It's time to appoint a special prosecutor in Clinton email investigation
© Greg Nash

The competing partisan echo chambers eerily strike the same chords.

From the left: The investigation into the death of four Americans in Benghazi back in 2012 was a Sienfeldian investigation into nothing. In fact, the right was simply serving us all up a big nothing burger.

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And from the right: The investigation into the 2016 Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia is nothing more than a partisan witch-hunt. The left hasn’t accepted the results of a lawfully held election; ergo, the appointment of a special prosecutor.

 

Yes, the partisan bickering and finger-pointing can be so insufferably exhausting. The promises of “swamp-draining” — Nancy Pelosi during her 2006 ascendancy to House Speaker and more recently, Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden slams Trump over golf gif hitting Clinton Trump Jr. declines further Secret Service protection: report Report: Mueller warned Manafort to expect an indictment MORE’s signature stump speech line — really just signals more of the same.

So, I make the following demand with a bit of advised caution. History inside the Beltway has a habit of repeating itself.

But with all due haste, a special prosecutor needs to be appointed to the “closed” Hillary Rodham email investigation.

I can hear the cacophony of howling now — Here we go again, yet another undeserved attack on the Clintons. Or, maybe this — Republicans just can’t leave it alone. She was exonerated by no less an authority than the former FBI Director!

But in recent days, following the revelation that then FBI Director James B. Comey had already drafted an “exoneration speech” some two months before his infamous July 5 public statement, there has been a steadily building hue and cry from many corners that a special prosecutor needs to look into the case.

Comey’s decision, it appears, had been formed prior to FBI agents having had an opportunity to interview Clinton and a number of her top aides. On the heels of the inexplicable and unprecedented granting of head-scratching conditions to the Clinton team, came Comey’s decision not to charge, well before key witnesses were interviewed. Why?

Also, why were certain devices laden with evidence allowed to be destroyed?

And why were strict limiting parameters emplaced on the review period of the computer hard drives?

As a retired FBI agent with some two and half decades of investigative experience, I struggle to comprehend why these types of allowances were conceded to a person under investigation.

Former assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew McCarthy posited in National Review, the decision not to prosecute was determined long before, back when President Obama essentially dismissed the notion that Clinton’s actions had endangered national security. As McCarthy opines, Obama was providing cover for Clinton because Obama, himself, had communicated with her on the unauthorized email account.

Comey, it has been theorized, was taking his cue from the chief executive.

Or, as President Trump tweeted out on Sept. 1.

Wow, looks like James Comey exonerated Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden slams Trump over golf gif hitting Clinton Overnight Cybersecurity: Equifax hit by earlier hack | What to know about Kaspersky controversy | Officials review EU-US privacy pact Overnight Tech: Equifax hit by earlier undisclosed hack | Facebook takes heat over Russian ads | Alt-right Twitter rival may lose domain MORE long before the investigation was ov3r and so much more. A rigged system

So, was it rigged?

Well, we don’t know. So, let’s look at what we do know. And then, if the pieces don’t add up or lend to a reasonable suspicion that skullduggery was afoot, let’s have that special prosecutor appointed forthwith.

We know that Clinton was exonerated by a legal calculus of trial sufficiency meticulously laid out by Director Comey. He intuited that Clinton had no intent to place national security in jeopardy via her shoddy handling of classified information, therefore, no crime.

Legal scholars continue to debate this misapplication of the statute.

But there is no debate over the fact that even Comey was aware of and concerned by the overt politicization of the Obama Justice Department.

When James Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8, he shockingly allowed that then Attorney General Loretta Lynch had instructed him not to refer to the Clinton email investigation as just that — an investigation — and instead commanded him to refer to it as a matter.

The fact that Lynch’s directive in wording neatly aligned with the Clinton campaign’s own downplaying of the seriousness of the crime was lost on no one outside a partisan echo chamber.

So, let’s reiterate what we know.

We know that President Obama put his finger on the scale which ultimately led to the issuance of “marching orders” to his FBI Director.

We know that Attorney General Lynch attempted to help cast the Democratic presidential candidate in a better light by the deft manipulation of semantics.

And we know that Comey testified back in September  2016 that he made the ill-fated decision to go forward with the FBI position not to prosecute Clinton after her interview by the investigative team.

This, however, proved not to be the case, as we learned this past week, when it was disclosed that Comey had drafted a statement that cleared Clinton some two months before the investigation had reached its conclusion.

As any investigator or prosecutor worth their salt could tell you: We don’t reach conclusions until all the facts are in and have been fairly weighed and considered.

The disgraceful unabated leaks sympathetic to the anti-Trump collective continue to hobble the current White House’s ability to get anything accomplished. And while they serve to burnish the former administration’s questionable decision-making and partisan calculus in the Clinton email investigation, this is the point where a moral imperative meets an overwhelming amount of evidence.

It is also where an abundance of smoke makes necessary the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the probable fire.

And though a decision to do just that will be assuredly maligned as a partisan effort, I feel the American people deserve to know why a politician was presumably treated differently than you or I would.

And if we deem the Russian collusion investigation appropriate and necessary, should we not also appeal to the Attorney General to appoint a special prosecutor in the email matter as well?

This isn’t a case of whataboutism. It’s a clear-cut case about doing what’s right.

James A. Gagliano is a CNN law enforcement analyst and retired FBI supervisory special agent. He also serves as an adjunct assistant professor at St. John's University and is a leadership consultant at the Thayer Leader Development Group (TLDG) at his alma mater, the United States Military Academy at West Point. Follow him on Twitter @JamesAGagliano.


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