James A. George
As one who very publicly proclaimed his belief that James Comey was one of the most honest, incorruptible public servants in Washington, before he permanently stained himself and his agency with the corruption so endemic to that swamp of mendacity in these times, I feel uniquely qualified to comment on the serious damage his decision not to prosecute Hillary Clinton has done to our Nation. And, as one who really believed in his integrity and probity, I can certainly agree with his own words in describing himself in a Senate Committee hearing –“a deeply flawed and fallible human being.” That deficiency, obviously not peculiar to Mr. Comey, is one which addresses itself to Mr. Comey and those he has dragged with him into such disrepute. However, as with so much of the lawlessness which will forever be the real legacy of this most corrupt administration in our history, the damage to the Rule of Law—the very foundation of our Republic, as designed by the Founding Fathers—carries the potential of being dangerous and far-reaching. Should, God forbid, Hillary Clinton be elected President, it could well become permanent.
In a post recently on Ricochet.com, the author observed the following, in a piece appropriately entitled “James Comey Is A Disgrace”:
“When James Comey was not eroding everyone’s belief in the competence of the FBI, he was acting as a political hack for the Obama’s and Clinton’s. One of the largest intelligence breaches in American history takes place and director Comey’s response is to hand out immunity to almost everyone involved, ask no follow up questions, and then say he could not prove intent by Hillary Clinton. John Schindler does an excellent job documenting the sham of an investigation.”
“It’s prudent to judge people by comparing how they found something against how they left it. James Comey has destroyed the credibility of the FBI. The man is a disgrace. I do not care if he was feeling pressure from Obama, if he was uncomfortable with that pressure then he should have resigned. He is just another apparatchik along with Loretta Lynch and John Koskinen in an increasingly corrupt and incompetent government.”
I am a great admirer of the writings of Andrew McCarthy, a former Federal prosecutor who was the lead prosecutor of “the Blind sheik” in the successful prosecution of that radical Islamic terrorist for his role in planning the first World Trade Center attack in the early ‘90’s. Thus, when he analyzes matters prosecutorial, this non-criminal-defense lawyer credits his opinions as highly as any commentator on the scene today. Way back in the distant mists of February, he opined that
“As I explained in February, when it emerged that the White House was refusing to disclose at least 22 communications Obama had exchanged with then-secretary Clinton over the latter’s private e-mail account, we knew that Obama had knowingly engaged in the same misconduct that was the focus of the Clinton probe: the reckless mishandling of classified information.”
“Still, the difference in scale is not a difference in kind. In terms of the federal laws that criminalize mishandling of classified information, Obama not only engaged in the same type of misconduct Clinton did; he engaged in it with Clinton. It would not have been possible for the Justice Department to prosecute Clinton for her offense without its becoming painfully apparent that 1) Obama, too, had done everything necessary to commit a violation of federal law, and 2) the communications between Obama and Clinton were highly relevant evidence.”
He concluded at that time:
“To summarize, we have a situation in which (a) Obama knowingly communicated with Clinton over a non-government, non-secure e-mail system; (b) Obama and Clinton almost certainly discussed matters that are automatically deemed classified under the president’s own guidelines; and (c) at least one high-ranking government official (Petraeus) has been prosecuted because he failed to maintain the security of highly sensitive intelligence that included policy-related conversations with Obama. From these facts and circumstances, we must deduce that it is possible, if not highly likely, that President Obama himself has been grossly negligent in handling classified information.”
More recent analyses have shown rather clearly that, in all probability due in large part due to the President’s own exposure to liability (see, e.g., United States v. Nixon) if these e-mails were to be made public, as they absolutely would be in any prosecution of Clinton, there never was a plan to do anything but let her skate.
As McCarthy discussed a few days ago, Clinton aide Cheryl Mills, her Chief of Staff during her tenure as Secretary of State (N.B.: not her attorney), who was a target of the investigation, was allowed to represent Clinton as her attorney in her “voluntary” interview—an “unheard-of accommodation … made in violation not only of rudimentary investigative protocols and attorney-ethics rules, but also of the federal criminal law.”
He further notes that Comey kept stressing that Clinton’s interview was “voluntary” and that she could impose any conditions on her appearance she wanted to impose. This is, of course, pure fantasy, as any person in that situation (except, of course, The Dowager Duchess of Chappaqua) who insisted on having present in her interview a target of the investigation, who was not her lawyer, would have simply been handed a subpoena and directed down the hall where a Grand Jury would be waiting for her to testify—“under oath and all by her lonesome, without any of her lawyer legion in attendance.”
In the Wall Street Journal, Kimberley Strassel addressed questions posed by Rep. Tom Marino, a former Justice Department prosecutor, as to why
“…. Ms. Mills was so courteously offered immunity in return for her laptop—a laptop that Mr. Comey admitted investigators were very keen to obtain. Why not simply impanel a grand jury, get a subpoena, and seize the evidence?”
