Katie mentioned this development earlier in the week, but it deserves to be highlighted again. Hillary Clinton has been ducking the press for months -- even addressing a journalism convention without taking questions, to a standing ovation, of course -- but she did briefly emerge in early March to field a handful of inquiries on the burgeoning scandal over her secret, national security-compromising email system. The biggest take-away from her performance was that she ostensibly commissioned the creation of a private 'homebrew' email server for the purposes of "convenience." She wanted to have all of her communications on a single mobile device, she claimed, so she eschewed her official government email account in favor of her own personal system. This "convenient" decision required the decidedly inconvenient task of setting up her own server, and violated "clear cut" State Department transparency rules. And now it turns out that her entire "one device convenience" justification was, as expected, complete garbage:
Hillary Rodham Clinton emailed her staff on an iPad as well as a BlackBerry while secretary of state, despite her explanation she exclusively used a personal email address on a homebrew server so that she could carry a single device, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. The State Department released a total of four emails between Clinton and her top advisers as part of a Freedom of Information Act request filed in 2013 by the AP, which sought Clinton's correspondence with senior advisers over a four-year period relating to drone strikes overseas and U.S. surveillance programs.
Bloomberg's Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, who Mary Katharine Ham rightly casts as bellwethers of Beltway conventional wisdom, tackled this subject on their television program earlier in the week, observing that Hillary's excuses are collapsing around her:
"I think this is a problem that continues to plague her for many, many more weeks, and possibly months, to come," Heilemann concludes. Another claim floated by Mrs. Clinton was that even though she was using a private email server, the vast majority of her work-related correspondence were sent to other government officials, so those messages would all be archived through their .gov accounts. Not so. We now know that some of her closest aides were also using private emails to conduct public business -- and that the State Department wasn't even archiving its official emails as required. Long after she left the Obama administration (and long after the White House claimed to have turned over "all" Benghazi-related emails, with was untrue on several levels), Hillary finally decided to release some of her virtual correspondence over to the State Department. How did she approach that process? By having her lawyers use keyword searches to identify "work" emails, then deleting the remaining tens of thousands of them. This explanation quickly evolved into "never mind, every email was examined individually." Can anyone aside from her inner circle confirm that vetting process, or that certain relevant emails didn't, ahem, accidentally fall through the cracks? No they cannot. And they may never be able to ascertain those facts because Hillary subsequently ordered the entire server wiped clean. Sounds legit. Here's an MSNBC panel admitting that this sketchiness could be a real problem for her:
"Consciousness of guilt," with a close ally furnishing the motive on national television. Plus, a Democratic Senate candidate conceding that Hillary must have sent classified material through her under-secured email system, something she has denied (albeit using squirrely language). Parting thought: A blip, or a trend?