GOP Presidential contender Donald Trump was so happy he couldn't jump high enough when Bill Clinton met briefly with Attorney General Loretta Lynch. This supposedly was irrefutable proof that Lynch, and by extension President Obama, and Hillary Clinton, were in cahoots to cook the books on the FBI and Justice Department probe into Hillary's alleged misuse of State Department related emails. Trump got what he wanted; namely much GOP lambasting of Bill for alleged deal-making to scuttle the probe, the quick recusal of Lynch from any direct hand in the probe, much chatter that Clinton was shady and a liar, and much media attention to the meeting that Hillary had with the FBI.
The three-hour meeting at FBI headquarters in Washington D.C. was the icing on the attack Hillary cake. It supposedly was even more proof that Clinton was in real hot water, and maybe, just maybe, there could actually be charges brought against her.
There, of course, won't be. For the simple fact that's been a fact from the moment the whiff of scandal arose about Clinton's use of a private server to read and send State Department related emails, there was no wrong doing involved. There was never a shred of evidence that Clinton jeopardized national security by the use of her private server. The protocols about the use of a private email server to conduct official government business were tightened after Clinton's state Department tenure.
However, there is indeed some momentary political fall-out from Bill's meeting with Lynch.
The fact that Clinton did meet with Lynch at all, no matter what the circumstances and no matter that there wasn't a word spoken about the probe, gave Trump and the GOP more ammunition to plant the seed even deeper in the general public that the Clintons are the personification of sleaze, and that President Obama is anything but a neutral arbiter in the Justice Department probe. That in turn reinforced the very widespread notion that Clinton is prone to shade the truth about embarrassing or compromising issues. This all comes on top of incessant polls that practically join Hillary at the hip with Trump as the two presidential candidates who have the highest negatives in living presidential memory. The presidential campaign is fast getting the moniker of the race to the bottom and the impression that if Clinton wins it won't be about her sterling political competence, qualities, leadership, experience and acumen, just that fewer people held their noses about her than Trump.
The Bill-Lynch meeting was also a case of horrible timing. It came days after the report on the Benghazi debacle that found that Clinton had no culpability in and for the attack. This seemed to presage the expectation that the same finding would be made with the email flap. The probe would find nothing on Clinton. Bill's meeting with Lynch hitting the news cycle hard drowned that notion out at least for the moment.
Then there's the recent polls. Trump's stock has been going South in most polls. And virtually every time he lets fly a fresh zinger about firing TSA employees with hijabs, slandering a Mexican judge, or tweeting with an anti-Semitic construed emblem about Hillary, this knocks another point or two off his popularity. This makes the anti-Trump panic among many GOP party regulars and potential donors and handlers soar higher. So, for the moment, Bill's meeting and the FBI interview seemed to offer welcome pause in the downhill run for Trump.
The single slender thread that Trump clings to about the email probe is that Clinton is indicted in the days before the election. This won't happen. But this won't stop Trump from dropping strong hints every chance he gets that it should happen and if it doesn't he'll circle back and plop the blame for this on the alleged collusion to kill charges by variously, Bill, Hillary, Obama and Lynch.
The great pity is that the continued GOP, media and public obsession with Clinton's emails at times blur, ignore and flat out dodge any real talk about tax reform job growth and the economy, health care, wealth and income inequality, civil rights, environmental concerns and criminal justice reforms. These are the issues that any election should be about, and what the media and the public should care about.
Bernie Sanders famously said at one of the early debates with Clinton that he was sick and tired of hearing about the damn emails and said the only thing that should be on the table for debate and discussion were the real issues. He got loud cheers from the mostly Democratic audience for telling the truth. There was never much chance though that the email scandal would fade to the non-issue that it is and should be. But Bill notwithstanding, whenever it's dredged up it's still much ado about nothing.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is the author of Let's Stop Denying Made in America Terrorism, (Amazon Kindle) He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on Radio One. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles and the Pacifica Network.