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Cal Thomas: Meet the Houdinis

How do they do it? I am not the first to compare the Clintons to Harry Houdini, the great magician and escape artist, but Bill and Hillary make him look like a rank amateur.

No law seems to touch them. No regulation seems to control them. No prosecutor wants to take the risk of holding either Clinton accountable for anything. OK, Bill was impeached by a Republican House, but not convicted in the Senate.

The latest escape for Hillary involves former FBI Director James Comey and the law governing classified materials. The Hill newspaper’s John Solomon has obtained an early draft of Comey’s statement about Hillary’s mishandling of classified documents on her email account.

Initially, Comey was going to charge her with being “grossly negligent,” a violation of the law which subjects one to prison and fines. In a public statement that sounded like an indictment, Comey changed his description of her actions to “extremely careless,” a distinction without a difference, but which he said was not an indictable offense because she didn’t intend to violate the law.

About Comey’s rationale for changing the words in his draft memo, the public does not yet know, but Comey testified before a Senate committee that it made him “mildly nauseous” when he considered the FBI’s impact on the election.

Gregg Jarrett, an attorney who frequently offers legal opinions on the Fox News, has been keeping track of Hillary Clinton’s skirting of the laws and escapes from its penalties.

Here is his account of recent examples of what might be a twist on the song “I Fought the Law (And the Law Won).” In her case, Hillary fought the law and bested it.

Speaking about a deal that allegedly allowed for the sale of some U.S. uranium to the Russians via a Canadian, who heavily contributed to Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation, then receiving $500,000 for a speech in Moscow (a sale some other commentators say didn’t occur), Jarrett says, “…it’s a crime to use a public office to confer a benefit to a foreign government in exchange for money … it can be prosecuted under a variety of anti-corruption laws passed by Congress, including the federal bribery statute (18 USC 201-b), the federal gratuity statute (18 USC 201-c), the mail fraud statute (18 USC 1341), the wire fraud statute (18 USC 1343), the program bribery statute (18 USC 666) and the Travel Act (18 USC 1952).”

As for the anti-Trump Russian dossier, which a Republican operative initially paid for and Democrats, including those associated with the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee took over and continued to pay for, Jarrett says it’s a violation of federal law to pay foreign nationals to impact a U.S. political campaign (52 USC 30121), and it’s also a violation to file a false or misleading campaign report (52 USC 30101). He said it appears the Clinton campaign did just that by financing the dossier through middlemen.

“I’ve been hearing Democrats say, ‘Oh, those are just civil penalties,’” says Jarrett. “They are not. The government produces a book — it’s 319 pages — outlining the federal election laws and all those who have been criminally prosecuted and ended up in prison.”

How does Hillary Clinton get away with it? Jarrett says: “The Clintons are escape artists that would make Houdini proud. Whenever they are caught dangling their feet over the edge of illegality, they usually dummy up.”

When Hillary Clinton spoke with FBI investigators about her private email server, she said, “I cannot recall” 39 times.

If the Justice Department refuses to appoint a special counsel to hold Hillary accountable under the laws the rest of us can’t escape, and if Robert Mueller won’t do it, then Congress should continue with its own investigations.

We often hear “no one is above the law.” That has never applied to the Clintons.

Email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribpub.com.

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