Final State Department Review Finds No Wrongdoing Regarding Clinton Emails

In what is hopefully the final review of the mater, an internal State Department view finds no wrongdoing with regard to Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server.

In what is likely to be the final statement on the matter, an internal State Department report has found no deliberate wrongdoing in former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her time in office:

A multiyear State Department probe of emails that were sent to former secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s private computer server concluded there was no systemic or deliberate mishandling of classified information by department employees, according to a report submitted to Congress this month.

The report appears to represent a final and anticlimactic chapter in a controversy that overshadowed the 2016 presidential campaign and exposed Clinton to fierce criticism that she later cited as a major factor in her loss to President Trump.

In the end, State Department investigators found 38 current or former employees “culpable” of violating security procedures — none involving material that had been marked classified — in a review of roughly 33,000 emails that had been sent to or from the personal computer system Clinton used.

Overall, investigators said, “there was no persuasive evidence of systemic, deliberate mishandling of classified information.” The report cited “instances of classified information being inappropriately” transmitted, but noted that the vast majority of those scrutinized “were aware of security policies and did their best to implement them.”

The release comes as Trump continues to raise the Clinton email issue to attack Democrats, even as new evidence has emerged of apparent security lapses by senior officials in his own administration.

Diplomats involved in pressuring Ukraine to pursue investigations that would politically benefit Trump used private phones and texting apps to trade messages about their efforts, according to records released by leaders of the House impeachment inquiry.

The State Department probe focused on internal communications that were up to nine years old.

Dozens of former State employees were brought back in for questioning in recent months after being notified that emails they had sent years ago had been retroactively classified.

The renewed activity after a long stretch in which the investigation had seemed to go dormant sparked suspicion that the Trump administration was seeking to revive an issue that had been politically advantageous to Republicans.

One former official who was questioned described it as “a way to tarnish a whole bunch of Democratic foreign policy people.”

State Department officials denied any political agenda, saying the interviews were part of the final stages of an internal inquiry that the department was under pressure to complete this month. Among those applying pressure was Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), who had sent letters to the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security seeking updates.

This investigation apparently began well before the Trump Administration came into office and began as an effort by the Obama-Era State Department to determine if any internal mistakes had been made in connection with Clinton’s private email server. In other words, this was basically a review for policy purposes rather than one that could or would have resulted in the bringing criminal charges or some other form of administrative punishment. This is especially true given the fact that most of the people who were involved in the matter during the Clinton Era at Foggy Bottom, meaning that there’s very little the authorities at the State Department could have done.

This is, of course, the second time that a Federal investigation has found no systematic wrongdoing in connection with the former Secretary’s use of a private server. At nearly the same time as this State Department investigation began, the F.B.I. began its own investigation of the matter and, specifically the question of whether or not Clinton or her associates mishandled classified information. In the end, the Bureau found that while there had been ‘extreme carelessness’ in the handling of classified information in some cases there was no justification and insufficient evidence to support bringing criminal charges. All that being said, it is worth noting that the State Department Inspector General found that the decision by Clinton to use a private server was improper and that it should not have been done. This mirrors an observation I made back in 2015 when this story first broke:

On it’s face the answer that Clinton decided to use a private email server, notwithstanding the fact that anyone in her position should have anticipated the problems that would arise especially if and when she ran for President, because “she didn’t think it through” is even more silly than Clinton’s original justification for the decision that she didn’t want to use more than one mobile device. From the beginning of this campaign, and indeed, reaching all the way back to Clinton’s first campaign for President, one of the former Secretary of State’s overriding themes has been that she would be ready to be President because she has a record of ‘making the tough decisions.’ Leaving aside the fact that there was little in her record in 2008 to substantiate this claim, and not very much this time around either, this proved to be a compelling argument for her supporters, as evidence by the effectiveness of the “3am phone call” ad that attacked then Senator Obama for his apparent lack of preparedness. Palmieri saying that Clinton “didn’t think things through” when the decided to start using a private email server rather than the State Department’s system doesn’t exactly say very much for her judgment skills in that instance in particular, or in general.

In any case, this latest report is likely to finally be the end of the line for this controversy. For conservatives, of course, it will never be over, as the chants of “Lock her up!” at Trump rallies demonstrate quite aptly. For the rest of us, what we have here is confirmation yet again that, while Clinton acted with bad judgment in deciding to use a private email server instead of official channels, there was no crime or wrongdoing committed.

Here’s the report:

State Departmet Clinton Ema… by Doug Mataconis on Scribd

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Hillary Clinton, Intelligence, Law and the Courts, National Security, 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. Michael Reynolds says:

    Imagine my complete lack of surprise.

    This has never been about her emails, or her policies, or anything real world. A great many men hate women, and Hillary Clinton is the very model of the sort of woman a woman-hater hates hardest. Older men in particular are affronted, but a lot of older women as well, women who feel reproached somehow by women more capable, more consequential than themselves.

    The younger generation appears to be less hate-motivated, either by race or by sex. But the intellectual rigidity of the Greatest Generation and the Boomers, too, is just depressing. Too many people don’t ever install an update.

    People: DNA or God or whoever is running the big Sim we’re all part of, gave us reprogrammable brains. We are not CD-ROMs. We can actually update our mental software, which is kind of the thing that makes humans cool. We are the Great Adapters, so why do so many people just turn off the update feature and stew in their own worsening-by-the-day ignorance? Gotta die stupid? Is that the goal?

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  2. Jay L Gischer says:

    I think she made the call because she didn’t want certain non-official or only-sorta-official communications to be subject to subpoena by a Congress held by the other party, knowing that stuff like that can easily be cherry-picked into political grist that makes her look bad.

    And given what happened, that judgement seems validated. We can’t easily do a controlled experiment and go back and go through the campaign again with the call made the other way, but we did see, in fact, people cherry-picking emails and using them in the most embarrassing way possible.

    It really isn’t about your own personal discipline. People send you emails, you can’t stop them from doing it.

    So no, I don’t agree that it was bad judgement.

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  3. gVOR08 says:

    For conservatives, of course, it will never be over

    True dat. Here’s the headline from the FOX website two days ago.

    State Department report on Clinton emails finds hundreds of violations, dozens of individuals at fault

    Stuck in time. The only good thing is that every pixel thy expend on this is one they could have aimed at Biden or Warren.

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  4. Raoul says:

    Your 2015 observation that her not using the best email practices available is reflective that her judgment is questionable if a national crisis were to occur is laughable on its face. What does one has to do with other? Anyways I’m pretty sure we are all pretty tired of the whole darn thing; but I will posit that “improper” email use can be an issue forever, meaning, humans communicate in myriads of ways and as technologies keep changing there will always be situation where this can be made an issue. In other words let’s stop being troglodytes on the manner and stop making mountains out of mole hills.

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  5. CSK says:

    OMG, the Trumpkins will be foaming at the mouth at this fresh evidence of a Deep State conspiracy to cover for Clinton.

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  6. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Jeffrey Toobin apologized, on Twitter, for

    “…blowing this story out of proportion.”

    Do you think anyone else in the 4th Estate will?
    The media is failing this country and has been for a long time.
    Clinton stood up and warned this country about Trump and Putin…but the press was only interested in her fuqing emails.
    The Media gave us Trump…and, having learned nothing, they will likely do it again.

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  7. EddieInCA says:

    Clinton Whitewater.
    Clinton Paula Jones
    Gore Invented the Internet
    Kerry Swiftboat
    Obama Reverend Wright
    Obama Muslim
    Clinton emails
    Clinton Benghazi
    Biden Ukraine.

    Every four years a Dem gets smeared by something completely untrue and it becomes a narrative upon which the media continues to obsess long after the items have been debunked.

    I am convinced that Trump got elected because the media refused to call him a liar until it was too late.

    Even today, there are still several news outlets that refuse to use the word “lie” when describing President Trump’s obviously false statements.

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  8. al Ameda says:

    In any case, this latest report is likely to finally be the end of the line for this controversy. For conservatives, of course, it will never be over, as the chants of “Lock her up!” at Trump rallies demonstrate quite aptly.

    The Right’s War on Hillary Clinton has been going on for about 30 years now and, ultimately, it was successful – she lost the 2016 election.

    Remember how she was mocked when she referred to “a vast right wing conspiracy” that was designed to bring her and Bill down? Well, she was right, and the Right was successful.

