Hillary Clinton's e-mails
The Economist July 9th 2016
Notes on a scandal
The Democratic nominee needs to change the way she operates
THE former secretary of state and her colleagues were "extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information". Hillary Clinton, who in August said she "did not send classified material", in fact used her home-brew IT system in eight e-mail chains containing material that someone in her position should have known was classified top-secret. There was no direct evidence that her own e-mail account was compromised, but she sent and received e-mails in "the territory of sophisticated adversaries" and the accounts of some people with whom she corresponded were indeed hacked, opening a possible route for foreign spies into Mrs Clinton's in-box. Delivering his verdict on a year-long investigation, the BFI's director, James Comey, sounded like someone who waylaying out the case for the prosecution.
It turned out that Mrs Clinton will not be charged - because Mr Comey concluded that her mistakes were neither intentional nor the result of malice towards the United States, and because the attorney-general, Loretta Lynch, said that she would follow the BFI's lead. In legal terms, the matter is closed. At one level, that is a relief. An indictment might have shifted the odds of winning the presidential race decisively in favour of Donald Ihimp.
In terms of Mrs Clinton's character; however, the matter is very much open and it is troubling.
Mr Trump's awfulness does not excuse Mrs Clinton's shiftiness.
Were she an aspiring staffer on the National Security Council, her career would now be over. Were she an ambassador awaiting confirmation, the Senate would reject her. America classifies too much information, admittedly, but much of it is classified for a reason: in some cases, to protect the identities of people who spy for America.
Whatever caused Mrs Clinton to bend the rules, whether it was convenience, an it flub or an active desire to keep her e-mail archive away from congressional subpoenas, her actions deserve condemnation.
This poses a risk to the campaign.
Mrs Clinton is running for office on the grounds of being competent, responsible and prudent - the polar opposite of Mr Trump. To act carelessly and rashly was reckless. To appear reluctant to acknowledge her error, and then to have been found by Mr Comey to be wrong about the details, was unworthy of her.
Shortly after the primary campaign, the last time a pollster asked the question, Americans were more likely to call Mr Trump than Mrs Clinton honest and trustworthy. The numbers on voting intentions have been stable since the primaries concluded. Mrs Clinton has enjoyed an advantage of about five percentage points in the popular vote. Some believe that Mrs Clinton's numbers on trust are so poor that they cannot go much lower. Because of her foolish misconduct, that proposition will now be tested.
The scandal ought to influence how Mrs Clinton runs her White House, if she does indeed find herself occupying the Oval Office in January next year. The temptations there will be different: plenty of people will be looking after her smart-phones and e-mail servers. But when it comes to policing grey areas such as fundraising, the informal access granted to old friends, or the revolving-door from influence to employment and back again that White House staffers pass through, Mrs Clinton needs someone nearby who is not of her tribe. Whoever it is must impress on her and her entourage that in politics, the appearance of impropriety can cause as much harm as impropriety itself. Unfortunately, there is a lot of evidence that this is something Mrs Clinton tends to overlook. ■
I THINK THE ABOVE IS A PRETTY FAIR SUMMATION OF THIS PROBLEM FOR MRS. CLINTON. HER HUSBAND'S SEXUAL MISCONDUCT WHILE PRESIDENT COULD BE VIEWED AS A PERSONAL MISCONDUCT WITHIN A THREE PARTY TRIANGLE, BUT HILLARY'S DUMB MISTAKE WITH EMAILS COULD EFFECT THE WHOLE COUNTRY.
WILL DONALD TRUMP TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS GROSS MISTAKE BY HILLARY? YES….. PROBABLY HE WILL, AS I BELIEVE WE SHALL SEE THIS RUN FOR PRESIDENT AS ONE OF THE MOST HEATED EMOTIONAL RUNS TO VOTING DAY, MAYBE THE MOST FIRE-BREATHING EMOTIONAL RUNS EVER.
DESPITE HILLARY'S EMAIL FUMBLE SHE HAS BEEN GIVEN THE CHANCE TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT; IF SHE STICKS TO THE ARENA OF WHAT SHE BELIEVES SHE CAN DO FOR THE COUNTRY, WHAT THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY [WITH BERNIE SANDERS THE SO-CALLED "SOCIALIST" NOW ON THER SIDE] CAN DO FOR THE COUNTRY - SHE CAN STAY CLEAR OF TRUMP'S SIDE-SWIPE ON THE EMAIL, BUT IF SHE STRAYS FROM PLAYING THE "GOOD" HER PARTY CAN DO, YOU CAN BET TRUMP WILL BE THROWING THE JAVELIN LIKE BEING IN THE OLYMPIC GAMES.
IF BOTH PARTIES STICK TO A CLEAN GAME OF POLITICS IT WILL PROBABLY BE TOO CLOSE TO CALL, UNTIL THE VOTING DAY DECIDES WHO WILL LIVE IN THE WHITE HOUSE.