Robb: Clinton wasn't exonerated

Robert Robb
Robert Robb

I don’t have a quarrel with FBI Director James Comey’s recommendation not to pursue criminal charges against Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server to conduct official business while secretary of state. Prosecutorial overreach is a problem in this country. I accept Comey’s conclusion that there is insufficient evidence of an intent to mishandle classified material.

I do have a quarrel with the argument from Democrats that raising her conduct here, and following the Benghazi terrorist attack, is dirty politics.

Comey’s statement makes it clear that there was highly-secret material sent and received that Clinton, at the time, should have known was inappropriate to reside on her personal server. He called it careless. Reckless would be more accurate.

Comey’s statement, and the previous inspector general report, lead to the inescapable conclusion that Clinton has systematically misled the American people about her use of private emails to conduct official business. Contrary to her assertion, it wasn’t well known and condoned by those in the department responsible for cyber security.  When they found out about it and wanted to vet the server, they were told to butt out.

Clinton knew that she was handling secret material through private emails on an unsecured system. In public comments, she sought to parse words to convey the opposite.

On Benghazi, the House GOP report does contain new findings. Relevant to Clinton, the committee additionally documented the extent to which White House PR spinmeisters, not intelligence officers, were calling the shots on what the American people were told about the attack.

Democrats are attributing the false narrative that the terrorist attack was actually a protest over an anti-Muslim video run amok to the fog of war.

But Susan Rice, now national security adviser, didn’t saturate national television with the message that what happened in Benghazi was uncertain and the administration was trying to sort it out. She was quite certain: It was a video protest run amok.

President Obama and Clinton continued to point toward the video in public comments long after there was no longer any uncertainty: It was a preplanned terrorist attack unrelated to the video.

I’ve been in and around politics for four decades now. And I wasn’t an idealist to begin with.

I understand that politics is a team sport. You defend and protect your own.

But defending the indefensible sullies those doing it. And it cheapens our civic discourse.

There’s a case to be made by Democrats that Hillary Clinton should be the next president, particularly given the alternative, without manning the barricades on the emails and Benghazi.