WASHINGTON – One of the nation’s top legal minds, former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy, told WND the latest WIkileaks bombshell confirms his belief that Hillary Clinton wasn’t prosecuted for mishandling classified information because President Obama would have been implicated, too.
Wikileaks released an email on Friday from March 4, 2015, sent by Clinton’s eventual presidential campaign manager, John Podesta, to her attorney Cheryl Mills, asking if they should decline to turn over emails between Clinton and President Obama sent over her private server.
Podesta suggested invoking “executive privilege” to withhold the emails just one day after the House Benghazi Committee had told Clinton to provide all her emails.
Podesta’s email read: “Think we should hold emails to and from potus [President of the United States]? That’s the heart of his exec privilege. We could get them to ask for that. They may not care, but I(t) seems like they will.”
Mills did not answer Podesta’s email, but the emails between Obama and Clinton were never turned over to the Benghazi committee. Eighteen such emails were turned over the State Department, which has refused to release them.
McCarthy told WND, “This confirms what I have said all along: President Obama was engaged in the same reckless conduct as then-Secretary Clinton: engaging in exchanges of highly sensitive information — information that is presumptively classified under the president’s own executive order — over a non-secure, non-government system.”
He added, “That is why Huma Abedin was so stunned when she learned about it, asking as anyone with a security clearance would ask: ‘How is that not classified?’”
Obama himself seemed keenly aware of that, because he used a fake name in those emails.
“Abedin knew,” wrote McCarthy, “as the FBI agents who were interviewing her surely knew, that at least some of Obama’s pseudonymous exchanges with Clinton had to have crossed into these categories.”
By “these categories,” McCarthy was referring to Obama’s own executive order — EO 13526, which states: “The unauthorized disclosure of foreign government information is presumed to cause damage to the national security,” which includes such categories as foreign relations, foreign activities of the United States, military plans, and intelligence activities.
Five days after the New York Times disclosed the existence of Clinton’s private email server, Obama told CBS News on March 7, 2015, that he learned about it at “the same time everybody else learned it, through news reports.”
That was not true, because Obama himself had exchanged emails with Clinton on the server. And, as noted, he even used a fake name, for reasons never explained.
The White House later claimed Obama meant to say he did know of the server, just not the details.
It is McCarthy’s contention that the FBI cleared Clinton not because she was innocent, but because the president was also guilty.
“Hillary couldn’t be proven guilty without proving the president guilty as well,” he wrote, adding, “Any possibility of prosecuting Hillary Clinton was tanked by President Obama’s conflict of interest.”
That is why, he asserted, “the Justice Department and the FBI effectively rewrote the relevant criminal statute in order to avoid applying it to Clinton.”
He imagined what would have happened had Clinton been indicted.
“The White House would have attempted to maintain the secrecy of the Obama-Clinton emails (under Obama’s invocation of a bogus ‘presidential communications’ privilege), but Clinton’s defense lawyers would have demanded the disclosure of the emails in order to show that Obama had engaged in the same misconduct, yet only she, not he, was being prosecuted.”
The revelation that Podesta was floating the concept “executive privilege” to withhold emails that could have implicated the president, coupled with the fact that claim was not officially invoked, makes McCarthy’s words from two weeks ago look prescient.
“That is why,” he wrote, “as I argued in February, Obama is trying to get away with the vaporous claim that presidential communications must be kept confidential. He does not want to say ‘executive privilege’ because that sounds too much like Nixon.”
But the keen mind of the former federal prosecutor who obtained convictions of the first World Trade Center bombers and plotters saw even more layers of intrigue in that simple but damning one line email from Podesta disclosed Friday by Wikileaks.
“The new revelations, nevertheless, raise interesting issues,” McCarthy told WND.
“First, the context in which this conversation between John Podesta and Cheryl Mills arose was a subpoena from the House Benghazi Committee, so that raises the question whether there is some Benghazi relevance to the Obama-Clinton email exchanges that caused Podesta to raise the matter with Mills.”
In other words, were they hiding subpoenaed information relevant to a congressional investigation into the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2012, that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens?
“Second,” McCarthy continued, “once again we find Ms. Mills smack in the middle of things — she’s a witness in the investigation, a subject of the investigation, a lawyer to the main subject of the investigation, a key participant in the sorting and destruction of e-mails, a possessor of a private laptop containing classified information, and now an adviser to the White House regarding executive privilege regarding the subject matter of the investigation. Oh, and she asked for and received immunity from prosecution.”
He wrote that he “nearly fell out of my chair” upon learning the Justice Department had allowed Mills to act as an attorney for Clinton at her FBI interview, when Mills herself was a “witness, if not a subject, of the investigation.”
That’s because the Justice Department allowed Mills “to invoke attorney-client privilege on behalf of Mrs. Clinton in order to thwart the FBI’s attempt to inquire into the procedure used to produce Clinton’s emails to the State Department.”
Furthermore, “Mills was a participant in that procedure – and it is the procedure in which, we now know, well over 30,000 emails were attempted to be destroyed, including several thousand that contained government-related business.”
McCarthy further noted that when she worked for Clinton at the State Department, “Mills was not acting in the capacity of a lawyer – not for then-Secretary Clinton and not for the State Department. Moreover, as Clinton’s chief-of-staff, Mills was intimately involved in issues related to Clinton’s private email set up.”
The former prosecutor asserted that “Mills, after leaving the State Department, was barred by ethical rules from acting as Mrs. Clinton’s lawyer in connection with a matter in which the lawyer participated personally and substantially as a public officer or employee.”
He said there was no way Mills should have been permitted to participate as a lawyer in the process of producing Clinton’s emails to the State Department nearly two years after they’d both left.
“I thought it was astonishing that the Justice Department indulged her attorney-client privilege claim, which frustrated the FBI’s ability to question her on a key aspect of the investigation. But it is simply unbelievable to find her turning up at Mrs. Clinton’s interview – participating in the capacity of a lawyer under circumstances where Clinton was being investigated over matters in which Mills participated as a non-lawyer government official.”
He found it inexplicable and astonishing that the Justice Department allowed all of those irregularities in accommodating Mills.