The Clintons aren’t the only ones who give speeches. I do, too. The only difference is that my going rate, in case you’re interested, ranges from a pittance to nothing. So I feel no obligation to flatter those in the audience.
That would include attorney groups, bar-association functions and the like. I particularly enjoy sticking it to lawyers, because so many of them are so … what’s the word … arrogant. I can always get a rise out of them when I suggest that, when it comes to charges against elected officials, the public’s right to know takes precedence over a successful prosecution. By that, I mean that when the authorities have evidence of wrongdoing by politicians who are in office or campaigning for one, we need to know about it, as voters, even if it jeopardizes the case.
I have to admit there is a serious flaw in my point of view: The question I have trouble with is which law-enforcement official decides what information is important enough to release. Forgetting for the moment those who have malicious or partisan motives, what are the standards for the honorable ones? What’s too unproven or too frivolous to see the light of day? What’s so incomplete that it unfairly tars the candidate if it gets out?
That was the dilemma that James Comey, the FBI director, says he faced. He’d been under siege from Republicans ever since July, when he announced that the bureau had concluded there was not sufficient reason to indict Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified information on her secret email server. But now, as we all know, he’s disclosed that there is new evidence that might be relevant. He claims not to know whether it is or even what it is — so it begs the question: Why did he go public to announce so little, particularly when he breaks the cardinal rule for federal investigators that they avoid doing so when it’s close to Election Day.
Sure enough, he has brought Hillary Clinton’s march to the White House to a screeching halt. What’s particularly damaging to Clinton is that it involves Anthony Weiner. Weiner, as we all know, is widely considered to be one of America’s scumbags. The compulsion for ex-congressman and former New York City mayoral candidate Weiner apparently is sexting. Not only that, but he stands accused of indulging his cyber exhibitionism with a 15-year-old.
I don’t need to remind you that his estranged wife is Huma Abedin. Huma and Hillary have been joined at the hip for decades. Apparently, while the feds were looking into Anthony Weiner’s alleged escapades with a minor, they happened across a bunch of Huma Abedin’s emails in his computer.
Were they to or from Hillary? We don’t know, and Comey says he doesn’t either. Did they involve classified material? We don’t know, and Comey says he doesn’t either. The Clinton campaign is furious. Hillary’s people are demanding that everything be made public immediately. So are many Republicans. Of course, they have opposite reasons.
I wrote earlier about the public’s right to know. In this case, we don’t know what we know. Potentially, it could sink the nation. It’s a development that leaves one speechless.
© 2016 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Synd.