Rodney Dangerfield liked to tell a story about his wife taking the family car out on a shopping trip. When she emerged from the store with her purchases, she saw a thief driving the vehicle right out of the lot.
“Did you get a good look at him?” Rodney asked.
“No,” she replied. “But I did get the license plate number!”
This classic gag is making me laugh — and gag — again as I survey the House Republicans in their glee over the news that the Justice Department — they heard from a guy who knows a guy — is reopening the investigation over Hillary Clinton’s emails. And over the Clinton Foundation… and over the James Comey exoneration… and over the Loretta Lynch golf junket with Bill Clinton in Phoenix… and over the different Strzok texts… and over the missing texts… and on and on.
Fellas, at the risk of sounding condescending, may I point out that the investigations are the problem, not the solution? You cannot investigate the Clinton cover-up when the investigation itself is the means of the cover-up. This may strike some as a Juvenal question, but quis custodiet ipsos custodes? That used to mean “who will guard the guardians?” but now it means “who will investigate the investigators?”
When the investigators become the instigators and show a vested interest, it is time to alter the mode of inquest commonly applied to such matters. Part of draining the swamp is subtracting the adders. When the cops are copping an attitude, when their motto is “find and ye shall look,” when the jury is rigged, when the counts are discounted, the system becomes too corrupt to fix itself. This is the true scandal. Tonight on TV: “THE FBI meets THE SWAMP!” Look, ever since Watergate, the club of Washington scandals has been a Gated community, Contragate, Irangate, Whitewatergate, et al. If this burgeoning scandal is to be entitled, it can only be called “Investi-gate”!
As for Hillary Clinton herself, she loves investigations. She has learned from long experience that investigations are where accusations go to die. Or at least investigations of Democrats. After all, what charges has Lois Lerner faced for her crimes? Eric Holder for Fast and Furious? Jonathan Gruber for Obamacare? Ben Rhodes for the Iran deal? The trick is to quiet the questions because the investigation is ongoing, then prolong the investigation until the story evaporates, dying of old age and natural causes.
Especially Congressional investigations are susceptible to such stalls. Members of Congress are not known for keeping long hours or bringing high energy into their tasks. As Dangerfield once quipped about his partner: “He’s a workaholic. When he hears “work” he gets drunk!”
Restart the investigation? That is like giving Hillary parole before she is sentenced, turning the glare of the spotlight into a yawn.
The only solution that makes any sense is to indict first, ask questions later. Think it through. We have already “discovered” the Comey memo in its first draft used language to describe Hillary Clinton’s email escapades which placed them firmly within the statute. Then they committed statutory rape and used a euphemism to “exonerate” her. So why not take the evidence Comey had in hand at that time and present it to a Grand Jury? Read them the legal definition, show them that the head of the FBI used that very language, then ask them to indict. And please choose a venue other than Washington, D.C., where Hillary received 96 percent of the vote. The facts being what they are and the law being what it is, the Grand Jury will certainly return an indictment.
Once that indictment is firmly in hand, further investigations of all stripes may merrily continue. Instead of sending the message that we are still short of evidence, we send the opposite message: we got plenty already and more is piling in every day. The Mueller investigation will become a sideshow by comparison, with Hillary under a criminal indictment using hard evidence gathered by Obama’s FBI. And once the dam is broken, so much more information will emerge in a steady flow.
By starting in this way, a foundation is laid to move in all sorts of directions. More charges can be added in fresh indictments before the first ones go to trial. More witnesses will talk. More documents and computers can be subpoenaed. The leverage tips in favor of the good guys in the Justice Department. The media will howl, but they have significantly shorter and duller fangs than before, and lovers of truth and justice have grown thicker skin over the past year as well.
And finally Republicans are learning how to investigate people without being seen as the bad guys themselves. It used to be, as Dangerfield joked: “I’m so ugly that when I open the door to trick-or-treaters, they give me candy!” Try it my way, guys, it will be like taking candy from a baby….