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Control damage and minimize disclosure

Sunday, October 16, 2016 14:34
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Andrew McCarthy writes at National Review,

the fact that the president was e-mailing Clinton means he not only participated in her misconduct but also that the Obama-Clinton e-mails would have been admissible evidence in any criminal trial of Clinton.

With that as background, we should consider three salient matters. 1. OBAMA’S CONCEALMENT OF HIS E-MAILS WITH CLINTON In the days immediately after the Times’ revelation of Mrs. Clinton’s systematic use of private e-mail to conduct government business, President Obama sat for interviews in which he claimed that he’d learned of Clinton’s personal e-mail use through “news reports” like everyone else. He flatly denied that he had any personal knowledge about the matter. Clearly, the president was lying to the American people: He knew he personally had engaged in several e-mails with Clinton. By extension, Obama was also lying to the Congress. As he well knew, congressional committees had been investigating matters (most prominently, Benghazi) in which communications between Obama and Clinton were of immense importance. Now, we know Obama not only had intimate personal awareness of what Clinton was doing; his top White House advisor, Podesta, was both aware of and concerned about the Obama-Clinton e-mails. Did Obama figure that because he had used an alias, the public and the Congress would never find out about his e-mails with Clinton (and with whomever else he has been exchanging e-mails while using the alias)? Did the president figure he could quietly invoke executive privilege such that no one would ever find out about his e-mails with Clinton? Given that Obama was manifestly determined to conceal his e-mails with Clinton, what is the chance that he would ever have permitted a prosecution of Clinton, which would necessarily have exposed those e-mails? To repeat what I’ve been arguing, I’d rate it as something less than non-existent.


…To this day, the Obama-Clinton e-mails have not been made public. Quite apart from the question of why the president and secretary of state were communicating on high-level policy matters over a private, non-secure channel, there remains the question whether any of their e-mail communications were related to Benghazi — the appalling lack of security before the attack, the disgraceful lack of a military response during the attack, or the cynical “blame the video” cover-up after the attack.

At a minimum, the Podesta e-mails demonstrate that, when Clinton’s homebrew system was revealed, the reaction among Obama-Clinton operatives was not stunned disbelief. Their conduct was, instead, what one would expect from people who were well aware of Clinton’s e-mail situation, and who now understood their mission was to control damage and minimize disclosure. This state-of-mind evidence would have been crucial to any prosecution against Clinton and her confederates for mishandling classified information, destroying government files, or obstruction of justice.

As noted above, it does not appear that Mills replied in writing to Podesta’s March 4 e-mail about concealing the Obama-Clinton e-mails. Did Mills e-mail others in the Clinton camp about the matter? We’ll probably never know. The Justice Department agreed that the FBI would not examine anything on Mills’s laptop computer post-dating January 31, 2015 and, unbelievably, that the FBI would destroy the laptop after its limited examination.

And why, after Mills asked for and received immunity from prosecution for her conduct, would the Justice Department and the FBI permit her to sit in — as a lawyer — on Clinton’s FBI interview, a decision that not only flouted ethical rules and federal law but would also have damaged the case against Clinton had there been an indictment?

Try this for a theory: Since President Obama had used an alias to discuss sensitive matters on Clinton’s private, non-secure e-mail system, had then falsely denied knowledge of that system, and had decided to conceal his e-mails with Clinton from the public, the Justice Department knew that no one was ever going to be prosecuted anyway. The Justice Department and the FBI could rationalize cutting otherwise inexplicable deals that they would never cut in a case they were actually trying to make because they knew there was not going to be a case — not against Mills, not against Clinton, not against anyone.

Read more here.


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