According to an Associated Press report, the Justice Department reached criminal immunity deals with three of Hillary Clinton’s close advisers in exchange for information – information that could normally be obtained through subpoenas or search warrants, or, perhaps, simply by asking.
I’m not a lawyer, so I’ll assume someone somewhere has a perfectly rational, completely non-corrupt explanation for why the FBI surrendered its leverage by granting immunity to Cheryl Mills and two other high ranking staff members – all potential co-conspirators in a criminal case surrounding illegal servers and the mishandling of classified emails.
Question is: Does the Justice Department regularly grant immunity for mere cooperation? After all, Mills, Clinton’s former chief of staff, was offered protection in exchange for the sort of evidence any non-guilty person would freely offer. According to a number of reports, she handed over her computer. Hillary’s defenders persistently assure the public her staff has done absolutely nothing wrong. Why would Mills need immunity?
Why would the government give it? What if it found something? If Mills was the beneficiary of immunity before the FBI even knew what was on her computer, what pressure would prosecutors be able to exert to impel her to cooperate against the (pretend) target of the investigation? And if it didn’t think they’d find anything, anyway, why grant immunity in the first place? What made Mills so special?
And how often is a political operative like Mills granted immunity and then comfortable enough to represent the target of the investigation in an interview with the investigators and in front of Congress?
Mills is widely reported to be one of Clinton’s closest confidants, her former chief-of-staff; a person that is likely intimately familiar with her private email system. And yet, as Andrew McCarthy noted back in May, the Justice Department had worked with Mills’ lawyers to block the FBI from asking pertinent questions about the case. Why would the Justice Department limit the scope of questioning?
This is especially significant when we consider that the FBI had to engage in forensic searches to recover tens of thousands of emails that Hillary and her staff tried to delete after news of the private server became public. Hillary lied about these emails to the public, and probably Congress. Her staff – the people given immunity – likely knew, for instance, that her phones were destroyed with hammers. These are the people who first hid government documents and then destroyed them. Some of the emails are still being recovered. Some of them will never be retrieved.
Here’s FBI Director James Comey’s surreal statement arguing that Hillary was completely guilty but not prosecutable:
It is also likely that there are other work-related e-mails that they did not produce to State and that we did not find elsewhere, and that are now gone because they deleted all e-mails they did not return to State, and the lawyers cleaned their devices in such a way as to preclude complete forensic recovery.
Here’s what Comey forgot to mention: One of the people tasked with deciding which emails were to be deleted and retained was Heather Samuelson, who, if reports are correct, was also offered immunity before anyone got to look at her computer. Again, I’m no lawyer, but it seems to me she’d be a really useful person to have leverage over if she broke the law. What made her so special?
Also, let’s not forget Bryan Pagliano, Hillary’s technology director at the State Department, who is now in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify. And let’s not forget IT specialist Paul Combetta, who was Reddit seeking advice on how to wipe servers clean of certain “VIP” emails addresses right after a congressional committee (negotiating with Mills, by the way) told the Hillary camp it wanted to see those correspondences. He also has immunity.
Does this strike any open-minded person like an investigation seriously concerned with uncovering the truth?
Reminder: According to the FBI, Clinton, who spent years on the Senate
Committee on Foreign Relations Armed Services Committee and was Secretary of State of the United States of America and who is more qualified than any person who’s ever run for president in history, sent 110 emails that contained clearly marked classified information. Thirty-six of them contained secret information. Eight of those email chains contained “top secret” information. Comey, you’ll remember, asserted that hackers working for foreign nations probably had access to her emails, but would have been far too sophisticated to leave behind any evidence – which is the very reason we have laws about the mere mishandling of classified information, in the first place.
Hillary is above these laws. She was never going to be indicted. Now we know none of her friends had to worry, either.