John wrote yesterday about how Barack Obama has been working behind the scenes to move large dollar Democratic donors away from Bernie Sanders and towards Hillary Clinton. This, combined with various attacks from his bully pulpit on Donald Trump, have led to the correct conclusion that Obama will wind up being one of the most active presidents in modern history in terms of the election of his successor. This was a point made this week by Juliet Eilperin at the Washington Post. Traditionally, Presidents have bent over backward to at least lend the patina of non-involvement in such an election, allowing the voters to make their own choice, but not so in this case.
But we learned something else from this episode if you’re willing to look into the tea leaves closely enough. Michelle Jesse came to the same conclusion I did yesterday.
But the bigger point is, why would President Obama tell his party to unite around a candidate at serious risk of criminal indictment — when all signs from the FBI would indicate a very good chance, if not a certainty, that indictment will be recommended based on the investigation? Of course, he would only do such a thing if he knew — was determined — that, no matter what, the chosen candidate would not be charged.
Hillary Clinton herself has appeared to think she’s untouchable — even declaring with certainty that she will not be indicted. “Oh, for goodness, it’s not going to happen. I’m not even answering that question,” Clinton said recently in Miami.
There’s a reason that these two stories are so closely interwoven. If Barack Obama were taking the usual stance of presidents past he would simply express his support for whichever Democrat the voters chose in the primary and get on with his life, but this cycle has a number of wildcards mixed into the deck. You’d be hard pressed to find a parallel in the history of American politics where a major party presidential candidate was on the verge of winning the nomination while simultaneously facing the threat of indictment on serious criminal charges. (We won’t count Nixon in 72 because the break-in at the Watergate hotel didn’t happen until June of that year and there wasn’t a conviction until after Nixon was reelected and sworn in the following January.)
With the President being so clearly invested in electing a Democrat in general and Hillary Clinton in particular to continue his legacy, there’s simply no way he would risk putting his thumb on the scale for a candidate who might be essentially disqualified if she had to run the last stage of her campaign from a jail cell. With all that in mind, it’s difficult to conclude anything other than a presumption that Obama knows that Clinton will face no such peril. But how could he know that if the investigation isn’t even finished yet?
It’s a question which is answered rather easily, and it all comes down to Huma Abedin. It’s true that we’ve previously speculated that Huma might be the undoing of Clinton once all of her records are examined, but she also serves as an example of just how far the Obama administration is willing to go to block any damage to Clinton’s historic candidacy. When the Inspectors General turned over an embezzlement case against Abedin for prosecution, the Justice Department promptly dropped it in the circular file as an act of prosecutorial discretion and that was the end of it.
Is there any reason that they won’t do the same with Hillary Clinton herself? There are only two people who can know the answer to that question with certainty and they are Barack Obama himself and Attorney General Loretta Lynch. If the fix is in and Lynch has been told to flush any recommendation she receives from the FBI or other law enforcement officials, Clinton is in the clear and the campaign can continue without losing any sleep. But if there was even a chance that an indictment was coming, you’d see Barack Obama sidestepping away from Hillary as fast as his feet could carry him.
The game is rigged, folks. At this point even the FBI must be wondering why they’re even bothering with all this work.