The word “inevitable” has begun to take on a whole new meaning in the context of Hillary Clinton’s bid for the White House in 2016. Once considered the prohibitive favorite not only for her own parties nomination but also in any matchup in the general election, a rising chorus is predicting that the email scandal that has embroiled Clinton for almost a year will lead to prosecution of the former Secretary of State.
Clinton’s “home town” newspaper, the New York Post — not known for being a bastion of conservatism — laid out the case in very plain language recently that Clinton’s inner circle routinely disregarded well known security protocols in a manner which was without question illegal in nature:
“It takes a very conscious effort to move a classified e-mail or cable from the classified systems over to the unsecured open system and then send it to Hillary Clinton’s personal e-mail account,” said Raymond Fournier, a veteran Diplomatic Security Service special agent. “That’s no less than a two-conscious-step process.”
He says it’s clear from some of the classified e-mails made public that someone on Clinton’s staff essentially “cut and pasted” content from classified cables into the messages sent to her. The classified markings are gone, but the content is classified at the highest levels — and so sensitive in nature that “it would have been obvious to Clinton.” Most likely the information was, in turn, e-mailed to her via NIPRNet.
To work around the closed, classified systems, which are accessible only by secure desktop workstations whose hard drives must be removed and stored overnight in a safe, Clinton’s staff would have simply retyped classified information from the systems into the non-classified system or taken a screen shot of the classified document, Fournier said. “Either way, it’s totally illegal.”
Meanwhile, the State Department has stalled the final release of Clinton’s emails while they undergo “intra-agency review”, a process that some have said is intentionally delaying what could be damning disclosures effecting voting in early primary states.
“Unless and until State explains how over 7,000 pages that were already reviewed and identified as needing review by at least one other agency were lost for up to six months, and then suddenly found again just weeks before the deadline to produce them, the Court should view skeptically State’s assertion that this constitutes a legitimate ‘unexpected’ event,” lawyers Ryan James and Jeffrey Light wrote in a court filing Monday morning on behalf of Vice News reporter Jason Leopold.
“Allowing State to delay the release of thousands of pages of a presidential candidate’s work emails, especially when they have already garnered so much media and public attention, until after four states have voted and until just hours before another 11 states and American Samoa will vote, would deny Mr. Leopold of the opportunity to realize the fruits of his year-long pursuit of these records which he and the public have a legal right under [the Freedom of Information Act] to obtain,” James and Light wrote.
Former House Majority Leader Tom Delay is among those voices saying that prosecution is the next step in the email imbroglio:
“I have friends that are in the FBI and they tell me they’re ready to indict,” DeLay said Monday on “The Steve Malzberg Show.”
“They’re ready to recommend an indictment and they also say that if the attorney general does not indict, they’re going public.”
FBI Director James Comey is known as a very non-political actor who will push back ferociously on any attempts to sweep malfeasance on the part of Hillary Clinton under the rug:
As FBI Director, Comey was completely in the loop on the decision to bring charges against Petraeus, so Clinton’s case is familiar territory for him. Cuccinelli says that if the FBI’s handling of Petraeus is any guide, Comey’s agents are likely to recommend a Clinton indictment to the Department of Justice.
Then, the issue becomes really high-stakes.
There is no time limit on how long Attorney General Loretta Lynch and the DOJ can take in reviewing the FBI’s recommendation and the evidence on which it’s based. But if the Department of Justice gives the signal that they’re going to ignore the FBI’s investigations, or drag out their own review past election day, Cuccinelli — along with Judge Andrew Napolitano, Roger Stone, Charles Krauthammer, and other observers — predicts that Comey will resign in protest, and other high-level FBI officials could follow him out the door.
Not many people remember that Comey almost resigned a high-profile law-enforcement job once before, upset because he thought White House politics were overruling the law. Back in 2004, Comey was Attorney General John Ashcroft’s top deputy. The Justice Department determined that the Bush administration’s domestic-surveillance program, run by the National Security Agency, was illegal. Ashcroft was hospitalized at the time with a pancreatic ailment, and his authority had been transferred to Comey during the hospitalization. Then–White House counsel Alberto R. Gonzales and President Bush’s chief of staff, Andrew H. Card Jr., went to the hospital to persuade Ashcroft to re-authorize the program. Comey and then–FBI director Robert Mueller raced to the hospital to lobby Ashcroft against signing the authorization papers.
Ultimately, Bush agreed with the Justice Department’s assessment and scrapped the program. Comey later told Congress that he, Ashcroft, Mueller, and their aides had prepared a mass resignation in case the White House ignored or defied their legal assessment.
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