If you were wondering how desperate the right is to derail the presidential candidacy of Hillary Clinton, here’s your answer: pretty damned desperate. The email “scandal” isn’t sticking. Benghazi isn’t sticking. So they have dredged up the 20-year-old Whitewater investigation for their newest line of attack.
Whitewater was an investigation into an Arkansas land deal that the Clintons were involved in, along with their friends James and Susan McDougal. Initially the investigation found that Bill Clinton had pressured a man named David Hale into making a loan that benefitted the Clintons. Special prosecutor Robert Fiske subpoenaed documents involving the deal, but was initially told that they were missing. When the documents were found, they cleared the Clintons of any wrongdoing. Of course, that didn’t satisfy the Republicans who were pushing the investigation, and the whole thing turned into the circus run by special prosecutor Ken Starr that resulted in the impeachment of President Clinton. After years of investigations and millions of dollars of taxpayer money, no charges relating to Whitewater were ever brought against either Bill or Hillary Clinton.
Let me say that again. After years of investigations and millions of dollars of taxpayer money, no charges relating to Whitewater were ever brought against either Bill or Hillary Clinton.
Now the right-wing group Judicial Watch has filed a lawsuit against the National Archives and Records Administration, seeking the release of draft indictments of Hillary Clinton that were drawn up over the Whitewater scandal. The National Review says that the National Archives found the documents last March, but they are keeping them under lock and key in order to protect the Clintons’ privacy.
In 1999, Hickman Ewing, Jr., the deputy independent counsel and prosecutor in the Whitewater investigation, said that he had circulated several draft indictments of Clinton in 1996, but they were eventually abandoned. Which of course is because Clinton had not been found to have committed any offenses warranting an indictment. But that isn’t satisfactory to Judicial Watch. The group’s president, Tom Fitton, had this to say in a statement:
Judicial Watch has confirmed the existence of draft indictments of Hillary Clinton for her lies and obstruction in the Whitewater bank-fraud investigation. The Obama administration is refusing to release these records out of concern for Hillary Clinton’s privacy. Hillary Clinton’s privacy cannot be allowed to trump the public’s interest in knowing more about whether she obstructed justice and lied to a federal grand jury.
Talk about beating the proverbial dead horse. Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon said,
Trey Gowdy’s discredited investigation is forcing right-wing groups to resort to the ultimate of dead horses from the Ken Starr era to keep up their partisan attacks on Hillary Clinton.
November 2016 is still a long way away, but you can add this to the evidence that should Hillary win the Democratic nomination, and then win the presidency, she is going to be in for the same rough treatment from the GOP that President Obama has endured. Republicans need to get a clue that things like this only play well among their rabid but rapidly shrinking base. Not only do they anger Democrats, they also anger independent voters, who they need if they have any hope of ever winning the White House.
One thing that will help Clinton is the fact that Republicans always overplay their hand. They seriously want the public to believe that every Democrat who wins the presidency is hopelessly evil and corrupt. In the case of Whitewater, they’re trying to sell a 20-year-old product that has long passed its shelf life in the scandal aisle. This will either fall completely on its face, or backfire, just as the other Clinton “scandals” have before it.
Featured image via Marc Nozell/Flickr