If you are relatively new to conservatives’ 20+ year history of trying to destroy both of the Clintons, this blog will catch you up on that concerted effort, right up to the present and the brouhaha over Hillary’s badly flawed handling of sensitive official documents. What follows is not presented in chronological order as some events overlapped in time, making their separate presence on a time-line, artificial.
We can begin with what came to be known as “The Arkansas Project”; an attempted take-down of the Clintons that was financed by a billionaire named Richard Mellon Scaife. It involved a land deal (1) in Arkansas that involved husband and wife, and from which they still managed a profit, even though the transaction itself, went bad. This all took place while Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas and Hillary was working as an attorney at the Rose Law Firm.
Now, fast-forward to the mid-1990’s with the Clintons ensconced in the While House. House Republicans, driven by Scaife’s money and the makings of a scandal, brought on Robert Fisk to serve as a special prosecutor charged with investigating the legality of the pair’s involvement.
After looking into the matter, Fisk could not find sufficient evidence against the First Couple to keep the matter going. Accordingly, he stepped aside. But, undeterred, congressional Republicans simply replaced Fisk with Ken Starr and charged him with pressing the investigation.
Starr got sidetracked away from the land deal probe by then-President Clinton’s sexual escapades which not surprisingly took center stage and stayed there until his impeachment. The real estate transaction that started the investigative ball rolling in the first place, resulted in two convictions, neither of which involved the Clintons (2).
Bill Clinton’s aforementioned “escapades” led to what came to be known as “Troopergate; a story featured in the conservative American Spectator magazine. It held that while serving as governor in Arkansas, Clinton would use state troopers to ferry the companions in his love trysts to and from a secret meeting place. The central thrust of this “hit piece” was never effectively vetted and its author, David Brock, later admitted that it was a fiction.
We turn next to the scandal referred to as “Travelgate”. It involved an alleged misappropriation of funds from the White House Travel office during the Clinton presidency. A detailed account of how all that played out need not be presented here. Suffice it to say that the Clintons were cleared of any wrongdoing.
Conservatives’ efforts to tarnish the couple did not end when the Clintons left the White House: From time to time, there were reports, all verified, that funds that found their way into the Clinton Foundation and/or the Clinton Global Initiative, came from countries that did not share our values of free speech, and anti-discrimination, especially as regards women. While these reports were noted, nothing became of them. That is, until Barack Obama won the presidency and nominated HRC to be his Secretary of State.
The former First Lady survived her Senate confirmation hearing, but not before much was made of the aforementioned funding from unfriendly nations, and the need for Ms. Clinton to avoid any conflict of interest as she engaged in diplomacy with other countries.
This brings us to the terrorist attacks in Benghazi and the tragic deaths of four Americans serving in that Libyan city. Conservatives, both in and out of government, saw this as evidence of the incompetence and criminal negligence of both Secretary Clinton and President Obama. Rumors swirled that those two had failed miserably in trying to get help to our embattled citizens who were under siege. Accordingly, both Senate and House committees, all under the leadership of a Republican, were convened to get to the truth.
What emerged from each one of those groups was that neither HRC nor the president were guilty of criminal wrongdoing or negligence. Such being the case, an objective observer would have concluded that the matter would end there. Unfortunately, that is not what happened. Rather, then-Speaker Boehner set up a select committee to get to the bottom of what happened that fateful night in Benghazi Two years and seven million dollars later, the same finding of the absence of criminality emerged.
As the select committee was conducting its business, it came to light that as Secretary of State, HRC was conducting both personal and government business over an unsecured private server that had been set up in her home. Having lost in their attempt to tar Ms. Clinton over the Benghazi tragedy, Republicans on the select committee turned their attention to the e-mails that came to and were sent from said server, asking if there had been any breaches in national security and/or lawlessness?
The resulting FBI investigation into those possible lapses came to near-conclusion yesterday with the Bureau’s Director, James Comey, issuing a blistering account of HRC’s carelessness, naivete’ and poor judgment. But, as he carefully explained, the woman had broken no laws so that he was recommending that she not be prosecuted.
This decision flew in the face of a news campaign, orchestrated by conservatives, to convince everyone that HRC was not just criminally guilty, but fully deserving of jail time. To now have that theme crushed under the weight of Director Comey’s judgment has now proved to be the latest in a long list of conservatives’ concerted efforts to kill the Clintons off as a political force. Indeed, as you read through this blog from start to finish, you get a clearer sense of just how numerous and ultimately futile, those attempts were.
Finally, as of date of this posting, conservatives in and out of government are trying to salvage something out of their latest failure. To that end, they have taken to questioning the judgment and integrity of FBI Director Comey (3, 4), the appropriateness of his “not guilty” finding, and his judgment to not recommend criminal changes and prosecution. They are already demanding that there be an investigation of the FBI’s investigation.
The latter said, do not expect an end to “e-mailgate”any time soon. Instead watch for more congressional hearings with Comey occupying the hot seat, having to explain yet again how his agency’s investigation proceeded, what was found, and why it did not justify further action.
- This scandal came to be known by the name “Whitewater”.
- Two Clinton associates, James McDougall and his wife, Susan were charged and did jail time.
- On July 29, 2013, Comey was confirmed as as FBI Director by the Senate with a resounding 93-1 vote of confidence. Yet, now his integrity is in question.
- At a press conference that lasted in excess of 15 minutes, Comey laid out the case for Secretary Clinton’s carelessness, naivete’ and poor judgement, but why none of that led to criminal charges. You can access a video of the event via YouTube. It is a lesson in how nuanced the law can be, and it will help you understand not only the present case, but why we have lawyers and a multi-level judicial system to interpret the law.