Back in the days of Dragnet (Sgt Joe Friday: the facts ma’am, just the facts) and Hawaii Five-0, destroying evidence meant tossing a gun in a lake or wiping a wine glass clean of fingerprints. Maybe even burning a set of bloody clothing or sheets. Today, destroying evidence generally means one thing: deleting e-mails or other electronic communication. There seems to be a lot of it going around of late. As Donnie Trump never lets us go for more than a day without hearing about Hillary Clinton’s email investigation, but wait! Might da trumpeter himself have a few similar skeletons hiding in his closet behind his Brooks Bros suits? Let us find out, shall we?
One of the followers of this blog put me on the scent of the following story:
In 2006, a judge ordered Donald Trump’s casino operation to turn over a series of e-mails, and found that Trump Organization had routinely erased e-mails dating between 1996 and 2001. Furthermore, this charge was actually never resolved, so it is still out there waiting for resolution. Defendants in this case that Trump brought said this amounted to destruction of evidence. So … let me see if I am understanding this … Trump, himself, has spent so much time attacking Clinton for something he has done himself, within his own private company, when she was following the protocol of her predecessors. Yes, current Secretary of State John Kerry, as well as former Secretaries Madeline Albright, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice all used private email servers to a greater or lesser extent at some point(s) during their tenure. And the State Department, by the way, was investigating all five of these, not just Clinton. The major difference between them and Clinton is that ‘they’ are not running for President of the United States, and ‘she’ is!
Clinton has turned over most of the emails that were on her private server during the time she was Secretary of State (2009-2013), while Colin Powell has turned over none. Yes, Hillary deleted some e-mails, claiming they were personal rather than government business. Do I believe that? For the most part, yes … it was, after all, her personal e-mail server, and it seems reasonable to me that over the course of four years she received a large number of emails from Bill, Chelsea and friends while she was overseas performing her job! The FBI thus far has found no evidence that there was any intention of wrongdoing or any breach of security. But alas, just like Benghazi before it, this ulcer will drag on and on because … she is running for President of the United States.
But now … Donald Trump is also running for president, making him fair game in this discussion. Let’s turn the hands of the clock back a bit to 2004. Trump employee Richard Fields came up with the idea of working with the Seminole Tribe in Florida to build yet another Trump Casino. At first, apparently, Trump was in agreement with the idea, but after meeting with some initial resistance, Donald Trump backed out and told Fields that he could pursue the idea on his own if he so chose. His words were, reportedly, “That’s the end of it. If you want to try this on your own, Richard, that’s fine, but I’m through with it.” There are conflicting versions of this story from that point on, basically Trump’s and everyone else’s, and without the e-mails to back it up, nothing will ever be proven. In most accounts, Jeb Bush had much to do with disallowing the original plan, and he stands by that today, though the Trump version differs. I am told there is a signed affidavit confirming what Trump told Fields. However, Trump claims that Fields told him the idea was infeasible and advised Trump to drop it, then resigned from the Trump organization and pursued the idea with other parners. Fields and his partners did pursue the idea, quite successfully as it turns out. Then Trump, seeing that he missed a boat, a greenback passed him by, sued Fields and his partners. Is your head spinning yet? Mine is … too much ‘he said’, ‘she said’.
More recently, in the Trump University case, Trump’s lawyers are trying to keep Trump’s video testimony private, lest it tarnish his image in the upcoming election. Now wait … FOUL … it is suddenly okay for him to hurl falsehoods and meaningless accusations at Clinton on a daily basis, in every media venue, but his testimony in a case that is almost certainly going to reveal wrongdoing and fraud must be silenced to maintain his image? Given that the Trump University case is still pending and will be until after the election, but before the inauguration (this is an important distinction … take a minute to think about it), the information available is incomplete and in good conscience, I cannot build a case or base an opinion on it. I do, however, smell something rotten in Trumptown and I will not be surprised if there is far more to this than meets the eye. Time will tell.
The moral of the story is that those who live in glass houses ought not to throw stones. But then, Mr. Trump is not known for being an intellectual, particularly savvy, or a deep thinker. He has blustered his way through some 7 decades of life, starting with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth, so he truly believes that whatever he does, he will face no lasting consequences. I hope he is proven wrong this year, by the courts of law, and by the court of public opinion.