Littwin: On a bad day for Clinton, Trump still loses

FBI Director James Comey, whose reputation as a truth-teller was forever sealed when he served as deputy attorney general in the Bush administration, was the clear winner in the Hillary Clinton email story/scandal. In fact, he was pretty much the only winner.

Clinton lost, even as she was cleared of any illegality. In granting Clinton a reprieve, Comey still made a strong case that this scandal was different from all the Clinton faux scandals in that he — both a Republican and an Obama appointee — was not part of a vast right-wing conspiracy.

Comey took apart Clinton’s various explanations for using a private server and revealed that she had, in fact, sent classified information over that server. It’s more than possible, he added, “that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s personal email account,” meaning her account might well have been hacked.

And in words you’ll hear for the rest of the campaign, Comey called her handling of highly sensitive information “extremely careless,” which is not exactly what you want plastered atop your campaign résumé. But Comey also said that no “reasonable prosecutor” would charge Clinton and that, in piecing together all the information on the account, he found “no intentional misconduct.”

Still, the only good news on this day for Clinton, other than the fact that she won’t be indicted, is the same good news she gets every day: that Donald Trump is her presumptive opponent and that he would inevitably botch this opportunity. As New York Times columnist Ross Douthat tweeted: “This is a dark day for Clinton’s 2020 re-election campaign.”

And so, on to the rest of the losers.

Bill Clinton lost. No explanation needed.

Loretta Lynch lost. See above.

Barack Obama lost, at least for the day. In their first campaign trip together, Obama said his faith in Clinton “has always been rewarded.” Well, maybe not always.

Irony never loses, but it did take a beating, right along with transparency. Clinton used a private server to ensure that only those emails she chose to make public would be seen, and, because of her insistence on going private, everything would be made public. Given her history, she has what you might call reasonable paranoia, but, once again, in the lesson she should have learned as a young attorney for the House Judiciary Committee during Watergate, the cover-up is often worse than the crime. And, boy, did she ever cover up.

Oh, and of course, Trump lost.

In a day that should have been pure victory for Trump, on a day when it was virtually impossible for him to lose, on the day when Crooked Hillary became officially, as some on Twitter noted, Extremely Careless Hillary, Trump still lost. This was a hanging curveball that you couldn’t miss. Except that Trump, being Trump, whiffed badly.

It started when he tweeted, going to his default position, that the Clinton exoneration proved  the system was “rigged,” implicitly suggesting that Comey was involved in a rigged outcome. He said that Clinton’s actions were far worse than those of Gen. Petraeus, who had, of course, pleaded guilty to sharing classified information with his mistress. It’s a start.

Later, at a rally in Raleigh, Trump said that Clinton had bribed Loretta Lynch by suggesting, via a report in The New York Times, that if Clinton wins the presidency, she might re-hire Lynch. He said it was “no accident” that Obama and Clinton were campaigning together on the day of the Comey announcement, suggesting that Obama was in on the deal, or at least knew about the deal, even though Comey insisted he had not informed anyone. And, as if to make it clearer, Trump said that it was time to take the country back from “these thieves and crooks.”

This is what you call classic overreach. Why not just give an honest critique of the decision without accusing everyone involved of being somehow on the take? OK, we already know the answer to that —  because it’s Donald Trump, and, in his world, everything is rigged.

And Trump didn’t stop there. (Of course he didn’t.) At the same rally, while criticizing the Clintons and Obama and Lynch and the FBI, Trump praised — get ready — Saddam Hussein. And I’ll bet you were worried that it was going to be  David Duke.  

Here’s the quote, which, for context, was part of Trump’s criticism of Obama’s dealing with terrorists: “Saddam Hussein was a bad guy, right? He was a bad guy, really bad guy. But you know what he did well? He killed terrorists. He did that so good. They didn’t read them the rights, they didn’t talk. They were a terrorist – it was over.”

If the question is how badly can you step on your message, we now have the leader in the clubhouse.  Not only is the uncharged Clinton a crook, Lynch is bribed, Obama is in on it, Comey is part of a rigged system and Saddam is the leader who showed us the proper way to deal with terrorists. And that was just one speech.

If you don’t know Comey’s background, read the story in The Washington Post about Comey’s willingness to battle with authority, including with Obama. The most famous instance came when Comey, as acting attorney general for the Bush administration, had refused to extend a warrantless domestic wiretap program. Upon hearing that Alberto Gonzalez, then White House counsel, was leading a team to a hospital to try to persuade ailing Attorney General John Ashcroft to overrule the decision, Comey literally raced to get there first.

In Senate testimony years later, Comey dramatically described how Ashcroft, who was in intensive care at the time, lifted his head from the pillow and, pointing to Comey, told Gonzalez and White House Chief of Staff Andy Card that “I’m not the attorney general. There is the attorney general.”


