FBI Director James Comey presented a strong case for Hillary Clinton’s prosecution under 18 U.S.C. § 793 (f) which creates criminal liability for gross negligence in the mishandling of certain classified information related to the defense of the U.S. And then, inexplicably, Comey proceeded to announce that he would decline to recommend prosecution.
Comey’s investigation found that both Clinton and her staff mishandled classified information. They also determined that any reasonable person in Clinton’s position would have known that the information should not have been outside secure government servers. Finally, they determined that Clinton was “extremely careless” in her handling of the information. And then, even after noting that the statute does not require intent, seemingly by way of justification Comey went on to say that he would not recommend prosecution because the FBI found no evidence that Clinton intended to harm the U.S.
Which is to say that Comey singlehandedly rewrote the statute, a practice that seems to be habit forming in the Obama Administration. That is, unless there is a difference between “extreme carelessness” and “gross negligence”. Except there isn’t. It is a textbook example of a distinction without a difference. The logical conclusion to draw is that Comey buckled under the political pressure.
Consider that within a week’s time, the AG recused herself in the case after meeting with the target’s husband; the FBI conducted its final interview and declined to recommend prosecution despite its own damning fact-finding. Within hours of the FBI announcement, the President, who had already endorsed the target, hit the campaign trail with said former target. That is how banana republics work.
Democrats may be sorry they got what they hoped for. It is a truly unfortunate twist that aside from Hillary Clinton, the biggest beneficiary of this episode is none other than Donald Trump, a man who is by far the worst qualified person to ever secure the Presidential nomination of a major party. By effectively pronouncing Hillary Clinton guilty on all counts but refusing to recommend prosecution, Comey has saddled the Democrats with a severely, and possibly mortally wounded Hillary Clinton as their standard bearer. She is the only candidate that Donald Trump can conceivably beat in what would otherwise be a Democratic landslide both up and down the ballot.