Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey is the talk of the political world at the moment and everyone is trying to figure out exactly what it means and what will come next. One possible outcome that seems to be lost among the speculation about the Trump/Russia investigation and the general parsing of information about Comey’s firing is the possibility that Donald Trump may decide to have his Justice Department indict Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. Seeing as criticism of James Comey’s handling of the investigation featured prominently in the Justice Department memorandum regarding Comey’s performance that led to his firing, according to the New York Times, it’s entirely possibly that a Hillary Clinton indictment in the coming weeks could be part of the political football being played by the Trump administration.
“Over the past year, however, the F.B.l.’s reputation and credibility have suffered substantial damage, and it has affected the entire Department of Justice,” the memo, written by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, reads. “I cannot defend the Director’s handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton’s emails, and I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken. Almost everyone agrees that the Director made serious mistakes; it is one of the few issues that unites people of diverse perspectives.”
Such language suggests that the Trump Justice Department does not consider the Clinton email investigation a done deal. Whether they were only invoking such language to make a strong case for James Comey’s firing or they were laying the groundwork for an indictment against Hillary Clinton and her associates is anyone’s guess and remains to be seen, but it would certainly provide a welcome distraction to Trump’s own troubles regarding the Russia investigation. In fact, Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from participation in the Russia investigation due to contacts he had with the Russian ambassador to the United States, according to the New York Times.
Taking some of the focus off the Russia investigation by means of the obvious distraction that an indictment against Hillary Clinton would provide would not solve all of Donald Trump’s political woes. According to Reason, members of Donald Trump’s own party, including Michigan Representative Justin Amash, Arizona Senator John McCain, and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, have called for a special commission to investigate Trump’s Russia ties. It would certainly not hurt Trump to turn some of that Republican focus from himself to one of the right’s favorite targets, Hillary Clinton.
There is nothing the right wing media would love more than to be able to go after Hillary Clinton again. Former Donald Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone has already tweeted about it, and Sean Hannity brought up the question on his Fox News program on Tuesday.
Donald Trump knows the value of a good distraction and he also understands that much of modern American politics involves putting on a show. With much of the country distracted by a lengthy prosecution of Hillary Clinton and a tug-of-war in coverage between that and Trump’s Russia investigation, impactful policy decisions can be made that are far more important but nevertheless will be ignored by the media who are always going to give preference to juicy political drama over relatively “boring” coverage of actual policy. Whether Donald Trump actually thinks there’s a case for finding Hillary Clinton guilty or not is immaterial. Trump might just go ahead and have Sessions pursue a grand jury indictment for the optics such a political circus would provide. We will just have to wait and see.
[Featured Image by Andrew Toth/Getty Images]