Clinton Cleared Legally, But Her ‘Extreme’ Carelessness Will Follow Her To The White House

Hillary Clinton's extreme carelessness with classified information probably won't cost her the election, but it should.

Hillary Clinton Blackberry

Yesterday’s announcement by F.B.I. Director James Comey that the Bureau would recommend to the Justice Department that no charges should be filed against Hillary Clinton or any of her aides arising out of her use of a private email server notwithstanding the fact that the investigation did indeed uncover mishandling of classified information that was “extremely careless” lifted a massive cloud that had been hanging over her campaign. However, that doesn’t mean that the issue itself will disappear, or that Clinton may not face consequences for her and her staff’s negligence:

Hillary Clinton may avoid criminal charges, but the searing rebuke of her “extremely careless” email practices Tuesday by FBI Director James B. Comey is likely to reverberate through the November election and, if she wins, well into her presidency.

In a methodical, 15-minute statement bringing an end to the FBI investigation of Clinton’s personal email system while she was secretary of state, Comey laid bare a litany of facts that amounted to a stern admonishment of her judgment, management and stewardship of state secrets.

Even as Comey lifted a legal cloud by announcing that the FBI would not recommend criminal charges, he systematically obliterated many of the key defenses Clinton and her advisers have offered to reassure the public in the 15 months since the discovery that she used a private email system. For instance, Clinton had insisted that she did not send or receive classified materials, but Comey said the FBI found that 110 of her emails contained classified information.

For weeks now, Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, has been arguing that her Republican opponent, Donald Trump, is unfit to be president and cannot be trusted in the Oval Office. She had hoped that a rally Tuesday afternoon in Charlotte with President Obama — their first joint appearance of the campaign — would underscore that contrast with Trump.

Instead, the remarks by Comey — a Republican with a sterling reputation among leaders of both parties — delivered from a lectern at FBI headquarters cast fresh doubt on Clinton’s own fitness and trustworthiness.

“Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information,” Comey said.

(…)

Public polls show that many voters do not trust Clinton and that the email controversy already has harmed her political standing. Polls consistently show that roughly two-thirds of Americansdo not consider Clinton “honest and trustworthy” — typically her lowest rating in a series of attribute questions.

A Washington Post-ABC News poll in June found that 56 percent of all adults disapprove of her handling of questions about her email use — 44 percent of them “strongly disapproving.”

It is unclear whether the FBI’s findings, delivered by Comey on Tuesday, will further erode Clinton’s standing with the public. Republican pollster Neil Newhouse described the FBI’s findings as “damning results, just not indictable,” and expects fallout in the polls.

“Very little of her explanations hold up, most are at odds with the facts, and it was much worse than she admitted,” Newhouse said in an email Tuesday. “I’m not sure voters are going to be surprised, but when she’s already trailing on the key attributes of ‘honest and trustworthy’ to Donald Trump, today’s FBI findings are going to dig her hole even deeper

Patrick Healy in The New York Times calls Comey’s comments about Clinton’s “extreme recklessness” and the fact that the investigation found that many of the initial claims that Clinton and those around her made regarding the email issue were simply not true, a “ready made attack ad” for the Trump campaign and the GOP:

Mrs. Clinton’s campaign is built on the premise that she has the national security experience and well-honed instincts to keep Americans safe in the age of terrorism, and that Donald J. Trump does not. Nearly every day, she seeks to present herself as a more thoughtful and responsible leader.

She has spent months describing Mr. Trump as “reckless,” “unprepared” and “temperamentally unfit” to be president, and she has pointed to her four years as secretary of state and eight in the Senate as unparalleled preparation for becoming commander in chief.

Yet in just a few minutes of remarks, Mr. Comey called into question Mrs. Clinton’s claims of superiority more memorably, mightily and effectively than Mr. Trump has over the entire past year. And with potentially lasting consequences.

To her charge that he is “reckless,” Mr. Trump may now respond by citing Mr. Comey’s rebuke: that Mrs. Clinton and her team “were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”

To her promises to defend the United States, Mr. Trump may now retort with Mr. Comey’s warning that “it is possible that hostile actors gained access” to Mrs. Clinton’s email account and the top secret information it contained.

And to her reproofs about his temperament and responsibility, Mr. Trump may now point to Mr. Comey’s finding that “there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes” on handling classified information — though Mr. Comey said that other factors, like Mrs. Clinton’s intent, argued against criminal charges.

Worst of all was the totality of Mr. Comey’s judgment about Mrs. Clinton’s judgment.

She is running as a supremely competent candidate and portraying Mr. Trump, in essence, as irresponsible and dangerous. Yet the director of the F.B.I. basically just called her out for having committed one of the most irresponsible moves in the modern history of the State Department. And a day that should have been one of Mrs. Clinton’s best of the campaign — as she stumped alongside President Obama for the first time and received his hearty endorsement — ended up as one of her worst.

Her clearest selling point — that she, unlike Mr. Trump, can manage challenging relationships with allies and adversaries — has now been undercut because she personally mismanaged the safeguarding of national security information.

These were only Mr. Comey’s words, of course: He did not recommend federal charges against Mrs. Clinton or any of her aides, which came as a huge relief to Democrats who feared worse.

Still, as the Republican strategist Russ Schriefer put it on Tuesday, “Any time a campaign is using ‘Well, at least she wasn’t indicted’ as a cause for celebration isn’t a good day for the campaign.”

(…)

A more conventional Republican nominee would probably already be using Mr. Comey’s remarks to churn out new attack ads and bombarding television and radio audiences until every voter had heard the phrase “extremely careless” more than he or she could count. A typical nominee would have allies memorizing Mr. Comey’s best lines and repeating them on cable news and at local political events — assailing Mrs. Clinton’s judgment and experience to exploit and deepen the mistrust that many Americans feel toward her, and to drive up her unfavorability ratings in public opinion polls.

Politico’s Gabriel DeBenedetti and The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza both make similar points about how an F.B.I. report that simultaneously states that the Democratic nominee for President acted “extremely” recklessly and contradicts her on several key points with regard to how she has defended her use of a private email server over the past year or more would, ordinarily, hardly be considered good news by the campaign or its supporters. As Patrick Healy notes above, the attack ads against Clinton practically write themselves and the transcript of Comey’s remarks provides the transcript for those ads. Hillary Clinton is running for President, we are told, based on her experience and judgment and yet here we have the head of the F.B.I., after a year long investigation that reportedly involved dozens of Bureau agents and experts, that she had acted extremely recklessly in connection with the handling of classified information and that, contrary to her own claims going back more than a year, she and her aides shared information that they either knew or reasonably should have known was classified to at least some degree. Notwithstanding the fact that he was simultaneously recommending no indictment even though the actions and failures to act that he described clearly seem to amount to violations of Federal law, including but not limited to 18 USC § 793(f), which covers those situations where people have handled or mishandled classified information, this is very damning information that ordinarily would cause real problems for a candidate for President, especially one that already has a problem with the public perceiving her to be dishonest or unethical.

Even if Clinton is elected in November, which still seems likely, the story of how she put herself above the law in setting up a private email server under her sole control, a move obviously intended to give her control over which emails would eventually be made public, and then flouting the laws regarding the proper handling of classified information will undoubtedly follow her into the White House just as questionable actions when she was First Lady of Arkansas followed her and her husband into the White House twenty-four years ago. House Speaker Paul Ryan has already said that there will be hearings regarding the F.B.I. probe and Clinton’s handling of classified information in the House, for example, and one can easily see those hearings continuing well into an anticipated Clinton Administration. Additionally, the findings themselves are likely to come as little to no surprise to American voters, most of whom have already formed an opinion of both candidates for President that is, to put it mildly, less than favorable. If the only thing that Clinton’s supporters can say in her defense is “well, she wasn’t indicted,” that’s hardly an endorsement of her character or her trustworthiness, and hardly a sign that the deep cynicism with which most Americans view politics today is going to come to an end any time soon.

What’s extraordinary about all of this, of course, is the fact that, despite the damning conclusions that the F.B.I. investigation reached, she is still likely to be elected President of the United States. In an ordinary election year, the Republicans would be all over these statements by the F.B.I. Director and would continue hammering on them from now until Election Day. As Megan McArdle reminds us, though, this is not an ordinary election year:

Perhaps this helps Trump a little bit, on the margin. But I doubt that it does any more than confirm what everyone already thought. Democrats will continue to stick their fingers in their ears and say Lalalalala-I can’t-hear-you-and-anyway-Colin-Powell-did-it-too (he didn’t). Republicans already thought she was a crook. Low-information voters, aka the people who swing elections, will not follow this closely enough to take subtle new insights from the wording of Comey’s statement; they will go forward with the same vague sense that the Clintons are not very ethical people. When they weigh this against their similarly vague sense that Trump isn’t very ethical either, it’s probably a wash

Especially since Trump is the Republican worst positioned to take advantage of this opening. How many people are going to think that if Trump had been in Clinton’s place, he would have said: “Heavens no, we can’t go having a private server! That would be unethical and strictly against the rules! Put my e-mails on the State Department system so that it will be open to FOIA!” We’re talking about a man whose dubious real estate seminars targeted parents with hungry kids, who has been sued for fraud more than once, who bans news outlets from his campaign events if he thinks they’ve been too mean to him. This is the man who’s supposed to deliver hard-hitting attacks on Clinton’s honesty and transparency?

In fact, rather than helping Trump, I wonder if this hurts him. Republicans, and especially Trump supporters, have been talking about the indictment the way people on the losing side of major wars start talking about some implausible outside relief, like England getting into the Civil War on the side of the Confederacy. The indictment was never very likely, and now that it has been put to rest, Republicans are going to have to look at Trump’s chances without a deus ex machina to turn the tables for them.

McArdle is, of course, largely correct. The F.B.I.’s conclusions about Clinton are unlikely to benefit him to any significant degree for several reasons. First of all, as past news stories have demonstrated Trump quite simply lacks the discipline to stay on message long enough for a story like this to sink in with the public at large, and the fact that he and other Republicans have spent the better part of the past year claiming that an indictment was just around the corner means that yesterday’s announcement was as much as setback for them as it is for Clinton herself. Even if Trump spends the next several days talking about this he will inevitably be distracted by something else, or say something offensive on a completely different topic, and that will be the story that comes to dominate the news cycle in the week leading up to the Republican National Convention. Second, Trump’s own negative poll numbers are, if anything, worse than Hillary’s and that appears to be resulting in her being able to maintain a lead over him in the polls at the national and the state level. Third, by all accounts, Trump lacks the cash on hand to mount the kind of media campaign that would seem to be called for in this situation and has shown little inclination to either raise more money, or contribute his own at a level that could actually compete with the tens of millions of dollars that Hillary Clinton has raised, and no doubt will continue to raise. Finally, the Electoral College advantage that Clinton has is not likely to be impacted by this report, even though it probably should be.

In other words, given the choice between a xenophobic demagogue and an ethically challenger former Secretary of State of limited accomplishment, and keeping in mind that most Americans will not take advantage of the availability of third-party candidates on the ballot, most Americans will reject the demagogue. That’s good news on some level, I suppose, but it’s just another sign of how unfortunate it is that one of the two major party candidates has to be the one who wins in November, because neither one of them deserves to.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Campaign 2016, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    Check your headline, Doug. She has plenty of access to automotive transportation. 😀

    Edit: I see you fixed it. Never mind.

  2. Already fixed, CSK

  3. Mikey says:

    This won’t get Trump anywhere. He’s too dense to understand how he should have responded (with assertions of disappointment in the result, but trust in the FBI and Comey, followed immediately by major emphasis on the many parts of Comey’s statement that condemn Clinton). Instead he basically echoed his equally dense supporters’ assertions of a “fix” and total loss of trust in the FBI.

    Not to mention doing the right thing would require the kind of campaign structure he has completely failed to set up.

