Another Deadline For Joe Biden & New Criteria For Next GOP Debate

Ridin With Biden

The Los Angeles Times reports on another deadline for Joe Biden to consider when deciding whether to announce a candidacy for the Democratic nomination. He has until November 20 to register for the New Hampshire primary.

As I recently noted, he can wait until October 13, the date of the CNN Democratic debate, to declare his candidacy and still qualify for the debate.

There is speculation that Biden might hold off on officially entering the race and wait to see if Clinton is forced from the race due to the scandals or if her campaign no longer looks viable should she lose to Bernie Sanders in Iowa and/or New Hampshire. The November 20 deadline might also not be of concern to him if he plans on going this route as he is expected to concentrate on South Carolina, as opposed to Iowa and New Hampshire, should he enter the race, which in normal years would be a risky strategy.

Turning to the Republican campaign, CNBC has changed the rules for qualifying for their October 28 debate. Instead of setting an arbitrary number (and then expanding it by one) as in the first two debates, CNBC has announced they will decide by a fixed standing in the polls. As they will round up, a candidate averaging 2.5 percent can make it into the evening debate:

National polls will be used to determine a candidate’s eligibility and placement on the stage. To be eligible to appear in either segment, a candidate must have at least 1% in any one of the methodologically sound and recognized national polls conducted by: NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, CNN and Bloomberg, released between September 17, 2015 and October 21, 2015.

To appear in the 8pm debate a candidate must have an average of 3% among these polls. The polls will be averaged and will be rounded up to 3% for any candidate with a standing of 2.5% or higher. Candidates who average below that will be invited to the 6pm debate.

The Wall Street Journal has speculated on who will make the cut:

A Real Clear Politics average of national polling suggests that the candidates who would make the cut for primetime are Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Mike Huckabee and Chris Christie. Candidates who rank at 2.5% or above in the polls have their numbers rounded up to 3%. Rand Paul’s average in the polls RCP tracks is 2.3%.

Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, George Pataki and Lindsey Graham—all of whom took part in the undercard debate earlier this month—all rank at 0.5% or less, alternately winning 1% or 0% in the polls.

This formula might help speed up the elimination of the weaker candidates from the race. I do hope that Rand Paul manages to remain in. While I disagree with him on many other issues, I did like seeing him challenge the other candidates on military intervention and the drug war in the second Republican debate.

Update: CNN is now reporting as of October 1 that Biden is not expected to participate in the first debate and plans to delay his decision until later in the month. He might be able to delay but I suspect that the longer he does wait the harder it will be to launch a full scale campaign.

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Both Congressional Republicans And Hillary Clinton Are Untrustworthy

Hannity McCarthy Benghazi

We have known all along that the Benghazi investigations being conducted by Republicans were primarily politically motivated. We got further evidence of this from an interview of Kevin McCarthy conducted by Sean Hannity (possibly the only time something meaningful came out of a Hannity interview):

Sean Hannity was pushing hard, asking House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy to name some promises his Republicans had actually delivered on. He scoffed when McCarthy said the party would start undoing the Affordable Care Act — “you have the power of the purse!” He talked over McCarthy when the leader and candidate for Speaker of the House suggested that the party did not need to cut funds for President Obama’s “amnesty,” because courts had taken care of it. Only halfway into the interview did McCarthy finally catch a break.

“Everybody though Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right?” McCarthy asked. “But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened, had we not fought.”

The reality is both that the Republicans are playing politics with Benghazi and that Clinton cannot be trusted. The two certainly are not mutually exclusive.

Clinton apologists often claim that the current scandals are all based upon Benghazi, but while there is nothing to Benghazi, there are other real issues. Clinton apologists are now using this interview to attempt to discredit valid criticism of Clinton, but Benghazi and Clinton’s other actions are separate matters.

Regardless of what the Republicans are doing, it was Clinton’s own actions which caused the current scandals. It was Clinton, not the Republicans, who violated the rules. It was Clinton who deleted business-related email claiming to have only deleted personal email. It is Clinton who has been exposed by fact checkers of lying in virtually every statement she has made.

The approximately 36 FOIA lawsuits in progress are not all from the Republicans. (Some are from right wing sources and others are from the mainstream media.)

The Obama Justice Department which is now investigating Clinton’s private email server has nothing to do with the Republicans.

The State Department officials who have criticized her actions have nothing to do with the Republicans.

