Video: Hillary Bursts Into Laughter Over Email Scandal, FBI Probe

Posted: Oct 19, 2015 10:26 AM

Go back and read Matt's post on this interview, which I fear may have disappeared into the Friday evening ether. The following exchange between the presumptive Democratic nominee and CNN's Jake Tapper exemplifies her contemptuous arrogance and acute allergy to accountability. Asked about her email scandal, Hillary recites her pat line that she's terribly sorry for her "mistake," while agreeing with Bernie Sanders that people don't care about her apparent misconduct, polling data aside. Hang on, though, Tapper presses -- doesn't the FBI care about the improper email scheme (not to mention two nonpartisan IG's and the intelligence community), in light of their ongoing investigation? This challenge is met with hearty, knee-slapping, eye-wiping laughter from a woman whose professed contrition feels...a touch inauthentic, perhaps:

The chuckles start at the first mention of the email issue, then continue straight through the bit about the federal probe. She finally pulls it together, once again stating that her exclusive use of a private, unsecure email server to conduct all official business was "allowed," though she wouldn't specify by whom:

TAPPER: Who allowed it?

CLINTON: It was allowed under the rules of State Department. Again --

TAPPER: So nobody signed off on it?

CLINTON: No, no, it was allowed. You know, one of my predecessors did the same thing. Others in our government have done the same thing at very high levels, because the rules did change after I left State Department. But at the time and in prior years, the rules allowed it.

For the umpteenth time, this is false.  Her email arrangement violated "clear cut" State Department rules.  It was not "allowed," a fact confirmed by a federal judge appointed by Bill Clinton.  None of her predecessors set up a private server on which they handled all official business.  The distortions didn't stop there.  Clinton dismissed the significance of information she exchanged with off-the-books intelligence-gatherer Sidney Blumenthal, whom she downplayed as an "old journalist," who was "not a government employee or official."  The reason he wasn't a government official, it should be noted, is because the Obama White House forbade it, given his dodgy ethical reputation.  But that didn't stop him from promoting his business interests while sending her sensitive information regarding Libya and other topics -- including the identity of someone he'd been told was a CIA informant in Northern Africa.  And contrary to her previous claims, Hillary did, in fact, solicit intel from Blumenthal.  Countering Tapper's push-back on her "marked classified" hair-splitting, Clinton said this problem arises from a "difference of opinion" over the sensitivity of materials.  She would have us believe that she and the State Department thought emails about North Korean nuclear weapons weren't classified at all, whereas US intelligence agencies deemed that very same information to be top secret.  See?  Just a difference of opinion.  Who can really say who's right, after all?  Setting aside the ludicrous notion that she couldn't possibly have recognized that materials about Pyongyang's nukes, the Iranian negotiations, or embassy security weaknesses were plainly secret in nature, it turns out that an Obama executive order clarified that when it comes to disagreements or ambiguity over classification decisions, the agency from which the materials originate has the final say.  So the intelligence community's determinations were and are paramount here.  Also, the State Department has since decided that information sent and received in hundreds of her emails is currently classified.  Her argument that she couldn't have identified any of it as such at the time is preposterous.  She concludes by returning to her evidently unretired talking point that the whole controversy is simply "a complicated issue for even sophisticated folks to understand."  I'm sorry for your confusion.  I'll leave you with this weekend musing from Washington Post reporter Dave Weigel:

Screen Shot 2015-10-18 at 5.53.21 PM

(1) We don't know this, actually.  That's one of the strands the FBI is investigating. (2) That's true, which is why her deliberate decision to use a woefully unsecure email server for all of her work, including the dissemination of classified material, is especially reckless.  I agree that the Clinton influence-peddling slush fund is also worthy of robust scrutiny, but this isn't an either/or proposition.  Even if the FBI agents are bored to tears by their probe (new developments notwithstanding), one might think that a journalist would have his interest piqued by a powerful politician's numerous verifiable and evolving lies on a given controversy -- even if he personally finds it dull.