17:21 GMT19 October 2020
Listen Live
    Get short URL

    On 7 October, US President Donald Trump said he had declassified documents related to the Russia "collusion" investigation and the scandal with the e-mails of former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

    Professor Stephen B. Presser from the Northwestern University School of Law has shared his views on the recent announcement by the US president.

    Sputnik: President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced that he had authorised the full declassification of documents pertaining to the "Russia hoax" and the scandal surrounding former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s emails. How significant is this move as we head closer and closer to the election, and also the debates between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, as well as those between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris?

    Stephen Presser: Much depends on whether the documents reveal that Joe Biden was involved in any alleged conspiracy. So far that's unclear, except for the allegation that Biden came up with the plan to prosecute Trump's national security adviser, Michael Flynn, under a very obscure statute - known as the Logan Act, which forbids Americans to carry on diplomacy with foreign governments without the authorisation of the US government. 

    No one had actually been convicted under that Act for 200 years. Sidney Powell, Flynn's brilliant lawyer, has suggested that there would be further developments in the Flynn case soon, and right now, as you may know, the Flynn case is being held up by the judge in that case (who probably wants to stretch things out until after the election). That's a bit off-base for your question, but it's something to watch.

    Sputnik: To what extent might this revelation hurt the Democratic Party and first and foremost the current presidential nominee Joe Biden, as he was the VP in 2016?

    Stephen Presser: It certainly will not help Joe Biden, but much depends on whether there can be clear proof that he was involved in wrongdoing. It does appear that Barack Obama was, but except for the Flynn case, there have been few reports that Biden, as vice president, was involved in the "Russia Hoax".  On the other hand, Biden was designated, by Obama, as the man in charge of relations with Ukraine, and, as you know, there are allegations that his son was able to leverage that into a very lucrative business deal with Burisma. I would watch for more involving Ukraine in the coming couple of weeks.

    Sputnik: Recent reports have suggested the hype around the alleged Trump-Russia "collusion" was ramped up by former Secretary of State Clinton so that the public’s attention would be distracted from the controversy around her emails. Why was there a lack of response from the authorities, from the FBI, back then with regard to this “witch hunt” as President Donald Trump claims?

    Stephen Presser: The best explanation for that seems to be that Brennan, Clapper, and Comey, were all sympathetic to Hillary Clinton, and hostile to Donald Trump, and were inclined to do what they could to assure that she won in 2016 and he did not. Trump was, after all, as far as they were concerned, an outsider and a threat to the powerful federal bureaucracy, or "deep state".  Clinton, as a former secretary of state, who leveraged that position into increasing donations to her "Clinton Foundation", would have been regarded as an insider, and no threat to the bureaucracy.

    Sputnik: An FBI investigation concluded that while Clinton and her associates had acted in an “extremely careless manner” by using a private email server, no “reasonable prosecutor” would have laid criminal charges against her. However, Donald Trump has criticised federal prosecutors for not moving to make any arrests. How likely is it that we will indeed see some action from the authorities, or is this all just presidential election rhetoric?

    Stephen Presser: Actual prosecutors, such as former Mayor of New York Rudi Guiliani, vigorously disagreed with the analysis that no reasonable prosecutor would have brought charges against Mrs Clinton, but the likelihood of her actually being prosecuted at this late date is small.  It's quite a dilemma, because the prosecution would be perceived by many Americans as political payback by the Trump administration, and thus will probably not be undertaken.

    Nevertheless, it is likely that as these documents are declassified, Mrs Clinton's possible collection of felonies may be revealed, and while there may be some pressure from Republicans to initiate prosecutions, none are likely until after the election, if then. All of this is speculative, however, as we really don't yet have all the facts. Nevertheless, the "Russia Hoax" is, without a doubt, one of the most important stories of political scandal in American history, and it has not received the coverage it deserves in the mainstream media.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Donald Trump, Russia, United States
    Community standardsDiscussion