Robert is a freelance writer/researcher in the Seattle, WA area. He covers current political, economic, and geopolitical news.
Hillary Hard-Pressed to Defend Latest Report
The State Department’s inspector general released a report on Wednesday directly criticizing Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while Secretary of State, saying she violated policies, stonewalled the department in surrendering records, and neglected to maintain proper security standards for being in such a highly classified position.
The release of the inspector general’s report contradicts what Clinton has been saying on the campaign trail. She has constantly reiterated how it was “allowed at the time…” or “others have done so in the past,” in terms of having their own server and personal email to do government and personal business on. Both these are flimsy defenses, at best, defending what the former Secretary of State did as the state’s top diplomat. She also has been far from forthcoming.
Once Mrs. Clinton stepped down in January 2013, she had to turn over all her emails, under the regulations in Federal Records Act. But, Clinton, always above the law, did not turn over her emails until late 2014, and only did so then under pressure from Republicans in Congress investigating the Benghazi, Libya attack that killed four Americans in September 2011.
And even then, Mrs. Clinton only turned over roughly 60,000 pages of emails that, to her and her aides, involved “official business.” This only amounted to about half of the total emails sent and received during her tenure. “Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with department business before leaving government service and, because she did not do so, she did not comply with the department’s policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act,” the report said. She’s playing to the “Crooked Hillary” character Donald Trump created.
Ready for Hillary...?
Hillary for President or Hillary for Prison?
The release of the first deposition from the court case over Hillary Clinton’s private emails published Thursday further revealed the shady nature of the Democratic presidential frontrunner.
Lewis Lukens, a former executive secretary at the State Department, was deposed by Judicial Watch on May 18th for his role in setting up logistical arrangements prior to Clinton’s arrival. Lukens said he “assumed that she was using a commercially available email account.” Little did he know how much she was skirting the rules in order to hide her correspondence from Republican lawmakers and private citizens during her time at State. He had seemingly helped her bend the State Department’s rules, eventually proposing she use a desktop computer in her office to send email that would have allowed her to send and receive email from a personal account outside of the government system.
Lukens testified that Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s then chief of staff, told him that Clinton did not want a computer because she only knew how to check her emails on a BlackBerry. Lukens said he did not “believe it was a State Department BlackBerry,” noting that Huma Abedin, Clinton's deputy chief of staff, had a State Department-issued BlackBerry but that she also carried a second BlackBerry with her "at times." Lukens is just the first of many interviews to take place in this investigation focusing in on Clinton’s inner circle.
The deposition on Lukens was conducted at the Department of Justice. Mills was scheduled for a deposition on Friday in the Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by Judicial Watch.
There are actually three separate investigations or legal proceedings concurrently looking into Mrs. Clinton’s use of her own email server while Secretary of State.
First, there is the FBI investigation, which aims to determine whether or not any laws were broken in the handling of classified information. The Feds seem to be taking their time with this one. It will likely be concluded conveniently past the November 2016 presidential election. There are chances it could still get to a grand jury, but don’t hold your breath.
Clinton Can’t Keep It Straight
Then, Judicial Watch also has its suit directed at the State Department under the Freedom of Information Act, relating to the special employment status of Clinton’s top aide, Huma Abedin. As stated, Ms. Mills is testifying on Friday, and depositions are scheduled through to the end of June.
And finally, there is the investigation by the Benghazi committee in the House and separate inquiries by the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Senate Judiciary Committee, and Inspector General of the Intelligence Community. These ongoing investigations by DC political committees are hampered down by R vs. D partisanship and are unlikely to accomplish anything of significance.
Looking at Hillary Clinton’s server specifically, we see that she was not interested in security, but secrecy. Of the 30,000-plus emails Clinton has released so far, over 2,000 have since been marked “classified,” the lowest security designation. 65 have since been marked “secret.” 22 include “top secret” information. Mrs. Clinton relied exclusively on her personal email, nowhere near secure, and, because she maintained it, she was therefore able to hand over what she wanted then delete the rest, an estimated 32,000 “personal messages.”
Edward Morrissey wrote in The Fiscal Times that Clinton “lied about having approval for the system. She lied about saying it was within the rules to use it, and that she had brought the server up to State Department security standards.” In fact, the inspector general rebuts Clinton's earlier claims that she put “robust protections” on her server. No official ever recalled Clinton or anyone from her team checking with them about using a server or mobile device.
