Why an FBI investigation isn’t all Hillary Clinton should be worried about

(AP Photo / Richard Shiro)

(AP Photo / Richard Shiro)

The drumbeat about Hillary Clinton’s emails continues to gain volume. Given her position as the front-runner in next year’s Democratic primary, and the revelation that the FBI is investigating whether classified information was mishandled due to her exclusive use of a private email account while serving as secretary of state, much of the recent intrigue centers on whether Clinton broke the law. That’s a wholly appropriate question, and one that should be answered without regard to her stature as a former secretary of state, senator and first lady and current presidential candidate. But the question of criminality has, in some ways, overshadowed more basic questions about why Clinton refused a public email account in the first place, and how Americans should judge her trustworthiness.

Those questions were raised anew by a somewhat unlikely source: liberal columnist Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post. Arguing that Clinton has been her own worst enemy in the email scandal, Robinson points out that she is paying the price for having insisted on absolute control over her communications while serving in a public office:

“Clinton was no stranger to the rules of the federal government. She had to know that if she used a State Department account, her 60,000-plus e-mails would become part of the official record. She certainly knew, without any doubt, that her political opponents would delight in rummaging through her communications. Let’s be honest: Hillary and Bill Clinton do have enemies, lots of them, who show no compunction about launching unfair and vicious attacks. She must have wanted to make sure they never got the chance.

“But all of that is beside the point. If you accept the job of secretary of state, you inevitably surrender some of your privacy. Any public official’s work-related e-mails are the modern equivalent of the letters, memos and diaries that fill the National Archives. They tell our nation’s history and belong to all of us. Even if your name is Clinton, you have no right to unilaterally decide what is included and what is not.

“So I wish Hillary Clinton would be respectful enough to say, ‘I’m sorry. I was wrong.’ I wish she wouldn’t insult our intelligence by claiming she only did what other secretaries of state had done. None of her predecessors, after all, went to the trouble and expense of a private e-mail server.

“I wish she would explain why, after turning over to the State Department the e-mails she deemed work-related, she had the server professionally wiped clean. The explanation that she didn’t want people prying into private matters such as ‘planning for [daughter] Chelsea’s wedding … as well as yoga routines, family vacations, the other things you typically find in inboxes’ is unconvincing. Does she have some secret yoga move she doesn’t want the world to know about?

“And I wish I could be sure that Clinton is now, finally, doing everything in her power to ensure that any extant e-mails are turned over to the State and Justice departments. Unfortunately, I can’t. She stonewalled for so long — there’s no other word for her stance — that recent pledges of openness and cooperation ring hollow.”

That’s exactly right. It’s why the Clinton camp is, according to Robinson’s news-side colleagues at the Post, increasingly worried about what will be revealed and what the (political, anyway) consequences will be as her past explanations continue to be undermined. It’s why a perennially “inevitable” candidate is again looking mighty vulnerable, with ever-louder whispers that Joe Biden or even Al Gore may come riding to Democrats’ rescue. It’s why, in a political environment that has taken on a decidedly anti-establishment mood across the board, Bernie Sanders is drawing the crowds Clinton might have expected on the way to her coronation as nominee.

And it’s why it’s almost too late for the kind of apology, explanation and cooperation Robinson wishes we might have from Clinton to do her much good.

Reader Comments 0

99 comments
SIckof Liberal BS
SIckof Liberal BS

If Mrs Clinton were a White Republican Male she'd be wearing orange right now. 


The woman is delusional, I'm sick of hearing that its a right wing conspiracy, , i


The reality its about trust and truth period, she is unfit to be anything but a woman behind bars.


what difference does it make?--- when shes behind bars, a big difference, 

she cant get away with being above the law. We all want to make a point, Mrs Clinton you are a BIG Liar!

lvg
lvg

Chris Mathews on MSNBC agrees with Kyle this morning. Hillary is toast . Someone break the news gently to Jay B.

.

Mathews and Scarborough had on an investigative reporter who said problem was Hillary tried to keep her vast 2008 political machine  going while Secty of State using that server and got confused which e-mail system was protected  with no explanation so far of how "she got confused". And this is an attorney who worked on the Nixon impeachment committee investigating his tapes.

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

Hillary is totally honest and trustworthy!

And it's really a good idea for government officials who send and receive secret information to run their own email servers!

