Monday, November 14, 2016

The Case for a Special Prosecutor

Is there a New Sheriff in Town?  Or are we looking at the same game but with different players?

Should the new president appoint a special prosecutor to look into the allegations still standing against Hillary Clinton, what happened in Benghazi, and the Clinton Foundation’s connections to the US State Department during Hillary’s tenure as Secretary of State? 

In a word, yes, but probably not for the reasons one might think.  Republicans have been after the Clintons since 1992 when Bill stepped onto the national stage to run for president.  Yet even with those allegations of financial impropriety in those days, the best indictment the special prosecutor could seem to scare up leading to an impeachment was President Clinton’s illicit affair with Monica Lewinsky.  Though that “charge” was true – as per then-President Clinton’s public admission – the Senate did not convict.  Strictly along party lines.

Special prosecutors are not so impressive after that debacle.  During the latest campaign, however, there were more serious allegations made against then-Secretary Clinton about “pay to play” in foreign governments giving millions to the Clinton Foundation in exchange for State Department favors in addition to Secretary Clinton using a private email server through which official and sensitive State Department information flowed.  The accusations back and forth and the proven unreliability of the news media seem to favor an independent review and investigation especially in light of the FBI director’s seeming bungling of the affair and his public announcements as the presidential campaign was winding down.

The counter-charge was these accusations against Secretary Clinton were baseless and little more than political efforts to derail her presidential campaign.  Fair enough.  We’ve seen plenty of this and more from so many politicians who end up best buddies with political favors coming from the winners.  The explanation is always, “That’s how the election process/game works”.  Well, none of it is a game to voters who try to discern a good choice but are forced to wade through the muck of a campaign to try and ascertain the truth – or what comes closest to resembling some measure of truth.

With that said, then, there are a couple of reasons why the new president must appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the allegations against Mrs. Clinton.  Not least among the most important reasons, Secretary Clinton proclaimed her innocence.  Fine again.  If there is found to be no fire underneath all that smoke, then justice demands she and her family be finally and completely exonerated.  As with everyone else, she is entitled to justice; but also as with everyone else, her word alone is not good enough just as an accusation made is not good enough.

On the flip side, however, because there are too many doubts and too many conflicting accounts and because FBI Director Comey’s and US Attorney General Lynch’s credibility are all but shot in the eyes of the public, justice demands an independent review for this simple reason: if there can be proved any measure of impropriety or outright illegal or treasonous activity in all this mess, the nation deserves justice – not because we finally get to “bring down a Clinton” but because the nation has been shown time and again that there are political favors only to those who are moneyed and well connected.  There are good men who are doing time and/or have lost everything for much less than what Mrs. Clinton has been accused of.  These men deserve no less than the US government’s full attention to the allegations against the former Secretary of State.

Mrs. Clinton is not too popular or too rich or too moneyed or too connected or too sick to stand up to such scrutiny; and if she is, so much further does the credibility of this government sink even before the new president can take the oath of office.  It will also be affirmed to America that all these allegations against Mrs. Clinton were little more than political efforts only to derail her presidential campaign; just “politics as usual”, and not at all about justice or national security.  The Republicans are sitting on the edge of credibility.  If we discover they really were just “playing the game” by slandering an otherwise innocent person, they have nothing left to offer.

Ultimately, justice – for Mrs. Clinton and for the American voting public – demands our full attention.  Anything less, and this will always hang over the Clintons and their Foundation – and Americans will never trust their government again.

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