If all that mattered is which candidate is the bigger jerk, Donald Trump would get fewer votes. But some thoughtful people who despise him will vote for Mr. Trump because the rule of law is on the ballot too.
The most dismaying — and underreported — news dribbling out of Washington in recent weeks is that under Director James Comey, the FBI is as corrupt as the IRS and the VA. The investigation of Hillary Clinton was a sham, the FBI’s weekly data drops late Friday afternoons make clear.
Ms. Clinton and her aides “were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information,” Mr. Comey said in July. But he didn’t recommend indictments because the former secretary of state didn’t intend to expose U.S. secrets.
Section 793(f) of the Espionage Act punishes “gross negligence” in handling of national defense secrets. Offenders not named Clinton can be sent to prison for up to 10 years. Intent is irrelevant. (If Hillary did intend to disclose our secrets, that would be treason, which is covered by another statute.)
Shortly after Congress issued a subpoena for them, someone ordered Paul Combetta of Platte River Networks to destroy with Bleachbit thousands of Hillary’s emails. Destruction of evidence is obstruction of justice under law (18 USC 1505). Offenders not named Clinton can be imprisoned for up to five years.
Most assume the order came from Cheryl Mills, Hillary’s chief of staff at the State Department. This will be difficult to prove beyond reasonable doubt, because Mr. Combetta and Ms. Mills were given immunity from prosecution, and neither is talking.
Also given partial immunity were Heather Samuelson, the White House liaison for the State Department while Hillary was secretary; John Bentel, State’s director of information resources management; and Bryan Pagliano, who installed the private server in Hillary’s bathroom closet in Chappaqua.
Prosecutors offer immunity to small fry to rat out bigger fish, but immunity for Mr. Combetta and Mr. Pagliano has kept them silent.
Giving immunity to Ms. Mills is “equivalent to immunizing H.R. Haldeman and John D. Ehrlichman in the investigation of Watergate,” George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley wrote in a USA Today op-ed. “Comey removed the greatest threat that could have been used to get two underlings to implicate senior officials, and then gave immunity to the senior official most at risk of a charge.”
When the FBI interviewed Ms. Clinton, Ms. Mills was permitted to act as her lawyer, even though she was a material witness. This allowed Ms. Mills “to shield her communications with Ms. Clinton under attorney-client privilege,” noted William McGurn of The Wall Street Journal.
There were fishy side deals to the grants of immunity to Ms. Mills and Ms. Samuelson. The FBI agreed to examine their laptops only for documents dated before Feb. 1, 2015, and then to destroy the computers.
Before March, when The New York Times broke the story about Hillary’s private server and the Benghazi Committee issued a subpoena for her emails, there was no reason to conceal evidence. In effect, the FBI agreed not to search the laptops for evidence of obstruction, then made sure no one else could.
Some Republicans in Congress believe Mr. Combetta and Ms. Mills lied during their interviews with the FBI. That’s grounds for revoking their immunity. Mr. Comey hasn’t.
Did Hillary use a private server to hide deals with Clinton Foundation donors? Explicit quid pro quos would constitute acceptance or solicitation of a bribe, felonies for which offenders not named Clinton can be sent to prison for up to 15 years. Were there any in the emails Hillary destroyed?
“The FBI has politicized itself, and its reputation will suffer for a long time,” Dennis Hughes, the first chief of the FBI’s computer investigations unit, told the New York Post.
Donald Trump is many bad things, but he hasn’t been part of the mammoth corruption in Washington that Hillary epitomizes. If we can’t trust the nation’s premier law enforcement agency to enforce the law when a prominent politician breaks it, what can we trust?
Jack Kelly is a columnist for the Post-Gazette (email@example.com, 412-263-1476).