Toward the end of her lightly watched MSNBC-hosted debate in New Hampshire against Bernie Sanders last night, Hillary Clinton addressed the email scandal, saying she’s certain the issue will not derail her campaign.
She cited the State Department’s recent finding that Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice also received a small handful of classified emails while they were secretaries of state in an attempt to downplay the more than 1,600 classified emails found on her private server. But first she compared the email scandal to Benghazi, which, in her telling, she successfully mitigated when she vanquished the vast right-wing conspiracy during her testimony before Congress last year.
“Before it was emails, it was Benghazi,” she scoffed. “And the Republicans were stirring up so much — uh– controversy about that, and I testified for eleven hours, answered their questions…. They basically said, ‘yep — didn’t get her. We tried.’ That was all a political ploy.”
“Now we had a development in the email controversy when it came out that Secretary Powell and close aides to Secretary Rice used private email accounts, and now you have these same people in the government who are doing the same thing to Secretary Powell and Secretary Rice’s aides, they’ve been doing to me! Which is — I never sent or received any classified material. They are retroactively classifying it!” she exclaimed with great animation. “I agree with Secretary Powell who said earlier today, ‘this is an absurdity!'” She added, “I have absolutely no concerns about it whatsoever!” to rousing cheers from the MSNBC audience. Later she assured debate moderator Chuck Todd that she is “100 percent confident” the FBI probe will fizzle.
It’s worth noting that Hillary’s seeming overconfidence in the matter follows comments made by both President Barack Obama and his chief spokesman in recent months. Via Fox News:
Last fall, Obama said in a TV interview he doesn’t think her practices posed a “national security problem.” And in late January, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, asked about the possibility of an indictment in the Clinton email case, said the case does not seem to be headed in that direction.
After that comment, a law enforcement source close to the Justice Department investigation pushed back, telling Fox News the probe was still ongoing and a decision had not been made.
In fact, Fox’s Catherine Herridge said last week on On the Record with Greta Van Susteren that her contacts in the FBI and DOJ were “super pissed off” at what White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest had to say about Hillary Clinton’s email controversy. Today, Herridge reported that “critics are blasting Hillary Clinton” for bringing up the Rice and Powell emails in an attempt to muddy the waters of the FBI investigation.
“The attempt to paint her predecessors in the State Department as equal offenders in mishandling classified material is an insult to what we now know to be the truth,” Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said in a statement Thursday, calling the argument an “everybody did it” defense.
And as Herridge explains, “the dozen emails reportedly connected to those cases represent a fraction of the more than 1,600 now-classified emails found on Clinton’s server.” Plus, she is the only secretary of state who set up a private, “homebrew” server for all of her work-related emails.
“We’re talking apples and oranges here,” the National Journal’s Ron Fournier told Fox News.
“Official investigations have confirmed that Secretary Clinton’s unsecure server stored more than 1,000 emails containing classified information, including some classified at the very highest levels,” Issa said in his statement, put out earlier Thursday. “Her guarantee to the nation that the number was zero now seems more like desperation than news cycle spin.”
It’s entirely typical of the Clintons’ customary tactics, however — “Everybody does it!” — and it was plenty good enough for the MSNBC audience. Of course.