By Karl Rove
The Wall Street Journal
September 1, 2016
The emergence of nearly 15,000 more deleted emails and evidence of shady dealings by her family’s foundation have put Hillary Clinton back on the defensive. That’s a bad place to be as the presidential campaign kicks into high gear on Labor Day.
Team Clinton is offering excuses and misdirection, hoping the press tires of the controversies and that Donald Trump creates more of his own. But the unconvincing explanations being offered create more problems than they solve, raise more questions than they answer, and bring Mrs. Clinton’s credibility to a nearly total collapse.
First are the denials that anything is amiss. On Aug. 21, CNN’s Dana Bash asked Mrs. Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, if giving special treatment to Clinton Foundation donors was “the kind of back-scratching that has Americans just turned off.” Mr. Mook demurred: “There was no quid pro quo or anything like that.” But there was.
Questioned the same day by CBS’s John Dickerson about the private email account, Mr. Mook claimed that “Secretary Clinton wasn’t the first person to do this.” But she was. No other secretary of state had a private server, refused to use the department’s secure system, and then destroyed thousands of emails.
Mr. Mook also suggested on CBS that the rules governing such things were “very murky.” But they weren’t. The rules were clear: No State Department official should use personal email for official business, let alone set up a private server.
Mr. Mook’s comment goes to Mrs. Clinton’s intent. If she had felt that the rules were murky, she should have asked the State Department’s Office of the Legal Adviser to clarify, but apparently she didn’t. However, if her goal was to avoid disclosing her emails, then the last people she would have asked to weigh in would be the department’s impartial lawyers.
This is important now that the FBI plans to release the summary of its interrogation of Mrs. Clinton. Americans may soon find out whether she sought legal advice—and from whom—before carrying out her email scheme.
On CNN, Mr. Mook dismissed the continuing controversy as “another example of a right-wing group just trying to keep this, the questions coming and keep this issue alive.” But distinctly not-conservative outlets in the mainstream press have provided extensive coverage.
For instance, the AP reported last week that of the 154 nongovernmental persons who had meetings or phone calls scheduled with Secretary Clinton in the first half of her tenure, at least 85 were Clinton Foundation donors. Clintonistas complained that the AP’s report ignored her meetings with government officials. But that she met with plenty of diplomats and bureaucrats is irrelevant; that most of her meetings with people outside of government involved donors to her family foundation is prima facie evidence of special treatment.
Team Clinton also suggested that the ends justify the means. Mr. Mook told CBS that “the Clinton Foundation does incredible charitable work.” Longtime Clinton factotum James Carville argued on MSNBC that the foundation saves lives, denouncing attacks on it in religious terms: “Somebody is going to hell over this.”
It is a desperate argument to keep a slush fund running. Other charities—say, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation—could easily assume the Clinton Foundation’s humanitarian activities and do them better, without the stench of corruption.
Mr. Mook made his most ludicrous claim by telling CBS that on ethics rules Mrs. Clinton and the foundation “have actually gone above and beyond.” A tall tale indeed.
II More Pathetic Clinton excuses from:
Clinton Body Count @JayS2629 Tampa, FL
Clinton says could not recall all briefings due to concussion
FBI: Hillary Clinton Lost Cell Phones with Classified @BreitbartNews
Watch Clinton Cash @JaredWyand
WTF: Hillary Clinton wasn’t sure whether plans for future drone strikes should be classified…
“Oh no, I accidentally deleted and then used BleachBit to completely erase those emails the FBI wants”
“I don’t recall receiving classified emails”
“I don’t recall receiving training on what classified means”
More Clinton abominations:
WASHINGTON POST In violation of an ethics agreement Hillary had signed with the Obama Administration, the Clintons failed to disclose the names of 1,100 donors to the Clinton Foundation from foreign countries l 5) VOX
At least 181 major donors to the a Clinton Foundation had business before Hillary’s State Department and lobbied Hillary’s StateDepartment
Several of Hillary Clinton’s top donors were major felons, who are now serving long prison terms for fraud.
Do you really want her in the White House?
