The best part of Hillary Clinton's presidency will be the accountability. Following a hard-hitting Inspector General report -- the result of an investigation with which Mrs. Clinton refused to cooperate -- her campaign basically ignored its damaging findings, laughably twisting its conclusions as 'vindication.' Now that her reckless misconduct and flagrant lies have also been laid bare by the FBI director, you might expect some genuine contrition and acceptance of responsibility from a candidate who was quite fortunate to walk away from the probe without being slapped with a federal criminal indictment. You'd be wrong, of course. As her chief spokesman shamelessly refuses to acknowledge that she told a single untruth about her email scheme, Hillary equally shamelessly rejects James Comey's evidence-based, sharp reprimand. Her song and dance routine starts at the 7:30 mark of this clip, and continues for the balance of the interview -- which got buried on Friday, and I wanted to be sure to highlight:
A few points to cut through her fog of dishonest nonsense:
(1) Clinton's bland, perfunctory, passive statement of "regret" rings especially hollow, given how often she lied about her conduct. And the notion that she's only just recently realized that this was a problematic mistake simply isn't true. She was personally and specifically warned that her unsecure email set-up put national security secrets in danger in both 2009 and 2011. She made the active decision to maintain her improper system and behavior in each case.
(2) Comey did not "clarify" his headline-grabbing "extremely careless" assessment. In fact, he rightly doubled-down on it during Congressional testimony, asserting that her email recklessness was the "definition of negligence."
(3) When Blitzer drills down on her behavior and choices, she twice pivots to trying to spread the blame around to "more than 300" government employees who were aware of her unsecure system, cynically pretending that any suggestion that she was irresponsible is somehow also an attack on all of those people, whose honor she magnanimously defends. But other people did not order the implementation of an unprecedented, rules-breaking, unsecure system. And other people did not disregard and reject explicit national security admonitions. Only she did. Indeed, when some employees did question the appropriateness of her server (which ended up putting the entire official State Department system at greater risk, too), they were instructed "never to speak of the Secretary’s personal email system again." Hiding behind political human shields to deflect from her own misconduct is a low, craven move.
(4) Hillary's story has shifted once again, as she now says she "believes" she never sent classified material -- and that those messages that were marked classified at the time were marked improperly. Let's set aside Comey's judgment that additional classified and/or work-related emails were permanently and unilaterally deleted by Hillary's lawyers (in what many believe to be the real purpose of her scheme from the get-go). Comey said that especially among those top-secret-and-beyond emails she sent and received, any "reasonable person" in her position would necessarily have known that their contents were classified at the time. When Blitzer confronts her with Comey's words on that point, she again invokes those hundreds of other employees -- very few of whom had any connection to the top secret email chains in question, of course. Plus, Hillary stated over and over again for more than a year that none of her emails were marked classified (Comey once again explained why her "marked" distinction is meaningless). The FBI found that some of them were, in fact, marked. Clinton is now arguing that in retrospect, the State Department believes they shouldn't have been. But that does not change the fact that they were marked, contradicting her oft-stated claim. This is just more clumsy misdirection.
(5) Asked whether she'd cooperate with the newly-reopened State Department investigation into this matter (which strikes me as duplicative, and if anything, more likely to attempt a whitewash of FBI and IG determinations), Hillary dodges the question twice. Blitzer notes that she'd declined to participate in the Inspector General's probe, to which she replies with the explanation that she did so because the FBI investigation was simultaneously underway. Why she couldn't assist both entities' efforts doesn't fully compute, but even if you buy that justification, what's her excuse for not committing to cooperate with State now that the FBI's investigation (of her emails, at least) has concluded?
This is a habitually dishonest, arrogant, unaccountable person who is ethically unfit for the presidency. A new Washington Post/ABC News poll shows that Americans disapprove of the FBI's decision not to recommend a criminal prosecution in this case by a 21-point margin:
The first two data points, then the last one: pic.twitter.com/fsMy3pPKr4— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) July 11, 2016
Solid majorities (including several former federal prosecutors) say Comey's indictment decision was wrong, and that Hillary's actions make them worried about how she'd comport herself as president. But a similar majority says the resolution of this matter won't impact their vote one way or the other, prompting this musing from Phil Kerpen:
I want to see some interviews with the people who are voting for Hillary but wanted her to be charged!— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) July 11, 2016
Here's one relevant explanatory factor, I suspect: