Hillary Clinton agreed to a brief interview on the stinging rebuke found in the Inspector General Report that we discussed yesterday. The interview lacks questions on most of the contradictions that we discussed and Clinton insists that the report actually vindicates her — a truly breathtaking spin. Unfortunately, the reporter seemed to move as quickly as possible away from the report to turn to Donald Trump — with no follow up questions. However, there is a far more intriguing issue raised by the emails discussed in the report. Some of the emails revealed that Clinton believed that her personal, unsecure server had been hacked and she stated her desire to use a separate system to protect her personal emails from review — both serious contradictions to prior statements. Yet, the November 2010 reportedly was not among those turned over to the State Department. Indeed, at least three emails had not been seen before. Clinton previously insisted that all work related emails were turned over while her staff deleted personal emails.
Now 14 months later, the concerns over the criteria and motivations of the Clinton staff in deleting emails have been magnified since these emails were clearly work related. They appear to have come from the four former top Clinton aides after the State Department reconstructed communications lost by the prior deletions. It is not clear why (if these emails were not turned over) the State Department did not address their deletions or withholding in the Clinton emails.
What is particularly concerning are the prior demands for production from the Senate. Senate investigators say that they were never given these highly material emails. Thus, even though they would feature prominently in the State Department report, they were never turned over to the Senate. So there is the question of whether Clinton turned over the emails to the State Department and the additional question of why the emails were not turned over to Congress.
The emails were from one of the four key aides: Clinton’s former chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, and top aides Huma Abedin, Jake Sullivan and Philippe Reines. Abedin authored the key email in November 2010 that provoked Clinton’s concerns about outsiders obtaining her personal emails. Clinton tried to send the email to all department employees but it was blocked by the spam filter because she was using a personal server. Abedin suggested using an official email or make her private address available to the agency. Clinton said that she didn’t want “any risk of the personal being accessible.” Clinton never agreed to use an official State Department address despite being told of the risks of using private emails.
The “mystery emails” have caused a stir in the Senate and some media.
Update: the State Department is now saying that it does not know why the emails were not included in those turned over by Clinton. That is a rather matter-of-fact admission given the representation that all work-related emails were turned over and not deleted. That would also be a serious violation of the rules governing federal records. Yet, there appears little follow up by reporters on the issue and a surprising failure of the State Department to raise the question of whether the emails were “scrubbed” by Clinton staffers to delete such potentially incriminating or embarrassing emails.