    How the GOP leadership must be mourning the loss of the best opportunity in years to get a Republican President!

  4. Moosebreath says:

    Also, please note that Trump’s response was not to stick with what Comey said. Instead, he invented a conspiracy theory out of whole cloth, saying that Clinton had bribed the Attorney General by promising to re-appoint her to get her to lean on the FBI to exonerate Clinton. And produced zero evidence to back up this speculation.

    And yet Clinton is the one who is not trustworthy.

  5. Modulo Myself says:

    Republicans who think the national GOP will just pick up the pieces and go back to 8 breathtaking years of investigations into whether Hillary Clinton is corrupt are living in a fantasy world of pundits and think tanks. It’s obviously in the best interest of right-wing hacks like McArdle to have a Clinton presidency and an audience eager to hate her within the limits set by DC, but it’s not going to happen. Trump is getting killed in the polls and he’s channeling white supremacists and anti-semites and nobody who backs him even cares. If/when he loses, these people are not going to be into a 400-page document 3 years in the making about her decision to set up the server. They are going to want her dead, along with the Jew/Muslim/black media cabal that put her in power.

  6. SKI says:

    And this is why I pointed out to James yesterday that Comey was not playing fully straight in using the word “extremely”. Take that word, which wasn’t actually supported by the facts he disclosed, out of his statement and the issue has far less political weight.

  7. steve says:

    made the mistake of reading the OP.

    No different from RedState or GatewayPundit in type, just in degree.

  8. EddieInCA says:

    I’m troubled by a few things…

    1. Every time Comey spoke of classified materials, he used the phrase “Sent OR received.” When he discussed the 110 emails with classification, he said “sent or received”. I’d love to know the breakdown of “sent” vs. “received”. If all 110 emails were “received”, then how is that Clinton’s fault? If it was 3 sent and 107 received, that’s a huge difference than 3 received and 107 sent. Why no delineation between “sent” and “received”?

    2. Yet again, an extensive investigation into the Clintons finds nothing. Yet partisans continue to say “Clinton is not Trustworthy”. I’m still trying ot figure out why? By all accounts, she was a good, loyal, and effective SOS. Her approval rating will SOS was in the mid to high 60’s pretty much the whoel time. As a NY Senator her approval rate was around 60% during her entire two terms. So to the Joyner’s of the world, I ask, ‘What’s the fact the shows Ciinton is untrustworthy? When did she ever do anything that is so outside the norm that she deserves this level of scrutiny for 25 years?

    3. A GOP Rep has already called for a Special Prosecutor. Really? They will never stop. Ever.

    I look forward to President Clinton continuing the work of President Obama.

  9. Andy says:

    Doug,

    Comey’s statement was very carefully worded. I noticed it didn’t mention Clinton’s staff. Do you think they are still subject to legal action?

  10. SKI says:

    @Andy:

    Comey’s statement was very carefully worded. I noticed it didn’t mention Clinton’s staff. Do you think they are still subject to legal action?

    No way they prosecute the staff, given facts that have never been prosecutable before (and would likely lead to massive prosecutions of almost all executive branch leaders given how horrible federal email systems are) and when their boss wasn’t.

  11. Pch101 says:

    @EddieInCA:

    This sort of thing is not unusual:

    “Why don’t you like Clinton?”

    “She isn’t trustworthy.”

    “Why isn’t she trustworthy?”

    “She isn’t likable.”

    “Why don’t you like her?”

    “Because she can’t be trusted.”

    “Why can’t she be trusted?”

    “Because she is untrustworthy?”

    “How do you know she isn’t trustworthy?”

    “Because she can’t be trusted.”

    Lather, rinse, repeat.

  12. jukeboxgrad says:

    Yet partisans continue to say “Clinton is not Trustworthy”. I’m still trying ot figure out why?

    There are material differences between the Clinton narrative and the Comey narrative. You don’t need to go to Breitbart or WSJ to see an outline of those differences. You can find it at places like NPR. If you can make sense of those differences without concluding that she is “not Trustworthy,” I would like to hear how you manage to do that.

    It’s reasonable to claim that Clinton is less dishonest than Trump, and it also might be reasonable to claim that Clinton is no more dishonest than a typical politician at her level. It also might be reasonable to claim that her honesty problems won’t stop her from being a good president. But why most people see her as “not Trustworthy” is not a mystery, and it’s largely self-inflicted.

  13. al-Ameda says:

    I certainly have every confidence that the Republican House will conduct multiple investigations concerning secretaries Powell and Rice, and their respective use of private email, and of Powell’s actions to delete hundreds of thousands (millions?) of emails.

  14. steve says:

    News this morning is that the House wants a new investigation into the specific emails and classified materials Comey mentioned.

    And The Hill is reporting also a possible House investigation into Comey’s decision.

  15. Andy says:

    @SKI:

    Maybe. As I recall, some of the classified messages were reportedly word-for-word copies of intelligence reports, not just people extemporaneously typing on classified topics. If that’s the case, then someone had to transcribe or sneaker-net the info from the classified system to the unclassified. That would be clear intent with respect to the applicable laws and therefore easily prosecutable.

    Then there is the question of Sydney Blumenthal, who was apparently sending Clinton verbatim NSA reports via his own unclassified email (which was hacked, BTW). He was not a government employee, so someone was feeding him the info.

  16. Stormy Dragon says:
  17. SKI says:

    @Andy:

    Maybe. As I recall, some of the classified messages were reportedly word-for-word copies of intelligence reports, not just people extemporaneously typing on classified topics. If that’s the case, then someone had to transcribe or sneaker-net the info from the classified system to the unclassified. That would be clear intent with respect to the applicable laws and therefore easily prosecutable.

    Source? Because Comey did not say that – and said that the media reports were mostly wrong.

  18. MarkedMan says:

    It’s fascinating to me that those on the right who claim to be “only looking at the facts”, especially our own Mr. Joyner, cannot even contemplate that bias might play into their analysis. Just look at the evidence:

    Powell comes in, says ‘the email system is unworkable”, IT can’t satisfy him so he uses an AOL account and then loses all the email when he is asked for it. He claims he asked for permission but, come on, the head of IT is going to sign off on the SoS use of frigging AOL? Yeah, that happened.

    Clinton comes in, says ‘the email system is unworkable”, IT can’t satisfy her so she has a professional firm set up a personal email server. When she is asked for the emails she sent or received she turns them over.

    But to those with CDS, the first case is not even worth thinking about while the second is evidence of a character so deeply flawed that only fools can think otherwise.

    Got it.

  19. JKB says:

    Well, first she wasn’t “cleared legally”. At best, Comey projected prosecutorial discretion. The law she violated does not require intent, only “gross negligence” which is in evidence. But Comey claims that prosecutions absent some kind of intent, such as trying to destroy the evidence (which is oddly like erasing a server) are rare.

    But as Comey stated, such individuals, without high political stature, would face administrative/security penalties. These penalties are most often loss of clearance for access to classified material and often with that, loss of job. In any case, the individual is unlikely to be selected for a higher office.

    Comey laid out the statement of facts in this case before the public. It is now up to the voters of next November to adjudicate whether Clinton, and her minions, should have unfettered access to classified material as President. In essence, the entire electorate is now on the grand jury with a true bill leading not to prosecution but the administrative sanction of not being elected to high office.

    Trump may or may not effectively use this, but there are those formerly of the intelligence community, FBI, military, etc., who spent their lives protecting classified material and being protected while doing the nations bidding in foreign lands by said classifying system who can present their case independent of the Republican nominee.

    The mere risk of the loss of cooperation from ally intelligence services, intelligence assets in hostile regimes, those with knowledge useful to the Joint Terrorism Task Forces, etc., should Hillary and her people regain access to classified material should give pause.

  20. JKB says:

    @MarkedMan: Clinton comes in, says ‘the email system is unworkable”, IT can’t satisfy her so she has a professional firm set up a personal email server. When she is asked for the emails she sent or received she turns them over.

    Of course, that is not the issue of this investigation report. This investigation was on the misuse and possible compromise of classified data that was transmitted/stored on Ms. Clinton’s servers.

    Regardless of the system, classified material is not to be transmitted on any system not approved for the level of classification. Government controlled system or private server.

  21. An Interested Party says:

    The sour grapes of Doug and people like him taste so sweet…isn’t it just terrible that this email business will do nothing to stop Hillary from becoming our next president…

  22. Rafer Janders says:

    Please release my comment from moderation, thank you.

  23. Jc says:

    @EddieInCA: Yeah, I had the same questions. Maybe more will be released in time.

    From Comey’s Statement:

    FBI investigators have also read all of the approximately 30,000 e-mails provided by Secretary Clinton to the State Department in December 2014. Where an e-mail was assessed as possibly containing classified information, the FBI referred the e-mail to any U.S. government agency that was a likely “owner” of information in the e-mail, so that agency could make a determination as to whether the e-mail contained classified information at the time it was sent or received, or whether there was reason to classify the e-mail now, even if its content was not classified at the time it was sent (that is the process sometimes referred to as “up-classifying”).

    From the group of 30,000 e-mails returned to the State Department, 110 e-mails in 52 e-mail chains have been determined by the owning agency to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received. Eight of those chains contained information that was Top Secret at the time they were sent; 36 chains contained Secret information at the time; and eight contained Confidential information, which is the lowest level of classification. Separate from those, about 2,000 additional e-mails were “up-classified” to make them Confidential; the information in those had not been classified at the time the e-mails were sent.

    This is the meat of the investigation and his statement that GOP will feast on – “or example, seven e-mail chains concern matters that were classified at the Top Secret/Special Access Program level when they were sent and received. These chains involved Secretary Clinton both sending e-mails about those matters and receiving e-mails from others about the same matters. There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position, or in the position of those government employees with whom she was corresponding about these matters, should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation. In addition to this highly sensitive information, we also found information that was properly classified as Secret by the U.S. Intelligence Community at the time it was discussed on e-mail (that is, excluding the later “up-classified” e-mails).”

  24. inhumans99 says:

    Trump really is his own worst enemy, rather than staying on point and relentlessly hammering away on Hillary Clinton, he goes off on tangents like praising Sadam Hussein (that is one of the Top Stories on my Google News page this morning)…the mind boggles. Trump is all dude…he did not read terrorists their rights, he just killed them. Uh…dude, he also gassed his own citizens, tortured and jailed folks who dared to disagree with his rule of the land, invaded another country and used scortched earth tactics (blowing up the oil wells) to screw up the global economy.

    Yeesh…it is like loving Mussolini because he made the trains run on time. Folks really need to get over their hatred of Hillary Clinton…I like to think that even in the back of the lizard brain of the lowest information voter that Trump’s words give them pause that maybe, just maybe, Trump might come for them in the middle of the night if they dare to get on the wrong side of their dear leader. Hint people, Trump is not your friend.

  25. wr says:

    @JKB: Shorter JKB: “All those statements I made about how Hillary is going to jail are now inoperative.”

  26. Jc says:

    Another gem

    “None of these e-mails should have been on any kind of unclassified system, but their presence is especially concerning because all of these e-mails were housed on unclassified personal servers not even supported by full-time security staff, like those found at Departments and Agencies of the U.S. Government—or even with a commercial service like Gmail.”

    not even supported by full-time security staff, like those found at Departments and Agencies of the U.S. Government

    Man, like the OPM….hmmm let’s see. Hacked, took them 4 months to realize they were hacked and then got hacked again. lmao. That full-time security staff is doing great work. Of course, other agencies have likely been hacked, but that info is probably “classified”

    “OPM believes the first intrusion into its systems occurred in December 2014, and became aware of the incident in April 2015. OPM then became aware of a second intrusion into its systems in May 2015.”

  27. Jc says:

    @JKB: That entire post – Holy melodrama.

    “The mere risk of the loss of cooperation from ally intelligence services, intelligence assets in hostile regimes, those with knowledge useful to the Joint Terrorism Task Forces, etc., should Hillary and her people regain access to classified material should give pause.”

