James Comey: Enforcing the Law Requires Indicting Hillary Clinton

When James Comey was appointed FBI Director by President Obama, he became the “hands on” chief law enforcement officer of the U.S. As he laid his hand on the Bible and recited his oath of office on September 4, 2013, swearing to “faithfully discharge the duties of the office… without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion,” Mr. Comey never thought he would face indicting the heir apparent leader of the party under which he would serve. 

The facts known about Secretary Hillary Clinton’s actions surrounding the use of an unsecure private email server for conducting State Department business, show that she acted with reckless disregard of the security interests of the United States and violated some ten federal statutes. Several are national security-related felonies, just three of which include: 1) disclosure of classified information (22 of which documents were Top Secret); 2) unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents; and 3) destruction of evidence (erasure of the hard drive and deletion of some 30,000 emails by Secretary Clinton), after a government investigation had commenced (Benghazi hearings began October 10, 2012).

Mr. Comey can’t give Secretary Clinton a pass without trouble because a related, but lesser violation in handling classified material by General David Petraeus was recently adjudicated, resulting in a $100,000 fine  a two years’ probation. Petraeus merely gave his personal notebooks, which contained classified information to his biographer, who never disclosed any secrets. Hillary Clinton showed reckless disregard for the nation’s security; her email server -- hosting voluminous classified and Top Secret information -- was repeatedly breached and exposed by notorious Romanian hacker “Guccifer” and by the Russians (who have 20,000 Clinton server emails in their possession). 

The fact that the administration under which Mr. Comey serves has conducted itself with unprecedented partisanship and lawlessness makes it even more important for him to uphold the law and proceed with indictment. The American people need to see that both lawlessness and dereliction of duty are not given a pass and that no one is exempt or above the law. 

But the reasons for this step go deeper. Hillary Clinton has been an integral part of the Clinton Foundation, which is unprecedented in size and global scope as an influence peddling political slush fund. According to the foundation’s own recent tax returns, just 10% of expenditures go to charitable grants, with the bulk of the expenditure balance spent on salaries and benefits, lavish life-style travel and conference organizing. The record shows that the Clinton Foundation took large contributions from several business magnates who soon thereafter received clearance for controversial international business deals. Saudi Arabia contributed $10 million to the Clinton Foundation before Hillary became secretary of state. A few years later the Hillary Clinton State Department formally cleared the largest single sale of military aircraft to the Saudis.     

The most plausible explanation for Hillary Clinton’s circumventing longstanding Federal government rules on secure communication and for her insistence on implementing a private email server, was simply to conceal a conflict of interest in continuing a role in the Clinton Foundation while also serving as secretary of state. It is instructive that Secretary Clinton’s top aide, Huma Abedin, was simultaneously on payrolls of both the State Department and the Teneo Group, a consulting operation founded by a Clinton confidant with influence peddling activities similar to the Clinton Foundation. Additionally, a private email server would protect disclosure of quid pro quos and fundraising activities for Hillary Clinton’s anticipated run for president.

As the FBI investigation nears its completion, Mr. Comey can find encouragement in the words of the 26th U.S. president, Theodore Roosevelt, who declared: "We cannot afford to differ on the question of honesty if we expect our republic permanently to endure. Honesty is not so much a credit as an absolute prerequisite to efficient service to the public. Unless a man is honest, we have no right to keep him in public life; it matters not how brilliant his capacity."

The country is now at the edge of an abyss following years of obfuscation, unaccountability, subterfuge, and law evasion by the Obama administration that have numbed much of its citizenry into a kind of base “group think acceptance” of government corruption and abuse of power. Resetting Americans’ trust in government needs to start with holding people in high office, like Hillary Clinton, accountable.

A central issue of the November election is to choose new leadership and disabuse the American citizenry of accepting dishonesty and abuse of power in government. If Mr. Comey can rise above political pressure and just do his job, he has a unique opportunity to press the reset button on government corruption and bring about an essential course correction in these troubled times. That would be an historic and truly heroic accomplishment.

