If you were expecting the stories about Hillary Clinton’s emails to taper off, think again. A trio of stinging reports about Clinton’s private email account while serving as secretary of state were published Tuesday, once again — no, twice again; no, thrice again — undermining her explanations.
Each story — one apiece from the Washington Post, Politico and Bloomberg — is worth reading in its entirety. But as summaries of the trio go, it’s hard to beat this one from National Journal columnist, and longtime Clinton watcher, Ron Fournier:
“Story 1: The State Department confirmed that Clinton turned over her email only after Congress discovered that she had exclusively used a private email system. According to The Washington Post, the department first contacted her in the summer of 2014, at least three months before the agency asked Clinton and three of her predecessors to provide their emails.
“The story undercuts Clinton’s claim that her decision to turn over self-selected email was a response to a routine-sounding records request. She hasn’t been telling the truth.
“Story 2: A federal court has helped uncover more emails related to the Benghazi raid that were withheld from congressional investigators. Clinton has insisted she turned over all her work-related email and complied with congressional subpoenas.
“Again, she hasn’t been telling the truth.
“Story 3: The FBI has recovered personal and work-related e-mails from her private server, raising the possibility that the deleted information becomes public. ‘The FBI is investigating how and why classified information ended up on Clinton’s server,’ Bloomberg reported.
“While the Democratic front-runner still insists there was no classified information on the unsecured server, the FBI has moved beyond whether U.S. secrets were involved to how and why. In the language of law enforcement, the FBI is investigating her motive.” (links and emphasis original)
As Fournier goes on to note, the excuses undercut by these stories aren’t old ones; they’re excuses Clinton was trotting out just two days earlier: “On Sunday, Clinton told Face the Nation host John Dickerson: ‘What I did was allowed. It was fully above board,’ and ‘I tried to be fully transparent.’ Both claims are objectively and indisputably false.”
Revelations that objectively and indisputably counter Clinton’s claims are one reason her campaign keeps taking on water. A new Bloomberg poll finds she’s the first choice of just one-third of Democrats, while Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden (who isn’t even running at the moment) each garner one-quarter. Numerous polls have found Clinton hitting new lows in favorability ratings and on questions about her trustworthiness.
We can speculate about how this will end, what will be found in the recovered emails, etc. But if everything turns out to be as innocuous as Clinton has claimed from the beginning, even as she stonewalled and struggled to explain what she did and why, and her team allowed this story to threaten her presidential chances anyway, this will be one of the great examples of campaign/public relations malpractice in history.
A different outcome seems more likely.