The Republicans are acting irresponsibly in investigating Benghazi when there is nothing there. That in no way exonerates Clinton for her behavior. In destroying email requested by Congress regarding Benghazi, Clinton has also left the Republicans with a way to keep the investigation going for many more months.

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Pope Francis, President Obama, Multiple Politicians, & Celebrities Snub Clinton Foundation Due To Scandals

Clinton Foundation Scandals

The Clinton Foundation is being snubbed in response to the influence-peddling scandals. Politco reports:

The Clinton Foundation invited everyone from Pope Francis and Leonardo DiCaprio to Bill de Blasio and Janet Yellen to its showcase gathering starting Saturday in New York City, according to multiple sources familiar with the planning.

But those invitations were among the dozens turned down by all manner of celebrities, dignitaries and donors, according to the sources, who said the controversies swirling around the foundation and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign have made some bold-faced names and donors wary of the foundation.

The glitzy Clinton Global Initiative gathering in New York, which has the lofty title “The Future of Impact,” was supposed to have been a celebration of the accomplishments of the $2-billion Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation’s past work as it pivots towards a future with Chelsea Clinton at the helm.

Instead, it’s become emblematic of the foundation’s struggles to regain its luster, while scaling back some of its ambitions and restructuring amid heightened scrutiny of its internal workings, the diminished role of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the prospect that former president Bill Clinton also could be forced to step back.

“They’ve had a lot of rejections from people – both for membership renewals and speaking roles this year between the campaign, Hillary not being at CGI this year, bad press,” said one person who has worked on planning foundation events…

The documents, reviewed by POLITICO, also show that the foundation had hoped to land either Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen or French economist Thomas Piketty to deliver a presentation on income inequality. Both declined, as did Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Rock legend Elton John was invited to receive an award for his efforts to fight AIDS, but he’s not coming, and neither is New York City Mayor de Blasio. He had been invited as a guest rather than as a speaker and notably has refused to endorse Clinton, despite having managed her successful U.S. Senate campaign in 2000…

Likewise, a White House spokesman said President Barack Obama’s decision to skip CGI for the first time since taking office stemmed from his busy schedule ― not the fact that Vice President Joe Biden is actively weighing running against Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination.

British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were among the foreign heads of state who turned down invitations, according to sources, though they have not attended previous CGI meetings. Among those who are scheduled to appear are Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

To be sure, it’s not unusual for organizers of major conferences with dozens of speakers to be turned down by some invitees, but sources who have worked with CGI say the percentage of regrets seems higher this year. They attribute that to politically charged suggestions that foundation donors ― and particularly foreign donors ― sought or received favors from Hillary Clinton’s state department, as well as media scrutiny of the foundation’s finances and staff.

At least five major companies that sponsored the 2014 Clinton Global Initiative have backed out of sponsoring this year’s meeting.

Let’s hope that Democratic primary voters similarly snub the Clinton campaign. Otherwise there is considerable danger that Hillary Clinton will be similarly toxic among general election voters in 2016, greatly increasing the risk of having a Republican president. It just seems inconceivable that a major political party would consider nominating a candidate who has been exposed for such corruption while a cabinet official.

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Additional Non-Personal Email Found Among Among Clinton’s Deleted Email Threating To Further Weaken Her Candidacy

Clinton Email Cartoon Deleted

It has been another bad week for Hillary Clinton. On Tuesday the State Department contradicted Hillary Clinton’s claims about the Justice Department investigation, stating it was prompted by Clinton’s exclusive use of a private email system. The week ended with two separate reports of business related email being among the email which Clinton deleted, claiming it to be personal.

AP reports:

The Obama administration has discovered a chain of emails that Hillary Rodham Clinton failed to turn over when she provided what she said was the full record of work-related correspondence as secretary of state, officials told The Associated Press Friday, adding to the growing questions related to the Democratic presidential front-runner’s unusual usage of a private email account and server while in government.

The messages were exchanged with retired Gen. David Petraeus when he headed the military’s U.S. Central Command, responsible for running the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They began before Clinton entered office and continued into her first days at the State Department. They largely pertained to personnel matters and don’t appear to deal with highly classified material, officials said, but their existence challenges Clinton’s claim that she has handed over the entirety of her work emails from the account.

The Hill reported on a second case of business related email which was not turned over, along with the above AP report noting, “they fly in the face of Clinton’s previous claim that she had turned over all of her work-related emails.”

