Withhold your judgment as the fireworks explode today. The opinion of most of our readers, Republicans and Democrats won’t matter. Our opinion on what happened today when F.B.I. Director James Comey announced he will not recommend charges be filed against Hillary Clinton in regards to her private server and emails won’t matter. The final judgment will come from the independent voters. Think O.J. Simpson.
O.J. Simpson… we don’t have to recall that sordid case in all its bloody details. The bottom line was that O.J. Simpson, currently in jail, escaped a guilty judgment in court but the public opinion was that it was O.J. Simpson that sliced his wife and Goldman. Unlike O.J. Simpson, for Hillary Clinton public opinion is everything. The opinion of independents will be paramount. The evidence from today puts us back in O.J. Simpson Brentwood:
FBI recommends no charges against Clinton in email probe
But Comey scolds Clinton and her aides for ‘extremely careless’ handling of highly classified information.
“Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is information that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information,” Comey told reporters in Washington, D.C., noting that the probe has found that the former secretary of state used several different email servers and numerous devices during her time in office.
Even so, Comey added later, “Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case. Prosecutors necessarily weigh a number of factors before deciding whether to bring charges.” [snip]
While the FBI’s recommendation not to bring charges removes a significant hurdle in the way of Clinton and her presidential campaign, the presumptive Democratic nominee is likely to continue facing questions about her use of private email until November and beyond.
Comey’s decision to pepper his remarks with an array of judgmental language directed at Clinton and her aides provided plenty of fodder for Republicans eager to drive home with voters the former secretary of state’s trustworthiness problem.
Still, Republicans quickly denounced the decision by Comey, who was appointed to his current role by President Barack Obama in 2013 and had been appointed to his prior roles by George W. Bush.
“The system is rigged. General Petraeus got in trouble for far less. Very very unfair! As usual, bad judgment,” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning, making reference to the disgraced former CIA director who resigned in the wake of an extramarital affair with his biographer with whom he had shared classified information.
Trump reiterated his claims of a rigged system in a subsequent tweet. “FBI director said Crooked Hillary compromised our national security. No charges. Wow! #RiggedSystem,” he wrote. [snip]
Some of the findings contradicted statements from Clinton’s camp, which has long sought to downplay the seriousness of the probe and of the classified information on Clinton’s private server.
Those “contradictions” are fodder for Trump2016:
Of the 30,000 emails Clinton turned over to the State Department in 2014, Comey announced that 110 emails in 52 separate chains had been determined to contain classified information “at the time they were sent or received,” contradicting Clinton’s claim that she neither sent nor received information that was deemed classified at the time. Of those, he continued, eight included “Top Secret” information, while 36 chains had “Secret” information at the time it was received, and eight contained “Confidential” information, the lowest level of classification.
“None of these emails should have been on any kind of unclassified system, but their presence is especially concerning because all of these emails were housed on unclassified personal servers not even supported by full-time security staff, like those found at departments and agencies of the U.S. government — or even with a commercial service like Gmail,” Comey said.
In addition to those emails, Comey continued, another 2,000 were “up-classified” to make them “Confidential” after they had already been sent.
“But even if information is not marked ‘classified’ in an email, participants who know or should know that the subject matter is classified are still obligated to protect it,” Comey said.
The battle for public opinion is on. We wonder what Martha Stewart is thinking today. We know what Rudy Giuliani believes:
Former prosecutor & NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani: "Shocked" at FBI director Comey's conclusion in Clinton e-mail probe pic.twitter.com/3HLxmkVjRD
— CNBC Now (@CNBCnow) July 5, 2016
FBI Director Comey will not recommend criminal charges in this case although he stated that in other cases with similar circumstances charges might be filed (“To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences.”) There might be civil charges. Today another firecracker exploded:
On the same day that the FBI announced that the criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server is likely to conclude without any charges, a federal appeals court issued a ruling that could complicate and prolong a slew of ongoing civil lawsuits over access to the messages Clinton and her top aides traded on personal accounts.
