Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Will Obama Pardon Hillary? Uh ...

Now begins the flippant speculation that President Obama may pardon Hillary Clinton - which, perhaps, given the tsunami of irresponsible "journalism" and commentary that attended the end of the Bush administration - seems fair enough. Karma is ... can be ... well ... you know.

Candidate Obama was, of course, famously scornful of President Bush's decision to commute the prison sentence of Scooter Libby (Libby was never pardoned). In public speeches, Obama broadly claimed that Mr. Libby "compromised our national security."

Man, that has an awfully familiar smell to it.

Libby, as you may recall, was accused of having revealed the name of an undercover agent - Valerie Plame. In fact, it was someone else (Richard Armitage) who first revealed / leaked the name and the lead prosecutor knew exactly who it was from the beginning of the "investigation." He (the prosecutor) simply went on a fishing expedition to see how high he could go in a chain of gossip. Maybe he could become the new Woodward and Armstrong. Who knows? But, unfortunately, by the time the dog and pony show reached Mr. Libby, there were only Houdini-like exercises in memory stretching re uneventful private conversations, held years in the past, and inevitable contradictions. Armitage, the source of the leak, was never charged, much less prosecuted. Indeed, millions of dollars later, NO ONE was ever charged with leaking anything at all.

So, you see, Hillary's bazillion State Department e-mails, on a non-secure server, classified or not, are not nearly so pertinent. Noooooo. Nothing to see here. Come on people!

Candidate Obama then famously promised, yes promised:
"Here's a promise I'll make. I will not pardon somebody who was part of my administration and who broke the law in part, probably, to cover my backside. That is not something I will do."
Impressive enough ... but for the qualifier "to cover my backside" - which allows for 1) pardoning to cover someone else's backside 2) pardoning to save someone else's backside altogether 3) pardoning someone in the administration who broke the law, then passionately arguing that they did so, but not to cover his backside - Obama certainly being the only president who could ever make such a claim without the press room being filled with smirks, laughter and a hail storm of snarky follow-up questions.

You've got to hand it to lawyers. Very often they are genius about about seeking, finding, dramatizing and selling "distinctions."  And all with a very straight face.

Now comes, a new book by "Clinton watcher" Edward Klein suggesting that, with respect to Hillary Clinton's ongoing email scandal, President Obama is "noncommittal" on the idea of a presidential pardon for his former Secretary of State. And why on this earth should be be otherwise? Think about it. He would very plainly be the most idiotic president in the history of the United States, were he to be "committed" to any position on a matter so ... speculative. Has any president ever "committed" to pardoning someone before they were ever even charged with anything? Why would Obama, one of the least merciful presidents in history, be the first you have ever heard of to do so? See "story" here.

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