That judgment thing again.
This time not about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (directly) but about her husband Bill and Obama administration Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
Bill and Loretta met at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix this week. Ms. Lynch is claiming it was purely social — passing each other in the airport I guess — but it raises questions since Ms. Lynch is the one who decides whether Hillary will be prosecuted for mishandling government information in the ongoing email scandal.
After being grilled by the press, Ms. Lynch concedes she would “not do it again”.
Even if there was nothing untoward, like how bout’ going easy on Hillary, it’s the appearance of undo influence.
And I would not put it past Slick Willy to have purposely let the reports of the meeting out. Like, oh, whoops, we just happened to bump into each other. I mean if he had tried to keep it secret then of course we would know that an attempt at influence took place. But if it can be portrayed as just a happenstance thing and maybe a minor slip of judgment, it looks more innocent and forgivable.
And I am not coming down on either Bill or Loretta or at least I am not making a judgment on what really took place. Well, actually, even if Bill said nothing whatsoever about the email investigation, just the fact that he personally exchanges pleasantries with the woman who decides about the prosecution could be seen as an attempt at influence.
And isn’t it ironic that GOP presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump was criticized for threatening the independence of the judiciary by criticizing a judge in a case against him? Of course Trump also added the race element. And by the way, he should have been criticized, Trump that is.
People in public life should not just follow the letter of the law, they should go out of their way to not even show an appearance of impropriety.
And there’s that governor in Virginia (his name escapes my mind and I am in a hurry here) who was saved by a Supreme Court decision in the past few days that held one has to actually clearly have a quid pro quo situation before being convicted on influence or bribery charges. I would have to read the full opinion, but I think I might agree with it. But even so I think people with good judgment should not accept the gifts or whatever just so as not to even have an appearance of wrongdoing.
But it seems part of being in politics is sucking up the gifts.
But that is what we get for having a professional politician class instead of having people doing the work as public service.
Oh, and Ms. Lynch says she will accept whatever the recommendations of staff are on how to proceed. Sounds weak. Why not have an independent prosecutor decide? But I understand this is a political thing all the way around on both Democratic and GOP sides. There may be more smoke than fire on actual wrongdoing. And how do you separate the politics and law and public policy here?