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  9. SenyorDave says:

    @EddieInCA: Even today, there are still several news outlets that refuse to use the word “lie” when describing President Trump’s obviously false statements.

    I go nuts when I see the word misstatement pop up. One day I started screaming at my computer and my wife rushed over to see what was wrong. I was practically sputtering I was so angry. I think it was when Trump said that he got the military a 10 percent pay raise, and it was the first pay raise in ten years. The military gets a pay raise every year, and the POTUS has nothing to do with it. It is based on a few factors, the most important is the cost of living increases YOY. This was a blatant bunch of lies but the outlet I saw called them misstatements.

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  10. Kit says:

    Imagine the money we could have saved if instead of these pointless investigations, the government had instead beefed up security around electronic communication. Sure, blame the press, and blame Republicans, but something stinks in government, too. Are we to believe that the NSA, with all their billions, had no idea about Hillary’s email server?

  11. HelloWorld! says:

    I expected this headline to be the top story at Drudge Report, Fox News, etc. This is why I like OTB, points of view can be different but an important story is an important story.

  12. reid says:

    Wait, we can still chant, “Lock her up!” right…?

  13. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    I posted a comment, edited to add one word (“but”), and now it’s in the spam filter?

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  14. Slugger says:

    This investigation is not over! We still await the questioning by Trey Gowdy that will show us the real, really true, truth.

  15. Teve says:

    Zero coverage of this at Breitbart.

  16. Nightcrawler says:

    ——-On it’s face the answer that Clinton decided to use a private email server, notwithstanding the fact that anyone in her position should have anticipated the problems that would arise especially if and when she ran for President, because “she didn’t think it through” is even more silly than Clinton’s original justification for the decision that she didn’t want to use more than one mobile device.———

    You wouldn’t believe how many people “don’t think it through” with regard to email security — or any kind of cybersecurity. That’s why the data breaches keep coming.

    How many people reading this even know what a “private email server” IS? Likely very few.

    Four years ago, I didn’t know what it was, either.

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  17. Kathy says:

    So how come when Clinton is investigated, no crimes are found, but when Trump is investigated all sorts of malfeasance is uncovered?

    It’s a DEEP STATE CONSPIRACY!!1!!

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  18. Nightcrawler says:

    @Kit:

    The NSA was hacked itself a couple of years ago. That’s how the EternalBlue exploit — the gift to hackers that keeps on giving — was unleashed:

    https://www.cnet.com/news/stolen-nsa-hacking-tool-now-victimizing-us-cities-report-says/

    Being as the NSA was hacked, how secure do you think the rest of the gov’t is?

    How secure do you think the private sector is?

    And NO, private sector cybersecurity isn’t “better” than what we see in the public sector. (I’m looking at you, Equifax, and you, Yahoo, and you, Marriott Starwood, and, and…)

    Nobody has any clue what they’re doing.

  19. Pylon says:

    I didn’t see the NYT headlines trumpeting this. Of course.

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  20. Pylon says:

    @EddieInCA:

    You forgot the Foundation.

    Look at your list and try to find an item that isn’t directly akin to something Trump actually did.

    Clinton Whitewater. Trump University/Russians/Tax Cheating/Bankruptcies/Catch and Kill
    Clinton Paula Jones. Trump Stormy Daniels et al.
    Gore Invented the Internet. Trump is a multi-billionaire.
    Kerry Swiftboat. Trump bonespurs.
    Obama Reverend Wright. Trump Roy Cohn/various mobsters
    Obama Muslim. Trump sexual assaulter.
    Clinton emails. Trump family emails.
    Clinton Benghazi. Trump Kurds/Turkey.
    Biden Ukraine. Trump Ukraine.

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  21. grumpy realist says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: The U.K. media isn’t any better. One of Dr. North’s constant complaints (over at EUreferendum) is the inability of the U.K. media to understand and explain correctly exactly what is going on re EU regulations. (Also that there’s a great difference between a Single Market and a Customs Union.)

  22. Kit says:

    @Nightcrawler:

    Nobody has any clue what they’re doing.

    I wouldn’t quite go that far, but I’ll agree that perfect security doesn’t exist. Still, I expect government to take the issue seriously.

  23. SKI says:

    @Pylon: buried on page 16…literally.

  24. Paul L. says:

    Excellent the way is now clear for the Secretary of State and Trump family to set up and use their own private FOIA dodging email server.

    I hope Elijah Cummings was able to sign the subpoena for all the records of racist voter suppression hate group True the Vote on his death bed.

    IMPEACH DRUMPF! YYYYYEEEEAAAAAGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!

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  25. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Paul L.:

    I hope Elijah Cummings was able to sign the subpoena for all the records of racist voter suppression hate group True the Vote on his death bed.

    Stay classy, Republicans…stay classy.

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  26. DrDaveT says:

    This investigation apparently began well before the Trump Administration came into office and began as an effort by the Obama-Era State Department to determine if any internal mistakes had been made in connection with Clinton’s private email server. In other words, this was basically a review for policy purposes rather than one that could or would have resulted in the bringing criminal charges or some other form of administrative punishment. This is especially true given the fact that most of the people who were involved in the matter during the Clinton Era at Foggy Bottom, meaning that there’s very little the authorities at the State Department could have done.

    I’m trying to parse what you’re saying here, and the only reading I can come up with that makes sense is that you’re saying an investigation of Hillary Clinton’s State Department performed during the Obama administration could not have found criminal offenses. Please tell me that’s not what you’re saying.

  27. Kathy says:

    The GOP is kind of caught up on specific words right now, and their interpretation is either disingenuous or downright stupid.

    So when they see:

    In the end, State Department investigators found 38 current or former employees “culpable” of violating security procedures — none involving material that had been marked classified — in a review of roughly 33,000 emails that had been sent to or from the personal computer system Clinton used.

    They’ll think “culpable” means “guilty,” and why then aren’t they all locked up along with Hillary Clinton?

    It’s like the Ukraine call mess. many seem to think if the phrase “quid pro quo” wasn’t used, then everything is just fine, and stop pestering St. Trump of the Holy Cloaca about it. They don’t realize, or pretend not to realize, the implied quid pro quo isn’t the problem, but requesting electoral help from foreign leader is. Withholding military aid authorized by Congress only aggravates the matter.

    Also, keep in ind who Trump is. I wouldn’t put it past him to claim this report clearly indicates Hillary Clinton is guilty, and should be locked up now! He has done far worse distortions in the past.

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  28. mattbernius says:

    My favorite part of @Paul L. posts is where he says the silent part out loud like:

    racist voter suppression hate group True the Vote

    Yeah, that’s pretty much exactly what they are: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/True_the_Vote

  29. Gustopher says:

    @SenyorDave:

    Even today, there are still several news outlets that refuse to use the word “lie” when describing President Trump’s obviously false statements.

    The alternative, of course, is that he isn’t lying because he is dangerously misinformed.

    I would be ok with news outlets taking him at his word, and pointing out how frequently he is misinformed about things.

  30. Jax says:

    @mattbernius: My favorite part is when he crawls back under his rock and we don’t hear from him for a few days. 😉

    I’ve noticed there’s a pattern to his appearances, though. Anything “Clinton” or “guns”, there he is.

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  31. Paul L. says:
  32. Gustopher says:

    @Nightcrawler:

    Nobody has any clue what they’re doing. [computer security]

    That’s not exactly true. There are lots of things that can reduce risk, but it’s expensive and hard, so you have to balance cost vs. risk-and-consequences. But, as a rule of thumb, people can know what to do, they just choose not to know, or not to do it, because of cost.

    Equifax is not having to pay for the damage they caused, and people will learn from that — it’s cost vs. risk-and-lowered-consequences.

    Even having a system disconnected from all outside networks does not eliminate risk — the people become the attack vector there. And it’s never really completely disconnected (you might need to transfer a file over on a disk, or update software, and then the goal becomes how to get the malicious code in, piggybacking on that disk — I believe we used that strategy to delay Iranian nuclear weapon research).

  33. Hal_10000 says:

    @EddieInCA:

    Clinton Whitewater.
    Clinton Paula Jones

    So we’re just going to ignore — again — that Whitewater resulted in dozens of felony convictions of Clinton’s associated cronies, including his lieutenant governor? And that the only reason he wasn’t indicted was the McDougals refused to talk? Or that the Paula Jones thing ended in a settlement and discovered obstruction of justice and perjury? Or that he lost his law license (and Hillary let hers expire) over malfeasance? Yeah, these were completely made up bogus scandals.

