Among the many bad things that Hillary Clinton has accomplished (and she has accomplished only bad things), one of the very worst is her destruction of the rule of law in America.
She could only do this with the co-operation of the Department of Justice; and the Department of Justice could only do it with the co-operation of the FBI.
Two of the chief pillars of justice, two of the the mightiest guarantors of the rule of law, have both been suborned by this woman.
Judge Andrew Napolitano writes at Townhall:
Earlier this week, Republican leaders in both houses of Congress took the FBI to task for its failure to be transparent. In the House, it was apparently necessary to serve a subpoena on an FBI agent to obtain what members of Congress want to see; and in the Senate, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee accused the FBI itself of lawbreaking.
Here is the back story.
Ever since FBI Director James Comey announced on July 5 he was recommending that the Department of Justice not seek charges against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as a result of her failure to safeguard state secrets during her time in office, many in Congress have had a nagging feeling that this was a political, not a legal, decision.
The publicly known evidence of Clinton’s recklessness and willful failure to safeguard secrets was overwhelming. The evidence of her lying under oath about whether she returned all her work-related emails that she had taken from the State Department was profound and incontrovertible.
And then we learned that people who worked for Clinton were instructed to destroy several of her mobile devices and to remove permanently the stored emails on one of her servers. All this was done after these items had been subpoenaed by two committees of the House of Representatives. Yet the FBI – which knew of the post-subpoena destruction of evidence and which acknowledged that Clinton failed to return thousands of her work-related emails as she had been ordered by a federal judge to do, notwithstanding at least three of her assertions to the contrary while under oath – chose to overlook the evidence of not only espionage but also obstruction of justice, tampering with evidence, perjury and misleading Congress.
As if to defend itself in the face of this most un-FBI-like behavior, the FBI then released to the public selected portions of its work product, which purported to back up its decision to recommend against the prosecution of Clinton.
Normally, the FBI gathers evidence and works with federal prosecutors and federal grand juries to build cases against targets in criminal probes, and its recommendations to prosecutors are confidential.
But in Clinton’s case, the hierarchy of the Department of Justice removed itself from the chain of command because of the orchestrated impropriety of Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton, who met in private on the attorney general’s plane at a time when both Bill and Hillary Clinton were subjects of FBI criminal investigations.
That left the FBI to have the final say about prosecution – or so the FBI and the DOJ would have us all believe.
It is hard to believe that the FBI was free to do its work, and it is probably true that the FBI was restrained by the White House early on. There were numerous aberrations in the investigation. There was no grand jury; no subpoenas were issued; no search warrants were served. Two people claimed to have received immunity, yet the statutory prerequisite for immunity – giving testimony before a grand or trial jury – was never present.
Because many members of Congress do not believe that the FBI acted free of political interference, they demanded to see the full FBI files in the case, not just the selected portions of the files that the FBI had released. In the case of the House, the FBI declined to surrender its files, and the agent it sent to testify about them declined to reveal their contents. This led to a dramatic service of a subpoena by the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on that FBI agent while he was testifying – all captured on live nationally broadcast television.
Now the FBI, which usually serves subpoenas and executes search warrants, is left with the alternative of complying with this unwanted subpoena by producing its entire file or arguing to a federal judge why it should not be compelled to do so.
On the Senate side, matters are even more out of hand. There, in response to a request from the Senate Judiciary Committee, the FBI sent both classified and unclassified materials to the Senate safe room. The Senate safe room is a secure location that is available only to senators and their senior staff, all of whom must surrender their mobile devices and writing materials and swear in writing not to reveal whatever they see while in the room before they are permitted to enter. According to Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the FBI violated federal law by commingling classified and unclassified materials in the safe room, thereby making it unlawful for senators to discuss publicly the unclassified material.
Imposing such a burden of silence on U.S. senators about unclassified materials is unlawful and unconstitutional. What does the FBI have to hide? Whence comes the authority of the FBI to bar senators from commenting on unclassified materials?
Who cares about this? Everyone who believes that the government works for us should care because we have a right to know what the government – here the FBI – has done in our names. Sen. Grassley has opined that if he could reveal what he has seen in the FBI unclassified records, it would be of profound interest to American voters.
What is going on here? The FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton has not served the rule of law. The rule of law – a pillar of American constitutional freedom since the end of the Civil War – mandates that the laws are to be enforced equally. No one is beneath their protection, and no one is above their requirements. To enforce the rule of law, we have hired the FBI.
What do we do when the FBI rejects its basic responsibilities?
A person’s emotions and unrevealed thoughts, though they might be suspected, can seldom be proved.