II The FBI’s Clinton File —Vanishing digital devices, memory lapses and withheld emails.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation waited until the Friday afternoon before Labor Day weekend to release its investigation summary and interview notes with Hillary Clinton about her private email server, and no wonder. The new information makes a hash of what’s left of the former Secretary of State’s credibility.
Mrs. Clinton is running for President as an experienced statesman, but her handling of classified material was even more reckless about state secrets and disdainful of public records laws than even we had thought. Start with her convenient memory lapses.
For example, Mrs. Clinton told the FBI that she “did not know” that the “(C)” marks on classified material meant classified and “speculated it was referencing paragraphs marked in alphabetical order.” Yet in her famous—and last—press conference about the emails in March 2015 she said, “I’m certainly well aware of the classification requirements and did not send classified material.” To the public she claims to be a sharp professional who knows the score; to the FBI she presents herself as a clueless grandee who left the details to her minions.
Mrs. Clinton even told FBI agents she “never had a concern” with how discussions of potential drone strikes were handled and classified and “could not recall a specific process for nominating a target for a drone strike.” In all, she told the FBI 27 times that she “could not recall” or “did not remember specifically” key details and events.
Mrs. Clinton also said in March 2015 that she used private email so she could use only one digital device, and her legal team turned two Blackberries over to the FBI. But the FBI identified 13 other mobile devices and five iPads that had potentially processed classified material. The Clintons were “unable to locate any of these devices” and only three of the iPads, says the FBI.
This also turned out to be convenient because it means the FBI couldn’t determine if those devices were hacked. The FBI summary explains that the loss of the 13 at-large devices and the “inability to recover all server equipment and the lack of complete server log data” during her tenure “limited the FBI’s forensic analysis of the server systems.”
Mrs. Clinton knew the risks of being hacked by foreign spies. Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Eric Boswell sent a 2011 memo directly to Mrs. Clinton that warned of a surge in hackers breaking into State personal email accounts. An all-points bulletin to State personnel sent under Mrs. Clinton’s name recommended against conducting State business over personal email “due to information security concerns.” She told the FBI she “did not recall” this episode, but she “understood the email system used by her husband’s personal staff had an excellent track record with respect to security and had never been breached.”
Yet the FBI reveals that the account of a Bill Clinton personal aide on the server was hacked in 2013 and the intruder “browsed e-mail folders and files.” The FBI also discovered she sent or received “hundreds of e-mails” marked classified or confidential outside of U.S. territory, where the danger of hacking is highest.
Mrs. Clinton also kept up a clandestine correspondence with her political Svengali and Clinton Foundation retainer Sidney Blumenthal, whose AOL account was hacked by the Romanian known as Guccifer in 2013. Though President Obama had barred Mr. Blumenthal from government, Mr. Blumenthal sent Mrs. Clinton at least 179 memos, some of which she then forwarded through the bureaucracy after having his name excised. Twenty-four of these dispatches were so sensitive that State later classified them.
In other words, Mrs. Clinton kept a man banned by her boss on the family foundation payroll, then used Mr. Blumenthal as an off-the-official-books counselor whose memos she spread around State after disguising their provenance. She conned Mr. Obama too.
The FBI documents also suggest Mrs. Clinton’s server was a deliberate effort to evade accountability. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell told Mrs. Clinton in 2009 that her communications were “official record[s] and subject to the law.” State Executive Secretary Stephen Mull also informed Cheryl Mills that a State-issued Blackberry “would be subject to FOIA requests.”
Mrs. Clinton went ahead anyway. She was almost surely trying to protect from public exposure the intimate ties between State and the Clinton Foundation—the commingling of her political operation with her official business. The FBI uncovered “approximately 17,448 unique work-related and personal emails” that were never produced, and whose revelations in recent weeks are proving so damaging to her public image.
What a record. The FBI documents should be seen as a preview of how Mrs. Clinton would govern as President, with the same get-away-with-anything entitlement that always follows the Clintons. She’s lucky she’s running for President because anyone else would have been indicted.
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