The GOP has a long history of trying to tag Democrats with phony scandals in an attempt to win elections. The Republican Party has to push bogus scandals because they can’t win an election if it is about their terrible governing record and extreme agenda. The only way the GOP can win a national election anymore is if they can convince a majority of the voters that the Democratic nominee is a crook.
The Republicans this year need to create a phony scandal narrative now more than ever since they have picked the most loathsome nominee for President in the history of the country. Donald Trump is a con man who has insulted just about every voter in the country other than conservative white people. He has called women “pigs” and “dogs.” The orange hued mogul has labeled Hispanics “criminals” and “rapists.” Trump’s running mate – Mike Pence – is an extremist with a long history of supporting discriminatory measures against gays and women.
The Republicans invested a huge amount of time and money into an effort to turn the tragic attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi into a scandal. No less than eight Congressional committees controlled by the GOP investigated this tragedy and tried to shamelessly exploit the deaths of four American heroes for partisan advantage. The various Benghazi investigations lasted longer than the investigations of Pearl Harbor, Watergate, Iran-Contra, 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina.
None of those eight investigations turned up any wrongdoing or cover up by President Obama and Secretary Clinton. All of the numerous right wing conspiracy theories about things like the non-existent stand down order were thoroughly debunked. Even the final and much ballyhooed (by the right) Gowdy investigation confirmed the findings of the previous seven investigations. The right wing was so disappointed by Gowdy that some of the radicals even alleged he was part of the alleged vast cover up conducted by the Obama Administration.
Perhaps the only real “accomplishment” of Gowdy’s Benghazi committee was that they “discovered” that Hillary Clinton used a private email server while she served as Secretary of State. It wasn’t really news to most Washingtonians who had served in the federal government in some capacity during Obama’s first term since they had received numerous emails from Clinton’s private server. Moreover, both Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice had used private email accounts to conduct official business when they served George W. Bush as Secretary of State.
As a consequence of that “discovery,” the FBI investigated Clinton’s use of a private email server. FBI head James Comey is a long time Republican. Comey served as an attorney on the Senate committee investigating Whitewater in the 1990s and was the number two official in the Bush 43 Department of Justice. Moreover, Comey had made contributions to McCain in 2008 and Romney in 2012.
Comey’s decision not to charge Clinton over the private email server came as a great shock to most conservatives since the likes of Fox News and AM radio practically had Clinton in handcuffs and an orange jump suit for the last several months. Nevertheless, every legal expert outside of the right wing media had said for several months that Clinton was unlikely to be charged.
In announcing his decision not to charge Clinton, Comey said that: “Our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case. ” In this press conference in which he announced that Clinton wouldn’t be charged, Comey went on to criticize Clinton’s email arrangement. In leveling that criticism, Comey broke Department of Justice rules about disclosing information about ongoing investigations. Matthew Miller, a former Justice Department spokesman under Eric Holder, called FBI Director Comey’s press conference remarks about Clinton’s email server: “absolutely outrageous” and an “abuse of power.” Miller stated that: “(W)hen the department closes an investigation, it typically does so quietly, at most noting that it has investigated the matter fully and decided not to bring charges.”
The Comey investigation also found no evidence that any of Clinton’s emails, incoming or outgoing, were hacked. The FBI director speculated that this may have happened, but no evidence exists that proves that. The FBI also debunked the right wing conspiracy theory that Guccifer penetrated Clinton’s server, stating that this was false. Guccifer himself has admitted this was a hoax all along.
The Republicans responded by calling Comey to Capitol Hill to testify about the investigation. Most of the hearing consisted of Republicans screaming at the FBI director and questioning his integrity. Nevertheless, some important facts came out that confirmed this was a phony scandal from the beginning.
Comey testified that out of over 30,000 emails, only three were marked confidential. As Kevin Drum wrote: “Comey testified that all three emails failed to include the normal headers for classified information. Any experienced person reading them would have noticed that and probably missed the fact that a single classification mark was embedded somewhere in the text. The State Department says two of the three emails were wrongly marked anyway – which Hillary Clinton and her staff probably knew.”
Despite the fact this email controversy was greatly overblown by the GOP and the press, the Republicans aren’t giving up on it. At least five more GOP controlled Congressional committees plan to conduct their own investigation of the Clinton private server. Moreover, the GOP has now alleged that Clinton committed perjury when she testified last year in front of Gowdy’s committee. Once again, all of the legal experts outside of the right wing bubble are saying that Clinton is unlikely to be charged with perjury. Congressman Darrell Issa has even demanded a government shutdown over the Clinton email issue.
Now that Benghazi and the email matters turned out to be non-events, the radical right will now try to gin up a phony scandal over the Clinton Foundation. Needless to say, that will turn out to be another disappointment to the scandal mongers in the right wing media. The non-partisan fact checking site, Factcheck.org, has found the Clinton Foundation to be a model charity in which 89% of it’s funding has gone to charity and good works.
I can tell you from twenty four years of experience, that the scandal allegations from the GOP will continue for nine more years – until the end of Clinton’s second term. The GOP is making these bogus allegations because they want the voters to forget about Bush’s awful record and President Obama’s success in cleaning up his predecessor’s mess. We’ve gone from losing 800,000 jobs per month to creating over 200,000 new jobs per month. Twenty million Americans have obtained health insurance and the uninsured rate has been reduced from 18% to 9%. The GOP doesn’t want the voters to know about that.
As Democrats, we need to work hard for the election of Hillary Clinton and a Democratic Congress. A Democratic victory will allow us to build on President Obama’s successes. A Republican victory would take us back to the dark days of 2008 when the stock market crashed and we had mass layoffs. We can’t afford to go back. We need to win this election for the good of the country and the American people. Let’s get it done!