Fox News Host Bill O’Reilly recently used the “bully pulpit” of his “Talking Points Memo” segment to excoriate FBI Director James Comey for his decision to allow Hillary Clinton to get away with her criminal behavior. O’Reilly deftly dissected Comey’s statement and showed that if we are to take Comey at his word… the outcome to the FBI investigation should have concluded differently.
What do you think about O’Reilly’s argument here?
Earlier today, FBI Director James Comey read a long statement regarding the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email and national security.
FBI DIRECTOR JAMES COMEY: “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 information 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.”
Mr. Comey was clear in his motivation statement but downplayed the negligence aspect of the case.
Here’s a quote from the federal code:
“Whoever, being entrusted with … [national security documents] … through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody … Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.”
“Gross negligence” in handling national security is a felony.
Fox News investigated the statute and found only one case prosecuted under it in 1986, but negligence charges were subsequently dismissed.
So to be fair, Director Comey has legal history on his side. But that will not allay suspicions that the case was decided on politics.
COMEY: “What I can assure the American people is that this investigation was done honestly, competently and independently. No outside influence of any kind was brought to bear.”
Now you either believe Director Comey or you don’t. And no amount of speculation is going to shed more light on his posture.
He says the investigation was clean and that’s that.
In his remarks today, Comey also scolded Secretary Clinton in a way that has been rarely seen:
COMEY: “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. For example, seven email chains concern matters that were classified at the “Top Secret”/Special Access program level at the time of the time they were sent and received.”
COMEY: “There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position or in the position of those with whom she was corresponding about those matters should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation.”
COMEY: “None of these emails should have been on any kind of unclassified system, but their presence is especially concerning because all of these emails were housed on unclassified personal servers not even supported by full time security staff.”
COMEY: “We also assess that Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal email domain was both known by a large amount of people and readily apparent. She also used her personal email extensively while outside the United States, including sending and receiving emails in the territory of sophisticated adversaries. Given that combination of factors, we assess it is possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s email account.”
Again, that is almost unprecedented and goes directly to the presidential election.
Combined with the chaos in Benghazi, Libya where the American ambassador was murdered, the FBI’s criticism of Hillary Clinton is withering.
You would think Americans would want to elect a person with a record of competency, would you not?
So that gives Donald Trump a big opening because, compared to questions about his competency, the email case blows that right out of the water.
I mean, Trump University?
Come on, no matter what happened there it doesn’t come close to the FBI’s scrutiny of Hillary Clinton’s email situation.
Now many who support Mrs. Clinton simply don’t care. They believe she is better for the country than Donald Trump so issues really don’t matter.
Same thing on the other side. Millions of Americans have already convicted Mrs. Clinton of many things. They will never vote for her.
Talking Points is in business to inform and at times reform.
The negligence thing bothers me even if there were no intent to subvert federal law. The subversion happened and Secretary Clinton is directly responsible.
If you the American citizen leave a child in a hot car and that child is harmed, you will be charged with negligence even if the action was unintentional.
Many analysts have pointed to General David Petraeus, who was convicted of a misdemeanor for providing a close friend national security secrets so she could use them in a book.
The difference is Petraeus obviously knew that what he was doing was subverting the law — he had intent.
One footnote, if I were president I would have pardoned David Petraeus because his service to this country far outweighs his action, as irresponsible as it was.
So by minimizing the negligence issue in the Clinton case, Director Comey puts his agency under scrutiny.
I am not casting aspersions on Comey’s honesty. I believe he is a credible man. I don’t believe he would tank an investigation.
But the American people are owed a more detailed explanation about negligence that put our national security in jeopardy.
Now to the bigger election picture.
Throughout our history we have elected presidents who have not been honest men.
Warren Harding, Richard Nixon, to some extent Lyndon Johnson, just to name a few.
It is up to each voter to evaluate honesty and competency in a factual, therefore fair way.
Finally it is more than likely that the FBI tipped off President Obama as to what was going to happen today.
That’s not to say that Director Comey was working with the president in any way, but the bureau knew Mr. Obama was allowing Hillary Clinton to ride on Air Force One to a campaign event in North Carolina.
So it is inconceivable that the director of the FBI and Attorney General Loretta Lynch would allow that to happen if Hillary Clinton was going to be charged.
Director Comey addressed that today.
COMEY: “I have not coordinated or reviewed this statement in any way with the Department of Justice or any other part of the government. They do not know what I am about to say.”
That’s most likely true; he did not expose his statement, his words.
But just by its silence the FBI sent a message and President Obama read it. That’s how things are done in Washington.
Summing up, the FBI says lack of intent to subvert federal law is the reason the agency is not recommending charges against Hillary Clinton.
But Director Comey downplayed the negligence issue and that is very troubling.