At a previously unscheduled press conference today, FBI Director James Comey told the press that the FBI would not be recommending any prosecution of Hillary Clinton over the mishandling of top secret and other emails on her “homebrew” email servers.
This decision was the culmination of months of investigation of Hillary Clinton and her aides from when Mrs. Clinton, who is the presumptive Democratic nominee for President, was Secretary of State. The FBI’s investigation is now turned over to the Department of Justice for a decision with respect to prosecution. However, given the public and definitive nature of the FBI’s recommendation, it is next-to-impossible that the DOJ will seek to prosecute.
While the decision of the FBI comes as a bit of a letdown to those who were ardently looking for an indictment of the former Secretary of State and First Lady, the verbiage used by the FBI Director was damning, if not the right legalese to result in charges. For instance, Director Comey stated: “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.”
Further, with respect to whether foreign intelligence agents and hostile forces were able to get a hold of sensitive information, Comey concluded that “We do assess that hostile actors gained access to the private commercial e-mail accounts of people with whom Secretary Clinton was in regular contact from her personal account.”
These were just two statements in the litany of poor judgement and security lapses that were attributed both to Mrs. Clinton and her staff by the director of the FBI. While this list was exhaustive and seemed to smack of intentionally reckless conduct, it did not rise, in the eyes of those investigating it, to the level of criminal activity.
Because of this conclusion, Donald Trump should be very happy. Why is that? Shouldn’t Mr. Trump want to see Hillary Clinton indicted and prosecuted for her severe lapses in security and undermining the national interest? Well, perhaps. However, if Mrs. Clinton’s case had been referred for prosecution with the direction that the FBI found evidence of a crime, there would be deafening calls for Mrs. Clinton to exit the race.
In the event Mrs. Clinton were to leave the race, the Democrats would be forced to choose between Bernie Sanders, the runner up, or, most likely, Joe Biden. It seems almost certain that the Democrats would select the sitting Vice President to take over the ticket and to guide the helm of the Party into November.
Joe Biden would also be a nightmare for Donald Trump. Trump’s current strategy looks something like this: use Hillary Clinton’s massive unfavorable rating among blue collar workers to drive a wedge inside the go-to coalitions in the Democratic Party. Trump hopes to capitalize on these disaffected Democrats in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin to deliver him a rust-belt sweep and the Presidency.
Joe Biden would do far better among those constituencies than Hillary Clinton ever could. It seems probable that, were Biden the nominee, and given Trump’s inability to rise above his own negatives, that the Democrats would ride a George HW Bush (1988) wave of enthusiasm into the White House in November.
Consequently, Donald Trump owes a nice thank you to Director Comey for giving him all of the ammunition he could have hoped for, while keeping Hillary Clinton in the race.