And however aggressive thoughts and emotions may be, they are not in themselves criminal. They may be “sinful” to a Christian, but a crime and a sin are not the same thing. A crime is a deed done; a sin of thought is at worst only a potential crime. Sin is defined by faith, not reason, and faith does not – cannot – subject its dogma to the rigorous examination practiced in secular courts of law.
When a crime is committed, its perpetrator should be punished regardless of what emotions or thoughts motivated him. (Self-defense is an exception as the desire to live and not be harmed is assumed to be universal.)
Some crimes, it’s true, having no obvious or discoverable motive (such as gain), can plausibly be attributed to hate, jealousy, fear, or revenge. And a perpetrator might say that he was driven by the force of an emotion. But still, traditionally it is what he actually did that brings him before the judgment of society and its law.
Yet codes of law do exist that allow strong emotion to be taken into account – as a mitigating not an aggravating circumstance. In France, for instance, the crime passionel – a crime committed out of strong feeling such as, and usually, jealous love – is allowed special consideration for lighter punishment or none. It may be charming to find a place for sentiment in law, for love, or compassion, or “empathy”; but to esteem passion more highly than personal responsibility is to undermine the dependability of the law. The law must be dependably impersonal, objective, impartial, neutral, even-handed or it is not just.
Must be? Increasingly, the political Left – the side of the emotions – favors the idea of treating a defendant leniently if he is “underprivileged”, harshly if he is “privileged”. Obama and his Supreme Court pick Sonia Sotomayor have expressed a preference for “empathetic” judgment – finding according to the personal feelings of the judge. If judges always or often did that, it would be the end of the rule of law. If people permit them to do it, they’re demolishing the house that shelters them.
Some seem to think a judge is right to find for someone with whose opinions he agrees, and against someone whose opinions he dislikes, regardless of the merits of their cases. A British judge, for example, let off vandals who had been proved guilty, because they said they were doing it against the state of Israel which they deemed oppressive, and in sympathy with Palestinians whom they deemed victims of Israeli oppression. Because the judge shared their opinions of Israel and the Palestinians, he acquitted them. If all judges made their judgments on such grounds of personal preference, it would clearly be the end of justice and the rule of law.
Most if not all “hate crime” is attributed to “racism”. As “racism” is an attitude of mind that taints the individual, it is a sin rather than a crime. If it prompts a crime, it is the crime that is wrong, not the attitude of mind or depth of feeling behind it.
But almost everywhere in the Western world, the attitude and feeling are now regarded as more important, more to be condemned, than the actual crime. Since the rise to power of the New Left in politics, education, and the mass media, “racism” tops almost every other offense.
And yet … It appears that in practice the gravity of the “racist’ offense depends on which “race” is carrying out the attack on which other “race”. Some – like the vandals in Britain – are given a pass on the grounds that they are the more unfortunate. (An extension of the crime passionel idea.)
What is “racism”?
“Racism” has come to mean dislike of a race, a nation, or a religious group. It is not applied – though it applies logically – to a group defined by occupation; say lawyers, or bankers, or the executives of corporations, all of whom are subjected to hate as an entire class.
The FBI has defined a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.” But that motivation remains guesswork, dependant on opinion and prejudice, which makes its even application impossible.
If a rule against racism were to be applied evenly, the defendants in the British case would not have been acquitted – and the judge would have been seen as committing a hate crime himself.
But to apply such a rule evenly would be to return to dependably impersonal, objective, impartial, neutral, even-handed justice.
That such real justice looks outdated, signifies that the Left has won.
We have said that judgment needs to be of the crime itself, regardless of its motive.
But are there some crimes for which the only discoverable or imaginable motive is “hate”?
Certainly there are.
And is the hatred motivating the perpetrators of such crimes sometimes a hatred of the race, or nation, or religion of their victims?
Certainly it is.
The worst hate crime in this century – worst in numbers, method, and effect – was what has come to be called simply “9/11” – the bombing of the World trade Center twin towers in New York on September 9, 2001. It was obviously motivated by religious hatred.
We argue that the motive does not excuse the crime. The motive does not make a crime less or more criminal.
But the Left holds that the motive of hate, however it is detected, does make a crime worse.
Any crime done out of hate is worse because of the hatred?
Well, no – comes the reply – not any crime. To conclude that would be logical, reasonable, Rightist.
In the case of 9/11, the argument goes, the hate was justified, because the crime and the hatred were in retaliation for prior crimes of hate committed by “the United States”, and/or “capitalists” involved with trade whose headquarters actual and/or symbolic were the World Trade Center, and/or President George W. Bush, and/or the Right in general.
