Hillary Clinton is reeling from an insurgent Bernie Sanders and a blizzard of negative press on her spiraling email scandal. Campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri issued a "remain calm!" memo to supporters late yesterday, assuring them that there's nothing to see here. It's all just "misinformation" and "nonsense," she avers, adding that "we have the facts...on our side." They do not. Let's examine Palmieri's email:
The basics: Hillary Clinton's email arrangement violated "clear cut" State Department rules, according to federal records-keeping experts. One expert -- a Clinton supporter -- describes her ex post facto justifications "laughable." The entire scheme has been improper from start to finish.
The State Department's request: In a belated move under pressure and a subpoena, Hillary Clinton finally released more than 30,000 pages of work-related emails to the State Department. She and her team permanently deleted more than 30,000 others, with no oversight or independent supervision, claiming that they were all purely personal in nature. Subsequent evidence proves that Mrs. Clinton failed to hand over an unknown number of emails explicitly related to her work as Secretary of State.
Classified emails: Hillary repeatedly claimed that no classified materials were exchanged over her woefully unsecure private server. "There is no classified material," she told reporters in March. A review of a just small sample of the emails she didn't destroy by two Obama administration Inspectors General concluded that multiple emails did in fact contain classified material. A new report indicates that at least two of this handful of examined emails were "top secret" -- highly classified and highly sensitive.
"It's complicated:" In an effort to obscure the truth, Clinton's campaign says the classified material in question was made so retroactively, after the fact. Another line of argument they've advanced is that some of the material may not have been specifically labeled as "classified" at the time. But the IG's referral of this issue for federal investigation stated that the information in question "was classified when they were sent, and are classified now." According to experts familiar with the laws governing classified material, the "it wasn't marked" excuse is actually no excuse at all, under the law. It is the responsibility of officials with high clearances to understand what is, and is not, classified, and to act appropriately. Furthermore, according to a former NSA analyst, it's "obvious" that any "top secret" information would of course qualify as classified. There would be no inter-agency squabbling or disagreement over that question, clarifying another allegedly "complicating" factor proffered by the campaign.
No criminal inquiry? The Clinton campaign spent days savaging the New York Times for referring to the IG's probe referral as "criminal" in nature. Follow-up reporting has revealed that the ongoing FBI investigation is indeed a criminal one, as confirmed by an FBI spokesman. The subject of the probe is a series of potential national security breaches resulting from sensitive information passing through an unsecure private email server that Hillary Clinton (a) ordered be set up in contravention of "clear cut" rules, (b) used throughout her tenure at the State Department, (c) ordered be scrubbed by her lawyers, and (d) has lied about repeatedly.
The Benghazi committee: Dismissed as a partisan "witch hunt" by Team Clinton, it was Rep. Trey Gowdy's special committee into the terrorist attacks in Benghazi -- another subject about which Hillary has lied -- that first discovered the existence the former Secretary of State's private email server. It's no wonder the Clinton campaign is bitterly unhappy about this unhelpful development, which places Mrs. Clinton in political hot water and now threatens to become legally perilous, as well. It's true that the central mission of Gowdy's panel is to get the full truth about the deadly Benghazi raid, and to ensure that similar mistakes aren't replicated in the future. On those fronts, Clinton's State Department has been anything but forthcoming about its own failures, inventing narratives and intimidating internal critics and dissenters. A review of US embassies and consulates nearly a year after Benghazi determined that 15 American diplomatic facilities in "high risk" hotspots lacked adequate security. Sec. Clinton did not address or prioritize this problem, even after a sitting ambassador was assassinated by terrorists inside his own compound, along with three other Americans.
"Fully cooperating:" Hillary has resisted accountability at every turn; after all, according to NBC's sources, ducking accountability is the only plausible reason she would have set up the private server in the first place (her previous excuse turned out to be a provable lie). Every gesture of compliance and cooperation has come under intense pressure and duress, both political and legal. She's withheld emails she claimed she'd submitted, and has strenuously resisted parting ways with the server itself, which is now in FBI custody.
Republicans did it, too: As Ed Morrissey pointed out, the relevant federal rules did not apply to Republican governors, who didn't handle classified -- let alone top secret -- material and US state secrets. An aide to Jeb Bush also retorted that the former Florida governor released his emails "voluntarily, not under a subpoena," calling the comparison "a joke." Deliberate misdirection.
The bottom line: Hillary Clinton and her team have been caught in lie after lie about her improper, national security-endangering email scheme. Two separate, independent watchdogs decided that there was sufficient impropriety at play to refer the matter to the Justice Department and FBI for a full federal inquiry. That investigation is underway and is creating new headaches for the Clinton campaign, which has decided to dissemble and dodge -- while continuing to insist that this is all just a giant nothingburger. The American people -- most of whom do not trust or hold favorable views of Hillary Clinton -- disagree, with a majority supporting the criminal investigation into her email scandal.
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