Hillary Clinton Says Trump's Special Counsel Threat Could Politicize The Justice Department
On Wednesday, following the announcement that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is considering assigning a special counsel to investigate accusations that Hillary Clinton's supposed involvement in the Uranium One deal, Clinton described the threat as an "abuse of power." In an interview with Mother Jones, Clinton directly confronted the idea, which she said, if carried out, would oppose the American values that she promoted when she was Secretary of State.
"I regret deeply that This appears to be the politicization of the justice department and our justice system," Clinton told Mother Jones. Her response, above all, was confident and direct:
If they send a signal that we’re going to be like some dictatorship, like some authoritarian regime, where political opponents are going to be unfairly, fraudulently investigated, that rips at the fabric of the contract we have, that we can trust our justice system.
The so-called Uranium One "scandal" that would be investigated has, as Clinton pointed out in the interview, largely been debunked as a conspiracy theory. In sum, it alleges that there was a link between donations to the Clinton Foundation and the eventual approval of a deal by the State Department for the sale of a mining company to Rosatom, Russia’s nuclear energy agency.
But as Fox News's Shepard Smith explained in his show on Wednesday, it's an impossible accusation to levy because Clinton could never have unilaterally made the decision to allow for the sale of the company. The board that evaluates foreign investments that could potentially have national security implications, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, CFIUS, voted unanimously to pass the deal. Even if Hillary Clinton were somehow acting in response to donations to her foundation, it would be systematically impossible for her to have that much sway over the decision.
"It is nothing but a false charge that the Trump administration is trying to drum up in order to avoid attention being directed at them," Clinton said to Mother Jones. She went on to explain that proposing an investigation of this nature could complicate the federal government's reputation both domestically and internationally:
Moving into the political realm is something that we've never seen, and it will be incredibly demoralizing to people who have served in the Justice Department, under both Republicans and Democrats, because they know better. But it will also send a terrible signal to our country and the world that somehow we are giving up on the kind of values that we used to live by and that we used to promote worldwide.
Clinton admit that it was difficult to try to take herself out of her analysis of the proposal, "because it's so personally offensive that they would do this." But the idea that the Justice Department would investigate an accusation that has been disproven several times over was not just insulting to her personally, but also to the ethos of the American justice system at large:
"This is such an abuse of power and it goes right at the rule of law. As Secretary of State, I went around the world bragging about America's rule of law, [saying] that we were a nation of laws, not of men, and that the justice system was blind. And obviously, we were proud of that, but we had to always be vigilant that it remains so."
Despite what she sees at stake, however, Clinton took heed in believing that she engaged in no wrongdoing. When asked if she was worried about the prospect of being investigated, she said that she wasn't. "I'm not concerned because I know that there's no basis to it," Clinton explained. "I regret if they do it because it will be such a disastrous step into politicizing the justice system."