Release Of Inspector General’s Report Indicates Hillary’s Email Woes Likely To Continue

The Clinton campaign probably thought the email story was behind them. The new report from the State Department's Inspector General shows just how wrong they were about that.

Hillary Clinton Blackberry

With yesterday’s release of the State Department’s Inspector General Report, and the prospect of the results of an F.B.I./Justice Department investigation that has been going on for more than a year being released just as the General Election campaign is set to begin, Politico’s Josh Gerstein notes that Hillary Clinton’s email problems aren’t going away any time soon:

A newly issued report on Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server flatly rejects one of her core defenses in the controversy — that she was playing by the rules.

And while the findings of the State Department Inspector General probe don’t land any devastating blows against the Democratic front-runner, they provide ample grist to keep questions about her handling of the situation alive as the general election campaign gears up.

On the trail, Clinton has repeatedly claimed that her exclusive use of a personal email account during her four years as secretary of state was authorized by the rules in effect at the time, but investigators from the State Department’s Office of Inspector General reached just the opposite conclusion.

“It was not prohibited. It was not in any way disallowed,” Clinton said in a debate in March.

“Throughout Secretary Clinton’s tenure, the [regulations] stated that normal day-to-day operations should be conducted on an authorized” email system, the report declared. And the inspector general found no evidence that anyone had ever authorized or approved Clinton’s email setup.

The official watchdog’s finding was hardly a shock, since federal records experts and Clinton critics have been saying for more than a year that her actions were at odds with the policies and best practices State issued to its personnel at the time.

Clinton’s campaign claimed the report punctured several conspiracy theories about the email arrangement.

“We think there’s a lot in this report that corroborates what we’ve been saying all along,” spokesman Brian Fallon said on MSNBC on Wednesday.

However, details in the report stoke some lingering mysteries about the email imbroglio. The decision by Clinton and many of her senior aides not to cooperate with the inspector general investigation seems certain to compound those concerns and may have made it more difficult for investigators to get to the bottom of some of the unresolved issues, including whether concerns about Clinton’s system were bottled up by top officials.

It’s the kind of uncertainty that Clinton’s political enemies are sure to try and exploit, including likely GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, who’s already pilloried her over the email saga and will likely find new ammunition in this report. “Not good,” was his only comment on Wednesday, but his attacks are likely to intensify as the summer settles in.

She’ll face the same from Republicans in Congress. “When she won’t sit down with the inspector general, it’s very hard to understand what she did and did not do,” said House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah).

New York Times reporter Amy Chozick notes that yesterday’s report, and the ongoing unanswered questions about the circumstances under which th email server was setup and maintained, several of which Gerstein raises in his piece, plays into one of the central problems of her campaign, the fact that notwithstanding her standing in the polls voters don’t trust her:

For more than a year, Hillary Clinton has traveled the country talking to voters about her policy plans. She vowed to improve infrastructure in her first 100 days in office, promised to increase funding for Alzheimer’s research and proposed a $10 billion plan to combat drug and alcohol addiction.

But as the Democratic primary contest comes to a close, any hopes Mrs. Clinton had of running a high-minded, policy-focused campaign have collided with a more visceral problem.

Voters just don’t trust her.

The Clinton campaign had hoped to use the coming weeks to do everything they could to shed that image and convince voters that Mrs. Clinton can be trusted. Instead, they must contend with a damaging new report by the State Department’s inspector general that Mrs. Clinton had not sought or received approval to use a private email server while she was secretary of state.

It is not just that the inspector general found fault with her email practices. The report speaks directly to a wounding perception that Mrs. Clinton is not forthright or transparent.

After months of Mrs. Clinton’s saying she used a private email for convenience, and that she was willing to cooperate fully with investigations into her handling of official business at the State Department, the report, delivered to Congress on Wednesday, undermined both claims.

Mrs. Clinton, through her lawyers, declined to be interviewed by the inspector general as part of the review. And when staff members raised concerns about the wisdom of her using a nongovernment email address, they were hushed by State Department officials, who instructed them “never to speak of the secretary’s personal email system again.”

In November 2010, when a State Department aide requested she release her personal email address or start using an official address, Mrs. Clinton said she was open to using a second device or email address but added,”I don’t want any risk of the personal being accessible.”

Mrs. Clinton’s allies on Wednesday jumped on the fact that the report also revealed that Colin Powell, the secretary of state under President George W. Bush, and other State Department officials had also exclusively used personal email accounts. “The inspector general documents just how consistent her email practices were with those of other secretaries and senior officials at the State Department,” said Brian Fallon, a Clinton spokesman.

But Mr. Powell is not running for president against a likely opponent, Donald J. Trump, who has now adopted the drumbeat of “Crooked Hillary.”

“Crooked Hillary, crooked Hillary, she’s as crooked as they come,” Mr. Trump said at a rally in Anaheim, Calif.

