Bill has reportedly become a vegan, but Hillary is still very much the carnivore. We know her 2016 presidential campaign began the day after she lost the 2008 nomination to Obama. And we know that it’s being conducted by the same crew, using the same methods, that Bill’s campaigns and presidency were two decades ago. It’s not that the Clintons are back: they never really left.
Those methods would qualify the Clinton Family Enterprise as a mafia family if its heritage were Sicilian.
The Clinton Mafiosi playbook has many chapters, and the cover-up is a longstanding favorite. A few historical reminders are necessary for those who didn’t live through them.
After about two years of searches and subpoenas, the Rose Law Firm’s billing records — which showed Hillary’s service to the Clintons’ business partner in Whitewater — were finally discovered in 1996. In the White House, not the law firm. The records that were discovered showed that Hillary’s advice to James McDougal and his corrupt savings and loan was limited to about sixty hours, which wasn’t enough time to do anything bad. Further proof that there was nothing to hide came when McDougal’s wife Susan refused to testify under immunity against the Clintons in the Whitewater scandal and went to jail for contempt.
By then, the Travelgate scandal wasn’t over. The head of the White House travel office — which arranged travel for reporters accompanying the president — was targeted for replacement by the Thomasons, Clinton cronies and fundraisers. But they couldn’t just fire Billy Ray Dale and replace him because the cronyism would be so blatant. Instead, Dale was indicted on a host of trumped up charges. He was defended by one of my law partners and — to the surprise of many at the time — a lot of the documents that could have helped Dale’s defense were never released by the White House. Dale was acquitted nevertheless. A congressional investigation of the Travelgate affair was stonewalled by the White House in an effort led by Bill and Hill.
Then came the incident in which Clinton’s former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger pilfered classified documents from the National Archives, a crime that cost him a $50,000 fine and his law license. The documents — which allegedly revealed a lot about how Clinton’s ineptitude led to the rise of al-Qaeda — were never found.
And then there was Bill, telling us he’d never had sex with Monica and the debate about what the meaning of “is” was at a particular moment.
To the Clinton mafia, it’s only business. Document destruction? Cover-ups? It’s like Tessio told Tom Hagan when the Godfather’s men took him away to kill him. It’s nothing personal. They always liked us.
And now Hillary is old, facing her last chance to be president. We have what should be a blockbuster report by Sharyl Attkisson, the reporter who was fired by CBS for actually committing acts of journalism in pursuit of the truth on Benghazi. According to Attkisson’s report, Ray Maxwell, at the time a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, found out about an after-hours gathering of State Department functionaries — i.e., Hillary Clinton loyalists —and decided to check it out on a Sunday afternoon.
When he showed up, Maxwell reportedly was told that the effort was to sort through documents to be disclosed to the Benghazi “Accountability Review Board” to prevent disclosure of anything that could be damaging to “the Seventh Floor,” meaning Hillary and her immediate staff. (The ARB never interviewed Clinton over her involvement in Benghazi.) The document burial party was carried out under the direction of Cheryl Mills (Clinton’s chief of staff and formerly a White House lawyer defending against Bill’s impeachment) and Clinton’s deputy chief of staff Jake Sullivan (who had worked on Hillary’s presidential campaign), both of whom were present.
Naturally, after seeing only the non-damaging documents and without interviewing Hillary — far less taking her deposition under oath — the ARB found no evidence of malfeasance by Clinton.
(Maxwell was one of only four State Department employees disciplined in the aftermath of the ARB’s “investigation.” He apparently told Congress about all this a year ago.)
If you believed Republicans were serious in pursuing their own investigation — not to mention were they interested in having a political impact — you would conclude immediately that the Select Committee on Benghazi, chaired by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), would have subpoenaed Maxwell and obtained his sworn testimony about the document sorting cabal in the first hearing it held, which occurred last week. They could have subpoenaed the State Department records of who entered Foggy Bottom that Sunday to reveal who attended the meeting of the cover-up committee. None of which, of course, they did.
Since the failure to convict Bill on his impeachment, Republicans haven’t been able to bring themselves to confront anything. They can’t light a political fire even when the logs are laid, the kindling soaked with gasoline, and they’re handed a box of matches.
Hillary Clinton’s responsibility for the events that led up to the deaths of four Americans in the Benghazi attacks, especially her powerful role in creating Obama’s foreign policy and the massive cover-up of Benghazi that followed, will never be revealed if the Select Committee operations continue down this path. Republicans are too timorous on those issues.
They’ve apparently decided on fear as an excuse because American voters never elect presidents or members of Congress on war issues. That’s true, except when a war is going on that touches all of our society. But we’re not at war: only our military and the small segment of society made up of military families are at war. Republicans will douse the flames consuming Obama’s foreign policy because that cliché is a truism.
Many of us harbor the forlorn hope that, despite what history teaches us, that won’t be the case in 2016 because Obama has led the world into chaos. But it will be the case, no matter how hard we wish otherwise unless, heaven forbid, we are dragged into an existential war.
But that is not to say that a lot of political energy shouldn’t be spent on the malfeasance and ineptitude of the Obama presidency and Hillary’s role as Obama’s top foreign policy adviser. She is already being billed as the Dems’ top expert on foreign policy and defense, her credentials not only unchallenged in the media but unquestioned. It will only be by comparison to other candidates — first in the Democratic primaries, in which she will be challenged, and later in competition with the Republican candidate — that her incompetence can be revealed.
Which brings us back to the Gowdy Select Committee. It may have been too afraid of the media’s reaction to be willing to risk striking out in its first hearing by questioning Maxwell. It may be that Gowdy isn’t ready because his staff is assembling the document trail necessary to question the major players — Hillary, former defense secretary Leon Panetta. and former CIA director David Petraeus — in depositions and testimony under oath. They will have to interview Obama under oath as well. It may be that those events won’t happen until next year.
Just as in Watergate, Travelgate, and Sandy Berger’s theft from the National Archive, there’s an important story in the events leading up to and after the Benghazi attacks. Whatever it is, Gowdy’s select committee needs to reveal all of it, including what happened in the Benghazi cover-up party that Sunday in Foggy Bottom. Whatever that story turns out to be, Americans need to know all of it before the primary season decides the 2016 Democratic nomination. It should be more than enough to ensure Hillary would never be president. Should be, but not necessarily will be.