Quotes of the day

The State Department will review and release thousands of emails written by Hillary Clinton “as rapidly as possible”, John Kerry, the US secretary of state, said last night, as his predecessor faced down questions about her decision not to use an official email address while in office…

Mr Kerry, on a diplomatic mission to Saudi Arabia, confirmed the State Department had had access to “a wide array of Secretary Clinton’s records, including emails” and would release them, pending a security review for any sensitive information.


[S]he could release details of the process she used to turn over some of the emails from her secret account to the government. Michael Schmidt of The New York Times reported last Monday that “…Mrs. Clinton’s advisers reviewed tens of thousands of pages of her personal emails and decided which ones to turn over to the State Department. All told, 55,000 pages of emails were given to the department.”…

How many advisers worked on this project? What are the names of these advisers? Who chose them? What are their backgrounds? What qualifications do they possess that made them suited to this task? Are they familiar with the provisions of the Federal Records Act, and the responsibilities of officials covered under the act?…

Were the advisers paid for their work? How much were they paid, and how many hours did the review take? Who paid them? Did they work for the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation or the Clinton Family Foundation? If so, would such an undertaking meet the purpose for which charitable organizations are granted tax exemption? If some other entity paid for their services, please disclose its name. If you paid them personally, please disclose records documenting the payments…

Presumably, Hillary Clinton can answer all of these questions, or get answers to them from whoever her advisers are. There is no reason the public should have to wait for answers.


A number of Hillary Clinton defenders cite the talking point that she has turned over 55,000 pages of emails to the State Department and has therefore satisfied the requirement that she turn over all email from her private account to government archivists. But the State Department itself is being more cautious. Indeed, a look at Department spokeswoman Marie Harf’s statements from the last two days suggests the Obama administration is not ready to vouch for its former secretary of state

“Look all I can say is that we reached out to the former secretaries and asked them to provide any records that needed to be preserved,” Harf answered. “She was the only former secretary that responded to our request and sent back those tens of thousands of pages of documents. That’s what I can speak to. They cover her time at the State Department. I don’t think I have many more details for you than that.”

The bottom line is that at no point did Harf say definitively that Clinton had given the State Department all the emails. Harf said Clinton had turned over 55,000 pages, and she said those pages “cover” Clinton’s term as secretary of state. She never said Clinton turned over all her emails, and in fact acknowledged that she had no way of knowing whether or not that has happened.


“It’s somewhat ridiculous that we are trusting the decisions of private citizens hired by this person to preserve the country’s records,” said John Wonderlich, policy director of the Sunlight Foundation, a government transparency nonprofit.

“Would we even know if they destroyed things?” Wonderlich said. “We wouldn’t.”

“How do we know that the review and selection of emails to transfer to State was done correctly and in good faith?” said Steven Aftergood, who directs the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists.

Aftergood said a “trusted third-party” should perform an independent review.


Private e-mail. Donations from foreign governments. Public fights with reporters. The storylines enveloping Hillary Clinton have Democrats worrying that their only viable presidential contender learned nothing from her failure in 2008…

Publicly, it looks like Clinton has again surrounded herself with a team known more for insularity, infighting, and drama than for effective messaging. Democrats say she’s made some strong hires who could alter the Clinton team’s public persona, but that team has yet to step up to the plate, leaving the messaging to the same people who caused Clinton so many headaches in 2008.

“This was a problem that was created and executed by Hillary Clinton and her advisers,” said Boyd Brown, a South Carolina Democratic National Committee member and former state lawmaker. “And it is reminiscent of the same arrogance that we saw in 2008 during that campaign, that they can just do what they want and get away with it.”


One Democratic strategist, who asked not to be identified, complained that the email embarrassment was a by-product of “a cadre of enablers around her, and no one has the strength to say to her, ‘We can’t do this.’ ”

Democratic nerves are even more jumpy, according to the strategist, because the story is breaking just as people are expecting Clinton to launch her presidential campaign.

“We’re probably a month or so away [from the campaign launch] and if this is not handled really well within the next three to six weeks, you’re going to see chatter among Democratic operatives saying, ‘Maybe we need another person in this race.’ And that is really problematic.”…

“When you do stuff like this, man, you just raise a lot of concerns and red flags,” the Democratic strategist said. “It’s kinda weird.”


Dick Harpootlian, a former Democratic Party chairman in South Carolina, home to an early and important presidential primary, said recent reports about Clinton’s use of private e-mail to conduct government business and her family’s charitable foundation accepting donations from foreign governments while she was secretary of state could be damaging to her likely 2016 presidential campaign.

