Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.
In 1994, Hillary Clinton took questions under a portrait of Abraham Lincoln. Wearing a pink pantsuit, she offered what would become her customary mix of lies and defensiveness, admitting to something and then trying to shift the blame, denying that she had broken the law and then claiming ignorance.
It was an act that we would see over and over again for the next few decades, but back then it was still new when Hillary Clinton claimed that she couldn’t remember anything, that the whole Whitewater affair was an invasion of her privacy and that she had never meant to do anything wrong.
Some twenty years later, we have spent the past few months witnessing the same performance.
She blamed sexism for Whitewater. "It’s a little difficult for us as a country, maybe, to make the transition of having a woman like many of the women in this room, sitting in this house.” Her supporters claim that her email scandal is caused by sexism rather than her blatant violation of the law.
"I do feel like I've always been a fairly private person leading a public life," Hillary Clinton whined about the examination of her shady investments. This time around she claimed that her whole rogue email server filled with classified documents was an attempt at protecting her classified yoga routines.
The truth, then and now, is that Hillary Clinton is a public figure who claims that her private life is being invaded whenever she gets caught violating the law.
Then there are the vague statements that almost sound like apologies, but aren’t. “I'm not in any way excusing any confusion that we have created," she said of Whitewater. But the only confusion was Hillary’s efforts to make her critics appear to be confused. On her emails, she said that she was "sorry that it has raised all these questions." Which is another way of saying that she was sorry she got caught.
Finally there is the politician who would be president playing dumb. Hillary Clinton didn’t understand how investments worked back then. She doesn’t understand how emails work now. When all else fails, Hillary Clinton will plead incompetence and then claim that she wants to focus on fixing health care.
Investments are confusing. Email accounts are confusing. Someone please put her in charge of something simple. Like health care for the entire country. Or maybe just the entire country.
No one trusts her and no one believes that she will ever be held accountable.
In 1998, prosecutors had the evidence to bring charges against Hillary Clinton. They chose not to act because they did not believe that she would be convicted. If that sounds familiar, it should.
FBI Director James Comey got up in front of the country and laid out a criminal case against Hillary over her email abuses and then announced that no prosecutor would ever take it. The material was there and it still is there. But no one in authority believes that Hillary Clinton will ever be held accountable.
Back then the evidence was too circumstantial. This time around there’s no definitive proof of criminal intent. Each time Hillary Clinton plays dumb, plays the victim and then urges everyone to move on.
Hillary Clinton lied about Whitewater. She lied about her covert email operation. Comey’s exoneration was more like an indictment, sweeping aside her lies about her classified correspondence. But that too is nothing new. Hillary Clinton has always lied and her lies are always exposed. Her fallback position is to argue that no one can prove that she knew she was committing a crime. Out of that mix of denials, partial admissions, non-apologies, misleading lawyerly statements, comes that final defense.
You can’t prove that I knew I was committing a crime.
This time around, the FBI could prove that she broke the law, that she lied about breaking the law and that she knew the law, but not that she intended to break the law. That brand of absurdity has gotten her off before. And it worked once again at the most crucial moment of her career.
Hillary Clinton trails a pattern of crimes and cover-ups dating back decades. And still no one can prove that she knew that was committing the crimes that she committed. Her associates have gone to jail. Her alibis have been shredded. But instead of heading to jail, she is aiming at the White House.
And that’s inevitable.
The Clinton crimes have always come down to politics. From Whitewater onwards, the Clintons got rich and powerful by exploiting their political connections. The Clinton Foundation and its rainbow of cash, from sources foreign and domestic, is just Whitewater writ large. The email scandal is the same old Clinton records game that they have been playing for decades being conducted with more high tech tools.
The Clinton server is more impressive than Sandy Berger burglarizing the National Archives for classified documents about Bill’s failure to fight Islamic terrorism, but it’s not really any different.
Berger’s burglary was dubbed an “honest mistake.” Hillary’s rogue email server? Another mistake, but only because “It’s caused all this uproar and commotion.” After she blatantly lied about landing in Bosnia under sniper fire, she smugly retorted, “So I made a mistake. That happens. It shows I’m human, which for some people is a revelation.”
It’s a revelation only because it’s the one single thing that she never lied about.
A trail of lies and scandals isn’t a mistake. It’s a record. Hillary Clinton has been entirely consistent in her criminal career. And just as consistently, she has never faced any consequences for her crimes.
Every time she might have been held accountable, investigations were written off as partisan witch hunts and prosecutors and law enforcement backed off convinced that trying to prosecute her would be futile. And that’s a mistake. Corruption grows when there is no accountability.
When Bill Clinton meets with the Attorney General, when the FBI Director makes a show of pardoning Hillary right before his boss goes to campaign for her, the message is that those in power can play by a different set of rules than ordinary people. And that is another way of saying that our society is corrupt.
If the Clintons can commit any crime that they like without being held accountable, that sends a message to ordinary people that we are not a nation of laws, but of special interests. It becomes harder to ask the average person to do the right thing when their leaders profit by doing the wrong thing.
The Clintons have amassed fortune, power and fame by being crooked. Holding them accountable is not just about partisan political battles, but about our integrity and our ethics as a nation.
Even many Democrats are disgusted by the Clintons. Comey’s speech was not met with celebrations, but with disgust. Media outlets compiled every example of how the FBI Director had shredded Hillary’s alibi. Everyone understood what had happened here. The only ones celebrating this shameful miscarriage of justice were the Clintons, their corrupt cronies and amoral associates.
During her Whitewater conference, Hillary Clinton claimed, “I don't want anybody to have the wrong impressions of either of us." The trouble is that the entire nation has the right impression of her.
America deserves leaders who inspire us to be better people. And we can’t have that until we start holding corrupt politicians accountable. It is time for Americans from all parties and political backgrounds to demand an end to the immunity of the Clinton Crime Family.