Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Morgan Griffith on Breaches of Security

From U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith, R-VA-9:

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I am heartbroken by ongoing violence in our nation, including recent attacks in Bristol and Dallas. As of this writing, little is known about the attack in Michigan. The perpetrators of these events are ultimately responsible, but we must all look within ourselves, work to rise above tensions, and be reminded that violence is not the answer.
My heart is with those killed or wounded and with their loved ones as I continue praying for peace, comfort, justice, and a greater understanding.
Transparency, Accountability, and Bias: The Case for a Special Prosecutor
Reports revealed that during her tenure as Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013, Hillary Clinton used a personal email account for government business and stored emails on a private server in her home. Clinton later turned over many emails to the State Department for review but revealed that she deleted over 30,000 that she and her lawyers claimed were personal communications.
In March 2015, Representative Trey Gowdy, Chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, formally requested that Clinton turn over her private server in a letter to her lawyer.
In July 2015, this issue was referred to the Department of Justice (DOJ) following evidence that classified information was transmitted through this email server. Clinton then decided to turn over her server to the DOJ in August of that year. The matter was then referred to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to probe whether Clinton and her staff compromised classified information.
At a recent general press meeting and in a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, I joined several other Members of Congress in calling on the Attorney General to appoint a Special Prosecutor to take control of the investigation.
When President Richard Nixon had his secretary erase 18 minutes of a White House recording that was of his making regarding the break-in of the Democrat Headquarters at the Watergate building, a special prosecutor was appointed.
Why not now?!
This is particularly important because of United States Attorney General Lynch’s conduct during the investigation. As the nation’s chief prosecutor, she met privately with former President Bill Clinton, the husband of the target of the investigation, mere days before the FBI announced its recommendation that the DOJ not bring charges against Secretary Clinton.
In my opinion as one trained as a lawyer, this conduct creates an “appearance of impropriety” which is unethical behavior. Therefore, I believe a special prosecutor should be appointed to investigate.
Even if the Lynch/President Clinton meeting was innocuous and their conversation involved “grandchildren, golf, and their respective travels,” borrowing from POLITICO, this shows a clear connection between the subject of the investigation and the arbiter of a decision that is supposed to be independent. If you are close enough with a person that they will board your airplane to discuss families, you are too close to make an independent legal determination on a case in which that person’s family, specifically that person’s spouse, is involved.
My representative when I was growing up was Congressman M. Caldwell Butler. When evidence of an attempted cover up of the Watergate break-in became clear, particularly the erasure of evidence in the form of deleting part of a tape recording, Congressman Butler did not hesitate to do the right thing. He didn’t stop to worry about whether the wrongdoer was a Republican or a Democrat. Instead, he was one of the six Republicans on the Judiciary Committee to split with the Republican party and vote affirmatively to impeach President Nixon on July 27, 1974.
But even before the vote on impeachment, and with circumstances similar to those Secretary Clinton now faces, there were special prosecutors appointed. Secretary Clinton deleted certain emails which may have contained evidence. In Nixon’s case, certain audiotapes were deleted which may have contained evidence.
And for those too young to have lived through the Watergate scandal, tape recording then was as high-tech as emails and servers are today.
The similarities and the ironies in the cases of Nixon and Clinton cannot be overlooked.
Now as was the case then, the American people deserve transparency and accountability, not something that smells of political bias and what appears to be a classic conflict of interest. Additionally, now as was the case then, whether or not the subject of the investigation did something wrong is not a Democrat or a Republican issue.
Only a special prosecutor can make a decision regarding Secretary Clinton’s actions separate from the political and personal conflicts of interest issues.
Investigations must – and will – continue, because there are still lots of unanswered questions. Unfortunately, this is not the first incident that has undermined public trust in our federal government during the current Administration’s tenure. This disturbing lack of transparency and disregard for national security is unacceptable.
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Fellow Americans, do any of you not remember exactly how ironic this story is getting?



Roger Morris remembers future Secretary Clinton as a young law student whose "big break" involved helping prosecute President Nixon. One of those students who think using bad language is "liberated," she stood out in people's memory by threatening to "nail" the Nixon team in an egregiously unladylike hiss...I don't often add book links to other people's contributions to this site, but the irony in this story is too rich for young readers to miss.