By David Singer
The failure of former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and the Department of Justice to prosecute former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for alleged breaches of 18 U.S. Code §?793. Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information(the Code) is an issue that will come to the fore in the 2020 elections.
Clinton’s escape from prosecution during the height of the 2016 election campaign has gained a new head of steam following release of the transcript of evidence given to the Committee on the Judiciary, US House of Representatives, in July 2018, by former senior FBI Lawyer Lisa Page.
A meticulous investigation undertaken by the FBI into 30000 emails provided by Hillary Clinton to the State Department in 2014 from her private server disclosed that 110 emails in 52 email chains were determined by the owning agency to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received. Eight of those chains contained information that was Top Secret at the time they were sent; 36 chains contained Secret information at the time; and eight contained confidential information, which is the lowest level of classification.
Given these findings it seems very difficult to comprehend why the Department of Justice failed to charge Clinton with breaching these provisions of the Code:
“(f) Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, or (2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer—
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.
Much has been made of the role the Department of Justice played in amending a draft memo exonerating Clinton – before she was even interviewed – by deleting the original words accusing her of “gross negligence” and substituting them with the words “extremely careless” – allegedly to avoid any charge being laid against Clinton under (f) (1) of the above section.
A possible charge being laid against Clinton under (f) (2) seems to not have been considered.
Lisa Page’s transcript alleges that:
- Everyone at the FBI objected to Hillary Clinton and other high profile witnesses – Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills and Jake Sullivan – being interviewed other than in accordance with well established procedures – generally two agents and two prosecutors. Jake Laufman was identified by Page as the official in the Justice Department who wanted to depart from FBI standard procedure.
- Two fact witnesses – Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson – attended Hillary Clinton’s interview at the direction of some unknown person in the Justice Department – which was not typically appropriate or operationally necessary according to Page.
Department of Justice officials need to explain the different treatment these high profile witnesses received to other witnesses and the role the Department played in deciding to not prosecute Clinton for what appeared to be prima facie breaches of the Code.
Any suspicion that Hillary Clinton received special treatment from President Obama’s Department of Justice to help in her campaign to defeat Donald Trump should be fully investigated.
Justice must not only be done – it must be seen to be done.