Fallout Boy: Lynch, Comey and the Hot Potato Plot

Editor’s note: unfortunately, over the past few days in particular, my work has been derailed by an ongoing personal problem and I’m just now managing to book aside enough time to write again; I may in fact be required to move residencies soon and it’s possible there will be further interruptions of service. I will of course do my best to minimize interruptions but unfortunately, sometimes real life kicks your ass and you have no choice but to deal with it.

On three previous occasions, we’ve talked about the ongoing Hillary Clinton private email server scandal with increasing levels of detail and seriousness. If I’m being honest, I would have to say that as recently as early April of this year, I honestly thought the whole thing was just another Republican witch-hunt designed to turn a minor infraction into a major election issue – as we have seen since however; that is simply not the truth. In my last piece, I closed off by discussing the extremely large number of disturbing questions raised by what we already, objectively know about the Clinton email server scandal. Today, we’re going to start clearing some of those questions up by focusing on the ongoing “conflict of interest” problem dogging the entire scandal.

 

Baiting the Trap

On Tuesday, June 28th of this year and a mere seven days before FBI Director James Comey would go on to tell the world Hillary Clinton would be spared indictment for reasons that make virtually no sense to anyone with a law degree – the American public was treated to one of the more curious, even fascinating political maneuvers in the nation’s history.

At Sky Harbor International Airport in Arizona, former President Bill Clinton boarded current Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s waiting airplane on the tarmac for a thirty minute, private conversation and somehow, someone leaked the whole damn thing to a reporter beforehand.

Naturally, the press, social media and the public at large erupted almost immediately – seizing on the obvious impropriety and potential conflict of interest involved in Clinton visiting Lynch while the Attorney General was overseeing a federal investigation into his wife, Hillary Clinton. Things certainly weren’t helped when Lynch responded to pressing questions about the meeting by claiming they spoke “primarily” about their grandchildren and golf – despite the fact that nobody could produce any evidence Clinton had been golfing in scorching-hot Phoenix recently.

To put it bluntly, the optics were absolutely terrible for the Clinton campaign and as the media (rightly) clucked away about how much the whole incident stunk like five day old fish, the pressure on Lynch to respond to the situation increased almost to the breaking point. Chagrined and seemingly in the interests of propriety, Lynch quickly announced that she would leave the final decision on whether or not to indict Clinton with James Comey and the FBI.

With the matter seemingly settled by Lynch disengaging herself from the investigation and decision to indict, the media generally moved on to juicier topics while noting that both Lynch and Clinton had made a mistake and reminding their audience that Bill has a long history of embarrassing the shit out of his wife in the middle of an election campaign.

Of course, the only problem with this narrative is that I don’t think it’s true, or rather, I don’t believe Bill Clinton’s visit (and the public exposure of said visit) was either an accident or a mistake.

 

The Hot Potato Plot

Now, you may be asking yourself at this moment whether or not I’ve gone completely out of my goddamn mind; after all, why would Bill Clinton purposely embarrass his wife by showing such incredibly poor judgment like that?

It’s a fair question and one I sincerely wish more of the mainstream media had bothered to ask at the time quite frankly; because when you consider what the various figures in our tale gained from the event – it’s hard to imagine they didn’t do it on purpose. Unfortunately, uncovering precisely why it was actually good for Team Clinton takes a little bit of critical thinking and as we already know, that skill remains remarkably rare in modern, mainstream media.

First and foremost, it’s important to remember how the process to indict or not indict Hillary Clinton would have worked normally; or in this case, without Bill Clinton’s involvement because it remains a valid question whether or not Lynch should have immediately brought in a Special Prosecutor in the first place – we’ll talk more about that in a few moments.

Remember, way back when this whole thing started it was just a State Department probe, convened in response to the Benghazi investigation’s discovery of Hillary Clinton’s private email server. Absolutely no part of this scandal was ever supposed to come to light; unfortunately for the Democratic Party however, State Department Inspector General Steve Linick appears to be an honest man. State soon became overwhelmed by the sheer volume of emails they were processing; and as we now know – a very serious and thorough Inspector General’s investigation by Linick. This then forced the government to refer the case to the Department of Justice, which in turn brought the FBI on board to conduct the actual investigation.

This meant that Comey would only be responsible for a non-binding recommendation (either way) to the Attorney General, Loretta Lynch. In fact, that recommendation wouldn’t even be public knowledge – a topic we discussed in my second article on the Clinton email server scandal as a possible method for the Obama administration to actually cover up the scandal; at the time however, it was assumed that FBI leaks of the report and a recommendation to indict would likely doom any such plot. Ultimately however, the decision to indict or not indict would rest with Lynch as the Attorney General and by extension her boss, President Barack Obama; who it must be remembered is himself, an accomplished lawyer. Conversely, were Lynch to choose not to indict and it subsequently became public knowledge that Clinton was in fact guilty as sin, the ultimate responsibility for that miscarriage of justice would rest on Lynch and, by extension her boss, President Obama.

Again, it is important to understand that Loretta Lynch isn’t just a former prosecutor, she is the highest prosecutor in the land and an important, highly visible member of President Obama’s administration. As a result of that role, Lynch is burdened with a number of ethical responsibilities – in a legally defined sense, in terms of Department of Justice policy and even in terms of public opinion; she wouldn’t be the first person fired for dereliction of duty or just for making the government look incredibly bad.

So, what happened instead and more importantly, who’s actually responsible if the decision to not indict was a “mistake” or rather, a massive travesty of justice?

Ultimately, the final decision rested with Lynch, but she openly “recused” herself of any responsibility (without, actually recusing herself in a legal sense – which in and of itself appears an unreal, ethical violation) by stating she’d simply accept whatever recommendation the FBI proposed – regardless of the validity of that recommendation! Is that enough to hold up in a court of law? I’m not sure, but the mainstream media and therefore the court of public opinion sure ate it up.

Furthermore, you can’t rightly hold Comey responsible because his role was, and remained throughout the investigation, merely to recommend a course of action to the Attorney General. His job was never to decide if Hillary Clinton would be indicted and thus in a direct sense, it’s not his legal responsibility because Lynch was charged with assessing the validity of his recommendation and making the final decision – even if that fact hasn’t entirely washed out his culpability in the court of public opinion.

Are the waters murky enough for this to be a classic Clinton scandal yet – as we switch back and forth between public perception and legal liability? Does that sound familiar to you at all?

In essence, Bill Clinton’s thirty minute visit to the Attorney General created a situation where the decision not to indict his own wife (who is running for the President of the United States as we speak) could be made, without making any one person fully responsible for it whatsoever; even despite the fact that the FBI, Attorney General and by extension President Obama had a direct hand in making it! There is no fallout for the President, minimal fallout for the Attorney General, only a mild amount of heat for the Director of the FBI and the guy who ends up coming off like an idiot is a soon-to-be, non-elected “First Lady” who’s already been disbarred and thus will face no consequences whatsoever from his actions! You couldn’t write a better plot for a television show if you tried and Bill Clinton managed to orchestrate this entire thing simply by stepping on Lynch’s plane and making sure someone in the media knew he was doing it – if the whole damn thing weren’t so evil, I’d been tempted to clap at the sheer artistry of it all for fuck’s sake.

 

On the Subject of Ethics

At this point, I feel at least a brief discussion of what I mean when I say the term “ethics” is important here. When we’re discussing the responsibilities of the US Attorney General, the Director of the FBI and the State Department Inspector General there are actually two concepts of “ethics” at work here – the legally defined, ethical requirements of not only the AG, but virtually all attorneys, prosecutors and judges in the United States, as well as the basic ethical requirements of officers of the US government in the court of public opinion.

As previously mentioned – in her role as Attorney General, Loretta Lynch is not merely acting as a prosecutor but also as an important, high profile representative of the Department of Justice and indeed the entire Obama government. Naturally, the same holds true for James Comey and even Hillary Clinton; who is not currently an elected representative of the government but is both a lawyer and in the act of running for office – thus she can be reasonably expected to know how her actions reflect on the administration as a whole. Furthermore, President Obama (who ultimately oversees even the Justice Department) is also a lawyer; in fact the only person involved in this whole thing who really doesn’t have both professional and public ethical responsibilities in this case is former President Bill Clinton – who’s been disbarred as a lawyer and isn’t, technically, running for office this fall.

In terms of the law, we’re primarily talking about 28 US Code Subsection 530B – Ethical standards for attorneys for the Government which itself references state and federal court of law conduct guidelines; the vast majority of which are essentially just a minor variation on the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct. This is also buttressed by rules within the Department of Justice Ethics Handbook and while these aren’t exactly laws, they are very serious governmental rules that generally line up directly with the available law on the subject – the proper conduct of attorneys in legal matters has been a foundation of English Common Law (the basis of the American Legal System) for literally hundreds of years.

