Ever since the FBI announced this week that they are closing the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email habits while she was Secretary of State, my right wing friends (yes I have quite a few of those) have been apoplectic. Why? Because the director of the FBI said,
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 bringing charges. There are obvious considerations, like the strength of the evidence, especially regarding intent. Responsible decisions also consider the context of a person’s actions, and how similar situations have been handled in the past.
In looking back at our investigations into mishandling or removal of classified information, we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts. All the cases prosecuted involved some combination of: clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information; or vast quantities of materials exposed in such a way as to support an inference of intentional misconduct; or indications of disloyalty to the United States; or efforts to obstruct justice. We do not see those things here.
Which means that they recommended to the Department of Justice that they not pursue the case. Following that recommendation, the Attorney General announced yesterday that the case is closed.
Cue the right wing outrage.
In their near irrational hatred of the Clintons (and the Obamas for that matter), my right wing friends cannot wrap their heads around how the FBI investigation could arrive at such a recommendation. To understand it, one needs to look at the statute itself and recognize that in the FBI’s judgement, mishandling 0.367% of emails over the course of a year does not rise to the standard of “gross negligence.” Nor did the investigation uncover any evidence that Mrs. Clinton willfully and intentionally mishandled that same 0.367% of emails. Poor judgement is not necessarily illegal. Careless handling of email traffic is not necessarily illegal. Case closed.
Here’s the sad irony.
This report does not place Hillary Clinton in a glowing light by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, I think the report from the FBI was quite damning and if the GOP had a reasonable candidate, much of what FBI director James Comey documented in his brief would make for a huge obstacle for any candidate to overcome. For example, the following statement would make for very effective campaign fodder,
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 evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.
As it stands however, Hillary Clinton will still cake-walk in to the White House. Because when you juxtapose her poor and careless email practices and subsequent apparent obfuscation of those practices against a lying, racist, misogynistic, narcissistic, scientifically illiterate, policy illiterate, bigoted billionaire who incites violence and celebrates dictators and tyrants, there really is no choice.
And this is where the one-sided outrage loses all its credibility.