Will Hillary Clinton be indicted? That’s the question of the hour in Washington, but it’s disheartening to see that while many observers and experts believe that Clinton should be headed for federal prosecution, very few of them actually believe that she is. The conventional wisdom is that even if the FBI has an airtight case against the former secretary of state, Obama’s Justice Department will decline to press charges.
On the McLaughlin Group Friday, the panel took up the question. “Forced prediction for the panel: the FBI will recommend that Hillary Clinton face prosecution for mishandling classified information? That’s the FBI. Yes or no?”
Guest Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune answered: “I’m going to say yes…but she won’t be indicted.”
McLaughlin agreed. “I’m with you.”
The question was also addressed by Senate Majority Whip John Cronyn in an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. Cronyn took much the same position as Page and McLaughlin.
“The Attorney General is a political appointee, serves at the pleasure of the president,” Cronyn said. “I find it hard to believe that she would indict Secretary Clinton during this time. But it’s clear the FBI views this as a very, very serious matter as they should.”
Cronyn, of course, is not an impartial observer. He was one of several senators to encourage Attorney General Loretta Lynch to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Clinton’s mishandling of classified information. He spoke to Hewitt after the Intelligence Committee’s inspector general issued a report informing Congress that Clinton’s private server contained information at the highest levels of classification.
Echoing a common theme, Cronyn said that while anyone else would face prosecution for this misconduct, things tended to fall apart when Hillary and Bill were involved. “The Clintons,” he said, “have always seemed to get by with not having the rules apply to them.”
Not all voices are quite so pessimistic, though. At National Review, former prosecutor Andrew McCarthy said that he believed that FBI Director James Comey was up to the task of swimming through the murk of Washington politics. “Jim is tough, he is smart, and if there is a case to be made here, he will make it. And if he makes it, it will be bulletproof,” wrote McCarthy.
He acknowledged that making a case and convincing Lynch to file charges were two separate issues. “But you’d best believe the FBI can make the Obama administration look very bad if it shrinks from doing so,” he wrote. “Then it will be a matter of how far Barack Obama is willing to stick his neck out for Hillary Clinton. I’m betting: not that far.”
It depends, though. Thus far, the focus of this investigation has centered almost exclusively on Clinton. If her flagrant violation of the law goes higher…if it taints the White House…Obama will go just as far as he needs to go to protect his own legacy. And as we’ve seen over the last seven years, he’s willing to go very far indeed.