In a scathing rebuke of the FBI’s apparent double standards in investigating the Clinton email scandal and the Russian election interference crimes, Federalist senior editor Mollie Hemingway said on Fox News that what the country has seen could amount to an “abuse of prosecutorial discretion.” Speaking as part of a panel Monday night, Hemingway said that a perfect example of hypocrisy could be seen in the way Robert Mueller is prosecuting Michael Flynn for making false statements. That pill might be easier to swallow if the FBI hadn’t let several Clinton associates off the hook for the same crime.
“We have a really good test case. We have the FBI and the Department of Justice going after Hillary Clinton for breaking the law on classified information in which we saw the Department of Justice and FBI just bend over backwards, you know, giving immunity — handing it out like candy, getting nothing in return, declining to prosecute anyone for false statements even though a ton of people have made false statements,” Hemingway said.
Of course, that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the double standards.
Flynn’s original interview was apparently done on the premise that he might have violated the obscure and never-used Logan Act, which prohibits private individuals from doing quasi-government business with a foreign entity without express permission from the Executive Branch. Leaving aside the fact that Mueller did not – and probably could not have – prosecuted Flynn on this flimsy basis, seeing as how he was a member of the incoming presidential transition team, we’re back to the false statements business. In this case, the FBI decided to follow the letter of the law and charge Flynn.
But when it came to Clinton’s violation of the Espionage Act, they decided to completely ignore the relevant statues and give the former Secretary of State every benefit of the doubt possible.
“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,” said James Comey at that infamous press conference. “Prosecutors necessarily weigh a number of factors before bringing charges. There are obvious considerations, like the strength of the evidence, especially regarding intent. Responsible decisions also consider the context of a person’s actions, and how similar situations have been handled in the past.”
We can only assume that no such historical analysis was done in Flynn’s case, because if it had been, the FBI would have seen that the way they were treating him (and George Papadopoulos, and Michael Cohen, and Paul Manafort) was at violent odds with the way they treated Clinton and her cronies.
The power of the State is an awesome thing, and that’s why it should be wielded by men and women who have no partisan or personal ax to grind with the American citizens with whom they are dealing. Every step of these two cases has shown that this power has been grossly misused. It is a shame for our democracy, a shame for the FBI’s reputation, and a glaring black mark on our entire criminal justice system.