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Douglas Andrews / August 30, 2022

The FBI’s Clinton-Trump Double Standard

Yes, there is one — and it’s even more outrageous than you think.

It happened on July 5, 2016, but we remember it like it was last week: “Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”

Those were the words of then-FBI Director James Comey, who said so during a remarkable press conference just four months ahead of the 2016 presidential election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and just days after Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch had surreptitiously met Bill Clinton on the tarmac at the airport in Phoenix. To talk about, oh, kids and grandkids.

That “extremely careless” language was a deliberate edit by Comey — one specifically designed to absolve Clinton of the criminal penalties that would’ve been required had she and her cronies been found “grossly negligent” in their handling of classified information.

Indeed, Comey said that “any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position” should’ve known not to communicate classified information across unsecured servers. He further said that “hostile actors gained access to the private commercial email accounts of people with whom Secretary Clinton was in regular contact from her personal account,” and that “it is possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s personal email account.”

Hmm, ya think?

For these reasons, as our Mark Alexander and others have repeatedly pointed out, Hillary Clinton’s acknowledged mishandling of classified information via unsecured electronic transmission systems was incomparably more egregious than Donald Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified information on hardcopies kept within secure areas of his Mar-a-Lago estate. We don’t know what documents, exactly, were in Trump’s basement, but we do know that they were infinitely less susceptible to compromise than the classified and top-secret info that was being freely passed around on clintonmail.com.

And yet, a moment after Comey’s damning assessment of Clinton’s behavior, he let her off the hook: “Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”

Comey, at that point, no doubt felt that he’d accomplished his mission — that he’d defused the looming expectation among many voters that Clinton would have to answer legally for her private server malfeasance. Comey would ultimately be forced to revisit this issue just 11 days before the election due to new emails and new information becoming available, but the FBI has already made its decision: Clinton would not be held legally accountable for her clear violations of the Espionage Act.

And, try as we might, we can’t remember the FBI ever executing a raid of Hillary’s Chappaqua home.

Now contrast this kid-glove treatment with that of Donald Trump, a distinction that hasn’t been lost on the editors of The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board. They write:

We criticized that decision at the time, but for better or worse Mr. Comey and the Obama Justice Department had set the Clinton Standard for treating a prominent politician who mishandles classified documents. Lesser public officials might have been prosecuted, or at least sanctioned, and some were. But from then on any such prosecution for comparable alleged offenses has to be made in light of the Comey-Lynch-Clinton precedent. All of this bears on the current furor over Donald Trump’s handling of classified documents at his home in Mar-a-Lago. If Mrs. Clinton wasn’t prosecuted, is there a different standard for Mr. Trump?

The question answers itself: Of course there’s a different standard. And we haven’t even mentioned Clinton’s obvious obstruction of justice, her deletion of 33,000 emails under congressional subpoena, her “acid washing” of the incriminating hard drive with BleachBit, and her destruction of multiple mobile devices with hammers.

“Most Republicans, including me, believe when it comes to Trump, there is no law.” So said South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham on Sunday night. He continued: “It’s all about getting him. There is a double standard when it comes to Trump. What happened with Hunter Biden is that the FBI weighed in to make sure the story didn’t break before the 2020 election. We now have whistleblowers at the FBI telling [Republican Senator Chuck] Grassley that they were told to slow down and back off Hunter Biden.”

Graham then offered a chilling assessment of where the Democrats’ rotten and relentless investigation of Donald Trump may be headed: “And I’ll say this: If there’s a prosecution of Donald Trump for mishandling classified information after the Clinton debacle … there’ll be riots in the streets.”

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