Now that the dust has started to settle on the blow-up of Bernie Sanders support of Hillary Clinton on Tuesday, July 12, the first 4-way polls have been released by Real Clear Politics.
The results are not pretty for either Trump or Clinton, but they show a real weakness on the battleground state level for team Clinton. In short she is losing or tied in every battleground state polled: Pennsylvania (2), Ohio (tied), and Florida.
It gets worse when you consider the variability in Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson's poll numbers, and Jill Stein too, of the Green Party, has a wide variation. This probably indicates unfamiliarity with either of these third party candidates and the likelihood that these numbers will change. Even in the General Election, where Clinton leads, her lead shrinks to just 3 points when Gary Johnson is excluded, but note that the total of Trump (39) + Clinton (42) = only 83, so certainly some of the remaining 17 percent is unrecorded Johnson votes, artificially excluded in the false 2-way match-up of the McClatchy/Marist poll. Clinton's lead is a healthier 5 points with Johnson and Stein included, but Stein has just started to profit from disenchanted Bernie supporters looking for somewhere else to go.
Many of them, perhaps most, will vote for Clinton, but many, perhaps most, may not, and many of them may go to Stein. Gary Johnosn, on the other hand, has been running against Trump for months, and in the last couple of months there hasn't been a credible Republican challenge to Trump from which votes could go to Johnson, meaning his poll numbers, to the extent they come from Trump, are less likely to go higher. Stein, on the other hand, might go to 10% easily now that Bernie has dropped out.
...or has he?
Speculation for why Sanders quit runs the gamut, from he was pressured, to he sold out, to he did what he said he would do, endorse the Democratic candidate against Trump. While the latter is certainly true technically, it may also be smart politics.
Clinton is now under investigation for perjury, a potentially disqualifying criminal charge. FBI Director James Comey got a tough dressing down by the Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee last Thursday. It may be much more difficult for him to absolve Clinton on charges of her lying to Congress (perjury) in the next round. Plus, straight-arrow Comey is being looked at more closely himself now.
For one thing, it turns out he is still a " Director of the Swiss mega-bank, HSBC Holdings, as a member of their Financial System Vulnerabilities Committee" according to former Libertarian presidential candidate and journalist Bill Still:
Still says " Wealthy HSBC clients have donated mightily to the Clinton Foundation, including convicted sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein...According to Rep. Matt Salmon of Arizona, Comey's connections to HSBC should be investigated by a special prosecutor. "
A U.S. Congressional report, entitled "Too Big to Jail: Inside the Obama Justice Department's Decision Not to Hold Wall Street Accountable," found officials in the U.K. applied the economic threat warning of "market turmoil" to ensure HSBC wouldn't be subject to prosecution for rather serious allegations.
Among a multitude of other findings, according to the report's Executive Summary [all emphasis has been added]:
Senior DOJ leadership, including Attorney General [Eric] Holder, overruled an internal recommendation by DOJ's Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section to prosecute HSBC because of DOJ leadership's concern that prosecuting the bank would have serious adverse consequences on the financial system ["]- Advertisement -
Attorney General Holder misled Congress concerning DOJ's reasons for not bringing a criminal prosecution against HSBC.
Chaired by U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, the Committee on Financial Services initiated a study in March 2013 concerning the Department of Justice's incongruent decision not to prosecute the London-based bank, nor its executives or employees, for laundering drug cartel money.
As Still reports, Comey's connection to the Clintons via the bank may be tenuous at best, but his membership in their Financial System Vulnerabilities Committee raises special concern. Here is how his position is listed in HSBC's own website:
Non-Executive Board Members
Rona Fairhead (Chairman), Chairman of the Group Risk Committee.
Sir Simon Robertson, Deputy Chairman and Senior Independent Director.- Advertisement -
Jim Comey, appointed a Director with effect from 4 March 2013; Mr. Comey is a Senior Research Scholar and Hertog Fellow on National Security Law at Columbia University Law School in New York. From 2010 to 2013 he was General Counsel of Bridgewater Associates, LP and, from 2005 to 2010, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of the Lockheed Martin Corporation. From 2003 to 2005, he served as United States Deputy Attorney General and was responsible for supervising the operations of the Department of Justice and chaired the President's Corporate Fraud Task Force. From 2002 to 2003, Mr. Comey was United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and supervised the prosecution of executives on fraud and securities related charges and created a specialised unit to prosecute international drug cartels.
He's been a "Director with effect" during the time he was FBI Director, creating at least the appearance of conflict of interest, and in the case of client donation and possible bank payments made to the Clinton Foundation from HSBC, there are even larger reasons to investigate possible collusion.
The committee is described thusly: