The FBI says no charges should be filed against Hillary Clinton. A federal judge on Monday declined to order the deposition of Hillary Clinton over whether she deliberately thwarted federal record-keeping laws— but did not rule out the possibility that the former Secretary of State may yet be forced to testify.
The real question: is Clinton being treated differently than the average American?
Let’s give the FBI director a Reality Check.
Republicans on Capitol Hill hit FBI director James Comey with a barrage of questions just weeks ago. The center of that questioning was if Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, mishandled classified information. How has she not been charged yet if the answer was yes?
Here was Comey’s answer:
“We don’t want to put people in jail unless we prove that they knew they were doing something that they shouldn’t do.”
By now, we all know that the FBI ultimately determined not to charge Clinton, but do you understand why?
There are three levels of classification set by the U.S. government: confidential, secret, and top secret. Comey said that the FBI found 110 emails in 52 email chains from the Clinton servers that contained information that was classified at the time they were sent or received. Of those email chains, 36 were found to include information labeled secret and 8 were found to contain information labeled top secret.
That means that the repeated claims made by Clinton for months that she never sent any classified material that was classified at the time is not true.
So why was Clinton not charged?
Comey said he didn’t recommend Clinton be prosecuted for “gross negligence” because only one person in 99 years has been.
To be clear, by any straightforward interpretation, Hillary Clinton broke the law. The law bans negligently hosting classified information in an unauthorized location.
Comey said, “It sure looks real careless to me. The question of whether that amounts to gross negligence frankly is really not at the center of this because when I look at the history of the prosecutions and see, it’s been one case brought on a gross negligence theory. I know from 30 years there’s no way anybody from the Department Of Justice is bringing a case against John Doe or Hillary Clinton for the second time in 100 years based on those facts.”
So what you need to know is that what Comey said during his testimony is that opinions are irrelevant, but the problem is that it was Comey’s opinion that led to no charges being filed.
Bottom line, it was a value judgment on whether or not, letter of the law aside, Clinton’s conduct was immoral enough to warrant charges. That is certainly something that reasonable people can disagree on, prosecutors and likewise.
But what is most stunning about Comey’s statement was not simply that he won’t recommend charges against Clinton, but when he said that the decision to not bring charges against Clinton “does not suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences.”
This means that somebody, anybody else who does the exact same thing could or would be charged. And that alone demonstrates what so many people are upset about, that there absolutely are two sets of rules: one for the ruling class and one for the rest of us.
That’s Reality Check. Let’s talk about it on Twitter.