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New Emails And F.B.I. Notes Show Clinton Still Hasn’t Put Email Issue Behind Her

Hillary Clinton Blackberry

The Federal Bureau of Investigation released investigators notes connected with its investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server, specifically including agent’s notes regarding its interview with Clinton in early July that was followed shortly thereafter by the announcement from FBI Director James Comey that the bureau would not be recommending criminal charges against Clinton or anyone else:

WASHINGTON — F.B.I. officials questioned Hillary Clinton extensively about her judgment in using her private email system to discuss classified drone strikes and in allowing aides to destroy large numbers of emails, before ultimately deciding she should not face criminal charges, according to investigative documents released Friday.

The documents provided a number of new details about Mrs. Clinton’s private server, including what appeared to be a frantic effort by a computer specialist to delete an archive of her emails even after a congressional committee had requested they be preserved.

In a 3½-hour interview with the Justice Department’s top counterintelligence officials on July 2, Mrs. Clinton defended her handling of the private email system by repeatedly saying she had deferred to the judgment of her aides, an F.B.I. summary of the interview showed.

Mrs. Clinton’s use of the private server has shadowed her presidential campaign for a year and a half. And the newly disclosed records, while largely reinforcing what had already been known about the F.B.I. investigation, provided Republicans more ammunition to attack the Democratic nominee’s judgment and honesty as she heads into the final, post-Labor Day phase of the campaign.

Among the other key findings in the F.B.I. documents:

■ Mrs. Clinton regarded emails containing classified discussions about planned drone strikes as “routine.”

■ She said she was either unaware of or misunderstood some classification procedures.

■ Colin L. Powell, a former secretary of state, had advised her to “be very careful” in how she used email.

The F.B.I. documents show that an unnamed computer specialist deleted the archive of Mrs. Clinton’s emails weeks after the existence of the private server became public in March 2015.

Days after The New York Times first reported that Mrs. Clinton had used a private email system exclusively as secretary of state, the House committee investigating the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, asked that her emails be preserved and subpoenaed those that were related to the attacks.

About three weeks later, however, the unnamed specialist “had an ‘oh shit’ moment” and realized that he had not destroyed an archive of emails that was supposed to have been deleted a year earlier, according to the F.B.I. report.

Dozens of times during her interview, Mrs. Clinton said she did not remember details about the server or guidance she had received on how to handle classified information.

In its summary of the investigation, the F.B.I. said that Mrs. Clinton had emailed Colin Powell, a former secretary of state, a day after she was sworn in to office about Mr. Powell’s use of a personal email account when he was the country’s top diplomat. Mr. Powell warned Mrs. Clinton that if she used her BlackBerry for official business, those emails could become “official record[s] and subject to the law.”

Mr. Powell, apparently implying that he was cautious in his use of a personal email account, added: “Be very careful. I got around it all by not saying much and not using systems that captured the data.” According to the summary of her interview, Mrs. Clinton said that she did not know exactly what Mr. Powell was saying in that email and that his message “did not factor into her decision to use a personal email account.”

F.B.I. officials appear to have questioned Mrs. Clinton most aggressively about her judgment in using her private, unsecured system to get emails about how or where the Obama administration was planning to launch drone strikes against terrorism suspects, the documents indicated.

The F.B.I. showed her one email after another containing information about possible drone strikes that was considered classified. But Mrs. Clinton appeared almost blasé in explaining her use of her private system to gather information on drone strikes.

After being shown one email that was redacted from the public release of her emails, Mrs. Clinton “stated deliberation over a future drone strike did not give her cause for concern regarding classification,” according to the F.B.I. summary of the interview.

“Clinton understood this type of conversation as part of the routine deliberation process,” the summary said. “Moreover, she recalled many conversations about future strikes that never occurred.”

Mrs. Clinton’s lawyer, David Kendall, declined to comment. In a statement, her campaign said it was pleased that the F.B.I. had made the documents public.

“While her use of a single email account was clearly a mistake and she has taken responsibility for it, these materials make clear why the Justice Department believed there was no basis to move forward with this case,” the campaign said.

But Representative Jason Chaffetz, Republican of Utah and the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said that the deletion of the emails violated an order his committee issued to Mrs. Clinton in 2012 and a subpoena issued by the Benghazi committee in 2015.

He said he planned to seek answers from Mrs. Clinton about the deletions. “These were not Hillary Clinton’s emails — they were government records, and this was potentially one of the largest security breaches at the State Department because they had all these years of security records that just went out the door,” Mr. Chaffetz said. “It’s a very black-and-white order. There’s no wiggle room.”

There don’t appear to be any new revelations in the report regarding the email server or the issue of Clinton’s handling of classified information, which Comey referred to as “extremely careless” in his report to the press and Attorney General Loretta Lynch, but the news is likely to add to Clinton’s on again, off again problems with this issue that have seemingly made it difficult for her to put Donald Trump’s campaign behind her in the race for the White House. One new piece of information that some media outlets such as Reuters have highlighted is the fact that Clinton told investigators that she could not recall all of the briefings she received during the final months of her time as Secretary Of State due to the concussion and other health issues she suffered from beginning in December 2012. This is one of the first time remarks by Clinton regarding the health scare she had back then has been made public, and it’s likely to be jumped on by political opponents and reporters as a basis for asking more questions regarding her health. Additionally,  Clinton told investigators that she was unaware what the notation “(c),” which appears on sever chains of emails that had been found on the server, stood for and that she thought it was a notation of the alphabetic order of items in the email itself. As it turns out “(c)” denotes that the information is “Confidential,” which is the lowest level of classification in the U.S. and described as information that would damage national security if it was disclosed in a manner other than that approved by the proper authority. Despite the low level, it is still considered classified information and still covered by disclosure laws. Given that Clinton would have presumably been briefed about classification both when she was a Senator and when she became Secretary of State, there are several observers who are questioning Clinton’s claim that she didn’t know what “(c)” stood for and raising further questions about her veracity and judgment.