In fact, many Leftists – or “social justice warriors”, SJWs – go so far as to argue that nothing done by the Left against any of those villains, even if done in a spirit of hate, can be classed as a hate crime, because it is always justified revenge. So the Left and its allies cannot commit a hate crime. For instance, a blow against a Muslim because he’s a Muslim is a hate crime, yes; but a blow by a Muslim against a non-Muslim because he’s a non-Muslim, is not a hate crime. Because Muslims are oppressed, strikes by Muslims are never morally wrong. The same argument applies if the striker is Black, or identified with any group they define as “oppressed”. The chief oppressors are always the United States, capitalists, white men, Israel, conservatives and Republicans.
All “oppressed” perpetrators of avenging attacks are justified by their victimhood. They cannot be accused of hate crimes. They are the eternal victims of hate crime.
And who are the “oppressed”? They are who the SJW’s say they are.
Heather Mac Donald makes an absolutely convincing defense of the police.
In the year 1857, at the summer assizes of the county of Cornwall, an unfortunate man, said to be of unexceptionable conduct in all relations of life, was sentenced to twenty-one months’ imprisonment, for uttering, and writing on a gate, some offensive words concerning Christianity.
Today offensive words against Islam is a crime in Britain and most of the countries of the European Union.
Within a month of the same time, at the Old Bailey, two persons, on two separate occasions, were rejected as jurymen, and one of them grossly insulted by the judge and by one of the counsel, because they honestly declared that they had no theological belief; and a third, a foreigner, for the same reason, was denied justice against a thief.
This refusal of redress took place in virtue of the legal doctrine, that no person can be allowed to give evidence in a court of justice, who does not profess belief in a God (any god is sufficient) and in a future state ,,,
Meaning an afterlife in a Christian heaven or hell …
… which is equivalent to declaring such persons to be outlaws, excluded from the protection of the tribunals; who may not only be robbed or assaulted with impunity, if no one but themselves, or persons of similar opinions, be present, but any one else may be robbed or assaulted with impunity, if the proof of the fact depends on their evidence.
The assumption on which this is grounded, is that the oath is worthless, of a person who does not believe in a future state; a proposition which betokens much ignorance of history in those who assent to it (since it is historically true that a large proportion of infidels in all ages have been persons of distinguished integrity and honor); and would be maintained by no one who had the smallest conception how many of the persons in greatest repute with the world, both for virtues and for attainments, are well known, at least to their intimates, to be unbelievers.
The rule, besides, is suicidal, and cuts away its own foundation. Under pretense that atheists must be liars, it admits the testimony of all atheists who are willing to lie, and rejects only those who brave the obloquy of publicly confessing a detested creed rather than affirm a falsehood.
A rule thus self-convicted of absurdity so far as regards its professed purpose, can be kept in force only as a badge of hatred, a relic of persecution; a persecution, too, having the peculiarity, that the qualification for undergoing it, is the being clearly proved not to deserve it. The rule, and the theory it implies, are hardly less insulting to believers than to infidels. For if he who does not believe in a future state, necessarily lies, it follows that they who do believe are only prevented from lying, if prevented they are, by the fear of hell.
The quotation comes from John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty, first published in 1869.
New curbs on free speech (see the post immediately below) are taking the people of the West in the 21st century back to the 19th century.
Will the unaccountable passion among Western rulers and legislators for protecting the appalling ideology of Islam from criticism, take us all the way back to the time of Calvin’s Geneva and the Catholic Inquisition?
The answer has to be “all too possibly”.
When the government agency in charge of seeing that the rule of law is enforced gives up that responsibility, and takes upon itself instead to protect law-breakers and assist corruption, the rule of law is at an end.
Under the Obama administration, that is what has happened. The Department of Justice, first headed by Eric Holder who made it his solemn duty to protect black law-breakers, and subsequently by Loretta Lynch who is manifestly the obedient servant of the corrupt Clintons, is now nothing but a tool of the Democratic Party dictatorship.
Mike Adams, who sadly expects Crooked Hillary Clinton to be the next president of the United States but hopes that she might be impeached, writes at Townhall:
[Hillary] Clinton is guilty of more serious crimes than those of her husband prior to his impeachment. Next year she will have been placed in office by accepting a series of bribes – some of which have been funneled through her private “charitable” foundation and illegally used to fund her campaign for the presidency. If that is not an impeachable offense then no offense is impeachable.
