Is Hillary Clinton going to jail for having email? The world — and last night’s debate moderators — want to know!
The short answer is: probably not.
Unless one of her emails contains a confession for actually killing Vince Foster. Which seems unlikely, since Hillary has a law degree from Yale and I think the first thing they teach you there is, “Don’t write incriminating shit down.”
Here’s the deal. Hillary, for reasons that are a little unclear, decided to use a personal server based out of her home in New York state for her email when she was Secretary of State. This was something that previous Secretaries of State did as well, so it probably didn’t seem like a big deal at the time.
Then she went on to do Secretary of State stuff, like emailing staff to ask how to work her iPad and what the status of a gefilte fish crisis in Israel was. She probably also dealt with really important stuff, like working with the President to order the assassination of Osama bin Laden, but that probably goes back to the “don’t write incriminating shit down” category.
The paper trail for some stuff is going to be awfully hard to find, because at certain levels of government, I suspect not much gets put on paper. Because security.
Anyway, at some point, someone found out that Hillary hadn’t turned over her emails for standard record-keeping as quickly as she was supposed to. When that happened, the feds were like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa! We’re supposed to archive all your email! Give us that server!” And Hillary was like, “Here you go!” At which point, the feds got busy reading all her email and releasing batches of it in stages.
So far, the email review people have discovered about 2,100 emails that can’t be released because they decided that they’re classified. This is important: They are classified NOW. At the time the emails were written, they were not considered classified. As such, they did not require special handling as they were being sent.
Was it a good idea to have them on non-State Department servers? Debatable. Was it criminal to do so? Well, that’s unclear. The FBI is looking into that as we speak. Based on the scant reports the FBI is willing to put out, they’re making sure the server was secure and the emails were not mishandled.
OK — you’re thinking, but why was a Clinton aide given immunity by the FBI for cooperating?
The aide in question is apparently the guy who set up the server and is giving the FBI information about it. But tell me this: If you were the IT guy who worked for a lady named Clinton on the server that the entire anti-Clinton universe is trying to say contains the crime of the century, would you walk into an FBI interview without asking for protection?
No, you would not — your lawyer would tell you to ask for immunity from future prosecution because 1) You didn’t do anything wrong and 2) People get crazy-pants about Hillary and start prosecuting shit that shouldn’t be prosecuted, and you don’t want to be part of that mess — no way, no how.
In summary, Hillary is not being investigated for criminal wrong-doing. Her email is being read and released because that’s standard procedure for Cabinet level communications once the Secretary has left office. Her server is being investigated to make sure it’s as secure as she said it was. Her IT guy is NOT being investigated, he’s helping the FBI with the server stuff. And the Justice Department has not convened a grand jury or subpoenaed any people or documents that would indicate a pending indictment.
Where Hillary goes next is still in doubt — she hasn’t even been nominated as her party’s candidate, so who knows if she’s headed to the White House? But it’s highly unlikely she’s headed to jail.