Scott Powell is senior fellow at Discovery Institute in Seattle and managing partner of RemingtonRand LLC. Email him at scottp@discovery.org

When James Comey was appointed FBI Director by President Obama, he became the “hands on” chief law enforcement officer of the U.S. As he laid his hand on the Bible and recited his oath of office on September 4, 2013, swearing to “faithfully discharge the duties of the office… without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion,” Mr. Comey never thought he would face indicting the heir apparent leader of the party under which he would serve. 

The facts known about Secretary Hillary Clinton’s actions surrounding the use of an unsecure private email server for conducting State Department business, show that she acted with reckless disregard of the security interests of the United States and violated some ten federal statutes. Several are national security-related felonies, just three of which include: 1) disclosure of classified information (22 of which documents were Top Secret); 2) unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents; and 3) destruction of evidence (erasure of the hard drive and deletion of some 30,000 emails by Secretary Clinton), after a government investigation had commenced (Benghazi hearings began October 10, 2012).

Mr. Comey can’t give Secretary Clinton a pass without trouble because a related, but lesser violation in handling classified material by General David Petraeus was recently adjudicated, resulting in a $100,000 fine  a two years’ probation. Petraeus merely gave his personal notebooks, which contained classified information to his biographer, who never disclosed any secrets. Hillary Clinton showed reckless disregard for the nation’s security; her email server -- hosting voluminous classified and Top Secret information -- was repeatedly breached and exposed by notorious Romanian hacker “Guccifer” and by the Russians (who have 20,000 Clinton server emails in their possession). 

The fact that the administration under which Mr. Comey serves has conducted itself with unprecedented partisanship and lawlessness makes it even more important for him to uphold the law and proceed with indictment. The American people need to see that both lawlessness and dereliction of duty are not given a pass and that no one is exempt or above the law. 

But the reasons for this step go deeper. Hillary Clinton has been an integral part of the Clinton Foundation, which is unprecedented in size and global scope as an influence peddling political slush fund. According to the foundation’s own recent tax returns, just 10% of expenditures go to charitable grants, with the bulk of the expenditure balance spent on salaries and benefits, lavish life-style travel and conference organizing. The record shows that the Clinton Foundation took large contributions from several business magnates who soon thereafter received clearance for controversial international business deals. Saudi Arabia contributed $10 million to the Clinton Foundation before Hillary became secretary of state. A few years later the Hillary Clinton State Department formally cleared the largest single sale of military aircraft to the Saudis.     

The most plausible explanation for Hillary Clinton’s circumventing longstanding Federal government rules on secure communication and for her insistence on implementing a private email server, was simply to conceal a conflict of interest in continuing a role in the Clinton Foundation while also serving as secretary of state. It is instructive that Secretary Clinton’s top aide, Huma Abedin, was simultaneously on payrolls of both the State Department and the Teneo Group, a consulting operation founded by a Clinton confidant with influence peddling activities similar to the Clinton Foundation. Additionally, a private email server would protect disclosure of quid pro quos and fundraising activities for Hillary Clinton’s anticipated run for president.

As the FBI investigation nears its completion, Mr. Comey can find encouragement in the words of the 26th U.S. president, Theodore Roosevelt, who declared: "We cannot afford to differ on the question of honesty if we expect our republic permanently to endure. Honesty is not so much a credit as an absolute prerequisite to efficient service to the public. Unless a man is honest, we have no right to keep him in public life; it matters not how brilliant his capacity."

The country is now at the edge of an abyss following years of obfuscation, unaccountability, subterfuge, and law evasion by the Obama administration that have numbed much of its citizenry into a kind of base “group think acceptance” of government corruption and abuse of power. Resetting Americans’ trust in government needs to start with holding people in high office, like Hillary Clinton, accountable.

A central issue of the November election is to choose new leadership and disabuse the American citizenry of accepting dishonesty and abuse of power in government. If Mr. Comey can rise above political pressure and just do his job, he has a unique opportunity to press the reset button on government corruption and bring about an essential course correction in these troubled times. That would be an historic and truly heroic accomplishment.

Scott Powell is senior fellow at Discovery Institute in Seattle and managing partner of RemingtonRand LLC. Email him at scottp@discovery.org