Hillary Clinton: Why she’s under investigation—again
President Trump has “nursed a curious and seemingly indefatigable obsession with Hillary Clinton” throughout his presidency, said Abigail Tracy in VanityFair.com. Trump recently tweeted that the Justice Department ought to look into how Clinton got away with deleting 33,000 emails—“No Justice!”—and last week he added that Clinton aide Huma Abedin should be prosecuted for having stored classified emails on her husband’s laptop. Trump’s Clinton obsession has now taken a darker turn. The Department of Justice, it was revealed last week, has indeed reopened an investigation of Clinton’s email practices. At the same time, the FBI is reportedly reviving a dormant investigation into the Clinton Family Foundation, to determine if foundation donors received special favors from Clinton’s State Department. Trump may not have directly ordered reopening these probes. But the timing lends “credence to growing fears that Trump is pushing to weaponize government institutions against his enemies.” At the very least, said Jonathan Chait in NYMag.com, the investigations are designed to protect Trump from the Russia investigation, and “feed the right-wing news media’s message that Trump’s opponents are the real criminals.” At worst, our vindictive president is trying to turn the U.S. into a Russia-like autocracy, where his political opponents really are locked up.
Trump’s “bombastic taunts” contribute to that impression, said Ed Rogers in The Washington Post, but a “fresh look” at the Clinton scandals is entirely justified. We’ve only just learned, for instance, about the anti-Trump bias of investigator Peter Strzok, who changed the words “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless” in the FBI’s statement to Congress about Clinton’s email server, downgrading a possible criminal charge to a wrist slap. To ignore her egregious destruction of emails—and the vast sums raised by the Clinton Foundation from foreign donors—“would suggest a systemic favoritism that is contrary to the American system.” Clinton’s mishandling of classified information was “clearly criminal,” said Andrew McCarthy in NationalReview.com, and was probably driven by a need to cover up her entanglement of State Department and Clinton Foundation business. If we care about “restoring the rule of law,” then truly unbiased investigations are “long overdue.”
Well, that all sounds very familiar, said David Faris in TheWeek.com. From the monumental, years-long travesty of endless Benghazi investigations, all the way back to the vile speculation about the Clintons’ involvement in the death of Vince Foster, the Republican Party has been pursuing baseless “ginned-up rabbit hunts of Clintonworld” for decades. Even with Bill and Hillary both now out of office and retired, the GOP is desperately hoping that a few more Clinton “pseudo-investigations” will distract the public from Trump’s very grave legal jeopardy, and help the GOP “avoid coughing up one or both chambers of Congress in November.”
Many reasonable people think Clinton “deserved to be prosecuted” in the email affair, said The Weekly Standard in an editorial, but she already was investigated and cleared of any crime. For the Justice Department to reopen a closed case now, after public pressure from the president, really does seem like the kind of “political payback” we associate with dictatorships and banana republics. Unless fresh evidence has emerged to justify renewed investigations, said Andrew Prokop in Vox.com, Americans should be deeply troubled. If one day we wake up in a nation where the Justice Department routinely serves to prosecute the president’s political enemies, we may look back at this week as “where it began.” ■