In more of the Clinton e-mail scandal, Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal told MSNBC that top Clinton aide Huma Abedin should undergo special prosecution.
The comments came shortly after FBI Director James Comey testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that Abedin had forward thousands of e-mails to then-husband Anthony Weiner. The communications were discovered when the FBI was investigating Weiner’s laptop in regards to an investigation of inappropriate communications between the former congressman and an underage girl. Comey’s comments Wednesday to the Senate Committee revealed that the investigation concluded the e-mails were sent with no criminal intent.
“Somehow, her emails were being forwarded to Anthony Weiner, including classified information.” Comey explained, “His then-spouse, Huma Abedin, appears to have had a regular practice of forwarding emails to him for him to print out for her, so she could deliver them to the secretary of state.”
Allegedly, Clinton preferred to read communications on hard copy rather than soft. So, the simple task of pushing “print,” on thousands of e-mails would have been time-consuming. In Abedin’s mind, they fell to the realm of spousal obligation. Fair enough, but based on the sheer content of the material, she should have been more careful. But, in the interest of national security, it’s not exactly a slap-on-the-hand offense. When asked whether Weiner had actually read the documents, Comey’s face expressed he clearly did not know.
“I don’t think so,” he stumbled. He added that because the disgraced politician is under investigation regarding other issues, the FBI has not been able to interview him regarding this matter. “My understanding is that his role was to print them out as a matter of convenience,” Comey said.
Although he had said in earlier testimony, he was unaware that Weiner had any sort of clearance at the time. He admitted that it would be “illegal if he did not have security clearance.”
However, in Wednesday’s hearing, his answer as to whether this was a crime was a noncommittal, “potentially.” He added that all factors would have to be taken into consideration. He also said that Abedin was not prosecuted for her role in handling the e-mails because they couldn’t prove criminal intent.
“With respect with Ms. Abedin in particular, we didn’t have any indication that she had any sense that what she was doing was in violation of the law. We couldn’t prove any intent. That was our burden, and we didn’t meet it,” Comey said.
Notwithstanding that Abedin knew the contents of the e-mails, and knew she was forwarding them to a non-secure computer, at the least. Further, the embattled former Congressman known for sending pornographic photos would likely have a computer teeming with spyware. Yet, neither Abedin nor Clinton, for that matter, were charged. Federal law, however, is very clear about the negligence of classified information and does not require proof of intent.
“(f) Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense,
(1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, or
(2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer—Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.” (US Code 793, Gathering Transmitting or Losing Defense Information).”
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), doesn’t agree with Comey’s slippery fish explanation. He has quite clear opinions and expressed them on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Thursday.
“If there was classified information and it was improperly passed to a person unauthorized to receive it, yes, naturally it’s a crime,” Blumenthal said. “Without knowing what the intentions were and so forth, there is potentially a prosecutable crime.”
He called for a special prosecution to investigate the matter. “The question of whether it should have been prosecuted, and it still may be, potentially, it’s not outside the statute of limitations, so far as I know. It’s one that the Department of Justice is going to have to decide.The question is: who will decide it? That’s why we need a special prosecutor to review all of this investigative material.”
Comey has been questioned as to why he chose virtually the eve of the election to reveal the information. He explained he had two choices–speak or conceal. If he spoke, “it would be really bad,” he said. But, if he chose to conceal, “It would be catastrophic.” He chose “really bad,” over “catastrophic.”
“This was terrible. It makes me mildly nauseous to think we might’ve had some impact on the election. But honestly, it wouldn’t change the decision. This has been one of the world’s most painful experiences. I would make the same decision. I would not conceal that on October 28th from the Congress,” said Comey.
Abedin wouldn’t respond to media inquiries. But, then again, the public’s patience with the Clinton e-mail scandal, and the Weiner family for that matter has waned. Whether the public can handle another probe into what really happened in regards to last fall’s presidential election, is dubious. Whether the truth will ever really come out, is further doubtful.