    Lmao, yeah….and President Trump I am sure gives no pause to our allies and their intelligence programs….

    I can see the tweet now. “My fellow Americans, stay away from France. I am hearing some things about threats in France, just saying, not a good time to get a baguette or croissant”

  28. steve says:

    FBI Director James Comey will testify before Congress on Thursday after announcing the bureau would recommend Hillary Clinton not be prosecuted for her email practices as secretary of state, the House Oversight Committee announced Wednesday.

    “The FBI’s recommendation is surprising and confusing. The fact pattern presented by Director Comey makes clear Secretary Clinton violated the law. Individuals who intentionally skirt the law must be held accountable,” committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz said in a statement.

    The Utah Republican representative added: “Congress and the American people have a right to understand the depth and breadth of the FBI’s investigation. I thank Directory Comey for accepting the invitation to publicly answer these important questions.”

    link

  29. steve says:

    Impeachment talks will begin today, I’d bet.

  30. Andy says:

    @SKI:

    I’d have to look it up. It very well could have been wrong. I just thought it was strange that Comey only talked about Clinton and did not mention all the other people who “sent and received” these emails. I’m just wondering if they are off the hook too – I would guess so given how bad the optics would be if they were prosecuted but Clinton wasn’t.

    @EddieInCA:

    1. Every time Comey spoke of classified materials, he used the phrase “Sent OR received.” When he discussed the 110 emails with classification, he said “sent or received”. I’d love to know the breakdown of “sent” vs. “received”. If all 110 emails were “received”, then how is that Clinton’s fault? If it was 3 sent and 107 received, that’s a huge difference than 3 received and 107 sent. Why no delineation between “sent” and “received”?

    Clinton sent several of the emails, but Comey didn’t say how many.

    2. Yet again, an extensive investigation into the Clintons finds nothing. Yet partisans continue to say “Clinton is not Trustworthy”. I’m still trying ot figure out why?

    It’s not just partisans. Clinton’s not exactly a favorite with Progressives. And this investigation found a LOT. Just because there won’t be a criminal prosecution does not make it “nothing.”

    Clinton isn’t considered trustworthy because of her own actions. No one forced her to try to do all her work and personal business on a private server she controlled – at the very least it’s an own-goal. Did she really think her electronic communications wouldn’t be FOIA’d? It’s either incompetence or deception and people tend to think that Clinton is not incompetent.

    Just about everything she’s said over the past year about her email practices turned out to be wrong – a fact that isn’t exactly boosting her credibility. She claimed she would talk to “anybody anytime” yet she was the only former secretary to refuse to talk to the IG about her email practices.You have every fact-checking organzation out there concluding she lied extensively about her email practices.

    This is not a right-wing conspiracy, it was all caused by actions Clinton and/or her staff took. It’s perfectly reasonable to question her trustworthiness.

  31. C. Clavin says:

    Clinton’s extreme carelessness with classified information probably won’t cost her the election, but it should.

    So then Bush and Co. should be in jail, based on your own standards, for the way they mis-handled classified information and took us to an unnecessary and unwarranted war.

  32. Jenos Idanian says:

    I wonder if PolitiFact will do an article like this video?

    What a ringing endorsement — “Hillary wasn’t a criminal, she was just grossly incompetent and utterly unconcerned with security procedures.. Plus, she can’t tell classified material from unclassified material unless it’s clearly marked. Finally, she lied all through the process, but she wasn’t under oath, so that’s just fine!”

    We definitely need to elect this woman as our next president. How could anyone be more qualified than her?

    One final note: for every response I get that 1) does not mention Donald Trump, 2) does not mention Republicans, and 3) does not personally attack me, but actually defends Hillary’s conduct, I will make a donation to my local children’s hospital.

    So remember, children are counting on you.

  33. steve says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Now I do think that what Clinton did is a serious problem for a couple reasons. First, it increased the risk that someone might intercept the classified information she sent over that server. But there’s no evidence that this happened and that certainly wasn’t what she wanted to happen. She wasn’t sending that information to people who did not have clearance to see it. Contrast that with Petraeus, who deliberately turned over classified documents to his biographer/mistress, who should not have had access to them. What she did was risky, but I don’t see how it’s criminal.
    Second, it’s a problem because using email addresses and servers that are not government-issued allows officials to get around Freedom of Information Act requests. That practice goes back to at least the Bush administration, when virtually every White House official was using Yahoo and Gmail accounts rather than their government accounts to communicate so those communications would not be subject to FOIA. And that’s a serious problems. But again, it isn’t criminal.

    –ed brayton

  34. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian:
    A self-admitted free-loader like you…donating to kids?
    Like Trump donates his book profits to charity…not.

  35. Pch101 says:

    @Andy:

    No one forced her to try to do all her work and personal business on a private server she controlled

    No one forced Colin Powell to use a free email account for government business, but he did.

    I didn’t vote for Powell’s boss, but he seems to be a decent guy and I’m willing to take him at his word that he had good reasons for using it, even though he apparently deleted virtually everything that would allow us to examine the veracity of his claims.

    Again, perhaps you should examine the can’t-do attitude that blows off the IT requests of the fourth most important person in the US government. Some people prefer to get things done instead of being told that nothing can be done.

  36. DK says:

    What a load of whiny, sour grapes bullcaca this article is. FBI Director Comey is a Bush appointee, and Romney and McCain donor, and a veteran of the Whitewater investigation, one of the first fake anti-Hillary nonscandals pushed by Trumpthuglicans with the help of the lazy corporate media. Comey knew he had no legitimate legal evidence against Hillary so, like any underhanded, dirty dealing Trumpthuglican partisan, he pushed smear, innuendo and conjecture to justify wasting millions of taxpayer dollars on yet another failed anti-Hillary witch hunt — all based on the big Trumpthuglican lie that she broke the law. She didn’t. #ITrustHer

    Comey should be fired for politicizing the FBI. Since he doesn’t have evidence to file charges, that’s all he should have said. But grasping at straws, he undermined himself claiming she was careless in participating in eight email chains (out of thousands, pfft) on an unclassified system. Apparently failing to notice that the official State Department system is also an unclassified system. Oops.

    Still waiting for the investigation into Bush/Rove deleting millions of emails from their private server housed at RNC headquarters, or of Colin Powell, who used private email exclusively and deleted them all. Or a bunch of crybaby whining from people like Doug on that subject. But I won’t hold my breath since the selective fake outrage and hypocritical double-standards of Hillary haters knows no bounds. That’s what’s going to elect Hillary: her critics have no beef and no clothes, and they haven’t for twenty years running.

  37. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Click. (I know it won’t qualify for a donation, so I’ll make my own.)

  38. Hal_10000 says:

    Also, please note that Trump’s response was not to stick with what Comey said. Instead, he invented a conspiracy theory out of whole cloth, saying that Clinton had bribed the Attorney General by promising to re-appoint her to get her to lean on the FBI to exonerate Clinton. And produced zero evidence to back up this speculation.

    This. Exactly this. Trump does this with every issue. It’s like a debate with someone who speaks in tongues.

    Why no delineation between “sent” and “received”?

    Because legally there is no distinction. If I receive a classified e-mail and delete it, I can be prosecuted for mishandling classified info.

    Yet again, an extensive investigation into the Clintons finds nothing

    Yet again, another extensive investigation finds that the Clinton bent if not broke the law without quite enough to prosecute and the Clinton Defense Derangement Syndrome says they’ve done nothing wrong. Never mind the trail of broken lives and felony convictions they’ve left behind them.

    The lack of trust comes from the Clintons showing that they can’t be trusted. They lied about: Whitewater, firing the Travel Office staff, sniper fire, the e-mail server, the Lewinsky scandal (multiple aspects of it), Rose Law Firm billing records, about being broke when they left the White House, about church burnings in Arkansas, about why they passed DOMA. That’s just off the top of my head. They lie when they don’t need to. They lie when telling the truth would be better(e.g., Lewinski, Travel Office). They lie, as Easterbrook once said, because they almost seem to enjoy it. And that’s not even getting into the stand half-truths and deceptions that litter politics.

    They only look honest right now because they are up against a complete BS artist who doesn’t give a fig about the truth at all. A man who frequently ends a sentence contradicting what he said at the beginning of it (although, to be fair, Trump speaks, as Phil Plait quipped, as if punctuation were a liberal conspiracy).

    Of course, you don’t have to be honest or even likable to be elected, as Nixon proved.

  39. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    House Speaker Paul Ryan has already said that there will be hearings regarding the F.B.I. probe

    [Cue the smoke and mirrors, Announcer (offstage)]: Welcome everyone to the premiere of Benghazi, Season Nine!

  40. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I’ve repeatedly defended Hillary.

    1) This is a big pile of nothing. 2) The people ranting about it are hypocrites whose lives could never withstand 1% of this level of investigation. 3) We are now applying the failed and self-destructive military zero defects standard to politicians, which is asinine. 4) Comey clearly overstepped his boundaries and if anyone is in trouble it should be him because what he did is at least as careless and foolish as what Hillary did.

    Let me know how that charitable donation works out. I won’t hold my breath.

  41. Andy says:

    @Pch101:

    No one forced Colin Powell to use a free email account for government business, but he did.

    Two things:

    1. What Powell did is not the same thing as what Clinton did. The DoS computer systems available to Powell weren’t the same as those available to Clinton. The actions taken by Powell at the time were different than the actions Clinton chose. The differences have been cataloged many times.

    2. Even if we assume that there is equivalency, the “he did it too” argument as a justification/rationalization is exceeded in lameness only by ad hominem arguments.

  42. Jack says:

    Doug,

    You forgot a few…

    18 U.S. Code § 641 — Public money, property or records

    Whoever embezzles, steals, purloins, or knowingly converts to his use, or the use of another, or without authority, sells, conveys or disposes of any record, voucher, money, or thing of value of the United States or of any department or agency thereof, or any property made or being made under contract for the United States or any department or agency thereof, …

    Shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than ten years or both.

    18 U.S. Code § 793 — Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information …

    (f) Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, or (2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer —

    Shall be fined not more than $10, 000 or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

    (g) If two or more persons conspire to violate any of the foregoing provisions of this section, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each of the parties to such conspiracy, shall be subject to the punishment provided for the offense which is the object of such conspiracy.

  43. Andy says:

    @michael reynolds:

    We are now applying the failed and self-destructive military zero defects standard to politicians, which is asinine.

    Probably so, but in this case I think it’s a serious matter. This isn’t about a parking ticket. It’s about the 4th in line of to the Presidency using an unsecured phone connected to an unsecured server while traveling in China. Exposing the communications of a secretary of state to foreign powers is not “nothing.”

    So, let me ask a question. If Condi Rice was running as the GoP nomination and she did exactly what Clinton did, would you and other Democrats fervently insist it was nothing?

  44. Ben Wolf says:

    Doug,

    Once Johnson and Stein are included polls typically put Trump and Clinton within 1-2 points of each other so this might be a very unusual election just as the primaries have been. And that doesn’t include the (small) possibility of an independent run by Sanders, which would have a much greater impact than an indictment.

  45. Jeremy R says:

    More from fmr. DoJ spokesperson Matt Miller:

    https://twitter.com/matthewamiller

    Lot of chatter among ex-prosecutors on how out of line Comey’s statement was. All privately of course…they all have cases before the FBI.

    Exactly. Or if a GOP AG investigated a union, declined to bring charges, but held a press conf to attack them.

    Imagine if “Obama’s FBI” did this after declining to indict a Koch Brothers’ company. Just astounding.

    If any line prosecutor or FBI agent did what Comey did yesterday they would be investigated by the Office of Professional Responsibility. 1/

    With the possibility for reprimand or other sanctions for violations of DOJ’s rules for statements about ongoing matters. 2/

    OPR usually requires a referral though, & unclear whether anyone internally would actually make one. 3/

    Nor would it actually matter at this point anyway. You can’t undo the damage Comey did or put the genie back in the bottle. 4/4

    This is the danger of statements like Comey’s. Accepted by world as fact, without offering actual factual support.

