You thought I was going to write, “guilty as charged,” but that’s three words. Somewhere in the dark recesses of Hillary Clinton’s and Donald Trump’s minds, those words probably reside beyond the scope of conscious thought. After two years of lying about her email scandal, Hillary is no closer to jail than her licentious partner in crime for the past three decades.
No, the two near-septuagenarians (Trump will be 70 on Tuesday) don’t fear courtrooms, which to both of them are familiar, even comforting places where they’ve whiled away many an hour. They fear the two words “close examination.”
Close examination, as in people looking at their activities, their past, and their motivations in an organized, meticulous way. The way that only newspaper staffs, investigative journalists, and opposition lawyers tend to do.
The New York Times recently did this, post-holing into Trump’s history in Atlantic City. The deeper they dug, the more raw sewage they encountered. From the very beginning, Trump was disingenuous with–well, everyone. He told the New Jersey Casino Control Commission he wasn’t going to under-finance his casinos, and that he abhorred junk-bonds, then promptly went out and sold junk-bonds.
When an analyst called out his play for the Trump Taj Mahal as near-impossible, Trump had the man fired (the man, Marvin B. Roffman, later successfully sued his former employer for wrongful termination, and also won an undisclosed settlement with Trump).
Nothing the Times found could possibly lead one to believe that Trump is an honest, ethical, or particularly good businessman. What it does paint is the picture of a corporate rapist, who makes personal guarantees, then shifts that liability to yet-another-company he creates when the loans go sour. Then he shafts those investors by making “gross and unjustified” sweetheart deals to sell the distressed assets.
He invests more in lawyers to clean up the messes (along with strict nondisclosures) than he does in sound business practice. The facts, upon close examination, show that Trump was run out of Atlantic City on a rail after doing severe damage to his own properties by overbuilding then raiding his own companies and walking off with the cash.
Meanwhile, Harrah’s and other casino operators make far more profit than Trump’s operations (maybe because they make good business decisions). Harrah’s was a one-time Atlantic City partner of Trump’s in the 1980’s.
“It wasn’t a well-designed partnership,” said Philip G. Satre, the retired chairman of Harrah’s. “We were a big company with an institutional approach to running a business, and he was a real estate entrepreneur who kind of shot from the hip.”
This pattern of deception, self-interest, and legal action was well documented by former NYT reporter Timothy O’Brien in his 2007 book “TrumpNation: The Art of Being The Donald.” That book got O’Brien mired in a Trump lawsuit for years (where Trump himself made some stunning admissions on the stand).
Any of the admissions Trump has made, now or in the past, would have sunk other candidates months ago. Look at what happened to Herman Cain in 2012 (Cain supports Trump now).
But if there’s anyone who has avoided her own undoing more than Trump, it’s Clinton. She’s literally protected by the most powerful people in the world, starting with the President of the United States.
With tens of thousands of her emails published, showing a complete disregard for national security and the rules for dealing with classified material, it’s unbelievable that she is the presumptive Democratic nominee.
The Washington Post made a close examination of some of those emails, as did the State Department inspector general.
On March 11, 2011, an assistant secretary sent a memorandum on cybersecurity threats directly to Ms. Clinton, noting a “dramatic increase” in attempts to compromise personal email accounts of senior department officials, possibly for spying or blackmail. That didn’t stop Ms. Clinton either. There were also numerous notifications that some emails (but not all) are considered federal records under the law and that she should print and file those in her office and, before leaving office, surrender all emails dealing with department business. She did so only about two years later, in December 2014.
Clinton is well practiced at cover-ups. In 1973, she covered up the fact that she failed the Washington, D.C. bar exam (which journalist Carl Bernstein noted was “hardly one of the toughest in the nation,” although “far more difficult than the Arkansas exam.”). Apparently Clinton, despite her Yale law degree, was more concerned with her political ticket to fame (namely, Bill), than studying for the bar.
The press is also protecting Clinton, or most of it at least. While Trump gives an average of one press conference a week, Clinton averages two a year. And when she finally has the first one in six months, they fawn over her as if she’s Queen Elizabeth at her 90th birthday celebration. CNN’s Jake Tapper called the questions “ridiculously sycophantic.”
I honestly hope that between now and late July, enough close examination will be done with both of these truth vampires to pound a stake into at least one of them. Otherwise 2016 is going to be the worst train wreck in electoral history. It will only be topped by the horror of the next four years.