Some of you may have noticed the name Hillary Clinton popping up in the news frequently in recent days. And not just because of her 69th birthday.
The Chicago native would like to be elected president of the United States in a few days. But like her Republican opponent, Clinton is finding the most ingenious ways to sabotage her own campaign.
Can the loquacious billionaire keep his pie hole closed for a few days and let political gravity take its course?
And if this thing called karma keeps groping Clinton for another week or so, she may well witness her long-coveted White House return handed over to her onetime friend and donor Donald Trump. That is, if the loquacious billionaire can keep his pie hole closed for a few days and let political gravity take its course.
Modern history’s most bizarre presidential campaign took another unexpected turn Friday. Because Clinton and a media more interested in Trump’s rhetorical fumbles and alleged sexual missteps seem to have such difficulty detailing her scandal, we’re going to try explaining it here:
Director James Comey in July announced the resolution of the FBI’s probe into Clinton’s private email server and classified-document mishandling. No charges would be filed, he said, but she was “extremely careless” in her email practices.
Now he has informed Congress that related emails have emerged and are being examined.
That’s a most unusual step, telling Congress of an incomplete inquiry. Comey told his employees he felt compelled because he had testified that the Clinton case was resolved.
Comey’s announcement in July helped set Clinton on a bumpy glide-path to the presidency, according to accumulating polls that are either rigged or right, depending on your favored candidacy.
What would cause the nation’s top law enforcement agency to detonate such a political explosion during early voting, just days before the Nov. 8 election? Comey had to say something. Imagine if we discovered Nov. 9 that the bureau had been sitting on stuff potentially lethal to Clinton’s candidacy.
The trouble is because the investigation is active, Comey can’t say more. His agents may not know more yet; hence, the word “investigation.”
What exactly are they investigating? It seems thousands of emails belonging to top Clinton aide Huma Abedin have been found on four electronic devices in her estranged husband’s apartment. Former Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner is under a separate FBI investigation for alleged sexual texting with an underage female.
Yes, this is U.S. presidential politics 2016. But bear with us. Despite months of parsing and prevarications, we now know that Clinton and staff used an unsecured, private email server for government business, including for handling scores of classified materials.
Comey called it less secure than a standard Gmail account. So why not use the secure government email system? Well, those messages are all archived beyond Clinton’s control.
They’d be subject to Freedom of Information Act requests and could show, oh, say, conflicts of interest among the secretary of state, the family’s money-laundering family foundation and her hubby, the globe-trotting, lucrative-speech-giving ex-president whose personal appearance fees doubled when she took office.
As it happens, government archives are also not subject to the kinds of mass email deletions that occurred on Clinton’s private system, even after Congress had ordered that everything be preserved.
And what’s in the emails? Yoga exercises? Wedding plans? More classified documents?
Did you notice in the third debate, when Chris Wallace asked about pay-to-play allegations during her government tenure, how quickly Clinton pivoted to her foundation valiantly fighting AIDS?
So why would thousands of Abedin emails reside on a private laptop? And what’s in them? Yoga exercises? Wedding plans? More classified documents? Duplicates of stuff we’ve already read? Messages indicating Clinton’s desire to circumvent government transparency despite dangerous security risks?
That would be the forensic mother lode, the electronic fingerprints proving the criminal intent that Comey said in July was lacking.
Secure in the knowledge it won’t happen, Clinton demanded the FBI release everything before the election. Hilarious that the candidate whose staff bleached thousands of email files in defiance of the U.S. Congress and hammered a dozen devices into silicon oblivion to cover her trail of misbehavior now calls for transparency.
What else bizarre could happen? What if Clinton still wins election, narrowly? What if she becomes the first female president-elect indicted and goes to jail, just as Trump predicted? But it happens at the hands of the Democratic administration that so wanted her to preside?
Nah, that’s too bizarre. Or is it?
Malcolm is an author and veteran national and foreign correspondent covering politics since the 1960s. Follow him @AHMalcolm.