In addition to the release of this FBI report, Clinton’s campaign is also dealing with the release of another set of emails that suggest a much closer relationship between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department than she has admitted to that raises further questions regarding the extent to which people with ties to the Foundation received favorable access to Clinton personally, as well as her top aides, during the time that she served as Secretary of State. Both cases raise questions that go beyond criminality and seem to reinforce the doubts that the public continue to have about Clinton, doubts that seem to be preventing her from closing the deal with the public in her race against Donald Trump. As it stands, Clinton’s favorable/unfavorable and trustworthiness numbers continue to be overwhelmingly negative, albeit not quite as bad as Trump’s numbers, they are nonetheless unusually high. Additionally, recent polling has shown Clinton shedding the massive lead that she had in the immediate aftermath of the party conventions at both the national and state level. At least part of that seems to be attributable to the fact that Clinton’s campaign is unable to completely put the email story behind it, both because Clinton herself continues to parse her words when speaking with the media about it and because there continue to be new revelations about the story every couple weeks that help to blunt whatever rise in the polls Clinton may be experiencing at the time. In the meantime, the Clinton campaign seems to be hoping that the story will just go away if they ignore it, which clearly isn’t the case. Reporters, for example, are beginning to mention daily that it has been more than 250 days since Clinton has held a press conference in which she took questions from a battery of reporters for an extended period of time. It’s unclear if things would change if they did that, but at this point it strikes me that handling the issue in this manner could not hurt and that it would be better than the constant drip of information that the campaign seems to be dealing with now. Otherwise, the shadow of what might be revealed next is likely to hang over Clinton’s campaign from now until Election Day.

Here’s the full FBI Report:

Hillary Clinton FBI Notes by Doug Mataconis on Scribd

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Tony W says:

    I know real people who think this whole thing is a very big deal. Maybe it’s my blue-state perspective where nobody is advertising, but from here it appears Clinton is a terrible politician.

    Politics 101 – control the message and don’t let your opponent define you

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  2. Tony,

    This much is true — Clinton is nowhere near as good a politician as Bill. She still seems likely to win the election, but that’s as much because of who she’s running against as anything else.

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  3. elizajane says:

    She can’t put it behind her because the press keeps the story on artificial life support to the delight of the Republicans in congress and at “Judicial Watch.”
    Meanwhile, Donald Trump is fined by the IRS for using money from his charitable trust to make a political contribution that resulted in charges being dropped against Trump University in Florida, and it gets virtually no news coverage at all. I actually cannot understand why this is virtually ignored by the press. It’s a juicy story of quite obvious corruption.

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  4. Thor thormussen says:

    At this point anybody who thinks there’s any ‘there’ there is a complete retard. She’s been exonerated too many times at this point for me to have any respect for anyone trying to justify their hatred of her with this nonsense.

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  5. dmichael says:

    Another classic example of “Clinton Rules.” If a Clinton did it, it “raises questions.” If one needs a more detailed evisceration of this nonsense, see: https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2016/09/02/heres-a-tale-of-two-scandals-guess-which-one-will-get-more-play/?utm_term=.93ee945f6ff4 and http://washingtonmonthly.com/2016/09/02/how-the-press-is-making-the-clinton-foundation-into-the-new-benghazi/. The media (along with Mr. Mataconis) say that she can’t put this issue behind her while at the same time publicizing this as questionable even when conceding she didn’t nothing wrong. Enough.

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  6. Thor thormussen says:

    Trump commits felony bribery and what’s the story here? hillary’s emails.

    That’s doug, in a nutshell.

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  7. Tillman says:

    At this point, barring any real surprises, the emails and the responses over the emails have established Hillary Clinton as skirting or breaking the law and lying about it. No one cares though because she’s running against a used car salesman with delusions of being Mussolini’s brain-damaged cousin.

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  8. @Doug Mataconis:

    Clinton is nowhere near as good a politician as Bill

    Heck, who is?

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  9. I honestly wonder how many violations of protocol and whatnot we would find for almost any high level US official if this much scrutiny was applied. I say this not to defend Clinton, per se, but rather to note that I would willing to wager that a lot of information is handled a lot less carefully than a strict interpretation of the rules dictate. Plus, I am not surprised in the least that a very high level official in their 60s would a) not fully understand (or care to learn) about all the technical aspects of the situation, b) privilege convenience over other factors, and c) have a somewhat cavalier attitude towards the rules applying to them. (Again, I am speaking of what is likely behavior, not ideal behavior).

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  10. Tony W says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: And…to your point….which of our top candidates is more likely to feel that rules do not apply to them?

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  11. grumpy realist says:

    The media want a horse race, and by gum, they’ll do anything to get one.

    Not to say that Hillary doesn’t seem to make it awfully easy for them. I’d be saying “a pox on BOTH your houses” were it not the fact that I really really doubt the US will survive a Trump presidency without acute damage.

    Ah well. If Trump looks like he’s about to get in am planning to liquidate a sizable chunk of my portfolio. If the Republican Party doesn’t seem to be clamping down on his extrajudicial tendencies or his corruption will move my company abroad complete with research projects.

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  12. @Tony W: Indeed.

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  13. Raoul says:

    DM- not a bad summary- here is better one: http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/09/14-excerpts-fbis-report-hillary-clintons-email-
    Note: to JJ- no evidence that the account was hacked.
    To those who say Trump is a particular bad candidate- what does it say that he beat the entire GOP field?

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  14. gVOR08 says:

    @dmichael: See also:
    http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/08/how-many-classified-emails-did-hillary-clinton-send-and-receive

    3 were marked classified. Two of these were classified in error. The third was classified correctly but was marked improperly (and was pretty trivial anyway).
    110 contained information that wasn’t marked classified, but which Hillary and her aides “should have known” was sensitive. That’s according to FBI Director James Comey. Based on previous reporting, virtually all of these probably related to the drone program in Pakistan, which was classified but had been extensively reported in the press.
    About 2,000 emails were retroactively classified as part of the FOIA process.
    Is this correct? Or is there some part of this that I continue not to understand?

    and:
    http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/09/14-excerpts-fbis-report-hillary-clintons-email
    As Kevin said, will someone tell us what the “there” is supposed to be. At this rate the supposedly liberal MSM is going to get Donald Trump elected President.

