Postcard circa 1880. U.S. Senate Historical Office
Sunday, July 3, 2016
HOW A SUPPOSEDLY FRIENDLY AIRPORT TARMAC VISITATION MAY CAST ASPERSION ON THE OUTCOME OF G-MEN INTERVIEW OF FORMER US SECRETARY OF STATE?
Keywords or Terms: G-Men; FBI Interviews; Attorney General Loretta Lynch; President Bill Clinton; Phoenix, Arizona Airport; Quid quo pro; Democratic National Committee; Watergate; “Plumbing Unit”; Fifth Amendment; Government Official Violation; Ref Flag; Precedence of Action; Culpability; Licentious Intentions; and Reckless Violation of Public Policy
The mood this weekend at Hillary Clinton’s campaign headquarters is probably one of cautious optimism or hopefulness? There is a fervent desire to see Hillary Clinton do well with the FBI interviews on the private email server scandal investigation. There is also an apprehension that if things do not go well with the FBI interview, the campaign for 2016 White House may take a new turn. Considering all the aspersions from Republicans and Donald Trump’s campaign regarding President Bill Clinton’s incursion or visitation with US Attorney General Loretta Lynch on that tarmac in Phoenix, Arizona, Conservative Republicans have called out for a special counsel because they believe the Attorney General may not claim to be impartial at this time regarding the G-Men investigation of Hillary Clinton.
First, both Republican and Democratic legislators alike, see probable conflict of interest and have raised questions and concerns regarding the impromptu visitation of US Attorney General with the spouse of former US Secretary of State, about a week before interrogation or interviews of his wife by the G-men, regarding probable misuse of government equipment or associated privileges. In politics, the question is, is this another quid quo pro request from a former president, to which the current attorney general owed part of her professional advancement, or is this just a mere coincidence? Couldn’t the visitation had waited; or could either of the parties not see the possible interpretation of this visitation from independent parties? Couldn’t either visiting parties shown restraints or better judgement regarding a “friendly” visitation so close to a time of interrogation of the former US Secretary of State and presumptive Democratic Party nominee for 2016 White House race by the G-men? Can they, both the visiting duo, not imagine what may be going on in the heads of Americans regarding how senior government officials conduct themselves or complete government work in a time of contentious run for the White House? The burning question is, couldn't the visitation had waited until the completion of the FBI interviews, considering that one of the parties was said to have changed planes at the time of travel, introducing probable suspicious visitation or friendly courtesy?
Second, in official function and duty, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, is supposed to have a final word very soon, on the interview between the presumptive democratic party nominee and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). If Hillary Clinton ends up being recommended for indictment by the FBI or if she is exonerated per chance, there is an already preconceived notion in the public eye that some underhanded attempt was or had been made, to steer the direction of the investigation or the decision, either way. A visitation between the US Attorney General and former President of the United States, a surrogate and spouse of the presumptive Democratic Party flag bearer for 2016 White House, was at best, a suspect, even if either parties meant well or had nothing to hide. Bill Clinton has been a campaign surrogate for Hillary Clinton, unlike other campaign staff, who may be sharing other information with the US Attorney General unrelated to the upcoming FBI interview of the presumptive democratic party nominee with the G-men, there is the plausibility the former President Bill Clinton may have raised the issue of the investigation of his wife during the twenty or thirty minute of visitation between the duo.
In this very contentious political climate, most independent observers perceive a visitation of this nature, between President Bill Clinton and US Attorney General Loretta Lynch, as synonymous with Hillary Clinton meeting with the attorney general prior to her FBI interview, since Mr. Clinton is the spouse of Mrs. Clinton. The long awaited interview and prolong investigation of the former US Secretary of State may backfire or worsen the political atmosphere already associated with how either Presidential candidates and their parties are seeking the White House oval office. Not only has this visitation received condemnation by the presumptive Republican Party nominee, it has brought out some grieve reflection from vested political operatives who are interested in undermining the campaign of Ms. Hillary Clinton for 2016 White House oval office. If Hillary Clinton fails to convince the FBI that she had no ulterior motives in using a private email server in conducting government business, many of us can see a situation in which the contest for the White House may end up being a bad omen for the Democratic Party.
