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Should Hillary Clinton Be Sent to the White House – or The Big House?

This is a syndicated repost published with the permission of Money Morning. To view original, click here. Opinions herein are not those of the Wall Street Examiner or Lee Adler. Reposting does not imply endorsement. The information presented is for educational or entertainment purposes and is not individual investment advice.

So far the seriousness of the Hillary Clinton email scandal depends on where you sit on the political spectrum.

Democrats insist there’s nothing to the email scandal. They maintain that Republicans and conservative news outlets have fabricated the controversy in an attempt to derail the former secretary Electionof state’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Hillary Clinton has repeatedly said she followed all the proper procedures and violated no laws, rules, or guidelines – at least those that were in place when she became the secretary of state.

She remains the hands-down favorite to be the 2016 Democratic nominee for President of the United States.

But Republicans and conservative groups say that Clinton very likely violated at least two federal laws regarding the illegal storage and transmission of classified information.

They believe she should be prosecuted, fined, and possibly even jailed.

For anyone in the middle, the Clinton email scandal is so much confusing noise. It’s tempting to ignore it. But genuine concerns underlie all the political grandstanding.

Here’s why this scandal has a real chance to derail Clinton’s presidential run…

Breaking Down the Hillary Clinton Email Scandal

This is what we know for sure:

For reasons of “convenience,” Clinton set up a private email server in her home back in 2008, when she assumed the post of secretary of state. She used that email address for government business as well as personal messages.

It’s true that at that time, she was allowed to use a private server for government email, although U.S. State Department IT personnel discouraged it.

It’s important to note that even the official State Department email system which Clinton declined to use is not cleared for classified material. Anything classified needs to go through separate, secure systems.

Hillary Clinton has said repeatedly that she “never sent nor received any email that was marked ‘classified.'”

So far the State Department has retroactively classified 188 emails from among the thousands she’s handed over. But like she says, they weren’t classified at the time.

Contrary to Democratic claims that only Republicans are making a big deal out of this, mainstream news outlets like The New York Times are covering it seriously.

And both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Justice Department have opened investigations into the Clinton email server situation.

They’re trying to figure out if the server was indeed secure, what classified information it may have held, and the extent of the damage the release of such classified information has had on national security.

This is where things start to get dicey…

Why the Email Scandal Is a Real Threat to Hillary Clinton

Clinton insists that she is not under investigation. But the email server was her property, kept in her private home.

“It’s definitely a criminal probe,” a government source told the New York Post. “I’m not sure why they’re not calling it a criminal probe.”

The reason the Clinton email scandal refuses to go away is that the more information comes to light, the more it appears Hillary Clinton did break some federal laws.

For example, recall that Clinton’s key defense is that even if some emails were labeled classified later, they weren’t marked as such “at the time.”

But some of these emails were so sensitive that Clinton – a former U.S. Senator in addition to being secretary of state – would have had to have known the information was classified, regardless of whether anyone had marked it as such.

Yesterday (Monday), The New York Times reported that an intelligence review of Clinton’s emails by the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency concluded that two emails were “Top Secret” when sent to her.

Top Secret is the designation for the most sensitive materials, ranking above “Secret” and “Confidential.”

And at least six emails that Clinton both received and sent herself contained information pertaining to foreign governments, which intelligence experts refer to as “born classified.”

Those emails, with most or all of the messages blocked out, are among those that the State Department has released to the public.

Under federal law, it’s the nature of the material that matters, not how it’s marked.

If that’s how the FBI and Justice Department investigators see it, Clinton could face several charges.

What Hillary Clinton Did That May Have Broken the Law

Hillary Clinton may have violated the law in several ways:

  • Having classified information in an unauthorized location.
  • Transmitting classified information to unauthorized parties (as Clinton did with friend and personal advisor Sidney Blumenthal).
  • Transmitting classified information over an unsecured, unclassified system.

How serious this gets all depends on what the investigators decide. Some violations are misdemeanors, some are felonies.

If no charges emerge, Clinton emerges with just a few bruises.

Clinton has enough advantages – a robust campaign infrastructure, the ability to raise massive amounts of cash, and the lack of a credible challenger to ensure that she’ll become the Democratic nominee.

The Clinton email scandal will, however, provide plenty of material for Republican campaign ads in the general election.

Even if she gets charged with felonies, prison is extremely unlikely. The Clintons are simply too rich and powerful for that to happen.

But even a single misdemeanor charge from either the FBI or the Justice Department would almost surely end her presidential hopes. Who’s going to vote for a candidate charged with a federal crime?

It would be an unprecedented development in a U.S. presidential campaign. It would leave the Democrats in disarray and make a GOP victory in November 2016 far easier.

Can you say President Trump?

The Bottom Line: It’s true that Republicans and conservative pundits have hyped up the Hillary Clinton email scandal. But separate investigations by both the FBI and the Justice Department suggest she very well could have broken federal laws. If either agency brings charges, her bid for the presidency is over.

Donald Trump’s Economic Plan: The improbable front-runner on the Republican side has started to talk more policy of late. And he’s come out with a five-part economic plan designed to please middle class America, if not GOP ideologues. Here’s what Trump would do if elected president…

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The post Should Hillary Clinton Be Sent to the White House – or Prison? appeared first on Money Morning. Reposted with permission.

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