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  15. stonetools says:

    @Tony W:

    This has nothing to do with Hillary’s skills as a politician and everything to do with the right wing’s interest in keeping this scandal going. You, Doug, and the media seem to be laboring under delusion that there is some political “magic bullet” that Hillary could use to defuse the “scandal” , but nope. Clinton could hold daily press conferences, publish her email logs every day, and fvcking have a web cam in her HQ broadcasting 24/7, and Judicial Watch etc. would still be talking emails and Clinton Foundation. They would be aided by the press, who would be publishing reports on these “scandals” headlined “Clinton’s XYZ raises questions” where XYZ is anything the VRWC wanted to scandalmonger about that day.
    Consider that Barack Obama is a great politician, yet half of all Republicans believe he was born in Kenya and a majority believe he is a secret Muslim. Why hasn’t he been able to control that message and put the “birther controversy” to bed?

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  16. stonetools says:

    @Tillman:

    At this point, barring any real surprises, the emails and the responses over the emails have established Hillary Clinton as skirting or breaking the law and lying about it.

    I think the right wing has successfully established that narrative, yes.
    And you either break the law or you don’t. If I drive 53mph in a 55 zone, I am observing the law. Nobody would be saying that I am “skirting” the law. Certainly,nobody would be saying , “Out of the abundance of caution, and because the police might be looking, I should drive at no more than 40 mph.”

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  17. Thor thormussen says:

    I bet there’s some actual scandal that happened, but every time someone starts to get near it, Hillary has someone ‘leak’ a few harmless emails, and Doug and the NYT and everybody goes OMG EMAILEMAILEMAIL for a month and totally forgets about anything important.

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  18. Thor thormussen says:

    Consider that Barack Obama is a great politician, yet half of all Republicans believe he was born in Kenya and a majority believe he is a secret Muslim. Why hasn’t he been able to control that message and put the “birther controversy” to bed?

    It’s hard to win an argument against a smart person, it’s impossible to win against a complete retard.

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  19. Jenos Idanian says:

    True, Hillary could not have prevented this, or even minimized it. Because the one sure way foer her to do that would be for her to not lie from day one, and not lie at every step of the way. She’s like Bill in that regard — the option of “tell the truth” is not on the table.

    But her latest defense (to the FBI) is… novel, to say the least. She’s too brain-damaged to be held accountable.

    Why doesn’t she just hold a press conference and take any and all questions on it, and see if that might put it to rest?

    Oh, yeah… never mind.

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  20. MBunge says:

    I have a question. Since when is it not scandalous for a high government official to act in an “extremely careless” manner with sensitive information? I will freely admit that I haven’t paid a lot of attention to the email story because…

    1. I don’t really need any more information on Hillary Clinton’s character.
    2. I pretty much stop reading any defense of her on this subject whenever some version of the phrase “it wasn’t illegal” comes up because I can’t take the ol’ “if it’s not a felony, it’s okay” Clinton arguments any longer.

    So I am happy to acknowledge this may be one of the Clinton scandals that is complete nonsense.

    Democrats don’t have much to complain about, though, because they should have known this sort of thing now comes as part of the Clinton package. They can certainly argue that it is a fight worth having but it takes two to fight and it was the Democrats who decided that they had to have her and all that comes with her.

    Mike

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  21. stonetools says:

    @MBunge:

    I have a question. Since when is it not scandalous for a high government official to act in an “extremely careless” manner with sensitive information?

    Until Clinton declared she was running for the president, this conduct simply wasn’t considered scandalous. It became “scandalous” the day Judicial Watch , the Congressional Republicans, Fox News and the rest of the right Wing BS machine decided to make it scandalous, and it will remain scandalous until the RWBSM decides it is no longer in their interest for it to be “scandalous.”
    In 2007, the Bush Administration “lost” millions of emails. The response of the right wing and the media? “Get over it.”
    If you read the Inspector General’s report, dozens of State Department officials until 2013 used private email to conduct Government business-and hardly a soul took notice. To this day, members of Congress can use private email to conduct Government business.Do we hear about that? Nope-because the RWBSM doesn’t WANT you to hear about it. If you did, you might not think that Hillary Clinton was the most careless State Department official who ever emailed-someone who maybe should be jailed for treason, if not “strung up” as the crowd at Trump events chant.

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  22. gVOR08 says:

    @MBunge: See me @gVOR08: above. I don’t follow this closely either. Fortunately Kevin Drum has. The worst case hypothetical is that the Russians have hacked Hillary’s server and have found out about the existence of our drone program. A program everyone who reads the Western press already knew existed. They may also have Hillary’s tollhouse cookie recipe. No one has yet made a credible allegation of a crime. So WTF are you, Doug, and the supposedly liberal NYT going on about?

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  23. Hal_10000 says:

    Ah, the usual litany of excuses for Clinton. Her staff started wiping her servers several weeks after the story broke, which for you or I would be destruction of evidence or obstruction of justice even in the absence of any overarching crime. She can’t account for numerous devices that has classified info on them and admits she didn’t understand the classification system. But it means nothing because Republicans are awful and Trump is corrupt (both true; both irrelevant) blah blah judicial watch blah blah Ken Starr etc., etc. It’s sad.

    (And I do wish the Trump bribe story was getting more play. This wasn’t “like” a bribe. It was a bribe.”)

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  24. James Pearce says:

    Did you, or did you not, use a second Blackberry phone?

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  25. Loviatar says:

    @Thor thormussen:

    It’s hard to win an argument against a smart person, it’s impossible to win against a complete retard.

    No one commenting on this site would be considered what is usually accepted to be a retard (although I might be easily talked into considering Jenos as one). However, on another thread, steve s used a term I now use to describe Doug, James Joyner, Tillman, MBunge, etc.

    Motivated Delusional: The whole point of Why People Believe Weird Things is that smart people aren’t immune from craziness–they’re often really good at rationalizing things a duller person would confront.

