When FBI Director James Comey 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,” he probably didn’t expect he might have to move against the heir apparent leader of the party under which he would serve.
The facts known about actions taken by Hillary Clinton while secretary of state surrounding the use of an unsecure private email server for conducting government business show that she violated 10 federal statutes. Several are national-security-related felonies, just three of which include: 1. disclosure of classified information (22 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 Oct. 10, 2012).
Comey knows of a related but lesser law violation in handling classified material by General David Petraeus that was recently adjudicated. Petraeus was fined $100,000 and sentenced to two years’ probation for providing his personal notebooks containing classified information to his biographer, although no classified information was ever exposed. Hillary Clinton’s email server containing more voluminous classified and Top Secret information was reportedly breached and exposed by notorious Romanian hacker “Guccifer” and by the Russians (who have 20,000 Clinton server emails in their possession). So Comey can’t easily give Secretary Clinton a pass and at the same time be true to his oath of office.
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 recommend indictment. The American people need to see that both lawlessness and dereliction of duty are not given a pass and that no one is above the law.
The country is now at the edge of an abyss from years of obfuscation, unaccountability, subterfuge and law evasion by the Obama administration that have numbed much of its citizenry into an 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.
But there is another reason this step is necessary. 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 balance spent on salaries and benefits, lavish 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 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, an influence-peddling consulting operation founded by a Clinton confidant. Additionally, a private email server would protect disclosure of fund-raising activities for Hillary Clinton’s anticipated run for president.
As the FBI investigation nears its completion, Comey can find solace 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.”
A central issue of the November election is to choose new leadership to disabuse the American citizenry of accepting dishonesty and abuse of power in government. If 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 a historic and truly heroic accomplishment.