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October 20th, 2017

Insight

Where's the morality in Hillary's moral universe?

John Kass

By John Kass

Published July 7, 2016

"The arc of the moral universe is long," shouted the freshly unindicted Hillary Clinton at a Democratic rally in North Carolina, with President Barack Obama at her side and the FBI behind her in her dust, "but it bends toward justice."

She nodded in triumphant agreement with herself, her head moving up and down, chin stabbing the air, a righteous bobblehead Hillary reaching for the presidency of the United States.

Clinton attributed the phrase to Obama, but he'd taken it from Martin Luther King Jr., who years before had taken it from the abolitionist Theodore Parker, who didn't live to see justice bend, dying before the Civil War.

Morality is just a word to some, a word for politicians at rallies to rationalize the grabbing of power. And if there's one thing the Clintons are about, besides lies, it is power.

So if this truly were a moral universe, those words would have turned to wasps in Hillary's mouth.

But they didn't.

It was a good day for Hillary. She had Obama singing her praises in a battleground state, even promising she'd transform politics for the good. And she wasn't charged with a federal crime.

A few hours before, FBI Director James Comey blinked and said he wouldn't recommend criminal charges out of that email scandal of hers, the one where she used a private basement server for her email while she was secretary of state and dangled unsecure, top-secret information before foreign intelligence hackers.

Yet Comey's critique of Clinton's actions was devastating, though offered in measured language. He said there wasn't enough evidence for a criminal charge, but that how she handled the nation's secrets was "extremely careless."

And point by point, he rebutted claims made by her or her surrogates, so that in the end the portrait that emerged was of Hillary Clinton putting her nation at risk so that she could keep her email private and away from the eyes of her own government and the representatives of the people.

"To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences," Comey said. "To the contrary, those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions. But that is not what we are deciding now."

Yet how can Clinton keep her security clearance now that she's found to have been reckless with national secrets? I don't know how that's possible, which makes running for president somewhat difficult.

Obama has endorsed her and campaigned for her. And he hasn't demanded the head of Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who met secretly with Bill Clinton in a private plane where they talked, Lynch said, "primarily" of grandchildren and golf.

Any young federal prosecutor who'd meet privately with the spouse of someone under federal investigation would be fired. Any young foreign service officer who'd dare put government secrets on a private basement email server -- where they could easily be hacked by Russian, Chinese or other intelligence services -- would be dismissed, if not prosecuted.

And they'd never be able to keep their security clearance.

But Clinton will keep hers. If it is taken away from her, it would be an affirmation that she's not trustworthy enough. And politically, the Democrats wouldn't like that.

And all that begs the second question: Are the Clintons above the law?

Hillary's problem is that most Americans, I think, believe they are above the law.

Republicans hate the Clintons for this, perhaps because Richard Nixon played the same amoral game and was caught and ruined, while the Clintons prosper and swim in treasure.

And many Democrats appreciate the Clinton cunning in the service of their party.

If there's one benefit to the Republicans out of all this, it's that Hillary Clinton remains the presumptive Democratic nominee. Hillary is about the only Democrat against whom Republican Donald Trump would have a chance.

If she'd been charged, Democrats would have had to call on Vice President Joe Biden. But to clean him up, they'd be forced to offer awkward and embarrassing defenses of the stupid and ridiculous things Biden has said.

Hillary has said plenty of stupid things herself about her email issue, lies mostly, and this was clear from the Comey statement.

The Clinton way is to deny, deny, deny, until the lies are uncovered, and then to say that the new information is just old news.

But the new information coming from Comey is devastating, at least to anyone with the capacity for shame.

She didn't tell the truth early on about using only one email device for convenience. She used several, Comey said. She insisted no classified information was put on her server. Comey said that more than a hundred classified documents were out there, available to foreign hackers.

My theory? Bill Clinton has a multibillion-dollar foundation that accepted contributions from questionable foreign sources and grew to gargantuan size when his wife was secretary of state.

Note that Comey didn't say a word about the Clinton Foundation, which reportedly is still under investigation.

In the universe of the Clintons, politicians can invoke morality after being caught in lies and not even blush. For Bill and Hillary it's all about bending justice.

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John Kass is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune who also hosts a radio show on WLS-AM.

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