    Delusional

    A delusion is a belief that is held with strong conviction despite superior evidence to the contrary. As a pathology, it is distinct from a belief based on false or incomplete information, confabulation, dogma, illusion, or other effects of perception.

    Delusions typically occur in the context of neurological or psychiatric disease, although they are not tied to any particular disorder and have been found to occur in the context of many pathological states (both physical and mental). However, they are of particular diagnostic importance in psychotic disorders including schizophrenia, paraphrenia, manic episodes of bipolar disorder, and psychotic depression.

    .
    Doug, James Joyner, Tillman, MBunge, ete are all really, really, really motivated to be delusional. Its pathological at this point.

    Edited to add Hal-10000 and James Pearce to the Motivated Delusional group.

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  26. Thor thormussen says:

    Normally I’d agree. But anybody at this point who think there’s anything worth talking about regarding Hillary’s emails is just a complete retard.

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  27. Hal_10000 says:

    @Loviatar:

    Here’s what delusional: the belief among Clinton defenders that they are poor humble public servants who have endured a 25-year smear campaign for nothing and have to cry themselves to sleep every night (consoled only by the cheering multitudes, the worshipful press, their immense power and the tens of millions in personal wealth they used their power and fame to accumulate during the awful Interregnum). What’s delusional is the refusal to believe that the Clintons ever do anything wrong and that it’s all a figment of deranged Republican imaginations.

    Here’s a question for the people insisting this is all a load of nothing: did you support the prosecution of Scooter Libby? Because what happened here was essentially the same: destroying evidence and lying to investigators. Either Clinton ordered it or her managerial skills are so poor it “just happened’. If I destroyed my financial records and the IRS later audited me, I would be prosecuted. I happen to think destroying evidence and lying to investigators are (mostly) baloney crimes, used by the Feds when they can’t actually pin anything on someone. No one is required to cooperate in their own prosecution. But Clinton has been a stalwart supporters of such laws. And, funny me, I think people in power should be held to a higher standard.

    Clinton has the immense luck right now to be running against one of the worst people to ever run for office. A truly corrupt sociopathic liar who is uniquely dangerous to our Republic. I’ll be voting Johnson but, barring him, I’ll accept Clinton. But that does not mean all the accusations against the Clintons are a bunch of nothing.

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  28. Jenos Idanian says:

    Gosh, if only Hillary had told the truth from the outset… but we all know that’s simply not plausible.

    Here are a few of the lies she’s told that have fallen apart, or other actions that are highly indicative of a guilty state of mind:

    1) She turned over all her work-related emails.

    2) She wanted all her emails released… and three weeks later, her staff wiped her server with one of the most thorough scrubbing software packages available.

    3) State Department officials had told her that having her own server was fine.

    4) Colin Powell did exactly the same thing.

    5) There was never any classified information on her server.

    And now with the FBI interview notes available, we learned a whole bunch of new things.

    1) She did not recall ever undertaking the mandatory briefings and training on properly handling classified informaiton, even though she signed legally-binding forms acknowledging that she had done so.

    2) She did not understand what the term “NOFORN” means.

    3) She did not understand why details on planned future drone strikes would be a good thing to keep secret.

    4) She did not understand various other terms of art in relation to intelligence matters.

    5) She relied exclusively on the training and judgment of her staff to keep her in compliance with classified information, and never questioned or challenged them.

    After 8 years as First Lady, 6 years on the Senate Armed Services Committee, and 4 years as Secretary of State, Hillary told the FBI that she is almost completely ignorant of even the most basic of basics in regards to classified information, its handling, its categorizing, or the risks in its exposure. And when confronted with documents where she signed off saying that she had taken training in such and acknowledged that she was competent, she said that she couldn’t remember any of that because of a 2012 concussion.

    It would be insane to entrust this woman with the keys to the executive washroom. Her defense to the FBI was that she was too brain-damaged to be guilty. I’m almost ready to believe her this time.

    Oh, and for the record: I think that, at this point, both Hillary and Trump would be disasters. The reason why I’ll (probably) vote for Trump is this: with Hillary, I’ll have four years of misery while being called a sexist and told that all of the problems are my fault, not hers. With Trump, instead of being scolded, there’s at least a chance it’ll be entertaining.

    We’re going to hell in a handbasket. With Hillary, the handbasket’s already on fire. With Trump, there’ll be tequila.

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  29. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Hal_10000: I disagree with your conclusions, but I respect your honesty.

    Expect to get thoroughly insulted, mocked, denigrated, and lambasted in short order.

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  30. Jenos Idanian says:

    And in other campaign news this week, Trump spoke at a black church in Detroit. Hillary went to a party at the Rothschilds’ mansion on Martha’s Vineyard.

    Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, a backer of Democrats and a friend of the Clintons’, made sure attendees did not grill Mrs. Clinton at the $100,000-per-couple lamb dinner Mrs. Forester de Rothschild hosted under a tent on the lawn of her oceanfront Martha’s Vineyard mansion.

    “I said, ‘Let’s make it a nice night for her and show her our love,’” Mrs. Forester de Rothschild said.

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  31. An Interested Party says:

    And in other campaign news this week, Trump spoke at a black church in Detroit. Hillary went to a party at the Rothschilds’ mansion on Martha’s Vineyard.

    And yet she’ll still get 95+% of the black vote…hmm, maybe Trump should speak at a few more black churches…

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  32. Tillman says:

    @stonetools: Your analogy is flawed. “Skirting” the law would be driving 57 in a 55: you’re technically breaking it, but not by enough to warrant a cop pulling you over. Comey’s use of exact synonyms for gross negligence (“extremely careless”) is the reference here. Or you could just chalk up my opposition to being duped by right wing smears. I imagine that is easier for you to do.

    @Loviatar: Remind me, aren’t you the jerk who thinks Joyner and Mataconis, who have repeatedly said they don’t support Donald Trump, are crypto-supporters because they don’t swear off everything they believe in and subscribe to your politics?

    Perhaps you shouldn’t be calling other people delusional.

