Last month, after Hillary Clinton opened up a nice lead over Donald Trump, word was that she planned to win the election by “running out the clock.” Something like this seems also to have been her strategy during her interview with the FBI.
Knowing that the investigation was drawing to a close, and quite possibly knowing via Loretta Lynch or other sources that she was going to skate, Clinton’s approach during the interview was mainly to say that she could not recall important details or specific emails she was questioned about. When “I don’t recall” wouldn’t cut it, e.g., because she was shown a document, Clinton resorted to “I don’t know.” This is what emerges from the FBI’s interview notes that were released today, along with a summary of the bureau’s investigation.
Despite Clinton’s “I don’t recall” approach, the documents released by the FBI contain some pretty startling information. The most significant may be the revelation that Team Clinton began wiping Hillary’s server shortly after the New York Times broke the story that she had one. The wiping occurred in March 2015, years after Clinton left office. Clearly, the emails were deleted because the Times story triggered fears that contents would be revealed.
Moreover, the purge took place just a few weeks after Clinton tweeted that she wanted the public to see her emails. On March 4, 2105 she wrote:
I want the public to see my email. I asked State to release them. They said they will review them for release as soon as possible.
Thus, as David French puts it, publicly, Hillary called for transparency; privately, her team was frantically destroying messages.
The other hugely significant revelation in the FBI’s document release is Clinton’s claim that she didn’t know that the (C) notation on documents she sent and received stood for “classified.” When asked what she thought (C) meant, she speculated that it might have something to do with paragraphs marked in alphabetical order.
Clinton needed to deny knowing what (C) means because if she did know, her intent to send classified information to unauthorized parties could easily be established. Recall that the FBI declined to recommend prosecution on the theory that it could not prove intent.
But Clinton’s claim not to know what (C) means doesn’t pass the straight face test. This is a woman who served for years on the Senate Armed Forces Committee, which regularly handles classified information. She then became one of the highest ranking national security officials in the United States government.
As Andy McCarthy notes, Clinton’s day-to-day responsibilities as Secretary of State involved the handling of classified information. She was designated by the president as “an Original Classification Authority,” meaning that she had the power to determine what information should be classified and at what level. It is impossible to believe that she did not know what classification symbols in classified documents signified.
And what of Clinton’s comical claim that she thought that (C) stood for the third paragraph? There is no (A) or (B) in the documents I’ve seen that were marked (C). Nor do I know of an alphabet that begins with the letter “c.” Here is a woman who will say anything.
If this is the best Clinton can do, the Justice Department shouldn’t have had great difficulty demonstrating to a jury (1) that Clinton intended to send classified material and (2) that Clinton is a liar. I can’t help but think that Comey didn’t prosecute because he didn’t want to, not because he didn’t think he could show intent (a showing that, in any event, the statute does not require the government to make).
For more on what the FBI documents reveal, see McCarthy’s piece. But based on the two points discussed here and the fact, alluded to by Steve, that Hillary had 13 mobile devices but claimed she used the private server so she could just have one device, I concur withScott’s assessment of Hillary Clinton’s relationship with the truth.