The politically charged FBI investigation of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s email practices has ended with a recommendation that no criminal charges be filed against her.
It’s the right recommendation because the FBI found no proof of criminality in Clinton’s use of a private email server for official business while she was secretary of state. However, as FBI Director James Comey rightly said regarding eight Clinton email chains on top-secret matters, “any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position … should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation.”
Still, the discovery of mishandled email is not the biggest revelation. The crucial finding is that House Republicans callously misused government resources to carry out a political hit job, while pretending they were out to solve the problems that led to the tragic deaths of four Americans in a 2012 terror attack in Libya.
Now, after a two-year investigation that cost taxpayers more than $7.2 million House Republicans have come up empty. That’s a shame, because they could have used that time and money to fix the income inequality that divides us, to mend the criminal-justice system that cripples us, and to confront the issues of race and class that run through our society.
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Instead of doing the real work of governing, however, the GOP played politics.
Former House Speaker John Boehner, who presided over the party-line vote that created the Select Committee on Benghazi in May 2014, is gone.
Current House Speaker Paul Ryan is caught in a political trap that has forced him to lend tacit support to presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
By spending the last eight years relying upon dog-whistle language like “taking the country back,” the GOP played upon the racial animus that followed the election of the first African-American president.
Maybe they thought that by dragging Clinton through a political three-ring circus, they actually were damaging the legacy of Barack Obama.
Or maybe Republicans were so desperate to win that they were willing to hang their political hopes on something as seemingly trivial as email.