NEW YORK — Lock them up!
James Comey, Loretta Lynch, and the Clintons should do time for their crimes. So should the unnamed leakers who give away state secrets as if they were handing out leaflets at a busy street corner.
While the relentless Russiagate probe continues its futile search for lawbreaking among Team Trump, actual crimes already have occurred at the highest levels of the Deep State and among former Democratic officials. These perpetrators should be prosecuted.
• Someone violated federal law by unmasking former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s name from National Security Agency transcripts or other surveillance records of his conversations with Russian ambassador to Washington Sergey Kislyak. As part of the presidential transition, it was perfectly normal for Flynn to speak with Kislyak and other foreign emissaries. It also is no surprise that the NSA and other American intelligence agencies cup their ears when Kislyak speaks.
However, the identities of Americans in such conversations are supposed to remain confidential. Whoever unmasked Flynn in such documents violated the federal Espionage Act of 1917, 18 U.S. Code § 793. It prohibits the improper handling and transmission of “information respecting the national defense.”
The anti-Flynn leaks also appear to breach 18 U.S. Code § 798, which forbids disclosure of classified data “concerning the communication intelligence activities of the United States or any foreign government.”
• Those who spilled details of President Donald J. Trump’s telephone calls with the leaders of Mexico, Australia, and Italy also violated the law, as did whoever spilled secrets about the British probe into the Manchester terrorist attack while Trump traveled through Europe. This gave aid and comfort to ISIS and other terrorists, sparked friction with the United Kingdom, and embarrassed Trump before America’s allies, which is probably exactly what the dastardly leaker(s) desired.
• Leaking seems to be Washingtonians’ favorite indoor activity. And Comey got in on the fun, too. Referring to his memo-to-file about a private Oval Office meeting with Trump, Comey said, “I need to get that out into the public square,” as if that were his job. Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8: “I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter.”
This “close friend who is a professor at Columbia law school,” is named Daniel C. Richman. The New Yorker last month called Richman “Comey’s media surrogate.”
“I asked him to because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel,” Comey explained.
Comey’s leaked memo hit the front pages, and Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein named a special counsel: Comey’s mentor and one-time boss, former FBI chief Robert Mueller.
Comey and Mueller’s toasty relationship raises legitimate worries about Mueller’s capacity for disinterest in a case that involves the dismissal and public ostracism of his protégé of at least 14 years. According to this word’s French definition and etymology, mentors protect protégés
According to an in-depth Washingtonian article published in May 2013, just before Comey replaced Mueller as FBI chief, Mueller was the “one person in government in whom [Comey] could confide in and trust.” The profile described Comey and Mueller as “close partners and close allies” who “spent many hours together” and shared “a friendship that stretches back over a decade.” Comey has said of Mueller, “He’s one of the finest people I’ve ever met.”
How can Mueller be objective about his bosom buddy, who now is at the epicenter of this entire probe?
Also troublesome: Mueller’s team includes attorneys who maxed out in donations to Hillary and Obama, defended Hillary against Freedom of Information Act requests, and even represented a Clinton staffer at the heart of E-mailgate.
Jeannie Rhee somehow is expected to investigate Team Trump impartially, even though she contributed $5,400 to Hillary’s 2016 campaign — the legal ceiling. Political Insider reported about Rhee: “She has already received attention for representing the Clinton Foundation in a racketeering lawsuit brought by a conservative advocacy group, and also represented Clinton herself in a lawsuit seeking access to her private emails,” according to CNN.
Aaron Zebley apparently gave no money to Hillary. However, one of his clients was Justin Cooper, a former aide to Hillary who helped manage her private e-mail server. An FBI report cited Cooper’s “two instances where he destroyed Clinton’s old mobile phones by breaking them in half or hitting them with a hammer.”
According to Political Insider, “In total, Mueller’s team has made $52,650 in political donations since 1997, 95 percent of which ($49,900) went to Democrats.”
Among some 100,000 attorneys in the Washington, D.C. Bar, was Mueller really unable to employ lawyers who neither have worked for the Clintons nor underwritten their campaigns? Could he not have hired professionals unconnected to either the Clintons or the Trumps? Was that really so hard?
Or maybe Mueller deliberately assembled a kennel full of Hillary-loving legal Rottweilers.
Whatever Mueller’s objectives, he has crafted at a minimum — a major appearance of impropriety. If Team Mueller fairly, honestly, and properly discovers wrongdoing among Team Trump, Republicans may dismiss his findings as the crooked output of a rigged system. But if Mueller correctly exonerates Trump & Co., Democrats may scream that the special counsel chickened out, to avoid being accused of running a politically tainted probe. Either way, such second-guessing would erode confidence in American justice.
For his part, Comey’s leak to Professor Richman looks like a violation of, at least, 18 U.S. Code § 641, which bars the unauthorized conveyance of “any record” belonging to the U.S. government. Comey should be brought back before Congress and forced to spell out any and every such leak he ever made, describe the documents he spilled, the dates he did so, etc. Each one of those instances should constitute an individual count in an indictment for breaking the Espionage Act.