    State Dept spox Kirby just now says two emails that Comey said were ‘marked classified’ were wrongly marked, and were not classified.

  46. Pch101 says:

    @Andy:

    What Powell did is not the same thing as what Clinton did.

    Yes, because using AmericaOnline is sooooooo much better for national security.

    You’re being disingenuous with the studio audience here. Your whole trip is that you think that something really horrible must have been on that server, such as detailed plans to murder Vince Foster or the address of the hotel where Hillary Clinton had a fling with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. We’re back to the vagaries of the I Can’t Trust Her brigade.

    Here’s a crazy thought: If she is diabolical as you would like to believe, then she would be smart enough to not document her ISIS love triangles and secret nuclear weapons sales on an email. Jesus invented airplanes and secret meeting rooms and stuff so that we can plot these conspiracies in person, and we would use innocuous messages to communicate our plans. (“It’s raining in DC this morning” = “Allahu Akbar! The warheads will be arriving in Tehran shortly.”)*

    *That last bit was a joke. If that appears as a news story in Breitbart, then remember where you saw it first.

  47. Hal_10000 says:

    So, let me ask a question. If Condi Rice was running as the GoP nomination and she did exactly what Clinton did, would you and other Democrats fervently insist it was nothing?

    Of course not.

    4) Comey clearly overstepped his boundaries and if anyone is in trouble it should be him because what he did is at least as careless and foolish as what Hillary did.

    How did Comey overstep his boundaries investigating the mishandling of classified information? That’s the FBI’s job.

  48. michael reynolds says:

    @Andy:

    So, let me ask a question. If Condi Rice was running as the GoP nomination and she did exactly what Clinton did, would you and other Democrats fervently insist it was nothing?

    Yes, I would. I have always been very leery of criminalizing politics in this country. I did not want Scooter Libby to go to jail, I thought was too much. I did not want to fire General Petraeus. I never supported charging George W. Bush or Dick Cheney with war crimes. I was not one of the people baying for Governor McDonald’s blood. I imagine I could think of other examples, given time.

    We are making it impossible for any normal, reasonable, qualified but flawed American to hold office in this country without the safety of a gerrymandered district. This is self-destructive and un-American. Applying similar standards would disqualify every president we’ve ever had. You think maybe a 25 year “investigation” of Abraham Lincoln might have turned up some shady work on behalf of his railroad clients? I do. You think an investigation would have revealed that FDR was regularly lying to Congress (and voters) about his intentions leading up to WW2? No question about it. And Reagan could quite easily have been impeached over Iran-Contra.

    You know what compliment I get most often from people who read my books? They love the fact that my characters are not little tin gods, little avatars of perfection, that they are human, with human failings. People understand that other humans are fallible, they only forget this when partisanship is involved.

    No employee is perfect. Ever. I’ve hired people, you may have, many of us here have, and without exception we’ve found employees to be good at X and bad at Y. No one ever in the history of the world is good at everything, but that’s the standard we are applying.

    The standard is unreasonable. Its unreasonableness is testified to by the fact that we apply it so inconsistently, and with such partisan bias on both sides. Unreasonable standards are less than useless, they are harmful. Even politicians are only human.

  49. steve says:

    Hillary:turn signal violation::Petraeus:Drunk 18-car pileup

  50. michael reynolds says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    We are three weeks from the convention in Philadelphia, where Hillary will get a clear shot at redefining herself and accentuating her positives.

    Speaking at Trump’s rallies will be a collection of fourth-string nobodies. Speaking at Hillary’s convention will be Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, various A-listers and I suspect at least a couple members of the two Bush administrations who will talk about Trump and the nuclear football.

    I’ll bet Hillary has a good 5 point bump in her favorables, and will come out of convention with a 5-8 point lead which will persist to November.

  51. Hal_10000 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Even if we accept that these standards are unreasonable (and I don’t think “don’t give classified info to your mistress so she can write a book about you” is unreasonable), those standards are applied to civilians all the time. Very few of our politicians say a word about it. They don’t need mens rea. They don’t care whether breaking of a rule was accidental or unintentional (and in this case, it was neither). All they need to show is that we broke some rule at some point and they have us. Hell, we can even prosecuted when they get it wrong. If you call the IRS to clarify an arcane bit of tax law and they get it wrong, that’s on you. If you contact the State Department to clarify some bit of export compliance law and they mess it up, that’s on you. But if an SoS knowingly and deliberately breaks the rules because she wants to shield her e-mails from FOIA, that’s OK?

    I see what you’re saying. But until our politicians start applying those standards to the rest of us, I’m not willing to apply it to them. If we can go to prison for inadvertently breaking some arcane bit of federal law, Hillary Clinton can get a mild scolding for deliberately doing it. Seems only fair.

  52. SKI says:

    Whoops!

    State Dept spox Kirby just now says two emails that Comey said were 'marked classified' were wrongly marked, and were not classified.— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) July 6, 2016

  53. Jeremy R says:

    @Hal_10000:

    How did Comey overstep his boundaries investigating the mishandling of classified information? That’s the FBI’s job.

    Right, it was his job to investigate whether or not a crime had occurred. It wasn’t his job to give a public lecture on a presidential nominee’s character, judgement and conduct, or to speculate as to whether or not her server may have been compromised. He (far more than was necessary) inserted himself into the middle of a presidential election and gave a nominee’s political opposition authority-endorsed talking points to wield as political cudgels.

  54. Andy says:

    @Pch101:

    You’re being disingenuous with the studio audience here. Your whole trip is that you think that something really horrible must have been on that server, such as detailed plans to murder Vince Foster or the address of the hotel where Hillary Clinton had a fling with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. We’re back to the vagaries of the I Can’t Trust Her brigade.

    Well, and now the ad hominems come out, the lamest argument of them all.

    Let me give you some advice. Don’t try to be an expert on me. You really don’t have a clue “what my whole trip is” – you’re making bad and ill-informed assumptions and you don’t know what I “think” so please don’t assume that you do and then presume to lecture me about it.

    Conversation over.

  55. michael reynolds says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Law enforcement professionals are not supposed to opine beyond recommending prosecution or not.

    Let’s say someone has accused you of bank robbery. The FBI investigates and finds no grounds to prosecute you. Are you okay with the FBI then editorializing that you’re probably guilty, despite the no-prosecution conclusion? Imagine that in cases of rape or child molestation or murder. “We have no basis for prosecuting @HAL_10000, but oh, he’s a bad dude.”

  56. michael reynolds says:

    @Hal_10000:
    All they need to show is that we broke some rule at some point and they have us. Hell, we can even prosecuted when they get it wrong.

    I agree, but it is morally indefensible to apply a nearly random tit-for-tat standard. The fact that Congress passes a law which is then used to prosecute minor offenders who should be scolded and sent on their way, is not a justification for charging a Secretary of State or anyone else.

  57. C. Clavin says:

    @michael reynolds:

    will come out of convention with a 5-8 point lead which will persist to November.

    Sam Wang at PEC currently has Clinton 323 EV, Trump 215 EV.
    Nate Silver at 538 has Clinton 342 EV, Trump 195.4 EV (with Gary Johnson getting .6 EV – whatever that means).
    An old fashioned thumping, either way.

  58. Andy says:

    @michael reynolds:

    If standards are to mean anything, politicians must be held to them as well. People who worked in Clinton’s State Department were fired for doing much less than what she did. Carving out an exception to departmental policy for yourself and a few cronies for whatever reason is not good leadership. She’s consistently – and needlessly IMO – lied about this entire affair.

    I don’t expect people to be perfect, but Clinton’s actions should not, IMO, be condoned by anyone who believes in good governance or fairness.

  59. gVOR08 says:

    @steve:

    Impeachment talks will begin today, I’d bet.

    I’d bet you’re wrong. Can’t prove it, but the Freedom (sic) Caucus types were probably talking impeachment before she announced.

  60. EddieInCA says:

    Probably so, but in this case I think it’s a serious matter. This isn’t about a parking ticket. It’s about the 4th in line of to the Presidency using an unsecured phone connected to an unsecured server while traveling in China. Exposing the communications of a secretary of state to foreign powers is not “nothing.”

    No. It is “nothing”. That you think it’s not, doesn’t make it so.

    I’m certain Rice and Powell did the same. Why wouldn’t they? You don’t need to be on a secure line to say “Yeah, I want the Turkey sandwich for lunch. Thanks.”

    How did Clinton have a 66% approval rating as SOS if she was so terrible at her job?

    What has changed, exactly, since then, other than the GOP doing investigation after investigation? Benghazi? Nothing. Email? NOTHING.

    Say it…. President Hillary Clinton. Get used to it.

  61. Pch101 says:

    @Andy:

    You were the one who assumed that the server was motivated by an aversion to FOIA, even though all of these Secretaries of State claim that they used alternative approaches because they couldn’t get the State Department IT to do what they needed.

    Perhaps you’ve forgotten your own comment above:

    Did she really think her electronic communications wouldn’t be FOIA’d? It’s either incompetence or deception and people tend to think that Clinton is not incompetent.

    You shouldn’t make statements like that if you don’t expect others to remind you of them.

    This is basic right-wing media stuff that you’re regurgitating. You presume that she was acting in bad faith — she is a Clinton, after all — and it all goes downhill from there.

    In contrast, there appears to be no evidence of any kind that there were any attempts to use the server in order to conceal any dastardly plots or evil-doer conspiracies. And the feds actually got to read her emails, something that we can’t say about Powell.

  62. steve says:

    Did she really think her electronic communications wouldn’t be FOIA’d? It’s either incompetence or deception and people tend to think that Clinton is not incompetent.

    The entire bush administration used gmail and yahoo, deliberately to thwart FOIA requests. They admitted this publicly, after the fact. Then they deleted 20 million emails.

    Hillary didn’t try to thwart FOIA, and handed over tens of thousands of emails.

    But as long as complete retards say OMG Killary Scandal!, well, here we are.

  63. michael reynolds says:

    @Andy:

    I don’t think anyone said they condoned her actions, any more than I’d have condoned one of my waiters dropping a tray full of drinks on a customer back when that was my job. Words would have been exchanged. The State Department’s own reviews criticized her actions, and that was the proper response.

    If we treat as criminal every screw-up – in clerks, in agents, in soldiers, in politicians, in Secretaries of State – we make governance impossible. You cannot get people to do anything if they believe any error will result in termination or career destruction. Slack must be cut. Charity must be extended.

    I once carried a tray over a grease spot, took a fall, ended up at the ER getting my hand and chest stitched up. I did that once – lesson learned. God knows I’ve made errors in various books I’ve written – I’m more careful in my final edit nowadays – lesson learned.

    Now, the response may be that those are trivial comparisons, but people do not become perfect just because they have a grand job title. Employees – and that’s what politicians and governmental executives are – have to be allowed to screw up on occasion.

    You ever look at Dwight Eisenhower’s record in WW2? A genuinely brilliant political general, an indispensable man, but a dismal combat general. He put himself in that role over more experienced hands. And the result was a hell of a lot more dead Americans (as well as dead civilians) than was strictly necessary.

    No one gets everything right. A smart employer understands that a mistake which is caught and rectified means an employee who has learned and improved. An employer who fires everyone who screws up is a fool.

  64. Pch101 says:

    @steve:

    Republicans don’t have double standards. They just have a single standard, which doesn’t apply to themselves.

    Accountability matters. For other people.

