Skip to content

Indictment

Two sources within the FBI, speaking off the record and anonymously, told Fox News that the investigation of the Clinton Foundation is likely to lead to an indictment.

Considering that the FBI has no power to issue indictments (that is done by a Grand Jury), and that there is no evidence of wrongdoing with the Clinton Foundation (granting meetings to donors is not illegal), this sounds very much like a dirty trick just before the election.

The FBI is not supposed to comment publicly on ongoing investigations, and certainly not just days away from the election. Doing so is a violation of the Hatch Act. As Electoral Vote puts it “Comey has very clearly created an environment where agents (some of them, at least) are putting partisanship over professionalism.” When law enforcement agencies become political tools, that is a strong indicator of a “banana republic”.

Instead, these anonymous leaks are actually an indictment of James Comey, who has lost control of the FBI. As director, the buck stops with him. And considering that the FBI director can be fired at any time by the president (either this one or the next one), it seems likely his days are numbered.

UPDATE: The Guardian has an inside look at what is going on at the FBI, saying “The FBI is Trumpland”.

The currently serving FBI agent said Clinton is “the antichrist personified to a large swath of FBI personnel,” and that “the reason why they’re leaking is they’re pro-Trump.”

Phil Hands
© Phil Hands


Also published on Medium.

Share

16 Comments

  1. Hassan wrote:

    Whatever helps democrats sleep at night…partisanship has blinded them to see how corrupt their nominee is, like many republicans cant see how dumb asshole their nominee is.

    Thursday, November 3, 2016 at 3:53 pm | Permalink
  2. Iron Knee wrote:

    Hassan, if Hillary Clinton is corrupt, then why were dozens upon dozens of Benghazi hearings unable to come up with anything other than innuendo and hearsay? And haven’t made any of their other accusations stick for some 40 years. Either the Republicans are completely incompetent, or else Hillary is a cunningly clever and powerful corrupt person.

    Alternatively, maybe you are just watching Fox News too much.

    Thursday, November 3, 2016 at 4:14 pm | Permalink
  3. Hassan wrote:

    Well few things work in her favor:

    1. The network of corruption is quite good. She is OJ Simpson of corruption. Everything together points to corruption, yet hard to get substantial verdict against her (it may change soon)
    2. She has support of partisan followers and politicians.
    3. Republicans are incompetent and corrupt themselves.

    I do not watch too much tv. I used to watch Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report a lot (and yes I know Colbert was fake. I know the origins of it)

    Thursday, November 3, 2016 at 5:39 pm | Permalink
  4. Ralph wrote:

    Hassan – with all due respect, I think your argument is rather thin at best, and I’m no Hillary fan.

    Specifically, to your points:

    1. OJ is a murderer, even most blacks would agree at this point, despite the verdict. The prosecution bungled the case and in any event was no match for Johnny Cochran’s defense team. He is also now in prison following armed robbery. Hillary is not a murderer and has never held up anyone at gunpoint. So the comparison is apples and oranges. OJ isn’t corrupt so much as a sociopath and menace to society. Anyway, I think I get your meaning.

    2. Every politician of any note has partisan followers and political allies; it’s how, in part, they gain office.

    3. Ok, I’ll give you that last one.

    Cheers! 🙂

    P.S. IK – I’m no lawyer, so just wondering if you know what it takes to actually invoke the Hatch Act, and what are its consequences? We keep hearing about it but it doesn’t seem to be restraining Comey’s actions on this matter at all so far. He must be aware of it and what may trigger it.

    Thursday, November 3, 2016 at 6:44 pm | Permalink
  5. Hassan wrote:

    RALPH, I am not accusing Hillary of murder rather was comparing that everyone in deep down their heart know she is corrupt. Even liberals may say she is not, but deep down in there heart if there is some conscious, they know she is.

    Thursday, November 3, 2016 at 9:16 pm | Permalink
  6. William wrote:

    Top google search result for “Hatch Act:”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatch_Act_of_1939

    …”persons below the policy-making level in the executive branch of the federal government must not only refrain from political practices that would be illegal for any citizen, but must abstain from “any active part” in political campaigns”…

    The act was amended in 1993, but “Federal employees are still forbidden to use their authority to affect the results of an election.”

    [snip]

    “Employees of the following agencies (or agency components), or in the following categories, are subject to more extensive restrictions on their political activities than employees in other Departments and agencies:” … “Federal Bureau of Investigation” …

    “These federal employees may not:” …
    “campaign for or against a candidate or slate of candidates in partisan elections” … The other restrictions are even less obviously applicable in the case we’ve been discussing.

    The Wikipedia article did NOT say anything quite so clear as “these employees cannot take official actions that might disparage a candidate,” though “forbidden to use their authority to affect the results of an election” WOULD seem to apply. So, unimpaired by any legal training whatsoever, I’d say that this could be enough of a gray area that the FBI might have a reasonable court case. It seems to violate part of the spirit of the law, but might not violate the letter of the law.

    All this assumes, of course, that the Wikipedia summary is reasonably accurate, and likewise my interpretation of that summary.

