Democratic presumptive nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton reacted quickly to more bad publicity about her handling emails while at the State Department [Jan. 21, 2009 to Feb. 1, 2013]. When the State Department’s Inspector General released an 83-page report May 25 detailing rules breaches for handling electronic communications, Hillary went into damage control mode. Hillary’s defense involves normalizing the practice by her predecessors, former Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice. Powell and Rice rarely used emails, making the lion’s share of communications by hardcopies for government files. “This report makes clear that personal email use was the practice of other secretaries of state,” Hillary told ABC News in Las Vegas. “It was allowed. And the rules have been clarified since I left,” exonerating herself of any wrongdoing.
Dogging her for more than a year, the email scandal was first reported March 2, 2015 by the New York Times, over a month before she announced for president April 12, 2015. Focused on Hillary’s use of a private server tied to her residence in Chappaqua, New York, the Times report tried to ascertain whether or not Hillary inadvertently or deliberately violated strict government rules in the Records Act, transmitting classified or secret government information. House Select Benghazi Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) thought he finally had his smoking gun on Hillary’s involvement, or lack of involvement, in protecting diplomatic personnel at the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, following the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack that killed 52-year-old Amb. Christ Stevens and three other Americans. Hillary has glib answers for her email problems.
Testifying before Gowdy’s Select Committee for 11-hours Oct. 22, 2015, Hillary kept repeating that she did not transmit any information marked as “classified” or “top secret.” Government records inspectors found Hillary transmitted numerous emails containing “classified” or “top secret” information. Hillary insists the “classified” or “top secret” information came after the documents were sent via email. “I have talked about this for many, many months,” said Hillary. “I testified for 11 hours before the Benghazi Committee. I have answered numerous questions . . . “ hoping to defuse the IG’s report during the last two weeks of her Democratic primary campaign. “I’ve said many times, if I could go back, I would do it differently,” Hillary told ABC News. “I know people have concerns about this,” not admitting to the thousands of deleted emails Hillary claims were all “personal.”
Creating a bad impression before finally wrapping up the Democratic nomination June 7, Hillary can’t understand why she has a trust issue with voters. Dismissing the chatter over her emails as Election Year politics, Hillary’s spokesman Brian Fallon insisted Hillary did nothing different than Powell and his successor, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Neither Powell nor Rice used much email, whether private or on government servers, certainly never deleting thousands of emails claiming they were personal in nature. Hillary’s detractors hoped that the FBI would eventually find criminal wrongdoing over the management of “classified” and “top secret” electronic communications. With plenty of time to determine criminal wrongdoing, it’s become obvious that Obama’s Justice Department under Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch will not file charges against Hillary.
Hillary’s problems now stem from the amount of damage control needed to contain growing crises over her email scandal. Regardless of the excuses, keeping the email scandal in the headlines doesn’t help her credibility before she wraps of the Democratic nomination June 7. Hillary caught a big break from House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), slated for the next House Speaker, when he confessed on Fox News “Sean Hannity Show” Sept. 30, 2015, that the House Select Committee succeeded in hurting Hillary presidential bid. Once the political aspect was exposed, Hillary got off the hook, until the May 25 IG report. While saying nothing new, the IG report criticized Hillary for breaching State Department rules, depriving the government of a complete record of her tenure as secretary of state. Voters can only scratch their heads asking how this could happen.
Calling Clinton’s email problem an “inexcusable, willful disregard of the rules,” a Washington Post editorial raised the real issue before Hillary wins Democratic nomination: If she pulled these shenanigans at the State Department, what would she do at the White House? Whether or not any of Hillary’s actions cross a criminal line, the Post raises judgment and ethical issues related to her handling of government communications. Voters want more explanation than it’s whatever everyone else did. Whatever Powell or Rice did while secretary of state, it paled in comparison to massive volume of Hillary’s email communications, both preserved and deleted. Voters are asked to believe Hillary’s story, arbitrarily deciding to delete emails she deemed personal. Whether anything inappropriate happened or not, Hillary’s public record as secretary of state is forever compromised.