Obama administration officials made new revelations about Hillary Clinton’s emails on Friday, as the ongoing controversy continues to spin against the Democratic presidential front-runner.

In one announcement, a senior State Department official said that the department was handing over “a small number” of new emails related to the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, to a House committee investigating the incident.

Separately, the Associated Press reported that the administration had discovered a new chain of emails that Clinton had declined to turn over, despite her claims to have provided the government with all work-related messages.

The news builds on the growing scrutiny on Clinton, which has threatened to derail her White House campaign.

The AP report in particular is likely to add to mounting allegations that Clinton had repeatedly tried to deceive the public by using a personal email address routed through a private server…

The emails have been implicated in nearly three-dozen ongoing public-records lawsuits against the State Department, and the ongoing fallout threatens to stretch at least into 2016.

The Guardian had more on the email exchange with Petraeus, showing further false from Clinton regarding the email:

The Petraeus emails, however, represent a more serious breach of protocol. The State Department’s record of Clinton emails begins on 18 March 2009 – almost two months after she entered office. Before then, Clinton has claimed, she used an old AT&T Blackberry email account, the contents of which she no longer can access.

The Petraeus emails, first discovered by the Defense Department and then passed to the State Department’s inspector general, challenge that claim. They start on 10 January 2009, with Clinton using the older email account. But by 28 January – a week after her swearing in – she switched to using the private email address on a homebrew server that she would rely on for the rest of her tenure. There are fewer than 10 emails back and forth in total, officials said, and the chain ends on 1 February.

They also commented on the political ramifications:

The revelations could not come at a worse time for Clinton, who has been dogged for months by questions about her email practices.

Her poll numbers have also been slipping in recent weeks. The latest poll of likely Democratic primary voters in New Hampshire show the former secretary of state 16 points behind the frontrunner, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders.

Her favorability rating has dropped six points since last March, and a Fox News national poll this week found 58% of responders believed she had lied about how her emails were handled while secretary of state.

I don’t know how much we can trust information from a Fox poll, but other polls have similarly shown a growing distrust of Hillary Clinton.

This is not the first example which has been uncovered of email related to Libya and terrorism which was missing from the email turned over by Hillary Clinton. Missing and altered email was uncovered when compared with Sidney Blumenthal’s email conversations with Clinton.

It is unfortunate that the investigation of deleted email is centered around Benghazi. There is unlikely anything further to find about Benghazi, with no evidence having been found to support the Republican conspiracy theories. It would be more interesting to see if there is any email regarding parties in cases where Clinton was making a decision happened to make large contributions to the Foundation, or happened to pay extraordinarily high speaking fees to Bill at the time. While Congressional Republicans are currently concentrating on Benghazi, information on other topics might come out in further Congressional investigation or in the multiple Freedom of Information Act suits in progress.

Do Democrats really want to nominate a candidate whose ethical misconduct will likely be the subject of headlines well into 2016?

Update September 27, 2015:

The email was also a major topic of discussion on Meet the Press today. Hillary Clinton tried to write this off as “another conspiracy theory” against her. If so, the “conspiracy” includes the Obama Justice Department, the State Department, most of the mainstream media which is reporting on this,  multiple news organizations, such as AP, which have filed Freedom of Information Act law suits regarding the email, and liberal groups concerned with government transparency and ethics which have criticized Clinton for her actions. In reality, this is a scandal which originates directly from Clinton’s own actions.

Chuck Todd also played a montage of Clinton’s shifting positions on various issues  on Meet the Press and asked if she had shifted her positions out of political expediency. Previously, after Clinton made a statement critical of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Jake Tapper of CNN posted a list of 45 times Secretary Clinton pushed the trade bill she now opposes, noting that “Clinton was one of the leading drivers of the TPP when Secretary of State.”

Additional news reports on the email since the original post  are at CNN and Reuters.

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State Department Disputes Clinton Claims On Email Investigation

Clinton Email

The State Department has undermined Hillary Clinton’s account of the investigation into her email, showing major discrepancies from Clinton’s recent statements. The Washington Post reports:

Throughout the controversy over her use of a private e-mail system while she was secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton has described her decision last year to turn over thousands of work-related e-mails as a response to a routine-sounding records request.

“When we were asked to help the State Department make sure they had everything from other secretaries of state, not just me, I’m the one who said, ‘Okay, great, I will go through them again,’ ” Clinton said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “And we provided all of them.”

