On July 5, FBI Director James Comey finally answered the question that’s been hanging out there for months: Will Hillary Clinton be criminally indicted for irregularities having to do with the private email server she used for official business as secretary of state?
In case you missed it, the answer was “no.” The reaction of Clinton’s critics shows another perfect example of the kind of overreaching that explains why they’re always angry and frustrated.
Some of us have been, to say the very least, skeptical of the confident assertions from the Raging Right that Clinton was going to be indicted over what Bernie Sanders called her “damn emails.”
Because let’s face it, we’ve been hearing “Hillary’s going to jail! Real soon now!” since 1992.
Unfortunately for the wingnuts, every investigation — Cattlegate, Travelgate, Whitewater, etc. — all the way up to the latest attempt to politicize the tragic deaths of four Americans in Benghazi — has come up with a big fat zero as far as any criminal charges are concerned. Now it’s happened again.
Even Donald Trump knew it wasn’t going to happen.
On July 2, three days before the press conference, he took to Twitter to inform us that “sources” had announced that “no charges will be brought against Crooked Hillary Clinton. Like I said, the system is totally rigged!”
When the announcement was made confirming this, House Speaker Paul Ryan was equally outraged.
“This announcement defies explanation,” he said.
You know, the Trumpkins remind me of nothing so much as a bunch of spoiled little boys yelling “Cheater! Cheater!” every time they lose a ball game. Except little boys occasionally wait for the game to be over. The problem is, in their obsession with seeing Hillary Clinton in jail, they blow right past some legitimate criticisms in the report.
The director clearly said that “no reasonable prosecutor would bring a case” because the FBI never found any evidence of intent to violate the law or to hurt the United States and no intent to obstruct justice from the deletion of some emails.
He did say that “Secretary Clinton or her colleagues” were “extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.” Further, he went on to say that the State Department as a whole “was generally lacking in the kind of care for classified information found elsewhere in the government.”
That’s actually worrisome, when you think about it.
Faced with a critical-but-not-criminal report, Trump could go one of two ways:
One, he could switch from his tiresome and unsupported “Crooked Hillary” mantra to “Careless Clinton” and use it to question Clinton’s judgment.
Two, he could screw his tinfoil hat on tighter and keep ranting that the FBI is corrupt because she’s not going to jail. As we’ve seen, Trump’s pre-emptively boxed himself into option one. He’s not very flexible when it comes to tactics, so this probably won’t change.
It’s exactly like the Benghazi mess.
There are serious questions that could and should have been asked about what happened there, including but not limited to whether we should have been intervening in Libya in the first place (something which, you may remember, I said was a ‘terrible idea.’ You can look it up).
Beyond that, you could legitimately question whether we should have had rapid response forces closer to Benghazi when we did, and soberly discuss whether that would have made a difference.
But noooooo. After all, how are you going to get eyeballs glued to the Fox News and CNN shoutfests if you talk about wonky policy stuff like that?
What draws the viewers are wild claims like the one that Secretary Clinton or President Obama told rescuers within striking distance to “stand down”; that Clinton personally denied security requests by the ambassador; or even that Clinton “faked a concussion” to avoid talking to one of the seemingly endless witch-hunts (sorry, congressional committees) investigating the murders.
And all of those committees, after spending months and millions of dollars, came up with the following that would lead to Hillary Clinton facing criminal sanctions: another big fat zero.
Come to think of it, though, there’s probably a reason why the Republicans don’t want to get into questions about something as mushy as a candidate’s “judgment.”
They are, after all, about to nominate Donald Trump, a man whose bad judgment in word and deed is truly breathtaking in both its breadth and depth.
So they’ll continue to hope for the criminal indictment that might knock their opponent out, and will once again find themselves fuming and clutching an empty bag while the woman they love to hate stumbles to the White House.
“Clinton 2016: She May Be Careless, But She’s Not Crazy.” Not the most compelling bumper sticker, but it’ll do in a pinch.