    Honestly, you guys are almost as bad as the Trumpists.

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  34. Mike in Arlington says:

    Uh… is Paul L. ok? I mean, can anybody call someone to check on him?

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  35. KM says:

    Semi-OT: “You people with this phony emoluments clause” – DJT to reporters in a freaking Cabinet meeting.

    Hillary Clinton’s going to be subjected to conspiracy theories, nasty insinuations, disinformation and outright slander for 50 years after she dies because “emails” and that’s all well and good for the GOP and conservative voters. Yes, she may not be lilly-white clean but she’s not nearly as dirty as people want to believe. But Trump’s just blurting his ignorance and criminal nature out for all to see and they’re still hemming and hawing over whether to say boo about it. This crap is why I pooh-pooh the whole “fence voter” bit – if you still give a damn about “the emails” and Trump’s still a viable option to you, then there’s no chance in hell of getting you to vote Dem. If you still think Hillary deserves some sort of punishment for nebulous email “crimes”, you are voting Trump and you know it. I know it, you know it, anyone with a shred of honesty knows it. You’re GOP ride or die but want to believe you are a rational actor.

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  36. Hal_10000 says:

    @KM:

    Yes, she may not be lilly-white clean but she’s not nearly as dirty as people want to believe

    That’s a somewhat fair assessment. And she’s not a patch on Trump who is openly flagrantly committing crimes right now. In the last week, he’s admitted to enough to be impeachable.

    But Clinton — with her conspiracy-mongering about Tulsi and Jill Stein — did just remind us why, while she was the better option in 2016, she wasn’t a great one. If she were President, we’d be getting less corruption, way less incompetence but almost as much paranoia.

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  37. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Mike in Arlington:
    I believe within #Cult45 Paul is considered a respected intellectual leader. His use of random repeated all-caps letters is often compared to the dadaist movement. Or a cat walking on a keyboard. Either way: genius!

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  38. gVOR08 says:

    @Hal_10000:

    But Clinton — with her conspiracy-mongering about Tulsi and Jill Stein

    Russia did, in fact, provide online support for Stein. Gabbard’s denials seem sincere. But let me ask you a question, a question Gabbard should be asking – if Russia decided to use Gabbard as a catspaw, why would they tell her?

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  39. EddieInCA says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Hal. It was a small time failed land deal that became, literally, a Federal case.

    And the Paula Jones case has nothing to do with governing. So… it was all BS.

    Neither Bill Clinton nor Hillary Clinton were ever prosecuted, after three separate inquiries found insufficient evidence linking them with the criminal conduct of others related to the land deal. The matter was handled by the Whitewater Independent Counsel, Kenneth Starr. The last of these inquiries came from the final Independent Counsel, Robert Ray (who replaced Starr) in 2000.

    Have any two people been investigated more in their lifetimes than Bill and Hillary Clinton? I asked Have any two people been investigated more in their lifetimes than Bill and Hillary Clinton? I ask that seriously. Get over your Clinton hatred and look at the actual facts of what happened.

    THEN…

    Compare it to what’s happening now. If you can seriously say that the two are comparable you have zero intellectual honesty. And you’re usually smarter than this.

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  40. Matt says:

    @Nightcrawler:

    Nobody has any clue what they’re doing.

    That is an outright lie. The thing is the only way to make something un-hackable is to make it unreachable which isn’t convenient. In cyber security there is a careful balance that has to be maintained between security and accessibility/convenience. The more people who need access the more potential access points for hackers.

    You seem to be underestimating the shear number of people around the world who are actively attempting to hack something. From professional hackers all the way down to script kiddies there’s several million people involved. All it takes is one of them to find a bug, exploit or dissatisfied/dumb employee to get access…

  41. Monala says:

    @gVOR08: There’s also “the struck dog howls” aspect to Gabbard’s response. Clinton didn’t mention Gabbard by name, just said that the Russians have “got their eye on somebody who’s currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate.” There are five women still running in the primary (Warren, Harris, Klobuchar, Gabbard, and Williamson). Why would Gabbard assume Clinton was talking about her? Rather than, say, the non-politician Williamson?

