Hillary’s Email Troubles Reach Beyond Benghazi
How this big scandal could actually work in Clinton’s favor.
The Left sees the issue of Hillary Clinton’s emails as a liability for the Right. If Republicans aren’t careful, that may prove true.
In March, Obama adviser David Axelrod tweeted, “The email trap: If the Rs make HRC email an obsessive fixation, to the exclusion of larger concerns of people, they will pay a price. Again.”
Thanks, Axelrod. An enemy multiplies kisses. After all, there are concerns about the economy, ObamaCare, immigration and what to do with a Supreme Court bent on making this nation ruled by a five-vote majority of a nine-judge panel. But Hillary Clinton’s emails are the perfect profile of Machiavellian politics that she hopes lead to a Clinton White House 2.0.
On Tuesday, the State Department released 3,000 pages of Clinton’s email from her time as secretary of state. This release is simultaneously huge and insignificant. Finally, after years of failed requests via the Freedom of Information Act, journalists and the public can start reading the email exchange showing Clinton telling retired four-star general John Podesta to “please wear socks to bed to keep your feet warm.”
It’s a massive document dump — 3,000 pages of Clinton scheduling meetings, replying to intelligence reports or firing off curt replies. Yet, it’s only a fraction of the 55,0000 pages of emails the State Department will release over the next few months. And it only happened because a federal judge ordered it after VICE News sued.
When the State Department finishes, it will be January 2016 and well into presidential primary season — long enough to cause Hillary some heartburn, but also long enough to cause the public to tune out.
Unfortunately, Clinton’s lawyers got to the emails first. Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy, notes the emails were “heavily curated,” and so there’s a slim-to-none chance there will be “anything surprising or unexpected, let alone compromising.”
Yet these pages reveal yet again Hillary’s secrecy, dishonesty and incompetence. Here are three examples:
Sidney Blumenthal was more involved in her leadership than she previously disclosed. “Are you still awake?” Clinton wrote to Blumenthal in October 2009. “I will call if you are.” This email alone blows away Clinton’s claim that Blumenthal sent her only unsolicited and un-vetted intelligence reports about Libya. While not serving in any official capacity, Blumenthal was an influential figure in Clinton’s State Department. Blumenthal advised Clinton to stay mum on the issue of torture and he was an intermediary between Clinton and the Northern Ireland peace process. His involvement with Clinton’s leadership team is a lot like a private email server — secret, no accountability and something Clinton alone can control.
However convoluted the issue may seem, Hillary writhed away from transparency. Sending her lawyers to curate the emails? Printing out 55,000 pages of electronic communication and dumping it all on the State Department to re-digitize, vet and release? While Clinton may say she wants her emails out in the public, her actions don’t match what she’s saying. During their investigation into the Benghazi attack, the House Select Committee on Benghazi discovered that Blumenthal gave them 15 emails that were not in the pile Clinton handed to State. In other words, Clinton had been trimming emails that had to do with her involvement in Libya.
Hillary struggles with attending meetings and operating fax machines. Honest question here for the “most qualified candidate ever to run for president.” What is the prerequisite skills needed to become leader of the free world, commander in chief of America’s Armed Forces? In the world of management, politics and communication, you’d think sending a fax would be a necessary skill that’s been around, oh, since at least the ‘90s. But there’s Clinton in December 2009 emailing one of her staffers to ask about working the ol’ faxer. And this was the woman who managed to operate a home-brewed email account. Furthermore, Clinton once heard about a cabinet meeting through listening to the radio (just like Barack Obama learns about every scandal on the news). “Can I go?” she wrote. “If not, who are we sending?” These are mistakes you’d expect an intern to make. But by all means, let’s give her the keys to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and the nuclear launch codes.
The issue running through all of this is Clinton’s culture of ignoring rules and oversight, dodging transparency. And the State Department is implicated in this. The public wouldn’t have known about Clinton’s secret email server if it wasn’t for the probing of the Benghazi committee.
The State Department has been dragging its feet since the committee asked for some of Clinton’s emails last November. By March, the committee had to release a subpoena.
During a press briefing June 26, State spokesman John Kirby told reporters, “We were in receipt of the email traffic that former Secretary Clinton provided, that she had gone through and decided were official in scope.”
He also explained that the department had an “original mandate,” which was to get the email communication regarding the Benghazi attack, then Clinton’s communication regarding Libya. But the record was incomplete, as at least 15 emails are missing from the State Department’s records. Still, State will do nothing, even knowing that its record-keeping rules may have been violated. Kirby said he knows of no investigation and that it’s “a matter between the select committee and former Secretary Clinton.”
The Left has been trying to make the Clinton emails and the original issue, the Benghazi attacks and cover-up, as big a political trap as they can for the Republican Party. Clinton has already created an attack ad over it. And the ranking Democrat member of the Benghazi Committee has been saying weekly that the investigation is only a partisan attack, and that the Republican House is wasting taxpayer money.
Both her secret servers and her Benghazi cover-up are critically important and, we think, disqualify Clinton from the Oval Office. Unfortunately, Clinton and the Democrats may succeed in dragging things out so long that these stories really are “old news” and voters will care even less than they do now. People expect the Clintons to be corrupt. So when corruption is exposed, they shrug and move on.
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