Keep FBI unfettered in Clinton case

Politics rules everything in Washington, even at the top levels of the Justice Department. That can place the many people at the agency who dedicate their lives to enforcing the law impartially in very difficult situations.

They are in one now. It seems clear that while serving as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton broke the law through her handling of emails and government secrets.

For months, FBI agents have been investigating Clinton and her aides. Reports from Washington are that the agency may be nearing the climax of its probe.

But Clinton is far more than just a former high-ranking official. She also is President Barack Obama’s preferred successor and the Democratic Party’s leading contender for the job. Indicting her could kill her chance of winning.

By all accounts, FBI agents and officials have been strictly neutral in their investigation, shoving politics aside in their search for the truth. What happens once they have established it is another story.

At the very first hint of meddling from the White House or anyone else attempting to derail the process, Congress ought to intervene in a very public way. Any FBI whistleblowers should be protected against retaliation and encouraged to make the results of their probe public. If Clinton broke the law, who and what she is must have no bearing on the pursuit of justice in her case.