Buried within the mountains of emails from the Clinton campaign release by WikiLeaks this week was a little gem with the subject heading “Script.”
The email was sent by Josh Schwerin, national spokesman for the Clinton campaign, in August of 2015. This five months from the initial revelation that Secretary Clinton had used an unauthorized (even though she claimed it was authorized) non-secure (even though she claimed it was secure) non-governmental (even though she claimed all her work emails were still being stored on government servers) email server for her government correspondence.
The script appears to be for a produced video address that the Clinton campaign contemplated producing to address the ongoing political turmoil surrounding the email scandal. Two days before the “Script” was circulated, Politico reported a federal judge had made a decision regarding Clinton’s email scheme that caused more damage and undermined many of her original talking points:
“We wouldn’t be here today if this employee had followed government policy,” said U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, apparently referring to Clinton, during a hearing on one of the many Freedom of Information Act lawsuits seeking access to her records as secretary of state.
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Sullivan’s said Clinton’s actions had complicated the State Department’s ability to respond to requests for records on various topics. He also ordered the State Department to contact the FBI to determine whether the private server Clinton used, which Clinton turned over to that law enforcement agency earlier this month, contains official records possibly responsive to the FOIA suit.
After Justice Department lawyer Peter Wechsler argued that the open records law normally doesn’t allow for searches of government officials’ private accounts, the judge said he viewed it as an unusual situation because “there was a violation of government policy.”
So, apparently, after that news cycle and the drip, drip, drip of emails deemed “classified” by the government last summer, the brain-trust at Team Clinton thought it might be a good idea for their candidate to bring all her warmth, charm and trustworthiness to a video delivering prepared remarks to assuage any concerns the American people might have about the second coming of Thomas Jefferson.
Here’s the lengthy, proposed script: (with a few notations by yours truly):
Hello. I’m sure you are hearing a lot about my emails when I was Secretary of State. So I want to take some time to try and explain what’s going on to you directly, in one place, at one time, as best as I can.
In 2007, when I was a U.S. Senator, I got my first Blackberry. I used it to keep up with the news, with friends & family – like anyone else.
When President Obama asked me to serve as Secretary of State, it seemed simpler to have just one email address. After all, my predecessors at State had not relied on Department email. In hindsight, though, this has proven anything but simple. There’s a difference between what we are allowed to do and what’s smart to do. I shouldn’t have used separate personal and government accounts. I should have set a standard that others were expected to meet. To do it all again, I would have used two email addresses.
But I can’t do it all again. I can only tell you it was a mistake, regret it, explain it, and help the State Department and others fix any challenges it caused.
That’s what I did. Now I want to explain what I didn’t do.
I didn’t keep my email secret. Whenever I emailed, it was from my address. Whenever people emailed me, it was to my account. Work, personal, whatever.
I also didn’t do this to skirt rules. And I didn’t do it to avoid having my records preserved. When the State Department asked former Secretaries of State who served since email was widely used to help fill out the archival record, I did so, printing 55,000 pages of email including anything related to my work at the State Department. To get a sense of how outdated some of the government’s archiving practices are, we had to print all 55,000 pages because that’s what the rules demand. Believe me, printing more than 30,000 email instead of handing them over electronically isn’t something anyone does by choice.
That’s 30,000 more emails than every other former Secretary produced combined. No one else has produced their emails so far. I’m the only one.
And yes, there were 30,000 more messages that were completely personal and had nothing to do with official business.
I do believe transparency in government is important. And by this point, there isn’t much you don’t know about me. My finances are out there. My medical history is out there. You know how much I’ve made, where I’ve gone, what I’m allergic to.
Now I want to address the most serious aspect. When it came to classified information, I certainly never used my Blackberry. And that had nothing to do with using a personal email address. If I had been [email protected] I could not have used it for classified information either. At the State Department, mobile devices aren’t used to communicate secrets. Almost everything of a classified nature was presented to me via paper or in person. When I traveled, elaborate steps were taken. Secure phones were set up, secure tents were constructed. I took my responsibilities in safeguarding our nation’s secrets seriously. So did my team did. Everyone at the State Department did .
This process of looking backwards to see if something should have been classified at the time is fine. I don’t want anything released to the public that puts us at risk. And we’re all learning that different agencies have very different views and procedures about what should be classified and what shouldn’t.
As Secretary I was proud of what we accomplished. I was proud of the thousands of people who’ve dedicated themselves to public service – including those who came into State with me and left with me. I was proud of them then, I’m proud of them now.
After nearly a year of offering to come to testify to Congress at any time and anyplace, in October I’ll be on Capitol Hill before the committee looking at the tragic events of September 2012 in Benghazi, Libya. They wanted to talk to me behind closed doors, but I insisted on all of you being able to see what I was asked and how I answered.
I’m sure this issue will come up. It’s unclear to me how it will help us understand what happened in Benghazi or how to help prevent future tragedies – but I’m going to do my best to answer whatever they ask.
And while I can’t predict the future, let me finish by taking a stab:
• There will be many more emails to pour through.
• Some will be serious, some will be personal or mundane.
• You know I’m not great with a fax, but you’re also going to learn my secret salad dressing recipe and who sent me LinkedIn requests. (And whose I didn’t accept!)
But when the State Department finishes releasing all my emails, you will be able to see them all and judge for yourself.
Which is how it’s supposed to work.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you for watching. And please spread the word to your friends and family.
After the email releases, the revelations from FBI Director Comey’s testimony and the campaign’s multiple shifting stories regarding Clinton’s email scheme, It’s quite interesting reading this attempt at damage control after learning everything we’ve learned in the past 14 months.
But, why did Team Clinton contemplate the video speech in the first place? The emails don’t reveal all of the strategy ehind the script, bbut the timing suggests that this was a reaction to the disastrous press conference she held on August 18th, four days before the script was circulated.
You remember this one, right? She wore her orange jumpsuit (evoking prison gar) and asked if Ed Henry’s question about wiping her server had something to “with a cloth”?
This is the press conference which has provided Hot Air the greatest Clinton screen gra of all time:
We can’t use that picture nearly enough:
As NPR points out, Clinton never gave this address but did hold a press conference (remember those?) several days later. She delivered remarks that picked up some of the themes in the lengthy speech:
“I know people have raised questions about my email use as secretary of state, and I understand why,” Clinton said. “As secretary of state, I get it. Here is what I wan the American people to know — my use of personal email was allowed by the State Department. It clearly wasn’t the best choice. I should have used two emails — one personal, one for work. I take responsibility for that decision. I want to be as transparent as possible, which is why I turned over 55,000 pages, why I turned over my server, why I have agreed to — and been asking to testify in October. I’m confident this process will prove I never sent nor received any email that was marked classified. I’m going to keep talking about what the American people talk to me about and to lay out my plans for what I would do as president to make the economy work, to make college affordable, to get the cost of drugs down and get equal pay for women and the issues that are at the core of the presidential campaign.”