As the Saga of the Secret Server continues to unfold, Democrats are finding Hillary Clinton’s reassurances and talking points less and less convincing. The FBI took possession of the server yesterday afternoon after retrieving it from Platte River Services, a private data center in New Jersey. Platte River Services says that the data had been cleared from the system long ago, and that it doesn’t exist in any form within their control:

Platte River Networks has retained control of the old server since it took over management of the Clintons’ e-mail system. She said that the old server “was blank,” and no longer contained useful data.

“The information had been migrated over to a different server for purposes of transition,” from the old system to one run by Platte River, she said, recalling the transfer that occurred in June 2013.

“To my knowledge the data on the old server is not available now on any servers or devices in Platte River Network’s control.”

She said that Platte River officials “have been working with and cooperating fully with the FBI.” She added that “we have been assured that Platte River Networks is not the subject of any investigation.”

In other words, it got wiped. That doesn’t mean that the FBI can’t retrieve the data; their forensics work in this area is top-notch. It would take a world-league security expert to beat the FBI’s ability to restore hard drive data — and if they had hired a world-league security expert in the first place, they wouldn’t be in this mess.

Why wipe the hard drive at all? Hillary et al insisted that the e-mail server had no sensitive material on it, and that it was a completely legitimate choice on her part. And yet, after Congress discovered its existence and demanded that Hillary produce the records, she pulled off what she wanted …. and then the hard drive got wiped. That indicates a mens rea for destroying evidence, rather than an indication of having nothing to hide. So much for transparency, eh?

Instead, Hillary’s team is now lawyering up. Politico reports today that Huma Abedin has a team of lawyers on the case as she comes under scrutiny from both Congress and federal judges probing the evasion of FOIA demands during Hillary’s tenure — and Abedin’s unusual financial arrangements at State:

Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton’s most trusted confidante, is increasingly becoming a central figure in the email scandal that’s haunting her boss on the campaign trail, as Republicans and federal judges seek information about Clinton’s communications while she was running the State Department.

The 2016 Democratic front-runner on Monday told a federal judge that Abedin — long considered her boss’s keeper and even dubbed her “shadow” — had her own email account on Clinton’s now infamous home-brewed server, “which was used at times for government business,” Clinton acknowledged. That’s an unusual arrangement, even for top brass at the State Department.

Abedin has hired a team of lawyers, one of whom is a former Clinton aide, who are responding to information requests from the courts and State. They’ve denied any wrongdoing on the part of their client and said Abedin is cooperating with requests for official emails in her possession, aiming to turn over all her correspondence by the end of August.

But her lawyers didn’t respond to questions about emails on Clinton’s separate server.

This brings up an interesting scenario. Of late, the pushback from Team Hillary is that any classified material on the server wasn’t sent or received by Hillary Clinton. For purposes of 18 USC 1924, that’s irrelevant; the server was put in place by Hillary Clinton, owned by her, and located in her house. If any classified material went through it, Hillary Clinton is as legally responsible for retaining it illegally as her aides would have been for transmitting it, and just the retention is a crime. But if Hillary didn’t send or receive it, who did? No wonder Huma’s lawyering up, although she might want to rethink the idea of keeping a former Clinton aide on the team.

All of this has Hillary’s fellow Democrats “near panic mode,” The Hill reports:

Coupled with new polls that suggest Clinton is vulnerable, Democrats are nearing full-on panic mode.

“I’m not sure they completely understand the credibility they are losing, by the second,” said one Democratic strategist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “At some point this goes from being something you can rationalize away to something that becomes political cancer. And we are getting pretty close to the cancer stage, because this is starting to get ridiculous.”

“Look, this is a classic example of the cover-up being ten times worse than the so-called crime — though in this case there wasn’t a crime,” said another progressive strategist.

“The culture of secrecy that has surrounded the Clintons — understandably in some cases — has now yielded a situation where she did something that wasn’t necessary and looks nefarious.”

Actually, yes, there was a crime, and likely a multitude of them. It was a crime to have classified material at the Clinton residence, especially Top Secret/compartmented intelligence data, regardless of what form it was in. It’s a crime to transmit such material outside of secured and approved government systems, even (as 18 USC 793 (f) (1) states) when it’s done out of gross negligence rather than malice. That carries a 10-year prison term per count. It was a violation of the Federal Records Act to have the private e-mail server in the first place, as well as a violation of a presidential executive order. Wiping the hard drive after its exposure could well constitute obstruction of justice, which carries a 3-5 year prison term.

That’s why Democrats are panicking. They’re still not being honest about it, but they’re beginning to see the scope of the scandal now.