An ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that a majority disagree with the FBI’s recommendation against prosecution of Hillary Clinton over her reckless mishandling of classified email on her private server:
A majority of Americans disapprove of the FBI’s recommendation not to charge Hillary Clinton with a crime over her handling of email while secretary of state, and a similar number in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll say the issue leaves them worried about how she would handle her responsibilities as president if elected.
Most also say the email controversy won’t affect their vote in the presidential election. But 28 percent say it leaves them less likely to support her, versus 10 percent who say it makes them more likely to do so.
Reactions to the decision are highly political, with partisanship factoring heavily in people’s views. Yet Democrats don’t back Clinton up on the issue nearly as much as Republicans criticize her, and independents side more with Republicans.
Overall, 56 percent disapprove of FBI Director James Comey’s recommendation not to charge Clinton, while just 35 percent approve. Similarly, 57 percent say the incident makes them worried about how Clinton might act as president if she is elected, with most very worried about it. Just 39 percent feel the issue isn’t related to how she would perform as president.
Questions about Clinton’s character have been a key weakness of her candidacy. Americans by broad margins have said they don’t regard her as honest and trustworthy. She trailed Bernie Sanders on this attribute by about 20 percentage points consistently in the Democratic primaries. And in some polls she has trailed Donald Trump on it as well, albeit more closely.
Nearly 9 in 10 Republicans disagree with the FBI’s decision and say it worries them about what she would do if she became president.
Democrats see things very differently but with less unanimity. About two-thirds approve of the decision not to charge Clinton and think the issue is unrelated to what she would do as president. But 3 in 10 Democrats think she should have been charged.
Roughly 6 in 10 independents say the FBI was wrong and that the issue raises worries about Clinton as president.
One question I have about this result is what the ten percent who respond to the scandal by being more likely to support Clinton come to this decision. It is not surprising that some partisan Democrats will back Clinton despite the rather overwhelming evidence of her dishonesty and poor judgment in this matter, but what would possibly give some people a reason to be more likely to back her because of this? Are they thinking, “I really admire Hillary for breaking all those rules and then lying about it for over a year. Good for her.” Even if they are in denial over the facts, how could they see anything good in this? On the other hand, this does sound like we would expect from some of those people who keep trolling pro-Sanders groups on Facebook.
While I would hope the number would be even higher, it was encouraging to see that partisanship hasn’t eliminated all judgment on the part of voters as the poll also found that “Over 4 in 10 liberals say the issue raises concerns about how Clinton might handle responsibilities as president.”
This lack of trust could cause problems for Clinton should she be elected. Making matters worse for her, The Hill reports on increased pressure over her top aides having security clearance:
Pressure is growing on the State Department to revoke the security clearances of several of Hillary Clinton’s closest aides, potentially jeopardizing her ability to name her own national security team should she become president.
The move could force Clinton to make an uncomfortable choice: abandon longtime advisers or face another political maelstrom by overriding the White House security agency.
It’s not clear if Clinton or longtime aides Huma Abedin and Jake Sullivan still hold active security clearances. The information is protected under the Privacy Act and absent permission from each person, the only way it can be made public is if State sees an overriding public interest in disclosing it — an unlikely scenario.
None of the aides implicated in the probe — Abedin, Sullivan and Cheryl Mills — are still employed at State. That makes it unlikely that they continue to hold security clearances, awarded on a need-to-know basis.
But department spokesman John Kirby said last week that former officials could still face “administrative sanctions” for past actions — sanctions that could in theory make it incredibly difficult to be approved for security clearance in the future.
Clinton, should she be elected president, would be functionally exempt from security vetting as a constitutional officer — it’s “the reason it was always indictment or bust” with Clinton, said Bradley Moss, a lawyer who specializes in classified information cases. The only circumstance in which she’s likely to become a “federal employee” again is if she’s elected president.
But for Abedin and Sullivan, the loss or rejection of their security credentials would be a career-ender in Washington.
And according to several lawyers who specialize in security clearances, anyone with the kind of documented track record that now dogs Abedin and Sullivan would struggle to retain their access to restricted information. Although no one was charged, FBI Director James Comey was unequivocal that Clinton and her aides acted “extremely carelessly.”
“If a client came to me with these kinds of allegations related to their prior use of classified information, I would say, ‘You have less than a 20 percent chance of surviving,’” Moss said.
Comey on Tuesday rejected criminal charges against Clinton or her aides, but he laid out a damning litany of violations, including the transmission of classified information through her private, unsecured email server.
The article points out that “in theory, a President Clinton could override any concerns that the OPM or the Office of Administration might have.” With Clinton’s long history of acting like the laws don’t apply to her, or her inner circle, it would not be surprising if Clinton does override any objections to them having security clearance, which would probably keep this scandal alive even longer.
While Donald Trump has said many absurd things, he is right on at least one point:
“What she did was so wrong,” Trump said, adding that people who did “far less” were “paying a tremendous price right now.”
Presumably the knowledge that Clinton would have been prosecuted if not for her position is one reason so many people now think she deserved to be prosecuted.
Despite all the questions voters have about Clinton’s honesty, she currently has a significant lead over Trump in the polls, with many voters having even more reservations over him becoming president than Clinton. This includes Republican donors, as discussed by The Wall Street Journal today.
Republicans now face a situation in which they should be able to win the presidency due to facing a candidate as weak as Hillary Clinton, but most likely will not due to nominating a candidate as awful as Donald Trump. However, nothing is certain. The Daily Wire reports on claims that there are enough votes in the rules committee to send a minority report unbinding the delegates to the full convention, which theoretically could allow them to chose a different nominee.