1. Lavelle: Hello and welcome to CrossTalk, where all Things are considered. I’m Peter Lavelle. Hillary Clinton and her never ending scandals, the FBI’s Decision to continue it’s Investigation into her use of e-mails presents a troubling prospect of a protracted political Crisis. Is winning the Election now the least of her Problems?
To CrossTalk, Hillary Clinton’s e-mails. I’m joined by my guest Mark Crispin Miller in New York. He is a professor of Media Culture and Communication at New York University as well as author of Fooled Again: The Real Case for Electoral Reform. Also in New York, we have Don DeBar, he’s an anti-War activist and host of a daily Radio programme. In Washington, we cross to Bruce Fein, he is a Constitutional lawyer and a former Associate Deputy Attorney General under President Ronald Reagan.
All right gentlemen, CrossTalk rule is in effect, that means you can jump in anytime you want and I very much appreciate it. I must say gentlemen, there’s so much to discuss here, there’s so many different odds and ends coming into play and a lot of different Decisions have been made and we know about the commentary, what the head of the FBI, James Comey when his Decision to continue with this Investigation. I’d like to start very broadly with Bruce, given your Knowledge of Constitutional Law, what really bothers me the most at this point is that we could have an elected President under federal Investigation, criminal Investigation, going into The White House. That’s not going to sit very well with a lot of People, particularly the Person, if she wins, that didn’t vote for her. Go ahead, Bruce.
2. Fein: Well that’s exactly right. I was there and I worked in the Watergate Investigation of then President Richard Nixon and the conclusion at that Time reached by the acting Attorney General Robert Morgan and others was that a sitting President cannot be indicted criminally and prosecuted, that Impeachment is the only route. After Impeachment if it succeeds, then you can criminally prosecute. We would be in this situation if a criminal Investigation culminated and some kind of Charge against a then President Clinton, we’d be forced into an Impeachment situation because there isn’t any ability to prosecute a sitting President under the Constitution. In my View, the whole Thing was Wrong-headed from the outset of the Investigation of the e-mails because we have an Investigation run by the continuing director of the FBI, James Comey, and then the Attorney General Loretta Lynch, both who could be promoted and they’re politically ambitious People, by the target of the Investigation Hillary Clinton. You have a glaring conflict of interest at the outset. Hillary Clinton could make James Comey Attorney General if she’s elected, she could make Loretta Lynch a Supreme Court justice or maybe Secretary of State, whatever else she wanted. There should have been a special prosecutor as with the case in Watergate from the outset. If that were true, we wouldn’t be in this kind of dilemma because I can guarantee you that when there was a special prosecutor, that we use the FBI during Watergate, the FBI didn’t make the Decisions to investigate or not & go forward. That was made by the accountable special prosecutor.
3. Lavelle: Mark, weigh in there. What Bruce just said there, he didn’t use the word, but pay-to-play. We could have these other characters involved in the story and they could be promoted. That sounds exactly what the Clinton Foundation does. One of the Things I find very interesting is that the 650,000 e-mails, that sounds like the entire Time Hillary Clinton was at the State Department. I think that’s one of the reasons why we have them saved on an unsecure Computer. Go ahead.
4. Miller: I don’t think there’s any Question but that this should’ve been investigated, and I agree with Bruce that it should’ve been investigated properly. I can very easily imagine a special prosecutor being subject to the same kind of abuse that Comey has attracted for his Decision to look into the e-mails on Anthony Weiner’s Laptop and to announce his Intention to do so a week before the Election. I’ve been staggered throughout this whole latest Crisis by how the Democrats are partying like it’s 1953. You have James Carville actually invoking the Spectre of the KGB, you have Paul Krugman and Robert Reich, self-professed staunch liberals, really sounding like the most troglodyte anti-Soviet hysterics of decades ago clearly as a kind of Stratagem to deflect attention from the substance of the Charges. I have to say, I’ve never seen anything like it, really.
5. Lavelle: Don, if I can go to you, I don’t think any of this and I don’t like it and I don’t want it to happen again but it seems to get worse and worse here. That’s a really Good point that Mark brings up is, what is the Content of these e-mails? That’s what we all want to know. Hillary Clinton says have them exposed and let everyone ready them, we know that’s not going to happen because they’re under Investigation right now. I have to wonder, where’s the key here? Is it Weiner, is he the one that really has the key to all of this? Is he talking to prosecutors, cutting a deal for himself and his estranged wife?