But State Department officials provided new information Tuesday that undercuts Clinton’s characterization. They said the request was not simply about general rec­ord-keeping but was prompted entirely by the discovery that Clinton had exclusively used a private e-mail system. They also said they 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 e-mails.

Most likely Clinton-apologists, who have been spreading false claims that she was “cleared” by the State Department, will continue to ignore such information which contradicts Clinton’s statements. Hillary Clinton continues to make the false claim that what she did was allowed despite being contradicted by multiple fact-checking articles and government officials.

In other developments, the FBI has reportedly recovered email which was deleted from Clinton’s server. It is unlikely the public will obtain any specific information in the near future. It has already been established that email deleted by Clinton included email related to Libya and terrorism, as opposed to being limited to personal email.

This all comes as Clinton continues to fall in the polls. She received yet another setback this week when top unions have decided to hold off on making an endorsement in the nomination battle.

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Justice Department Brief Saying Clinton Could Destroy Personal Email Means Very Little

Clinton Email Cartoon Deleted

Clinton apologists who have been cherry picking statements to defend her have another claim which I’m sure we will hear about endlessly, even if it doesn’t mean much of anything. Justice Department lawyers, basically doing their job in defending the Obama administration from a suit filed against them said, “There is no question that former Secretary Clinton had authority to delete personal emails without agency supervision — she appropriately could have done so even if she were working on a government server.”

This doesn’t really change anything. First of all, this is an argument made by attorneys whose job it was to protect the State Department from the FOIA suit. Having this statement made does not mean that the judge hearing the case will accept this view.

This argument also is peripheral to the main points of the email scandal. Yes, there is no question under ordinary circumstances that Clinton could have deleted any personal email. However, we are not dealing with ordinary circumstances. It has already been well-established that Clinton violated rules in effect as of 2009 when she used her private server exclusively for government business and when she failed to turn the email over to be archived while in office. References to previous fact check articles on this, along with statements from Justice Department and State Department officials who confirm Clinton violated the policies, have been posted previously including here and here. Among other statements, the top Freedom of Information Act official at the Justice Department has clearly stated that Clinton was in violation of the rules

This is also not an ordinary situation as it has already been established that email related to Libya and terrorism has been altered and has been among the email which Clinton deleted claiming to be personal. While normally a government employee can legally destroy personal email, it is up to the judge in the case to decide if this is altered by her violation of the rules regarding use of private email and by the fact that she has deleted non-personal email among the email claimed to be personal.

Even if Clinton manages to get away with this through any legal technicalities, it does not absolve her for the unethical conduct exhibited, along with the other policies she has violated. Getting around this on any legal technicalities would be damaging to concepts of government transparency and the Freedom of Information Act. This would not affect the other unethical actions and violations of government policy by Clinton, or the other court cases and investigations in progress.

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Democratic Leaders Getting Nervous With Clinton Falling And Sanders Picking Up Support

Clinton Email

The email scandal has some Democrats looking for alternative candidates, according to The New York Times:

If Hillary Rodham Clinton’s new apology for her private email server fails to reassure jittery supporters, it could amplify the chatter among some Democrats who have been casting about for a potential white knight to rescue the party from a beleaguered Clinton candidacy.

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator Elizabeth Warren, former Vice President Al Gore: Each has been discussed among party officials in recent weeks as an alternative to Mrs. Clinton if she does not regain her once-dominant standing in the 2016 presidential field and instead remains mired in the long-running email controversy, with its attendant investigations…

It is not just Mrs. Clinton’s weakness in the polls that has generated talk of other alternatives, but also the strength of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who is routinely drawing huge crowds at campaign events. That has been disconcerting to Democratic officials who believe that Mr. Sanders, a socialist, is so liberal that his presence at the top of the party’s ticket in 2016 would be disastrous.

“If party leaders see a scenario next winter where Bernie Sanders has a real chance at the Democratic nomination, I think there’s no question that leaders will reach out to Vice President Biden or Secretary of State Kerry or even Gore about entering the primaries,” said Garnet F. Coleman, a Texas state lawmaker and Democratic national committeeman.

It also shows the shortsightedness of the Democratic leadership in not realizing that the best alternative just might be the candidate who is creating the most excitement among Democrats–Bernie Sanders, who has now taken a slight lead over Clinton in Iowa. If not Sanders, any of these four would still be better than Clinton.

From the Des Moines Register on Sanders taking the lead in Iowa:

A new poll finds liberal firebrand Bernie Sanders has jumped into the lead in Iowa – by one point.

