News & Politics

Exasperated Reporter to State Dept. Spox on Hillary Emails: 'Am I Not Speaking English?'

Frustrated reporters struggled in vain Wednesday to get a straight answer out of State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau about the latest batch of Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Judicial Watch released 296 pages of Hillary Clinton’s email records Tuesday as part of its lawsuit against the State Department, including 44 government email exchanges that had not previously been turned over to the State Department. The messages revealed that while in office — and in violation of ethics agreements she agreed to when she was appointed secretary of State — Hillary Clinton interacted with lobbyists, political and Clinton Foundation donors, and business interests. Reporters who asked Trudeau about the possibility of an improper “pay to play” relationship between the Clinton Foundation and Clinton’s State Department were quickly shut down with either vague answers or no answer at all. The hapless spokeswoman repeatedly asserted that the department “regularly talks to a wide range of people” to combat notions that improper cronyism may have taken place. When asked about a specific email chain, she answered repeatedly, “I can’t speak to that.”

Reporters were curious about an email from 2009 that showed Clinton Foundation official Doug Band asking top Clinton aides to give a job to an associate whose name was redacted.

Trudeau dodged when asked why the person’s name could not be shared: “I can’t speak to that,” she said.

“Has the department looked into this and determined that there was no impropriety?” the AP’s Matt Lee asked.

“The department is regularly in touch with people across the whole spectrum,” Trudeau answered weakly.

“That’s not the question!” the exasperated reporter exclaimed. “The question is whether — the building has looked into this and determined that everything is okay –that there was nothing wrong.”

“We feel confident in our ability and our past practice of reaching out to a variety of sources and being responsive,” Trudeau said, again not coming close to answering the question.

“I’m sorry, are you — am I not speaking English?” Lee said irritably. “Is this — I mean, is it coming across as a foreign — I’m not asking you if — no one is saying it’s not OK or it’s bad for the department to get a broad variety of input from different people,” he continued. “The question is whether or not you have determined that there was nothing improper here.”

“We feel confident that all the rules were followed,” said Trudeau, without addressing the question of whether the department had even looked into the problematic situation.

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