One can recall the similarity of this visitation with the case of Nixon Attorney General, John Mitchell, head of Nixon’s reelection campaign, with the “plumbing” unit, that sought out Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist files, or bugged the Democratic National Committee office during Watergate? Was President Bill Clinton attempting to know how much breaches that his wife had and which the G-men have in their domain and been keeping from her and the public eye? Conflict of interest means a situation in which a person is in a position to derive personal benefit from actions or decisions made in a visitation with an official in capacity or authority to influence the ultimate outcome of events; or, any effort to steer or influence ultimate outcome of an investigation. When parties or surrogates of parties to an investigation, appear to be attempting to influence the outcome of an investigation, then a red flag is raised by individuals suspicious of development in the case. Is Hillary Clinton’s campaign, through a surrogate, attempting to preempt an interview between the G-men and the former US Secretary of State; or, was her spouse and surrogate laying ground for absolution of any erroneous motives or shortcomings in the use of personal email server for conducting government business?
Attorney General Loretta Lynch appears to have realized the possible misinterpretation of her visitation with Hillary Clinton’s surrogate on a hot summer day at the Phoenix, Arizona tarmac, as she replied to press questions regarding the visitation on the subsequent day with: “I certainly won’t do that again!” The emphasis here is, I have learned my lesson and would never mix business with pleasure, no matter who is involved in an instance as this? Political influence on how civil servants conduct business of the state are not new; however, the appearance of political influence in any event could be just as damning as the actual influence, to do what is not in the interest of the state? Further, it appears the Attorney General has realized why many lawmakers are scuffing and or frowning at her visitation with President Clinton just before the weekend interview with his spouse. In addition, as if recognizing the discomfort and concerns of interested parties regarding her visitation with former President Bill Clinton, the attorney general stressed she would allow the recommendations and judgement of career civil servants from the FBI and State Department to prevail in the ultimate decision regarding the investigative outcome of the former US Secretary of State’s use of personal email server to conduct government business.
Will a special counsel be necessary at this time or should we look forward to the definitive results or outcome of the interrogation of Hillary Clinton by the G-men, before seeking the inauguration or use of a special counsel? Outcomes of an investigation by the G-men are never determined by uproar from the public, since often, the general public is not completely privy to all information regarding the nature of offense that is being investigated in this instance. When G-Men conduct interrogation or interviews regarding aggregation or misuse or abuse of government equipment and or privileges, there are some standard questions or considerations that draw out probable culpability and in some cases, determinable culpability may just be too difficult to establish because of accentuating circumstances; including, when to give leeway to the civil servant regarding how he or she has conducted government business before being flagged for possible violation of government policy; or, lackadaisical poor judgement in completing specific requirements of his or her duties. Even where error in judgement is determinable, the question of whether the civil servant actually knew of the existence of a contravening policy that prevents engagement in unauthorized act or dereliction of duty, comes to play in apportioning blame. Rules change rapidly – to the extent to which they existed at all – and a contravention may not indicate complete culpability in a policy violation, if there had been a precedence to this suspected violation.
If prior US Secretaries of State before Hillary Clinton have engaged in similar behavior to which she is being investigated, it will be very difficult to indict or punish her, without raising the issue of disparate treatment. If her behavior in using private email in conducting government business had fallen into a remarkable tradition or routine among past Secretaries of State, if even by just one of the past secretaries, a precedence is established and a very good attorney can easily argue his way out for an exoneration. Culpable violation demands preponderance of evidence of willful violation of government policy; and potential offender must have shown gross negligence after being informed or alerted of the erroneous nature of violation of public policy, to be indicted.
To be frank with everyone, I doubt if the former US Secretary of State went into the interview with the G-men without an attorney to help her understand the G-men questions and the implication of her responses. The official determination of culpability is sometimes held so low, that except there is so much glaring error in judgment rooted in recklessness in violation of public policy in the eye of the law, an interviewee, in a defunct position or position she is no longer occupying, barring financial fraud, may hardly be held accountable for gross violation of government policy. Hillary Clinton’s case is a high profile investigation, the outcome of which could lead to allegation of witch-hunting or reluctance to indict on the part of the FBI; thus, we must now hold our breath and wait patiently for the Attorney General’s report regarding the interview with the FBI of Hillary Clinton. In situation where the report appears subjective, the agency may be criticized for for not conducting a thorough job in the interrogation process; however, where the report points finger at compelling violation behavior that demands indictment, political parties may raise a red flag, with the possibility of the Republican party asking for an actionable decision to arrest the presumptive Democratic Nominee pending prosecution; and or, the Democratic party members shouting foul regarding erroneous rush to judgement of the G-Men in the interrogation of their party’s nominee.