Well, I guess it depends on what your definition of rigged is.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons, Flickr 


  1. Trump has been beating the crap out of criminal Hitlery for over a year now…

    and if you believe the “polls” of the mainstream media then you are morons.

    Hitlery is a CRIMINAL ELITE INSIDER and that’s why the system is CHEATING to put her in.

    Just like all your other illuminati BS candidates like Bush and Obama. Scumbag globalist illuminati AND YOU DAMN WELL KNOW IT !

    TRUMP is WAY in the lead, and the polls are being rigged. Trump packs out stadiums with lines around the block… while Hitlery can barely pack small town halls.

    We the SILENT MAJORITY are SICK of your fake rigged elections…. and there will be hell to pay for it.

  2. “Clinton Makes the FBI’s Least-Wanted List” – Wall Street Journal

    Well, at least Mr. Littwin was semi-candid which, for him, is highly unusual . But old habits die hard which is one of the reasons he still devoted half his column to Mr. Trump when all the bad news clearly belonged to Mrs. Clinton.

    Mr. Littwin is whistling past the graveyard when he attempts to equate Mr. Trump’s so-called loss with Mrs. Clinton’s very real one. Mr. Littwin’s instinct when confronted with bad news is to ignore, deflect, dismiss. But this story is not as easy to ignore, deflect or dismiss as Laquan McDonald.

    Another reason Mr. Littwin devoted half of his column to Mr. Trump is to convince readers (and possible himself) “On a day that should have been pure victory for Trump, on a day when it was virtually impossible for him to lose, on the day when Crooked Hillary became officially, as some on Twitter noted, Extremely Careless Hillary, Trump still lost.”

    Not today, Mr. Littwin. Not today.

    What Mr. Littwin does not want to discuss is this: In politics perception is reality and if voters perceive Mrs. Clinton as either above the law or receiving special treatment it’s not just extremely bad news for her it’s devastating. But it is good news for America.

    And how will that perception be shaped? Well, lets’ start with this from Judicial Watch:

    “Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton made the following statement regarding the decision by Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James B. Comey that the Department of Justice not indict former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the disclosure of classified information on her email:
    FBI Director James Comey detailed Hillary Clinton’s massive destruction of government records and grossly negligent handling of classified information.  Frankly, there’s a disconnect between Comey’s devastating findings and his weak recommendation not to prosecute Hillary Clinton.  Federal prosecutors, independent of politics, need to consider whether to pursue the potential violations of law confirmed by the FBI.

    Judicial Watch helped break open the Clinton email scandal and, in the meantime, will independently continue its groundbreaking litigation and investigation.”

    Former Denver Post columnist David Harsanyi summarized FBI Director James Comey’s explanation best: “No reasonable person could possibly square what FBI Director James Comey said about Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal e-mail system during her time as Secretary of State with his final recommendation.”

    “Comey also said that “gross negligence” would suffice for prosecution. So is he accusing the presidential candidate of being too dumb to comprehend what a top secret document is or how an email account works? Because any other explanation makes no sense.”

    “On March 1 of this year,Clinton alleged that she “never sent any classified material — nor received any — marked classified.” This was a lie.”

    “18 U.S. Code 1924“Unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or material” — clearly states that anyone who “knowingly removes” materials “without authority and with the intent to retain such documents or materials at an unauthorized location shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.”

    Mr. Harsanyi left the Post in 2011 while far less talented columnists stayed.

    Then there’s this from the NY Post:

    “The fix was in.

    Tuesday, FBI Director James Comey painted a devastating picture of Hillary Clinton’s reckless lawbreaking with her emails and the damage it likely caused — but then recommended no charges against her.

    When it comes to the Clintons, say goodbye to the rule of law.”

    The Daily Caller examined talking points that Mrs. Clinton “used in defense of her email practices”.

    Clinton talking point No. 1: Her emails were not classified
    But Comey settled the question in decisive fashion on Tuesday, demolishing Clinton’s claims.

    “From the group of 30,000 e-mails returned to the State Department, 110 e-mails in 52 e-mail chains have been determined by the owning agency to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received,” Comey said.

    Clinton talking point No. 2: She returned all work-related emails
    Comey said that Clinton failed to turn over “several thousand” work-related emails to the State Department in December 2014.

    The undermines the former secretary of state’s repeated assertion that she did turn over all such records.
    Clinton talking point No. 3: Classified emails were not “marked” classified
    As evidence mounted last year that Clinton sent and received classified information, she adopted a new defense: the classified emails were not “marked” as such when Clinton sent and received them, she said.

    “No information in Clinton’s emails was marked classified at the time she sent or received them,” Clinton says on her campaign website.

    But Comey laid out the case that Clinton should have known that classified information was classified regardless of whether it was marked as such.

    “Even if information is not marked ‘classified’ in an e-mail, participants who know or should know that the subject matter is classified are still obligated to protect it.” he said.