It’s quite obvious Clinton withheld the use of her server from the State Department in order to evade Congressional oversight and Freedom of Information requests. The Clintons are and always have been about secrecy, and doing whatever it takes to win the election and consolidate more power, a.k.a. money. Unfortunately, their family’s scandals continue to be headline news to this day, which only serves to help Mr. Trump’s chances come November.
Clinton also has not been cooperative, despite what she’s said to the contrary. The inspector general report points out that “through her counsel, Secretary Clinton declined Office of the Inspector General’s request for an interview.” If everything was done by the books and she has been in the right all along, then why would she deny such a request?
She obviously has something to hide.
Even if you think she doesn’t have anything to hide, it is clear that Clinton and her inner circle is a very tight and retributive group that looks out for and keeps to each other, creating an isolation effect. Those in the employ of the former Secretary keep privacy and convenience as first priority over security, and do whatever it takes to shield her from scrutiny.
“Why did such a smart, seasoned public servant exercise such bad judgment?” asked Peter Beinart in The Atlantic. “For the same reason she has in the past: Because she walls herself off from alternative points of view.” Excusing the reference to Mrs. Clinton as a “public servant,” Beinart is spot on in terms of describing her as secretive and shut off. Hillary has also shown a certain Nixon-esque paranoia in maintaining her own server and email on her BlackBerry.
The Clinton camp becomes insular along with its incapable leader, playing the woman card all the way to wherever it takes them. In Game Change, their 2010 book on the 2008 election, authors John Heilemann and Mark Halperin note that Clinton’s aides were “loyal to a fault.” In their book on Hillary’s tenure as Secretary of State, HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton, Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes note that, “Loyalty, for better and worse, has been the defining trait of Hillary and her tightly woven inner circle…She values it in herself, demands it in her aides, and often gives it too much weight in judging the people around her.” Former Politico Editor Jim Van de Hei said on Friday that, “They are in a bubble where they all have the bunker mentality.” Clinton’s campaign network across the country seems to be digging in for a long, final, trench-warfare style battle with the up-and-coming dark horse candidate, Bernie Sanders. Losing many states to the Vermont Senator, the Clinton campaign cannot afford to lose California or any amount of Superdelegates before the Convention.
Clinton Campaign off the Rails?
The latest developments in the Clinton email investigations has regular Clinton defenders admitting to the real impact this will have on her candidacy. NBC News correspondent Andrea Mitchell called the inspector general’s report, “devastating” to her campaign for president. It “completely undercuts the argument she has been making for more than a year,” Mitchell said Thursday on MSNBC. Mitchell and others on the Left such as Dana Milbank of the The Washington Post, who called the report “damning,” are starting to realize the real political impact coming from the results of the, as stated, multiple investigations into her and the State Department while she was Secretary of State.
Shaun King wrote in The New York Daily News that “Hillary Clinton should remove herself from the Democratic nomination. Had the American public known a year ago what we know now, it’s possible that Clinton would have never made it this far.” This is a bold statement that probably represents the voice of a swelling group in the Democratic Party that would much rather see Bernie Sanders go up against Trump in November as opposed to the former Senator from New York.
King continued to write about Clinton’s ineligibility to be the Democratic nominee, “That refused to be interviewed for the investigation and that she refuses to release the transcripts from her speeches to Goldman Sachs suggests that she is prepared to win by any means necessary. Even if it means denying the voters in her own party the information they truly need to make an informed decision.” The Democratic Party, not the Republican Party, seems to be the one bursting at the seams at the moment, bitterly divided between centrist Clinton Democrats and leftist Sanders Democrats.
It will be tough for the Democratic Party to stomach such an unappealing and likely legally battered candidate as Hillary Clinton in 2016. Between this neverending email scandal, Bernie Sanders’ insurgent campaign, and Donald Trump’s rising poll numbers, Mrs. Clinton will need to find a way to shed her negatives while inspiring enthusiasm for her campaign.
Otherwise, Donald Trump will be president in 2017.
General Election: Trump v. Clinton Polls
ABC News/Washington Post
NBC News/Wall Street Journal
Robert Carbery (author) from Seattle, WA on May 28, 2016:
Yes, but this latest scandal I believe will hamper her somewhat with Democrat voters who are already not excited about her and afraid that she is in fact a crooked crony capitalist who has accumulated all her wealth and power via political office. With the emails showing her inability to play by the rules or keep information secure, I think many Democrats will cross over to Trump, someone who seems to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but...
CJ Kelly from the PNW on May 28, 2016:
Unfortunately, I don't think it will do anything to her campaign. The media is still the main filter and her low info supporters will never abandon her (that includes most media members). So it's Trump-Clinton in November.