A year ago it was described as a far-fetched conspiracy theory. A few months later Senator Bernie Sanders announced during a debate that he felt the issue was benign, and that he would not use it against his rival, Hillary Clinton, who is now considered the presumptive Democratic nominee. These days most editorials have described the situation with a watered-down tone and a haphazard grasp of the legal implications of funneling top-secret documents to a private server.
The political ether is currently laced with a zombie-inspired conventional wisdom that this entire debacle is ultimately meaningless, a manufactured scandal concocted by Clinton's political enemies and kept alive by talk radio. But once you delve deep into the facts of the case you begin to see why this investigation was never arbitrary.
Let's be clear: Clinton is currently the subject of two criminal investigations. This should be the biggest story of the presidential campaign, even with Donald Trump's continuous stream of unconscionable consciousness swallowing up a gargantuan amount of airtime. And Trump, even with all his baggage, doesn't have two looming criminal indictments. He doesn't even have one.
The best the media could muster was to paste the suffix "gate" at the end of the noun "email."
For over a year, no one seemed to care about Clinton's email scandal. The best the media could muster was to paste the suffix "gate" at the end of the noun "email," a breathtaking departure from how the media usually brands a political scandal. But the story just became a sort of buzz in the background, forcing the media to go with their gut instincts that said Hillary would ride out the storm. They heard the buzzing, they knew the facts and they collectively shrugged.
To be fair, they normally do probe deep into these kinds of stories with these kinds of facts, but for Clinton they eased up. For whatever reason, this story became just another manufactured Hillary Clinton scandal, invented to derail the campaign of the first woman POTUS.
Conceivably, who else other than Hillary Clinton could be spared the scrutiny everyone else would receive from the media for the exact same set of offences? Who else can get away with lying about the details of that investigation for over a year? Who else would expect the public to believe that technological and procedural ignorance is a viable excuse for mishandling top-secret information pertinent to national security?
Nobody but Hillary Clinton could manage to minimize the damage so successfully. It's quite the political triumph in some ways, shielding oneself from scandal, but time runs out on everyone eventually, and even Hillary Clinton isn't forever spared the long reach of unfiltered truth.
It's becoming more and more probable that Clinton will not be the democratic nominee after the convention on July 25, especially after an impromptu meeting between Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton, one that had such negative optics that Lynch has since announced she will not challenge the FBI recommendations.
The assumption that an Obama ally at the top of the State Department would rubber stamp a get-out-of-jail-free card for Clinton seemed like a forgone conclusion, another ring of protection for Clinton if she needed an 11th-hour escape hatch. Without that protection, Clinton is now at the mercy of the FBI.
Enter FBI Director James Comey, considered by some to the most powerful man in the country at this moment, one who now controls Clinton's permanent fate. Comey is also a stickler for the rules and not considered a rabid partisan, making his final opinion on this matter both credible and, now that Bill Clinton has proverbially poisoned the attorney general, final.
It also bodes well for the Bernie Sanders campaign. Lord knows he and his supporters have smelled the fleeting scent of justice for months.
Sanders may have always believed this was a legit scandal for Clinton, even when he promised not to use it to attack her. But by refusing to act presumptuously towards Clinton, he created a facet of his image that was above the nastiness in politics, allowing the process to play out instead of grandstanding the idea of an indictment. Now that Lynch has deferred the final decision to Comey, Sanders would be wise to remain just as quiet until the Comey's decision is finalized. If she is indicted, Bernie Sanders would likely become the nominee for the Democratic Party, turning an already OMFG campaign into a WTF election like no other.
A Sanders vs. Trump election may sound epic, and in many ways it would be, but it would also be chaotic. Hell, maybe America needs some civil unrest right now, a cleansing of demagoguery, if you will. Nobody is advocating riots or armed conflict, but there are enough emotional alarmists on both sides that anything can happen, and lots probably will.
But first things first. There is still a consensus inside the beltway and establishment media regarding the chances of a Clinton indictment. Most pundits, anchorpeople and Democrats are universally skeptical that Clinton will face charges. Missing from these discussions among insiders is that other people -- including David Petraeous and whistleblower Tom Drake -- have been indicted for very similar offences. Off the air they must talk about how if she were anyone else there would be no question as to whether or not an indictment was coming.
But this is Hillary Clinton, not some whistleblower or a disgraced general. Let's be honest about why it took so long to get to the 11th hour of her probable indictment -- power. She is the most powerful politician in America, probably even more powerful than Obama.
But now that power has slipped from her grasp, after months of stonewalling and parsing the truth, leaving her vulnerable, at the mercy of justice, and providing a toehold for Bernie Sanders to miraculously become the Democratic nominee for president of the United States.
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