The Vermont U.S. senator is the favorite choice for president for 41 percent of Iowa likely Democratic caucusgoers, while 40 percent say former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is their current favorite choice, a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday found.

Another 12 percent pick Vice President Joseph Biden as their top choice for president in 2016.

In Quinnipiac’s last poll, in early July, Clinton had 52 percent, Sanders had 33 percent and Biden had 7 percent.

Younger caucusgoers are choosing Sanders in a landslide – 66 percent of those ages 18 to 34 pick him, versus 19 percent who choose Clinton.

And Sanders wins with caucusgoers who describe themselves as “very” liberal, with 59 percent support to Clinton’s 29 percent.

Sanders has risen from obscurity in Iowa to great fame. A recent Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics survey found that likely caucusgoers are sliding over to Sanders not because they don’t like Clinton, the longtime frontrunner, but because they really like Sanders, who thunders about righting injustices. That poll, taken Aug. 23-26 by Selzer & Co., showed Sanders seven points behind Clinton, 37 percent to 30 percent.

In the new Quinnipiac survey, conducted Aug. 27-Sept. 8, Clinton wins with women, beating Sanders by 14 points.

But Sanders beats Clinton with Iowa male likely caucusgoers by 21 points.

“Sanders and Biden have a higher net favorability rating than Clinton and higher ratings for honesty and empathy,” a Quinnipiac news release said Thursday morning. “Clinton has the best scores for leadership and temperament to handle an international crisis.”

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Hillary Clinton Interview Andrea Mitchell

After generally avoiding the press since announcing her candidacy, Hillary Clinton granted interviews over the past several days with the Associated Press, Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC News, and with David Muir of ABC News. My previous posts (here and here) noted that Clinton was continuing to be dishonest in these interviews. As has occurred throughout the coverage of this scandal,, along with other fact check sites, has weighed in to support my criticism of Clinton’s false claims.

In their summary of their report on these recent interviews, More Spin on Clinton Emails, wrote:

Hillary Clinton directly addressed questions in recent interviews about her exclusive use of a personal email account and server to conduct government business as secretary of state. But her answers only reveal part of the story:

  • Clinton said her personal email account was “allowed by the State Department.” It was permitted if work emails were preserved. Federal rules required Clinton to preserve work emails before she left office, but she did not turn over her emails until 21 months after she left office.

  • Clinton said “turning over my server” to the government shows “I have been as transparent as I could” about her emails. But she did so in August after the FBI opened an investigation. In March, she rejected calls to turn over the server to a neutral party, saying “the server will remain private.”

  • Clinton said “everybody in government with whom I emailed knew that I was using a personal email.” But that ignores those — including President Obama — who did not know that she used it exclusively for government business.

Each of these items was discussed in more detail. The most important point continues to be her false statement that what she did was “allowed by the State Department.”

Let’s look at some of the statements that Clinton made in her interviews, beginning with whether her unusual email arrangement was “allowed by the State Department.”

Clinton, Sept. 4: I know why the American people have questions about it. And I want to make sure I answer those questions, starting with the fact that my personal email use was fully above board. It was allowed by the State Department, as they have confirmed.

Clinton Sept. 7: I understand why people have questions and I’m trying to answer as many of those in as many different settings as I can. What I did was allowed by the State Department. It was fully above board.

The campaign cites a rule issued by the National Archives and Records Administration in October 2009 — eight months after Clinton became secretary of state — that said federal agencies may allow the use of personal emails under certain circumstances.

National Archives, Oct. 2, 2009: Agencies that allow employees to send and receive official electronic mail messages using a system not operated by the agency must ensure that Federal records sent or received on such systems are preserved in the appropriate agency recordkeeping system.

At a March 3 press briefing, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf also cited the 2009 NARA rule in saying Clinton apparently complied with the rules.

“As I said, there’s no prohibition on using this kind of email account as long as it’s preserved,” Harf said. “She has taken steps to preserve those records by providing the State Department with the 55,000 pages, so – I’m not a NARA expert, but certainly, it sounds to me like that has been completed.”

Harf is admittedly no NARA expert, but Jason R. Baron is.

Baron, a lawyer at Drinker Biddle and a former director of litigation at the National Archives, told the Senate Judiciary Committee in May that “any employee’s decision to conduct all e-mail correspondence through a private e-mail network, using a address, is inconsistent with long-established policies and practices under the Federal Records Act and NARA regulations governing all federal agencies.”

