The investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of private email while secretary of state is closed, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said on Wednesday, removing a legal cloud that threatened the presumptive Democratic nominee's presidential bid.But the statement by FBI Director Comey is hardly something for anyone on Team Clinton to be happy about.
Lynch said she accepted the Federal Bureau of Investigation's recommendations that no charges be brought in the probe, as Republicans made clear they would not let Clinton's email headaches fade away easily.
Here's my problem. Regardless of the question of legality/illegality (which seems to have been resolved) my issue is one of judgement on the Secretary of State's part.
She was at the core (if not at the core then certainly standing right next to) of all of those Clinton "scandals" of the nineties:
- The LA Haircut
- Vince Foster's death
- Ron Brown's death
- And so on.
And that was it.
But remember how the GOP and their friends the media (right wing and otherwise) treated each?
Scandal! Scandal!! SCANDAL!!
It's not too much of an exaggeration to propose that if, as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton were to use the wrong fork for her salad either Larry Klayman and/or Judicial Watch would file a FOIA lawsuit to find out why.
Given all that, what was she thinking to even set up those email servers in the first place? And did she think that no one would find out and ask questions about them? Ever?
Even if the use of those email servers was completely OK (and again, no charges but the picture Comey painted wasn't pretty) then it was her team's responsibility to make sure that every aspect of their use was beyond squeaky clean.
Yes, it's unfair and yes it's a double standard but given her last name and the GOP/media appetite for Clinton scandals, it's completely understandable.
Or at least it should have been when they were thinking of setting up those servers. They should have gotten an official OK for every circuit board, every USB cable, every keystroke, everything. They should have done that so that when the inevitable congressional investigation began they had it officially covered.
They should have done this beforehand.
But they didn't. At the very least they misread and underestimated their political and journalistic adversaries - and that means they didn't learn the lessons of 20 years ago well enough.
And that's a big problem.