The outcome of Hillary Clinton’s interview with the G-Men may further intensify solidarity among supporters of either party’s presidential presumptive nominee. In the cause of support for the brand of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, there is the possibility of intensive support by her PAC to help reconstruct public perception of the nature of her violation; and or, whitewash the indictment of their candidate of choice. Donald Trump’s supporters will be hard pressed to justify extended investigation involving a special counsel to look into the possible violation of Hillary Clinton of government policy, since their direct interest is probably not involved in this investigation. While Donald Trump’s supporters may introduce need for swift prosecution in case of an indictment, to help further or advance the chances of their party’s nominee, Hillary Clinton’s campaign may result to engaging a team of attorneys to draw out an extensive and extended litigation that will result in Hillary Clinton pleading the fifth to all the questions from the prosecutor and probable throwing out of the case before the general elections or after it. Whichever way it is; I can see Hillary Clinton walking out free from prosecution or responsibility for any possible indictment for executive negligence, gross abuse of privileges and powers from the FBI; including loss of security clearance for national secrets. This is not wishful thinking; it is just the way some violations that are borderline in judgement had been treated in some agencies, and in instances of government official’s violation; especially, where there were no clear cut policy statement preventing this purported violation. She may just be given a reprimand for any violation related to the issues raised in use of private email server for conducting government business?
Looking back at US State Department’s belated efforts to figure out if former Secretary Hillary Clinton was in violation of agency policy, and the general public interest in the possible violation of government policy in the use of private email servers for conducting government business, there were probably no fast and clear rules in existence when Hillary Clinton was the US Secretary of State; as you would have heard from the State Department Public Relations department once, most recently, saying the rules have been tightened up since the possible or erroneous violation by past US Secretaries of State including Hillary Rodham Clinton. Ultimately the penalty of violation will not be limited to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, were effort made to bring her to book for possible violation. If the Attorney General is unable to indict based on report submitted to her by the FBI and recommendations of Senior State Department officials regarding policy violation, there is no need to look forward to any huge repercussions for the violation from the outcome of the G-Men interrogation of the former Secretary of State this weekend. In addition, a cavier of non prosecutable offenses regarding the use of private email servers for doing government business may be raised and justification not to proceed with prosecution affirmed with a line statement saying, yes, she screwed-up, the offenses were grave; but, they would be hard to prove in a court of law.
When an unindicted former US Secretary of State and Presumptive Democratic Party nominee begins to refocus her campaign away from the fallout from her interrogation by the G-Men, she is likely to proclaim the thoroughness of the FBI investigation and the ultimate profound judgement of the Attorney General not to indict in an instance that is probably borderline in possible violation of public policy in using private email servers for conducting government business. At the same time, American voters must have expected the former US Secretary of State to find a way out of the FBI maze of dead end questions seeking to implicate her during the interrogations. Anyone with common sense will do the same. At the same time, the G-Men are more likely to intensify their effort to indict, which may end up coming off, as victimization. Thus, both the G-Men and Hillary Clinton, have to be careful in the cat and mouse game being played at the interviewer or interrogation session. In justice just like in government investigations, the system is not built to indict erroneously; or implicate, out of hostilities from the prosecutor; or, a designed effort to implicate at all cost for suspected violation or erroneous behavior in conducting government official duties. Furthermore, an alleged behavioral violation may be met with the invocation of the fifth amendment to prevent implicating oneself in suspected erroneous judgement in an official capacity while conducting government business.
Finally, there is simply no concrete way to know if the former US Secretary of State was lecherously using her private email for conducting government business, or decided to use the private server for convenience of attending to urgent issues that needed her immediate attention when out of the office; since she is known to maintain a rigorous travel schedules across the globe conducting government business, in multiple time zones, when government servers may be down for maintenance without extended notification to users who are always on the go. The multiple of excuses are at the disposal of the former secretary of State; albeit the choice to always remain accountable for her action in effecting decision related to the responsibilities of her office. Without a realistic and concrete steadfast rule, regarding use of private emails in conducting government business, there is always going to be instances to accommodate extraneous use of alternative email servers in case of emergencies. Would an American Ambassador in Israel or Pakistan, bombed out by unexpected atrocities of terrorist groups, avoid conducting government businesses on a private email server if that was the only one available to effect urgent decision or Mayday call for help and rescue? Definitely No; that is why it is very difficult to prove licentious intentions of private email server use in all instances.
Postcard circa 1880. U.S. Senate Historical Office
Postcard circa 1880. U.S. Senate Historical Office