In a decision Tuesday in a case not involving Clinton directly, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held that messages contained in a personal email account can sometimes be considered government records subject to Freedom of Information Act requests. [snip]
At least one federal judge handling a FOIA suit focused on Clinton’s emails said last month he was watching to see how the D.C. Circuit ruled in the dispute involving Obama science adviser John Holdren and an account he kept on a server at the non-profit Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts. [snip]
While the opinions in the case make no mention of Clinton or her private server, it seems evident that all three appeals judges involved are aware of the obvious analogy.
“If a department head can deprive the citizens of their right to know what his department is up to by the simple expedient of maintaining his departmental emails on an account in another domain, that purpose is hardly served. It would make as much sense to say that the department head could deprive requestors of hard-copy documents by leaving them in a file at his daughter’s house and then claiming that they are under her control,” Judge David Sentelle wrote in an opinion joined by Judge Harry Edwards. [snip]
While it’s difficult to predict exactly how the appeals court’s decision will affect the ongoing Clinton-related FOIA litigation, the ruling seems likely to bolster efforts by conservative groups to press for more answers from Clinton, her aides and the State Department about how her private server system was set up, why it wasn’t searched in response to FOIA requests and how Clinton’s lawyers determined that about 32,000 messages in her account were purely personal.
The fight for public opinion will be a free fire zone for Donald J. Trump. At some point soon the FBI agents and prosecutors who wanted an indictment will begin to leak information. It won’t be pretty.
Donald J. Trump’s campaign message to Make America Great Again is premised in part on the idea that the system is rigged and protects the powerful. Donald Trump, fairly or unfairly, will use today’s Comey recommendation to appeal to public opinion and unite Republicans behind him. As we know from the recent Brexit fight in Merry Ol’ England the public is in a fury over the rigged system abroad and elections don’t go the way they were rigged. Here at home, the public is in a fury too as we have seen in 2010 and 2014 and most recently with the ascent of Donald Trump to the GOP nomination.
Bernie Sanders supporters might understand what Trump is talking about:
Sanders supporters melt down over FBI’s Clinton decision
(CNN)It’s not only Donald Trump and Republicans expressing their indignation at the FBI’s decision not to recommend charges against Hillary Clinton over her handling of classified materials on a private email server.
— Rosario Dawson (@rosariodawson) July 5, 2016
The battle for public opinion is on. The evidence will flow:
FBI Says Hillary Clinton Claim on Reading Emails Was False
Her staff gave reporters information the FBI found to be untrue
The FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email uncovered evidence that her spokesman gave reporters false information in 2015 about the process lawyers used to sort personal emails prior to deletion.
Clinton press secretary Nick Merrill previously told TIME that her attorneys had individually read every email to determine if it was a government document or personal correspondence. “Every one of the more than 60,000 emails were read. Period,” Merrill wrote in one email to a TIME reporter dated March 14, 2015.
The FBI concluded that this claim was false.
FBI Director Comey Obliterated These Hillary Talking Points:
Clinton talking point No. 1: Her emails were not classified [snip]
Clinton talking point No. 2: She returned all work-related emails [snip]
Clinton talking point No. 3: Classified emails were not “marked” classified [snip]
Clinton talking point No. 4: She took the security of her email system seriously [snip]
Clinton talking point No. 5: It was a “security review” rather than a criminal investigation [snip]
Clinton talking point No. 6: Her lawyers read through all of her emails
In the battle for public opinion Donald J. Trump can explode fireworks while Hillary2016 has a lot of ‘splaining to do:
It was good news for Clinton, but Comey’s statement was full of bad news, too. Clinton and her team “were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information,” Comey said.
Here is what the FBI found:
She sent and received classified information [snip]
Some emails have been lost [snip]
Her email might have been hacked
Today, Hillary Clinton campaigned with Barack Obama in battleground North Carolina. Tonight (6:30 EDT), Donald J. Trump campaigns with firework oratory in North Carolina. The battle for public opinion is on.