In Clinton Case, Obama Administration Nullifies 6 Criminal Laws

Eric Zuesse

When the Obama Administration, on July 5th, ruled that in regard to Hillary Clinton’s privatized email system while she was Secretary of State, “Our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case” to a grand jury, because “We cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges,” they ignored the following six U.S. criminal laws, each of which undeniably describes very well what she did:


18 U.S. Code § 2232 — Destruction or removal of property to prevent seizure

(a) Destruction or Removal of Property To Prevent Seizure

Whoever, before, during, or after any search for or seizure of property by any person authorized to make such search or seizure, knowingly destroys, damages, wastes, disposes of, transfers, or otherwise takes any action, or knowingly attempts to destroy, damage, waste, dispose of, transfer, or otherwise take any action, for the purpose of preventing or impairing the Government’s lawful authority to take such property into its custody or control or to continue holding such property under its lawful custody and control, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.

(b) Impairment of In Rem Jurisdiction

Whoever, knowing that property is subject to the in rem jurisdiction of a United States court for purposes of civil forfeiture under Federal law, knowingly and without authority from that court, destroys, damages, wastes, disposes of, transfers, or otherwise takes any action, or knowingly attempts to destroy, damage, waste, dispose of, transfer, or otherwise take any action, for the purpose of impairing or defeating the court’s continuing in rem jurisdiction over the property, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.


18 U.S. Code § 1512 — Tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant

(c) Whoever corruptly

(1) alters, destroys, mutilates, or conceals a record, document, or other object, or attempts to do so, with the intent to impair the object’s integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding; or

(2) otherwise obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so,

shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.


18 U.S. Code § 1519 — Destruction, alteration, or falsification of records in Federal investigations and bankruptcy

Whoever knowingly alters, destroys, mutilates, conceals, covers up, falsifies, or makes a false entry in any record, document, or tangible object with the intent to impede, obstruct, or influence the investigation or proper administration of any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of the United States or any case filed under title 11, or in relation to or contemplation of any such matter or case, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.


18 U.S. Code § 2071 — Concealment, removal, or mutilation generally

(a) Whoever willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, or destroys, or attempts to do so, or, with intent to do so takes and carries away any record, proceeding, map, book, paper, document, or other thing, filed or deposited with any clerk or officer of any court of the United States, or in any public office, or with any judicial or public officer of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

(b) Whoever, having the custody of any such record, proceeding, map, book, document, paper, or other thing, willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies, or destroys the same, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both; and shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States. As used in this subsection, the term “office” does not include the office held by any person as a retired officer of the Armed Forces of the United States.


18 U.S. Code § 641 — Public money, property or records 

Whoever embezzles, steals, purloins, or knowingly converts to his use, or the use of another, or without authority, sells, conveys or disposes of any record, voucher, money, or thing of value of the United States or of any department or agency thereof, or any property made or being made under contract for the United States or any department or agency thereof, …

Shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than ten years or both. …


18 U.S. Code § 793 — Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information …

(f) Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, or (2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer —  

Shall be fined not more than $10, 000 or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both. 

(g) If two or more persons conspire to violate any of the foregoing provisions of this section, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each of the parties to such conspiracy, shall be subject to the punishment provided for the offense which is the object of such conspiracy. 


Those laws are consequently null and void, by Executive action. When Congress (which is supposed to be the Legislative branch of the government) passed those laws, what were they describing, if not this? Of course, they did describe there what Clinton has, in fact, done.

If we are a nation “of laws, not of men” (as that old basic description of democracy phrased it), then Ms. Clinton will be prosecuted, at least through the grand jury stage, on (at least) those grounds. The decision regarding her innocence or guilt will be made by jurors (first by the grand jurors, of course, and if they find there to be a case, then by a trial jury), not by the broader public — and also not by the nation’s Executive: the President and his appointed Administration. That is what it means for a government to be a functioning democracy. Any government which violates this principle — that it is “of laws, not of men [including women]” — is not functioning as a democracy: it’s something else. 

In addition to these criminal laws, there are also federal regulations against these matters, but violations merely of federal regulations (such as these) are far less serious than are actions that violate also federal criminal laws (such as the six laws that are listed above).

She isn’t even being sanctioned for the violations of the State Department’s own regulations (or “rules”).

This is not a partisan issue. I was until recently an active Democrat, and I joined with millions of other Democrats who expressed condemnation when George W. Bush was allowed to get away with many severe crimes (such as this) while he was in office; and one of the reasons why I was trying to find someone to contest against President Obama in Democratic primaries for the 2012 Democratic Presidential nomination was that Obama had refused to prosecute his predecessor’s crimes against this nation. But now this same Obama is nullifying at least these six laws in order to win as his successor Hillary Clinton, who surely will not prosecute Obama for his many crimes (such as this and this) while he has been leading this nation and destroying our democracy.

I parted company from the Democratic Party when I gave up on both Parties in 2012 as they and the government they operate have been since at least 1980 — not at all democratic, but instead aristocratic: holding some persons to be above the law (that researcher there called the U.S. an “oligarchy,” which is simply another word for the same thing — rule by the top wealth-holders, not by the public: not a “democracy”).

