So there you go. The mystery is solved. Hillary avoids a perjury charge for failing to turn over her work e-mails in a timely way because she never formally agreed to make herself accountable in the first place. What a perfectly Clintonian ending to “National Treasure 3: The Search for Hillary’s OF-109.” In fact, I’ll cop here to grudgingly respecting her political acumen in knowing from the start that she could take a steamy dump on every good-government norm of basic recordkeeping without the public batting an eye. That’s the ultimate privilege of being a Clinton: Corruption is assumed, so every discrete act of further corruption carries only the most marginal sting. She and Bill have fed the electorate so much scandal poison, bit by bit, over the past 20 years that we’re now resistant to even massive doses. It’s her version of Joe Biden saying weird, off-color things that would sink any other politician. “Biden made another joke about Indian-Americans running 7-Elevens? Oh, that Joe.” “Hillary and her aides conspired to obstruct justice by concealing their correspondence from federal recordkeepers? Oh, those Clintons.”
While State’s Foreign Affairs Manual declares that “a separation statement will be completed whenever an employee is terminating employment,” Psaki insisted that Clinton’s departure without signing the form didn’t run afoul of any directive.
“We’re not aware of any penalty for not signing it,” Psaki said. “It’s not a violation of any rule.”
Psaki claims here that they don’t have OF-109s from Colin Powell or Condi Rice either. I’d be interested in hearing from them whether that’s true and, if so, why. Watch the second clip and you’ll see Josh Earnest admit that even senior staff at the White House are required to go through the formal separation process when they leave, although he’s unclear about whether Obama and Biden themselves go through it. It’s bizarre that lower level staffers at State would be bound to cough up their e-mails for archival/accountability purposes but not the head of the department, whose dealings are the most consequential to foreign policy. What kind of accountability norm regards disclosure as less important from an official with more responsibility? That’s question one for the now inevitable Senate/House hearings on the State Department’s rolling recordkeeping clusterfark.
Exit quotation from Mark Hemingway: “Some journalist should show up at Hillary’s next presser with an OF-109 form and ask her to sign it right then and there.”