Hillary Clinton joked about her private email server and insisted that Benghazi had nothing to do with her record as secretary of State at Iowa’s Democratic Wing Ding Dinner on Friday evening.
“By the way, you may have seen that I recently launched a Snapchat account. I love it. I love it. Those messages disappear all by themselves,” Clinton quipped near the beginning of the dinner.
This past week, the inspector general for the intelligence community determined that there was top secret information in just a minute sampling of the 30,000 emails on her private server turned over to the government. Clinton deleted tens of thousands more, saying they were personal and not work-related.
Clinton told the crowd that “for the past eight years, Republicans and their allies have attacked President Obama with everything they’ve got — now I’m in their crosshairs again.”
“But the real target isn’t me; it’s everything you and I believe in. It’s a progressive agenda that will help hardworking families get ahead. It’s a fairer tax code and tougher regulations on powerful corporations. That’s the fight we’re in,” she said.
“Now, they’ll try to tell you this is about Benghazi, but it’s not. Benghazi was a tragedy. Four dedicated public servants lost their lives, and we have to be focused on how to prevent future tragedies. But let’s be clear: seven exhaustive investigations, including a Republican-controlled House Armed Services Committee and the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee, have already debunked all of the conspiracy theories. It’s not about Benghazi.”
Clinton is scheduled to testify before the House Select Committee on Benghazi in open sessions on Oct. 22, where she’s guaranteed to be grilled before the cameras about her emails.
“You know what? It’s not about emails or servers either. It’s about politics. I will do my part to provide transparency to Americans. That’s why I’m insisting 55,000 pages of my emails be published as soon as possible,” she continued. “I’ve even offered to answer questions for months before Congress. I’ve just provided my server to the Justice Department. But here’s what I won’t do: I won’t get down in the mud with them. I won’t play politics with national security or dishonor the memory of those who we lost. I won’t pretend that this is anything other than what it is – the same old partisan games we’ve seen so many times before.”
Clinton also quipped about the 2008 documentary Hillary: The Movie, produced by Citizens United.
“A group of right-wing operatives made a hit-job film with the goal of stopping a Democrat from taking the White House, and then used shadowy money to promote it… I can tell you, it was no ‘Field of Dreams’ or ‘Bridges of Madison County.’ They took aim at me, but they ended up damaging our entire democracy. We can’t let them pull that same trick again,” she said, vowing to pass a constitutional amendment if necessary to undo the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.
Clinton was joined at the dinner by recently retired Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who has endorsed Hillary.
At one point Clinton started coughing during her speech, and while reaching for water noted, “I’ve been talking too much.”
“Not enough!” an audience member yelled out.
Clinton also gave herself a pat on the back for laying the groundwork for the Iran nuclear deal.
“As Secretary of State, I traveled tens of thousands of miles and twisted a lot of arms to build a global coalition against Iran and impose the most crippling sanctions in history. That pressure delivered a blow to Iran’s economy and gave us the leverage necessary to get to the negotiating table and begin the first preliminary talks,” she said.
“None of us should have any illusions about Iran’s true intentions or its continuing threats to the region, to Israel, to the United States…. This agreement, combined with strong enforcement and deterrence, is the only way to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. There is simply no viable alternative. That is why I strongly support President Obama.”