Ultimately, one has no choice but to conclude that James Comey himself is the best example of the revolving door in the Justice Department — from being the Deputy Attorney General under Bush to a military-industrial complex lobbyist, to serving the mother of hedge fund giants, to being part of the the process that helped corporations buy elections and politicians — to now being the Director of the FBI.
By Saib Bilaval
Jul 8, 2016
Three major events happened in rapid succession:
1. Bill Clinton had a reportedly unplanned private meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch on her plane at Phoenix after which Lynch declared that she would abide by the FBI’s recommendation on the Clinton email investigation.
2. The Director of the FBI, James Comey, holds a press conference on the findings, and while delivering a scathing denunciation of Hillary Clinton’s email practices, declares that “no reasonable prosecutor would press charges”. He then said that it was up to the Justice Department to decide whether to frame or pursue charges.
3. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who had earlier tied her own hands in the matter, readily agreed with the FBI that no charges were necessary and accepted the recommendation/lack thereof.
For some time, the mainstream media and the Clinton campaign, along with the latter’s army of DNC surrogates and Democratic Congressmen declared the chapter closed. However, soon it emerged that there were glaring loopholes in the FBI inquiry, that at times, set itself a limited mandate.
The FBI did NOT administer the sworn oath to Hillary Clinton, and did NOT record the deposition/interview either, according to a report in The Hill. “Still a crime to lie to us,” Comey had commented.
The House Oversight Committee is now ordering the FBI to start an investigation into whether Hillary was lying under oath regarding the emails during any of the Congressional hearings — initiated by committee Chair Jason Chaffetz.
There has also been a bill introduced by Republican Sens. John Cornyn and Cory Gardner to revoke Hillary Clinton’s security clearances — adding language to bar the handing of classified information and clearances to anyone who has indulged in gross negligence or extreme carelessness, terms that Comey had used to describe Clinton’s role and email practices. Considering the legislative majority the Republicans currently have, this measure could pass.
In addition, the State Department is reopening its investigation into Clinton’s handling of classified material as well as the culpability of Clinton’s top aides and staff, BBC reports.
The Inspector General Report of State Department had established the intent involved in setting up the private server and the malpractices in handling classified information — as well as the fact that the NSA said the Blackberry could not be used, and that no permission was sought nor given for the private server — even if Comey chose to ignore that.
Much had been said of Comey being an upright, apolitical professional prosecutor/investigator. Most of this pertains to when Comey was unwilling to let an ailing Attorney General be forced to sign sanctions for the NSA and domestic surveillance by the Bush administration. Both the Democrats and the Republicans had been hinging on Comey’s “integrity” to finally end the email matter once and for all, and to not politicise an objective probe.
However, looking into history shows us that the reputation is based more on an outward sheen. James Comey had investigated the 450 pardons given by President Bill Clinton on his last day of office, including to notorious criminals, billionaire hedge fund managers evading taxes, money launderers and sexual offenders (Marc Rich and Robert Palmer being some prominent names)— to find out if there was any conflict of interest or any quid pro quo involved. Comey, on the face of it, gave him a clean chit, pronouncing that there was “no illegality”.
As Deputy Attorney General of the Justice Department and later as Acting Attorney General, Comey also chose not to investigate election fraud in Ohio and other states in 2004, in which George Bush defeated John Kerry, despite many documented instances and investigations, reported by Greg Palast and by Robert Kennedy Jr.
The deeper waters get murkier. James Comey was Vice President/General Counsel at Lockheed Martin, the largest military contractor in the US. He was Chairman of the Board of Directors of the US Chamber of Commerce’s National Litigation Centre. He played an instrumental role in the Citizen’s United Supreme Court decision. During the 2010-12 period, he served as counsel for Bridgewater Associates, the largest hedge fund in the world, which was actively working to help elect Mitt Romney, a fellow traveller. Ultimately, one has no choice but to conclude that James Comey himself is the best example of the revolving door in the Justice Department — from being the Deputy Attorney General under Bush to a military-industrial complex lobbyist, to serving the mother of hedge fund giants, to being part of the the process that helped corporations buy elections and politicians — to now being the Director of the FBI.
Attorney General of US Justice Department Loretta Lynch herself faces issues of conflict of interest: she was a partner in the law firm Hogan and Hartson while it was serving as legal counsel to the Clinton Foundation as well as the firm that set up the private server itself. Before that, she was on the Whitewater defense team for the Clintons. In 1999, she was nominated to serve the the US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York by Bill Clinton.
Lastly, there is still an ongoing investigation into the Clinton Foundation to find whether there was any conflict of interest, quid pro quo or any illegalities committed by pursuing links between donations the Clinton Foundation and State Department policy. Ultimately, if any corruption or illegality is to be discovered, the most damning of details would be found in this context — in donations, arms deals, State Department contracts and diplomatic/war policy — and not in the context of handling state secrets.