President Obama will be facing a terrible decision regarding his legacy and Hillary Clinton’s email scandal. Whatever he decides will have a devastating effect upon his legacy.
Hillary Clinton has a serious problem with the FBI investigation into her emails and potential security violations. She could possible face charges under the Espionage Act because the use of her private email server while serving as Secretary of State exposed classified documents. One European hacker has already admitted hacking into her server.
Hillary’s Aides Have a Problem
- Bryan Pagliano was an aide to Hillary Clinton and set up her private email server. He took the 5th Amendment before a Congressional committee rather than testify. Since then, he has been granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony.
- Cheryl Mills, one of Hillary’s long-time aides, was recently interrogated by the FBI and reportedly left the meeting, claiming lawyer-client privilege when asked about the emails.
The Chain of Command
The head of the FBI, James Comey, is an honest man who will do his job regardless of political pressure. At some point, the FBI will need to decide whether or not to present their case against Hillary Clinton to a Grand Jury. If the Grand Jury decides that there is sufficient evidence to proceed (which almost always happens), then the next step would be to issue an indictment charging Mrs. Clinton.
This would go up the chain to Loretta Lynch, the Attorney General and head of the Department of Justice, an Obama appointee. She would have to decide whether or not to proceed.
The President’s Choice
It is likely that Ms. Lynch would pass the final decision on to President Obama. He appears to be focused on his legacy, as is true of previous presidents. It is entirely possible that this choice will need to be made during the run-up to election 2016.
- If he chose to let the Justice Department proceed against Hillary Clinton, that could open a Pandora’s box of embarrassing and incriminating disclosures. Also, it would make it impossible for her to continue to run for President. Who would take her place? Bernie Sanders? Joe Biden? Such a last-minute change would be difficult at best.
- If he chose to stop the Justice Department from going forward, there would be a firestorm of protest and ugly accusations that would tarnish his legacy forever.
What will President Obama decide?