Hillary Clinton simply cannot overcome her email troubles.
The Democratic nominee, who was the subject of an FBI investigation for allegedly sharing classified information on her private server during her time as the Secretary of State, was granted a clean chit by the bureau in early July even as FBI Director James Comey called Clinton and her aides “extremely careless” when dealing with sensitive information. Several legal and security experts, including some Democrats, expected the FBI to recommend an indictment for Hillary, but with that having failed to materialize, the general feeling that pervaded the American media was that Clinton had somehow worked her way with assistance from the Justice Department — and AG Loretta Lynch in particular — thus evading punishment for “crimes” which may otherwise have sent ordinary citizens to prison.
Clinton, on her part, had repeatedly maintained that the FBI probe was not a criminal investigation, but merely a “security review” — an assertion that was swiftly dismissed both by the Justice Department and Comey himself.
One would think in all her months of answering questions about the emails, Hillary Clinton would have devised an answer that would satisfy all parties involved. During the 17 months that the email investigation plagued her before the Democratic convention, Clinton wavered in her responses, sometimes accepting her “mistake,” while at other times bullishly doubling down on the lies that even she had somehow internalized.
Yet, the fact of the matter is that Clinton was never comfortable answering questions about her emails. It was perhaps because she did not herself know the real scope of the investigation, or because she believed that she might have unwittingly flouted federal protocols when sharing information with her aides, or may be even because Clinton knew that she had committed a crime(s), but whatever the reasons might have been, Hillary Clinton desperately attempted to evade all questions about the emails during the nominating process.
Her prolonged absence from hosting a press conference — up until Friday — is a testament to that assertion.
Esquire reports that Hillary Clinton met the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists on Friday in what could be described the closest she has come to holding an actual press conference in more than 200 days.
Now that she has been cleared by the FBI, and now that she has clinched the Democratic convention, Hillary Clinton is certainly not expected to buckle under pressure. But, instead of answering questions about her emails with any degree of finesse on Friday, Hillary Clinton unabashedly repeated claims that have already been debunked, as reported by CNN.
This is what she said when NBC’s Kristen Welker asked her about the emails.
“I appreciate your asking that because I was pointing out in both of those instances that Director Comey had said that my answers in my FBI interview were truthful. That’s really the bottom line here, and I have said during the interview and in many other occasions over the past months that what I told the FBI, which he said was truthful, is consistent with what I have said publicly. So I may have short-circuited, and that I will try to clarify, because I think [Fox News Sunday host] Chris Wallace and I were probably talking past each other, because of course he could only talk to what I had told the FBI, and I appreciated that.
Now I have acknowledged repeatedly that using two email accounts was a mistake, and I take responsibility for that, but I do think having him say that my answers to the FBI were truthful and then I should quickly add what I said was consistent with what I had said publicly, and sort of in my view, trying to tie both ends together.”
As the Washington Post reports, what Hillary Clinton basically appears to be saying to the assembled journalists is that because she spoke the truth about the emails to the FBI, and because the FBI told the Congress that they did not believe that Clinton had lied about the emails to the agency, that she must have spoken “truthfully” about the emails to the public. The most she is ready to concede is that she may have “short-circuited” her responses — accidental elision on her part — but not only is such a logic flawed, but there is ample evidence which proves otherwise.
Hillary Clinton, despite the case against her having been closed, still finds herself in a twist when addressing questions about her emails. That could perhaps be because her responses, as she clearly appears to suggest, may have been different to the FBI and the public.
Or it may be because Hillary doesn’t have a satisfactory answer about the emails at all.
[Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images]