    Clinton talking point No. 4: She took the security of her email system seriously

    Comey contradicted Clinton’s claims that she and her staff took seriously the job of securing her emails and server.

    The FBI director noted that Clinton’s setup, which was maintained by State Department information technology specialist Bryan Pagliano, did not have the kind of full-time support staff that it merited.

    “None of these e-mails should have been on any kind of unclassified system, but their presence is especially concerning because all of these e-mails were housed on unclassified personal servers not even supported by full-time security staff, like those found at Departments and Agencies of the U.S. Government—or even with a commercial service like Gmail,” Comey said.
    But on her website, Clinton’s campaign states: “The security and integrity of her family’s electronic communications was taken seriously from the onset when it was first set up for President Clinton’s team.”

    Clinton talking point No. 5: It was a “security review” rather than a criminal investigation

    Comey has already exposed Clinton’s claim that the FBI’s probe was a mere “security review.” Earlier this year he told reporters that he was not familiar with the term and that the FBI’s name includes the word “investigation.”

    People who leak to media outlets for the selfless purpose of informing the public – Daniel Ellsberg, Tom Drake, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden – face decades in prison. Those who leak for more ignoble and self-serving ends – such as enabling hagiography (Leon Panetta, David Petreaus) or ingratiating oneself to one’s mistress (Petraeus) – face career destruction, though they are usually spared if they are sufficiently Important-in-DC. For low-level, powerless Nobodies-in-DC, even the mere mishandling of classified information – without any intent to leak but merely to, say, work from home – has resulted in criminal prosecution, career destruction and the permanent loss of security clearance.
    This extreme, unforgiving, unreasonable, excessive posture toward classified information came to an instant halt in Washington today – just in time to save Hillary Clinton’s presidential aspirations. FBI Director James Comey, an Obama appointee who served in the Bush DOJ, held a press conference earlier this afternoon in which he condemned Clinton on the ground that she and her colleagues were “extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information,” including Top Secret material. –

    “In essence, in order to give Mrs. Clinton a pass, the FBI rewrote the statute, inserting an intent element that Congress did not require. The added intent element, moreover, makes no sense: The point of having a statute that criminalizes gross negligence is to underscore that government officials have a special obligation to safeguard national defense secrets; when they fail to carry out that obligation due to gross negligence, they are guilty of serious wrongdoing. The lack of intent to harm our country is irrelevant. People never intend the bad things that happen due to gross negligence.

    It seems to me that this is what the FBI has done today. It has told the public that because Mrs. Clinton did not have intent to harm the United States we should not prosecute her on a felony that does not require proof of intent to harm the United States. Meanwhile, although there may have been profound harm to national security caused by her grossly negligent mishandling of classified information, we’ve decided she shouldn’t be prosecuted for grossly negligent mishandling of classified information.” – National Review

    “The British vote to leave the European Union may come to be seen as a tipping point in global politics, perhaps more consequential than anything since the fall of the Berlin Wall. It may mark the moment when Europe comes face to face with its own constitutional dysfunction, when the idea of the “West” finally ceases to be plausible and when the United States is confirmed in its sense that its interests lie more in Asia than in its traditional Atlantic sphere of influence.

    But the largest consequences will be for Europe — both for the reality and the idea. Britain’s vote will encourage populists elsewhere: Already, Euroskeptics in Sweden, France and the Netherlands have demanded a copycat referendum. Spain’s neo-Marxist far left is expected to win a quarter of the vote in Sunday’s election. Polls suggest that French voters are more skeptical of the E.U. even than British ones, a sentiment that will assist the far-right populist, Marine Le Pen, in next year’s presidential contest. Populist governments are already in power in Greece, Hungary and Poland. The fear that Europe’s cohesion is weakening could reignite economic turmoil in the euro zone. Government bonds in Spain and Italy look riskier now that the continent’s cohesion is in doubt.” – Washington Post

    “Something very different has happened. Defying the warnings of every major economic and political institution in Britain, Europe and the United States, millions of voters across Britain concluded that a gamble on a dangerous unknown was better than staying with a present over which they felt they had lost control. It was a cry of anger and frustration from more than half the country against those who wield power, wealth and privilege, both in their own government and in Brussels, and against global forces in a world that they felt was squeezing them out.” – New York Times editorial

    In light of the massacre of dozens of people at a gay club in Orlando, it’s worth re-visiting the comments of Islamic speaker Fahad Qureshi, who admitted that the desire to see homosexuals killed was a belief held by so-called “moderate” Muslims. –

    “’Cause I don’t have no use
    For what you loosely call the truth” – Tina Turner

    Greenlight a Vet
    Folds of Honor
    Special Operations Warriors Foundation
    Veterans Day – November 11, 2016

  3. Nice piece. You are definitely in the running for Shillary’s press secretary but only if you get a hair cut.

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