The stunning revelations documented in a report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz on the FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email use when she was secretary of state lay bare the big disparity between the treatment of Clinton and the treatment of those not named Clinton.
The report, issued Thursday, shows that Hillary Clinton – like her husband, former President Bill Clinton – has gotten away with things most people could never do without being punished. The stark double standard substantiates the growing public distrust of an FBI gone rogue.
Clearly, the Clintons believe there is one set of rules and laws for them, and a different set for everybody else.
As the proud grandson of a career FBI agent, I’m frustrated to see the people in the FBI who we have entrusted with so much power failing to act properly, without taking political considerations into account. Never has the need for uninhibited oversight of a federal agency been more evident.
This is a key moment for Democrats. Over the coming days, when the full details of the IG report become clear, will Democrats stand with our nation’s principles of equal treatment under the law for all of us, or stand with their tribe? Will they look to defend justice, or simply look the other way?
The stakes are high. This isn’t just about what happened in the past. It’s about what will happen in the future. Are Democrats willing to risk having politicized justice used against them by a future administration? Is it worth it, all for the sake of protecting one Hillary Clinton? Is she worth it?
If ever there was a time to come together in a bipartisan fashion, this is that time. We need our colleagues on the left to stand with us and send a message: The rule of law is not optional. Oversight is not expendable. Transparency is not negotiable.
Politicization of any federal agency and its associated powers and authority is unacceptable. It’s wrong for President Obama. It’s wrong for President Trump. It’s wrong for any president of the United States.
We are a nation ruled by laws, not a nation ruled by individuals. No one should be treated differently because of who they know, what team they play for, or what office they are running for.
Bill and Hillary Clinton have been treated differently throughout their careers. As long they and their accomplices continue to escape all accountability for their crimes, the American people will never be able to have confidence in equal justice.
We depict Lady Justice wearing a blindfold to symbolize equal justice under the law. But justice was not equal in this case of Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of sensitive emails dealing with our national security.
Just ask Navy engineer Bryan Nishimura, who in July 2015 was sentenced to two years of probation and a $7,500 fine for doing far less than Hillary Clinton, her staff, or the leakers at the FBI have done.
Nishimura downloaded classified information for personal use and inadvertently carried it off his base. Although the FBI found no evidence he intended to distribute the information, federal officials prosecuted him anyway. His name wasn’t Clinton. He didn’t work for Hillary Clinton. He didn’t get the benefit of political benefactors.
This is not how a nation of laws works. It may be how Putin’s Russia works, or Castro’s Cuba, or Maduro’s Venezuela. But we expect better in the United States of America.
Democrats need to think long and hard about what standard they want to accept. They need to think about FBI agent Peter Strzok telling FBI official Lisa Page that the FBI would stop Donald Trump from becoming president. They need to consider whether they would be comfortable with a Trump FBI that exhibits the same rage, animus and bias against the Democratic nominee for president.
Whatever standard we accept now will become the new norm. Both parties and all Americans have an interest in effective oversight – both independent and congressional.
Let’s allow the truth to speak for itself. Let’s make the Department of Justice stronger, better, and more respected by rooting out the corrupt practices that compromise the very notion of equal justice for all.
This inspector general’s report demonstrates that it is possible to conduct a thorough and complete investigation, without bias and without leaks. We should expect nothing less from the Department of Justice.
This report is only a prequel to coming Office of Inspector General reports investigating allegations of abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. We have work to do. We have an opportunity to fix what is wrong. The question is: will we work together to do it?