By Iron Tiger
(Note: The following is a commentary on a current event and should not be taken as an endorsement of either party or candidate.)
It happened. The sitting government has indicated the last one again, this time on 36 counts of mishandling classified documents. This was done in spite of the fact that in 2016, the FBI let Hillary Clinton off the hook for much more serious mishandling of classified documents. You see, the FBI announced the charges, that she not only had documents that she shouldn’t have, but that she tried to scrub, bleach, and destroy devices to conceal that she had those documents, as well as what she had done with them. Yet somehow, they ended up on the computer of embattled congressman Anthony Weiner. Neither Hillary nor Mr. Weiner were POTUS, and neither had the power to declassify. The violations of law were clear, James Comey admitted as much, and yet before the nation he testified that Clinton and her teams were, “extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information…” but that, “Although there is evidence of potential violations regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.” -1 Bear in mind, in doing this, the legal precedent was set. A person who is not the President, who violated the law without intent will not be prosecuted.
Additionally, classified documents have been found in the possession of President Biden from when he was a Senator and Vice President. Files have also been found in possession of former VP Mike Pence. Yet neither of them is being indicted. Regardless of which side of the aisle you sit on, this development should deeply disturb you. Whether you like Trump or not, this looks like a selective prosecution, at best, and a clear violation of constitutional norms.
In 2015 and 16, while running for President, Trump would often boast he would jail Hillary for her corruption, often to chants of, “lock her up.” Yet when he won, he opted not to do that, telling the press he didn’t wish to, “hurt the Clintons.” -2
Now, however, the press is boasting that, “Trump’s prediction about Hillary Clinton become true-for himself.”-3 I don’t know about you, but this comes off as them gloating to me. Is this revenge for the “lock her up” chant?
It has been a longstanding American tradition that we do not go after past leaders after their tenure has ended. Regardless of how one feels on if this is right or wrong, it has established a new norm. But why now?
This new norm has now completely upended, and uprooted the Pandora’s box. We will now find out where this will take our country. Is it something that all Americans will regret, or will it open past Presidents to be investigated and charged in ways that they should be.
“Rest assured, the argument you use today to restrict the rights of others, will be used tomorrow to restrict your rights as well.” – Unknown
Playing party politics and weaponizing the FBI may come back to haunt them, as it should. Everybody’s closet is now open to scrutiny and investigation. Right now it is the Republicans turn, but Democrats are you ready to be next?
After all, Senator Reid’s doing away with judicial filibusters came back to bite them when Republicans refused to reverse that policy, which denied a SCOTUS seat to Merrick Garland.
This is the precedent now, and it’s not hard to envision a United States where past leaders just end up in jail now over frivolous things, just as we see happening in the banana republics, we regularly mock. That it looks on the surface that it is all in the name of vengeance for something Trump said, but never did is all the more disturbing.
Are we so petty now? I hope not. I pray that no matter who resides in the White House, they will use the Constutional powers to punish those who abused theirs, but also have the restraint not to go any further than that. We must focus on justice and constitutional renewal. Leave vengeance to God.
-1. FBI’s Comey says ‘no reasonable prosecutor’ would bring a case, Everett Rosenfeld, CNBC, www.CNBC.com, Jul 5, 2016. https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2016/07/05/fbi-director-james-comey-has-concluded-the-investigation-into-clintons-emails.html
-2. Trump team won’t pursue charges against Hillary Clinton, BBC News, bbc.com, 11-22-2016, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38069585.amp
-3. Trump’s predictions about Hillary Clinton become true — for himself Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, Ben Kamisar, and Bridget Bowman 6/9/2023