Also, as we have written, Clinton should have turned over her emails before she left office, but she didn’t.

NARA regulations require federal agencies to maintain an NARA-approved schedule for the disposition of federal records. The State Department Records Disposition Schedule says “incoming and outgoing correspondence and memorandums on substantive U.S. foreign policy issues” should be permanently retained “at the end of the Secretary’s tenure or sooner if necessary.”

Clinton left office Feb. 1, 2013. She did not turn over her emails to the State Department until Dec. 5, 2014, and only after the department in October of that year requested the emails in part to respond to the congressional requests for documents related to the Benghazi attacks on Sept. 11, 2012.

The Clinton campaign has said that she complied with NARA regulations because “more than 90% of those emails should have already been captured in the State Department’s email system before she provided them with paper copies.”

But that assumes that the people receiving an email from Clinton properly preserved the record. Baron, the former director of litigation at NARA, told us for a previous story that Clinton “basically offloaded her burden to others” to preserve her emails. He told us Clinton was out of compliance with the regulations the day she left office.

One last point: The Washington Post Fact Checker wrote that when she was secretary in June 2011 “a cable went out under her signature warning employees to ‘avoid conducting official Department business from your personal e-mail accounts.’ ”

The Clinton campaign noted that that cable was sent after Google disclosed that the Gmail accounts of some government employees were being targeted by hackers originating in China — a situation Clinton described at the time as “very serious.” The cable did not say that the advice was limited to those with Gmail accounts. Asked if the campaign was suggesting that it applied only to Gmail users, Clinton spokesman Josh Schwerin said he was offering “important context” given that the department has said personal email use was permitted under certain circumstances.

It is also notable that quickly dispensed with a statement from a “State Department spokeswoman” who was clearly unfamiliar with the law. Clinton supporters have used this and similar statements from spokesmen who were similarly unfamiliar with the pertinentt laws and regulations to falsely claim that Clinton has been “cleared” by the State Department. It is clear why they take incorrect statements, which hardly clear Clinton of al the violations she committed, and ignore multiple more authoritative sources.

The full article also goes into further detail debunking Clinton’s claim about wanting to get her email out her claim and that everyone knew she was using a private email account.

It is also of interest that after two interviews in which Clinton refused to apologize, she did apologize in the interview with ABC. The New York Times reveals that, as with so much of what Clinton says, this was in response to a focus group. As David Graham points out at The Atlantic, Clinton’s reboot has been bungled:

It’s a bad sign when your presidential campaign needs a reboot. It’s a worse sign when your advisers announce that reboot publicly.

That’s exactly where Hillary Clinton finds herself this week. In an attempt to right what is universally seen as a listing campaign, the Democratic frontrunner is attempting to reassure her supporters, donors, and party—as well as prospective supporters and donors—that she has what it takes to run and win a race. But so far, the hamfisted execution of that reboot suggests that she hasn’t learned enough from the debacle of her 2008 campaign, and it’s hard to imagine that events of the last two days will do much to reassure major donors and party leaders.

He also noted Clinton’s differing answers on the email in these interviews: “The reversal—two almost diametrically opposed answers to the same question in two days—does not suggest a campaign that is confident and has a plan.” He concluded:

But it doesn’t matter how many times James Carville goes on TV to mock the press or warn his fellow Democrats against overreacting to Clinton’s troubles: His fellow Democrats are already alarmed—and her reboot, rather than assuaging their fears, may be making the problem worse.


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Hillary Clinton Apologizes For Private Email But Still Needs To Explain Her Actions

Clinton interview ABC News

After two recent interviews in which Hillary Clinton said she would not apologize for her use of a private server, Clinton has now apologized in an interview with ABC News. The problem for Clinton is that an apology given in the face of considerable criticism for failing to do so hardly reverses the damage done.

Clinton has to say far more than that this was a mistake. She needs to explain why she set up the private server after she had criticized the Bush administration of shredding the Constitution for using private email. She needs to explain why she exclusively used private email when there were clear policies set up against this practice. Exclusively is in bold as this is a key word. Clinton supporters have used statements that private email was allowed to obfuscate the fact that while occasional use of private email was not prohibited, the exclusive use of private email was.

