As horrible and tragic as are the non-stop stories we hear about those struggling to survive in Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana as the rain falls and water levels rise, there is another tragedy unfolding in Washington D.C. Do you remember in that famous “wrap-up” press conference in which former FBI Director Comey made these remarks: “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. To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences.” I remember well the uproar from millions of Americans at Comey’s statement, primarily because the law Hillary Clinton was investigated for breaking has NO provision for “intent,” rather violation of any part of the law is a clear criminal violation that put American National Security at risk. In his speech he detailed dozens of violations of that law.
Fast forward to the Senate confirmation hearings of now Attorney General Jeff Sessions as he recused himself from heading any Justice Department action of possible prosecution of anyone regarding alleged irregularities in the election, PLUS he would not involve himself in any investigation of the Russia collusion with the Trump Campaign if there was ever one initiated. Because there was such an uproar at Comey’s actions, and even though Sessions recused himself from election investigations regarding President Trump, it was expected that the Justice Department would take another look at the evidence accumulated in the Clinton e-mail probe referenced by Comey and determine whether or not to re-open that case. Americans are growing angry at the apparent reluctance of the Attorney General to take that action.
Fast forward to yesterday: “The FBI turned down a lawyer’s request for the release of FBI files from Hillary Clinton’s “Email Gate,” faulting the lawyer for not providing enough proof “that the public interest sought is a significant one.” How is that possible? Here’s the reply to that question by David Hardy of the FBI after denying the FOIA request by attorny Ty Clevenger: “You have not sufficiently demonstrated that the public’s interest in disclosure outweighs personal privacy interests of the subject,” Hardy said to Clevenger in a letter on Monday. “It is incumbent upon the requester to provide documentation regarding the public’s interest in the operations and activities of the government before records can be processed pursuant to the FOIA.”
Members of Congress are incensed. Americans are going crazy. How could any official in the FBI possibly conclude there is “no public interest” in the release of those Clinton FBI investigation files? Former Director Comey revealed in his press conference there were multiple examples of violations by Clinton of the law protecting the handling of classified documents and information. There are many hypotheses of why Comey did not recommend that the Justice Department impanel a Grand Jury to consider criminal charges against the former Secretary of State with that piece of evidence alone from Comey. The front runner of American answers is that Obama holdovers in the FBI are selling out to protect Hillary Clinton.
More than possible prosecution of Clinton for such wrongdoing, this action by the FBI’s David Hardy illustrates just how detached bureaucratic Washington D.C. is from the American public. No legislator or Intelligence Department employee could even consider holding those files if there was one shred of loyalty there as well as a sense of responsibility to the American People. Washington D.C. is full of those who in large care nothing about what Americans and American voters think about D.C. nor what those voters purposes were when electing federal officials. Political appointees and department hires are even worse: they care for nothing but maintaining their lucrative jobs that many come with lifetime benefits.
Thankfully there are still some who are in Washington to serve rather than “be” served. And those are the ones shocked the most at this FOIA request rejection. Attorney Clevenger in his FOIA request specifically asked for all documents resulting from a September 6, 2016 referral to the Justice Department from then-House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican. At the time, Chaffetz asked the department to “investigate and determine whether Secretary Clinton or her employees and contractors violated statutes that prohibit destruction of records, obstruction of congressional inquiries, and concealment or cover up of evidence material to a congressional investigation.” The FBI response: On Aug. 8, the FBI asked Clevenger to detail why the public would be interested. “If you seek disclosure of any existing records on this basis, you must demonstrate that the public interest in disclosure outweighs personal privacy interests,” the letter stated. “In this regard, you must show that the public interest sought is a significant one, and that the requested information is likely to advance that interest.”
Today former Congressman Chaffetz is incensed. Today he blasted the request denial as pure political nonsense. In a summary of his words, he reminded all that those documents are NOT private or personal documents of Hillary Clinton. They belong to the American People. She was Secretary of State when those were prepared and sent. If there is any classified information in those documents, standard procedure in a FOIA request is to redact the portions that are classified and release the rest. According to Chaffetz the request by Clevenger alone is enough to “demonstrate the request is in the public interest.”
But Chaffetz took this conversation one step further. And that step has opened to Americans the door to just how corrupt the Intelligence Community is — at least in part. When he served as Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, his committee requested release of those documents as well as all documents pertaining to Benghazi. In his words, Congressional subpoenas in D.C. are meaningless and often ignored. They carry no real weight or authority. The FBI ignored all those requests.
This morning on Fox and Friends, Chaffetz was asked if there is any remedy or “higher power” for Clevenger to appeal to for the purpose of overriding Hardy’s denial. Chaffetz showed just how corrupt D.C. is by explaining that any appeal of such request denial goes to — you guessed it — the Justice Department! Of course the Justice Department is the department who denied the FOIA request for production in the first place. Chaffetz personally took the matter up with Attorney General Sessions who quickly told Chaffetz the A.G. could NOT intervene because of his recusal from investigating anything relating to occurrences during the 2016 election.
There are millions of emails, scripts of conversations, notes from meetings, pictures, payment receipts, plans for government actions, and emails all being held by the records department of the FBI that document past and current investigations. The people who participated in all those events that resulted in those records worked for (and some still do) the American public. And with the exception of classified information that if released would jeopardize national security, the American Public owns the information in those documents. Through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) process for just these cases, those documents should be released. But the American government — OUR government — only cares about taking care of their own and stopping any waves that could possibly expose the hidden details and facts underneath.
I am ashamed that so many of the GOP members of the House and Senate either quietly or blatantly are resisting legislation they campaigned saying they would support and for which voters elected them. I am ashamed that our Attorney General handicapped his capability to fulfill his job in his Senate confirmation hearing when he recused himself from Clinton investigations and the Trump Campaign Russian collusion matter. The A.G. is the one who must initiate and manage those cases!
Yes, maybe Hillary will walk on this one. Maybe all those allegedly guilty of multiple criminal infractions during the Obama Administration — some of which have already been identified — may get away with their crimes. But Americans are paying close attention to how all of these are handled. No matter how the Leftist media portray their nastiness of President Trump and the way he runs this government, Americans know the truth and see the results.
There’s an election next year. I’ll bet Americans will watch closely the end of this Congressional session and the session in 2018. And if ANY legislators running for office have misrepresented their positions or lied to voters in their districts with broken promises, you can bet Americans will send them packing. If Washington is going to work — if the U.S. is going to work — going forward, honesty and integrity must return to the Capitol. And they must re-inhabit the Justice Department in which all those appointed and hired each took an oath to uphold the laws of the United States and to protect the Constitution.
They better get started.