Ron Kessler, a best selling author, veteran journalist and ultimate insider has provided a solid perspective of the Hillary Clinton email scandal for “The Steve Malzberg” show on Newsmax TV. Kessler assures us that Director Comey is a man of integrity and Attorney General Loretta Lynch is not quite the political animal that Eric Holder was. The charges are serious and laws were clearly broken.
Hillary Clinton will be indicted.
However, there is no chance she will go to jail.
In a brief communication with Punching Bag, Mr. Kessler pointed out President Obama has effectively signaled she is off the hook for a criminal conviction. In an interview on 60 minutes last October, President Obama stated clearly that Mrs. Clinton did not harm national security through her actions. This was enough.
Since the President of the United States is the ultimate arbiter of what is classified and what is not, by that simple declaration, he has effectively declassified anything on her email server. While this seems ridiculous to those of us who have handled classified information, and while it may make for more complicated and damaging consequences later, Obama is perfectly within his purview to do this and it is not subject to question.
This was not a fluke, not an accident, this was a calculated maneuver. Should this case ever come to trial, Clinton’s attorneys merely need to call Obama to the witness stand (after he becomes a private citizen) and have him testify that he did indeed make that statement. If nothing on the server is classified, then no crime was committed.
At this stage, the impact of an indictment on Mrs. Clinton’s future depends is in the timing. As we have said previously, if she is indicted before the Democrative Convention, it could propel Bernie Sanders into the General Election as the nominee. Or perhaps, as Kessler suggests, the Democratic Party will perform some miracle maneuver and Joe Biden will stand for President. Possible?
If the indictment comes after the convention but before the General, The Republicans will attack her relentlessly on this score. The damage would be severe.
Kessler believes a pardon may be handed down. This, of course, would save the Justice Department and the Democratic Party a highly embarrassing and likely extended trial. We suspect the necessity and the timing of such a pardon will depend on the political climate.
In any case, Mrs. Clinton, having dismissed the possibility of indictment as Republican propaganda will have a lot of explaining to do.
Writer’s Note: In my initial training with the Intelligence Community, we were informed how badly we would suffer if we mishandled classified information. However, it is not the same for elected officials (In this case Obama is elected, but Clinton is not).
Since Congressmen are responsible to their constituents, is it actually defensible for a Congressman to leak classified information to the American public if he believes it is in the public interest. While a Congressman may be censured by his colleagues (and perhaps even tossed out), there is little possibility of being prosecuted. While this is inconvenient in this case, it is philosophically sound.
Writer’s Note II: We usually don’t cover commentary from pundits or other journalists, however Mr. Kessler is a man of high reputation, an old friend and one with a knack for being right.