So much for consequences. Even while declining to recommend prosecution of Hillary Clinton for the unauthorized retention and transmission of classified information through her private e-mail system, FBI Director James Comey envisioned “security or administrative sanctions” for Hillary and her team. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper refuses to consider any such sanctions, making it clear to House Speaker Paul Ryan that it will be business as usual with the Clintons:
Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan’s request to block Hillary Clinton from receiving classified intelligence briefings was denied by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on Monday.
In a letter to Ryan, Clapper wrote that he did “not intend to withhold briefings from any officially nominated, eligible candidate.”
A spokeswoman for Ryan, AshLee Strong, said in a statement that “We obviously disagree with the decision and want to know what precautions will be taken and what assurances the director can give that Secretary Clinton won’t mishandle classified information. She has proven herself untrustworthy.”
Ryan himself declared that the decision “defies explanation,” but of course it doesn’t. While there may be some question whether the Department of Justice would try anyone whose name didn’t rhyme with Shmillary Shminton in similar circumstances (not much, though), there is no doubt — zero — that anyone with a track record of mishandling classified information even close to this scale would be denied access to nat-sec data forever. That might not apply to those who win election to official positions in the US government, such as Congress and the presidency, but … Hillary holds no elective office at the moment.
What about Hillary’s aides, such as Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills, and Jake Sullivan? Will the DNI deny them access? They were part of the same system that exhibited gross negligence in handling classified information, regardless of whether Comey chose to push the case or not. One does not need to be convicted of a crime to lose their clearance, after all, and this group seems like an especially egregious example of negligence at best. They’re not running for election and no one owes them access.
Meanwhile, House Republicans have made the formal move to take another bite out of the Hillary e-mail scandal apple:
House Republicans on Monday formally asked the Justice Department to investigate Hillary Clinton and determine whether she lied to Congress, a fresh challenge certain to shadow the Democratic presidential candidate. …
Reps. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the Oversight panel, and Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., head of the Judiciary Committee, said in a letter that “evidence collected by the FBI during its investigation of Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal email system appears to directly contradict several aspects of her sworn testimony.”
“In light of those contradictions, the department should investigate and determine whether to prosecute Secretary Clinton for violating statutes that prohibit perjury and false statements to Congress, or any other relevant statutes,” the two congressmen wrote.
As I noted last week, this is a long shot. Yes, the evidence contradicts Hillary’s testimony, but that’s not enough for a prosecution. Even more so than with 18 USC 793 (f), prosecutors have to find intent and materiality in order to win. Clearly, the prevailing attitude at the Department of Justice (and now the DNI) is that Clintons are gonna Clinton, and what are ya gonna do?
That doesn’t defy explanation. It’s exactly the way the Clintons have demanded they be treated — as above the law — and have largely succeeded in getting their way, too. It’s that latter part that defies explanation.