6. DeBar: Or is he texting a fourteen-year-old girl and asking her to look at a picture of his boxers? You know, all of this is breaking in a political condition where there’s a huge division among the Electorate, among the Population of the United States with a great deal of acrimony, maybe unprecedented since the Civil War. In addition to that, sitting on top of a looming financial Crisis, an economic Crisis, and an international geopolitical environment where the Spectre of World War Three is being seriously considered as a Possibility. We talk about going into a Constitutional Crisis perhaps over an indictment of Clinton if she wins after the Election but it seems with the polling as reliable as it may or may not be, it’s quite possible we might end up in the House of Representatives because somebody didn’t get enough electoral votes and/or in front of the Supreme Court with Charges of Fraud of all types. A Supreme Court that right now is evenly divided, it only has eight members. Also though, this Crisis, basically a Crisis of confidence in the Institutions, a Crisis of legitimacy of the entire Apparatus, the Government, the Media, across the board among the entire Population. You have an explosive condition with all kinds of superstructural Problems like the global Economy and the political division in the United States where the outcome of this Election may be uncertain, decided by the Elite in the eyes of one or the other half of the Population, and maybe the Possibility of actual Civil Unrest as a Consequence of it.
7. Lavelle: Bruce, again, going back to Constitution-
8. Miller: Can I-
9. Fein: I’ve been here and make this observation that it is true in the past when presidents have been under attack, and I remember when Bill Clinton had the Impeachment proceedings against him, he was launching Rockets into Iraq and Afghanistan to deflect attention and even into Sudan, it was a veterinary pharmaceutical Factory. We cannot underestimate that potential out there which is very quite troublesome. Okay, we’ll deflect the attention from domestic Things by doing crazy Things abroad, whether it’s going into Eastern or Central Europe, Poland, the Baltic States, China, the South China Sea, anything to deflect attention. The other Thing that I’d like to make an observation about that’s really been unrecognised is how do these Government documents end up in private hands?
10. Lavelle: Exactly.
11. Fein: Ed Snowden, I have to confess, I actually represented his father. Ed Snowden takes those, he’s charged with what? Theft of Government Documents among other Things. How do all these e-mails that are State Department Property end up on Anthony Weiner’s Computer? Somebody stole the documents, irrespective of whether there’s any classified Information or otherwise.
12. Lavelle: Hang on, Mark wanted to jump in. Go ahead Mark, go ahead.
13. Miller: Right, thanks. I wanted to follow up on Don’s point and add to the catalogue of Crises that he correctly laid out for us. He said that the outcome of the Election may be uncertain. Well, I can assure you that the outcome of the Election will be uncertain because the outcomes of all our Elections are necessarily uncertain. Not the least important Crisis that we’re actually facing here, and it’s one that the entire Media in the US has been hysterically denying is that we have the worst Voting System in the developed World. That’s not just my opinion, that was the Finding of the Electoral Integrity Project at Harvard University and the University of Sydney in the spring. It’s something that Jimmy Carter confessed on NPR in 2006. We have a Voting System that is largely computerised and privatised, it is no more honest and trustworthy than the last Person who’s had his hands on either the op-scans to count the votes or the Machines. Let me add that this is something that Donald Trump, as usual, has discussed but in a kind of crude and exaggerated way that makes sensible Discussion very difficult. He invokes the Spectre of People voting fifteen times. Well, that almost never happens, that kind of old fashioned voter Fraud is pretty much impossible under the system we have today but he’s Right to say that the Election can, in some sense, be rigged. It is extremely vulnerable. I want to note that neither of the two Parties has done anything to fix this situation and since we profess to be the World’s greatest Democracy. It is really a scandal of the highest order-
14. Lavelle: It is a scandal. A bigger Scandal is. Hang on. I’d want to go to you right now, Don. The Election is rigged in a different way, the Media has rigged it, absolutely rigged it in favour of Hillary Clinton if you look at the mainstream. Go ahead, Don, before we got to the break. Go ahead.
15. DeBar: There are a variety of ways in which Elections are stolen in the United States and some are used, some of the Techniques are used more often by Republicans, for example voter suppression, voter caging and such, and some by the Democrats. In this particular Election, you have an alignment of the Elites of both Parties behind Hillary Clinton. That’s at the State-level also where you have Secretary of State and the Commissioners of Elections and all of that. If you look at the primary Election - and it’s ironic, Hillary Clinton was the Secretary of State - State Department has a Standard for a vector between the exit polls and the actual declared official Result where beyond this Standard, beyond this vector, they will not recognise the Election as being legitimate. Like half of the primary Elections that Clinton won this year exceeded that, some of them by two or three times.
16. Lavelle: Gentlemen, I’m going to jump in here, we’re going to go to a short break. After that short break, we’ll continue our Discussion on Hillary Clinton’s e-mails, stay with RT.
Welcome back to CrossTalk where all Things are considered, I’m Peter Lavelle. To remind you, we’re discussing the final stretch of the US presidential Election.
Okay, Bruce, I’m going to ask you first and then I’ll ask the rest of the panel. James Comey, is he a hero or a villain? He has found himself in a very, very Bad spot. I think it’s because he made a mistake earlier and there wasn’t a Grand Jury and now he’s paying for it. Go ahead.
I’d [quote] Alexander Pope, “to err is
human, to forgive is divine.” I don’t think
he’s either a hero or a villain, I think he’s human and he made a blunder here.
He made a blunder first of all by trying to go beyond
initially and explaining his Decision to at least, initially, decide not to
move forward with the Prosecution. I think he made a blunder at that stage in
saying, “That’s really not my Decision, we need to give it to a special
prosecutor because I have a conflict of interest. If Hillary Clinton, the
target of the Investigation, is elected she could promote me or benefit me. I
clearly made a blunder in my Judgement.” Then he went ahead and, “Now we’re
reopening the Investigation,” knowing that 650,000 e-mails
can’t be reviewed by the Time of Election which is going to create a cloud over
everything. It’s a huge, huge mess. I don’t think this is a matter of, I
say, individuals as opposed to this system itself falling down. I want to just add
the comment about the Media bias, we just had the stories today that one of
Clinton’s closest assistants, both during Bill’s Administration and afterwords,
Donna Brazile at CNN was handing off in advance the questions that she had
uncovered that CNN was going to ask Hillary Clinton at these presidential Debates. If that was
done on the Republican side, you can imagine if it was Fox News, every single
headline is, “This is just an organ of the Republican Party, there’s no
separation.” That again, it undercuts the ability of an informed Electorate to
make Decisions because they’re not getting the straight story from the Media.
It’s clearly, clearly biased with regard to the Establishment.
18. Lavelle: Mark, same Question about James Comey. I think he did the Right Thing, he just did it really late in the game here, that’s all. Go ahead, Mark.
19. Miller: I agree with that. I think he did the Right Thing and I think he did it too late. I think he made a number of errors as Bruce said. I don’t want us to get lost in the weeds of this Discussion about Comey per se. I think it’s extremely important that we note that we wouldn’t be going through this gut wrenching unprecedently eye-popping Experience, this circus of a presidential Campaign if the nomination hadn’t been systematically stolen from the most popular candidate in this race on both sides, and that’s Bernie Sanders. This has everything to do with every aspect of Election Theft we’ve discussed here. Clearly, the Press, it’s now functioning as an overt cheering section for Hillary Clinton was also unanimous in its scorn and its derision and it’s put-downs of Bernie Sanders. But more significant than that, more significant than what the Media had to say is how the peoples vote in primary and caucus after primary and caucus was subverted. People need to read the study Democracy Lost from Election Justice USA, it’s readily available online, 180 pages, chapter and verse of the use of both vote suppression and Election Fraud to rob Bernie Sanders of the candidacy but more importantly to rob the American People of a really viable choice that they overwhelmingly chose and that includes even People on the right. Don is Right to say that a certain kind of Election Theft has been the specialty of the Republicans for a long Time. What we’re seeing now is in a sense the World turned upside down, that it is the Democrats who have used these devices basically to destroy the candidate on their own left. The Republicans now are continuing to engage in vote suppression and some small amount of Election Fraud. The Democrats are engaging in some small amount of vote suppression and what looks like a considerable amount of Election Fraud, computerised Election Fraud. I want to say this again, this is a scandal that we the People have to face eventually, the Problem of a corrupt Voting System.
20. Lavelle: Let me add to the corruption and the World turned upside down and go to Don right now, we haven’t discussed the all important presidential Power of the Pardon here. Unlikely, but we could see Barack Obama pardon Hillary Clinton either way what happens on the Election Day or we could have the prospect of Hillary Clinton, like her husband, being impeached and then she would pardon herself. That would be very much in line with Hillary Clinton because Hillary Clinton only thinks about Hillary Clinton. Go ahead, Don.
