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Comey's Clinton decision ignites partisan fireworks

Cheney Free Press of Cheney, Washington

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In Our Opinion

Thanks to FBI director James Comey's press conference July 5, there were plenty of post-Independence Day fireworks.

His nearly 15 minutes of live, nationally broadcast findings of a many-month investigation into how the likely Democratic candidate for president, Hillary Clinton, handled sensitive emails while she served as Secretary of State, danced along the ledge of guilt.

Then came the conclusion where Comey announced that his agency thought Clinton's conduct — while described in such terms as, "extremely careless" — determined that "no reasonable prosecutor" would bring a case based on the evidence uncovered by the FBI.

The emotions ranged from both shock to elation, depending in which camp you reside.

The arguments that followed were also far and wide in parsing the decision, and how it related to federal penal code 18.793(f) that deals with how those in high places handle classified information.

The decision immediately brought out comparisons to O.J. Simpson in the so-called "trial of the century" in which a 1995 verdict exhonnerated him in the 1994 deaths of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and a friend, Ronald Goldman.

"She (Clinton) may have gotten off, but everyone knows what she did was wrong," opined Boston Globe columnist, Eric Fehrnstrom. And a Washington Post-ABC News poll released July 11 appears to concur as 56 percent of respondents disapprove of Comey's recommendation against charging Clinton while 35 percent approve.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch's serendipitous meeting on the tarmac at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix with former president Bill Clinton, prior to Comey's decision, further clouded the optics. Lynch even admitted later it was not a good move. Nonetheless, it made many Americans smell something fishy.

Perhaps in retrospect, Comey might have cut his press conference to five minutes and simply told the American public what the FBI discovered and it is being sent up the chain to the Justice Department for further review.

Besides confusion, there emerged from the briefing the appearance of a double standard. People with power, and/or money always find a "Get of of jail free" card in today's real life game of "Monopoly."

The average Joe, on the other hand, may very well land behind bars with a lengthy — and expensive — legal path to freedom.

Clinton is not at all alone of course in shady dealings. Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, also carries his share of baggage, and he too has legions of lawyers at the ready.

In every big election in recent memory, it seems, we often say that our ballot is a choice between the lesser of two evils. And 2016 may have set the bar at a record low.

An aide to Trump critic, Republican Sen. Ben Sasse from Nebraska, wrote, "That our country is in a bad place and, with these two candidates, this election remains a dumpster fire."

But find someone on this planet that is safe within the proverbial glass house and needs not to fear incoming stones.

That may be why there is hesitation from the masses to run for public office where the higher the profile, the bigger the potential dirt pile and larger the shovel is used to dig.

Those of us on the outside looking in do so through frosted glass that maybe fails to reveal the full picture. Or at least a fair one.

There was, on one hand, the camp that presumed Clinton was going to get off. And then the other side, where guilty was the only possible verdict. Both views were crafted from the information each side chose to consume.

Now that the matter has pretty much been decided at the legal level, outside of the new investigation initiated by the State Department itself, the ultimate decision of Clinton's guilt or innocence convenes Nov. 8 in the court of public opinion at the ballot box.

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Original Publication Date: July 14, 2016

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