Hillary Clinton spent yesterday doing damage control after the release of the Inspector General report on her use of a secret e-mail server exposed her continuous stream of lies over the last 15 months on the topic. As part of that effort, Hillary called into Meet the Press Daily, where Chuck Todd took a skeptical view of the spin coming from Team Hillary, as Leah Barkoukis notes at Townhall.
Todd zeroed in on one statement from the IG report in which Hillary refused to use an official State Department e-mail. Until yesterday, Hillary claimed she wanted one system for “convenience,” but an e-mail published by the IG shows she refused on much different grounds. “Let’s get separate address or device but I don’t want any risk of the personal being accessible,” Hillary e-mailed in response to Huma Abedin’s advice to either use a State account or “release your e-mail to the department so you’re not going to spam.”
Well, which was it, Todd asks — convenience or opacity? And of what was Hillary afraid?
This exchange, Todd said, seems to contract Clinton’s reasoning for why she wanted a private email and a private server.
Thus, he wanted to know what exactly she meant, or, more specifically, what she was worried about—FOIA requests, congressional requests?
“Nobody wants their personal emails made public. That is, I think, a very common if not unanimous feeling among people,” Clinton ultimately said.
It depends on what is meant by personal. Hillary and her team also claimed yesterday that she has been the only Secretary of State to have turned over all her e-mails, but that claim conveniently ignores the fact that she deleted more than half of the e-mails on her server first. That’s 31,000 e-mails she claimed as personal, or 21 e-mails a day for every single day of her tenure as Secretary of State — including Saturdays and Sundays. Does anyone have that many personal e-mails, even for short periods of time, let alone constantly for 1,473 days?
The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza wasn’t buying it either:
The inspector’s report notes Clinton (a) shouldn’t have exclusively used a private server for her email correspondence and (b) given that she did, should have turned over all of her correspondence to the State Department immediately after she left office in February 2013. Clinton eventually turned over a portion of her emails — more on that below — but didn’t do so until December 2014 and “only after the State Department requested them as it prepared responses for the Republican-led House committee investigation into the 2012 attack on U.S. diplomats in Benghazi, Libya,” according to apiece by WaPo’s Roz Helderman and Tom Hamburger.
As for Clinton’s assertion that she has turned over “all” of her emails, remember that Clinton deleted more than 31,000 emails that she deemed personal before ever turning anything over to the State Department. There was no third party brought in to make judgments on what was entirely private and what might be closer to the professional line. We have to, quite literally, take Clinton’s word for it.
And as I noted yesterday, the IG report shows just how problematic that is. In fact, one other statement in particular caught Andrew McCarthy’s eye as well as mine:
— Ed Morrissey (@EdMorrissey) May 27, 2016
To recap: Clinton lied about having approval for the system. She lied about saying it was within the rules to use it, and that she had brought the server up to State Department security standards. Contrary to multiple statements from her team, not only did warnings arise about the use of that system during her tenure, those who raised the red flags were told to shut up about them. And despite assurances that Clinton would cooperate in reviews of her use of the private e-mail system, the IG report pointedly notes that “[t]hrough her counsel, Secretary Clinton declined OIG’s request for an interview.”
For someone who’s been insisting since the beginning that she was allowed to operate her own e-mail system, that refusal is stunning all on its own.
That also contradicts more recent Clinton statements. The FBI has begun to interview Clinton’s inner circle, a sign that the investigation is coming to a conclusion. Two weeks ago, Clinton told CBS News’ Face the Nation host John Dickerson that the FBI had not yet requested an interview, but that she would be “more than ready to talk to anyone, anytime.” The IG report clearly shows that as another lie, and if her attorneys kept her from talking with State Department investigators, it’s almost certain that she’d pass on an FBI “interview” as well.
The new IG report gives clarity to the screamingly obvious. Hillary Clinton used an unauthorized and unsecured private e-mail server to avoid compliance with legitimate Congressional oversight and Freedom of Information Act requests. Under her leadership, the State Department misled several courts and a number of Congressional inquiries about the existence of Clinton’s e-mails.
One final note on those 31,000 deleted “personal” e-mails: the FBI may well have those now, too. If this moves forward into a criminal prosecution of anyone, they’ll all come out eventually. That’s a big if, of course.