The White House has backtracked on President Barack Obama’s bold assertion, made on CBS’ “60 Minutes” earlier this week, that Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state did not pose a national security threat.
It was an odd thing to say as the matter is under investigation, and many intelligence experts claim that her email arrangement did pose a huge security risk for the United States.
Obama does have a history of prejudging outcomes of ongoing investigations. In February of 2014, he famously told Fox New’s Bill O’Reilly that there wasn’t a “smidgen of corruption” in the IRS targeting scandal, while the FBI was still investigating.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest was asked Tuesday how the president was able to make such a definitive statement while the FBI was still looking into it. Earnest walked the statement back, saying it was made “based on what we publicly know now.”
“The President was making an observation about what we know so far, which is that Secretary Clinton herself has turned over a bunch of email to the State Department, and the review of that email has garnered some differing assessments about what’s included in there,” Earnest said.
On Fox News Wednesday, national security analyst KT McFarland said that Clinton’s email scandal was a “dilemma” for the White House.
“The president does not want Hillary Clinton to succeed him in the White House but he doesn’t want his fingerprints on getting rid of her,” McFarland told host Bill Hemmer. “So on the one hand he says, ‘well she didn’t endanger national security,’ but he now has three agencies in his own administration investigating her; the Justice Department and the FBI, the Inspector General of the intelligence community, and the Inspector General of the State Department.”
Hemmer asked McFarland if any of those investigations would happen without the president’s approval.
“Not a chance,” she laughed.
KT McFarland, who was deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs under President Ronald Reagan, went on to point out that all the investigations “started happening about the time President Obama talked about a third term.”
“If you want to have fundamental change – which Obama does – you need twelve years to do it. You can’t do it in eight. Eight years gets you there, but twelve years locks you in.”
McFarland wasn’t suggesting that Obama would run for a third term, but that he intends to “control the next president.” She added. “That may not be Hillary Clinton.”