Clinton Campaign Struggles To Defend Claims That Abedin Cooperated With Investigation And Was Honest With Them

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Oct 30, 2016 1:00 PM
Clinton Campaign Struggles To Defend Claims That Abedin Cooperated With Investigation And Was Honest With Them

Katie already wrote up about Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook having a rough time on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace who grilled him over Hillary’s lie that FBI Director James Comey only delivered the letter informing Congress of the review of the new emails found on Anthony Weiner’s laptop to Republicans. Anthony Weiner is under the microscope for an unrelated matter—having lewd online interactions with an underage girl—which led to the discovery of thousands of emails sent to Mrs. Clinton from that laptop. It was shared by Weiner and his now-estranged wife Huma Abdein, Clinton’s top aide and campaign vice chairwoman. Yet, in Abedin’s June deposition on Clinton’s email server from the lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch, she claimed she had turned over all her devices containing State Department documents. In February of 2013, when Clinton left the State Department, Abedin also signed a routine form stating to turn over all government-related documents upon leaving her post, even administrative emails—everything. Both the deposition and the State Department form came under penalty of perjury.

“I looked for all the devices that may have any of my State Department work on it and returned — returned — gave them to my attorneys for them to review for all relevant documents. And gave them devices and paper,” Abedin said in her June deposition. That obviously isn’t the case, but she reportedly claims she has no idea how State Department emails got on that laptop.

On the Sunday morning shows, it was a brutal day for the Clinton campaign. For starters, campaign chair John Podesta couldn’t really defend the claim that Abedin has been full cooperative with the investigation given the revelation that new emails were found on device that was not turned over. Second, when asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper if he has spoken with her about the content of the emails, it’s clear Podesta hadn’t, noting that she probably know what we have already heard in the press—and even stipulated that the laptop where these emails were discovered hasn’t been verified. Moreover, he said, “I think it's clear, I think it's clear that she complied to the best of her ability to turn everything over that she had in her possession.” No, when a document under penalty of perjury, or a sworn deposition, asks you to turn over everything. That’s precisely what that means. You don’t need to be a lawyer to understand that. I complied with 90 percent of what was asked isn’t a passing score.

CNN’S JAKE TAPPER: “So as part of this Judicial Watch lawsuit, Huma Abedin had to testify under oath, and she said ‘I looked for all the devices that may have had any of my State Department work on it and returned, gave them to my attorneys for them to review for all relevant documents, and gave them devices and paper.’ Obviously this other computer was not included in that group. Have you asked Huma Abedin why she did not turn over this computer that is now being reviewed by the FBI?”

CLINTON CAMPAIGN CHAIR JOHN PODESTA: “Look, I think Huma’s been completely cooperative with the authorities, and they've recognized that, she's worked with her attorneys to turn over relevant material, but we don't know what this is all about really. So it's very hard…”

TAPPER: “John, she hasn't been completely cooperative if she didn't turn over every device that had State Department emails on them and this one computer did.”

PODESTA: “I think it's clear, I think it's clear that she complied to the best of her ability to turn everything over that she had in her possession. I don't know anything more than the speculation that's running wild in the press now about what this is about. I’ve talked her…”

TAPPER: “Have you talked to her? Have you asked Huma Abedin what is on the computer and why she didn't turn over when she said she had given all the devices?”

PODESTA: “We don't know what computer Mr. Comey is talking about. You’re assuming a lot of facts that we don't know. So I think that as I said she's been fully cooperative with the authorities, and they have recognized that, and you know, I think that the, you know, we could sit here and speculate and put facts into the record based on anonymous reports…”

TAPPER: “I’m not speculating, sir. Our reporting, our reporting is that it was a laptop computer that belonged to Anthony Weiner, and they found State Department emails on that laptop. That's reporting, that's not speculation. You have access to Huma Abedin. I don't. Have you asked her how this…”

PODESTA: “I don't think she knows anything more than what we've seen in the press to date. So you know, I’m sure if the, you know, if people, proper authorities want to ask her questions they'll ask her questions but she's been fully cooperative in this investigation.”

TAPPER: “She came off the campaign trail on Saturday. Is she still part of the campaign? Is she still…”

PODESTA: “Of course.”

TAPPER: “Is she still working on the campaign?”

PODESTA: “Absolutely. She’s played a central and vital role in this campaign and she continues to do that and continues to do her work running our overall scheduling and advance operation, being a confidant to senior people in the campaign, and traveling with Hillary.”

On NBC’s Meet The Press, host Chuck Todd asked campaign manager Robby Mook if Huma Abedin has been honest about this whole episode:

NBC POLITICAL DIRECTOR CHUCK TODD: “Are you confident that Huma Abedin has been 100% forthcoming to you and Secretary Clinton?”

CLINTON CAMPAIGN MANAGER ROBBY MOOK: “The Justice Department confirms that she was totally cooperative, all of the summaries of the interviews she gave are out there in the public. She has cooperated fully.”

TODD: “I understand that, you said that. I’m talking about you and the campaign. Do you feel as if she is, you feel like you have all the facts? You, Robby Mook?”

MOOK: “I absolutely feel I have all the facts because all the facts were put out there. The summaries of the interviews, the Justice Department said that Huma fully cooperated. That’s again why we are so puzzled right now. Just put the information out there so we can put this to rest. This campaign is supposed to be about the American people and their lives and what the next president is going to do for them.”

TODD: “Do you believe this…”

MOOK: “This is clouding our ability to talk about this.”

That’s not really saying “yes” to the question. Having all the facts isn’t answering the question. Moreover, we got a glimpse into the frustration this campaign must be feeling over this email episode, with Mook admitting that they can’t talk about anything else because his boss is an awful, awful candidate who played by her own rules in setting up that private email system, ignored government regulations, and possibly put our national security in a vulnerable state. No one cares about what she can do if she can’t protect the country because she so sloppy with handing classified material. That, in itself, is part of the job description and the oath of office: To preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States; you can’t do that when hostile actors can possibly infiltrate a server containing state secrets, which was possible with Clinton’s email arrangement. If this had been a Republican, Democrats and the media would be all over how this person can’t be trusted with the safety of our nation. Period.

Mook should be mad, but mad at his boss for creating this avoidable disaster. As for Clinton’s anger over this latest FBI bombshell, she best keep her mouth shut, unless she wants to show the public that not only is she clueless on policy, but lacks self-awareness as well.