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  33. elizajane says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Strangely enough, a brief, awkward, and obviously stage-managed visit to a black church counts for less with voters of color than a lifetime of commitment to civil rights issues. I cannot imagine why.

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  34. Jenos Idanian says:

    @elizajane: I cannot imagine why.

    Funny, that’s my response to people who say they’re going to vote for the self-confessed brain damaged, corrupt, congenital liar Hillary.

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  35. Jenos Idanian says:

    For those who keep saying that Hillary’s email mess is a big nothing — which revision of her constantly-evolving story did you buy? Do you have an upper limit to the number of lies she can tell and be busted over where you’ll say “enough?” Do you feel comfortable voting for someone whose excuse for breaking the law is “I am too brain-damaged to understand such things?”

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  36. Gustopher says:

    Short of dousing herself in gasoline, and setting herself on fire, all while shouting “I am corrupt!”, what would constitute putting the email issue behind her?

    This isn’t an isolated incident — we’ve seen dozens of politicians from both sides of the aisle try to skirt FOIA by using private accounts for official business. And, she didn’t do it in isolation — each and every person who emailed her is just as guilty, and every person she emailed had an obligation to report this misuse.

    The State Department is culturally loose with this stuff — that’s the only way the career officials would put up with it.

    This isn’t Clinton being Clinton. This is Clinton being a politician — like Powell, Palin, Jeb(!) Bush, etc.

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  37. Lit3Bolt says:

    Comey is a loyal Republican. That’s all you need to know about the depth of this “scandal” that no one on this website mentioned when Bush republicans did it. That was smart politics. When the Clintons do it, CORRUPTION!!

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  38. MBunge says:

    @gVOR08: So WTF are you, Doug, and the supposedly liberal NYT going on about?

    The director of the FBI has called Hillary Clinton’s behavior “extremely careless.” Would you hire somebody if they had been “extremely careless” in their last job? I mean, you might if the only other applicant was a pyromaniac, but that wouldn’t make it a smart move.

    And it is essentially the definition of pathetic for Clinton supporters to throw around the term “delusional.”

    Mike

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  39. MBunge says:

    Oh, and just to be clear.

    Even Hillary Clinton’s supporters don’t say she should be President because she has some inspiring personal story or because she has consistently demonstrated excellent judgment or because she has some amazing record of accomplishment or because she’s a masterful politician. They don’t say it because none of that is true.

    They do say she is tremendously experienced and qualified for the job but we now know from her own lips that with all her supposed experience and all her purported qualifications, she is almost completely ignorant as to how the US government handles classified information.

    Yeah, that’s not a red flag or anything.

    Mike

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  40. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Gustopher: Short of dousing herself in gasoline, and setting herself on fire, all while shouting “I am corrupt!”, what would constitute putting the email issue behind her?

    I can’t say for certain, but “if she were to stop lying and covering up and simply tell the truth,” that might work.

    I can’t say for certain, of course, because it’s a tactic she has never used in her life, so no one can tell how the public might react.

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  41. Jenos Idanian says:

    Here’s a nice little summary of things Hillary couldn’t, for the life of her, remember when asked about by the FBI:

    Below is the list of things Clinton could not recall in the FBI interview:

    * When she received security clearance
    * Being briefed on how to handle classified material
    * How many times she used her authority to designate items classified
    * Any briefing on how to handle very top-secret “Special Access Program” material
    * How to select a target for a drone strike
    * How the data from her mobile devices was destroyed when she switched devices
    * The number of times her staff was given a secure phone
    * Why she didn’t get a secure Blackberry
    * Receiving any emails she thought should not be on the private system
    * Did not remember giving staff direction to create private email account
    * Getting guidance from state on email policy
    * Who had access to her Blackberry account
    * The process for deleting her emails
    * Ever getting a message that her storage was almost full
    * Anyone besides Huma Abedin being offered an account on the private server
    * Being sent information on state government private emails being hacked
    * Receiving cable on State Dept personnel securing personal email accounts
    * Receiving cable on Bryan Pagliano upgrading her server
    * Using an iPad mini
    * An Oct. 13, 2012, email on Egypt with Clinton pal Sidney Blumenthal
    * Jacob Sullivan using personal email
    * State Department protocol for confirming classified information in media reports
    * Every briefing she received after suffering concussions
    * Being notified of a FOIA request on Dec. 11, 2012
    * Being read out of her clearance
    * Any further access to her private email account from her State Department tenure after switching to her HRCoffice.com account

    Who wouldn’t be proud of voting for such a person to be our next president? I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about it…

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  42. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian:
    In what esteem do you hold Ronald Reagan?

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  43. Gustopher says:

    @MBunge: Given that the House is going to remain in Republican hands, and the Republicans having transitioned from a governing party to an opposition party, does Clinton need to have an inspiring story or a compelling agenda?

    When either a modest agenda or an amazing agenda will be blocked at every turn, does it matter which is blocked at every turn? At best, the next administration will be like the Out Of Fvcks To Give period of the Obama administration — using the power of the executive, to prioritize enforcement. A left-of-center caretaker presidency.

    And, when the alternative is a conspiracy-minded racist, who changes positions based on his audience, who is already saying that we won’t honor our NATO commitments and basically inviting Putin to invade the Baltics, all while insisting he is strong and will make the world respect America…

    Clinton: A boring caretaker president who probably won’t start World War III

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  44. Gustopher says:

    @Jenos Idanian: She was telling the truth about the vast right wing conspiracy…

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  45. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Grewgills: In what esteem do you hold Ronald Reagan?

    Is he on the ballot this year?

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  46. MarkedMan says:

    There is actually a big story in this latest round, but Doug nor most of the media doesn’t mention it: a few weeks ago Colin Powell made a big deal that his email where he endorsed her use of private email was sent a year after she started doing it (not sure why that would change his endorsement but Doug, Joyner et al think it is relevant). We now know that a) Powell lied, as the email was sent on her second day in office, and b) that he stated he deliberately used services that didn’t keep backup in order to ‘get around’ the rules. Clinton used private email but she kept backup.