  65. Hal_10000 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Are you kidding? They do that all the time. If I’m accused of a crime, the police will feed the media all KINDS for information about me. They will perp walk me in front of the cameras. They will feed all the sordid details of whatever I’m accused of to the media. If I have any record whatsoever, that will be put out. They will seize my property. If it involved a prostitute, they’ll put by name and face on Facebook, the newspaper and TV before I’m even indicted. This happens constantly. And if I’m acquitted, they’ll give a press conference about how I’m actually guilty but the jury didn’t accept the evidence.

    Hell, they’ll do it if I’m the victim of a crime. Look at this Alton Sterling business or Michael Brown or any other guys who are shot by the cops. How long does it take before the police say, “Well, he was once arrested for this and we have video of him doing that”? Ten second? With all that, you’re going with, “How DARE you point out that Hillary Clinton broke the rules and lied about it!”

    And in this case, you had a high-profile accusation of a Presidential candidate. Clinton has had several full news cycles to say things that were patently untrue over and over again. Recommending her non-prosecution was going to be a major story. I don’t really have a problem with the FBI explaining why they’re not recommending charges. And considering that we get high-profile explanations and criticism of every scandal from Watergate to Iran-Contra to whatever, this is not at all unusual.

    Seriously, she’s a politician not royalty. Neither Clinton nor any other politician is owed anything.

  66. An Interested Party says:

    Once Johnson and Stein are included polls typically put Trump and Clinton within 1-2 points of each other so this might be a very unusual election just as the primaries have been. And that doesn’t include the (small) possibility of an independent run by Sanders, which would have a much greater impact than an indictment.

    Oh my, it must be nice to have dreams, I suppose…

  67. jukeboxgrad says:

    People understand that other humans are fallible … Even politicians are only human. … Employees – and that’s what politicians and governmental executives are – have to be allowed to screw up on occasion. … No one gets everything right.

    All humans make mistakes, but not everyone dissembles about it when caught. Those are the ones I try not to hire.

    It’s not what she did. It’s the statements she has made to defend herself, which are both dubious and politically inept.

  68. michael reynolds says:

    @Hal_10000:

    When police or prosecutors act that way they are behaving badly. At very least they taint jury pools and make later possible prosecutions harder, which is why smart, professional investigators and prosecutors give those insanely dull press conferences where they say nothing ten times over.

    Multiple wrongs do not make a right. The proper response is to condemn police or prosecutors who throw shade on those presumed innocent; the proper response is not to say, well, if they did wrong then we should all do wrong.

    Should we not always, as a matter of justice, treat all people as presumptively innocent until and unless they are convicted in a court of law? Hillary is legally innocent. Now, we may all have our opinions, but she is legally innocent, and as an American citizen I consider it my obligation to accept that even when I don’t like it. OJ Simpson is not guilty of the murder of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman. I don’t like it, you don’t like it, but it is what it is, and it would be wrong for the head of the FBI to say, “Yeah, but he’s totally guilty.” Because if guilt-by-accusation is the standard we’re going to need way more prisons.

  69. jukeboxgrad says:

    the feds actually got to read her emails

    Comey does not think that the feds actually got to read all her emails:

    It is also likely that there are other work-related e-mails that they did not produce to State and that we did not find elsewhere, and that are now gone because they deleted all e-mails they did not return to State, and the lawyers cleaned their devices in such a way as to preclude complete forensic recovery.

    He also talks about many emails he found not because she produced them, but because he was able to uncover them (“find elsewhere”) via other means. So it is not correct to imply that she produced all her emails.

  70. Pch101 says:

    The smoking gun is always around the corner, even if it is just a stained dress and an affair that should have never been investigated by the government.

  71. jukeboxgrad says:

    she is legally innocent

    There’s a big difference between “legally innocent” and ‘she handled the situation in a way that makes me inclined to trust her.’ The latter standard has political relevance. We’re just lucky that the other candidate is even worse.

    Multiple wrongs do not make a right.

    You should direct that statement at the people who are mentioning Powell.

  72. wr says:

    @Pch101: “I didn’t vote for Powell’s boss, but he seems to be a decent guy”

    Aside from that whole lying to the UN about biological weapons to gin up support for invading Iraq thing, that is…

  73. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian: “I will make a donation to my local children’s hospital.”

    Is this before or after you pay your own hospital bills that you skipped out on?

  74. MarkedMan says:

    FWIW the reason I’m mentioning (Powell and Rice’s staff) is not because I think they should be prosecuted or that two wrongs make a right. It is simply that we have two prior SOS doing almost exactly what Clinton did but it literally cannot register on partisans minds that if Clinton is a bad actor because of this then so are they.

  75. Hal_10000 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Multiple wrongs do not make a right.

    Agreed. But Clinton is not just some random person. She’s the former first lady who supported tough-on-crime measures to tackle superpredators. She’s a former senator, former SoS and current Presidential candidate. Until she opposes the indignities and outright civil rights assaults that the justice system routinely visits on even innocent people, I’m disinclined to think there’s something wrong with the FBI saying a few nasty words in her direction.

  76. Jeremy R says:

    Alan Dershowitz weighs in on Comey’s statement:

    http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/presidential-campaign/286614-did-fbi-director-comey-exceed-his-authority

    [T]he bottom line is that Clinton will not be indicted, but the director of the FBI has issued a statement that may have a considerable impact on the upcoming election. This raises fundamental structural questions about the role of the FBI in investigating political figures.

    Comey is an honorable man, an excellent lawyer and an experienced prosecutor. We must never forget that the building in which Comey works bears the name of one of his predecessors, J. Edgar Hoover. We must all ask ourselves the question whether we would trust another Hoover to make the kinds of decisions that Comey has made in this case.

    If the answer to that question is “no,” then we must consider structural changes that would prevent a future J. Edgar Hoover from exercising the kind of power exercised by James Comey in this case.

  77. jukeboxgrad says:

    we have two prior SOS doing almost exactly what Clinton did but it literally cannot register on partisans minds that if Clinton is a bad actor because of this then so are they

    – Powell and Rice both used private email, but Rice did not use private email exclusively. Only Powell and Clinton used private mail exclusively. So dragging Rice into the discussion is less justified than dragging Powell into the discussion.

    – Only Clinton set up a private server. Neither Powell nor Rice did so. This is a pretty big difference.

    – The rules changed. Certain rules that were in effect during the Clinton era were not in effect previously.

    – And here’s something that is rarely mentioned: hardware and software technology changed rapidly over this period (the Powell/Rice/Clinton era). A lot changed betweeen the time Powell took the job (2001) and the time Clinton took the job (2009). The options available to Clinton were vastly better and more numerous than the options available to her predecessors. And did the term ‘cybersecurity’ even exist in 2001? In 2001 we certainly did not have the same level of awareness and concern about it that we had in 2009. A comparison that does not take this into account is nonsense.

    – As I have said several times, the main problem is not what she did. It’s her statements about it. She has created a large collection of problematic statements. Powell has not (on this subject).

    – With regard to ‘bad actor,’ I decided a long time ago that Powell and Rice are in that category for much more important reasons (and that view of mine is easy to find in my very extensive commenting record here and elsewhere). ‘Merely as bad as them’ is not a standard that impresses me.

  78. Matt says:
  79. Andy says:

    @Pch101:

    You were the one who assumed that the server was motivated by an aversion to FOIA, even though all of these Secretaries of State claim that they used alternative approaches because they couldn’t get the State Department IT to do what they needed.

    Wrong again! I’m not going to play this old internet game where you tell me what you believe I think or assume. If you have any questions about what I actually think on any particular topic then I suggest you ASK me and not make bold, incorrect assumptions that actually say a lot more about you than me.

    You shouldn’t make statements like that if you don’t expect others to remind you of them.

    See what I mean? The statement you quoted is a reply to a question about why people think Clinton is untrustworthy – it was analysis not advocacy.

    I actually don’t think Clinton did the private server to avoid FOIA because if that was her intention then all the emails on her server would have been wiped with extreme prejudice once she left office. Instead, the languished until a FOIA request came up and only then did her lawyers start going through them. I mean, if she really wanted to avoid all that, why would they have submitted obviously classified emails as part of the request, generating this FBI investigation? No, avoidance of FOIA makes no sense. It’s much easier to avoid FOIA by maintaining separate accounts and then use the “personal” account for anything you don’t want to be an official record and then you delete the sh&t out of that personal account permanently.

    Having worked with high level people before in the federal government (though no one at the cabinet level admittedly), given the choice between incompetence and malfeasance, incompetence is almost always the real reason. I don’t know the real reason Clinton opted to do what she did – as I’ve said before – it doesn’t make any sense – but the response has certainly been incompetent.

    This is basic right-wing media stuff that you’re regurgitating. You presume that she was acting in bad faith — she is a Clinton, after all — and it all goes downhill from there.

    And here again you lecture me about what you think you know about me and about what I presume. Enough of this! Until you prove yourself to be a reasonable person who does not impugn motives then this is the last response you’ll ever get from me.

  80. Pch101 says:

    @Andy:

    Wrong again! I’m not going to play this old internet game where you tell me what you believe I think or assume.

    If the definition of “assume” was “quoting you verbatim”, then you might have a point.

    But it isn’t, so you don’t.

  81. Andy says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I understand that people screw up and have to be allowed to screw up. But how many mulligans do they get? What about the severity of the mistake?

    You didn’t address my other point about her carving out her own system for herself and close advisors, while her agency punished others for doing much less. As you know, I spent most of my career in the intelligence community. Anyone who has been there knows that if I or anyone else had done what Clinton did, then we’d be finished. At a minimum, we’d be fired and lose our security clearance which is the intel equivalent of losing your medical license or getting disbarred. You can’t merely go get another job – you have to find a totally new career. That’s the minimum punishment and obviously those are administrative sanctions which can’t be levied on an elected official, but it leaves a bitter taste for many and creates skepticism when Clinton claims to be an advocate for the little-guy or the average person.

  82. grumpy realist says:

    The problem is that the Usual Suspects are going to now scream their heads off about this and try to make this into Teh Most Eeeevil Thing In the World, the grifters (which let’s face it, now comprise about 80% of the Conservo-Entertainment complex) are going to use it as a basis to grab as much money as they can from Fox Geezers, and….nothing will happen.

    Haven’t you guys heard of The Boy Who Cried Wolf? At some point, PEOPLE STOP LISTENING TO YOU.

  83. Pch101 says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Haven’t you guys heard of The Boy Who Cried Wolf?

    The metaphor doesn’t really work because the wolf eventually showed up.

    This is on par with Chicken Little. The sky doesn’t fall, but it ends with the Fox devouring those who believed that it was.

  84. Jenos Idanian says:

    @michael reynolds: Thank you for answering. I’ll be dropping a couple bucks in the donation box by the end of the week (Dunno if I’ll be by it tomorrow, but definitely on Friday.)

    1) “Big pile of nothing?” Bullshit.

    2) The “people ranting about it” aren’t running for president, proclaiming themselves the best person qualified to be president. At this point, Hillary couldn’t get the most basic security clearance. The only way she will ever get access to classified materials now is if she gets elected to it.

    3) This isn’t a question of “zero defects.” Just the opposite — I wonder if there are any security laws, rules, or regulations she didn’t willfully violate. Oh, I’m sorry — the Washington Post called it “willful misjudgment.” (I have to ask — as a writer and a very skilled user of language, what’s your take on that little oxymoron?)

    4) Comey laid out a very solid case for Hillary’s prosecution, then said he didn’t recommend it because they didn’t find any evidence of “criminal intent.” As the cases cited in the link at #1, “intent” is not a factor in these matters — “gross negligence” is the standard. Hillary, as a former First Lady, Senator, and then Secretary of State, is expected to know better than most people what classified material is, what makes it classified, and how critical it is to protect it. Hell, she signed documents where she acknowledged that she had received training and instruction on those matters, and would abide by them.

    What Comey did wasn’t just overstepping his boundaries, it reflected a fundamental misrepresentation of 18 USC 793. Here’s Section F:

    (f) Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, or (2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer—

    Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

    (emphasis added)

    Do you see any requirement of “criminal intent” there?

    There’s also the matter of the destruction of documents required to be retained under federal record-keeping laws. Comey said that they recovered over a hundred documents that Hillary said were “personal” and deleted from her server, but were work-related. Also, she routinely had her daily calendar destroyed at the end of every day.

    It seems we agree that Comey acted improperly in his little statement. We just disagree in which direction he erred.

    But it remains that Comey’s report on Hillary’s conduct that she wasn’t criminal, just really, really, really, really incompetent and appallingly careless at protecting anything but herself. Quite the ringing endorsement there…

  85. Loviatar says:

    The definite report (Chilcot report) of the most significant item of my adult life just dropped and you’ve spent the day arguing about Hillary Clinton’s e-Mails.

    This is one of the reasons I have a problem with James and Doug, they stovepipe right-wing talking points while ignoring real world issues. Makes you understand why we’re dumber as a country.

  86. grumpy realist says:

    @Jenos Idanian: “Gross negligence” has an actual legal meaning, y’know. It isn’t just “whatever little Jenos thinks is icky.”

    Sometimes I think we should forbid anyone who doesn’t have a legal background from commenting on these sorts of issues….

  87. Jenos Idanian says:

    @grumpy realist: “Gross negligence” has an actual legal meaning, y’know. It isn’t just “whatever little Jenos thinks is icky.”

    True, it does. And, technically, I agree, that doesn’t apply, as it excludes “willful and wanton conduct,” which better describes her actions, but since we’re all supposed to pretend that she didn’t really, really mean to evade the law, I’ll compromise on “gross negligence.”

    Sometimes I think we should forbid anyone who doesn’t have a legal background from commenting on these sorts of issues….

    Eff you, too. I can find plenty of lawyers who are on my side of this — noted law professor Glenn Reynolds, the attorneys who run the Powerline blog, former US attorney (and James Comey’s former boss) Rudy Guiliani… I’ll trust their judgment over yours, but thanks for your kind offer.

  88. An Interested Party says:

    Quite the ringing endorsement there…

    Thankfully she doesn’t need his endorsement nor his vote to win in November…

    The definite report (Chilcot report) of the most significant item of my adult life just dropped and you’ve spent the day arguing about Hillary Clinton’s e-Mails.

    Indeed…thankfully (once again), all these whiners (who worry about the most selective things) will be weeping and gnashing their teeth but they won’t be able to stop her, much like they weren’t able to stop her husband…

  89. Bob@Youngstown says:

    Wasn’t this a binary choice for Comey, either (A) recommend prosecution or (B) recommend no prosecution?

    If he had taken course (A) the republicans would be falling over themselves proclaiming Comey as being a man of highest integrity, greatest legal/forensic mind of our time, etc etc

    If he had taken course (B) the republicans would be falling over themselves proclaiming Comey to be corrupt, a HRC lacky, lazy and incompetent etc etc.

    So he decided (B) and the republican heads are exploding. More popcorn !

    For those of who who claim that they “know” that Comey is wrong, or that he failed to find something worthy of prosecution or that he ignored or disregarded your “facts”….. when you get to be the director of the FBI, you can tutor the rest of us.
    Until then you are just armchair quarterbacks – and the game with the FBI is over.

    (Kind of reminds me of republicans trying to deny that Obama really won the presidential election, therefore he is not really our country’s leader).

  90. Andy says:

    @Loviatar:

    You seem pretty concerned with how James and Doug think (based on the few comments I’ve read in the last couple of posts – I rarely spend much time in the OTB comment section). I really don’t understand what possible purpose your vilification serves. To me it seems that your comments are unlikely to change their minds or anyone else’s mind. Just a suggestion, but have you considered an “agree to disagree” approach?

  91. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Bob@Youngstown: And, by implication, you’re saying that had Comey recommended prosecution, the Democrats and Hillary apologists here would have calmly accepted it as a fair decision, right?

  92. DrDaveT says:

    @steve:

    The entire bush administration used gmail and yahoo, deliberately to thwart FOIA requests. They admitted this publicly, after the fact. Then they deleted 20 million emails.

    The only part of that that affects FOIA is the last one — deleting the emails. FOIA could not care less whether you did your official business on a government phone/email or a personal phone/email or a phone booth in Time Square. The definition of “agency records” does not make any reference to whether they are stored on government information systems.

    …though I can certainly believe that nobody in the Shrub administration was smart enough to realize this.

  93. ltmcdies says:

    @grumpy realist: may I respectfully point to this comment as the reason these email were never going to be smoking gun so many Sanders supporters or Right wingers hoped it would be.

    Whitewater…various “gates” …the late Vince Foster. BENGHAZI…..and so on. Ad nauseum.
    you can’t spend 30 years screaming “the sky is falling, the wolf is coming, FIRE..FIRE”…and everybody arrives at the scene and sees…nothing much.

    eventually the “villagers” roll their eyes and go…yeh..whatever even when maybe this time..there is some cause for concern.

    However..if three separate Secretaries of State found they needed “work arounds” to manage their emails…..what does that say about the servers at State?

  94. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Jenos Idanian:
    I said what I said, so you can choose to conclude / deduce / infer whatever you wish.

    (Don’t ya just hate it when someone tries to put words in your mouth)

    But since you asked, I have faith that HRC would not have gone as far as to have publically accused Comey and Lynch of felonous bribery as the republican leader did today, were the “shoe on the other foot”.

    I’ll be watching cspan 3 as to what details Comey provides the new Benghazi committee.

  95. Loviatar says:

    @Andy:

    To me it seems that your comments are unlikely to change their minds or anyone else’s mind

    What makes you think I’m trying to convince James or Doug of anything. My god anyone who still calls themselves a Republican or even a Libertarian after what both parties have done to this country the past 15+ years is beyond convincing. That is what you, michael reynolds and some others can’t seem to wrap your head around, these guys are no better than Jenos or Jack. Does anyone here think they can convince either one of those idiots of anything? No, of course not, so the back and forth with them is mostly a masturbatory exercise. In my opinion James and Doug fall into the same category, I’m just calling it to the attention of the group. But I guess to a Republican that would seem like vilification.

  96. stonetools says:

    She is running as a supremely competent candidate and portraying Mr. Trump, in essence, as irresponsible and dangerous. Yet the director of the F.B.I. basically just called her out for having committed one of the most irresponsible moves in the modern history of the State Department

    Honestly, I laughed when I read this. Powell lied us into a war that cost us 4000 US dead and Clinton’s email policy is on of the most irresponsible moves, etc? Is 1969 part of “recent history”? Because in 1969, this happened:

    Operation Menu was the codename of a covert United States Strategic Air Command (SAC) bombing campaign conducted in eastern Cambodia from 18 March 1969 until 26 May 1970, during the Vietnam War. The targets of these attacks were sanctuaries and Base Areas of the People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN) and forces of the Viet Cong, which utilized them for resupply, training, and resting between campaigns across the border in the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam). ..The Menu bombings were an escalation of what had previously been tactical air attacks. Newly inaugurated President Richard Nixon authorized for the first time use of long range B-52 heavy bombers to carpet bomb Cambodia.

    Operation Freedom Deal immediately followed Operation Menu. Under Freedom Deal, B-52 bombing was expanded to a much larger area of Cambodia and continued until August 1973…Nixon and Kissinger went to great lengths to keep the missions secret. The expansion of the U.S. effort into “neutral” Cambodia was sure to cause serious debate in the U.S. Congress, negative criticism in the media, and were sure to spark anti-war protests on American college campuses. In order to prevent this, an elaborate dual reporting system covering the missions had been formulated during the Brussels meeting between Nixon, Haig, and Colonel Sitton.

    Compared to what Powell and Kissinger did, Clinton’s misconduct pales into insignificance.

    I hate to keep bringing up Powell here, but the simple fact is NO ONE-not even Democrats-think that Powell endangered US national security through his loose email policy, which the Inspector General held was equivalent to Clinton’s policy and was indeed a precursor of Clinton’s policy. Let’s also remember that dozens of State Department employees in Powell and Rice tenure used private email to conduct Government business and that until Kerry, no SoS had ever used a .gov address. Let’s also remember that to this day, members of Congress-including those that sit on military and intelligence oversight committees– can use private email to conduct Government business. Is their email policy also “dangerous and irresponsible?”

    Look journalists-like Doug-want to say “both sides do it”. They also want a horse race and are probably getting a bit tired of “And Trump said WHAT today? ” stories. So they focus on this story and blow it up into “history’s greatest security violation” status. Meanwhile for years, the fact that dozens of SoS staff -including the SoS-used private email for government business went unremarked for years in the press, although it surely must have been an open secret to those folk-including members of the press-who communicated with these employees. Also, foreign hackers seem to be able to break into those supposedly secure .gov systems so it is not clear to me that national security is all that much improved because the SoS now exclusively uses . gov address. But whatever. Doug is busy trying to build a case for a third party vote in November, because Clinton and Trump are the same, etc. so…

  97. Pch101 says:

    @Loviatar:

    these guys are no better than Jenos or Jack

    Jenos and Jack are meanspirited dimwitted little punks.

    The hosts of this blog are not. There is a difference, and you should be able to see that.

  98. David M says:

    As a reminder, it’s best to assume Clinton is telling the truth in matters like this, as the “marked classified” emails, were not actually classified.

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/under-the-radar/2016/07/hillary-clinton-classified-emails-error-225194

    There’s a reason I don’t remotely consider this a real controversy.

  99. Loviatar says:

    @Pch101:

    I would never call James or Doug dimwitted.

  100. stonetools says:

    It ends:

    Attorney General Loretta Lynch made it official Wednesday: Hillary Clinton will not be charged for using a personal email server during her tenure as secretary of state, removing a long-looming shadow over her 2016 bid.
    “Late this afternoon, I met with FBI Director James Comey and career prosecutors and agents who conducted the investigation of Secretary Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email system during her time as secretary of state,” Lynch said in a statement.

    “I received and accepted their unanimous recommendation that the thorough, year-long investigation be closed and that no charges be brought against any individuals within the scope of the investigation,” she said.

    As Jeff Fecke tweeted, “The tarmac meeting did its job. Hail Hydra!” :-).

    ( I know this will encourage the conspiracy theorists, but under the Clinton Rules everything encourages the conspiracy theorists.

  101. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    Do you see any requirement of “criminal intent” there?

    No but I see a requirement of “or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed” and there is simply no evidence of that having happened.

    So, though based on previous legal discussions I doubt this will deter you, I would be rather careful before accusing a former Deputy Attorney General and by all accounts excellent jurist of “a fundamental misrepresentation of the law”. Especially if I have no relevant knowledge of the field in question.

  102. SKI says:

    More information/details starts to seep out.

    Top secret information is another matter, but the stuff that showed up in Clinton’s private email wasn’t so special. Seven of the eight email chains dealt with CIA drone strikes, which are classified top secret/special access program—unlike Defense Department drone strikes, which are unclassified. The difference is that CIA drones hit targets in countries, like Pakistan and Yemen, where we are not officially at war; they are part of covert operations. (Defense Department drone strikes are in places where we are officially at war.) But these operations are covert mainly to provide cover for the Pakistani and Yemeni governments, so they don’t have to admit they’re cooperating with America. Everyone in the world knows about these strikes; nongovernment organizations, such as New America, tabulate them; newspapers around the world—including the New York Times, where some of the same reporters are now writing so breathlessly about Clinton’s careless handling of classified information—cover these strikes routinely.

    The other top secret email chain described a conversation with the president of Malawi. Conversations with foreign leaders are inherently classified.

    Emphasis mine.

    More here: The Hillary Clinton Email Scandal Was Totally Overblown

  103. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Ebenezer_Arvigenius: No but I see a requirement of “or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed” and there is simply no evidence of that having happened.

    The reason why there is no evidence might be because, when news of the server got out, Hillary had her staff went through and deleted about 30,000 emails that they said were persona. in nature.