• According to Comey, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch instructed him to refer benignly to E-mailgate as a “matter” rather than an “investigation.” While that latter word was more politically volatile, it also was accurate. After all, Comey ran the Federal Bureau of Investigation, not the Federal Bureau of Matter.
According to Circa.com’s John Solomon and Sara A. Carter, Comey told senators behind closed doors about “a communication between two political figures that suggested Lynch had agreed to put the kibosh on any prosecution of Clinton,” never mind evidence of Hillary’s crimes.
Comey reportedly showed Lynch that do-not-prosecute record. As one source familiar with Comey’s comments told Solomon and Carter, “the attorney general looked at the document then looked up with a steely silence that lasted for some time, then asked him if he had any other business with her and if not that he should leave her office.”
For his part, Trump apparently pleaded with Comey for mercy toward Flynn, who had resigned one day earlier. According to Comey, Trump told him last Valentine’s Day: “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go.”
In contrast, Lynch’s reportedly stone-faced response to Comey seems much more sinister and far more geared toward derailing the E-mailgate investigation. A “keep-Hillary-out-of-jail” document bearing Lynch’s name would be a smoking Howitzer.
Coupled with Lynch’s notorious “golf clubs and grandkids” pow-wow with Bill Clinton on her official plane at Phoenix Airport last June 27, just five days before the FBI questioned Hillary (inexplicably, not under oath), Lynch’s behavior reeks of obstruction of justice.
• Comey stated last July 5 that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring charges against Hillary Clinton in E-mailgate. This claim instantly was refuted by reasonable former federal prosecutors including Sidney Powell, Andrew McCarthy, Rudolph W. Giuliani, and Michael Mukasey. They all stated why Hillary deserved indictment.
Comey said that Hillary should have stayed free because she had no criminal intent to violate the Espionage Act. However, to be convicted under this statute, one need not possess criminal intent. Similarly, a drunk motorist who accidentally mows down pedestrians can be imprisoned, even though he simply intended to drive home in peace.
Hillary could be convicted merely for handling classified documents in a “grossly negligent” fashion. She certainly did this.
Exhibit One: The FBI counted 2,113 classified e-mails on her do-it-yourself, unsecured, illegal servers in her Chappaqua, New York mansion.
Exhibit Two: Classified data left the State Department, traversed Clinton’s unprotected computer system, and then landed on the laptop that Clinton aide Huma Abedin shared with her estranged husband, convicted sex criminal Anthony Weiner.
• Beyond E-mailgate, the Clinton Foundation’s bribes-for-favors scandal has gone entirely unpunished. Hillary approved the Kremlin’s purchase of 20 percent of U.S. uranium supplies. She permitted Russia’s Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation to acquire Uranium One Inc. This is the sort of cloak-and-dagger Russian collusion about which Democratic mouths have foamed since last fall. The $145 million that Uranium One’s investors pumped into the Clinton Foundation before, during, and after this grotesque deal epitomizes the pay-to-play bonanza for which Hillary should be tossed in the clink. Ditto the $500,000 fee that Kremlin-controlled Renaissance Capital handed Bill Clinton for a one-hour speech while Hillary decided to green-light this transaction. Remember: the Clintons literally gave Vladimir Putin access to the active ingredient in hydrogen bombs — extracted from American soil.
The GOP Congress, which has been gung-ho about investigating flimsy charges of wrong-doing by a Republican president and his circle, now should recognize what this narrative is: a Democrat-designed flat tire that will take America nowhere. Democrats should stop these febrile hallucinations that mirror a Cold War thriller. Instead, they should propose a positive agenda and solutions to America’s problems.
Congressional Republicans should accelerate the important business of junking and replacing Obamacare, modernizing America’s antiquated tax code, and killing terrorists before they kill us. But while the House and Senate floors should churn out pro-growth legislation, Congress also must perform its supervisory duties.
To that end, the House Government Oversight Committee should hold public hearings and subpoena Comey, Lynch, and the Clintons and make them testify publicly about these crimes, under penalty of perjury. After that, President Trump should keep a promise that he made in the October 9 debate against Hillary: “If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation.”
Prosecuting Comey for leaking government papers, Lynch for sandbagging the E-mailgate probe, and the Clintons and Clintonites for running their bribes-for-favors scams would not signal American devolution into a banana republic. Rather, this would reinvigorate a core principle of American constitutional republicanism: Equal Justice Under Law.
The late John Mitchell, President Nixon’s attorney general, served 19 months in a federal institution in Alabama for his starring role in Watergate. Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich is in federal prison in Colorado, and former House speaker Dennis Hastert is in a federal medical penitentiary in Minnesota — both for corruption. If doing hard time is good enough for these criminal politicians, then jail cells are good enough for James Comey, Loretta Lynch, and Mr. and Mrs. William Jefferson Clinton.
Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor with National Review Online. William de Wolff supplied research for this opinion piece.