Kyle Wingfield

Political commentary and opinion from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's conservative blogger

A triple body blow to Hillary's excuses about her emails


If you were expecting the stories about Hillary Clinton's emails to taper off, think again. A trio of stinging reports about Clinton's private email account while serving as secretary of state were published Tuesday, once again -- no, twice again; no, thrice again -- undermining her explanations.

Each story -- one apiece from the Washington Post , Politico and Bloomberg -- is worth reading in its entirety. But as summaries of the trio go, it's hard to beat this one from National Journal columnist, and longtime Clinton watcher, Ron Fournier:

"Story 1: The State De­part­ment con­firmed that Clin­ton turned over her email only after Con­gress dis­covered that she had ex­clus­ively used a private email sys­tem. Ac­cord­ing to The Wash­ing­ton Post , the de­part­ment first con­tac­ted her in the sum­mer of 2014, at least three months be­fore the agency asked Clin­ton and three of her pre­de­cessors to provide their emails.

"The story un­der­cuts Clin­ton's claim that her de­cision to turn over self-se­lec­ted email was a re­sponse to a routine-sound­ing re­cords re­quest. She hasn't been telling the truth.

"Story 2: A fed­er­al court has helped un­cov­er more emails re­lated to the Benghazi raid that were with­held from con­gres­sion­al in­vest­ig­at­ors. Clin­ton has in­sisted she turned over all her work-re­lated email and com­plied with con­gres­sion­al sub­poen­as.

"Again, she hasn't been telling the truth.

"Story 3: The FBI has re­covered per­son­al and work-re­lated e-mails from her private serv­er, rais­ing the pos­sib­il­ity that the de­leted in­form­a­tion be­comes pub­lic. 'The FBI is in­vest­ig­at­ing how and why clas­si­fied in­form­a­tion ended up on Clin­ton's serv­er,'  Bloomberg re­por­ted .

"While the Demo­crat­ic front-run­ner still in­sists there was no clas­si­fied in­form­a­tion on the un­se­cured serv­er, the FBI has moved bey­ond wheth­er U.S. secrets were in­volved to how and why. In the lan­guage of law en­force­ment, the FBI is in­vest­ig­at­ing her motive." (links and emphasis original)

As Fournier goes on to note, the excuses undercut by these stories aren't old ones; they're excuses Clinton was trotting out just two days earlier: "On Sunday, Clin­ton told Face the Na­tion host John Dick­er­son: 'What I did was al­lowed. It was fully above board,' and 'I tried to be fully trans­par­ent.' Both claims are ob­ject­ively and in­dis­put­ably false ."

Revelations that objectively and indisputably counter Clinton's claims are one reason her campaign keeps taking on water. A new Bloomberg poll finds she's the first choice of just one-third of Democrats, while Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden (who isn't even running at the moment) each garner one-quarter. Numerous polls have found Clinton hitting new lows in favorability ratings and on questions about her trustworthiness.

Bloomberg Democrats poll Sept 2015

We can speculate about how this will end, what will be found in the recovered emails, etc. But if everything turns out to be as innocuous as Clinton has claimed from the beginning, even as she stonewalled and struggled to explain what she did and why, and her team allowed this story to threaten her presidential chances anyway, this will be one of the great examples of campaign/public relations malpractice in history.

A different outcome seems more likely.


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About the Author

Kyle Wingfield joined the AJC in 2009. He is a native of Dalton and a graduate of the University of Georgia.