21. DeBar: Well, at first, I just want to take what Bruce said before a step further which is of course, regardless of which one of them or any of them as a matter of fact theoretically is elected, their Job is at the mercy of the next President of the United States. Whichever way Conflict would break, Comey should not be treating it this way. They should have a special prosecutor no matter what because it directly impacts on basically the Job of the People conducting, the AG, the FBI, all of the People involved in the Food Chain of conducting an Investigation. There’s that first. The Selling of the Theft of the Election over the primary Period, what we’re talking about People have heard here on RT and in a few other Media Places and on the Internet but it’s really not been the topic of Discussion on the New York Times or CNN or any of those places where the mass American Audiences are. It’s being stolen but in plain sight but most People aren’t aware of it or don’t factor it into their narrative. Finally at the end of the day, there are these massive Problems that are facing the People in the United States and that fact has been manifest in the vote that lifted Sanders, the vote lifting Trump, the People in the streets in the United States, Black Lives Matter and everything else. That’s not going to go away no matter who’s elected in November and the Election is going to be viewed through the prism of (a) our situation is intolerable and (b) our Institutions are not a solution to it. That is going to be the soil in which whatever plays out November 9th will play out.
22. Lavelle: You know Bruce, it’s very interesting, there’s a-
23. Fein: If I could add on your specific Question-
24. Lavelle: Go ahead.
25. Fein: That’s a President can’t pardon somebody who doesn’t agree to accept it and acknowledge a violation of the Law. If Hillary Clinton accepted the Pardon, she would be admitting that she had violated the Criminal Law. That would not shield her from an Impeachment proceeding because at that point, the House of Representatives could say, “She’s already acknowledged she committed a Crime, a Crime that related to the integrity of her processes as Secretary of State.” She’s not trustworthy-
26. Lavelle: Exactly, but Bruce, James Comey told us that she had broken the Law repeatedly but he decided not to indict. This is a circus, it’s amazing here. Let me go to Mark here because we’re rapidly running out of Time. One of the Things that’s really tragic for the Country and for the World, as Don pointed out, is that whoever is inaugurated in January, the Country is going to be very deeply divided. It’s going to be a very, very tough Time moving forward and as Don has pointed out, there’s so many critical issues that need to be addressed. We need to get out of this cesspool that these Elites have brought us into. Go ahead, Mark.
27. Miller: Absolutely and I want to follow up on this point about how the Press has not informed the American People about the facts of Election Theft. As someone who has written two books on the subject, I can tell you from personal Experience that this is a forbidden topic in the eyes of the US Media Establishment, which I guess is to say the US Government. I see no daylight between our Free Press and the State, none whatsoever. That subject of Election Theft, its importance cannot be overstated. It’s only one of a broad range of vital Subjects, urgent Subjects that our Press either ignores completely or radically grossly misrepresents. As far as the Election’s concerned, all we keep hearing is that Russia may hack the Election. This is a claim with no basis whatsoever in fact and it’s also part of what appears to be a fevered attempt to lay the groundwork for some kind of perfectly distracting military Adventure against Russia which has a Nuclear Arsenal and which is being represented repeatedly, consistently, and completely misleadingly as an aggressor on the World stage. This may sound like an exaggeration but reading the New York Times about Putin’s intentions on the World stage reminds me, very, very directly of passages in William Shirer’s Berlin Diary. When he was stationed over there in the [1930s] for CBS, he marveled at the Nazi Papers describing Poland as a Threat to Germany after a year before having described Czechoslovakia as a Threat to Germany. This was the antithesis of Reality and this is what we read consistently in the New York Times, the Washington Post, we hear it on CNN, it is really, genuinely frightening and represents, to put it charitably, a new low in the quality of American Journalism.
28. Lavelle: It’s only going to get lower, I’m afraid. That’s why I do what I do. Don, if I can go to you. Let me get this right here, if Russia wanted to influence the Election, then why didn’t Vladimir Putin participate in a pay-to-play with the Clinton Foundation? Everybody else did, foreign Governments did. That would’ve been the way through and they would’ve taken the Money, oh yes, they would’ve taken the Money, to a Charity. Go ahead Don, you’ve got the last word here, forty seconds, go ahead.
29. DeBar: Well first of all, Russia is a player on the World stage like every other nation that is on the World stage and a major player both because of the size of its Economy and Population and landmass and also because it’s a major military power in the World. You have to look at Russia in that context when you start walking around, doing what you did with Iraq for example and painting it as an existential Threat to the United States or these other countries that they’ve treated from Time to Time as an existential Threat to the United States right before they obliterated them. If they try that with Russia and it appears that they’re walking that way, there’s an entirely different Outcome that encompasses a lot more Human Beings and Real Estate than any of the previous ones in the aggregate. That scares the hell out of me.
30. Lavelle: All right, I’m going to jump in here gentlemen. My last comment here is they should install showers in every voting booth because a lot of People are going to want to take a shower after this Election here. [Because of Bill Maher, Matthew Yglesias. Paul Krugman, Joyce Carol Oates.] Many thanks to my guests in New York and in Washington, and thanks to our viewers for watching us here at RT. See you next Time, and remember, CrossTalk rules.