The leftist clown show rolls on...

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

The partisan sycophants would do themselves a big favor if they would talk with one of their neighbors, friends, relatives, etc that has or has had a security clearance.  There are plenty of ex military, defense contractors, academics, etc in Atlanta that can help you get educated on security clearances and the proper handling of classified information.  Until you do, you are woefully misinformed on the severity of this Clinton impropriety. 

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

The Bush private email scandal was something that should not have happened.  No one found any classified information on Bush's private server, however, which is a huge difference.   It is like comparing shop lifting with murder.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@RafeHollister No one found any classified information on Bush's private server, however, which is a huge difference.


Easy to say after 20 something million emails were deleted no ?

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

Hedley is off to Chicago and Wrigley field. 


Ill be the good looking one in the bleachers Friday and Saturday. 


See ya

Rickster_
Rickster_

I have to disagree with Kyle on one point: for some folks it's already too late for an apology. For others, there's no need.

Juanx
Juanx

Kyle...this is a witch hunt, period. What happen to the Benghazi Scandal? Now it on to E-Mails, Libya, and Somalia. This is the stated goal by the GOP and the GOP Tea Party according to Gowly chairman of the Benghazi Scandal committee. He made this statement during an interview on CNN. The GOP has no credibility in any thing relative to this. It is a formal witch hunt. Period.

Chief SMith
Chief SMith

@Juanx Do you understand that without the congressional hearings and the Judicial Watch lawsuit, we would have no idea of the potential compromise of classified material (re: Sec Kerry's assumption that his emails are read). Sec Clinton said she turned over all relevant emails. Then Blumenthal turns over 15 emails that the sec didn't provide to state. This undermines her ascertain that all emails were turned over. I understand facts are pesky things, but they ARE important. 

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

"why Clinton refused a public email account in the first place"


Because her predecessor, Colin Powell told her to? 

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@LogicalDude Among other differences, the rules were different when Powell was SOS: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/wp/2015/03/10/hillary-clintons-emails-a-timeline-of-actions-and-regulations/

And there's the matter of her exclusive use of personal email:

“I can recall no instance in my time at the National Archives when a high-ranking official at an executive branch agency solely used a personal email account for the transaction of government business,” said Mr. (Jason) Baron, who worked at the (National Archives and Records Administration) from 2000 to 2013.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/03/us/politics/hillary-clintons-use-of-private-email-at-state-department-raises-flags.html?_r=0

The comparisons to previous SOS are apples and oranges.


RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@Kyle_Wingfield @LogicalDude I will bet you the farm that Colin Powell or any of the other government officials caught using a private account, never used it for classified information.   Improperly handling classified information is a crime of a higher order.  Classified information carelessly handled causes soldiers to die; Colin Powell would be the first to second that thought.

GMFA
GMFA

Please refer to J. Bookman's column last week regarding this topic. Even G. Bush had people in his administration using private emails.

NorthAtlanta
NorthAtlanta

@GMFA

So Kyle needs to get his facts from Bookman?  That's rich.  Did the Bush people have their own server which they refused to turn over until an FBI investigation started?   Were they transmitting classified or clearly security-sensitive material?  Did they give classified emails to an attorney with no security clearance? 

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@NorthAtlanta @GMFA Did the Bush people have their own server which they refused to turn over until an FBI investigation started?


Yes. They did EXACTLY that. 


Were they transmitting classified or clearly security-sensitive material? 


Yes For all we know. @2 million emails are just....gone


Did they give classified emails to an attorney with no security clearance? 


Most likely a yes there as well. 

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Hedley_Lammar "Hillary is running for President. Plain and simple apples to apples"

Sorry, I missed Colin Powell's presidential campaign...

JFMcNamara
JFMcNamara

I don't get my fellow Democrats on this one. This is not Benghazi where the entire thing was fabricated.


The latest is that about 5% of the documents examined from the e-mails have classified information.  Multiple reputable news sources are reporting it.  Hillary Clinton has broken the law. You are not supposed to transmit classified information through private e-mail.  There are no excuses and there are no exceptions. 


If I had done the same, I would be fired and under criminal prosecution.   She deserves to go to jail. 

LDH2O
LDH2O

@JFMcNamara An after-the-fact review has claimed the information was classified but nothing has said that it was marked as classified. 