None of this should come as a surprise. The Clintons began accepting bribes from corporations long before Bill even got out of office. In May of 1999, bankruptcy attorney William Brandt gave $1 million to the Clinton Presidential Library. Three months later, the Clinton Justice Department dropped charges against him for lying under oath about illegal lobbying of federal officials. The same year Anheuser-Busch kicked in $1 million after the Clinton administration dropped a bid to regulate beer advertisements aimed at minors.
It only got worse the following year when Denise Rich paid three bribes to the Clintons in exchange for the pardon of her husband Marc Rich. One bribe was $100,000 to Hillary’s 2000 Senate campaign. Another was $450,000 to the Clinton presidential library. A final bribe was for $1 million to the Democratic Party. Rich was pardoned on Clinton’s last day in office.
Things have only gotten worse since Hillary became the Secretary of State. The Clinton Foundation has been collecting money from foreign-owned businesses … The foundation has also failed to disclose millions of dollars of gifts (bribes) from foreign entities seeking Hillary’s help to approve of transactions with serious national security implications. Speaking of serious national security implications, it is interesting to observe the change in policy toward India since Bill left office in 2001. India had never signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and was hit with sanctions for refusing to do so. India attempted to have those sanctions lifted by having Indian entities with a direct financial interest in lifting the sanctions pay Bill Clinton large speaking fees. Indians who could legally do so also made donations to Hillary’s senate and presidential campaigns. Additionally, millions were poured directly into the Clinton Foundation. After the bribes were deposited, Bill and Hillary went to work lifting the sanctions that Bill had imposed as president.
The activities of the Clinton Foundation deserve heightened scrutiny because foreign governments cannot contribute to American political campaigns. But they can donate to a “charity” like the foundation. They are also allowed to pay exorbitant fees for speeches. Americans of all political persuasions should be troubled by the fact that corporations benefiting from State Department actions while Hillary was Secretary of State have funded Clinton speeches. Notably, affiliates of companies funding Clinton speeches have been the direct recipients of tens of millions of taxpayer dollars. Predictably, the Clintons never disclosed any of the obvious conflicts of interests.
After the initial years following Bill Clinton’s presidency, his income from speeches started to dwindle. Then, when Hillary became Secretary of State in 2009 his high-paying overseas speeches suddenly started to increase in frequency. Of the thirteen speeches Bill Clinton has given for over half a million dollars, eleven occurred when his wife was Secretary of State.
Nigeria, which is one of the most corrupt nations on the planet, has been one of the biggest moneymakers for Bill Clinton. In his first eight years out of office, Bill never spoke in Nigeria. After Hillary became Secretary of State, Bill pulled in two of his top three speeches ever ($700,000 each) speaking in Nigeria.
Despite its record of corruption, Hillary granted Nigeria a waiver so it could continue to receive US assistance. This is despite the fact that in 2006 $1 million from a poverty alleviation fund was funneled into an organization run by Nduka Obaigbena in order to bring Beyonce to Nigeria. Obaigbena is also the alleged underwriter of Bill Clinton’s $700,000 speeches.
Clinton benefactor Gilbert Chagoury has been implicated in numerous bribery and corruption schemes in Nigeria. He has built a financial empire with the help of Sani Abacha, a Nigerian dictator whose time in office was known for brutality, bribery, and corruption. Abacha is also tied to Mark Rich who helped obtain oil assets in Nigeria and sell them for the benefit of General Abacha. During the same time frame, Abacha funneled hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign assistance into European bank accounts.
Chagoury also funneled money into the 1996 Clinton reelection campaign and to the Democratic National Committee. He donated nearly half a million dollars to a voter registration group tied to the DNC. Even the Washington Post had the good sense to recognize that it was done to curry favor with the Clinton administration on behalf of the Abacha dictatorship.
In 2000, Chagoury was convicted in Switzerland of money laundering and of “aiding a criminal organization in connection with billions of dollars stolen from Nigeria”. Since his conviction he has donated millions to the Clinton Foundation. In 2009, after Hillary became Secretary of State, he pledged a whopping billion dollars to the Clintons
Every story of the Clintons’ corruption – of which there are many, though none can ever be complete – requires a mention of their hypocrisy.
Mike Adam duly recalls:
In December of 2009, Hillary Clinton gave a speech as a part of “International Anti-Corruption Day”, in which she praised the work of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in combatting bribery. In fact, she would go on to chair the group two years later. This is the same woman who began her political career with a controversy over turning a $1000 investment in cattle futures into $100,000. Throughout her career, the biggest payments into her coffers have not come from countries like England and Germany. They have flowed from nations rife with corruption and bribery. Nonetheless, in 2012 Hillary stated that fighting corruption is an “integral part of national security” adding that “our credibility depends on practicing what we preach”. She even said that bribery is “morally wrong – and far too common”.
