No Bias In Clinton Email Probe, Obama ‘Guarantees’ To ‘Fox News’
President Barack Obama “guaranteed” on Sunday that the FBI and the Justice Department authorities won’t show political bias in the probe of Hillary Clinton’s emails. He also defended his efforts to defeat the Islamic State terrorist organization and other militant groups.
“I guarantee that there is no political influence in any investigation conducted by the Justice Department, or the FBI, not just in this case, but in any case. Full stop. Period. Guaranteed. Full stop,” he said in an exclusive interview on Fox News Sunday.
Pressed hard on the question by Fox anchor Chris Wallace, Obama used the word “guarantee” six times during the interview, which was the President’s first with the cable network since 2008.
“Nobody is above the law. How many times do I have to say it?” Obama added.
The Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State’s use of a private email server during her time in the State Department has come under scrutiny, and is now the subject of an ongoing legal investigation. While Obama defended Clinton and repeated her claim that she “has not jeopardized” or breached national security and praised her as an “outstanding” secretary of state, he also stated that Hillary Clinton exhibited “carelessness” in her handling of the emails and the use of a private server outside of the government’s view.
— The Province (@theprovince) April 10, 2016
“What I’ve also said is that — and she has acknowledged — that there’s a carelessness, in terms of managing emails, that she has owned, and she recognizes,” Obama said, quoted in USA Today.
Critics of Clinton’s conduct have noted that placing her emails on an outside server might have exposed sensitive information to hackers, particularly after it was revealed that roughly 2,000 of the emails contained classified information. Clinton herself has stated that she is fully cooperating with investigators and that there is no chance of her being indicted.
Obama also took the opportunity to defend his administration’s actions towards fighting terrorist groups like the Islamic State, saying his “number one job” was to protect the American people and that his “number one priority” was defeating ISIS.
“There isn’t a president who’s taken more terrorists off the field than me, over the last seven-and-a-half years,” Obama was quoted as saying by USA Today.
“In the wake of terrorist attacks, it has been my view consistently that the job of the terrorists, in their minds, is to induce panic, induce fear, get societies to change who they are,” he said to Fox News. “And what I’ve tried to communicate is, ‘You can’t change us. You can kill some of us, but we will hunt you down, and we will get you.”
— Fox News (@FoxNews) April 10, 2016
Obama also dug in his heels regarding the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court, saying that he wouldn’t retract the nomination before the end of his term, and lamenting the polarization in American politics “in which Democrats and Republicans each have their own blogs, news sources and favorite television networks,” The Wall Street Journal reported.
During the interview, which was pre-recorded in Chicago, Obama criticized proposals by Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, saying they would undermine national security, and saying the U.S. should stick to its laws and values in the fight against ISIS. In particular, he criticized Cruz’s proposal to “carpet bomb” Islamic State positions, and Trump’s plan to ban Muslim immigration to the United States, calling them “counterproductive.”
Newsmax reported that FBI Director James Comey also said he will keep a close watch over the investigation, as well, to make sure it is not affected by politics.
“I’ve stayed close to that investigation to ensure that it’s done that way,” Comey said. “That we have the resources, the technology, the people and that there’s no outside influence.”
Obama said he could not comment on the progress of the FBI and Justice Department probes, as the investigation was still ongoing, though the President did express his confidence that both institutions are operating by proper procedure.
[Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images]