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@JFMcNamara I don't follow your obfuscating or skirting the truth.  5.1 percent  e-mails have been found that needed to be referred to security agencies to determine whether they did, in fact, have secret information that needed to be redacted before public release.  This is what's being reported as of 1 day ago.  Determine is a long way from "emails have classified information" One is a possibility the other is a definite.  

MarkVV
MarkVV

@JFMcNamara 

Please submit evidence that all those documents contained classified information as you claim, rather than that “305 documents be referred to agencies for further consultation, according to a report filed with a federal judge Monday,” as was reported, for instance.

JFMcNamara
JFMcNamara

@MarkVV @JFMcNamara  @LDH2O @StraightNoChaser , I've had a security clearance and have been privy to classified documents.  They make it pretty clear if its classified or not.  She broke many, many rules in how you handle the information. She knows it and that's why they wiped the server.


Republicans cry wolf a lot, but this isn't one of those times. If they had to refer the documents, they already know she is guilty.  Its there in big bold letters.

MarkVV
MarkVV

@JFMcNamara @MarkVV @LDH2O @StraightNoChaser I am sorry, but you have avoided the question, quite obviously because you cannot support your accusation. Whether you have had a security clearance and have been privy to classified documents is immaterial, unless you are familiar with documents in this case. If ”they make it pretty clear if its classified or not,” then why is any determination being made?

As a matter of fact, I find all this business of “classified information,” which has not been identified as classified but should have been considered classified quite ridiculous. It has been reported many times how much information is “classified” without any real reason. We have a civil control of the military as well as of intelligence services, but it appears that a judgment of some lowly agent regarding of what should be classified is being given precedence over the judgment of one of the highest officials of the government, the Secretary of State. And remember, those are the people that have given us the information about the WMD in Iraq!

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@MarkVV @JFMcNamara It doesn't have to be classified, even FOUO material is prohibited to be released without authorization to unauthorized sources, like attorney's, server IT people etc.  


Ms Clinton was the senior responsible person for securing and maintaining classified info at the State Dept.  When she read one (1) email she thought might contain classified data, she should have launched an investigation as to why it was circulating on non approved computers.

Jim Kaye
Jim Kaye

@JFMcNamara, not true. Any FOIA request that involes inter agencies are automatically flagged and sent to that agency for review

Robert1959
Robert1959

"much of the recent intrigue centers on whether Clinton broke the law. "


Kyle, you are a smart guy and you know the difference between a witch hunt and reality.  Mrs. Clinton did not violate any laws concerning email because the State Department is in compliance with the federal government record keeping requirements for email.


  • The 2011 Presidential Memorandum – Managing Government Records

  • The 2012 Managing Government Records Directive – National Archives and Records Administration

  • The 2015 Capstone Approach For Managing Email - National Archives and Records Administration

  • 36 CFR 1236.22

  • 44 U.S.C. Chapter 31


The State of Georgia's Governor and Secretary of State are 5 years behind in implementing the 2012 NARA Directive's for managing email records.  The mandatory implementation date is - 2016.  Just like the Affordable Care Act (ACA) the governor of GA and the secretary of state would rather follow the GOP party line and dis-regard anything President Obama created to help the American People.  I am glad President Obama won the last election because the governor of GA waited until it was over before he got in compliance with the (ACA) which prevented a disaster for the 650,000 Georgians who did not have insurance at all or access to the Medicaid expansion.





Robert1959
Robert1959

@Kyle_Wingfield 


All federal government agencies must turn over their business related email to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).  The federal government shall identify the appropriate records series and assign the retention period for the records in their care, custody and control.  Email is classified as; transitory and business.  Apparently the emails in question are transitory which means you keep for 180 days or until no longer useful.  If the emails were classified as business they should have been transferred to NARA for long term storage.  None of the emails are business related.

Robert1959
Robert1959

@Kyle_Wingfield 


Kyle, The State of Georgia's Governor and Secretary of State are 5 years behind in implementing the 2012 & 2015 NARA Directive's for managing email records.  The mandatory implementation date is - 2016.  What will happen if our governor and secretary of state refuse to follow the law concerning email?

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@Kyle_Wingfield @Robert1959 I agree that it was problematic. But it was allowed and that should be the end of it. Congress (or whoever is in charge of setting these policies) should step up to the plate and mandate how it ought to be going forward.

