternate if there was really any chance of Clinton being indicted; i.e., that she really did do something criminal.

I agree with Cillizza but not for different reasons. Regardless of how the decision of whether to bring charges had gone, Republicans (and that small pocket of far-left, anti-Clinton progressives) had already made up their minds. Jesus could arrive from heaven on a golden chariot to tell them Clinton had no malicious intent and they still would brush him off and see what Hannity had to say. That the 'scandal' exists in any way that gets significant media attention is a victory for the right--the FBI not bringing charges isn't validation of no wrongdoing, it's a confirmation that the system is beyond corrupt and liberally bent. Alternatively, the FBI bringing charges would have confirmed their bogus narrative. It's the same sort of 'logic' conspiracy theorists employ every time one of their precious theories gets debunked. They move the goalposts and continue to claim their righteousness.

So I'm glad there are no charges. But it doesn't mean Clinton isn't guilty in the eyes of those who had already decided. Unfortunately.

Feud Turgidson said...

These were HRC's choices:
1) Stick only with the DoS dedicated government server and give up private email communications.
Precedent: The never-married, no children SoS Condi Rice.
2) Stick with the DoS server for government stuff and use standard easily hackable pedestrian traffic quality commerical email as offered by a big commercial browser, like Comey repeatedly hint at (for reasons: see below).
Precedent: Colin Powell.
3) Stick only with the DoS server and expose her privacy to career Republican hacks and assorted fruitnutbars embedded in the U.S. intelligence community.
Precedent: None. Well, John Kerry maybe, but it's early yet.
4) Start with the DoS server for Dos stuff and a private server you hope no one figures out exists for private stuff, but get too freaking busy at your job to bother with constantly self-checking on this, so have aides use THEIR accounts for the clearly DoS stuff and just resort to private server for everything, on the understanding that the other end of all comms being caught by the the DoS server or at least some .gov server will ensure all DoS stuff gets preserved for DoS archived records.
Precedent: None; she's it, baby, and ain't nobody gonna try THIS one again (except tech keeps changing so fast, WTF knows anything, really).
5) Don't take the job.
6) Que sera sera.

I'm okay with 6. Why? Because I was in government, a long time, and the obsession with secrecy and classification is clownish and unworkable. See this:
and install this site among your regular reads: https://fas.org/blogs/secrecy/

Does it sound like I'm actually endorsing what HRC did? In a sense, yes: I think she thought about it, and that she meant well, and that it actually worked but Comey doesn't want to admit it, or it MOSTLY worked better than Comey wants to admit.

We don't live in a perfect world of perfect secrets, and I'm okay with that too. I actually feel BETTER now for what HRC tried to do and very probably accomplished.

Feud Turgidson said...

Ah, crap, I forgot the "reasons" for Comey to act all condemnatory.
First, he's an anal guy and a Republican. That's who we get as FBI Directors, folks; it's in the nature of the job. We get uptight rod up the wazoo types who get so fixated they turn weird and/or borderline dangerous to our democracy (like J. Edgar Hoover and Louis Freeh), or you really don't want to know what they can get up to (Deepthroat himself was effetively FBI director for several years.).
So, naturally Comey's going to side with the establishment US intelligence community; he's been a central figure in it for most of his career, both public and private.
Second, Comey is no idiot, he KNOWS this doesn't secrecy bullshit system doesn't work - but he also knows HRC is a safe product and representative of the very system he serves and that he can work with her as well if not better than anyone period (which ALL of us know, really, for better or worse, to both the detriment and enhancement of HRC's reputation and standing), and he ALSO knows Trump is a disaster.

The only thing that bothers me about this is that Comey's really not the best messanger for mixed legal and political questions, and his confidence in HRC's ability to weather this storm is simply convenient to her opponent. IMO Comey would not even have done this is the pending Republican nominee were, say, JEB.

CF2K said...

Two very apropos bits of backstory analysis, Feud. Thank you. Now I go forth, well-equipped, to do Facebook battle.