No, Hillary Did Not Commit a Crime?

I’ve now read two separate articles that definitively state that Hillary Clinton will not be charged with a crime regarding her handling of classified emails. Both articles use this one, originally posted at LawNewz.com, as a major basis for their reasoning.

I found the two linking articles to be full of mushy thinking, so I had very low expectations when I clicked on the linked one. To my surprise, the LawNewz article is extremely well thought out. It’s … reasonable.

That’s a high compliment from this blog.

How is it, then, that the two other articles went so terribly wrong?

Simple. They both either missed or dismissed a major, major qualification in the original, and that despite the qualification appearing in the title!

ANALYSIS: No, Hillary Clinton Did Not Commit a Crime … at Least Based on What We Know Today

Those last six words are important. And if putting that qualification in the title isn’t enough, check out this quote from the Conclusion:

To be clear, none of this means Clinton won’t be charged. There may be a trove of non-public evidence against her about which we simply do not know.

I completely agree with the premise of the article. As I’ve stated before in this blog, I have no idea if Hillary did anything wrong or not. Based on what we do know, there is sound reasoning to state that she absolutely will not be charged with a crime.

What we don’t know, however, is if the FBI has evidence that hasn’t been made public. Fox News is the only source that implies that such evidence exists (all unidentified sources with knowledge of the situation, of course).  No offense to the fine reporters over at FNC, but it’s hard for me to take their word for it when we’re talking about negative press for Hillary.

The fact is, though, none of us, at this point, have any way of knowing if any such evidence exists. I’d agree with you if you say, “Ah, probably not.” On the other hand, it’s hard for a reasonable person to rule out the possibility. Thus, I can’t reasonably make a definitive statement that she will absolutely not be charged with a crime.

I fear I must find that the two aforementioned linking articles are … unreasonable.

The Single Worst Article I’ve Read Regarding Hillary’s Emails

As a reasonable person, I find the reporting on the Email Situation frustrating. If you go over to Fox News, you find that Hillary is in imminent danger of being shipped off to prison.  The other side of the spectrum is that the whole deal is a partisan witch hunt based off her forwarding a New York Times article on the drone program.

Which is it?

I have no idea. The more I read, the harder it is to discern what the heck is going on, especially when I encounter really, really poorly written and reasoned articles like the one Juan Williams penned here.

The article started out pretty well, introducing the fact that each side is representing very disparate points of view. After a few paragraphs, I’m thinking, “This guy understands the frustration I’m feeling.”

Nope.

Instead, the author expresses disdain for those who are even reporting about the issue.

Huh? This shouldn’t even be in the news? Why not?

His first point – The FBI is not actually investigating the emails.

The attacks continue like a steady rain even though the Times reported in August that Clinton is “not a target of the investigation.” In September, the Justice Department put out a brief saying even when Clinton deleted personal emails without “agency supervision,” it was appropriate and legal.

A week ago Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, reiterated that “officials have said… she is not the target of the investigation.”

I have to admit that I have a bit of advantage of hindsight here in that current headlines are all about the FBI officially acknowledging the investigation. Realistically, though, it seemed that, as of the 2/8/16 publication of the article, almost no one was still denying this fact.

His second point – That the two prior secretaries of state prior to Clinton did the same or worse.

Later last week, NBC News reported that emails that had been retroactively declared classified had also been sent to the personal email account of former secretary of State Colin Powell and to key aides of his successor, Condoleezza Rice.

C’mon, man. As a journalist, shouldn’t you try to at least give lip service to being objective? Both Powell and Rice issued strong denials. Fair enough if the author disagrees with those denials, but a reasonable person would at least acknowledge them.

His third point – People are tired of hearing about this issue.

None of it quieted critics. They responded by suggesting a White House cover-up even as an October poll by Monmouth found 59 percent of Americans were “tired of hearing about Clinton’s emails.”

I’m not sure why this is supposed to be a relevant point. If Hillary did break a law and that event could possibly derail her political aspirations, it’s news regardless of whether we’re tired of hearing about it or not.

His fourth point – Using a personal server isn’t a crime.

And of course there is still no evidence that she broke any law.

Legal analyst Dan Abrams recently reviewed the allegations and wrote on the LawNewz.com website that while Clinton was “foolish” to use a private server, “it is also indisputable that it was neither a crime nor even a violation of State Department procedure for Clinton to have used personal email for government business at that time.”

Huh? This one boggles my mind. Does the author have no understanding of the accusation of mishandling classified information? The question that has been raised is whether or not Hillary handled classified information in a way contrary to the way in which she was legally required to handle it.

He concludes by making this point:

The biggest newspapers and networks say they are just reporting the news while spreading baseless venom.

I have no idea whether Hillary did absolutely nothing wrong, whether she committed the equivalent of jaywalking, or whether she should immediately be locked up in Leavenworth. None of us will gain any true understanding of this until the FBI investigation is completed. When a person who has the potential to become the next President of the United States is under criminal investigation, however, it’s not reasonable to complain that the issue isn’t news.