Clinton needs to explain why she did not turn over the email for archiving by the State Department while she was still in office, as required. She needs to explain why she failed to comply with Freedom of Information Act requests for information in her email. She needs to explain why she deleted over half of the email, especially when it has been discovered that email related to Libya and terrorism have been deleted or altered. She also needs to explain why she failed to comply with her agreement to disclose the donors to the Foundation while she was Secretary of State.

An apology (or false claims from some Clinton supporters that she was “cleared” by the State Department) are not going to put an end to the various FOIA suits in progress, the RICO suit which is scheduled to be heard in January, or the investigations into the presence of classified email on her server, which was verified again in a report from The New York Times. Politico reports that John Kerry is appointing a new “czar” at the State Department to improve the problems with transparency created by problems with responding with FOIA requests.

My post on the prior two interviews also contains multiple additional links with background information and confirmation of the accusations against Clinton from fact check sites.

Clinton’s apology appears even less sincere coming after reports of plans from her campaign to try to change Clinton’s image once again. The New York Times noted:

It is not clear whether any of these efforts can help Mrs. Clinton revamp her candidacy and regain momentum amid persistent questions about her use of a private email server at the State Department and an electorate in the early nominating states that seems increasingly captivated by the insurgent candidacy of Mr. Sanders.

Previous attempts to introduce Mrs. Clinton’s softer side to voters have backfired amid criticism that the efforts seemed overly poll tested. This time the strategy will compete with news coverage on the latest developments over her email.

The New Clinton appears as phony as The New Nixon. Earlier in the day Rick Klein of ABC News provided this analysis:

Here’s the thing about Hillary Clinton reinventions and new directions: They’ve all been tried before. The latest, per The New York Times, will feature more spontaneity (the scripted kind?), a touch of extra authenticity, and highlight her potential to make history. All worthy goals, though a quarter century in public life and a previous, epic run for president have made surprises harder to achieve than good Chipotle takeout. But she does have some advantages built in that work post-Labor Day. First, having more actual interactions with voters, and having smart reporters ask insightful questions of her, can produce the kinds of moments Clinton needs to produce some excitement. And second, real competition can help. The heating up of the Democratic race can show passions that Clinton backers want to see. If not, there is time left for new directions, again.

Update: Debunks Clinton’s Claims In Recent Interviews About Email Scandal

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Hillary Clinton Again Evaded The Truth On Email Scandal In Two Interviews Around Labor Day Weekend

Hillary Clinton Interview Andrea Mitchell

Hillary Clinton granted two interviews around the Labor Day weekend and was again faced with questions regarding the email scandal.This includes an interview with the Associated Press on Monday and an interview with Andrea Mitchell late last week. In both interviews she declined to apologize for her actions other than for a rather backhanded comment to Andrea Mitchell that, “I am sorry that this has been confusing to people and has raised a lot of questions.”

Andrea Mitchell conducted by far the better of the two interviews, often challenging Clinton’s false claims which were accepted in the AP interview. The most complete transcript I could find of the interview with Andrea Mitchell at time of writing this post is available here.

Early in the interview Clinton again repeated the false claim that what she had done was allowed:

First of all, are you sorry? Do you want to apologize to the American people for the choice you made?

HRC: Well, it certainly wasn’t the best choice.

And I have said that, and I will continue to say that.

As I’ve also said many times, it was allowed, and it was completely above board. The people in the government knew I was using a personal account.

But it would’ve been better if I had two separate accounts to begin with.  And certainly I’m doing everything I can now to be as transparent about what I did have on my work-related e-mails.

I think, you know, they will be coming out. I wish it were a little bit faster. It’s frustrating that it’s taking a while. But there’s a process that has to be followed.

This claim was immediately disputed by Mitchell:

AM:Well since 1995, the State Department Foreign Affairs manual said that all e-mails, all records had to be preserved. In 2005, the manual was updated to say, “Sensitive but unclassified information should not be transmitted through personal e-mail accounts.”
Eight months after you took office, the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations was updated to say that agencies that allow employees to send and receive official electronic e-mail messages using a system not operated by the agency must ensure that federal records sent or received on such existing systems are preserved by the appropriate agency recording system.

So there were a lot of advisories. No laws, correct. But a lot of advisories, written White House guidance, against using personal e-mail, and especially using personal e-mail exclusively.

