My friend Adrienne, over at Adrienne's Corner, put up a post minimizing the importance of Hillary's email in flagrante delicto, characterizing it as a "tempest in a teapot". I'm sure that plenty on the Left would love for us to believe this, and have in the meantime, come up with some of the lamest excuses, defenses and doublespeak I have ever heard from a liberal, bar none.
Surprisingly, though a number of folks on the Left are outraged by her conduct as well. Let's examine (and shred) some of the arguments put forth on Hillary's behalf.
Her emails were public (because she sent them out publicly ) Lannie Davis, long time Clinton apologist, tried to make the argument that Hillary had made her emails public because she sent out so many of them publicly. Let's call this the "iceberg defense". As long as you can see part of it, just assume you've seen it all!
what she did was open. She sent these e-mails to thousands of people with that e-mail address. So there's no intent to hide...This is absurd on the face. Any email she sent to you is not necessarily public to me. The fact that thousands of people may have received emails from Hillary's account, means the account may have been public, but not the emails. Apples and Orangemen. The fact that she sent out thousands of emails is irrelevant unless all of them are archived with the government so that they can be searched, and if need be, subpoenaed. If she sent 1,000 emails to Kim Kardashian and 20 to Vladimir Putin, turning over all the Kardashian emails doesn't mean her email was "public". They are public when the public has access to them all, according to prevailing law. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was passed because some government officials had to be forced by law to turn certain documents that should have been part of the public record, over to 'we the people'. But, FOIA doesn't give you access to Hillary's private server, therefore the original documents are in fact being hidden away from the public who owns them.
Any possibility that there are emails from Ambassador Chris Stevens to his boss and good friend Hillary Clinton, telling her of deteriorating conditions, requesting more protection for the compound at Benghazi? Emails from Hillary to Chris telling him to pound sand?? It would be most unusual if there weren't.
Any emails to Saudi Arabia around the time the Saudis gave $25 Million to the Clinton Foundation? From them? Any veiled (pun intended) hints of a quid pro quo?
No Independent Legal Authority This from former alleged conservative turned conservative inquisitioner David Brock. He says the NYT had 'no independent legal authority' to say that Hillary broke any law. This sounds a little bit like the Al Gore's fundraising excuse, back in 1996, when the Clintons were looking at a different controversy in accepting money from foreign governments. "There is no controlling legal authority",was what the vice president said. David Brock notwithstanding, there was a 2009 regulation
"agencies that allow employees to send and receive official electronic email messages using a system not operated by the agency, must ensure that federal records sent or received on such systems are preserved in the appropriate agency record keeping system."Hillary's house is NOT in an appropriate agency record keeping system.
The State Dept manual on foreign affairs stated that employees "must use a secure, department approved computer system". Who, dear Hillary, aside from yourself, in your department approved your personal system? Craig Livingston*? Was there a tape back up run by Rose Mary Woods??**
False equivalence "Hillary did nothing wrong, everybody has a private email account!" Everyone may have a belly button, too, but that's equally irrelevant. Having an additional email account to one's government account is not unusual for public officials. In fact, Congressmen are forbidden by law to use their gov't email for fund raising or campaign events, so they use private accounts for those, as liberals are pointing out with glee. "See? See? Congressman Hornblatt has a private email and it's RIGHT ON HIS BUSINESS CARD!!!"*** However, not one of them uses a private account exclusively for conducting government business. That's a distinction that falls solely to Hillary Diane Rodham Milhous Clinton.
In fact, you do remember the faux outrage over the suggestion that a Republican governor may have conducted some government business on a private email account? Romney? Palin?? "What were they trying to hide???" What if they had conducted ALL of their communications on a private email server, say one called GOP.org? Would the lynching be public or would they be flayed and boiled in oil first? Can I get even a small fraction of the outrage there, for one of the highest office holders in the land, who used a private email account EXCLUSIVELY for all her government business, none of it properly archived in government agencies?
"Bush did it" in 2007, something something, missing emails, something something, Bush and Cheney did it, too! More false equivalence. Whatever Bush and Cheney did, you can be 100% certain that Bush did not exclusively conduct government business on private email, with some private server in Crawford, Texas.
You can also be 100% certain that Bush was not soliciting cash for any private eponymous foundation and arranging any quid pro quos for infusions of cash to foreign governments.
Hillary turned over 55,000 emails. That's a LOT! State Dept spokesperson Marie Harf may be easily impressed with large numbers. And shiny objects. Actually, it's 55,000 pages of documents. Out of how many emails? Ever get a highly detailed email or one with attachments that ran more than one page? Me too.
Even if that were 99.999% of the government documents generated, it would not be enough. If there were 55,002 emails she sent, and she conveniently neglected to hand over two incriminating ones, it circumvents both the spirit and the intention of the law, and the record is incomplete. Short of giving all the servers to the government for a forensic evaluation, there cannot be full compliance. The Clintons sending out copies of however many emails they want is not evidence that the email was totally or properly archived. The servers need to be turned over. Every document she authored as Secretary of State needs to be properly archived. This is part of the history of this country and this government. Those emails do not belong to Hillary.
The Clintons should turn over all the servers to an impartial third party or court, to separate the personal from the professional, so that the professional can be archived and searchable. Until then, one can never know if there has been a full compliance with the law.
"At that time, there was no time requirement. Now there is." Again, the lovely Ms. Harf strains credulity. Even though there was not a 60 day requirement, as I believe is the case today, is it reasonable to assume that Hillary was in compliance if after two years, she only turns documents over after they were subpoenaed?
If a politician generates hard copy documents on their own stationery, are they entitled to store them in their garage until such time as someone compels them to be delivered?
"And she has given everything, according to her staff, to the State Dept."Key words being "according to her staff".
But! But! There's a lot of private information on them too! All of the Clintons' private emails! This is just a "fishing expedition" by Republicans! Gosh. Actions have consequences! Even Hillary's. No one made Hillary set up her own private email servers. If she had wanted to keep her personal email separate from those emails which properly are the property of the people of the United States, then the "smartest woman in the world" should have figured out to keep her personal emails on her private servers and emails dealing with the office of the Secretary of State should have been archived on government servers from the very beginning. Period.
National Security Risk We know that Hillary's email was hacked. What we don't know is how many times and by whom? A hacker who goes by the name of guccifer hacked Hillary's email and published a number of them. But, if a common everyday garden variety hacker could hack Hillary's email, how about teams of hackers from foreign governments? Could a foreign government or governments have hacked Hillary's email for confidential or even classified information? We don't know. That's one of the reason why the government needs to conduct a forensic search of her private servers.
The thought occurred to me, given the insecurity of Clintonemail, that if a foreign government or governments had hacked her account, they would have had the inside scoop, play by play of US foreign policy, for possibly as many years as she was Sec State. Imagine the foreign policy failures of the last six years. What if Barack Obama is not the bumbling, fumbling incompetent we've come to know and love. What if the reason he was so easily thwarted by Putin in the Ukraine, by Bashar al-Assad ignoring his red lines, by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the mad mullahs of Iran was not because he was a foreign policy noob, but because there was a gigantic hole in his secure communications, and nations unfriendly towards the US were listening in?
Did Hillary ever in her entire tenure as Secretary of State send a classified document via email? Not inconceivable, in fact, probable. That means at least for a time, that document was stored on whatever device she was using, her Blackberry, perhaps, desktop or laptop and a copy of it was created (illegally) on the server in her Chappaqua home. How is this any different than the felony that Gen. Petraeus was charged with in having classified documents in an unsecure location. Because Petraeus brought his in notebooks and Hillary brought hers in "1"s and "0"s?
But! But! Secret Service Agents surrounded the server in her house Physically, maybe. But secure against hacking? See: Guccifer. Oh, and did I mention it's against the law? Was the Secret Service even aware the servers were there, possibly with classified information on them, much less needing protection against intruders? Knowing the Clintons, I rather doubt it. Was her webmaster a frequent visitor at the house? Was it by any chance Craig Livingston??
The law changed after Hillary left office True. But that doesn't mean that many of the same requirements weren't in place before the law changed. The law became more specific, but the underlying principles of archiving official US mail in US government agencies, via whatever medium, did not change.