Indeed. Screwing your country with bribes is far more serious than screwing your intern with cigars. Let the [impeachment] proceedings begin.
But they won’t begin, of course. Even if the Republicans retain their majorities in the House and the Senate, it is very unlikely that they will dare to impeach Hillary Clinton.
Why? Because everyone accepts now that the Clintons are above the law.
And the Department of Justice is owned by them.
Matthew Vadum writes at Front Page:
The highly politicized Department of Justice swatted down pesky FBI requests to investigate the Clinton Foundation earlier this year, CNN reported yesterday.
CNN buried the lede, as it frequently does on news stories that make Democrats look bad. The online version bears the innocuous-sounding headline, “Newly released Clinton emails shed light on relationship between State Dept. and Clinton Foundation.”
It is not until the 25th paragraph that the article states that an unidentified law enforcement official gave CNN a heads-up earlier this year. As the probe of Clinton’s private email servers was ramping up “several FBI field offices approached the Justice Department asking to open a case regarding the relationship between the State Department and the Clinton Foundation”.
At that time, the article continues, the Justice Department “declined because it had looked into allegations surrounding the Clinton Foundation around a year earlier and found there wasn’t sufficient evidence to open a case”.
Not even enough evidence to look into the foundation’s affairs?
Not more than a year after the publication of Peter Schweizer’s blockbuster book, Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich, opened the floodgates for investigative reporters to dig into the matter. …
Lawyers have told me there is already a strong legal case against Mrs. Clinton. The fact that she destroyed email evidence – evidence subject to a congressional subpoena, no less — is already evidence in itself that she obstructed justice through spoliation of evidence. Spoliation means you can take as evidence the fact that evidence has been destroyed. Courts are entitled to draw spoliation inferences and convict an accused person on that basis alone.
The only reason FBI Director James Comey didn’t recommend she be prosecuted is because, well, he lacks a spine and he’s corrupt. He said there was no evidence of Clinton’s “efforts to obstruct justice”, a requirement that does not actually appear in the Espionage Act.
Evidence of corruption at the Clinton Foundation is everywhere, yet CNN and much of the mainstream media are still doing everything they can to ignore, misrepresent, or downplay the questionable things Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton did through the foundation.
The congenitally corrupt Clintons created their private email system to frustrate Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) requesters, shield Hillary’s correspondence from congressional oversight, and steer money to their corrupt foundation, which, amazingly enough, still enjoys tax-exempt status.
These illegal, insecure private email servers Clinton used while at the State Department are at the heart of the scandal over her mishandling of an Islamic terrorist attack in militant-infested Benghazi, Libya on the 11th anniversary of 9/11 that left four Americans, including U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens, dead. Even now, four years after the assault, the Obama administration has failed to provide an autopsy report about Stevens who was initially reported to have been ritualistically sodomized before being murdered by Muslim terrorists.
Every few days Judicial Watch has been releasing emails obtained under FoIA that may ultimately lead to evidence of political interference at the highest levels that provided cover for the anticipatory presidential bribe processing vehicle known as the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation. …
May lead to … ? No. As long as there is a Democrat in the White House there will be no prosecution of the Clintons.
But Hillary Clinton is intent on finding cause to prosecute Trump “for corruption”!
A high-profile watchdog group controlled by Hillary Clinton ally David Brock is demanding the IRS investigate Donald Trump’s personal foundation for allegedly aiding his presidential campaign.
The call by CREW, or Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, has to be the most obvious political hit job of this election cycle.
CREW is a member of what some in the conservative think tank community call the “Brocktopus”, that is, the network of groups the disgraced former journalist runs, which spends oodles of money defending all things Clinton. An admitted serial liar, Brock’s empire of sleaze also includes “conservative misinformation” watchdog Media Matters for America, pro-Hillary disaster-control spin site Correct the Record, and American Bridge 21st Century, a super PAC that promotes Hillary and attacks her critics.
CREW executive director Noah Bookbinder asked the IRS to investigate the Donald J. Trump Foundation, a tiny nonprofit founded by Trump decades ago to give away profits from his book, The Art of the Deal.
How the foundation, which ranked 4,347th in the FoundationSearch “Top Foundations by Assets for the state of New York” list would help the Trump campaign isn’t clear. “The Trump Foundation has no full-time staff, and gave away just $591,000 in 2014 — the last year for which records are available,” the Washington Post reports. …
Even if the IRS takes up this piddling little case not much is likely to come of it. It’s a political stunt by CREW, a nakedly partisan group under the boot of one of Hillary’s biggest backers.