    Which we know was not true, as the FBI recovered over 100 emails that were deleted that were work-related.

    As others have noted, I am not a lawyer and don’t grasp some legal concepts. Could you (or one of the others) define “spoliation of evidence” to me, and what conclusions juries can draw from such actions? I’m also a little vague on the “consciousness of guilt” notion, too.

  104. Jenos Idanian says:

    @David M: That actually makes things worse for Hillary.

    Originally, Hillary’s defense was that the materials weren’t marked classified, so she couldn’t be held liable. Hillary can’t be expected to recognize classified material unless it’s clearly marked for her.

    That fell apart when some material that was clearly marked classified turned up.

    So now the spin is that Hillary saw that it was marked classified, but could tell at a glance that it had been improperly marked as classified and disregarded the markings.

    So, which is it? Is Hillary so inept at recognizing classified materials that she needs it marked in great big letters, or is she so good at recognizing it that she can tell at a glance that those great big letters are improperly applied?

    This also brings up another point: if Hillary was routinely getting classified materials that were missing the needed markings and getting unclassified materials that had improper markings, just how incompetent an agency was she in charge of? And what did she do, as Secretary of State, to address this appalling level of ineptness regarding the whole concept of classification?

  105. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Hal_10000: Look at this Alton Sterling business or Michael Brown or any other guys who are shot by the cops.

    Congratulations, you just forfeited any argument you might have had. By bringing up the Michael Brown case, you lose. You get no consolation prizes, you don’t even get a copy of the OTB home game.

    Now, the hostess will show you to the exit.

  106. Tyrell says:

    You could not ask for a better movie script or outline for a novel.
    It is all planned out, everything is coming together.
    “I walk the line, I walk the line” (Cash)

  107. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    The reason why there is no evidence might be because, when news of the server got out, Hillary had her staff went through and deleted about 30,000 emails that they said were persona. in nature … As others have noted, I am not a lawyer and don’t grasp some legal concepts. Could you (or one of the others) define “spoliation of evidence” to me, and what conclusions juries can draw from such actions? I’m also a little vague on the “consciousness of guilt” notion, too.

    No need. You’re confusing your talking points. Whatever the mails may or may not have contained, they are not proof of a foreign intrusion to the server. So their absence can be neither spoliation of evidence nor proof of consciousness of guilt regarding the charges discussed here.

  108. Bob@Youngstown says:

    Expect that OTB will be posting something about the House hearing today with Comey.

    It was amusing to see the republican side trying to walk the line with praising Comey for his integrity while simultaneously accusing him of corruption.

    I did learn something new about marking for classification. Apparently a “(C)” at the lead of a paragraph is a classification marking, but the “manual” requires the header of any such email (that may contain a paragraph that is classified thusly), that header must include notice that the email has a paragraph with that is classified.

    With that in mind, it is not unreasonable that a recipient of such an email could contend that the email was not marked in the header, but that had the “(C)” on one or more sentences and/or paragraphs within the body.

    I think Comey testified that that inconsistant “marking” represented some of HRC’s received emails,

  109. grumpy realist says:

    And even with this gift plopped into his lap, Trump has managed to totally blow it.

  110. grumpy realist says:

    @Bob@Youngstown: This sort of thing is why whenever I’m putting together a NDA for my company I insist that stuff to be treated as confidential be labeled confidential on each page. There’s a lot of templates out there for NDAs which try to drag a “confidentiality aegis” over everything that the two companies discuss on a certain topic, plus “anything than anyone might reasonably conclude confidential, such as marketing or business plans…”

    To which I say: no way am I signing an NDA with such vague boundaries. If it’s important enough that I need to treat it as confidential information, it’s important enough for you to label it as such.

  111. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Ebenezer_Arvigenius: Whatever the mails may or may not have contained, they are not proof of a foreign intrusion to the server.

    According to Comey, Hillary had her people scrub the server in such a way as to prevent ANY forensic data from it, including whether or not it had been hacked by foreign agents. It’s not just that we don’t know, it’s that, thanks to Hillary, we can never know. She made damned sure of that.

  112. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Jenos Idanian:
    I followed your link and searched for the word “scrub”. The word is not used in the HOTAIR article, but is in the comments section from some unknown kweeter. – Is that your source?

    I have to admit that I took an occasional bathroom break during the grilling, so I may have missed something, but The only time that I heard Comey say anything about scrubbing (aka deletion to DoD standards) related to the lawyers computers at the conclusion of reviewing all her emails in an effort to separate work from personal.

    Specifically regarding “hacking” by foreign agents, I think he admitted that It was possible, but that there was no evidence of that happening.

  113. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Bob@Youngstown: I’m not up on my hacker slang, but it’s always been my understanding that when Hillary found out people knew about her server and wanted it, she had her people delete everything she considered “personal,” turned over printouts of the stuff she said was “work-related,” and then wiped the server. (Remember “you mean with a cloth?”)

    The FBI managed to recover a lot from that server, because the wiping wasn’t very thorough, but we can never know what was not recoverable — including proof that it was hacked by foreign interests.

    And that was done at Hillary’s direction.

    Now that we’ve had a few days to digest matters, we can take a better look at Comey’s statement. Congress lit him up pretty good today. Trey Gowdy went after the whole “no evidence of intent” thing, getting Comey to acknowledge that, pending an explicit confession, prosecutors usually determine “intent” through indirect means. For example, if a suspect repeatedly lies about events in an exculpatory way, that shows they know what they did was wrong. And if a suspect destroys evidence that would prove their guilt or innocence, then it’s pretty likely that they thought it made them look guilty.

    Both of which Hillary did, over and over and over again. Hell, in Comey’s own statement, his spelled out many of Hillary’s lies that she used to make herself seem innocent.

    Comey’s argument seemed to be that Hillary was grossly negligent, but he couldn’t prove she had intent. And when that was challenged, it became a kind of “malicious intent” — he couldn’t prove that Hillary wanted to give classified information to unauthorized people.

    There are two kickers to that. First, Hillary did deliberately give classified information to unauthorized people — her lawyers and her aides who were tasked with weeding out the “personal” from the “work-related” emails. So there’s that goalpost reached, too.

    The bigger kicker, though, is that Comey completely made up the “intent” standard. The letter of the law says “grossly negligent,” and he spelled out in great detail just how Hillary’s conduct reached that level.

    Hillary was First Lady for eight years and a US Senator for eight years before she took on Secretary of State, so she should have been no stranger to properly handling classified material. Further, on her first days as Secretary of State, she underwent extensive training on proper handling of classified material, and signed a form acknowledging that she was properly briefed on the subject matter.

    It was right around the same time she was setting up that secret, unauthorized, and totally insecure server, as memory serves me…

  114. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    What classified information are you referring to? There wasn’t anything classified in the emails.

    You also keep bringing up the fact that she deleted her personal emails (not work product). That’s normal, expected and completely how things have worked in government for decades, if not longer.

  115. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Congress lit him up pretty good today

    You must have watching some other hearing today ( or did you actually watch all 5 hours?), because I don’t agree with your assessment at all.

  116. Mikey says:

    @Bob@Youngstown: Any classified document is classified at the highest classification level of the information contained within.

    So it’s not unusual to see paragraph markings of Unclassified, Confidential, Secret, and Top Secret all within the same document, which would have an overall classification of Top Secret. In fact, just yesterday I read a document of about 10 paragraphs, only one of which was classified, but the whole document was therefore classified at the level of that single paragraph.

    If I got a document with a Confidential paragraph marking but no overall classification marking, I’d wonder what was going on and go immediately to the sender with questions. HOWEVER, it is quite plausible that I–or anyone else who gets a lot of e-mail traffic–could, entirely inadvertently, overlook an individual paragraph marking if there was no overall classification marking.

  117. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Mikey:
    I don’t disagree (with the mixed para markings), and also agree with your plausibility suggestion.

    if plausible, that lends credibility to making the statement about not sending or recieving any classified info. Her better statement should have been “to the best of my knowledge….” , or “I never knowingly …….”

    As my mentors have told me time and again, absolute statements will invariably come back to haunt you.

    Regardless, IMO setting up a private server was a bone-headed thing to do, and she’s acknowledged that. But, given the tendency for her opponents to create conspiracies out of anything she might have written to her daughter etc, I can understand her inclination.

  118. DrDaveT says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Originally, Hillary’s defense was that the materials weren’t marked classified, so she couldn’t be held liable. Hillary can’t be expected to recognize classified material unless it’s clearly marked for her.

    So, you’re saying you didn’t actually understand any of the first nine explanations of what Original Classification Authority is, or how it works?

    Got it.

  119. Ebenezer Arvigenius says:

    turned over printouts of the stuff she said was “work-related,” and then wiped the server. (Remember “you mean with a cloth?”)

    Bah. You insist on making me do work, do you?

    Even assuming that (your link netted me nothing), neither proof of consciousness nor, very likely, spoliation of evidence would apply.

    Proof of consciousness requires that an action indicates knowledge of intent during the act. Wiping a private server that contains work data after the end of the work contract is by itself a neutral act. Since she was no longer authorized to keep that data while out of office, deleting that data therefore is, barring other corroborating evidence, no proof of consciousness as it could be either proof of consciousness or an legitimate act.

    Even if you considered it proof of consciousness, it would still require that that act indicates knowledge of malfeasance at the time of the crime. Trying to cover up something that you later realize was boneheaded is not intent of the crime itself, just intent of a cover-up.

    In all of this, a certain amount of common sense must also be applied: does it seem credible that the secretary of state would set up a private email system even if she was aware that that communication would be intercepted by foreign powers of did she assume that the server installed by a professional company would be safe. Especially given that she is 69 years old and by all accounts dedicated to her country (even if you don’t like the way she goes about it), assuming the latter over the former is, barring additional evidence just inane. You just can’t make stuff like that float before a jury.

    Regarding spoliation of evidence, that is a civil law concept. The corresponding criminal law concept is
    tampering with evidence. This is relevant as (as far as I am aware) tampering with evidence carries its own penalties but may not be used to reverse burden of proof on the charges the evidence concerns. As such a successful tampering with evidence will indeed prevent prosecution for the underlying crime, leaving only the tampering with evidence itself.

    As to whether or not this could potentially be considered tampering with evidence I will leave to people more versed in that area of criminal law.

    Generally speaking, an element of tampering with evidence requires the state to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused knew that an official proceeding or investigation is in progress or likely to be instituted at the time the evidence is altered, destroyed, concealed, or removed and that the tampering will interfere with that investigation. A party’s merely negligent loss or destruction of evidence is not sufficient. Although the government is not required to prove that the defendant had the specific purpose of obstructing justice, it must also establish that the conduct was prompted, at least in part, by a corrupt motive.

    Given that during all the proceedings the focus was on the question of the content of her emails I am doubtful that she should be considered to have been aware of the importance of her server logs to a degree of “corrupt motive”, especially given that she does not seem an overly technical-minded person.

  120. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Ebenezer Arvigenius: I let myself get so wrapped up in legal technicalities (rarely a good idea, as I am no lawyer), I let myself get away from the simple, common-sense case to be made.

    Hillary Clinton is, reputedly, a very intelligent, very competent woman. (Just ask her supporters.) She has admitted that having this server was, in retrospect, a bad idea. What has never been satisfactorily answered is, why did she do it in the first place? What about it ever struck her as a good idea? What advantages seemed greater than the obvious downsides?

    She has offered numerous explanations over time, but each and every one of them has been proven a lie.

    It was approved — it wasn’t.

    She wanted to only use one device for all her communications — she used multiple devices.

    She only wanted to use one email account for all her communications — she had multiple addresses.

    When someone does something questionable, then explains why they did it with a series of self-serving lies, then it’s fair to assume that the real reason is bad. Because she’s had literally years to put out the real reasons, and chosen instead to lie.

