Friday, November 4, 2016

The Clinton Campaign At Obama Justice

Emails on WikiLeaks show a top federal lawyer giving Hillary a quiet heads up.

By Kimberley A. Strassel
The Wall Street Journal
November 4, 2016

The most obnoxious spin of the 2016 campaign came this week, as Democrats, their media allies and even President Obama accused the FBI of stacking the election. It’s an extraordinary claim, coming as it does from the same crew that has—we now know—been stacking the election all along in the corridors of the Justice Department.

This is the true November surprise. For four months, FBI Director James Comey has been the public face of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server. He played that role so well, putting the FBI so front and center, that the country forgot about Mr. Comey’s bosses. Revelations this week build the case that President Obama’s politicized Justice Department has been pulling strings and flacking for Mrs. Clinton all along.

One piece of evidence comes from WikiLeaks, in a hacked email between the chairman of the Clinton campaign, John Podesta, and Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik. It was sent in May of 2015 via a private Gmail account, which has become the favored way for Obama employees to hide communications from the public. “Heads up,” Mr. Kadzik warned, informing the campaign about a coming hearing and a recent legal filing about Mrs. Clinton’s emails.

Don’t let Mr. Kadzik’s fancy title fool you: He is a Clinton partisan. Before joining the Justice Department in 2013, Mr. Kadzik spent 30 years at the (now-closed) law firmDickstein Shapiro,engaging Democratic causes—and Clinton causes. Mr. Kadzik’s wife, Amy Weiss, was deputy press secretary in Bill Clinton’s White House and a communications director for the Democratic National Committee. Mr. Kadzik also represented the DNC. Campaign-finance records show the two variously donated to Hillary’s Senate leadership PAC, to her 2008 presidential campaign and to her current campaign.

Mr. Kadzik is also an old buddy of Mr. Podesta’s. The two go back to Georgetown Law School. When Marc Rich was lobbying Bill Clinton for a pardon, according to a 2002 House Oversight Committee report, the fugitive financier recruited Mr. Kadzik “because he was a long-time friend of White House Chief of Staff John Podesta.” Mr. Kadzik even represented Mr. Podesta, during the Monica Lewinsky saga.

WikiLeaks emails show the two chatting about birthday parties and dinner meetings with fellow Democratic power players. A 2014 email lists donors for a fundraiser that Mr. Podesta held for his daughter, running for a school board in California. Mr. Kadzik (as he sat at the Justice Department) is shown giving $250. Also appearing are the usual Clinton glitterati: Doug Band, Harold Ickes, Neera Tanden, Betty Currie, Madeleine Albright, Carol Browner. This is Mr. Kadzik’s social circle.

The Justice Department has tried to dismiss Mr. Kadzik’s tip-off to the Clinton campaign as a note “about public information,” sent “in his personal capacity, not during work hours.” But Mr. Kadzik is a senior government official. He does not get to feed any information to a potential target of an investigation, at any hour of the day or night.

What the email reveals is the mind-set of the senior officials at the Justice Department. They are in it to win it for Hillary. They have taken a cue from their boss, the president, who has felt free to personally absolve Mrs. Clinton, no matter how inappropriate that is.

Those leaders include Leslie Caldwell, head of the Criminal Division, an anti-business activist tapped by Mr. Obama in 2014. Benjamin Mizer,who leads the Civil Division, went to bat for Mrs. Clinton last year in Freedom of Information Act litigation over her emails. He co-wrote a brief insisting her email production had been “over-inclusive” and arguing there was no evidence that she had “intentionally deleted” public records. The Office of Legal Counsel is under Karl Remon Thompson, once a counselor to the ├╝ber-political Eric Holder. A Washington Free Beacon report from May found that 228 Justice Department employees had donated some $75,000 to Mrs. Clinton’s campaign. Mr. Trump? Two contributions totaling $381.

So what else has the department done? While Mrs. Clinton was under investigation, Mr. Kadzik had the opportunity to feed her campaign plenty during personal meetings with Mr. Podesta at dinner and the latter’s home. In a previous WikiLeaks email, another Clinton staffer references “DOJ folks” who leaked him information. And Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton would have us believe they only talked grandchildren on that tarmac in Arizona.

Or what about those immunity deals for Clinton aides? Mr. Comey told Congress that they were provided by Justice Department lawyers. The Journal reported this week that “from the start” of the FBI probe into the Clinton Foundation, “Justice Department officials were stern, icy and dismissive of the case.” From the start—meaning before evidence was collected. That story says senior leaders (unnamed) pressured the FBI to shut down the investigation. (Aside: For a supposed hotbed of Trump activism, the FBI sure did a good job of keeping this probe quiet for a year.)

Mr. Comey has botched plenty in the Clinton affair. Maybe the biggest was providing a shield for Justice Department shenanigans. Because if this feels sordid now, just wait for the actual Clinton Justice Department.

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