There can be no excuse for Obama’s depriving the public, via a grand jury decision, of the right to determine whether a full court case should be pursued in order to determine in a jury trial whether Hillary Clinton’s email system constituted a crime (or several crimes) under U.S. laws. The Obama Administration’s ‘finding’ that “clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information” would need to have been proven, in order for her to have been prosecuted under any U.S. criminal law, is a flagrant lie: none of the above six U.S. criminal laws requires that, but the only way to determine whether even that description (“clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information”) also applies to Clinton would be to go through a grand jury (presenting the above-cited six laws) and then to a jury case (to try her on those plus possibly also the charge that there was “clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information”). But now, those six laws are effectively gone: anyone who in the future would be charged with violating any one of those six laws could reasonably cite the precedent that Ms. Clinton was not even charged, much less prosecuted, for actions which clearly fit the description provided in each one of those U.S. criminal laws. Anyone in the future who would be charged under any one of these six laws could prove discriminatory enforcement against himself or herself. (In the particular case discussed there, discriminatory enforcement was ruled not to have existed because the enforcement of the criminal law involved was judged to have been random enforcement, but this condition would certainly not apply in Clinton’s case, it was clearly “purposeful discrimination” in her favor, and therefore enforcement of the law against anyone else, where in Clinton’s case she wasn’t even charged — much less prosecuted — for that offense, would certainly constitute discriminatory enforcement.) So: that’s the end of these six criminal laws. The U.S. President effectively nullified those laws, which were duly passed by Congress and signed into law by prior Presidents 

And that’s the end, the clear termination, of a governemnt “of laws, not of men”.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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  • MrLiberty

    “Nullification” here applies ONLY in this case. When a peon/slave like you or I do something like this, the full weight and violence of the federal prosecution system will be brought down upon the victim.

    It is important to understand that serious crimes are committed by vast numbers of people in political office. Nothing is ever done, even if the “opposition” party (truly the two parties work together against us and provide no real ‘opposition’) is in power, charges are never brought. The main reason is that both major parties know that the balance of power will eventually shift, THEIR president, vice-president, Sec. of State, Atty. General, etc. will likely commit the same or far worse crimes while in office, and setting a precedent by bringing charges of impeachment or other serious federal charges might establish in the minds of the public that the anointed in government are expected to obey the same laws that the riff-raff tax slaves are forced to obey. And that just wouldn’t be good for their future and would undermine all the propaganda that 12 years of government monopoly schooling have achieved in the minds of the citizenry.

  • Bob Astud

    FDR’s words about presidential elections in the US are the rule of the game today:


    Mrs. Clinton has already been SELECTED to become the next president of the United States, and the ignorant and gullible masses in America have no say on this process.

    • clarioncaller

      I will ONLY vote for the candidate running for president under the ‘George Carlin Party’.

  • Demonocracy

    Welcome to the American aristocracy. We need Trump to stop this country from becoming a Banana Republic.

    ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ஜ۩☆۩ஜ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ ★☆★☆★ P R E S I D E N T • T R U M P • 2016 ★☆★☆★ ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ஜ۩☆۩ஜ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬         Arrest Hillary, Obama, Lynch for treason NOW                      TREASON ABOUNDS IN DC!            DEMAND COMEY’S RESIGNATION NOW!

  • cstahnke

    This would seem to be the case but really such statutes depend on the whim of law-enforcement, prosecutors and judges. We don’t have a system of Justice that goes by the letter of the law unless the case is litigated by attorneys of equal power and skill. Unknown to those who have not been around the law, is that these guys all know each other and cover for each other. FBI covers for police, police covers for FBI and all cover for prosecutors and judges that go along to get along. There is no system of law in this country that is constant–each case is different. If you have no political power you are shit out of luck.

    Many people were confused about why the Justice Department did not prosecute banksters for the obvious criminal fraud perpetuated by thousands of people in the banking and real estate business during the financial crisis–why didn’t they bother to prosecute such clear cut and dried cases. Because prosecutors knew the criminals who run Wall Street had greater resources than the Justice Dept. professionals and would pick to pieces any case not just on the merits of the case but because they were tightly “in” with the judges who would try the cases and the prosecutors would face personal threats and be made offers they would never be able to refuse. Americans don’t seem to understand or want to understand power and how it works–those of us familiar with the criminal street do understand how power works.

    Even if Clinton were found to have slaughtered and eaten babies they would not have touched her. Everyone she has a connection with would have their operatives comb through every agent, every prosecutor’s every grand juror’s background places they go, schools their kids go to, places of work of spouses and that’s just a start. When you have strange people following you, you suddenly lose money through identity theft or any of a thousand different tricks that professionals have in this area you know that nothing can be done. The FBI knew this and they persisted in the investigation anyway because they felt that was the best they could do and it was the best they could do even if they were 100% honest which they are not.

  • Feudal Peasant

    The old fashioned word “Corruption” in not valid any more. The only word describing this fiasco is PATHOCRACY.

  • tom

    A very clear and compelling case. However, it overlooks one thing: there has never been a government “of laws, not men”. That has never been anything but a ringing PR slogan. The rich and powerful have always been above the law, and the office of chief prosecutor (or Attorney General) is only one of the “cut-outs” deliberately designed into the system to ensure that the law never catches the wrong people. In the USA, as in the UK and other “democracies”, the chief prosecutor is a member of the government – but also has the final decision on whether to prosecute any particular case. Ergo, the government can decide whether the justice system will be allowed to do its work – or not.

    A similar situation arose in the Jean Charles de Menezes case in the UK. De Menezes was going peacefully about his lawful business – commuting to work on the London underground (subway) – when he was shot dead by a fusillade of bullets from a gang of government thugs. However, the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to prosecute, as it deemed a prosecution unlikely to succeed.

    Given such arbitrary administrative decisions, which completely short-circuit the justice system, one wonders what is the point of having trials at all. But of course they are perfectly OK for you and me – just not the special people.