LEUTZE: From Benghazi to emails, Clintons intent matters

Let me start by saying that I wish that Hillary Clinton were more candid when she answers questions about her actions or lack thereof. There is no arguing that she is often defensive, evasive and overly legalist. Like a gift bestowed by a bad fairy, to not tell the whole truth is in her nature. Yale Law School probably saw in her a “natural.” As legal scholar Peter Henning has noted, “Finding the truth is the object of the judicial system, but it is not the governing principle of the lawyer.”Now to another fact of legal, and in this case, practical life. To find someone guilty of many crimes there must be a proven “intent.” The question is not just whether something happened or not, but whether there was an intent to harm.Let’s take the two things the Republicans are the most persistent in pursuing in regard to Hillary: Benghazi and her private email server.On the evening of Sept. 11, 2012, a mob attacked the American consulate (not embassy) at Benghazi, Libya. In the resulting gunfire and torching of the consulate and nearby base, four Americans were killed.This was a tragedy that compounded an awkward situation. The base was a highly classified CIA base whose full purpose is not known to this day. How to discuss the events of Sept. 11, 2012 without compromising a national security secret? Remember the “bodyguard of lies.” At a minimum the situation invited obfuscation or dissembling. However, my point is something different — does anyone think Hillary intended to have our ambassador killed? What in the world would she had to gain from that? She has testified before Congress that she had no such intent — however, in her later “clarifications” she has failed to drive the point home.Next, to her State Department email server controversy. Does anyone think she intended to make classified information hackable? Why would she? What she did was careless, foolish, amateurish, but not intentional criminality. This does not mean that in this case she is guiltless. Returning to the original point — Hillary is incapable of telling the whole truth. We’ve known this for a long time. In 1996 William Safire wrote: “Americans of all political persuasions are coming to the sad realization that our First Lady… is a congenital liar.”Now the partisan group Judicial Watch, a virtual adjunct of the Republican National Committee, has discovered a “new trove” of emails they want handed over to Congress. These emails have been read by the FBI and are covered by Director Comey’s assessment of Clinton’s guilt or innocence. Like Churchill said about continued bombing of London, it only made the “rubble bounce.” Americans have had a long time to get used to Clinton’s character flaws and, as Bernie Sanders said, they don’t seem to give a damn. Maybe they should, but when matched up with a less experienced congenital liar, Hillary still wins.It is quite an act, as Kathleen Parker has recently written: “like a gymnast on a balance beam, she manages to stay within the narrow parameters of lawfulness….”There is no reason to believe she is going to be any less successful now than she has been for the last 40 years. So much for the chants of “lock her up.”