So far, Clinton email controversy much ado about little

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I do not believe for a moment that the outcome of the 2016 presidential election will be influenced by what kind of email system Hillary Clinton chose to use as secretary of state. It’s not exactly fodder for a campaign commercials, and we do have much more important issues to debate.

Unless ….

Unless in reconstructing and resurrecting those emails, it is discovered that Clinton attempted to use her private system to hide incriminating evidence of some as-yet-unknown sort. If that proves to be the case, she has a problem, and the severity of that problem would depend on the information withheld. But there is absolutely no evidence of that at the moment.

At the moment, what we have is evidence that Clinton may have skirted the letter of federal law and regulation in establishing her own privately owned email-operation rather than using the government system provided to her. That’s not nothing, and she has expressed regret for that decision that may or may not be sincere. But in context, it’s also not a lot. The political class in general — Democrat and Republican, state, federal and local — has not treated such rules and regulations seriously, and outside of frustrated archivists, historians and press watchdogs, nobody has really insisted that they do so.

During the George W. Bush administration, for example, Karl Rove and other political operatives on the public payroll at the White House used a private server at the Republican National Committee to conduct business, in apparent violation of the letter of the law. In addition, millions of emails kept on government servers were discovered to have disappeared right when they became relevant into an investigation of Rove’s role in the mass dismissal of U.S. attorneys around the country. Little or nothing was ever done about it.

As governor of Florida, Jeb Bush handled his email issues in precisely the same manner as Clinton. Like Clinton, he used a private server rather than state-owned server; after leaving office, he and his staff went through those emails and gave government archivists only those emails that they deemed relevant to his duties as governor, keeping all others private, just as Clinton has done.

Gov. Mitt Romney and his staff also used private accounts in Massachusetts, in probable violation of state law, but they took it a step further. As they left the governor’s office, Romney’s team went so far as to take the hard drives of state computers with them so that no records of their deliberations remained.

As I’m sure you recall, that was a HUGE issue in the 2012 election and probably cost Romney the presidency.

Or not. As the Associated Press reported at the time, “Romney’s presidential campaign declined to explain why Romney and his aides used the private accounts or explain how long and how extensively they used them.” And that was that.

Of course, “everybody does it” doesn’t come close to answering every issue at stake in this controversy. For example, if Clinton compromised national security in any way through her use of a private server, that would raise important issues of judgment. But to date, there is no evidence that she has done so.

In a press conference Tuesday, she claimed never to have sent or received classified information via her email — all such communications were allegedly handled through staff using secure, government-issued devices. All we can say so far is that we have no evidence to the contrary.

It should prove fairly easy to judge the accuracy of Clinton’s claim, since work-related emails sent by Clinton from her private account to colleagues at the State Department, the White House, the Pentagon or any other government agency have been stored in those government accounts, and is already being accessed and compiled. As noted above, Clinton herself has sent 30,000 emails from her private server to government archivists to be sorted, analyzed and if possible disseminated to the public. According to the AP, those emails are already being studied to see if they contained classified material.

We also don’t yet know precisely what measures — encryption, etc. — were taken by the Clintons to keep their email accounts secure. Given their background and resources and the targets that the Clintons wear on their backs, I suspect those security measures were pretty robust, but we’ll see. If the evidence changes, the conclusions should change as well.

And then there’s the gamesmanship.

The House select committee on Benghazi, for example, is refusing to honor Clinton’s request that release more than 800 pages of Clinton emails that it has already acquired as relevant to its investigation. Committee chair Trey Gowdy has argued that the committee wants to review all of Clinton’s emails, private and public, rather than release the documents in batches.

That sounds plausible, at least until you ask the question in reverse: If those emails already in the committee’s possession incriminated Clinton in any way, do you believe for a microsecond that the committee would still be withholding them “until they got the full record”? Let’s just say the record of House Republicans on such matters would strongly suggest otherwise.

In fact, given her personal experience, Clinton would have to be out of her mind to allow Gowdy and other House Republicans to wallow through years of personal emails between her and her husband, daughter, close friends, etc. And surely no sentient human being can argue that if she did give the committee her entire email cache, both public and private, her antagonists on that committee would treat that personal correspondence with anything close to integrity and respect for privacy.

Again, this story may yet have some twists and turns. Various investigations can and should continue, and we’ll see what they turn up. There are still questions that Clinton needs to answer regarding security, etc. But based on what we know to date, Clinton is being held to standards applied to nobody else in the political class, standards that most of her enemies themselves know to be unfair in the context of how politics operates in real life.

But if the facts change, that conclusion may change.

 

Reader Comments 0

1702 comments
FIGMO2
FIGMO2

Hillary's explanation requires a "willful suspension of disbelief".

schnirt 

Peachs
Peachs

What did we do before email?  This is a little like the losing the tapes, though Watergate was a good reason to be wanting and burning tapes, this stuff is just wasted drama on a slow news day.

Peachs
Peachs

You set the stage and plant a seed of secret killings and high crimes early, so when your rumor machine starts its grassroots campaign of illegitimate citizenship or religious beliefs, the lies has some stickum this time and not some cheap budget movie made in somebody’s garage. What the Republicans never fall to do is underestimate the intelligence of the American people, whether it is with vice presidential candidates or idiot lies, feed it to Micky he’ll eat it. You wonder why Georgians are the most overweight people in America, eating this stuff fed by the right will do it to ya!

TomMiddleton
TomMiddleton

"Whoever committed this heinous act is no supporter of Michael Brown. --Benjamen Crump, spokesman for Brown family on the shooting of two police officers in Ferguson last night

InTheMiddle2
InTheMiddle2

@TomMiddleton  Unfortunately that will not keep activists from fanning the flames. The issue is disintegrating into mob vengeance and will soon lose all legitimacy.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@TomMiddleton

Whoever committed this heinous act is no supporter of Michael Brown

Indeed not, and let's not minimize the grotesque disregard for everyone's lives by firing from across a street into a crowd like that. Put another way--it could have easily been a protester shot (and killed) as well.

Hope they find, prosecute and imprison the perps ASAP.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@InTheMiddle2 @TomMiddleton

Well, you never know. Sometimes it takes something tragic (and thankfully, both officers appear to be headed toward full recovery) to bring people together.

Like I said, any number of the protesters there -- and I read an estimated 50 or so -- know that it could have been them caught in that crossfire. 

That level of violence is intolerable, I'd hope all sides would agree.

Fly-On-The-Wall
Fly-On-The-Wall

@TomMiddleton Agreed.  Unfortunately there's going to be some blowback because of the pent up feelings in the community.  Hopefully some community leaders can step in to keep things calm.

TomMiddleton
TomMiddleton

@Visual_Cortex @InTheMiddle2 @TomMiddleton 

Any level of violence is intolerable, meaning do it right or just stay home. The fastest way for a legitimate movement to lose its support and die is what happened last night. 

May God be with the two wounded officers and those protesters who know violence cannot work.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

Posted this pet-peeve question of mine about ArchivalRegulationsComplianceGate at Kyle's, since who knows, maybe he'll actually answer (haven't heard a peep from Jay).


--


Doesn't anyone think it strange, given that this scandal is about the use of a personal email server, that nobody receiving an email from a "clintonemail.com" domain thought to say anything about it all those years she was Secretary of State?

Wouldn't many legislators and their staffers have had email contact during that time with the Secretary? Including many GOPers who would've had an interest in any opening they might find on this political opponent?

Wouldn't a "clintonemail.com" domain have raised an eyebrow if it were--as is being alleged--noncompliant with regulations?

Pardon me if I go on thinking that this doesn't really amount to anything at all, and that the proof is in the disinterest all those years.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

Any news on ArchivalRegulationComplianceGate?

InTheMiddle2
InTheMiddle2

@Visual_Cortex  Well are two ways to look at it. If you believe her story than it proves she is too stupid to be president. If not than she is a liar and should not be president. Either way she proved she is not presidential material.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@InTheMiddle2 @Visual_Cortex

she proved she is not presidential material

...to whom--those who never would have voted for her in the first place?

I see precious little evidence to suggest that reachable voters care now, or are going to care in the future, about this business. There are simply too many examples of very similar behavior by not only her SoS predecessors, but by some who will be challenging her in the GOP in 2016.

(this, of course, assumes that her campaign could capitalize on those counterattack opportunities. if they were so incompetent that they couldn't, then she wouldn't deserve to win.)

InTheMiddle2
InTheMiddle2

@Visual_Cortex @InTheMiddle2  I never suggested she would not get elected, that is still to be decided. I merely suggested that she lacks the integrity we need in a president.

josef
josef

TD

Answering your question from below.


I am trying to stay out of this one as much as possible.It has reached hysterical proportions.As for the First Amendment, that one’s dicey.Is Gotalife within his Constitutional rights to come on here calling to deport Jews?Well, yes.Would the Imam be within his rights to send him packing?Well, yes.In both cases the individual(s) have signed contracts agreeing to limit that “free speech.”


I imagine if I threw a fit with the IMAM and got a big enough cheering section…but wouldn’t that, after all, be making a mountain out of a mole hill?

gotalife
gotalife

Shut down Ferguson pd, racists in Oklahoma and 47 traitors.


On a roll.

SFM_Scootter
SFM_Scootter

@gotalife Dang dude,quit hollerin in that bullhorn I'm trying to get some sleep here!  LOL

Fly-On-The-Wall
Fly-On-The-Wall

@gotalife I really have to wonder if Republicans really understand how our system of government works.

td1234
td1234

Jamvet writes:

Touché.

A Dallas teenager named Parker Rice came forward to admit he was one of the SAE fraternity members in a racist video. He apologized and said the song was "taught" to them. That revelation may indicate systemic racism in the fraternity.

*********************

And the University has every right to kick the frat off its campus. The University (a Government entity) has no right to expel an individual student due what they say, unless the speech was threatening violence towards an individual. 

Kamchak
Kamchak

@td1234

The University (a Government entity) has no right to expel an individual student due what they say...

In the case of Parker Rice, expulsion won't be necessary because he cut and ran.

Just sayin'.

td1234
td1234

@Kamchak @td1234 You maybe right and you maybe wrong since the President announced publicly that he expelled the student.

td1234
td1234

@Kamchak @td1234 "

The letter President Boren sent to the students reads in part:

“This is to notify you that, as President of the University of Oklahoma acting in my official capacity, I have determined that you should be expelled from this university effective immediately.  You will be expelled because of your leadership role in leading a racist and exclusionary chant which has created a hostile educational environment for others.”

 http://kfor.com/2015/03/10/ou-president-expels-two-students-involved-in-fraternity-racial-chant-controversy/

Just sayin

JamVet
JamVet

Does the First Amendment apply to schools?
Yes. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District that students do not “shed” their free-speech rights “at the schoolhouse gate.” This means that public school students retain some level of free-expression rights, even during the school day.

http://1forall.us/teach-the-first-amendment/the-first-amendment/

DebbieDoRight
DebbieDoRight

@td1234 @JamVet -- We all know how much you just love you some bigots and racists!!  Those boys from OU have now taken the place of Cliven Bundy on your FB page.  You new besties!!

td1234
td1234

@JamVet @td1234 Progressive acedemia has been running wild for about 20 years with their politically correct student codes. No case has reached the SCOTUS yet so this could be a good test case since the ACLU, appears from their literature, has been looking for a test case to bring. 

td1234
td1234

@DebbieDoRight Yes, attack the message when you do not like it and just flat out LIE. You know exactly what I have said about the vile bigots. 

Just admit it. You only believe in the first amendment when the person says something you like or agree with, otherwise, throw it in the trash can. 

JamVet
JamVet

@td1234 @JamVet 

You're welcome, counselor.

Some level.

Take it up with, Mr. Boren and the rest of those nasty state government level folks.

Or more correctly, their lawyers...


NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Almost a generation ago, the University of Oklahoma set out to raise its profile, seeking to build a regional school that served mostly students from the Southwest into a leading institution that attracted top scholars.

President David Boren made striking progress, achieving a reputation that now extends well beyond the Sooners football team that once defined the campus. But those improvements seem in peril after members of a fraternity were caught on video chanting a racial slur. The chant referenced lynching and indicated black students would never be admitted to OU's chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon.

Boren, a former Oklahoma governor and U.S. senator, acted swiftly. He immediately severed ties with the fraternity and ordered members to

vacate their house. On Tuesday, he expelled the two students who appeared to be leading the chant for creating a hostile educational environment and promised others involved would face discipline.

"I have emphasized that there is zero tolerance for this kind of threatening racist behavior at the University of Oklahoma," Boren said in a statement.

Since taking the helm of the state's flagship university more than 20 years ago, Boren has made ambitious efforts to recruit top students and faculty.

The school offers generous scholarships to all National Merit scholars and enrolls more of them than any other public university in the nation. It has produced 29 Rhodes scholars.


DebbieDoRight
DebbieDoRight

Has td EVER met a racist/bigot that he didn't like? Enquiring Minds wanna know..........

td1234
td1234

@DebbieDoRight How many more amendments of the Constitution does Debbie want to throw out?

td1234
td1234

@josef @DebbieDoRight Shame on you for not chiming in and setting the record straight with posters like Debbie, Jamvet and Kam when it comes to the first amendment.

Normd
Normd

@td1234 @josef 


Ha, ha...get got...seems like I spent my whole youth wanting to get got...lol

DebbieDoRight
DebbieDoRight

@gotalife -  Didn't read the link, but the HEADLINE was funny enough!!  I've always liked James Carville!!

gotalife
gotalife

@DebbieDoRight @gotalifeOne of the good guys and very loyal to the Clinton's. Imagine him as press secretary talking to media everyday. That would be fun.

St Simons he-ne-ha
St Simons he-ne-ha

They want her personal emails (creeepers) 

so they can connect her to that Nigerian prince

td1234
td1234

"

University of Oklahoma president David Boren said, “If I’m allowed to, these students will face suspension or expulsion.” [UPDATE: The president has indeed expelled two of the students.] But he is not, I think, allowed to do that.

