It’s a time-honored tactic – when attacked, change the subject. For generations, politicians of all stripes and parties have tried to change the topic of public discussion whenever their foibles and failings become the target of media attention. And, so it goes with Hillary Clinton.
The beleaguered Democratic presidential nominee has clumsily attempted one verbal sleight of hand after another, in an effort to avoid being held accountable for the highly questionable – if not unlawful -- shenanigans between the Department of State during her tenure as Secretary and her family’s cash cow, the Clinton Foundation. Hillary’s efforts should not be permitted to shield her from answering to a Special Prosecutor.
The most recent – but probably not the final – factor that has caused Mrs. Clinton to sweat, is the revelation that the 15,000 e-mails discovered by the FBI not to have been previously turned over to the State Department as Clinton claimed, raise questions anew about whether donations to the Clinton Foundation were tied to contacts those donors had with the State Department.
At the juncture where Mrs. Clinton now finds herself, there are two very distinct choices open to her. Most public officials and candidates, when facing damaging but false allegations of wrongdoing, understand that taking the high road and demanding, or at least “welcoming,” an open and objective investigation, puts them in the strongest political posture to survive the attacks.
The other path – more often taken by those being hounded by damaging charges that probably are not false, hunker down, bluster, and change the subject. Here is where we find Hillary Clinton -- hurling mud at the GOP standard bearer, Donald Trump.
In a feat of impressive imagination, Clinton responded to the latest evidence of wrongdoing that has surfaced against her, by charging her opponent with every false invective she could conjure, including racism, bigotry and misogyny. At the end of the day, however, when the dust of her ridiculous claims settled, questions about her integrity and truthfulness were what remained.
The evidence of an improper relationship between then-Secretary of State Clinton and the cash inflow into the Clinton Foundation, is today stronger than ever. The latest revelation, courtesy of the Associated Press, shows that at least 85 of the 154 people from private interests who met or had phone calls scheduled with then-Secretary Hillary Clinton, had donated or pledged money to the Clinton Foundation. And the sums are hardly de minimus. Those donors alone dropped as much as $156 million combined into the Foundation; potentially taking pay-to-play to a whole new level.
Despite assertions by some pundits that the best place to resolve those questions is the political arena, the appointment of a Special Prosecutor affords the only effective vehicle with which to drill down and get to the bottom of the mess candidate Clinton has left in her wake.
There is an urgency to initiating such an impartial investigation. Americans are slightly more than two months away from going to the polls to select a new president. They are entitled to have far more facts about Mrs. Clinton before making their choice than either the candidate or the current Administration has been willing to provide. And, despite the fact that a Special Prosecutor appointed now would very likely not conclude his or her investigation into this matter by November 8th, simply appointing such a person would give the voters the assurance that an impartial investigation will take place and ultimately result in the truth coming out.
In a sense, directing the Attorney General to appoint a Special Prosecutor would be a win for President Obama as well. Such a move would afford him a legacy he does not now appear destined to enjoy – that he is a President who cares more about impartial justice than protecting a political ally. The added benefit to Obama would be that he would then have washed his hands of the mess, and could no longer be pressed to discuss it since it would be in the hands of an independent, Special Prosecutor.
Allowing this scandal to fester will only further damage the credibility of our legal and political system. Just last week, a new word entered American’s vernacular: “Bleachbit,” meaning a service that prevents recovery of computer files. With trust in our Political Class at an all-time low, can we really afford further dissolution of the bond of trust between citizens and public officials that is essential to the proper functioning of our representative democracy?
Hillary may or may not stand to gain from a Special Prosecutor investigation, but America most definitely will.