Vox writer, Matthew Yglesias, wrote a piece which is currently the site’s most popular with over six-thousand shares on Facebook alone—not to mention the number of times it has crossed my inbox. In it, he claims Clinton’s email scandal is nothing more than a fabrication of the media. In the process, Yglesias brushes over the entire pay-for-play aspect and other facts surrounding the investigation.
His most consequential omissions, however, have to do with Comey’s decision in July not to recommend an indictment. Below are some things he didn’t mention.
- The crux of the legal argument surrounding the Espionage Act, which Clinton allegedly violated, comes down to intent. What Yglesias conveniently leaves out is that false exculpatory statements usually provide the best evidence of criminal intent. Comey himself admitted this when he testified on the Hill. Clinton made many false exculpatory statements in both her testimonies to the FBI and the House, which a prosecutor could use in a court of law. Comey, nonetheless, failed to address these statements in his decision not to recommend indictment.
- While the DOJ rarely uses the specific Espionage Act statute to prosecute people (which explains Comey’s “no reasonable prosecutor” statement), that specific statute is used in military courts for less significant offenses. Essentially Comey was making the circular argument of “we don’t use it much, so we won’t use it.” But a Secretary of State’s use of a private email server and her repeated false exculpatory statements about classified information are also unprecedented! To belabor the painfully obvious, she should have known better. Surely an unprecedented situation would merit a rare application of an existing statute.
- The question of the indictment is not about whether the DOJ should “lock her up” or if she’s innocent, but whether a prosecution should pursue the case. Yglesias, like a lot of pundits on both sides of the issue, attempts to be the judge and issue a final verdict. He even uses the phrase “ultimate verdict” in reference to his point of view.
In light of the items above, a discerning reader should acknowledge the plausibility this was a miscarriage of justice. Many of Clinton’s supporters would probably agree that our criminal justice system doesn’t treat every case uniformly. As former Comey colleague and federal prosecutor, Andrew McCarthy, writes,
“…there is a way the Justice Department and the FBI go about things when they are trying to make a case versus not make a case. In the former, their default mode, they are aggressive — sometimes hyper-aggressive. In the latter, less frequent mode, they channel the defense lawyers they usually work against. In the Clinton investigation, the FBI became the defense lawyer.”
Yglesias brushes aside the uproar as if to say, “there’s nothing here.” This is downright disrespectful to the reporters and legal analysts from numerous outlets have been pursuing this lead precisely because it is substantive.
It worries me that Clinton, our probable future president, is not being held accountable by leaders in her own party. Despite all that has surfaced, Democratic leaders continue to push an all-is-good-in-the-hood narrative. It would be much more intellectually honest for them to say: “Yes, our candidate is deviant, but she is better than the alternative.”
Integrity and honesty will still matter after Tuesday— regardless of what the election produces.