1. First, racist speech is constitutionally protected, just as is expression of other contemptible ideas; and universities may not discipline students based on their speech. That has been the unanimous view of courts that have considered campus speech codes and other campus speech restrictions — see here for some citations. The same, of course, is true for fraternity speech, racist or otherwise; see Iota Xi Chapter of Sigma Chi Fraternity v. George Mason University (4th Cir. 1993). (I set aside the separate question of student speech that is evaluated as part of coursework or class participation, which necessarily must be evaluated based on its content; this speech clearly doesn’t qualify.)

UPDATE: The university president wrote that the students are being expelled for “your leadership role in leading a racist and exclusionary chant which has created a hostile educational environment for others.” But there is no First Amendment exception for racist speech, or exclusionary speech, or — as the cases I mentioned above — for speech by university students that “has created a hostile educational environment for others.”

2. Likewise, speech doesn’t lose its constitutional protection just because it refers to violence — “You can hang him from a tree,” “the capitalists will be the first ones up against the wall when the revolution comes,” “by any means necessary” with pictures of guns, “apostates from Islam should be killed.”

3. To be sure, in specific situations, such speech might fall within a First Amendment exception. One example is if it is likely to be perceived as a “true threat” of violence (e.g., saying “apostates from Islam will be killed” or “we’ll hang you from a tree” to a particular person who will likely perceive it as expressing the speaker’s intention to kill him); but that’s not the situation here, where the speech wouldn’t have been taken by any listener as a threat against him or her. Another is if it intended to solicit a criminal act, or to create a conspiracy to commit a criminal act, but, vile as the “hang him from a tree” is, neither of these exceptions are applicable here, either.

4. [UPDATE: Given the president's letter, it's clear that the students are being expelled solely for their speech, and not for the reason discussed in the following paragraphs.] Some people have suggested that the speech may be evidence of discriminatory decisionmaking by the fraternity in admitting members. A university may demand that groups to which it provides various benefits not discriminate in admissions. See Christian Legal Society v. Martinez (2010). Indeed, nondiscrimination rules are applicable to groups generally, even apart from any benefits they get; much depends on whether the groups are seen as small and selective enough to be covered by a right to “intimate association,” and on whether apply antidiscrimination law to the groups would interfere with the groups’ expression of their ideas, and thus burden their right to “expressive associations.” See Roberts v. U.S. Jaycees (1983); Boy Scouts of America v. Dale (2000). The university might thus be able to discipline students who (a) are involved in a fraternity’s admissions decisions, and (b) can be shown to have denied membership to people based on race, or intentionally tried to communicate to potential members that they would deny them membership that way. I don’t think that a discussion saying that discrimination ought to take place, or even that at some unspecified time it will take place, would suffice to constitute a violation of the antidiscrimination rules, though it might be used as evidence in a future case where discrimination against a particular applicant might be alleged.

But even if the group is found to have discriminated against black applicants, and some particular members were found to have participated in that decision, the penalty for that has to be based on the penalties that are actually meted out to people who violate this rule. If discrimination by a group generally leads to a fine against the group, or a reprimand of the participants, or even derecognition of the group, the university can’t then expel students who engage in the same action but who also engage in constitutionally protected speech — that sort of disparate treatment shows that the school is really punishing people for their speech, not for their conduct.

This is a familiar principle from antidiscrimination law: if a black student"

DebbieDoRight
DebbieDoRight

@td1234 --  Yes, yes we got it, we got it.  Those OU students are your new heroes and they're rights were being violated by breaking the school's policies.

Now if that had been a TAUPE student from Yugoslavia who said, "Kill The AMericans! Hang 'em high! Kill all americans! Die American Die!!" and they violated the school's policies, you would've been like, "Rules are rules and they gotta go!!"

Obeying the law (policies),  is only for "non taupe" students............  Free Speech Has consequences....  (eyes:rolling)

td1234
td1234

@DebbieDoRight @td1234 Where did I claim they were my heroes?  I think they are a bunch of little vile bigots. The point worth noting and fighting to protect in this country is that they have the right to be vile little bigots without GOVERNMENT interference.

DebbieDoRight
DebbieDoRight

@td1234 @DebbieDoRight -- The school isn't the government. The City Of  Norman Oklahoma, where the school is located, is the government.


Besides, I'm just really amazed that you're sticking up for these bigots "freedom of SPeech" however you were all aghast at Trayvon Martin's Freedom to walk home without being accosted. Or Tamir Rice's Freedom to play in the park without being shot by cops!

It's amazing the people you deem worthy of protection...

td1234
td1234

@DebbieDoRight @td1234 Yet another progressive that does not understand that a Public University is the Government. 


No wonder this nation is in such crappy condition.