When I was growing up, we heard the expression, “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
We have seen this happen this past week with Republicans and Democrats.
President Donald Trump has been using “absolute power” by threatening North Korea with “fire and fury.” It amazes us long-term folks in Washington that he fails to use the State Department’s talent. However, when you have absolute power, you don’t need to consult or listen to others.
Then there is Hillary Clinton’s use of absolute power in her never-ending email scandal. For example, this past week, a judge appointed by former President Barack Obama ordered the State Department to do a deeper search to find emails related to the Benghazi case that Clinton never turned over to investigators, according to a report from my news organization, Talk Media News. The emails apparently are on the State Department’s server.
U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta ruled Tuesday that the “State Department must make a good-faith effort to recover outstanding Benghazi-related emails sent by three of Hillary’s Clinton’s closest aides during her tenure as the nation’s top diplomat,” according to TMN’s report. “The court finds that State’s search was inadequate insofar as it did not search the official state.gov email accounts of Secretary Clinton’s three aides, and orders State to conduct a supplemental search of those accounts,” Mehta wrote in the 10-page judgment.
Huma Abedin, former chief of staff Cheryl Mills and ex-deputy chief of staff Jake Sullivan are listed as the Clinton aides. Mehta said the State Department must report back to the court with an update by Sept. 22.
Judicial Watch filed the suit after it was unable to obtain all the records requested the search via the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said the ruling might help explain what Clinton knew about the Sept. 11, 2012, terror attack in which four Americans – including Ambassador Christopher Stevens – were killed.
“This major court ruling may finally result in more answers about the Benghazi scandal – and Hillary Clinton’s involvement in it – as we approach the attack’s fifth anniversary,” Fitton said in a statement.
Judicial Watch initially sued the State Department last year to get thousands of Benghazi-related Clinton emails.
At the time, Clinton blamed the attack on an anti-Muslim video that stirred up protesters. However, she confided in her daughter, Chelsea Clinton, and other officials that it was a terrorist-related attack.
Clinton testified before the House Select Committee on Benghazi in October 2015 that she never sent or received classified information on the private email server she had used. Former FBI Director James Comey disputed her claim, telling the House Oversight Committee that Clinton did receive and send classified information.
The lack of news coverage of this ruling in the mainstream press is surprising. Certainly, North Korea deserves to be in the headlines but what about Hillary Clinton? You would be hard-pressed to find stories about Hillary in Google News. Why not?
But there is more to the Hillary story. Remember last year when we learned through FBI records that then-President Obama communicated with Secretary Clinton using a name on his email that was an alias? Well, now we have learned that former Attorney General Loretta Lynch also used an alias email. Are alias emails used to throw off FOIA requests? Did Obama and Lynch share their alias emails with FOIA officers? If they didn’t, how would those who are handling these FOIA requests know what to look for? That will be something for the House Judiciary Committee to find out as it reboots the Clinton probe.
Laws exist for a reason, and using an alias is a clear attempt to thwart people looking for your records. How many times have you heard people say, “Send the information to my private email account and not my work email account”? There’s a reason for that.
Whether it is President Obama or President Trump using power to corrupt the system, it does not make a difference. We have a system in this country that has been debated and the arc should be toward justice.
Americans demand justice, and they don’t care if it is justice for the Democrats or Republicans. Most of us grew up in a school system that told us that America had blind justice. We see the imprint of a blindfolded Lady Justice holding scales. And that’s how we have to look at these cases.
If we are to restore a sense of justice to the American people, we are going to need a system where it does not matter how much power you have, to what party you belong, to whom you are related or with whom you surround yourself. Politicians need to be responsible to the people who put them in office.
Responsibility means trusting the career employees of your State Department, making sure your server is not private, using a secure email system and adhering to the Records Act so communications can be preserved.
I may be a liberal, but I believe justice is for all, and that includes President Trump, President Obama and Secretary Hillary Clinton.
Timothy Maier contributed to this column.
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