Since the FBI raided the home of former President Donald Trump earlier this week, its defenders have been quick to liken the situation to the investigation that swallowed up former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for its handling of government communications. But while Trump is also facing an investigation into his handling of official correspondence and documents, things have diverged considerably.
A comparison of the two investigations based on publicly available information suggests that it was the responses of Trump and Clinton themselves that dictated the investigative steps and how powerful they have been. Any criticism that Clinton was somehow treated more leniently than Trump results of a superficial review of their cases. In any case, Clinton was more mistreated for violations of Justice Department protocols and politicization of her case than Trump.
In any case, Clinton was more mistreated for violations of Justice Department protocols and politicization of her case than Trump.
In Clinton’s case, the FBI investigated her use of a private email server for official government communications while she was Secretary of State. The federal law in question provide for a confinement of up to five years for the unauthorized removal of classified material and for the storage of that material in an unauthorized location. Ultimately, the administration was unable to determine that Clinton had acted criminally.
The investigation currently embroiling the former president includes three criminal statutes as stated in the search warrant. The gives a sentence first of up to three years for intentionally removing certain items from public office. The second results in a penalty up to 10 years for unauthorized possession of items, including documents that the possessor has reason to believe could cause harm to the United States, if the possessor refuses to surrender the items to a United States official upon request who is entitled to their property. The final status stated in the search warrant gives up to 20 years in prison for concealing or destroying documents to hinder an investigation. Trump has denied committing any wrongdoing, and it is not certain that Trump is the focus of the investigation.
While Trump’s case has more legal dimensions and potentially tougher sentences, the two investigations have a lot in common. Both involved unauthorized handling of documents or items far from the officially approved locations for those materials. In Clinton’s case, the emails were on a personal server. The concern there was the potential for a hacker to obtain classified information that could cause harm to the United States.
As for Trump, based on the limited information currently available, the concerns could be similar to those that prompted the Clinton investigation, which is the existence of classified information that could be disclosed to the detriment of the United States. States. But the Mar-a-Lago search warrant also took place against the background of other grand jury investigations surrounding Trump.
The Justice Department has convened a grand jury to investigate the events surrounding the January 6 storming of the Capitol. Another is investigating whether Trump or his associates interfered in the 2020 Georgia presidential election. As a result, there was a danger that relevant evidence would be hidden and or would be destroyed.
While we appear to be far from the conclusion of the Trump investigation, we know that the Clinton investigation was long and extensive. Aside from the FBI’s criminal investigation, the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General issued a report on its handling of classified material, and numerous committees of Congress launched their own (largely partisan) investigations. The FBI found no evidence of criminal actions in Clinton’s use of a private email server, and a Justice Inspector General report on the FBI investigation and its own Clinton investigation gave further support to the conclusion that there were no criminal violations.
Despite the conclusions, Clinton’s trial violated Justice Department guidelines, resulting in significant political clout. As such, the Clinton investigation harmed the former Secretary of State, even though it ultimately acquitted her.
During the Clinton investigation, then-FBI Director James Comey provided updates on the progress of the investigation contrary to: Ministry of Justice Policy. In addition, Comey went so far as to hold a press conference in which he both acquitted Clinton and criticized her professionalism in an arena that would not allow her to respond. He said the investigation did not reveal any criminal violations, as Clinton did not act with the necessary criminal intent to convict her of a crime, but he accused her of being “extremely careless” in handling the emails. In addition, Comey took part in the 2016 election when he announced within two weeks of the 2016 presidential election that the… FBI was checking more of her emails — an announcement that may have played a important role in determining the result of that election.
In contrast, there are no signs of aberrations or politicization from the Justice Department regarding Trump. The investigation thus far appears to have been scrupulous in adhering to Department of Justice regulations and protocols. The media has reported that officials of the National Archives initially contacted the former president about documents believed to be in his possession. When non-investigative contact from the National Archives failed to produce the United States material, the agency referred the matter to the Department of Justice.
The department itself initially tried obtain the material through informal contact with representatives of the former president. When this failed, the department subpoenaed the items, presumably to Trump or to the data custodian at Mar-a-Lago. This apparently led to lengthy discussions, but not to the production of documents for the National Archives. Ultimately, the FBI issued a search warrant to seize the items.
In stark contrast to Comey, who expressed his views on his investigation, the results and the actions of the former Secretary of State, Attorney General Merrick Garland did not violate such conventions during his brief appearance before the media on Thursday to investigate the search of his home. Mar-a to discuss. -Lago. Garland only announced that the department would try to unlock the search warrant and inventory left at the search site, but did not provide any information about the investigation.
There are, of course, limitations in what can be compared between a completed study and an ongoing study. But we can already see one big difference between the two: the response of the clients involved. According to what is generally known, Clinton and her representatives worked together with the investigation and detectives. It was therefore not necessary to issue a subpoena or execute a search warrant.
By contrast, the response from Trump and his representatives seems to have been delayed: First, they apparently stiffened the National Archives. Then they initially seemed to do the same at the Department of Justice. Finally, they failed to respond to a Justice Department subpoena.
And more revelations could follow. The public is not aware of the full scope of the investigation, in particular whether it is limited to the documents withheld from the National Archives or whether it concerns other matters. Of course, this means that the full magnitude of Trump’s response has yet to be appreciated as well.
But we do know that investigators executed a search warrant in Mar-a-Lago because the Trump camp failed to respond to less invasive investigative efforts. This was a more aggressive legal action than Clinton faced, because she cooperated more fully than he did. Any further comparison of their cases should keep this crucial context in mind.
Ultimately, comparisons of the studies trying to show that Clinton was treated more leniently than Trump as evidence that law enforcement officers are having a vendetta against the former president are misleading. All investigations have a dynamic because investigators follow clues and react to events as they occur. In each of these studies, the investigative actions followed the prescriptions of the studies.