It’s the wheeling and dealing Clinton Foundation with its involvement in billion-dollar transactions, its ties to shady figures, and the debt it owes to the unsavory governments of countries around the world that needs to be properly and thoroughly examined.
But as it won’t be examined, because (we repeat) the misnamed Department of Justice is owned by the Clintons –
Should those of us give up hope, who –
- Want to live under the rule of law, with nobody being above it?
- Value, above all else, individual freedom protected by the law?
- Want government to be the servant, not the master, of the people?
If Hillary Clinton is elected to the presidency, then the answer to that question is YES.
U.S. Code Title 18, Section 2017
(a) Whoever willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, or destroys, or attempts to do so, or, with intent to do so takes and carries away any record, proceeding, map, book, paper, document, or other thing, filed or deposited with any clerk or officer of any court of the United States, or in any public office, or with any judicial or public officer of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.
(b) Whoever, having the custody of any such record, proceeding, map, book, document, paper, or other thing, willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies, or destroys the same, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both; and shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States.
The MSM are Hillary’s lapdogs, so they won’t tell the public that this law is on the books.
Why is the Democratic Party ignoring it? Okay, we know why: they don’t give a fig for the law.
Why are the Republicans allowing the Democrats to ignore it? That’s harder to answer.
Someone is needed to stand for the presidency who will challenge the corruption of the governing establishment.
Why did anyone expect James Comey to recommend the prosecution of Hillary Clinton for grave crimes that he himself enumerated?
Because “anyone” did not know or had forgotten that Comey is a member of Obama’s gang.
James Comey would not have been appointed head of the FBI had President Obama sensed the least trace in the man of that right-wing weakness called “objective judgment”.
On June 13, 2013, when James Comey was nominated by President Obama to head the FBI, Bret Stephens wrote at the Wall Street Journal:
President Obama on Friday nominated James Comey to run the FBI, and the former prosecutor and deputy attorney general is already garnering media effusions reserved for any Republican who fell out publicly with the Bush Administration. Forgive us if we don’t join this Beltway beatification.
Any potential FBI director deserves scrutiny, since the position has so much power and is susceptible to ruinous misjudgments and abuse. That goes double with Mr. Comey, a nominee who seems to think the job of the federal bureaucracy is to oversee elected officials, not the other way around, and who had his own hand in some of the worst prosecutorial excesses of the last decade.
The list includes his overzealous pursuit, as U.S. Attorney for New York’s Southern District, of banker Frank Quattrone amid the post-Enron political frenzy of 2003. Mr. Comey never did indict Mr. Quattrone on banking-related charges, but charged him instead with obstruction of justice and witness tampering based essentially on a single ambiguous email.
Mr. Comey’s first trial against Mr. Quattrone ended in a hung jury; he won a conviction on a retrial but that conviction was overturned on appeal in 2006. …
There is also Mr. Comey’s 2004 role as deputy attorney general in the Aipac case, in which the FBI sought to use bogus “secret” information to entrap two lobbyists for the pro-Israel group and then prosecuted them under the 1917 Espionage Act. The Justice Department dropped that case in 2009 after it fell apart in court — but not before wrecking the lives of the two lobbyists, Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman.
Or the atrocious FBI investigation, harassment and trial-by-media of virologist Steven Jay Hatfill, falsely suspected of being behind the 2001 anthrax mail attacks. Mr. Comey continued to vouchsafe the strength of the case against Dr. Hatfill in internal Administration deliberations long after it had become clear that the FBI had fingered the wrong man. …
Yet the biggest of Mr. Comey’s misjudgments are the ones for which he gets the highest accolades from his media admirers. In March 2004 Mr. Comey raced to the hospital bedside of then-Attorney General John Ashcroft to stop his boss from signing off on a periodic reauthorization of the “warrantless wiretap” surveillance program authorized by President Bush shortly after 9/11. Mr. Comey’s hospital theatrics have since been spun — above all by Mr. Comey — as a case of a brave and honest civil servant standing up to an out-of-control White House seeking to take advantage of a sick man for morally dubious and even criminal ends.
Yet the reason the White House needed Mr. Ashcroft’s signature in the first place was that President Bush had subjected the surveillance program to a stringent 45-day reauthorization schedule (with the knowledge and approval of senior members of Congress), and Mr. Ashcroft had signed off on the same program multiple times before having an apparent change of heart shortly before the March incident.
