FBI Director James Comey's remarks on how former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and her staff handled her emails were so scathing that for a few moments I thought, "My gosh, he's going to do it."
But Comey went on to say that, while Clinton was reckless and careless in the matter of our national security, he could find no evidence of criminal intent. Still, despite the crowing from the Democrats, the report paints a devastating picture of Clinton & Co.
It's amazing that Mrs. Clinton has been in public life as long as she has and still doesn't know how to manage or seem to know or care if she is may be compromising U.S. security. The woman is a mess–and yet she always manages to come out ahead.
Comey said while there was no "clear evidence" Clinton or her aides intentionally allowed that classified information to pass through, "there is evidence they were extremely careless in their handling of secure government information."
"Any reasonable person" in Clinton's position, Comey added, "should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that kind of conversation."
Comey said that "no reasonable prosecutor" would go ahead with criminal charges, and I take him at his word. But others are aghast. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan put out a statement saying that Comey's action "defies explanation:"
"While I respect the law enforcement professionals at the FBI, this announcement defies explanation. No one should be above the law. But based upon the director's own statement, it appears damage is being done to the rule of law. Declining to prosecute Secretary Clinton for recklessly mishandling and transmitting national security information will set a terrible precedent. The findings of this investigation also make clear that Secretary Clinton misled the American people when she was confronted with her criminal actions. While we need more information about how the Bureau came to this recommendation, the American people will reject this troubling pattern of dishonesty and poor judgment."
In a piece headlined "Hillary's Banana Republic," David French is astounded that Comey demolished Clinton's untruths and then ensured that she will face no consequences:
Rarely have 30 minutes of television so perfectly encapsulated the decline and fall of the rule of law and the extraordinary privileges enjoyed by America’s liberal elite. After listing abuse after abuse — and detailing lie after lie — Comey declared that “no reasonable prosecutor” would prosecute Hillary for her obvious and manifest crimes. It is good to be a Clinton.
Comey noted that Mrs. Clinton's server was less secure that Google Gmail and that she had used a non-secure device to communicate in hostile parts of the world.
Andrew McCarthy says that in order not to make a criminal recommendation, Comey had to rewrite the law:
In essence, in order to give Mrs. Clinton a pass, the FBI rewrote the statute, inserting an intent element that Congress did not require. The added intent element, moreover, makes no sense: The point of having a statute that criminalizes gross negligence is to underscore that government officials have a special obligation to safeguard national defense secrets; when they fail to carry out that obligation due to gross negligence, they are guilty of serious wrongdoing. The lack of intent to harm our country is irrelevant. People never intend the bad things that happen due to gross negligence.
And Jonah Goldberg just doesn't get it:
[Comey] began by saying intent didn’t matter under the law. But even so, do we believe that she didn’t intend to set up the server? Do we believe that she didn’t intend to put her privacy and political security above national security? She’d been warned about the server and did it anyway. I’m obviously no lawyer but that looks like intentionality and willfulness to me. As for the strength of the evidence . . . what more evidence do you need? There were not one but apparently several unsecured servers set up and paid for by Mrs. Clinton to house and transmit classified information. Comey said she was “extremely careless.” Is that just a tick below “gross negligence”? What am I missing?
Hot Air suggests that the interview with Clinton over the weekend was just a formality–that the decision had been made. It also points to an intriguing bit in Comey's remarks:
To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences. To the contrary, those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions. But that is not what we are deciding now.