Hillary irreparably damaged

SUBHEAD: Renewed email probe ensures that Clinton faces never-ending investigations by Republicans.

By Darrell Delamaide on 1 November 2016 for Market Watch -

Image above: Hillary Clinton with confidant and aide Huma Abedin. Photo by Justin Sullivan. From original article.

[IB Publisher's note: This presidential race may favor Trump or Clinton, but it is not the voter's only choices in this election. Both the Green Party's Jill Stein, and Libertarian party's Gary Johnson are on enough ballots to win the Electoral College decision. If you are dreading both the Republican or Democratic regime vote for Jill or Gary. Send a real message!]

We don’t know whether the reopening of the FBI probe of Hillary Clinton’s emails will cost her the election.

It may be that she will still emerge the winner after next Tuesday’s vote, or that Donald Trump’s momentum from the Wikileaks emails, Obamacare’s failures, and Clinton’s flawed candidacy were going to carry him to victory in any case.

What we do know is that whoever wins, we are in for a fiasco in politics that will make even this fiasco of a campaign pale by comparison.

There is hardly any scenario that is too far-fetched. Even if the polls are right and Clinton’s lead translates into an electoral victory, she will be so damaged going into office that her chances of getting anything done will be virtually nil.

In this sense alone, Trump’s claim that this scandal is “worse than Watergate” could prove to be true. As an incumbent, Richard Nixon at least had an administration in place when he won re-election in 1972, though it took nearly another two years before he was forced to resign under threat of impeachment.

Clinton is likely to be stymied from the start, especially if the ongoing investigations into her email practices and the Clinton Foundation lead to further damaging disclosures.

For one thing, we now have the precedence of Watergate, and Republicans, who are sure to retain the House and now probably the Senate, will not let go.

There is hardly a chance that it will all end well for Clinton and that she will be exonerated because what is already known has many Republicans convinced that she is guilty at the very least of mishandling classified documents and perhaps obstruction of justice.

While the immediate attention in the wake of last week’s disclosure about reopening the email investigation has focused on FBI Director James Comey, the real conundrum in all this concerns his boss, Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

Lynch fatally compromised her position by meeting with former President Bill Clinton just days before the original investigation was closed without a grand jury ever considering the evidence.

And now her failure to block Comey’s disclosure — while leaking that she wanted to — is another ethical lapse. Other reports indicate that she attempted to quash the investigation into the Clinton Foundation.

It is hard to see how she can remain in office even if Clinton wins and wants to keep her. Her resignation — or even impeachment — seems inevitable with Republicans out for blood.

The damage done to the whole Clinton entourage through the machinations exposed in the Wikileaks emails means that many of them — Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills, John Podesta, Neera Tanden — will be virtually untenable in any position of responsibility in a new Clinton administration.

And this is the best-case scenario for Clinton. We all know what the worst-case scenario is.

Financial markets, Beltway pundits, mainstream media and the world at large now have just a week to get their heads around the idea that Trump might actually win the election.

This does not mean that the sky will fall, or even, as MIT economist Simon Johnson would have it, that the stock market will crash.

In fact, if markets have not already priced in some chance of a Trump victory, then they are hardly as efficient as we would like to believe.

Contrary to all the scaremongering that has accompanied Trump’s candidacy from the beginning, the strong institutional checks and balances built into our system of government will certainly be able to block any descent into authoritarianism in this country — even if that were what Trump is all about.

This was the thrust of David Gelernter’s raging commentary in the Wall Street Journal last month when he said that as reprehensible as Trump is, Clinton is worse, making a vote for Trump imperative. (For the record, Gelernter, a professor of computer science at Yale, does not fall into the media’s facile categorization of Trump supporters as, essentially, uneducated deplorables.)

Don’t worry about Trump doing outrageous things, he says. “Ordinary politics says that Mr. Trump will not do crazy things or go off half-cocked,” Gelernter wrote, “because Republicans in Congress will be eager to impeach him and put Mike Pence in charge.”

And what will happen if Trump gets his mandate to drain the swamp? Will lame-duck President Obama have the guts to pardon Clinton prospectively and see the remains of his tattered legacy dissolve into history?

Will House Speaker Paul Ryan, facing a return to the back benches, wonder if he should have run for president this year after all?

And when Trump takes office, will he keep to his ambitious 100-day agenda of yanking trade agreements, canceling executive orders, starting deportations of undocumented immigrants who commit crimes, and restricting immigration from terror-prone countries — or will he temporize?

It will be a fiasco of epic proportions.

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