Monday, July 27, 2015

July 27, 2015--HillaryGate: Drip, Drip, Drip

I recently read Tim Weiner's new biography of Richard Nixon, One Man Against the World: The Tragedy of Richard Nixon, which focuses on the various criminal activities of Nixon and his associates. Especially the climate that existed in the White House and in Nixon's mind that led to the break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex and the subsequent coverup and resignation.

Nixon's involvement in the break-in was not direct but the result of his obsession with secrecy and feelings that there were conspiratorial forces at work that would deny his reelection in 1972. His men, thus, carried out his implied agenda.

Nixon got in deep and direct trouble when he tried to have the FBI's investigation of the break-in squelched and then led the cover-up, all the while lying by claiming he knew nothing in advance of the break-in (likely true) and knew nothing about a cover-up (patently and feloniously false).

As a result, he was brought down, named an "unindicted co-conspirator," and forced to resign the presidency.

This brings me to Hillary Clinton and the many problems with her emails while she was Secretary of State.

For whatever reasons, rather than use secure State Department channels of communication, she used her own, personal email account to carry out official business. There is no disputing that.

But under pressure, when news about this began to leak out earlier this year, she denied any wrongdoing, claiming what she did was neither against federal rules nor, much more significant, was not in any way illegal.

Under further pressure, she turned over to the State Department 30,000 official emails from her private server, deleting other thousands of a personal nature--for example, those about plans for her daughter Chelsea's wedding.

All along the way she alleged this was a non-issue, driven more by presidential politics then anything else. She held herself above the fray, claiming she had more important things to focus on--how to build an agenda, for example, to strengthen the economy, one that especially helps the middle class.

But the issue just wouldn't go away.

Daily, it is becoming clear that there are legitimate and substantial issues that were not just the result of Republican saber-rattling. As more and more was leaked and reported about what was in the actual emails, it became clearer and clearer that there is a there there.

Just at the end of last week, the New York Times, which broke the original email story in March, reported that some of Clinton's emails included classified information, which, if true, is potentially illegal.

The State Department inspector general joined by the intelligence community's independent inspector general issued a joint statement which revealed that their review of a random sample of just 40 of the former Secretary's emails revealed that four did in fact contain classified material, "Government secrets."

Clinton's response was again that this is a distraction and that nothing untoward occurred on her watch.

The two inspectors general would disagree. In fact, they recommended that an investigation be launched. A criminal investigation. Clinton didn't quite say, "I am not a crook." But . . .

It is significant to note again that the intelligence community's inspector general is a non-partisan and that though the State Department is Obama's State Department, and thus controlled by Democrats, its inspector general did not hold back.

This is feeling like the same kind of drip, drip, drip that didn't work to defend Nixon. He pretended that he was ignoring the Watergate investigation, claiming he was too busy defending the world and defeating Communism. The tapes of his White House offices and telephones put the lie to that. He was obsessed by Watergate and the judicial and congressional investigations and was active daily counseling and coaching his confederates about what to say and which lies to tell.

I suspect Hillary Clinton in dong much the same thing. I mean obsessing. She knows the truth and we are learning more about it every week. I suspect there will be an outcome similar to Nixon's--her emails are not unlike his tapes. There are likely numerous smoking guns in them and I would be surprised if Clinton is able to stay in the race for the presidential nomination. Polls are already showing she trails Jeb Bush and Scott Walker in key battleground states. This will only get worse as we learn more.

It's time for Democrats to be thinking about serious alternatives. It wouldn't surprise me to see Joe Biden join the race and perhaps John Kerry. Elizabeth Warren may also be rethinking her decision not to run.

Who knows, by fall a Democrat clown car might be revving up.

I am not a crook.

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