    Friday, November 4, 2016 at 2:50 am | Permalink
  7. William wrote:

    A PDF report from the Congressional Research Service with more specifics:

    http://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R44469.pdf

    It says that a 1907 ‘executive order prohibited employees from using “official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with an election or affecting the result thereof.”

    ” this restriction and all of the administrative interpretations under it were eventually codified in 1939 and made applicable to most federal executive branch employees under a law commonly known as the Hatch Act.”

    “The Hatch Act and civil service restrictions were seen in some respects as protections of federal employees from coercion by higher level, politically appointed supervisors to engage in political activities against their will, as well as an effort by Congress and the Executive to assure a nonpartisan and evenhanded administration of federal laws and programs.”

    “The 1993 amendments allow most federal employees to engage in a wide range of voluntary, partisan political activities in their time off-duty, away from their federal jobs, and off of any federal premises.”

    ‘In its current form, the Hatch Act generally prohibits some categories of political activities for all
    covered employees. These restrictions generally prohibit such employees from the following:
    – using their “official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election”’

    That seems much clearer. The regulation is “5.U.S.C.§7323(a)(1).” I found that here:
    https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/5/7323
    …and it says quite clearly “(a) Subject to the provisions of subsection (b), an employee may take an active part in political management or in political campaigns, except an employee may not
    (1) use his official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election;”

    Now I have to say that the actions of the FBI seem pretty clearly in violation of that part of the code. I withdraw my earlier statement that this is a gray area. Sorry about muddying the waters with my earlier comment.

    Friday, November 4, 2016 at 3:08 am | Permalink
  8. Iron Knee wrote:

    My (completely non-legal) understanding of the Hatch act is that the main problem is that by the time that it would take to investigate and act to stop the violation, it would be too late to repair the damage.

    A complaint has already been filed with the special counselor. So the next step would be for them to investigate and possibly charge someone in the FBI (including Comey) with a violation. Then there would need to be some kind of hearing. By the time all this happened, the election would be long over.

    So generally, the Hatch act is mainly used as political cover for disciplining someone. For example, for Obama (now, or Clinton later) to fire the FBI director, as Bill Clinton did during his administration).

    Friday, November 4, 2016 at 3:15 am | Permalink
  9. William wrote:

    Back to the Congressional Research Service report…

    ‘Enforcement of Hatch Act Restrictions

    The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), an independent executive agency, is responsible for administering the Hatch Act provisions, including investigating complaints and interpreting the parameters of permissible and prohibited political activities. If OSC believes that disciplinary action is warranted, it provides a complaint and statement of facts to the employee and the Merit Systems Protection Board. Employees, if a subject to such a complaint, are entitled to certain procedural rights, including representation and a hearing. Penalties under the Hatch Act are generally in the nature of administrative, personnel actions. Following criticism of the penalty structure as “overly-restrictive,” current penalties include removal, reduction in grade, debarment from federal employment for up to five years, suspension, reprimand, or a civil fine.’

    It doesn’t sound like anything happens quickly, certainly not by next Tuesday.

    Oh, and the FBI falls under the category of “Further Restricted Employees,” which means that ADDITIONAL restrictions on their actions apply.

    ‘Some employees covered by the Hatch Act are subject to additional restrictions under current law, and may be referred to as “further restricted employees.” These designations mean that such employees are subject not only to the standard rules noted above, but also to additional restrictions in the relevant statutory provisions and regulations. These employees are subject to more restrictive provisions similar to the former “no politics” rule of the original Hatch Act’…

    Apologies for going on for so long, but all this seems quite clear to me now.

    Friday, November 4, 2016 at 3:19 am | Permalink
  10. William wrote:

    IK, you already got there. Nothing happens quickly.

    Friday, November 4, 2016 at 3:20 am | Permalink
  11. Iron Knee wrote:

    Hassan, you say “everyone in deep down their heart know she is corrupt”. I believe that you feel this way, but it should be obvious that not everyone shares your deep down feelings.

    Fortunately for us, legal reality does not depend on your deep down feelings. Do you offer any proof (or just evidence) that she is corrupt?

    Do you feel she is corrupt because of her using a private email server? Did you know that Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), the congressman who leaked the FBI letter to Congress and has promised to lead an investigation against her, is himself using a non-governmental email account. In fact, he had this account printed on his congressional business card.

    Do you feel she is corrupt because of Benghazi? Seriously?

    I haven’t ever seen an actual corruption charge against Clinton. If you have one I’d like to hear about it, especially if it didn’t involve something that plenty of Republicans have done (and continue to do). Until then, let’s try go ignore the propaganda and stick to reality and facts.

    Friday, November 4, 2016 at 4:23 am | Permalink
  12. Ralph wrote:

    Hassan – I understand you were just trying to make your point by using the OJ comparison. In my book, Nixon is the gold standard for corruption in politics, so OJ seemed a bit over the top. Anyway, to the extent that the entire system has been corrupted, either by accident, fiat, or design (my fav examples being Citizens United and district gerrymandering), perhaps she belongs in the same boat as most other politicians. But up to now, we have generally reserved that term for someone who has been unequivocally proven (not just alleged or rumored) to have committed illegal or grossly unethical acts. You would be hard pressed to justifiably throw Hillary in that boat at this point, IMHO.