I’ll spare you a lot of heavy legal reading by pointing out that in every single one of these laws and guidelines you will find language specifically instructing attorneys to recuse themselves from cases in which there appears to be a conflict of interest – a point Chris White explored in great detail on July 1st of this year in a LawNewz.com article that received only a fraction of the attention it deserved in light of the serious ethical questions it raised.

 

Tying Off the Threads

So now that we understand a little bit more about ethics and in particular, conflicts of interest, unraveling the case is simply a matter of asking a few fairly obvious questions.

Does being the Attorney General in an Obama Administration that’s from the same political party as Hillary Clinton and under a President (that appointed her, don’t forget) who had already, actively endorsed Clinton’s bid to become the next President represent a clear conflict of interest when you’re investigating Hillary Clinton for possible felony violations of the Espionage Act during her time as Secretary of State under that very same President? You bet it does!

Does the matter look any better when you realize that it was Bill Clinton who originally nominated Lynch as a US Attorney for Eastern New York back in 1999? Fuck no, it doesn’t!

How about when I tell you the law firm Lynch worked for in the private sector had professional ties to the Clinton family and was one of the largest contributors to Clinton’s 2008 Presidential nomination campaign? What about when I tell you that at the exact same time all of this went down, Hillary Clinton not-so discreetly leaked that she was “open” to keeping Lynch on as Attorney General if she became President in the fall?

Furthermore, once Lynch declared that she was going to accept the FBI recommendation sight unseen, didn’t she functionally create a situation where the only person overseeing James Comey’s FBI investigation was the Director of the FBI – James Comey?! How the hell is that even legal and furthermore, why hasn’t anyone pointed out the obvious and absurd lack of transparency involved in putting Comey in charge of overseeing his own investigation?!  Not only is the entire situation grossly improper, but Lynch then turned around and hid behind professional propriety when refusing to answer over seventy-four questions about the investigation before Congress and under oath – including an absolutely mind-blowing exchange where the Attorney General of the United States refused to say whether or not lying under oath was a crime!

How does it look when I tell you that James Comey was a director of controversial investment bank HSBC before accepting Obama’s offer to become Director of the FBI; an institution that has received shockingly favorable treatment from the Obama Justice Department and has contributed roughly eighty-one million goddamn dollars to the Clinton Foundation? This isn’t an alarm bell my friends – this is a raging, endless cacophony of alarm bells blaring out “danger, danger, danger” to anyone with the goddamn Google search skills necessary to find it; and mainstreaming media has hardly uttered a peep!

How much open, obvious corruption does one have to see before it’s fair to question the Attorney General of the United States’ integrity and the validity of her non-decision to indict Clinton? Although few outlets bothered to report it at the time (or since) virtually all of these clear conflicts of interest involving Attorney General Lynch, James Comey and the Obama administration in general have been a matter of public knowledge since the beginning of this case – how is it even possible to justify Lynch’s decision not to officially recuse herself and call in an independent, special prosecutor immediately?

 

Hear No, See No, Speak No Evil

All of which of course only leaves one obvious question and with it, one only slightly-less obvious answer – why would you risk the reputation of the Attorney General, the FBI Director, the President of the United States and indeed the entire Democratic party, in the middle of an election season no less, when you could just name a special prosecutor and be done with it?

Is it maybe because Clinton is clearly, emphatically guilty and you might have a hard time getting an independent investigator who wasn’t hoping to work with Hillary for at least the next four years to help the Democratic Party cover it all up? That special prosecutor would, after all be legally empowered to ignore Comey’s recommendation not to indict – just as Lynch was so empowered until she inexplicably and with absolutely no legal precedent that I can find, decided she unofficially wasn’t.

Incredibly, despite all of this life goes on and with it, the wheels of government – the President remains far above the scandal with record approval ratings and there seems to be little will among the Republicans in Congress to go after Lynch or Comey for this clear and obvious subversion of justice. Although it remains to be seen if Hillary Clinton will actually get away with all this in the final analysis; for now she’s free to crush the left wing of the Democratic Party and progress on to battle a moronic, racist troglodyte for the right to represent the richest 1% of Americans as the next President of the United States.

Somewhere, Bill Clinton is laughing the deep, throaty laugh of a man who knows he’s playing chess while his enemies (and the law) play checkers. I can’t honestly say I blame him; it’s not every day you can play the media and the Department of Justice like a two bit fiddle and walk away without so much as a scratch. Bravo you magnificent, utterly corrupt son of a bitch – bravo.

 

  • Nina Illingworth

 

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