Hillary Clinton came out on top this week, winning 7 of the 11 states that participated in Super Tuesday. Her success, however, is clouded by rumors of potential indictment in regards to her email scandal. Both the State and Justice Departments have opened probes into Hillary’s use of a secret unsecure email server and the FBI has reportedly assigned 150 agents to investigate criminal activity.
The case against Hillary “looks very strong,” says Andrew McCarthy. Many have drawn a parallel between Clinton’s case and that of David Petraeus. The retired general plead guilty last year when he was accused of sharing classified documents with his mistress.
“I was a critic of the Petraeus prosecution because I thought he got a slap on the wrist,” says McCarthy. “When Congress enacted these laws, the idea was to give the maximum amount of protection the criminal law could give to national defense secrets.”
Skeptics remain convinced that even if the FBI were to recommend an indictment, the Justice Department would refrain from prosecuting a woman who very well may become the nation’s next president. “I’m very confident that the FBI is going to do a thorough investigation and that if there’s an airtight case to be made, they’ll make it,” says McCarthy. “What I’m not confident in is whether the Obama Justice Department will authorize the energetic use of a grand jury and, ultimately, an indictment.”
It’s a common belief that President Obama would order Attorney General Loretta Lynch to stand down should a request for indictment occur. What is more likely, I think, is that Hillary (like Petraeus) will get a slap on the wrist and no jail time. Others believe the case is far to serious for a mild response by the feds. Former US attorney Joseph DiGenova says that Attorney General Lynch will have “no choice” if the FBI recommends an indictment.
According to reports, FBI agents are investigating a potential violation of the Espionage Act. Such an offense, considered a felony, can carry a prison sentence of up to 10 years. If the Justice Department slaps Hillary with criminal charges, she has two choices: drop out of the race or continue on despite this perception of wrongdoing (while hoping the court finds her innocent).
“There’s no legal reason why she’d have to drop out,” says former attorney general Michael Mukasey. “The Constitution lists the qualifications for the presidency. And if you add anything else, it would be unconstitutional.”
It is likely that Hillary would continue her presidential campaign despite criminal charges. Strategists predict, at the very least, that such a situation might invite another Democratic candidate into the primary and get in the way of Hillary’s clear path to the nomination.
But timing is everything. Hillary is expected to be so far in the lead by the end of March that none of her challengers will have the chance to catch her. If Hillary wins the nomination and is then hit with an indictment, it is unlikely that she will surrender her status. If an indictment comes later, after the convention, most states will have their ballots printed and the Left will have a hard time finding a candidate to replace her.
This would be a nightmare situation for the Dems…but quite the comedy for us!