None of this kept Mr. Comey from abusing his role as Acting AG implicitly to threaten the White House with the likely exposure of the classified program — all because his interpretation of the law differed from that of Mr. Gonzales and other government lawyers. …
Then there’s Mr. Comey’s role in the investigation of the leak of Valerie Plame’s identity as a CIA employee. Mr. Comey first encouraged Mr. Ashcroft to recuse himself in naming a special counsel on grounds that the AG could run into a conflict of interest if the investigation implicated Karl Rove.
Whereupon Mr. Comey gave the job to Patrick Fitzgerald, a close personal friend. Unlike independent counsels under the now defunct statute, a special counsel is supposed to be under the Justice Department’s supervision, and it would be interesting to hear Mr. Comey explain how appointing the godfather of one of his children to a high-profile job under his direction did not entail a conflict of interest.
Mr. Fitzgerald quickly found out that the leaker of Ms. Plame’s identity was Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, a fact Mr. Fitzgerald kept secret for years. Yet instead of closing the case down, Mr. Comey signed off within weeks on an expansion of Mr. Fitzgerald’s mandate. After a three-year investigation that turned up almost nothing new, the prosecutor tried to salvage his tenure with a dubious indictment of Scooter Libby for perjury.
Mr. Fitzgerald … supported by his superior Mr. Comey, also managed to land New York Times reporter Judith Miller in jail for 85 days for refusing to reveal her sources, and nearly did the same for Time magazine’s Matthew Cooper. With another FBI violation of internal Justice guidelines regarding media freedoms in the news, someone might ask Mr. Comey why he was prepared to resign on principle over surveilling terrorists, while doing nothing to stop Mr. Fitzgerald’s efforts to criminalize journalism?
None of this may stand in the way of Mr. Comey’s confirmation in a Democratic Senate. But before Senators yawn their way to rubber-stamping President Obama’s “bipartisan” pick, they should ask Mr. Comey some harder questions than the ones to which his media fan base have accustomed him.
No hard questions were asked. James Comey was appointed head of the FBI.
For about a year his investigators have been looking into whether Hillary Clinton had broken laws governing her communications as secretary of state, and they find that she had. Her aides were questioned, and it’s been found that they helped her break the laws. Finally, Comey had some of his investigators ask Hillary Clinton herself, in person, face to face, if she had intended to break the law. No, she said, she had not. (She was not under oath, so there was no risk that she might be accused of perjury. And no one will ever know what was said on either side because no record of the exchange was made.) Her denial of intent was all Comey needed. Although he is absolutely sure that she has indeed broken many laws, he has announced that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring any charges against her.
In an article also at the Wall Street Journal, published yesterday (July 7, 2016), Kimberley Strassel recollects the instances Bret Stephens listed at the time of Comey’s appointment, and comments:
It was no surprise that Mr. Comey this week let Mrs. Clinton off, despite the damning evidence amassed by the FBI of gross negligence in her handling of classified material. A prosecutor — for this was the position Mr. Comey essentially assumed on Tuesday — who put the law above all else would have brought charges, holding Mrs. Clinton to the same standard as other officials convicted of similarly “extremely careless” handling of classified material.
A prosecutor who had spent a lifetime with one eye on politics and one eye on his résumé would have behaved exactly as Mr. Comey did. He must have noticed that Mrs. Clinton, leading in the polls, had recently dangled a job offer in front of his boss, Attorney General Loretta Lynch. He saw President Obama pressing not just his thumb, but his whole body, on the scales of justice. Reporters were on Mrs. Clinton’s side. Democrats were ready to be furious if he decided the wrong way.
We were among the ones who had, in foolish ignorance, supposed James Comey to be a man of integrity. As a result we were disappointed and angry at the miscarriage of justice.
Now that we know more about Mr. Comey … we are no less disappointed, and even more angry.
Rudy Giuliani, in addition to explaining why a reasonable prosecutor would and should indict Hillary Clinton for her crimes, makes these important points:
Hillary Clinton could yet be indicted by a Republican administration, and …
As she has now been declared by the FBI to be guilty of “extreme carelessness’ – in legal language “gross negligence” – with state secrets, SHE CANNOT GET SECURITY CLEARANCE, and therefore CANNOT BE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
The lawyer Jay Sekulow stresses that for the FBI not to recommend prosecution when grave crimes have been committed, is to disregard the rule of law.
A poor, illiterate woman named Aasiya Noreen* worked in the fields to help support her family of five children, two of them her own and three of them her husband’s from a former marriage.
Aasiya was a Christian. A Catholic. Her family were the only Christians in the small village where she lived some thirty miles outside Lahore, the capital of the Punjab in the Islamic state of Pakistan. The Christians of the region were an underclass, traditionally assigned to menial jobs.