    And when you take into consideration that the matter she’s lying about is directly involved with national security, and she’s totally unfit to be president. Because short of being elected, she could never get any kind of security clearance now — not with this on her record.

  121. SKI says:

    @Jenos Idanian: I’m glad you acknowledge that you don’t understand legal issues. I hope you remember that going forward. It would probably save you a lot of stress and indignation.

    One note on the “multiple devices” – Comey did NOT say that she used multiple devices at the same time and “devices” can, and does, include laptops, computers, phones, tablets, etc. Reality is that Clinton’s desire to only carry a single device-type (aka one phone or blackberry) makes sense and is still supported by the facts we know.

    Something else to keep in mind – the DOS non-classified email system was possibly even more insecure than Clinton’s system in that we know it was hacked. The DOS system has been notorious for being horrifically bad for years and years. There is a reason Powell and Rice used outside email addresses.

    One more thing: the email system was a replacement for the non-classified system, not the classified. And the facts, even as presented by Comey, indicate that Clinton had no intention to use her private server for classified information. The portion of emails that contained infomration that was deemed to touch on classified information was far less than 1% of all work-related emails.

    And please don’t whine about emails being deleted or that not all were turned over. Comey described an entirely appropriate and typical process where the law firm, not Clinton herself or har aides, went though a reasonable process of keyword searches plus review of each header/subject to identify work-related emails. The ones they missed were, according to Comey, (a) unintentional and (b) frequently emails that weren’t accessible without a full-blown forensic recovery of retired servers.

  122. Ebenezer Arvigenius says:

    And when you take into consideration that the matter she’s lying about is directly involved with national security, and she’s totally unfit to be president. Because short of being elected, she could never get any kind of security clearance now — not with this on her record.

    That’s in the end for the voters to decide. I won’t argue one way or the other. But it is a pretty noticeable goalpost shift on your part. Your original claim was that

    What Comey did wasn’t just overstepping his boundaries, it reflected a fundamental misrepresentation of 18 USC 793. Here’s Section F:

    Due to the above-mentioned reasons I consider that both baloney and an unwarranted and unfair personal attack on Comey.

  123. Mikey says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Because short of being elected, she could never get any kind of security clearance now — not with this on her record.

    You can’t make that judgment. There’s a lot of process involved in a suitability determination, and it’s a lot more complex than you apparently think. I know first-hand what’s involved because I’ve been subject to it several times over the past 20 years.

    And you’d probably be quite surprised what can be in someone’s past that doesn’t bar them from being granted a clearance.

  124. jukeboxgrad says:

    Comey did NOT say that she used multiple devices at the same time and “devices” can, and does, include laptops, computers, phones, tablets, etc.

    He did not just say she used “multiple devices.” He said she used “used numerous mobile devices.” That term generally refers to phones and tablets.

    If the “numerous” devices were used serially, not in parallel, then I think it’s hard to understand how the total would add up to “numerous” in a period of just four years. Most people use the same phone for two years or more. Also, her campaign issued a statement less than a year ago implying that the total number of devices she used was only two. Two is not “numerous,” so either her campaign misspoke or Comey misspoke.

    I described these problems a couple of days ago, in another thread. No one addressed these problems, including you, even though you posted in that thread after I described these problems. Maybe you will address them now.

  125. SKI says:

    @jukeboxgrad:

    He did not just say she used “multiple devices.” He said she used “used numerous mobile devices.” That term generally refers to phones and tablets.

    Also laptops. I just reviewed a policy on mobile device management earlier this week as we are changing our multi-factor authorization software. Laptops are included in mobile devices from an Information security standpoint.

    If the “numerous” devices were used serially, not in parallel, then I think it’s hard to understand how the total would add up to “numerous” in a period of just four years. Most people use the same phone for two years or more. Also, her campaign issued a statement less than a year ago implying that the total number of devices she used was only two. Two is not “numerous,” so either her campaign misspoke or Comey misspoke.

    Plausible campaign is using your definition (phones/tablets only – or phones only – you didn’t link to their statement and precise wording matters) and Comey is using the more technical definition. I don’t know but I also don’t see how this is a major issue.

    I described these problems a couple of days ago, in another thread. No one addressed these problems, including you, even though you posted in that thread after I described these problems. Maybe you will address them now.

    Happy? As said above, I don’t understand your fascination with this level of minutiae as I don’t see this as a major issue.

    The big factual issues in this investigation were whether Clinton lied to the FBI (Comey said no), whether she deliberately destroyed/hid evidence (again, Comey said no) and whether she was willfully skirting security rules and knowingly exposing highly-classified info (and, again, Comey said no).

    The big legal issue was whether she committed an indictable crime. And, Comey said not just “No” but the legal equivalent of “Hell, no!”

  126. jukeboxgrad says:

    Also laptops.

    Have you ever seen anyone hint or suggest that Clinton has ever in her life touched a laptop? I haven’t. Her campaign said she used a Blackberry and an iPad. Period. Not “laptops.”

    you didn’t link to their statement and precise wording matters

    When I raised this issue a couple of days ago, in a thread where you posted 8 comments, I did indeed link to an NPR article that in turn links to “their statement.” And their “precise wording” does nothing to resolve the contradiction between what Comey said and what the Clinton campaign said.

    The big legal issue was whether she committed an indictable crime.

    Resolving the legal problem does not resolve the political problem.

    Happy?

    No, I’m not happy that most people view her as dishonest. Also not happy about your failure to understand how this is a perfect example of how she helped to create this problem.

  127. SKI says:

    @jukeboxgrad:
    yeah, ok, now you are just being a jerk.
    1. I’m not obligated to respond to your every post. I read and interact when I have time and to what catches my eye/attention.
    2. I no more have evidence that she used a laptop than you do that she didn’t. Similarly, neither of us knows what definition of “mobile devices” people were using at the time, a year apart.
    3. Where on earth did I say that Clinton had no [participation in creating the perception of her? Strawman much? If you want to know my thoughts, they are as follows: She is overly cautious and reserved, some would say paranoid, and it helps feed into the problem. Instead of dealing with the issue forthrightly initially, she stalled and screened because she was, IMO, worried it would be used aghainst her – and in doping so made things far worse. Also, her team doesn’t help and quite a few of the “old guard” are fairly scummy individuals she would be better off without (looking at you Sid).

    All of that being said, the reality is that hyper-criticism of 2 vs 3 devices is ludicrous. So to with the requirement that everyone be perfect. As an example, that NPR article you linked to relied on Comey’s initial statement to conclude/imply that Clinton mis-stated the facts when she denied sending classified information. However, Comey’s testimony yesterday stated that NONE of the documents or emails were properly marked as classified. The reality is that neither were lying. There was material, which was classified at the time, in her emails AND it is reasonable, as Comey acknowledged in his testimony, that she didn’t know it was classified at the time. Of course, that isn’t a barrative that sells eyeballs to advertisers so…

  128. jukeboxgrad says:

    now you are just being a jerk

    “Jerk” is a good word for someone who accuses the other person of not providing a link, even though they did, which is something you could have determined with a minimal amount of effort.

    I’m not obligated to respond to your every post.

    Good thing I never said that you are. What I did say is that you made claims in this thread that I already showed to be false in the prior thread, which you apparently read.

    I no more have evidence that she used a laptop than you do that she didn’t.

    The evidence that she didn’t use a laptop is that her campaign said she used a Blackberry and an iPad. Neither of those things are laptops. If she used a laptop, you should explain why they didn’t say so. If she didn’t use a laptop, you should explain why you suggested she did.

    neither of us knows what definition of “mobile devices” people were using at the time, a year apart

    That definition doesn’t matter much. What matters more is that Comey said she used “numerous” devices and her campaign said she used two.

    Instead of dealing with the issue forthrightly initially, she stalled and screened

    You are still minimizing and glossing over the problem by saying she didn’t deal with the issue “forthrightly initially.” She still has not dealt with the issue “forthrightly.” And neither have you.

    hyper-criticism of 2 vs 3 devices is ludicrous

    The problem is not “2 vs 3.” The problem is 2 vs “numerous.” Another instance of you disingenuously minimizing the problem. And the 2 vs “numerous” is just one example. There are a bunch of others.

    So to with the requirement that everyone be perfect.

    “Perfect” is too much to expect. Telling the truth is not.

    Comey’s initial statement to conclude/imply that Clinton mis-stated the facts when she denied sending classified information

    I’ll be glad to discuss another subject after you address what I said about this one.

  129. SKI says:

    Jerk was apparently too kind.

    Computers aren’t mentioned either. Are you suggesting she never used a computer?

    Completely plausible option for “multiple”: 2 blackberries (but not at same time), an ipad and a couple laptops.

    But it doesn’t matter. It is irrelevant. Maybe the spokesperson was using a different definition. Maybe they were wrong. Why is it relevant except to feed your pre-existing determination that she is a liar? If you don’t start there, why should anyone care?

    By your standards, you are a liar for ignoring that she may have used laptop computers – even though you don’t consider them when thinking about mobile devices. That wouldn’t be fair but i9t is exactly the same logiuc you are using.

    Don’t bother with a response or addressing the meta-point you keep ignoring, I’m done with dealing with this level of obstinate ridiculousness.

  130. David M says:

    “multiple/numerous devices” is not something that excludes the known facts of multiple blackberries and iPad(s). Over a 4 year period, numerous should be the default assumption, devices malfunction, screens get broken, needs change, people upgrade to newer and fancier devices. Claims of dishonesty on this point are trolling without other actual evidence being offered. (Which is why they are usually the domain of Jenos)

  131. David M says:

    It’s also worth noting that Clinton’s claim of “I had them set it up this way because I wanted to use one device” (like she had in the past), is not contradicted by using multiple devices concurrently at a later time. Even if she decided she liked getting email on her iPad and used it in addition to the blackberry in 2011, it doesn’t have any relevance to why the system was set up in 2009 (before the iPad existed).

    The CDS is strong with jukebox here

  132. jukeboxgrad says:

    Jerk was apparently too kind.

    Gratuitous personal insults are a good way to announce that you’re out of arguments, but that was already obvious.

    Completely plausible option for “multiple”

    I wonder who you think you’re quoting. Comey didn’t say “multiple.” He said “numerous.” You’re trying really hard to pretend that he said something other than what he actually said, and you’re doing the same regarding her statements.

    Computers aren’t mentioned either. Are you suggesting she never used a computer?

    The one “suggesting she never used a computer” is her. If she used a computer to handle work email while she was SOS, then the statement she issued was misleading, because it didn’t mention “computers.” It mentioned a Blackberry and an iPad. Period.

    2 blackberries (but not at same time), an ipad and a couple laptops.

    If that was the actual list, then the statement she issued was misleading, because it mentioned a Blackberry and an iPad. Period.

    By your standards, you are a liar for ignoring that she may have used laptop computers

    If she used laptops, then the statement she issued was misleading, because it mentioned a Blackberry and an iPad. Period.

    why should anyone care?

    Why would anyone care how many devices she used? If you think this question doesn’t matter, you’re entitled to your opinion, but Clinton and Comey apparently have a different view. She decided this question was important enough to make a statement about it (multiple statements, actually), and likewise for Comey. Unfortunately, those statements don’t match. Him contradicting her is something else you apparently don’t care about, but you shouldn’t be surprised to find that not everyone feels that way.

    ======================

    Over a 4 year period, numerous should be the default assumption, devices malfunction, screens get broken, needs change, people upgrade to newer and fancier devices.

    If “numerous” was the reality, then the statement she issued should have stated “numerous.” Instead, it said there were two. Saying nothing is better than making a claim that the FBI director is going to falsify a year later.

    Clinton’s claim of “I had them set it up this way because I wanted to use one device” (like she had in the past), is not contradicted by using multiple devices concurrently at a later time

    Except that the statement she issued last year was not just about how she “had them set it up.” It was a statement about her overall use, over the 4 year period.