There seems to be a new wrinkle in the Clinton camp’s explanation of a missing email message which was clearly work-related but which she did not turn over to the State Department. The suggestion being made by Clinton’s spokesman is that it was not turned over because it had been deleted prior to the request from the State Department in late 2014. This raises additional questions about whether the Clinton camp may have deleted this email (and possibly others) in the gap between the first informal request for her emails and the formal request that arrived five months later.

On Thursday the Associated Press reported that a “key message” sent by Hillary Clinton her aide Huma Abedin had not been turned over by Clinton as part of the 30,000 or so messages she gave back to the State Department in 2014. The email was, however, turned over by the recipient of the email, Huma Abedin. I wrote about the AP story here, pointing out that the missing email was at odds with Clinton’s claim last March that she had erred on the side of turning over anything “that could possibly be work-related.”

The missing message was clearly work-related. It’s also significant because it shows Clinton herself was aware that serious problems were being created by her use of a private email server. After Abedin sent a message suggesting she get a State Department account, Clinton replied, “Let’s get separate address or device but I don’t want any risk of the personal being accessible.”

The obvious question here is why Clinton did not turn over this “key message” in the batch of 30,000 emails she eventually handed over to the State Department. We may have gotten a hint at the answer to that question in the response Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon gave to the AP [emphasis added]:

Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon said she provided “all potentially work-related emails” that were still in her possession when she received the 2014 request from the State Department.

“Secretary Clinton had some emails with Huma that Huma did not have, and Huma had some emails with Secretary Clinton that Secretary Clinton did not have,” Fallon said.

First of all, notice that even Brian Fallon isn’t trying to claim this email was personal. This email clearly should have been turned over.

Second, this business about Huma having some emails that Hillary didn’t is utter nonsense. It’s no good to claim now that Huma filled in the missing gaps. The question is why were there gaps to be filled at all? Clinton was required to maintain these records and to turn them over.

The bit I’ve highlighted above seems to offer part of the answer. It’s not a direct quote from Brian Fallon but clearly the AP believes it is conveying the sense of his comments. The suggestion is that Clinton only turned over emails that were “still in her possession” when the request was received from the State Department.

About that request, you may recall that the Clinton camp has offered some shifty explanations about how that happened. For one, she claimed it was a routine bookkeeping request. That wasn’t true and as the Washington Post reported, the request was, ” prompted entirely by the discovery that Clinton had exclusively used a private e-mail system.”

In addition, it turns out State had been negotiating with Clinton’s attorneys over the documents for five months before the formal request was ever sent. Politico reported back in February:

The State Department in July 2014 unofficially requested that Hillary Clinton hand in copies of her work emails — much earlier than the late October 2014 date that has been cited by her presidential campaign and in court documents…

The new batch of 189 documents, obtained through Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, show that State gave Clinton an informal request several months before the Department’s official request for documents…

It also means that Clinton’s lawyers actually took at least five months to give State about 30,000 official emails before deleting the rest of the 60,000 that she deemed to be personal matters.

So now we’re back to parsing Clintonian statements. When Clinton’s spokesman indicates she turned over everything still in her possession when she received the request, which request does he mean? Does he mean the initial request in July, the informal one? Or does he mean the official request which came five months later?

Here’s one way to parse these facts which would be perfectly in keeping with the litany of dishonest answers Clinton has given about her email server:

  • Clinton’s camp received an informal request for the emails in July.
  • Her attorneys spent five months sorting and scrubbing the contents of her server.
  • As negotiated with Clinton’s attorneys, State makes a formal request for the documents in December.
  • Having already disposed of anything problematic, Clinton’s team is able to say with a semi-straight face that they turned over everything still in her possession when the request (the formal one that is) came in.

Given the many lies she has told about this topic so far, doesn’t it seem possible? In any case, it is beyond question that this key, work-related email somehow vanished from the server and was never turned over. How many similarly problematic emails are missing because they were gone before the State Department formally asked for them?