By Stephen Owsinski:
I understand getting along with those who disagree, such as reconciliation between President-elect Donald Trump and Paul Ryan, but when a bold-faced culprit (Hillary Clinton) is in the crosshairs, you do not put down the rifle after loading, posturing, and simply…walk away. In effect, that is what Trump did Tuesday morning with the announcement that he now wishes to help Hillary “heal,” a far-cry from his previously oft-stated mantra “Lock her up!” Instead, he got sweet.
So, did The Donald have too much sugar in his coffee before changing his tone? Did someone appeal to his sympathetic senses? Did he forget campaign vows to his constituents that, if elected president, he’d see to it that Hillary is jailed? It is stymieing, for sure.
The message is tantamount to Teflon-coated untouchables getting away with atrocities, again and again, with impunity. We were on our way (thank you, Trey Gowdy) to the Teflon-resistant sticky parts. Indictments seemed in the bag. The apathy some folks have for the political system is cemented by flip-flops such as this. I’ll do this and that, then the about-face, emulsifying skepticism and distrust of politicos.
The reverse-course reeks of preferential treatment, one of the very aspects Trump lobbied against. Openly lambasting cronyism in Washington was another diatribe Trump spewed on the trail. Calling someone a liar, cheater and a crook via national television is not something you merely walk back, especially not as a newly-elected leader of a nation scarred by the glaringly preventable losses in Benghazi. As Secretary of State, Clinton was commanding and sunk that vessel.
I support Trump’s seeming grace and humility with respect to the contentious and brow-beating campaign both he and Clinton portrayed. However, no reconciliations are applicable in the face of gross behavior and lives lost to negligence and utter disregard to calls for help. “We were left behind” is a quote spoken by the Americans who repelled and survived the Benghazi. Those four words are resoundingly implicit and explicit in that State department protocols failed because they were never implemented. All this circles-back to the fervent constructs (or reconstructs) of the Select Committee on Benghazi, chaired by Trey Gowdy.
So, although Donald Trump is okay with snipping the hook, line and sinker, Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy is not. He has been unrelenting in his pursuit of the truth regarding the Benghazi massacre, analyzing reams of Clinton emails from which he has been connecting the dots. Continuance of that line of thinking is crucial to officially recording that sad chapter in American history.
Inasmuch as Gowdy can proceed with surfacing the truth via the Benghazi Committee, will Department of Justice officials reinvigorate its investigation of HRC? Both entities have Constitutional authority to see it through, with DoJ harnessing the law enforcement authority to aggregate facts in a criminal information affidavit. In one of the presidential debates, Trump bellowed “But if I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation…because there has never been so many lies and so much deception. There has never been anything like it and we’re going to have a special prosecutor.” I remember that like it were yesterday. Today, however, those words are filleted.
Questions remain: will President-elect Trump place obstacles in the way of his Attorney General and Department of Justice’s (DoJ), in attempts to hinder investigation of Clinton? Will the FBI exercise its conventional authority, unimpeded by political pressure or interference, and rebuff any White House interventions?
This very issue came up Tuesday at a pow-wow of sorts between Donald Trump and the publisher of The New York Times (who Trump accused of being “rough” on him). Trump’s stance on Clinton arose.
According to The New York Times, Trump stated “I want to move forward. I don’t want to move back. I don’t want to hurt the Clintons, I really don’t.” Naturally, our criminal justice constructs do not in any way implore hurting those who violate laws, but we do press forward to seek truth and secure justice, especially on behalf of victims whose loved ones deserve and expect closure. It is indictment before commutation, not the other way around. And the integrity of the justice process relies on it being applied equally, despite one’s status. I can only imagine the pained expressions (re-victimization) on the faces of the families of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Information Officer Sean Smith, and CIA Operators Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods.
On November 22, 2016, the same day Trump confounded constituents, President Obama once again granted clemency, this time releasing a batch of 79 prisoners. Since October 2016, that brings the total to a whopping 351 inmates. Throughout his entire tenure as president, Obama has liberated 1,023 federal prisoners, 342 whose commutations were life sentences. At this rate, there will be no argument for overcrowding…so let’s get the ball back in play and prep a bunk for (ahem) you know who!
Intriguingly, Obama has reign to pardon Clinton from any issues—real or perceived—before he departs the White House for good. Jesse Jackson and other Democrats have already called upon Obama to absolve Clinton of all allegations. White House counsel made claims that Obama has no intention of relenting in the quest for commutations, with about 6300 more cases before his presidency concludes. Will it be 6301? Precedent was set in September 1974 when Gerald Ford effectively ordered a pre-indictment pardon of Richard Nixon for any criminal misdeeds he “committed or may have committed or taken part in.“
Nixon expressed sorrow for his role in the Watergate scandal, whereas Hillary Clinton exclaimed “What difference, at this point, does it make?” pertaining to the Benghazi debacle. Well, then!
Did such a circumstance arise during the recent sit-down between Obama and Trump? It’s not as if Trump is currently privileged in any official capacity to thrust forward with any pertinence to Clinton’s woes. Thus, will yet another turnabout transpire sometime after the Inauguration? Will justice finally be served? Or will Obama mimic for Hillary Clinton what President Ford did for Nixon?
In any event, to see this through to the end, I believe Trey Gowdy is the trump card.
Stephen Owsinski is an OpsLens Contributor and retired law enforcement officer whose career included assignments in the Uniformed Patrol Division and Field Training Officer (FTO) unit. He is currently a researcher and writer.