Questionable foreign contributions to the Clinton Foundation That's what put everyone onto the missing emails in the first place. It seems that the Clintons have been accepting tons and tons of money from foreign governments,
We do know that the State Dept. sent literally billions of dollars to the government of Haiti. And in 2012, the government of Haiti gave a gold mining permit to Hillary's brother, the first one coincidentally, issued in 50 years. Quid pro quo, anyone? Maybe having a record of correspondence between the Secretary of State, or the Clinton foundation (or both) and the government of Haiti might tell a tale!
How many other deals conducted by the State Dept may have been preceded or closely followed by "contributions" to the Clinton Foundation? Yet another reason, if not the primary reason, to keep their correspondence secret and unsearchable?
Put the shoe on the other foot Forget all of the arguments you've heard to date. Now suppose the identical circumstances exist, but the official in question was George Bush, Sarah Palin, or Dick Cheney, or even...Richard Nixon? If they told you, "Look, I've given you all the pertinent emails, because I said I've given you all the emails. Trust me!" At this point, does anyone, however so gullible, say, "Oh, well! If you say so, it must be true. Nevermind!"
Guilt by association... What Charles Krauthammer refers to as "Early Onset Clinton Fatigue", is Hillary's close association with...Bill and Hillary! As bad as the 'dialing for dollars' of the Clinton Foundation, the apparent quid pro quos of Hillary's State Dept, with a strong suspicion of dialing for dollars for the Clinton Foundation, the missing emails and possible cover up of Benghazi, and perhaps even criminal enterprises, the longer Hillary's integrity stands in question, the more apparent it is, that she does not have any! This whole sordid affair has stirred up Clinton scandals long forgotten, but never resolved. Cattle futures? Rose Law firm records? Travelgate? Whitewater? FBI files? Every shady deal that Hillary ever stuck her fingers into is now coming back to haunt her, like King Hamlet's ghost. "Out, out, damned servers!", she shrieks.
Speaking of self inflicted wounds, how does Hillary ever completely convince anyone, other than the Kool-Aid drenched, low information voters, that she has indeed turned over all official emails? Having been the sole custodian of her emails, both good and bad for six years, how could any outsider know how many emails, or servers that might be incriminating that are not turned over? Do you ask the fox how many chickens were originally in the henhouse? Would you believe him? Exactly how many emails were there? How long is a rope?
Given the Clintons' long and checkered past, can anyone believe that they a) never did anything even questionably unethical, or b) they haven't tried to cover it up, ala the Rose Law firm billing records. Or Filegate or travelgate or who hired Craig Livingston...
Bottom Line for the Drama Queen of Chappaqua Hillary is sticking to the typical Clinton playbook: dribble out a little information and then hunker down until things hopefully quiet down, then, it's "old news". But this is, I'm convinced, the beginning of the end of Hillary's political career. I'd been thinking for a little while now that Hillary was just being coy about running for President, because, if she's a potential or viable candidate, she's courted by media outlets, her speeches command more money, her influence carries more weight. All of this translates into cash. And then, there's her ego, but...follow the money!
After Hillary makes it clear she is not running, she's yesterday's news. Period. Her influence shrinks, her speeches aren't as exciting (or expensive). No one is quite so eager to purchase access to citizen Clinton as they might to candidate Clinton, with a hope of being President Clinton. The media would turn its eye to actual candidates, leaving Hillary in the dustbin of history, to spend the rest of her life to knitting booties for the grandkids and making sweet, sweet love to Billy Jeff.****
Her emails regarding Benghazi have already been subpoenaed. It's just a matter of time.
Stick a fork in her, she's done.
* Craig Livingston, employed by the Clintons at the time of the FBI file scandal, although no one would admit to having hired him
** Rose Mary Woods, Nixon's secretary, allegedly responsible for erasing 18 minutes of White House office recordings
***For brevity's sake, I did not use the prerequisite number of exclamation points generally used by the Left in such cases.
**** I know. Where's the mind bleach when you really need it?
Original art by John Cox. More at John Cox Art