I have to admit I never thought I’d live to see the Washington Post simply call bullsh** on Hillary Clinton but that day has arrived.
This is the starting point: an AP story from yesterday.
An additional 165 pages of emails from Hillary Clinton’s time at the State Department surfaced Monday, including nearly three dozen that the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee failed to hand over last year that were sent through her private server.
The latest emails were released under court order by the State Department to the conservative legal advocacy group Judicial Watch. The batch includes 34 new emails Clinton exchanged through her private account with her deputy chief of staff, Huma Abedin. The aide, who also had a private email account on Clinton’s home server, later gave her copies to the government.
The emails were not among the 55,000 pages of work-related messages that Clinton turned over to the agency in response to public records lawsuits seeking copies of her official correspondence. They include a March 2009 message where the then-secretary of state discusses how her official records would be kept.
These emails are work-related emails. Keep in mind, Clinton has claimed on myriad occasions that she has given all of her work related emails to State as required by law.
This leads to the Washington Post concluding Hillary Clinton’s email story gets harder and harder to believe. Really. What was your first clue?
And yet again, the emails poke holes in Clinton’s initial explanation for why she decided to exclusively use a private email server for her electronic correspondence while serving as the nation’s top diplomat.
The latest batch of emails suggest that Clinton’s filter to decide between the personal and the professional was far from foolproof. That these emails never saw the light of day before Monday — or before a conservative legal advocacy group petitioned for their release — opens up the possibility that there are plenty more like them that Clinton chose to delete but shouldn’t have. And it provides more fodder for the Republican argument that Clinton appointing herself as judge, jury and executioner for her emails was, at best, a very, very bad decision and, at worst, something more nefarious than just bad judgment.
Then there’s this quote from a newly released March 2009 email between Clinton and her top aide Huma Abedin about the email setup: “I have just realized I have no idea how my papers are treated at State. Who manages both my personal and official files? … I think we need to get on this asap to be sure we know and design the system we want.”
Remember that Clinton said that her main/only reason for using a private email server while at State was “convenience.” She didn’t want to carry around multiple devices for email, she explained.
But this email to Abedin — which came at the start of her four-year term in office — suggests a bit more active agency than Clinton has previously let on. “I think we need to get on this asap to be sure we know and design the system we want,” doesn’t strike me as Clinton simply wanting convenience and following the instructions of her IT people on how to make that happen. It reads to me as though Clinton is both far more aware of the email setup and far more engaged in how it should look than she generally lets on publicly.
For a candidate already struggling to convince voters she is honest and trustworthy enough to be president, stories like this one are deeply problematic.
The only fault I’d have with the story is this:
There’s nothing in these emails that changes the basic political dynamic of the email controversy as Clinton seeks to win the White House this fall. Everything still depends on whether the Justice Department decides to indict Clinton or those close to her for purposely keeping information that the public had a right to know away from them.
Violating the federal law concerning retention of records is not going to result in an indictment. The FBI is involved because of a criminal referral from the Intelligence Community IG concerning the improper handling, transmission and storage of highly classified US government documents by Hillary Clinton and because of the high likelihood that her personal server was compromised by foreign intelligence services. One doesn’t know whether this is a harmless error or simply a way to make Hillary’s crimes look a lot smaller than they are.