His attacks came as Mrs. Clinton tried to break through with her own criticism that Mr. Trump had profited from the 2008 housing crisis.


Mrs. Clinton has long contended that voters care more about issues — like equal pay for women, widely available child care, and making college more affordable — than how she handled her emails as secretary of state. Even her Democratic primary opponent, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, tried to squelch the storm over the private server during the first Democratic debate last fall.

But something has seeped into the electorate. A presidential campaign always contends with incoming fire, but it is also designed to serve as an infomercial to present a candidate’s best attributes. Instead, Mrs. Clinton has gone from having a 69 percent approval rating and being one of the most popular public figures in the country when she left the State Department in 2013 to having one of the highest disapproval ratings of any likely presidential nominee of a major party.

Roughly 53 percent of voters said they had an unfavorable opinion of Mrs. Clinton in a new ABC-News Washington Post poll. Some 60 percent of voters said they had an unfavorable opinion of Mr. Trump.

When asked if Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump are “honest and trustworthy,” 64 percent of registered voters replied “no,” according to a recent New York Times-CBS News poll. Ask voters why they don’t trust Mrs. Clinton, and again and again they will answer with a single word: Emails.

The Washington Post’s Editorial Board is equally scathing:

HILLARY CLINTON’S use of a private email server while secretary of state from 2009 to 2013 has been justifiably criticized as an error of judgment. What the new report from the State Department inspector general makes clear is that it also was not a casual oversight. Ms. Clinton had plenty of warnings to use official government communications methods, so as to make sure that her records were properly preserved and to minimize cybersecurity risks. She ignored them.

The 83-page report declares that “beginning in late 2005 and continuing through 2011,” the department revised its Foreign Affairs Manual and “issued various memoranda specifically discussing the obligation to use Department systems in most circumstances and identifying the risks of not doing so.” Ms. Clinton didn’t.

During her tenure, State Department employees were told that they were expected to use approved, secure methods to transmit information that was sensitive but unclassified, or SBU. If they needed to transmit SBU information outside the department’s network, they were told to ask information specialists for help. The report said there is no evidence that Ms. Clinton ever asked, “despite the fact that emails exchanged on her personal account regularly contained information that was marked as SBU.” On June 28, 2011, a cable was sent to all diplomatic and consular posts over her signature warning that personal email accounts could be compromised and officials should “avoid conducting official Department business from your personal e-mail accounts.” At the time, Ms. Clinton was doing exactly that.


The department’s email technology was archaic. Other staffers also used personal email, as did Secretary Colin Powell (2001-2005), without preserving the records. But there is no excuse for the way Ms. Clinton breezed through all the warnings and notifications. While not illegal behavior, it was disturbingly unmindful of the rules. In the middle of the presidential campaign, we urge the FBI to finish its own investigation soon, so all information about this troubling episode will be before the voters.

As a preliminary matter, it’s worth noting that the legality or illegality of what Clinton did was not within the scope of the Inspector General’s investigation, that part of the issue is what what the ongoing DOJ/F.B.I. investigation, which deals primarily with the handling of classified information, is about. The Inspector General, on the other hand, was assigned the task of determining whether existing procedures and rules were followed in this matter, and the conclusion is that they most clearly were not. Whether that rises to the level of a criminal act is outside the purview of an Inspector General, and therefore not addressed in the report.

As I said yesterday, this report is unlikely to have any real impact on Clinton’s quest for the Democratic nomination. For one thing, at this point she stands less than 100 delegates away from garnering enough support to win the nomination on the first ballot, and will unquestionably go over the top on June 7 with what is likely to be an overwhelming victory in New Jersey and sufficiently good performances in the remaining states to lock Bernie Sanders out of any possibility at all of winning the nomination, which he’s effectively at in any case. For another, Sanders has steadfastly refused to discuss the email issue as part of his attacks against Clinton, which quite honestly is an indication that he likely was never serious about running against Clinton to begin with and viewed this campaign more as an effort to push his agenda and move both Clinton and the Democratic Party to the left. Were Sanders serious about running for President, he would have made the point that Gerstein and Chozick here, that these revelations about Clinton and the fact that the report clearly indicates that many of the public statements she has made about the private email server simply aren’t true, only serve to reinforce long-standing doubts that the public has about Hillary Clinton’s trustworthiness.

Unlike the primary campaign, it’s not at all likely that Clinton will be able to easily dodge having to deal with the questions surrounding her use of a private email server. Donald Trump and other Republicans have been talking about the issue for months, for example, and the release of this report means that they’ll be talking about it a lot more in the weeks and months to come. Additionally, it’s an issue that the media is likely to bring up when interviewing her and campaign surrogates throughout the course of this campaign, especially now that we have an Inspector General’s report that clearly indicates that Clinton’s explanation for how and why the email server was setup, and whether she received permission to do so before doing so, simply does not comport with the facts and the available evidence. The only good news for Clinton is that, while all of this has contributed to the fact that she enters the General Election race with exceedingly high unfavorable ratings, she is poised to go up against against a Republican rival with even worse favorability numbers, thus giving her an advantage in a race that is likely to boil down to which candidate voters dislike the least. That may be enough for her to win the election, but it’s likely to make the extent of what she can actually accomplish as President very limited to say the least.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Politicians, Public Opinion Polls, 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


  1. michael reynolds says:

    Nah. I suspect not.

    The interesting thing about running in a post-reality world against a pathological liar is that all accusations acquire equal weight – or lack thereof. So email is no different than Hillary’s well-known lesbianism, murder, and I assume Brady ball-deflating etc…

    If you can just make stuff up – Ted Cruz’s father killing JFK, say – then how much weight does the boring email thing really carry?

    This story is mostly of use to spineless Republicans looking for any rationalization to explain away their despicable embrace of a racist, misogynist buffoon. I’m sure a handful of Republicans – who were already going to grovel in the end – will latch onto it. But beyond that? Maybe, but I doubt it.

  2. Jenos Idanian says:

    The biggest problem I have with this is that no one — not Hillary, none of her surrogates, none of her sycophants — has offered a plausible reason why she thought it was a good idea in the first place. She’s admitted it was a mistake, she’s apologized, but every time she has offered a reason for why she did it, it’s been proven as a lie. And each lie has been calculated to spin the most recent development into something resembling an innocent error.

    I’ve offered my own theory as to why she did it, and it’s a hell of a lot more consistent with the known facts that anything she has offered.

    Would anyone like to take up the challenge? What was her motive for setting up the private server, and what made her think it would be a good idea?

  3. Jenos Idanian says:

    @michael reynolds: So email is no different than Hillary’s well-known lesbianism, murder, and I assume Brady ball-deflating etc…

    She’s deflated a lot more balls than just Tom Brady’s. (rimshot)

  4. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    It’s like shooting fish in a barrel Just waiting to see which misogynist bro came along to reveal his inner thoughts. And of course, it’d be you.

  5. Jenos Idanian says:

    @michael reynolds: I figured it was bait; I do the same thing. But I’m tired and hungry, and felt generous — I didn’t want to make you wait for it.

    Besides, I figured I’d take the brunt of your “wrath” and spare someone else who doesn’t know to just shrug it off. I’m generous that way.

    Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, you wanna offer an explanation as to why Hillary thought it was a good idea in the first place? You’re a creative fellow, you should be able to come up with something…

    I’m gonna go out and eat some dinner. I dunno if it’ll be the Irish pub or the Chinese buffet — probably the latter; it should be less crowded. So take your time.

  6. Matt says:

    @Jenos Idanian: So wait is the claim now that Collen Powell and Susan Rice didn’t do the same thing?

  7. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    That’s easy: she didn’t want Republicans picking through her email to come up with yet another bogus non-scandal. So, rather stupidly, she created a scandal for them.

  8. Pch101 says:

    Sanders has steadfastly refused to discuss the email issue as part of his attacks against Clinton, which quite honestly is an indication that he likely was never serious about running against Clinton to begin with and viewed this campaign more as an effort to push his agenda and move both Clinton and the Democratic Party to the left.

    The problem is that embracing the email crusade smacks of the war on stained dresses that was waged during the other Clinton’s presidency. The right wing eats this stuff up, but otherwise, it’s the sort of non-issue that attracts the passions of petty people, and most people aren’t that petty.

    If the situation involved a Republican, I doubt that Democrats would be making the same sort of noises. I’m no fan of Republicans, but I personally wouldn’t care unless there was some evidence of impropriety (which there isn’t); fixating on this suggests that there aren’t actual problems to worry about.

  9. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    the Irish pub

    I seem to remember you once telling me you never went to bars.

    Well, we know you are a serial liar, so…

  10. Rick says:

    Hillary’s emails and the Clinton foundation are both under investigation by the FBI which has nothing to do with Republicans. Add Trey Gowdy’s investigation of Benghazi to the mix. Hillary hasn’t a chance in hell.

  11. Rick says:

    Rice and Powell never installed a personal server in their own homes that they alone controlled, dummy.

  12. Rick says:

    Her motive was simple, she installed her own private server in her own home so she could have 100% control of her SOS correspondence and the FOIA would never be able to access any of it. She could continue to generate donations to the Clinton Foundation from foreign donors while she undertook SOS responsibilities and nobody would ever see any of it.

  13. Dazedandconfused says:


    The FOIA wouldn’t apply to her personal emails. If the concern was keeping all that secure from it she wouldn’t have mixed them with State correspondence. Convienence appears to be the reason, based on her actions.

    She was careless and sloppy, and nobody at State raised a ruckus. One bark from an aide and they seem to have let it go. Our agencies need to bear in mind that in our system we appoint civilians to head them, political appointments who have little or no experience in the agencies rather commonly. They need to tend to the easily predictable problems. The Pentagon and the intell services seem to, and hopefully do, have broad-scope education and management procedures for SoD’s and such, State should consider doing the same.

  14. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Matt: So wait is the claim now that Collen Powell and Susan Rice didn’t do the same thing?

    No, they did not set up their own e-mail servers, they did not retain exclusive control over the e-mails, they did not delete thousands of e-mails.

    @michael reynolds: That’s easy: she didn’t want Republicans picking through her email to come up with yet another bogus non-scandal. So, rather stupidly, she created a scandal for them.

    So, because she didn’t want icky Republicans to exert their legal authority, she broke the law, counting on her sycophants to push the “the law doesn’t apply when it might benefit Republicans” loophole?

    As far as the pub goes… things change. A friend of mine’s the manager, and they serve really, really good food. But it was packed, so I went Chinese instead. Thursday through Saturday nights are really busy at the pub, for some reason…

  15. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Dazedandconfused: She was careless and sloppy, and nobody at State raised a ruckus. One bark from an aide and they seem to have let it go.

    It’s a little more involved than that…

    3. The arrangement made staffers nervous — and management told them to keep quiet

    The IG report noted that two Information Resources Management staffers had communicated their concerns with their departmental boss in late 2010.

    “In one meeting, one staff member raised concerns that information sent and received on Secretary Clinton’s account could contain Federal records that needed to be preserved in order to satisfy Federal recordkeeping requirements,” the report noted.

    The staff member recalled that the director said Clinton’s personal system had already been reviewed and approved by legal staff “and that the matter was not to be discussed any further,” according to the report’s language.

    “As previously noted, OIG found no evidence that staff in the Office of the Legal Adviser reviewed or approved Secretary Clinton’s personal system,” the next line of the report reads.

    The other staff member who raised concerns said the director stated that the department’s mission is to “support the Secretary and instructed the staff never to speak of the Secretary’s personal email system again.”

    The IT guys raised a concern with their boss, and he lied to them AND told them to never bring it up again. That’s significantly more than “one bark from an aide.”

  16. Matt says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Oh you’re right they used private emails maintained by outside corporations which is soo much better…..

    They also deleted emails. Shit I lost track of the hundreds of thousands that Bush’s administration suddenly “lost”….

  17. Matt says:

    @Matt: Well for whatever reason I cannot go back and edit this post so I’ll just add it here.

    Those emails were on government servers and still magically disappeared….

  18. DrDaveT says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I’ve offered my own theory as to why she did it, and it’s a hell of a lot more consistent with the known facts that anything she has offered.

    And even if you’re right, it’s two orders of magnitude less damning than the things Donald Trump admits to every day.

    Why is this so hard to grasp?

  19. Matt says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Have you ever heard of a sent folder or outbox?

  20. An Interested Party says:

    I wonder if the enemies of the Clintons ever get tired of all of these scandals never actually destroying the Clintons…I am not saying anything about this particular kerfuffle either way, but it does seem like Republicans/conservatives are Charlie Brown and the Clintons are Lucy holding the football…

  21. DrDaveT says:


    she installed her own private server in her own home so she could have 100% control of her SOS correspondence and the FOIA would never be able to access any of it

    For the 97th time, FOIA does not care whether the server is public or private. It applies to all federal records, wherever they are stored.

  22. Jenos Idanian says:

    @DrDaveT: If you can get past your pedantic silliness, you might take into account a few factors. For one, she had physical custody of the server, which means that she got to delete the “personal” stuff before turning anything over. For another, the very existence of the server was secret, and exactly does one file a FOIA request for documents on a server you don’t know exists?

    And remember, we know Hillary deleted official e-mails in all those “personal” e-mails she deleted, because we have copies of them from the other parties she was exchanging the e-mails with. So we already know she deleted e-mails that, by law, she should not have.

  23. Pch101 says:

    If secrecy was the priority, then she would have carried a second phone with a second email address. This is not complicated.

    This was obviously motivated by convenience. She wanted to have one device and the ability to use it anywhere, including in the office.

  24. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Pch101: This was obviously motivated by convenience. She wanted to have one device and the ability to use it anywhere, including in the office.

    Yeah, one device. A Blackberry. Which she used exclusively. Except when she used her IPad. And, on occasion, when she used her IPhone.

    “There are reasons when you start out in Washington on a Blackberry you stay on it in many instances. But it’s also — I don’t know, I don’t throw anything away. I’m like two steps short of a hoarder. So I have an iPad, a mini iPad, an iPhone and a Blackberry.”

  25. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Pch101: This was obviously motivated by convenience. She wanted to have one device and the ability to use it anywhere, including in the office.

    In other words, you’re about five lie-cycles behind the curve. That one’s been busted for ages. Try to keep up, will you?

  26. Pch101 says:

    Getting a second email address isn’t exactly a challenge.

    Then again, it probably is tough for Jenos, hence all of the drama (which I didn’t bother to read, since it surely isn’t worth the bother.)

  27. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Pch101: Getting a second email address isn’t exactly a challenge.

    You mean like “” and “,” sport?

    OK, confess. You really are anti-Hillary, and you keep serving up these long-discredited Hillary lies just to let us smack them down, right? Because nobody not named Cliffy or wr could be as stupid as you are acting.

  28. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Pch101: Here, I’m feeling a little sympathetic for you. Here are a few of Hillary’s talking points that have already been proven lies:

    1) She only used one device — she used at least three.

    2) She only used one email address — she had at least two.

    3) She only deleted personal emails off her server — she also deleted at least quite a few official ones.

    Let me explain how we know #3 is a lie. Hillary exchanged emails with a State Department official. (let’s call him “Joe Schlabotnik,” after the semi-legendary baseball player.) When Hillary turned over her emails, there were no exchanges with Joe. But when the State Department turned over their emails, they included Joe’s emails with Hillary.

    There, let it not be said that I am never compassionate.

  29. Pch101 says:

    Some folks apparently use Occam’s razor to perform brain surgery on themselves. (Must have been inspired by Ben Carson.)

  30. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Pch101: On another thread, I just accused michael reynolds of Posting While Drunk.

    Just how stoned are you tonight?

    I’m praying to God that you aren’t driving or operating any heavy machinery any time soon…

  31. DrDaveT says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    For another, the very existence of the server was secret, and exactly does one file a FOIA request for documents on a server you don’t know exists?

    Keep digging.

    If you knew anything at all about FOIA — like, even the little bit you could learn by (say) Googling for 5 minutes — you would know that FOIA does not require the requester to know anything at all about where the documents reside. A request for “all emails from the Secretary of State pertaining to ___ between dates XXX and YYY” is a perfectly well-formed FOIA request.

  32. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    That you are obsessed with this is a fair indication of it’s relative importance.

    Had the IG reported a “no issues”, you would likely be screaming “the fix is in”

    Maybe, just maybe the FBI knows more than you do about this. So let them do their job.

  33. stonetools says:

    Well, this is the second post on this issue by Doug on this issue in the last 48 hours. I guess the right wing blogosphere must have sent up the bat signal that there will be a blog swarm on this issue. Remember when Doug posted 7 times in 7 days about speaker fees when right wing hatchet man Peter Schweitzer put out his book last year on that issue? Doug didn’t stop posting on the issue until it came out that GWB and Jeb! also made millions in speaker fees. Then suddenly, the right wing blogosphere (and Doug) lost interest.
    Meanwhile, Trump is still a racist demagogue who is unqualified to be President and who wants to deport 11 million people and strip health care from millions. But hey, emails!

  34. Guarneri says:

    Some Clinton sycophant was earlier trying to explain away MSNBC’s inevitable capitulation to the obvious sleaze by blaming it on Republican Joe Scarboough. Well….

  35. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    she broke the law

    Hey idiot boy!

    What law did she break? Be specific.

  36. stonetools says:


    For Republicans, the Bush Administration has been retconned out of existence, so of course Powell and Rice didn’t do any such thing, although it’s right in the same report, side by side with the criticism of Hillary’s conduct.

  37. stonetools says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    No, they did not set up their own e-mail servers, they did not retain exclusive control over the e-mails, they did not delete thousands of e-mails.

    Actually, Powell simply deleted all his emails when he left government service, so wrong again, Bob.

    Powell confirmed that he had used private email while secretary but that he didn’t hand over any emails to the State Department because his private emails were all gone.

    “I don’t have any to turn over,” he explained. “I did not keep a cache of them. I did not print them off. I do not have thousands of pages somewhere in my personal files.” Powell’s revelation is important because it puts into perspective the email protocol of a former secretary of state. By his own account, Powell’s emails, unlike Clinton’s, include his regular communications with foreign dignitaries. What was he emailing them in the lead-up to the war in Iraq? We’ll never know.

    So, apparently, did Jeb!, FWIW. But that’s gone down the memory hole too.

  38. Tony W says:

    @stonetools: Facts will not persuade.

  39. An Interested Party says:

    Rules Are For Thee, But Not For Me…

    This is an age-old trick that Republicans have been using for a long time. They ignore what they’ve been doing for years and pretend that it is an evil plot invented by Democrats. To point out the actual history makes you look like a four year-old saying “s/he did it first.”

  40. MBunge says:

    Yes, another four long years of Democrats excusing everything a Clinton does because “Republicans are bad!” Is there a drug I can take to put me in a reversible coma? Between this and the freak out over the proposed Trump/Sanders debate, I’m not sure how much longer I can tolerate sensory input. Quite a few liberals have decided that Sanders completely humiliating Trump on stage would be a bad thing.


  41. rick says:

    Well then, point it out, coward

  42. rick says:

    @stonetools: Powell and Rice never used and installed a home server that they alone controlled.

  43. rick says:

    Once the FBI and Trey Gowdy conclude their investigations, Hillary will be in a world of trouble

  44. anjin-san says:


    Trey Gowdy

    Pretty sure Hillary is still scraping what’s left of Trey Gowdy off the bottom of her shoe…

  45. Todd says:


    The FOIA wouldn’t apply to her personal emails.

    Here’s the thing, if the private server had been set up exclusively for personal emails, and she’d used a account for work related correspondence, I’d be right there beside all of you in crying BS about any Republican inspired investigation into what is in those personal emails.

    The problem is, as soon as you mix work emails with personal emails, everything on that server could reasonably considered an official record that needed to be preserved. By mixing personal and work related emails on the same account, she very likely forfeited the right to decide for herself what was “personal” and what was “work related”.

    My biggest problem with all of this is what it says about her judgement. Setting up this server was boneheaded. There is no way that it shouldn’t have been 100% foreseeable that this would cause problems during a Presidential run. (lol, and the idea that she wasn’t sure at the time that she would run for President is ridiculous)

    I know some of you will respond that she was merely making a “rational” decision to limit Republican oppo research. The fallacy with that thinking though is that by her team deleting all of those emails, her opponents are now able to invite the American people to “imagine” what it is that she doesn’t want us to see … and what most people will imagine is almost certainly much worse than anything Republicans or the press may have actually found on the server through FOIA requests.

    Hillary Clinton’s problems with “trust” tend to be almost wholly self-inflicted.

  46. Dazedandconfused says:


    Agree and pretty much said the same thing in the post you quoted my comment from.

  47. HarvardLaw92 says:

    I get the concern – even if I consider much of it to be situationally biased – but I have to ask here: what do you actually think is going to happen as a result?

    Do you actually think the FBI is going to arrest her? That a Democratic AG is going to get onboard with an indictment in an election year? If so, I have some choice beachfront real estate in Arizona I’m looking to sell and you should call me ASAP.

    Outside of that fantasy world, what difference do you actually think this will make in terms of the general election, given that the issue has been worked to death, for years now, by the GOP? It resonates with people who were never going to vote for Clinton under any circumstances to begin with, while producing mostly “meh?” from the rest of the electorate. Do you actually believe that wide swaths of the American electorate are going to have a conversation with themselves that goes something like “well, I was going to vote for Clinton, but emails, so I guess I’ll have to vote for that idiot Trump instead”?

    If so, look up. That beachfront lot is going fast, so don’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity.


  48. Jenos Idanian says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Do you actually think the FBI is going to arrest her? That a Democratic AG is going to get onboard with an indictment in an election year? If so, I have some choice beachfront real estate in Arizona I’m looking to sell and you should call me ASAP.

    Thank you for your admission that the Democrats are going to protect their own, regardless of the actual laws involved. We all know the fix is in, but it’s nice to have someone on the fixing side admit it.

    As far as the notion that being a presidential candidate ought to render one immune to indictment, Rick Perry would like to have a few words with you. And unlike this case, his was purely an example of weaponizing the legal system for political purposes.

  49. Todd says:


    what do you actually think is going to happen as a result?

    I agree that any sort of indictment is very unlikely. I disagree that this issue doesn’t still hurt Hillary Clinton though. Even if we accept your contention that this specific issue is unlikely to cause many “regular” voters to change their votes, it is almost guaranteed to distract the Clinton campaign from being able to focus on issues they’d rather talk about. When this question inevitably comes up in every single debate, there is absolutely zero chance that Donald Trump will say that he’s tired of hearing about her damn emails. In fact there’s a very good chance we’re going to hear way more about the damn emails, from Trump and the press, between now an November than anybody expects.

    The bigger problem for Clinton is that this story staying in the news reinforces her biggest negatives in minds of many Americans: that she’s secretive, untrustworthy, and views herself as above the rules. Polls show these views are not restricted purely to Republicans.

    If history has told us anything, how a candidate (especially a Democrat) is defined (even if that characterization is “unfair”) by the media specifically, and the conventional wisdom generally can have a definite impact on the results of the election … just ask Al Gore and John Kerry.

    As long as the emails remains front and center, I don’t see how she changes that narrative. Which means her best hope of winning is that Donald Trump remains more unpopular than she is. There is a high probability of that happening. However, given the combination of the American people’s famously short attention span, and Trump’s ability to “remake” his own image, it’s not something any of us should be terribly comfortable betting the future on.

    p.s. before anybody attacks me, I am no longer in the mode of advocating for an alternative to Clinton as the Democratic nominee. Even if that cake wasn’t baked already, the animosity that’s developed among Democrats especially over the past few months would probably be enough to damage Sander’s prospects in a general election now too. I am now basically a somewhat horrified observer, honestly hoping that none of my fears/predictions about Hillary Clinton prove to be true in November.

  50. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Yea, I’m remembering how concerned Gonzales was over Rove setting up a private email server IN THE WHITE HOUSE and deleting some 22 MILLION emails from it when the Plame & US Attorneys problems raised their heads. You don’t seem to be very concerned about it either, but you’re losing your religion over Clinton and 50,000?

    Like I said, situationally biased …

  51. HarvardLaw92 says:


    My response to that? The alternative choice presented in that scenario is Donald fricking Trump. This whole “Clinton isn’t trustworthy” thing is hardly some fresh piece of news. It’s been worked to death for years and people have formulated their opinions about it long before this election cycle. Continuing to harp on it is unlikely, IMO, to change many people’s minds – on either side of the debate. For better or worse, the opinions are largely already formed and entrenched at this point of the game. I consider it unlikely that many people inclined to vote for Clinton will flip to an alternative as unpalatable as Trump over what they consider to be old news.

  52. Todd says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Voters flipping isn’t really the problem. Turnout is the issue. I think Democrats have become a little too smug about their “blue wall” electoral college advantage. Barack Obama turned out the voters needed to make it nearly impossible for any Republican to win. But if after months and months of the two candidates beating up on each other, enough people say screw it and stay home for this to look anything close to a mid-term turnout, then Democrats up and down the ballot could be hurt.

    Allowing for the very real possibility that I’m totally wrong, history does not make the prospect that left leaning voters will be more motivated to turnout and stop Trump than right leaning voters will be to do all they can to keep Clinton out of the White House all that likely.

    In the age of social media, the idea of there being enough “undecideds” or “swing voters” to decide an election is probably misguided. It’s all about turning out those who are already predisposed to vote for either side. Republicans seem to understand this, in tailoring their message primarily to “the base”. On the other side, you still hear prominent Democrats talking about the possibility of attracting “moderate Republicans” … a group of voters that if not already extinct, should at least be on the endangered species list.

  53. Ben Wolf says:

    @Todd: This hasn’t gotten much coverage yet but a retired State Department employee claiming Clinton’s lack of email security may have blown more than one counter-terror op isn’t likely to make things easier for her campaign.

  54. HarvardLaw92 says:


    The concern there is where the depression occurs. Clinton may depress turnout in certain segments of the Dem electorate, sure, but I’m betting that Trump will have the same effect on segments of the GOP electorate.

    Clinton will likely depress turnout among the far left and the youth vote, neither of which IMO are critical to begin with, since the first one is comparitively small and the second one doesn’t generally show up to begin with.

    Trump will likely depress turnout among moderate republicans and independents (far larger demos) who, when faced with the choice between a Dem they don’t really like and a Pub who frightens the bejesus out of them, just won’t vote at all.

    If the republican candidate were anyone else, I’d concede cause for worry, but they were dumb enough to nominate one of the few possibilities whose unfavorables are far worse than Clinton’s. They have the same problem that we do – only theirs is worse.

  55. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    Johnson says the email scandal dogging Clinton “could’ve been avoided if the CIA gave her a secure phone. She requested one,” he adds, “but they turned it down.”


  56. Todd says:


    They have the same problem that we do – only theirs is worse.

    That is the part of the equation that I’m not comfortable with … ironically for the reason that some in this forum have floated to defend Clinton; that she’s a known quantity. What that means is the over all impression that the American people have of her is very unlikely to change. On the other hand, as unfathomable as it is to many people, I don’t think it would be all that shocking if Donald Trump’s favorability actually improves between now and November.

    I actually think Clinton would have had an easier time against a more “traditional” Republican opponent … because then the campaign really would likely have been about issue rather than “character”.

  57. Todd says:


    Trump will likely depress turnout among moderate republicans and independents

    I think this is certainly the fear that the Republican establishment had during the primaries, but I’m not so sure that there’s really any objective support for the theory. Especially when it comes to right leaning Independents, that’s almost Trump’s base. Conservatives are actually where he (like the last two R nominees) might have enthusiasm issues, but the prospect of Hillary Clinton as President should be enough to motivate them to get to the polls. Even with moderate Republicans, a lot of Trump’s actual policy positions (to the extent that they can be predicted) are mostly pretty middle of the road. Many who call themselves moderates are probably rightly mortified with some of the more outrageous things Trump has said in regards to race and immigration. But in the privacy of the voting booth, I’d be willing to bet on a pronounced “reverse Bradley” effect … with many people who have said “never Trump” publicly (or to pollsters), casting an anti-Clinton Republican vote anyway.

    In short, I think Trump will have a much easier time uniting and motivating his party than Clinton will with hers.

  58. Todd says:

    The Libertarian convention this weekend could be interesting to watch. If they nominate Austin Peters instead of Gary Johnson, he might be attractive to enough conservative to possibly take some votes away from Trump.

  59. HarvardLaw92 says:


    We’ll just have to agree to disagree.

  60. Jen says:

    Regarding voter turnout, it’s important to watch how the national parties are doing on getting their respective GOTV efforts up and running. After reading Politco’s piece on that this morning, it certainly looks like the RNC is behind in getting their ground game in place. Do they have time to make up for it? Yes, but not much. The clock is ticking, and they’ve been distracted by having a weird primary process capped off with what can only be described as the nomination of a “challenging” presidential candidate. They are having problems fundraising from major donors, and the Trump campaign itself is dealing with all kinds of noxious internal power struggles.

  61. Todd says:

    @HarvardLaw92: No worries. Over the next couple of months we’ll get to see how it all plays out. And again, in case I haven’t said it enough, this is one instance where I will be very happy to end up wrong.

  62. HarvardLaw92 says:


    That was my broader point. I could be wrong as well, but I HOPE I’m right.The implications for the country if that man is elected are too horrific to contemplate.

    We could go back and forth for ages and still essentially be arguing about competing crystal balls. In truth, for better or for worse the die has now been cast and we’re just going to have to wait for the outcome.

  63. Scott F. says:


    Hey, Mike. Honest question. What is it that you would have a earnest Democrat do?

    I’m going to cast my vote for Sanders when the primaries come to California in June, though that votes going to be reluctant now that it’s clear that Bernie doesn’t have a plan for his agenda beyond a grassroots revolution that so far has failed to overtake even the Democratic Party. And when Sanders fails to get the delegates he needs, I’m going to fight to get Clinton elected. Because… Trump. You seem to want me to feel sorry for that.

    But, I won’t regret a bit of it. I worked to get Obama elected, contributed to this campaign, because I really admired his character and judgement – in addition to his policy stands. I was excited that for the first time since my political coming of age, I had someone I was proud to vote for affirmatively. I still am mad for Obama. He is a man of impeccable character, with a lovely family he clearly adores, and his pragmatic and deliberative approach to politics is just what I’ve always wanted in a President.

    And all that has meant jacksh*t! I naively thought if the Dems elected a man of Obama’s character, we’d get past all the sordid personal recriminations that undermined the Clinton administration. But guess what? As Michael notes right off the top, there doesn’t need to be any truth to the sordidness for an opposition as nihilistic and vile as the Republicans to use it to prevent the advancement of the agenda I’d like to see.

    So, I’m going to vote for Clinton and I’m going to argue on behalf of Clinton and I’m going to forgive all her many flaws. Because I don’t want Trump and his colleagues in charge of anything, but especially who sits on the Supreme Court and when nuclear weapons get used. And unless you have a plan that will actually change the reality we face, please kindly shelf your sanctimony.

  64. the Q says:

    So I guess all you Hillary suck ups would have been fine if Tricky Dick Nixon would have said to the committee….”hey, here’s the tapes you wanted. I decided which are relevant to Watergate and which are highly classified and which are “private”…the rest I burned. Here’s the 3 hours of me praying with Kissinger that you requested.”

    You guys sound like wingnuts circa 1973 defending Nixon’s right to do with the tapes as he pleased since he had executive privilege.

    Hillary the Paranoid was much to smart for that. Hence, her private server and her taking 2 years to burn…I mean turn over the “gov’t correspondence” that she decided was relevant. The rest she burned.

  65. Tyrell says:

    @the Q: I remember the gas shortage hoax of the 1970’s. President Nixon started talking about an investigation of the big oil companies. The next thing you know all that Watergate stuff comes out and Nixon’s gone. Think about it.

  66. Dazedandconfused says:

    I agree with both of you. Turnout will be key in this. It’s hard to imagine anything short of the “live child or a dead woman” scenario is likely to turn many people from one to the other, the candidates are too far apart. But E-mails? Niggah please…,

    To wit: Trump is trying to make this a slime-fest. Expect the media to abet, unwittingly or otherwise, as slime is exceedingly good for ratings. He needs folks to tune out. His biggest fear should be the sort of inspirational stuff that got thousands to endure the voting lines in some key states which got Obama in twice. Hillary may have no choice but to join in simply to get some air time. She could dominate a cycle by dubbing Donald with a nickname. I like “Teflon Don” myself, but it might be better if she flat calls him an effin’ liar.

  67. An Interested Party says:

    …please kindly shelf your sanctimony.

    Humph, you might as well ask the sun not to rise tomorrow…