When FBI Director James B. Comey announced that there would be no criminal charges in the Clinton email scandal, there was an outcry by many who saw glaring contradictions, attempts to destroy evidence, and knowing failures to protect classified or sensitive information. At the time, I acknowledged that Comey’s decision was understandable and, while criminal charges might have been possible, this was not out of bounds of prosecutorial discretion. However, the news this week of a previously undisclosedimmunity deal with a top Clinton aide raises serious questions over the handling of the FBI investigation.
The latest recipient of an immunity deal from the Justice Department is one of Clinton’s closest aides and a figure at the heart of the email scandal, Cheryl Mills. She joins two other central figures in benefiting from such deals: former State Department staffer, Bryan Pagliano and tech specialist Paul Combetta. In addition to at least two other immunized witnesses according to the Associated Press, they represent the big three of officials involved in the underlying allegations of Clinton’s potential criminal conduct. Their collective immunization is baffling.
For the Obama Administration, the criminal investigation into the Democratic presidential nominee and its prior secretary of State came with a heightened level of public scrutiny and skepticism. Many doubted that the administration would seriously pursue the Clintons, a family of political royalty in both Democratic and establishment circles. The easiest way for prosecutors to scuttle a criminal case is to immunize those people who are at the greatest risk of criminal indictment. Often prosecutors will avoid immunity deals in favor of offering plea bargains to key players, tying their cooperation against others to reduced sentences. Although a witness can lose an immunity deal by withholding evidence or lying, a witness can undermine cases against superiors by tailoring their accounts or memories to avoid statements showing intent or knowledge.
Before the disclosure of the Mills immunity deal, the two prior deals were curious given the evidence against both Pagliano and Combetta. Pagliano set up the notorious private server and later joined Clinton at the State Department, where various people raised objections to her use of unsecured communications. If Pagliano was problematic, Combetta’s immunity deal was perplexing. Combetta used a product called BleachBit to eradicate evidence of Clinton emails after a telephone conference with Clinton staffers. When he used the product, he admitted that he knew that Congress had issued a subpoena ordering the preservation of the evidence. Then, this month, it was alleged by a “Twitter sleuth“ that Combetta, acting under the alias “stonetear,” solicited advice on how to change email records to remove a “VIP’s (VERY VIP) email address.” Either Combetta did not disclose this effort in violation of his immunity deal or the Justice Department effectively removed a serious threat of indictment though the agreement. Despite immunity deals pledging cooperation with all parts of the government, both Pagliano and Combettahave refused to answer questions from Congress, and Pagliano is facing a contempt sanction.
Mills is a participant in key emails and features prominently in allegations of destroyed emails. She was alleged to have been informed repeatedly of the dangers to national security, particularly regarding Clinton’s use of a personal BlackBerry. She was also central in the deletion of tens of thousands of emails that Clinton claimed were purely personal and not work related.
BLAAH,BLAAH,BLAAH,BLAAH,BLAAH,BLAAH,BLAAH,BLAAH,BLAAH,BLAAH,BLAAAH Attilla the Hen has spoken
Sarcasm Warning for those daft enough not to get it:
In a stunning reveal: Clinton was offered immunity by the Justice Department to testify behind closed doors in her own investigation. The Justice Department has declined to comment on the irony of the situation.
Comey’s decision to not prosecute was based almost entirely on the fact that he found out that Obama had sent emails to Clinton on her unsecured, private email server (and he used a pseudonym on every email he sent to her!)…If Comey brings charges against her majesty, he would have to bring charges against Obama; and the hack Comey could never do that…
69 indictments, 25 convictions, 0 immunities.
It appears that the FBI has been decimated as efficiently as the military. Is there an honest man or woman who will stand up for right? Will the people in this country support someone who is right but who may not give them all of the free things to which they have become accustom?