Politics & Policy

House Dem: Clinton May Have ‘Disqualified Herself’ With E-Mail Scandal

(Win McNamee/Getty)

A House Democrat thinks that Hillary Clinton’s e-mail server scandal has the potential to ruin her political career.

“I think if she intentionally misled or lied to the American people and did something that was clearly against the rules, and knowingly did it against the rules, if that is the ultimate conclusion, then I think she has disqualified herself,” Representative John Yarmuth (D., Ky.) told a local political reporter. Yarmuth endorsed then-Senator Barack Obama in his 2008 presidential bid against Clinton. “I’m not saying she is more divisive,” he said at the time. “[But] she is less capable of bridging the gap in the country.”

Clinton denied ever violating the rules about how to handle classified material in March. “I did not e-mail any classified material to anyone on my e-mail,” she told reporters. “There is no classified material.

The intelligence community inspector general’s office has flagged over 300 e-mails that may contain classified information — including at least two that contained “top secret” informationprompting Clinton to modify that denial. “’I did not send classified material. And I did not receive any material that was marked or designated classified — which is the way you know whether something is [classified],” she said Tuesday.

In keeping with that new theme, Clinton’s spokesman described her as a “passive recipient of unwitting information that subsequently became classified” during a conference call with reporters Wednesday.

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That represents another shift from her March press conference, when she said, “I’m certainly well-aware of the classification requirements and did not send classified material.”

Former National Security Agency official John Schindler argues that the law holds Clinton to a higher standard. “There is no doubt that she, or someone on her State Department staff, violated federal law by putting TOP SECRET//SI information on an unclassified system,” Schindler wrote in The Daily Beast:

Claims that they ‘didn’t know’ such information was highly classified do not hold water and are irrelevant. It strains belief that anybody with clearances didn’t recognize that NSA information, which is loaded with classification markings, was signals intelligence, or SIGINT. It’s possible that the classified information found in Clinton’s e-mail trove wasn’t marked as such. But if that classification notice was omitted, it wasn’t the U.S. intelligence community that took such markings away. Moreover, anybody holding security clearances has already assumed the responsibility for handling it properly.

— Joel Gehrke is a political reporter for National Review.

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