You say – just now, you said – people in the government knew you used personal e-mail. The recent e-mails that were released indicated the the help desk at the State Department didn’t know. They couldn’t recognize what your e-mail address was

Fact check sites have also debunked this claim from Clinton whenever she made it, including after her interview with CNN. This includes both and The Washington Post Fact Checker, which  gave Clinton Three Pinoccios for her statement that “everything I did [on e-mails] was permitted.” Previously the top Freedom of Information Act official at the Justice Department stated that Clinton was in violation of the rules.

Clinton also said, “I wish it were a little bit faster” in response to the release of her email. She has frequently made such misleading comments to suggest that she has wanted her email to be released after initially trying to prevent the release. If she was concerned about speed, she might have also turned over the electronic version of her email as opposed to printing it out and forcing the State Department to rescan the documents. The manner in which Clinton did release the email did make it easier to hide alterations. Clinton similarly was deceitful in talking about turning over the server in the AP interview, with Clinton refusing to turn it over until she had no real choice with the FBI beginning its investigation.

Clinton continued to give misleading answers to questions, which very well might have promoted Mitchell to point out in a subsequent question:

There was a Quinnipiac – and I know this poll was everyone, Republicans and Democrats – but the first words that came to mind when asked about you were “liar,” “untrustworthy,” “crooked.”

Mitchell later asked Clinton about the over 30,000 emails which were deleted. Clinton repeated her claim that they were personal, but it has already been found that email related to Libya and terrorism had been deleted or altered.

Mitchell asked Clinton about the classified email which has been found on her system, with Clinton again giving a misleading answer:  “And has been confirmed repeatedly by the Inspectors General over and over, I did not send or receive any material marked classified.” This has not been confirmed at all, with the Inspectors General requesting that the FBI investigate the matter. It has been revealed that there were 213 classified emails in the email reviewed so far, with two emails labeled top secret. It is not yet known how many were labeled classified at the time, but as Secretary of State, Clinton was responsible for knowing what information should be classified regardless of whether it was labeled as classified when she sent the information.

Mitchell debunked Clinton’s frequently used defense that Colin Powell did the same thing:

AM: You have said that Colin Powell did the same thing. He actually had a personal e-mail and a State .gov official e-mail system.

So he didn’t just rely on a personal system. I don’t think there’s any precedent for someone just relying on a personal e-mail system at your level of government.

Mitchell asked about the decision to use a personal server:

AM: Did anyone in your inner circle say, “This is not a good idea. Let’s not do this”

HRC: You know, I was not thinking a lot when I got in. There was so much work to be done. We had so many problems around the world.

I didn’t really stop and think, “What kind of e-mail system will there be?”

This answer is as hard to believe as her earlier (and subsequently debunked) claim that she did this for convenience. The use of private email was a major scandal in the later years of the Bush administration. Clinton herself had attacked the Bush administration over this in 2007:

Our Constitution is being shredded. We know about the secret wiretaps, the secret military tribunals, the secret White House email accounts. It’s a stunning record of secrecy and corruption, of cronyism run amok. It is everything our founders were afraid of, everything our Constitution was designed to prevent.

Clinton again made an issue of the “secret White House email accounts” in 2008 when running for the nomination. In response to the Bush email scandal, the Obama administration instituted new rules to provide for greater transparency. It makes no sense to say she just didn’t think about it when the Obama administration was sending out advisories and working on new policies regarding this.

Andrea Mitchell then asked, “Does it raise judgment questions?”While Clinton denied it, the entire scandal shows a profound lack of judgment even beyond the violations of several government policies. Knowing that this was a scandal before she took office, she should have realized that it would ultimately come out that she was going even further than the Bush administration in violating basic principles of government transparency.

The email scandal is not going to go away with these deceitful answers from Clinton. While on the Rachel Maddow show talking about the interview, Andrew Mitchell pointed out that the Obama White House was surprised by her exclusive use of private email. Tom Brokaw, who investigated the Watergate scandal earlier in his career, was also not fooled by Clinton’s answers and stated on Meet the Press:

She’s made some huge mistakes in my judgment. And that wonderful interview that Andrea initiated, and typically of Andrea she went right after the issue, when she said, I didn’t think about the effect of e-mail, I was stunned. I mean, we were deep into the digital age at that point. She’s Secretary of State.

If the Democrats are foolish enough to give the nomination to Hillary Clinton, coverage of the campaign will continue to be dominated by questions about Clinton’s honesty and judgment.

Update: Hillary Clinton Apologizes For Private Email But Still Needs To Explain Her Actions
Update II: Debunks Clinton’s Claims In Recent Interviews About Email Scandal

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