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@Kyle_Wingfield @Eye wonder Yes, questionable judgment. But is she an outlier? If not, move on. As for lies / stonewalling / wiping / etc., it happens on both sides, all the time. Not how I'd like it to be, but them's the 'rules.' I'm all for tossing the bloody lot of them and starting fresh, but that's not gonna happen.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Robert1959 "Mrs. Clinton did not violate any laws concerning email because the State Department is in compliance with the federal government record keeping requirements for email."

And how did State comply with record-keeping requirements when it didn't have the records?

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Robert1959 All of which is why it was problematic for Clinton to manage and store her emails on a private server rather than letting State handle it. And you sound awfully credulous about Clinton's argument that, if she didn't hand over the emails, ipso facto they were not business related.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Eye wonder "I agree that it was problematic. But it was allowed..."

This is exactly why limiting our evaluation to what is strictly legal or illegal is a mistake insofar as we are judging her fitness for the presidency. What does it say about her that she made such a poor decision, has lied about why/how she did it, has stonewalled when asked to produce public information, tried to wipe the server of data that she claimed to have been about yoga and wedding planning (the FBI just today confirmed the attempt to wipe the data), and now is going to take the Clinton-patented route of hiding behind legalism?

Whether she should be in jail is one question. Whether she should be in the White House is another matter, and being "not in jail" is not, or shouldn't be, the standard.

CJKatl
CJKatl

Putting aside legalities, what we are seeing is how Hillary handles decision making. She made a bad decision in setting up the private server. She compounded that with bad decision after bad decision. She chose not to turn the server over, only to be forced to do so later. She chose to claim that no classified materials were ever emailed, only to change her story twice as the facts came out. She chose to claim to have turned over all non-personal emails, only to have the Blumenthal emails pop up. She chose to lie about the subpoena. Each of her choices has been the wrong choice. Each of her choices has made things worse. It's like she saw a fire, tried to put it out with gasoline but then decided hydrogen would be better.


Folks, what is it in her decision making that makes anyone think she should be making decisions for the nation? She makes bad choices, compounds them with more bad choices, and there are people who still want her as President? It's like watching a drunk driver plow into a crowd of people only to immediately walk over to the driver, hand her your car keys and ask her to take your car for a spin with your children in the back seat!

LDH2O
LDH2O

@CJKatl She made the same decision that W's secretaries of state did - are you OK with Republican's doing it but not Democrats?

NorthAtlanta
NorthAtlanta

@LDH2O @CJKatl

Non sequitur, and you know it.  And are you claiming W's secretaries are presidential material?

stogiefogey
stogiefogey

Most people who will cast ballots in the 2016 election already know who they'll vote for, on the (D) side anyway, and issues like Benghazi and e-mails won't change many minds.

Political ideology trumps (no pun intended) everything and these foibles and missteps are usually overlooked. Too bad it has to be that way, but it is.

GoldRush
GoldRush

The democrats have opened a can of worms that they'd like to put back in the can when they went after Petraeus.

Don't throw rocks when you live in a glass house.


What's good for one is good for the other.


Be careful what you ask for.


The list could go on and on and on...........

lvg
lvg

@GoldRush Hois mistress actually got caught broadcasting classified info. in a campaign speech for Romney. Big difference. What were those two doing during Benghazi attacki? Taking it down in short hand?

lvg
lvg

Due to Houma probably everything on that Server went straight to the Saudis.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

Either the President does not want Hillary to be President and this will turn out really bad for her or he wants her to be President really bad and this will turn out good for her.  It's his Justice Department so this will end the way he wants this to end.  Presidents have allowed worse and gotten rid of worse.  

straker
straker

When it comes to Hillary and her guilt or innocence, you con tools here have the same mindset as all those Ferguson marchers:


1. you don't believe in innocent until proven guilty.

2. you don't believe in guilty until proven innocent.

3.you believe in GUILTY no matter what the facts say.


Pitiful and pathetic.

RLSmith
RLSmith

@straker Must be a lot of "cons" out there.  Even the MSM is lining up against her.

Don't worry, Obama will pardon her.  She has too much dirt on him like his negligence on the night of the Benghazi attack.  As he has dirt on her.  Dirtbags together.

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

@straker

We've seen how Democrat administrations investigate the 1%.

They don't.

Unless they happen to be Real Americans who happened to donate to the GOP.