“There’s always another shoe to drop with Hillary,” Harpootlian said in an interview Wednesday. “Do we nominate her not knowing what’s in those e-mails?… If the e-mails were just her and her family and friends canoodling about fashion and what they’re going to do next week, that’s one thing. But the fact that she’s already turned e-mails to the Benghazi committee because she was doing official business on it means she’s going to die by 1,000 cuts on this one.”…

But Harpootlian — who has been an active and outspoken booster of a Biden 2016 candidacy — said the foundation donations and e-mail stories have sparked chatter among South Carolina politicos about drafting other candidates into the Democratic primary. Referencing Biden specifically, he said, “I’ll tell you this: He ain’t got no e-mail problems. He ain’t got no foundation problems. What you see with Joe is what you get. There’s nothing hidden there.”

Harpootlian added, “The chatter down here is, ‘Is this the best we can do?’ Certainly everyone wants to give a woman a chance to lead this country, but is [Clinton] the woman? There are plenty of other women who would be competitive, whether it’s Elizabeth Warren or Amy Klobuchar or Kirsten Gillibrand.”


Like everything else about the response to this controversy, Clinton’s tweet is reminiscent of the 1990s, when her husband’s White House overcame its wrongdoing by denying the truth, blaming Republicans, and demonizing and bullying the media. It’s a shameless script, unbecoming of a historic figure who could be our next president – and jarringly inappropriate for these times.

In the 15 years since Bill Clinton left office, the internet has made almost everybody a researcher and a journalist—equipped to judge wrongdoing for themselves and insist upon accountability. We can now spot the lies ourselves, stand up to bullies, and remind our leaders that two wrongs don’t make a right. The actions of Hillary Clinton and her team raise the question: Is she trapped on the wrong side of the bridge to the 21st century?

This is the problem: If she wants us to see her emails, Clinton would show us her emails. If she wants to be transparent, she’d be transparent. If she wants to be a modern, forward-looking leader who earns the trust of a disillusioned public, she’d call off her attack dogs, stop spinning, and do the right thing…

She wouldn’t call them “my email.” She would know that the emails of a public official belongs to the public. They’re ours. Cough ’em up.


Whether deserved or not, the Clintons have a reputation of behaving as if they’re above the rules and shouldn’t be scrutinized. Last week, the Clinton Foundation typically answered a critical Washington Post story about the questionable donations it has received from foreign governments by changing the subject to talk about all the good work the foundation had done. What’s slightly crazy about the Clinton Foundation’s dodge is that by this point Hillary Clinton knows she’s not a blank slate to the press, that the legalistic quality of her responses (and those of her husband) makes them only more suspicious and her evasions will inspire the press to dig only deeper. She has deep experience in how the press responds to her ambiguous responses, her circumventions, her defensive posturing, and all the other techniques she has depended on during times of crisis. And yet here we are again, with the press asking legitimate questions about Clinton’s poor decision-making and message-control mania, and here she is again attempting to repel them with the same old techniques.

So much for the birth of a “new” Hillary Clinton.


The Clinton Restoration will require routinely defending the indefensible. It will require recalibrating all legal and ethical standards to suit the personal and financial interests of the Clintons. It will require a willingness to use these phrases with a shameless abandon: “old news,” “everybody does it” and “not technically illegal.”…

The couple has always been blessed with dutiful retainers, and whatever these loyal minions lack in persuasiveness, they make up in absurdly technical legal distinctions and bulldog obtuseness. All Democrats should get ready to embrace their inner David Brock, the Clinton vassal who has been out front in the email flap…

If Democrats have liked what they’ve seen from Hillary the past couple of weeks, they should relish the prospect of the next two years, when any revelation can put them back in old-school Clinton scandal-defense mode at any moment. But this is the future they are choosing, apparently without even bothering to consider an alternative with less baggage or higher standards.


Suppose, arguendo, that I thought, as does Jonathan Chait, that there was quite literally one human being standing between my agenda and a sweeping set of market and political reforms that would destroy my dreams for a generation. Suppose I believed, as does ThinkProgress, that if a Republican president is given the opportunity to nominate two or three more Supreme Court justices, the dream of a progressive judiciary will be dead for a generation or more. Suppose that I considered Obamacare to be a great and historic political victory, and that I was desperate for an executive who would protect it against Republican — or popular — repeal. Wouldn’t I be rather worried that Clinton might . . . die? Wouldn’t I find myself lying awake at night, fretting that Hillary might become too sick to run? Would I not entertain with horror the possibility that this latest scandal might be the tip of the iceberg, and that Hillary might have one too many crimes in her well-stocked closet? Wouldn’t it occur to me that she might begin to stumble and fall on the campaign trail, the better to be shown up by a young and fresh-faced alternative from the right?

The old adage holds that only a fool elects to put all his eggs in one basket, and, for all our technological progress and social ingenuity, this remains as true now as it ever was. In the New York Times yesterday, Frank Bruni inquired of Hillary: “Does she have a political death wish?” He might well ask that of her party as well. The lights are going out across Blue America. The amplifying fear that there will be nobody viable to light them back aflame is grounded in reality. Time for a little sweating, perhaps.


Via Newsbusters.


Via the Free Beacon.