It’s been a very bad week for the White House, and for Hillary Clinton. Earlier this week, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest was caught red-handed leaving something out of a briefing transcript because it was allegedly “inaudible,” and Earnest ended the week by admitting that Hillary Clinton is under “criminal investigation” despite protestations to the contrary by Hillary Clinton (and the Justice Department). In the thick of this latest bombshell was Fox News correspondent James Rosen, who broke the admission loose from Earnest at Thursday’s briefing:
And that’s why the President, when discussing this issue, in each stage has reiterated his commitment to this principle — that any criminal investigation should be conducted independent of any sort of political interference and that people should be treated the same way before the law, regardless of their political influence, regardless of their political party, regardless of their political stature, and regardless of what political figure has endorsed them.
As you can see, Earnest clearly included the Emailgate probe in the subset of things that are included in “any criminal investigation,” a bombshell that rocked the conservative media and drew a triumphant press release from the Republican National Committee.
Just like clockwork, though, the White House went into damage control mode, somehow enlisting another White House reporter to extend Earnest a rope ladder at Friday’s briefing. The Hill’s Justin Sink gave Earnest the perfect trap door when he asked him if he “misspoke” when he said “criminal investigation.” In a stunning move, Earnest openly thanked Sink for the favor:
Justin Sink: But you don’t know whether or not this is a criminal inquiry?
MR. EARNEST: I would have no insight into that because I’m not getting any sort of briefings from the Department of Justice about that ongoing investigation. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to clarify.
Gee, wonder who now has a cushy job waiting for him at the Obama Presidential Library?
Unfortunately for Earnest, this poor attempt at a walkback will not save Secretary Clinton from the legal jeopardy that the White House has now brought down upon her, as any student of the law will tell you that the No Backsies Doctrine is applicable here, as codified in legal precedents as varied as Ino Yewar v. Waatamaye and Bubblegum Gravyhead v. United States Navy. The only thing that could save her now would be unreleased WhiteHouse.gov video showing Earnest with his fingers crossed, as Rosen clearly never indicated “no fingies.”
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