    I’m not saying Powell was the devil for what he did. I’m just pointing out the double standard.

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  47. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Who wouldn’t be proud of voting for such a person to be our next president?

    The problem with making the e-mail thing an issue in the presidential election is that many people are going to agree that Clinton mishandled her e-mail over at State and they will vote for her anyway. It’s “disqualifying” to people who have disqualified her anyway, but forgivable for her supporters. For most people, I would assume other issues predominate in this election, and would even if the volume on the e-mail question is raised. It’s already starting to take on the air of a Jay Leno punchline, which means it’s toothless. Not saying to drop it, but just recognize there are limits to the mileage you’re going to get out of it.

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  48. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James Pearce: Oh, I know that getting a win out of this is pretty much futile with this crowd. They are that invested in hating Trump that they can’t bring themselves to acknowledge any weakness in their chosen standard-bearer, and will do everything they can to drag her across the finish line.

    The value here, for me, is to turn that dragging into a “Weekend at Bernie’s” scenario, to point out the greater and greater lengths they have to go to keep themselves consistent.

    Hell, in this election, I think we’d all be better served to dump the top of both tickets and have the veep nominees run the country. They can toss a coin for who gets the top job, or trade off every other year. I had the same feeling back in 2000.

    I’m also starting to wonder about what might happen if Trump keeps failing to self-destruct in the polls. That might just get Hillary to acknowledge her health issues and result in the Democrats trying to pull a Torricelli.

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  49. Tony W says:

    @stonetools:

    Do we hear about that? Nope-because the RWBSM doesn’t WANT you to hear about it.

    You are making my point about Clinton’s political skills. Why does she not get this message out more skillfully? Genteel Democrats are terrible at playing hardball. They think the best ideas will win in the open marketplace of ideas. They think emotion does not matter.

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  50. MBunge says:

    @Gustopher:

    If the argument is for Hillary over Trump, it’s almost no contest. There’s a lot to like about the Platonic ideal of Donald Trump, a non-ideological, non-theological deal maker willing to challenge the decrepit orthodoxies of the ruling elite, but the reality of Donald Trump falls far, far, far, FAAAAAAAAAR short of that ideal. But there’s another aspect to this discussion.

    It is widely acknowledged that things are royally screwed up on the Republican/conservative side of our politics. It is largely ignored, however, that things are plenty screwed up on the Democratic/liberal side and part of the battle over Hillary Clinton is about that.

    Mike

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  51. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I’m also starting to wonder about what might happen if Trump keeps failing to self-destruct in the polls. That might just get Hillary to acknowledge her health issues

    “Failing to self-destruct in the polls” is such a low bar that I think Trump can easily clear it. This isn’t a game where everyone gets a participation ribbon. I’ve yet to see a national poll showing Trump in the lead. I’m sure some unskewer could find one, but things don’t look good for our not-self-destructing overachiever.

    And Hillary’s health? Resist the stupid, man. There are plenty of reasons not to want Hillary in the White House. Her health ain’t one of them.

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  52. stonetools says:

    @Tillman:

    Comey’s use of exact synonyms for gross negligence (“extremely careless”) is the reference here.

    Except that under the law , “gross negligence” ISN’T a synonym for “extremely careless”. Comey, as a lawyer and FBI director, knows that. The truth about “gross negligence”:

    Only one person has even been charged under a gross negligence theory: FBI Agent James Smith. Smith carried on a 20-year affair with a Chinese national who was suspected of spying for Beijing, and Smith would bring classified material to their trysts, behavior far more reckless than anything Clinton is accused of. But Smith was not convicted of violating 793(f). He struck a plea agreement that resulted in a conviction to the lesser charge of lying to federal agents. Smith was sentenced to three months of home confinement and served no jail time.

    To use the speeding analogy, Clinton, wasn’t driving 57 or 53 mph in a 55 zone: she was driving maybe 45.

    Or you could just chalk up my opposition to being duped by right wing smears. I imagine that is easier for you to do.

    Nope. There are a lot of folks like you.There are a lot of folks who don’t understand the presumption of innocence-at least for a Clinton.

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  53. stonetools says:

    @Tillman:

    Comey’s use of exact synonyms for gross negligence (“extremely careless”) is the reference here.

    Except that under the law , “gross negligence” ISN’T a synonym for “extremely careless”. Comey, as a lawyer and FBI director, knows that. The truth about “gross negligence”:

    Only one person has even been charged under a gross negligence theory: FBI Agent James Smith. Smith carried on a 20-year affair with a Chinese national who was suspected of spying for Beijing, and Smith would bring classified material to their trysts, behavior far more reckless than anything Clinton is accused of. But Smith was not convicted of violating 793(f). He struck a plea agreement that resulted in a conviction to the lesser charge of lying to federal agents. Smith was sentenced to three months of home confinement and served no jail time.

    To use the speeding analogy, Clinton, wasn’t driving 57 or 53 mph in a 55 zone: she was driving maybe 45.

    Or you could just chalk up my opposition to being duped by right wing smears. I imagine that is easier for you to do.

    Nope. I chalk up your opposition to the unfortunate truth that there are a lot of folks who don’t understand the presumption of innocence-at least for a Clinton.

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  54. stonetools says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Here’s a question for the people insisting this is all a load of nothing: did you support the prosecution of Scooter Libby? Because what happened here was essentially the same: destroying evidence and lying to investigators.

    Except that Comer, Republican, attorney, and director of the FBI, found that there was no evidence that Clinton did any such thing.From Kevin Drum:

    FBI director James Comey said as much months ago about emails the FBI had recovered: “We found no evidence that any of the additional work-related e-mails were intentionally deleted in an effort to conceal them. Our assessment is that, like many e-mail users, Secretary Clinton periodically deleted e-mails or e-mails were purged from the system when devices were changed. Because she was not using a government account—or even a commercial account like Gmail—there was no archiving at all of her e-mails, so it is not surprising that we discovered e-mails that were not on Secretary Clinton’s system in 2014, when she produced the 30,000 e-mails to the State Department.”

