There are moments in history when the fate of nations lies with the integrity of a single individual.
Such a moment has arisen in the United States with only a minimum of attention, and little fanfare.
Hillary Clinton, a candidate for president whom the polls tells us more than half the respondents do not believe is honest and trustworthy, is accused of having violated State Department protocol by running all her official business through a personal e-mail server.
The polls also reveal that the public is overwhelmingly tired of the whole snarled subject. And as the Clintons, husband and wife, have in the past escaped onus much less punishment for their misdeeds, this too could fall by the wayside. The Clintons are obviously relying on their fanatically loyal base – and indeed even their notoriety — to secure the nomination and the presidency.
But Hillary’s violation of the security norms of the State Department. is an important issue upsetting precedent. And it is one protected by laws on security and the public record.
Common sense tells us that whatever the quibbles about whatever security restraints the documents were labeled with, any message is important which is intended for the eyes of the Secretary of State. He is after all one of the most important officials in the U.S. and during an emergency fourth in line for the presidency. Whether accurate or inaccurate, , for example, a message reaching the Secretary, summing up a critical situation in an ally or an opponent is not only important for the Secretary, the rest of the U.S. government, but for the country under scrutiny.
As the thousands of e-mails tumble out of the State Department’s coffers [so often on a Friday night] defying minute examination except over time and adding to the general confusion, it is perfectly apparent that Hillary Clinton has violated the law. Is that fact enough to justify prosecution, would it result in a conviction and perhaps sentencing, and how damaging would it be to her political ambitions?
Those are questions that could only be answered in time if the indictments are returned. The question of the hour is whether, indeed, the Federal Bureau of Investigation which has been charged with examining the case, refers it to the Attorney General of the U.S. for prosecution. It is, of course, another question whether Loretta E. Lynch, said to be one of the closest advisers – if there is such camaraderie in an Oval Office characterized by manifest arrogance. Attorney-General Lynch might very well reject any FBI request for an indictment – at what risk to her own integrity and that of the staff of Justice Department is to be seen. One recalls the Saturday Night Massacre when in October 1973 President Richard Nixon fired independent Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox during the Watergate affair, and ttorney-General Elliot Richardson an Deputy Attorney-General William Ruckelshaus resigned in protect.
Few are taking note of the precipice on which we stand now. FBI Director James B. Comey’s in basket is now rapidly filling with irrefutable evidence that Hillary Clinton did cross several red lines. And Comey is rapidly coming to that moment when he, and he alone, must decide if the “case” is to be turned over to the attorney-general for prosecution.
Comey was appointed in 2013 to his bastion 10-year term in office by Obama. Surprisingly, he came to the office after being nominated publicly arguing that the Black Lives Matter movement was intimidating law enforcement, that there had been “no mass incarceration” in the 70s and 80s, and while the President’s publicly negated accusations against Hillary even while they were sub judis with the FBI.
Comey has a reputation for impeccable integrity, for forthrightness and actions in pursuit of justice when he was a deputy attorney general in Chicago and New York. That included even taking action against fellow Republicans and including Pres. George W. Bush’s wire-tapping at the National Security Agency. His defense of his boss, Attorney General John Ashcroft, who was the target of investigators after he was hospitalized was considered a brave political act. That characteristic surely now is going to meet its ultimate test.