    Anyway, just finished watching the latest Michael Moore flick, Trumpland. Perhaps not his best stuff, being produced on the fly over just a few weeks in order to precede the election. But he made a very interesting point in defense of Hillary’s penchant for secrecy and defensiveness as arising from her time as First Lady during Bill’s years as governor and president, and even going back further during her college years at Wellesley where she essentially began her activist and political life. She took a lot of heat from conservatives and the press over the years for straying from the traditional subservient role expected of women in general and First Ladies in particular, given her feminist views and behavior, whether it was for her statement (to paraphrase) “I could have stayed home and made cookies” and other stray comments (“super-predator” comes to mind) to her failed attempt to reform health care during Bill’s term as president. Even conforming to the extent of hyphenating her name along the way and later even dropping the Rodham didn’t seem to satisfy her critics.

    His point being that, as a result, she withdraws as a defense mechanism perhaps because she doesn’t feel the public trusts her as a nontraditional and openly strong woman, often being held to another (i.e. double) standard, seemingly always searching for something to attack her on, and doesn’t that say more about us than her? It helps explains, for example, why she withheld disclosing her bout with pneumonia last September until it became painfully obvious. She understandably feared Republicans and conservative media, not to mention her bombastic opponent, would paint her as too weak and frail to be president (just like a woman, wink wink). Those illness rumors were flying around even before the pneumonia. Remember when Fox’s Hannity pulled up a video clip of her briefly jerking her head around while joking with a constituent, which he diagnosed on-air as looking suspiciously “seizure-esque”? I mean, you can’t make this crap up…unless it’s Faux News of course. But when John McCain briefly goofed out after a miscue on stage, everyone took it as the lighthearted, self-deprecating moment he intended it as. http://www.snopes.com/politics/mccain/funnyface.asp

    Politics is blood sport and that’s nothing new in this country. Watch HBO’s excellent mini-series John Addams sometime; he and Jefferson were often at each others throat for their differing views, despite becoming fast friends and confidants later and to their (same) dying day. But Hillary and other female politicians are often held to another standard and become snared in a Catch-22. Showing strength and assertiveness is seen as bitchy or hysterical, emotion as weakness. John Boehner cries at the podium and he’s seen as empathetic, if not mildly amusing with a snoutful. Hillary sheds a tear and she’s called too emotional, soft and unfit. Yes indeed, the double standard is alive and well in American politics.

    But once again I digress at length.

    William and IK – thanks for the research on the Hatch Act. A well-intentioned law that nevertheless has failed in this case to prevent the political and electoral meddling it was designed for.

    Friday, November 4, 2016 at 8:10 am | Permalink
  13. Wildwood wrote:

    Hassan, I have no doubt that there are things that Clinton has done that I would not like, (not necessarily illegal). I also have no doubt that the right has been trying to take her down for over 30 years, starting back in Arkansas when Bill was running. I also have no doubt, that in her heart, and in her person, she wants to do what’s right for this country. I don’t always agree with what she thinks is right, but I do believe that is her goal and always has been. The fact that she has withstood these decades of mainly manufactured scandals and is still out there fighting is a testament to her will power. There has been a systematic, organized, effort for a long time to bring both Clintons down, but it’s only been partially effective to this point. Years ago she made a comment about there being a vast right wing conspiracy and people laughed. But I believe she was right and still is.

    Friday, November 4, 2016 at 9:34 am | Permalink
  14. Ralph wrote:

    Hassan – here’s one latest example of political corruption of the most petty and vindictive variety. Unfortunately the principal actor, Christie, may end up scott free while his cronies serve time. That’s what they call “plausible deniability”.

    http://nyti.ms/2fDl1S9

    In the court of public opinion, however, Christie’s political career is over and may explain why he’s hitched his wagon to a serial con man. Birds of a feather.

    Friday, November 4, 2016 at 1:14 pm | Permalink
  15. Redjon wrote:

    If we’re going to throw around words like, “corrupt,” perhaps a definition would be in order? We know it isn’t about spoiled meat, so how about, “(cause to) act dishonestly in return for financial or personal gain.”

    While the Citizens United decision had a great deal to do with Hillary Clinton and political corruption, it seems to me that it was if anything the Citizens United organization that was PRACTICING political corruption by twisting the definition of the law, and that Clinton’s political enemies on the SCOTUS supported that corruption and effectively made it the law of the land.

    I’ve yet to hear a shred of actual evidence of corruption attributed to Hillary Clinton, who doesn’t even take a salary from the Clinton Foundation and certainly does not illegally direct funds from it toward political friends or expenditures, or buy portraits of statues of herself… both of which have been done by her rival.

    Friday, November 4, 2016 at 1:19 pm | Permalink
  16. Hassan wrote:

    Sorry been on business trip, will share thoughts later.

    Friday, November 4, 2016 at 6:34 pm | Permalink