    Of course, if you presume Clinton is guilty, then you have no problem concluding she is guilty even in the absence of evidence. But Comer had to go by the rules of evidence and the Constitution of the United States.

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  55. stonetools says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    You must be really p!ssed that Comer, Republican, attorney, and FBI director, looked at all the questions you raised up thread, considered the evidence, applied the law, and found that Clinton ‘s conduct didn’t rise to the level of an indictable offense. All the right wing bloviating and what Clinton said and didn’t say, and despite that, Comey concluded that she did not lie to the FBI.Sad.
    Drum’s conclusion:

    That said, this report is pretty much an almost complete exoneration of Hillary Clinton. She wasn’t prohibited from using a personal device or a personal email account, and others at state did it routinely. She’s told the truth all along about why she did it. Colin Powell did indeed advise her about using personal email shortly after she took office, but she chose to follow the rules rather than skirt them, as Powell did. She didn’t take her BlackBerry into her office. She communicated with only a very select group of 13 people. She took no part in deciding which emails were personal before handing them over to State. She had nothing to do with erasing information on the PRN server. That was a screw-up on PRN’s end. She and her staff all believed at the time that they were careful not to conduct sensitive conversations over unclassified email systems. And there’s no evidence that her server was ever hacked.

    Game, set, and match. Time to move on the next “scandal.”

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  56. stonetools says:

    @Gustopher:

    Short of dousing herself in gasoline, and setting herself on fire, all while shouting “I am corrupt!”, what would constitute putting the email issue behind her?

    The Trump folks are clear as to what should be done:

    “Lock her up”
    or
    “String her up”.

    THat’s what the Republican base want and because the right wing media whipped up her minor league misconduct to make it seem like treason, they won’t be satisfied with anything less.
    All this for being careless about emails.

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  57. stonetools says:

    @MBunge:

    The director of the FBI has called Hillary Clinton’s behavior “extremely careless.” Would you hire somebody if they had been “extremely careless” in their last job?

    You left out the context. Clinton was “extremely careless ” about EMAILS.That is a tiny part of the job of being Secretary of State, and of being President of the United States. What’s astonishing that you and others think Clinton’s carelessness about emails is disqualifying for something that’s so incidental to the role of President. Why it’s almost as if you oppose her for President for other reasons, and this email stuff is just a pretext.

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  58. MBunge says:

    @stonetools:

    And this is why I have to fight against hoping Trump wins.

    Hillary Clinton wasn’t “extremely careless” with EMAILS.
    Hillary Clinton was “extremely careless” with the handling of FEDERAL GOVERNMENT INFORMATION, including items SENSITIVE, CONFIDENTIAL and CLASSIFIED.

    As I stated before, I freely admit this email scandal may actually be a “scandal” that is unimportant. What is important, however, is how people like you reflexively dissemble on anything involving the Clintons.

    If you want to tell me Hillary is better than Trump, fine.
    If you want to tell me Hillary has never done anything wrong and the only problem is the vicious lies of her enemies keep people from appreciating how gosh darn wonderful she is, that’s delusional.

    Mike

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  59. MBunge says:

    @stonetools: Clinton ‘s conduct didn’t rise to the level of an indictable offense.

    Because if it isn’t indictable, it’s okay. Is that really the standard upon which you want our government to run?

    Mike

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  60. anjin-san says:

    @stonetools:

    the right wing’s interest in keeping this scandal going

    It’s not unlike the Kaepernick firestorm. Right wing to black folks “You need to protest peacefully” – Kap sits down peacefully. Right wing to Kaepernick “not like that you traitor”

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  61. @MBunge:

    Even Hillary Clinton’s supporters don’t say she should be President because she has some inspiring personal story or because she has consistently demonstrated excellent judgment or because she has some amazing record of accomplishment or because she’s a masterful politician. They don’t say it because none of that is true.

    They do say she is tremendously experienced and qualified for the job but we now know from her own lips that with all her supposed experience and all her purported qualifications, she is almost completely ignorant as to how the US government handles classified information.

    The thing is, I think that having an inspiring personal story is a wholly overrated in terms of choosing a president. And being a masterful politician is a matter of degrees–getting nominated by a major party puts one in the upper echelons of “politician” regardless of anything else (and yes, that includes Trump, although clearly that are levels within that echelon as well).

    Count me as one of those people who doesn’t particularly like HRC but find her more than qualified for the office.

    In regards to the e-mail situation, I am having a hard time seeing it to be as big a deal as some see it to be. Part of this has to do with lack of context. As I stated above, I have little doubt that if this much scrutiny was applied to almost any high level official we would find deficiencies. There are reasons to question Powell’s handling of State e-mails and we know the Bush administration lost a large number of e-mails (far more than we are discussing here if one is going to jump on the destruction of evidence bandwagon).

    Another thing: an irony is that in the electronic era these things are easier to track and identify these types of violations than during the paper era. Of course, the electronic era also creates any number of new vulnerabilities. I am not surprised, btw, that the federal government is lagging on procedures, protocols, and technology (not to mention overall culture) on these matters.

    On balance I see a lot “gotcha” issues (like her answer on levels of classification that you note above) rather than actual problems or heavily reliance on specific phrases like “extremely careless” rather than on substance.

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  62. gVOR08 says:

    @MBunge:

    The director of the FBI, a Republican, has called Hillary Clinton’s behavior “extremely careless” because he couldn’t come up with anything substantive.

    FTFY. All of Comey’s charges of carelessness come down to she may have handled one thread containing CONFIDENTIAL material. Out of 30,000 emails. Please read the Drum quote at @stonetools: I’m still waiting for anyone to come up with a credible charge.

    Because if it isn’t indictable, it’s okay. Is that really the standard upon which you want our government to run?

    No. I want the government to be run without deferring to the Republican character assassination machine. Aren’t even you tired of these constant nothingburger scandals?

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  63. An Interested Party says:

    Hillary is actually helped by these constant attempts at “gotcha” by Republicans/conservatives…at this point, many people are just tuning this out, especially considering the alternative to her…you would think that these people who constantly try to get her on something/anything would be familiar with the story of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”…

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  64. Gustopher says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Hell, in this election, I think we’d all be better served to dump the top of both tickets and have the veep nominees run the country. They can toss a coin for who gets the top job, or trade off every other year. I had the same feeling back in 2000.

    How about 2008?

    I would very happily watch a reality TV show of Biden and Palin being co-governors of some state that I don’t care about. Ok, I would feel really bad for Biden, but I would find it such compelling television that I would have to keep watching. A competent buffoon who often slips and says what is on his mind, and Sarah Palin’s word salad and vitriol. It would be beautiful.

    Obama and Trump in a bio-dome would also be acceptable, and they will both have some free time.

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  65. Loviatar says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Count me as one of those people who doesn’t particularly like HRC but find her more than qualified for the office.

    Please explain.

    I’ve always wondered where the dislike comes from. From your posts and comments you don’t seem overly conservative (reich-wing), you obviously haven’t brought into the 25+ year long smear tactics. So why the dislike?

    Is it the sound of her voice, the fact that shes up to a 12 person body count? Is it, if elected she plans to remake the US into a FemiNazi utopia while using the bones of white men to remodel the White House.

    Seriously though, could you please explain the dislike.

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  66. stonetools says:

    @MBunge:

    If you want to tell me Hillary has never done anything wrong and the only problem is the vicious lies of her enemies keep people from appreciating how gosh darn wonderful she is, that’s delusional.

    What are you, the world’s great straw man builder? Who the heck on OTB has ever said this? That’s right, no one. What we have heard from is right wingers like Jenos trying to say that this email peccadillo makes her akin to the Rosenbergs selling nuclear secrets and disqualifying her as a presidential candidate. I am going to outsource the rest of my response to Murc, a commenter on the LGM blog:

    As someone who was a self-described Sandernista during the primary and who finds himself nodding more than scowling when Corey Robin goes after Clinton, please allow me to say this:

    Hillary Clinton is one of the more transparently honest politicians in the modern era. What you see with her is, basically, what you get. She’s bad at lying and even if she weren’t she’s smart enough to know that the intense level of scrutiny surrounding her makes it a bad idea because she’ll be found out. She has largely governed as her policy statements during her campaigns and her political voting history indicates she will, and these policy decisions have also very clearly been driven by a combination of what she wants and what she thinks she can achieve, rather than by who is gonna cut her the biggest check.

    She has rarely if ever dramatically reversed herself and by and large seeks to keep her promises, if for no other reason than that she knows her broader base of support is tenuous and that many people don’t need a reason to dismiss her, they just need an excuse.

    There are many good reasons to dislike and distrust her. While her words and her actions hew closely to each other, to the extent they diverge her actions usually diverge to the right. Her voting record is not ideal on a number of important issues. She fucked up what is likely to have been the most important issue of her political career and there are few indications she’s learned sufficiently from that. I could go on.

    Those are reasons of substance. “She’s involved in corruption to her eyeballs when she isn’t trying to destroy ‘Murica” is not.

    I don’t care for Hillary Clinton. I think her policies are insufficient to our needs as a country and that she has many substantive beliefs that are harmful.

    But what I don’t think is that she murdered Vince Foster at the Mena Airport to cover up her ring of lesbian cocaine dealers. Or that she “stole” her primary victory over Bernie Sanders. Or that she’s gearing up to give our economy away to Goldman Sachs and has a secret plan to ramp up the incarceration of black people in order to satisfy her prison donors. (This is a real thing I’ve seen making the rounds about her the last few days.)

    She’s not a criminal mastermind. She doesn’t wear an eyepatch. Or own a white cat. Or have a secret island base built into a volcano.

    She is actually very ordinary in many ways, and in the ways she is not, they tend to be in the realm of virtues rather than vices.

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  67. stonetools says:

    Please release my comment from moderation. Thanks in advance.

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  68. @Loviatar: I decided that was worth a post: click

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  69. Hal_10000 says:

    @stonetools:

    Of course, if you presume Clinton is guilty, then you have no problem concluding she is guilty even in the absence of evidence. But Comer had to go by the rules of evidence and the Constitution of the United States.

    The law on destroying evidence always presumes that we are guilty. If this were anyone other than a politician, there would not even be a question on indictment. *We* are expected to maintain even the most minute financial records for eternity.

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  70. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Hal_10000:

    The law on destroying evidence always presumes that we are guilty.

    No law presumes that we’re guilty. For one to even try would be unconstitutional.

    That having been said, the federal statute concerning destruction of records (18 U.S. Code § 1519) mandates establishing not only that the accused knowingly acted, but also that he/she did so with willful intent to impede / obstruct / influence a federal investigation. Both elements are required and must be established beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s a non-starter here barring a tape recording of Clinton colluding with her aides to destroy evidence – which both you and I know doesn’t exist.

    It remains where Comey left it back in June – distasteful, but not illegal – at least certainly not such that a US Attorney would go anywhere near even thinking about prosecuting it.

    Does that stop Fox & Friends from doing their level best to keep it alive as a viable scandal? Of course not, but at this point, you’ve already noted the reason why it won’t matter beyond the confines of the nutballs who were never going to vote for her to begin with – she’s running against Donald fricking Trump. Enough said.

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  71. An Interested Party says:

    … she’s running against Donald fricking Trump.

    Hasn’t it been said that both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have been very lucky in who their political enemies were/are…obviously the same applies to Hillary…can’t wait to see who the Republicans run in 2020…

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  72. Monala says:

    @Hal_10000: we are? The IRS recommends keeping your tax returns for 3 to 7 years. What minute financial records are we (by which I assume you mean ordinary Americans) supposed to keep for eternity? Receipts?

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  73. Thor thormussen says:

    wil wheaton has a good essay up about how Trump’s Foundation bribed an attorney general to not bring criminal charges against him, and all anybody cares about is how hillary’s foundation might have talked to Bono while saving people’s lives, and how awful that was. I can think of a couple people here who should read that essay over and over until the basic facts sink in.

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