No, FBI Director Comey: ‘Reasonable prosecutors’ certainly would bring charges against Hillary Clinton

by WorldTribune Staff, July 6, 2016

FBI Director James Comey’s definition of a “reasonable prosecutor” differs from that of a lot of people, former Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew McCarthy being one of them.

In recommending against prosecuting Hillary Clinton, Comey on July 5 said no “reasonable prosecutor” would bring charges as there was “no intent” to harm the United States.

Intending to let her slide: James Comey and Hillary Clinton. /AFP/Getty Images
Intending to let her slide: James Comey and Hillary Clinton. /AFP/Getty Images

Writing for National Review, McCarthy said: “I was especially unpersuaded by Director Comey’s claim that no reasonable prosecutor would bring a case based on the evidence uncovered by the FBI. To my mind, a reasonable prosecutor would ask: Why did Congress criminalize the mishandling of classified information through gross negligence?

“The answer, obviously, is to prevent harm to national security. So then the reasonable prosecutor asks: Was the statute clearly violated, and if yes, is it likely that Mrs. Clinton’s conduct caused harm to national security? If those two questions are answered in the affirmative, I believe many, if not most, reasonable prosecutors would feel obliged to bring the case.”

McCarthy wrote that “Hillary Clinton checked every box required for a felony violation of Section 793(f) of the federal penal code (Title 18): With lawful access to highly classified information she acted with gross negligence in removing and causing it to be removed it from its proper place of custody, and she transmitted it and caused it to be transmitted to others not authorized to have it, in patent violation of her trust. Director Comey even conceded that former Secretary Clinton was ‘extremely careless’ and strongly suggested that her recklessness very likely led to communications (her own and those she corresponded with) being intercepted by foreign intelligence services.”

But in deciding to give the Democratic presidential candidate a pass, the FBI “rewrote the statute, inserting an intent element that Congress did not require,” McCarthy said. “The added intent element, moreover, makes no sense: The point of having a statute that criminalizes gross negligence is to underscore that government officials have a special obligation to safeguard national defense secrets; when they fail to carry out that obligation due to gross negligence, they are guilty of serious wrongdoing. The lack of intent to harm our country is irrelevant. People never intend the bad things that happen due to gross negligence.”

The FBI, McCarthy continued, “has told the public that because Mrs. Clinton did not have intent to harm the United States we should not prosecute her on a felony that does not require proof of intent to harm the United States. Meanwhile, although there may have been profound harm to national security caused by her grossly negligent mishandling of classified information, we’ve decided she shouldn’t be prosecuted for grossly negligent mishandling of classified information.”