Hillary Clinton is currently the subject of the highest-profile national-security investigation in recent memory. She is also the presumptive Democratic nominee for president. She is also the wife of a former president (a Democrat). She is also a former member of the (Democratic) presidential cabinet whose attorney general, Loretta Lynch (a Democrat), is conducting the investigation and will determine whether to prosecute.
Someone who doesn’t know any better might wonder about a conflict — or conflicts — of interest.
Now it emerges that on Monday evening Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch spent a half-hour chatting aboard Lynch’s private plane on the tarmac at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Rest assured, though: “There was no discussion of any matter pending for the department or any matter pending for any other body,” Lynch told reporters afterward. She and the former president mainly discussed Clinton’s “grandchildren,” their travels, and “golf.”
If it was not already clear, it most certainly is now: It’s not simply that our highest officials are above the law. It’s that they know they are, and they can’t even be bothered to hide it.
An attorney general capable of feeling even an ounce of shame would have nixed the meeting with Clinton in the interest of projecting some modicum of objectivity.
For more than a year, we’ve known that Hillary Clinton broke the law. The Federal Records Act explicitly requires “the head of each Federal agency” — including the secretary of state — to preserve any “records,” including e-mails, related to the agency’s essential operations; and federal criminal law punishes as a felony anyone who “willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies, or destroys” an official government record. Furthermore, at least 2,000 of the e-mails on Clinton’s private server contained classified, or even “top secret,” information — in direct contradiction of her assurances, and the law. Finally, it became public knowledge in October that Clinton forwarded the real name of a confidential CIA source over her unsecured private server; shortly after, the State Department refused to release three-dozen pages of e-mails on the grounds that the intelligence contained in them could potentially damage national security.
Yet, despite the overwhelming evidence, Loretta Lynch is almost certainly not going to prosecute the former secretary of state. The Democrats’ hold on power is at stake. Failure to prosecute would be a grievous blow to the rule of law, but it seems that Democratic higher-ups don’t much care.
And, what is more, they can’t even be bothered to pretend. An attorney general capable of feeling even an ounce of shame would have nixed the meeting with Clinton in the interest of projecting some modicum of objectivity. Even Bill Clinton, for whom being alone with a woman on a private plane is just an average Monday, might have been persuaded that this particular rendezvous was bad optics.
But apparently not.
#related#For years, Democrats have decried the “appearance” of impropriety among officeholders. When the Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United that independent expenditures “do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption,” New York governor Andrew Cuomo called the reasoning “either naïve or Machiavellian.” Democrats have long contended that even the appearance of impropriety — let alone actual corruption — undermines public confidence in the government. Just imagine if Alberto Gonzales had had a private pow-wow with Scooter Libby’s wife in 2006.
But Democrats are, as always, exempt from their own rules. What has changed is that they’re no longer even pretending otherwise.