One hot summer’s day in June, 2009, Aasiya was harvesting berries along with some Muslim women. They all became thirsty. The Muslim women sent Aasiya to fetch water from a well. Aasiya found a battered tin cup abandoned near the well, and had a drink from it before refilling it and carrying it to her fellow workers. One of them accused her of drinking from the cup and so making it unclean. Christian lips should not contaminate a cup that Muslims drink from. All the Muslim women agreed on that.
A dispute arose. Which was the one true religion? The Muslim women knew that Islam was the truth. Aasiya knew that Christianity was the truth. She dared to say (according to her own account), “Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sins of mankind. What did your Prophet Muhammed ever do to save mankind?”
The Muslim women were deeply offended. They went to their imam and told him that the Christian woman Aasiya Noreen had insulted the Prophet Muhammad.
The imam took action. He gathered together a number of good Muslims willing to defend the Prophet and the true faith of Islam, and led them to the house where Aasiya and her family lived. They set upon her and her husband and her children with righteous blows. The police arrived in time to save the Christian family from being beaten to death. The avenging mob agreed to spare them on condition that the police laid a charge of blasphemy against the woman. The police duly arrested her and put her in jail, where she languished for more than a year before she was brought to trial in November, 2012.
Aasiya told the court that the woman who accused her of blasphemy had a grudge against her, resulting from an old quarrel, and the accusation was made out of a desire for revenge. The judge did not accept her story as a defense. He also chose to overlook inconsistencies in the testimony of the witnesses against her. He decided that she was guilty of blasphemy and sentenced her to death. She was to be hanged for blaspheming against the Prophet Muhammad whose name is never mentioned by a Muslim without having peace wished upon him.
She was the first woman ever to be condemned to death in Pakistan for blasphemy – her crime being considered so heinous that even death was not sufficient punishment. She was also to pay a fine equivalent to $1,100. She and her family had never in all their lives possessed a sum approaching $1,100. Nor did they know of any way they could raise it.
When the verdict was pronounced, the crowd in the court rose to its feet, applauding and shouting “Yes, kill her! Kill her! Allahu Akbar!”. And yet more enthusiasts for justice, more celebrants of the glory of God, broke down the doors to swarm into the court, their furious, triumphant shouts swelling the chorus of “Allahu Akbar!” The greatness of their merciful God could hardly have been more passionately attested.
Assiya’s husband, Ashiq Masih, appealed the verdict. He and Aasiya hoped that the High Court would at least suspend the sentence.
There was a man in a high position who was deeply moved by the fate of Aasiya and determined to do all he could for her. He was Salmaan Taseer, the governor of the Punjab. He persuaded the president of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, to come to her rescue. In December 2012, Taseer publicly announced that if the High Court did not suspend her sentence, the president would pardon her. And Zardari would have done so, but the Lahore High Court hastened to issue a stay order against a presidential pardon.
So Aasiya remained in prison in Lahore, in solitary confinement in an 8 by 10 foot windowless cell.
At first the governor would visit her, with his wife and daughter. But then the court ruled that only her husband and lawyer could see her.
On January 4, 2011, Salmaan Taseer was assassinated by one Mumtaz Qadri who resented the governor’s concern for the blasphemer. (He was hanged for the crime in February 2016.)
The Minister of Minority Affairs, Shahbaz Bhatti – himself a Christian, and the only Christian member of the cabinet – was so disturbed by the case that he set about doing all he could to get the laws of blasphemy changed. He announced that he was prepared to die fighting for Aasiya Noreen’s release. He received many death threats, and on March 2, 2011, he was shot dead in his car near his home.
Many times Aasiya’s appeal was postponed. In October 2014, the High Court finally heard her case – and upheld her death sentence. Her husband then appealed to the President. But he was restrained from issuing a pardon, so her lawyers appealed to Pakistan’s Supreme Court. In July, 2015, the Supreme Court suspended her death sentence “for the duration of the appeals process”.
Hundreds of Pakistanis have publicly protested against her being still alive. An imam offered $10,000 reward to anyone who would kill her, and apparently some 10 million citizens declared themselves ready and willing to do the noble deed. Assiya’s family have gone into hiding, and they fear for her safety and survival if she were to be released.
That is how the matter stands at present.
Aasiya Noreen is under sentence of death for taking a drink of water from an old cup on a hot day, and saying something she had been taught to believe, to some other women who had been taught that it was something that should not be believed and should not be said.
For a drink of water, for fantastic rumors about “Jesus” and “Muhammad”, lives ruined and lost.
*Aasiya Noreen is usually called “Asia Bibi” in press reports. “Bibi” simply means “woman”.