“Mr. Comey’s answer was enlightening: “It’s a reasonable question. . . . Any time you are talking about the prospect of subpoenaing a computer from a lawyer—that involves the lawyer’s practice of law—you know you are getting into a big megillah.” Pressed further, he added: “In general, you can often do things faster with informal agreements, especially when you are interacting with lawyers.” ”
The key words: “The lawyer’s practice of law.” What Mr. Comey was referencing here is attorney-client privilege. Ms. Mills was able to extract an immunity deal, avoid answering questions, and sit in on Mrs. Clinton’s FBI interview because she has positioned herself as Hillary’s personal lawyer. Ms. Mills could therefore claim that any conversations or interactions she had with Mrs. Clinton about the private server were protected by attorney-client privilege.
She then illustrates how easily Mills conned (there really is no other way to describe the way she lied her way into both the interview with Clinton and her own immunity agreement) the apparently eager-to-please FBI agents and Justice Department lawyers by telling them she did not know about Clinton’s server until they both left the State Department. At one point, she even said she didn’t even know what a server was! As McCarthy observed, these obvious fabrications don’t even pass the laugh test, but they were accepted hook, line and sinker by these inside-the-Beltway “investigators” (why does the phrase “Keystone Kops” come to mind?) who were busy constructing their Potemkin village to help Clinton stagger to the White House.
Now, if all that pile of corruption stench is not overpowering enough, it has just been learned that side agreements were reached with Mills and another member of the Clinton team in which the FBI agreed (1) to destroy their laptops after reviewing their contents and (2) limited their search to no later than January 31, 2015, preventing the Bureau from discovering if there was any evidence of obstruction of justice. According to a Fox News summary of these truly bizarre agreements:
“Judiciary Committee aides told FoxNews.com that the destruction of the laptops is particularly troubling as it means that the computers could not be used as evidence in future legal proceedings, should new information or circumstances arise.”
“Committee aides also asked why the FBI and DOJ would enter into a voluntary negotiation to begin with, when the laptops could be obtained condition-free via a subpoena.”
“The letter also asked why the DOJ agreed to limit their search of the laptops to files before Jan. 31, 2015, which would “give up any opportunity to find evidence related to the destruction of evidence or obstruction of justice related to Secretary Clinton’s unauthorized use of a private email server during her tenure as Secretary of State.” ”
“Aides expressed shock at the parameter, saying it is especially troubling as Mills and Samuelson already had immunity from the consequences of whatever might be on the laptop.”
““You’re essentially extending immunity to everyone,” one aide said.”
These house-of-mirrors shenanigans have now been brought to the attention of the D.C. Bar Association in a letter outlining the ethical violations by the Republican National Committee. Based on the Clintons’ records over the past 30 years, there is scant reason for optimism that these transgressions, which would bring this lawyer and any other not favored by the aura (perhaps “aroma” might be more appropriate here) of the Clintons into a disciplinary hearing, will be acted upon, but perhaps there is some reason to hope that the Bar will fairly discharge its obligations.
This strange and – may I say it?—deplorable parade of one corrupt act following closely upon the heels of another has even caused scholars of a decidedly leftist persuasion to raise questions about the glaring double-standards being applied. One such scholar had this to say:
“As Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University and who first defended the FBI’s decision not to prosecute Hillary, recently put it:”
“Of all of the individuals who would warrant immunity, most would view Mills as the very last on any list. If one assumes that there may have been criminal conduct, it is equivalent to immunizing H.R. Haldeman and John D. Ehrlichman in the investigation of Watergate.”
As Americans who love our country and who simply do not want to believe that the persons leading our government are engaged in the destruction of evidence, lying under oath, impeding proper investigations, granting favorable treatment and immunity to certain favored persons where no one else in the country would ever get such treatment—even to targets of a criminal investigation. As a lawyer who practiced in many Courts of Law for many years, it is especially grievous—painful!—to witness the steady dismantling of the Rule of Law by conduct which is clearly, under any objective analysis, thoroughly and deeply corrupt.
One of the best summaries of what we’re faced with was written by Col. Lawrence Sellin (U.S. Army, Ret’d), a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq, and captures the way so many of us feel about the sewer known as the Obama Administration. He said:
“Comey’s performance in office is symptomatic of a problem that cuts across the entire political-media establishment, namely the desperate attempts being undertaken by those trying to preserve the corrupt status quo.”
“As part of that effort, the FBI Director joins a long list of aspiring office holders and fawning journalists willing to exchange integrity for the opportunity to audition for a seat at Hillary Clinton’s Presidential dinner table.”
“President Trump should fire James Comey.”
It is my fervent wish that this is President Trump’s second official act, right after ordering his Justice Department to forthwith issue an indictment against Hillary Rodham Clinton.
God Bless America.