On July 5, FBI director James B. Comey officially stated that he does not recommend prosecution of Hillary Clinton after discovering classified emails sent on a private server during her time as Secretary of State.
Given the proximity of this decision to the 2016 presidential election, Clinton adversaries have been quick to claim that the democratic candidate is getting off easy. However, a thoughtful analysis of the situation proves justice has been employed properly.
Before the most recent release of emails, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange claimed he had enough evidence to indict Clinton for her use of private servers, according to Britain’s ITV. He went on to predict that Attorney General Loretta Lynch would never indict Clinton because of their democratic connection.
After the 1,258 emails were released and Comey publicly discouraged prosecution, many Republicans began sharing attitudes and opinions similar to those of Assange.
Since Comey’s statement, Donald Trump posted a series of tweets calling Clinton “Crooked Hillary,” and describing the political system as “rigged.”
Judge Jeanine Pirro agreed on Fox News’s "Hannity" on July 5, stating Comey’s statement “destroyed the reputation” of the FBI.
In his July 5 statement, however, Comey outlined legitimate reason for his decision, proving his declaration was the result of careful thought and investigation, rather than biased political preference.
Comey explained that Clinton’s actions were not deserving of criminal charges because they were not intentionally malicious. After an extensive series of interviews, technical examinations of the emails and servers, and investigating the possibility of unknown participants, Comey found no reason to believe Clinton did anything explicitly illegal, representative of “intentional misconduct” or in line with “efforts to obstruct justice."
And in America, defendants are innocent until proven guilty.
For now, Clinton is rightfully escaping prosecution because Comey and his team have not found legitimate reason to act otherwise.
Not all Republicans disagree with Comey. Rep. Chris Collins of New York, the first member of Congress to back Trump, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on July 5 that he sides with Comey in this debate. Collins agreed Clinton’s actions, while extremely careless, were not intentional.
This is not to say Clinton's road is free from trouble. The significant addition of hurdles lining the road to election day on November 8 further disproves any claim that Clinton got off easy.
While Comey did not recommend prosecution in his statement, he harshly reprimanded Clinton, saying she and her colleagues were “extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”
After such a strong statement from the director of the FBI, Clinton may struggle to regain Americans’ trust before the election.
The history of associating “lying” with the Clinton name will not help Hillary’s cause either. The release of these secret emails forces Clinton to address even more questions about truth and loyalty during the coming months.
Accusations that the system is “rigged” or that Clinton’s inside connections are helping her out of this ditch are simply illegitimate. Even without juggling an official prosecution, Clinton will continue to run a campaign that is anything but easy. The obstacles added by the release of recent information could prove punishment enough for Clinton.