Column: The Obama administration starts work to save Clinton

Friendlies at the Justice Department are lowering expectations that Hillary Clinton is in legal jeopardy over her email setup.
Friendlies at the Justice Department are lowering expectations that Hillary Clinton is in legal jeopardy over her email setup.
Published June 13, 2016

In ways subtle and in some ways not so subtle, the Obama administration is beginning to matter-of-factly do what it can to help Hillary Clinton be elected president. Its members are beginning to circle the wagons around Clinton.

Beyond their partisan bias, perhaps many in the administration are motivated by a desire to stay in government or even get promoted if Clinton is elected. Bureaucrats and political appointees alike may be looking for ways to demonstrate their loyalty and value. They hope their assistance with stonewalling and cover-ups or the deflection of bothersome questions from the media and Congress will be noticed by the Clinton command and remembered and rewarded when the time comes. No doubt some in the Empire have been telegraphing the notion that such assistance will be "appreciated."

I've seen a couple of instances in the past week or so when this maneuvering appeared to be on display.

First is the remarkable story of Rajiv K. Fernando, a Chicago securities trader and big Clinton Foundation donor who was appointed to the distinguished International Security Advisory Board, a very sensitive State Department board that advises the secretary of state on arms control issues. Fernando was reportedly placed on the board at the insistence of Hillary Clinton, despite not having any applicable credentials — and when ABC News reporters started to question why he was on the board, no one at the State Department could defend the decision, and Fernando then abruptly resigned and stayed quiet.

Yet last week, when asked again why then-Secretary Clinton had placed Fernando on the board in the first place, the State Department issued a deadpan statement saying that the membership of the board was supposed to include "a balance of backgrounds and points of view." Really? That's it? So why was Fernando appointed, and why did he quit? There's a story here!

Remarkably, this doesn't appear to be big news. Forget outrage; where's the inquiry? The media seem to have lost their bloodhound instinct. They will obsess over this or that tweet from Donald Trump, but nobody seems to be pushing to get to the bottom of all the many Clinton scandals, aside from asking a few superficial, face-saving questions.

Also, there were reports last week that Clinton's private server contained emails about CIA drone strike operations in Pakistan, information that raises a lot more questions about what other sensitive material may have been at risk as a result of Clinton's email setup. But despite these new revelations, no less than the Wall Street Journal writes that "several law-enforcement officials" have said "they don't expect any criminal charges to be filed as a result" of the FBI's investigation.

Obviously, friendlies in the Justice Department or elsewhere are beginning to slowly deflate the indictment balloon and diminish the expectation that Clinton is in legal jeopardy. And artfully, the Wall Street Journal, rather than the New York Times, is where this leak surfaced. The Journal is not traditionally viewed as a media source that routinely collaborates with the Clintons, so if they report that a Clinton indictment is beginning to seem less likely, it makes it easier for other media sources to accept it.

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As an extra bonus for the Clinton enablers and allies, Trump's outbursts and behavior have given the sanctimonious, self-serving liberals an excuse to believe there is a moral imperative to stop Trump from becoming president, so in protecting Clinton, they are serving the greater good. They think the ends justify the means. It's all very Clintonesque. But just because the liberals are convinced of the moral certainty of their cause doesn't mean the media should let themselves be manipulated.

There is certainly more to come. It will be interesting to see just how bold the actions of the Clintons and their agents in the administration become as we get closer and closer to November and whether the media will eventually sit up and take notice.

© 2016 Washington Post