This has got to be the most amusing US presidential campaign I have ever witnessed.
I won’t go over the whole thing but even the highlights are incredible.
- A self-proclaimed socialist runs for a major party nomination…and is competitive
- A non-politician runs for a major party nomination…and wins
- A presumptive nominee and prohibitive favorite for the White House…is under FBI investigation
Leave aside that one of the most promising Republican fields in years was whittled down to one guy who was written off by almost everyone – including me – as having no chance. Leave aside that all of the rules of campaigning seem to have been thrown out of the window this year. Leave aside strange alliances between candidates battling for the same prize, naming a running mate when the candidate has little chance of winning, and the media exploding as one sacred cow after another is dispatched to the great burger bar in the sky.
Even with all that aside, there is still so much more to come in this campaign.
The Department of State Inspector General’s report on the use of email by Hillary Clinton during her tenure as Secretary of State dropped yesterday with a bang. As the Wall Street Journal laid out, there were five major takeaways from the report, and all were bad for Clinton:
- State found another missing email.
- There were intrusion attempts made against Mrs. Clinton’s server.
- State Department staff raised concerns about her email arrangement.
- Clinton and her aides refused to cooperate with the investigation.
- Colin Powell also exclusively used private email.
To put these in context:
- Clinton said she had handed over all the emails – it’s now clear she lied.
- Clinton says her email was never hacked – it’s now clear that it was.
- Clinton says she was never told not to do what she did – it’s now clear she was told it was wrong.
- Clinton says she was eager to cooperate – it’s now clear she was never eager and refused to answer questions
- Clinton says it was common practice by SecStates to use private email – the IG found only two other examples across the entire State Department, one of whom was disciplined and the other (Powell) who was operating in a different era.
Clinton is in a deep hole now, and the continuing FBI investigation is only going to make things worse for her. I’m increasingly convinced that she has broken US Federal laws and that the FBI will recommend an indictment.
What I’m not sure is whether:
- that will happen before the convention so as to hand the Democratic nomination to Bernie Sanders
- that will happen before the election so as to hand the White House to Donald Trump
- that will happen but the Department of Justice will choose not to prosecute
- that will happen but the grand jury chooses not to indict (this is very unlikely, I think, if it does move forward)
- President Obama will intervene at some point in the whole mess and pardon Clinton (again, unlikely in my view)
In any case, Clinton will not be sleeping very soundly in the days ahead. The deposition of her staff continues in the Judicial Watch case, the FBI is interviewing her former staff, the Justice Department has cut a deal with a Romanian hacker who claimed to have accessed her email server, and she still hasn’t wrapped up the Democratic nomination.
So is it time to invest in a Hillary for Prison t-shirt?
I think it might be.