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  42. Teve says:

    There’s also “the struck dog howls” aspect to Gabbard’s response.

    That’s not definitive, but it is kind of funny.

    Democrat: one of the Republicans is a child molester. Just saying.
    Republican 1: whatever
    Republican 2: whatever
    Republican 3: whatever
    Republican 4: whatever
    Republican 5: You’re An Asshole!

    😀

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  43. Kathy says:

    @Monala:

    “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.” Attributed to a number of people.

  44. MarkedMan says:

    Just for the record, the past three Sec of States before Clinton all grew so frustrated with the Department’s email system that they used their own private email accounts as did their senior staff. When Hillary wrote former Secretary Colin Powell for advice he suggested (in writing) that she not even bother with it and use her private email account, because that’s what he did. BTW, his private email account was an AOL account, which he deleted when he left office without turning over a single message.

    I have yet to see James or Doug or any of the myriad posters who went on and on about how no one but Hillary would ever do something so wreckless make so much as an acknowledgement about Powell’s actions after they came to light. What do you think the odds are that they will acknowledge it now?

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  45. Jen says:

    @MarkedMan: That’s honestly been one of the things that has pissed me off the most about this entire sideshow. I get that part of what made the system practically unworkable IS the security that was required, but the fact that Powell and Rice circumvented the system in their own ways and yet Hillary got thrown to the wolves over the same behavior just makes me angry.

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  46. MarkedMan says:

    @Jen: And the fact that the whole time she had written proof from Powell that he recommended it but she honored the confidence says something about her. And the fact that he advised her to do it but never came to her defense says something about him.

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  47. Teve says:

    @MarkedMan: I did see someone here who shall remain nameless claim, many moons ago, that yeah Powell did the same thing, but that was way so long ago that the world was a totally different place and nobody knew how to handle email so no big and by the time Hillary got there everything was completely different and there was simply no excuse for her awful negligence.

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  48. Jax says:

    @Teve: I remember that, too. And there were several occasions where anyone who pointed it out was accused of “whataboutism”.

    The cycle continues.

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  49. MarkedMan says:

    @Teve: Fair enough, now that you mention it I recall that too. But Powell was SoS from 2001-2005, at which point I had various email accounts for a quarter of a century. Clinton became SoS four years later in 2009. The idea that those four years represented some magical time in the history of email rises to Trumpian levels of special pleading.

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  50. Gustopher says:

    @MarkedMan: I’m sure that after Clinton was SoS, we shifted into some email dystopia that makes the Trump administration using WhatsApp entirely appropriate.

  51. just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Hal_10000: “way less incompetence, but almost as much paranoia.”

    Certainly true, but considering that the paranoia would be coming from the same quarters as it does now, why does that factor matter? Some things are immutable.

  52. just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: I recall slightly differently. As I recall, both Doug and Dr. Joyner replied that it’s two completely different situations, blah blah, blah…

  53. An Interested Party says:

    …but almost as much paranoia.

    Considering the number of right wing forces that have been arrayed against her and her husband, she’s more than justified to be a little paranoid…

  54. de stijl says:

    Is it wrong, and immoral, and sketchy to want people at future D rallies to chant “Lock Him Up!” at Trump?

    I must admit, it would appeal. Must fight my lesser angels. It would be totally deserved. But I realize Ds are judged differently. They cannot be assholish; only Rs are allowed that privilege.

    The different rule-sets apply. Ds cannot taunt. Ds cannot employ judgemental arguments. They cannot deploy sharp elbows. They must remain calm and respond in an appropriate way.

    Rs are not bound by these rules. They abuse that privilege.

  55. gVOR08 says:

    @An Interested Party: I’ve never understood that. There really was a vast right wing conspiracy against them. Mostly funded by the late and unlamented Richard Mellon Scaife. As with her “deplorables” comment, she told gawds honest truth. And got pilloried for it.

    And speaking of telling the truth, FTFNYT quietly corrected their couple day old story to quote Hillary as saying Republicans were grooming an unnamed female D candidate for a third party run. Not “Russians”, “Republicans”. Not that there’s all that much difference anymore.