Richard Greene

It’s wrong to set ‘a higher bar’ for prosecuting Hillary Clinton

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton waits to be introduced during a campaign event at Western Technical College in La Crosse, Wis., Tuesday, March 29, 2016.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton waits to be introduced during a campaign event at Western Technical College in La Crosse, Wis., Tuesday, March 29, 2016. AP

Tired of the Hillary Clinton email scandal? New developments keep me interested.

The whole affair is raising the appearance of a double standard to new heights when it comes to examining the presidential candidate.

Facing investigation for possibly compromising what has been described by the State Department as top secret materials that would cause “exceptionally grave damage” to national security if disclosed, she appears confident that none of this is a problem for her.

A prominent journalist on MSNBC’s Morning Joe program on March 28 made a remarkable statement describing a “higher bar” for the Department of Justice to clear if an indictment is to be sought against her.

On the same day over at the National Archives and Records Administration, officials there refused to release drafts of possible indictments of Hillary in the infamous 1990s Whitewater scandal.

They say her privacy rights outweigh any public interest in them.

Let’s take a look at both of these developments.

MSNBC program host and former congressman Joe Scarborough was leading his panel’s discussion of new and ominous stories in the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post.

These and other media are currently reporting that the ongoing FBI investigations into Hillary’s private email server have entered a new phase and will now include interviews with her closest staff and possibly herself.

Scarborough cited intelligence officials saying to him, “They’ve been talking about the reckless disregard for … classified documents that both came and went. When they talked about ‘it wasn’t marked on there’ it is just a distinction without a difference.”

To that, National Journal senior political columnist Ron Fournier, a veteran award-winning journalist covering the White House and those who occupied it and sought to do so, responded with this revelation:

After saying “we know Hillary has not been honest about this,” he continued, “Legally … there is a higher bar you have to get over before you prosecute somebody who is running for president. That is just a fact.”

Scarborough wanted to know where such a statute could be found. Because there is no such statute under our country’s historic principle of no one being above the law.

He went on to describe dire consequences for regular people, a congressman, or a presidential appointee like I once was, who exposed a single piece of restricted material, much less sent or received more than 1,800 emails containing classified information.

There is a long pattern of Hillary’s apparent privilege again illustrated by that National Archives decision not to release draft indictments related to her involvement in the Whitewater affair that resulted in 15 people being convicted of more than 40 crimes.

The Washington-based Judicial Watch sued the Archives last October seeking release of the documents.

In response to the Archives refusal to hand over “all versions of indictments against Hillary Rodham Clinton,” the Judicial Watch president, Tom Fitton, had this to say:

“One can’t help but conclude that the Obama administration is doing a political favor for Hillary Clinton at the expense of the public’s right to know about whether prosecutors believed she may have committed federal crimes.”

This much is settled: Questions of Clinton’s integrity have defined her public life.

Whether or not occupying high positions has afforded her some measure of immunity from the laws that apply to all of us is an issue still pending.

If polling across the country that consistently forecasts her becoming our next president is any indication, these questions must not matter much to a majority of Americans.

That brings up still another question: Why don’t they?

Richard Greene is a former Arlington mayor and served as an appointee of President George W. Bush as regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency.