Networks Continue Punting on Hillary’s E-Mails; FNC Exposes Her ‘Storm of Legal Misery’

Despite reports trickling out about the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s e-mail scandal and one about Clinton soon being interviewed by the bureau, the “big three” networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC again saw no reason to keep their viewers abreast of this scandal on Thursday night, with only 16 seconds spent all week on it by the evening newscasts.

In contrast, FNC’s Special Report with Bret Baier devoted one of its two panel segments to the matter with senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano ruling that Clinton can be found “currently at the vortex of a perfect storm of legal misery.”

“I think that Mrs. Clinton is currently at the vortex of a perfect storm of legal misery. Her senior aides from her years as the secretary of state who are still very close to her have been ordered to testify under oath in two Freedom of Information Act requests,” Napolitano opined.

Highlighting how the decisions granting attorneys in the two requests discover powers to interview Clinton aides without a judge “to sustain any objections,” Napolitano added that two judges have also “suggested there is likely evidence of a conspiracy of the office of the secretary of state when she was there to evade and avoid federal law.” 

Setting the scene going forward in the near future, Napolitano explained that perilous times are ahead for Clinton and her confidants:

Add to that, that in the very same week, the same people that are going to be requested in those two Freedom of Information Act cases are being called into the FBI and asked if they want to speak to the FBI. A very dangerous thing for any lawyer to allow his client to do and after that, Mrs. Clinton will be called in. She is damned if she does. She’s damned if she doesn't. 

Washington Post opinion writer Charles Lane offered a slightly different take (but not an outright defense of Clinton by any stretch of the imagination):

Look, the whole thing boils down to the statutes that she might have violated that pertain to the handling of classified information and the limiting factor that I have identified that seems to argue that she would not be indicted is the very strong, Judge, scienter requirement that has to be knowing and willful criminal conduct....I think what they are going to come down with was a report that said she was very negligent. She made a lot of bad decisions. She risked a lot of things she shouldn't have but we couldn't prove this crime beyond a reasonable doubt. 

Lane engaged in a series of back and forths with Napolitano and host Bret Baier before giving way to syndicated columnist and Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer, who exposed Clinton’s “ultimate irony” which was “that the reason she embarked on all of this was to hide her communications from the world, from the Freedom of Information Act, from the Congress that was the point.”

“There is no other point in doing this. It's meant to evade subpoenas, inquiries, congressional committees and now it's all over the — I mean, everything is out there...the word condign was invented for this kind of retribution. This is condign punishment,” Krauthammer stated.

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Offering his prediction on what will happen once the FBI investigation concludes, Krauthammer admitted he foresees a future in which she’s “exposed” and “gets either indicted or there is a criminal referral somehow squashed by the higher ups” but “I can't see her getting away from this with nothing.”

Thus far this week, the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley has been the only evening newscast to invoke Clinton’s e-mail scandal but lasted for only 16 seconds on Tuesday in a Democratic campaign report from correspondent Julianna Goldmand: 

Narrowing the enthusiasm gap is even more difficult with continued questions about Clinton's use of a private e-mail server. Scott, in addition to the ongoing FBI investigation, a federal judge ruled today that Clinton and her top aides could also be questioned in one of the related civil cases.

The relevant portions of the transcript from FNC’s Special Report with Bret Baier on March 31 can be found below.

FNC’s Special Report with Bret Baier
March 31, 2016
6:50 p.m. Eastern

BRET BAIER: The evolution of the answer about email as this investigation continues. We're back with the panel. Judge, you wrote about this today. There were multiple reports, not confirmed yet, that an interview will take place soon with the FBI and possibly, they're coming to the end of this investigation. What do you think? 

JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO: I think that Mrs. Clinton is currently at the vortex of a perfect storm of legal misery. Her senior aides from her years as the secretary of state who are still very close to her have been ordered to testify under oath in two Freedom of Information Act requests. In a discovery context, meaning the ability of the lawyer to ask questions is wide and broad and there’s no judges to sustain any objections, and two federal judges, one of whom appointed by her husband, have both suggested there is likely evidence of a conspiracy of the office of the secretary of state when she was there to evade and avoid federal law. Add to that, that in the very same week, the same people that are going to be requested in those two Freedom of Information Act cases are being called into the FBI and asked if they want to speak to the FBI. A very dangerous thing for any lawyer to allow his client to do and after that, Mrs. Clinton will be called in. She is damned if she does. She’s damned if she doesn't. If she goes in there, they will catch her in materialness of representations because she has been making them for a year on this. If she doesn't go in there, she will defy her statement. I can't wait to talk to the FBI, which, of course, they disbelieve because nobody wants to talks to the FBI when you’re the subject of one of their criminal investigations. 

BAIER: Chuck, I'm in the political insiders here. The conventional wisdom is that it's just never going to happen. They are never going to indict her, but there is some doubt whether the FBI most forward with the recommendation. 

CHARLES LANE: Look, the whole thing boils down to the statutes that she might have violated that pertain to the handling of classified information and the limiting factor that I have identified that seems to argue that she would not be indicted is the very strong, Judge, Scienter requirement that has to be knowing and willful criminal conduct. They have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt whatever she did wrong she did knowingly and willfully.

BAIER: Well, that one email where she says take the headings off. 

LANE: That does not involve — that does not involve the other elements of these offenses. Just let me finish the point here and they have prosecutorial discretion. The big difference here between Petraeus and Hillary was when Petraeus was in the perjury trap, he lied to the FBI which triggered the whole thing. She’s — you’re right, she’s at risk in this perjury trap. That could lead to derivative charge, but if it only focuses on just the business about the server, I think what they are going to come down with was a report that said she was very negligent. She made a lot of bad decisions. She risked a lot of things she shouldn't have but we couldn't prove this crime beyond a reasonable doubt. 

NAPOLITANO: This is a rare criminal statute which this is good or bad is another subject where the — a person could be prosecuted for gross negligence. The government doesn't have to show intent because it’s espionage.

LANE: Knowing and willful. Says right there in the statement.

NAPOLITANO: Can be proven by negligent in this particular statute. 

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: The ultimate irony is that the reason she embarked on all of this was to hide her communications from the world, from the Freedom of Information Act, from the Congress that was the point. There is no other point in doing this. It's meant to evade subpoenas, inquiries, congressional committees and now it's all over the — I mean, everything is out there. We know that 22 of these were extremely highly secret and it's, look, it's a perfect — the word condign was invented for this kind of retribution. This is condign punishment. You want to hide your official acts in the way that nobody else has and nobody else would try to. You will be exposed. I think she gets either indicted or there is a criminal referral somehow squashed by the higher ups. I can't see her getting away from this with nothing. 

BAIER: State Department has redacted and declared 2,101 working emails classified at this point, at least at the confidential level. 44 classified as secret. 22 as you mentioned classified as top secret. The two people involved in this most now are the FBI Director Jim Comey, and the Attorney General Loretta Lynch and when we talked to her she said this is going a pace. She would not answer whether she’s the ultimate decider but I assume she is. 

NAPOLITANO: It would be highly unusual for Jim Comey to conduct the interrogation himself but I wouldn't put it past him because is he a detail-oriented guy who has been receiving daily reports on this since they started the investigation a year ago. 

BAIER: That is it for the panel but not the topic. I'm sure we will be back here. 


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