Hillary Clinton just can’t catch a break.
The Democrat nominee’s new long march to the White House gets longer by the day. The scandal over her misuse of state secrets via a lawless, do-it-yourself private server seemed to be behind her last month — thanks to the FBI’s and Justice Department’s whitewashing of what looked, to the naked eye, like high crimes.
But Clinton’s initial clean getaway has bogged down into a standoff.
For starters, Clinton’s go-to excuse — “Secretary Powell has admitted he did the same thing,” as she told CNN last March — has crashed and burned. She also has claimed that she installed her private server because her predecessor made her do it.
“Her people have been trying to pin it on me,” Colin Powell told People magazine last Saturday. “The truth is, she was using [the private e-mail server] for a year before I sent her a memo telling her what I did.”
Despite the assertions of Clinton and her allies, Powell never had a private server. He did have a private AOL account, for sending personal messages to friends and loved ones and also to transmit unclassified e-mails to State Department colleagues.
Alas, a grand total of two classified e-mails wound up on Powell’s AOL account, according to the State Department’s inspector general. This compares to zero, each, for secretaries of state Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice.
As for Clinton, her server held 2,113 classified e-mails — literally more than 1,000 times as many as Powell’s AOL account, thus rendering hilarious her assertion that, “We both did the same thing.”
Meanwhile, FBI chief James Comey and Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s absolution of Clinton did not spare her from the federal government’s pesky judicial branch nor the even peskier watchdogs at the conservative law firm Judicial Watch.
The State Department last week agreed to expedite its delivery of all e-mails to and from Clinton that the FBI discovered in its probe of her private, unsecured server. This decision flows directly from Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit before U.S. District Court judge James E. Boasberg, an Obama appointee.
The request for these e-mails spans February 2, 2009 to January 31, 2013, i.e., all but the first twelve days of Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.
Judicial Watch hopes to view what Clinton laughed off as “a few more” new messages on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! last night, namely 14,900 previously unrevealed documents that Clinton sent or received via e-mail. The existence of these records became public yesterday.
Judge Boasberg ordered the State Department to develop a plan to expedite delivery of these materials and present it to him on September 22 — just four days before the first presidential debate between Clinton and Republican nominee Donald J. Trump.
“The American people will now see more of the emails Hillary Clinton tried to hide from them,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton stated. “Simply put, our lawsuits have unraveled Hillary Clinton’s email cover-up.”
In another U.S. District Court, Judge Emmett G. Sullivan, an appointee of former President Bill Clinton, has ordered Hillary Clinton to answer Judicial Watch’s questions in writing, under oath. The group has until October 14 to present its queries, after which she and her brigade of attorneys will have 30 days to submit answers. The Washington, D.C.-based organization tells me that it will ask its questions much sooner. Voters should be able to weigh Judicial Watch’s questions and Clinton’s answers before Election Day.
#share#To assist Judicial Watch’s pending interrogatories, here are 15 sets of questions that Clinton should answer, under penalty of perjury:
1. Among your roughly 55,000 e-mails originally at issue, you claimed that some 30,000 were erased, on your orders, because they were personal. When this scandal first erupted, you said at your March 10, 2015, press conference that these were “e-mails about planning Chelsea’s wedding or my mother’s funeral arrangements, condolence notes to friends,” and similar matters. Most people keep such e-mails as records of major family occasions, both joyous and sorrowful. Why would you erase such communications, given their highly sentimental value?
2. You claimed on March 10, 2015, that you turned over to the State Department “all my emails that could possibly be work-related.” FBI Director Comey revealed on July 5 that, in fact, the Bureau discovered “several thousand” work-related e-mails that you did not deliver to the State Department, as you were required to do under the Federal Records Act. Moreover, on August 22, the FBI reported that 14,900 previously unknown e-mails have surfaced. Why did you not hand over all of these e-mails as you said you did, and as was legally mandated? How many more such e-mails remain under wraps, and when will you surrender them?
3. Did you believe that America’s secrets would be more secure on a computer server in the basement of your home than on one in the basement of the State Department? If so, why? If not, why did you rely on your private server?
4. In your public statements, you claimed to have had one server and one mobile device while secretary of state. FBI Director Comey indicated that, in fact, you “used several different servers” and “mobile devices to send and to read e-mail on that personal domain.” How many private servers did you use, and how many devices did you employ while secretary of state? Why did you lie to the American public about these simple facts?
5. You indicated in your early public statements that you used your private computer server for “convenience.” Please explain why it was so inconvenient to rely on the State Department’s standard operating procedures that you, instead, installed your own private server in the basement of your home in Chappaqua, N.Y., 267 miles northeast of your Washington, D.C. office, paid one or more people to maintain those servers, and then contracted with Denver-based Platte River Networks to remove them from your basement, ship them to a facility in New Jersey, and then erase them. How was this latter approach “convenient”?
6. Did State Department employee Bryan Pagliano maintain the clintonemail.com system? Who else did so, if anyone? Please detail the amounts of money and timing of any payments made to the person or persons who performed these services. What was the source or were the sources of money for these payments? Your personal bank account? President Clinton’s account? The Clinton Foundation? State Department or other federal funds? Other sources? Did Pagliano or any other federal employee(s) perform these or related services on your private system while on duty and serving the American people?
7. Did the staffers, consultants, vendors, attorneys, and others with access to your private servers and devices have security clearance high enough to allow them to see the e-mails that traversed this equipment? If not, why did you grant them such access?
8. You have said that you installed your private system based on the advice of State Department staffers. Who, precisely, provided you this counsel? Given that your private server was installed on the first day of your Senate confirmation hearings, did these State Department employees give you this advice before they had an opportunity to work for you?
9. You repeatedly have said that you never saw or received any e-mails “that were marked classified.” You spent six years as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Given that experience, how could you possibly not recognize classified documents without having to see them marked with the word “classified”?
10. When you received e-mails from U.S. ambassadors, the secretary of defense, the heads of the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency, and other public servants involved in America’s most delicate diplomatic, military, and intelligence activities, how could you possibly think that their official, foreign-policy e-mails were anything but classified, even if they were not so marked?
11. Having seen such sensitive communications — including 113 e-mails that were classified at the time — why did you proceed to forward them via your unsecured, private server?
12. The State Department maintains a secure system through which classified messages pass. In order to transfer classified materials from that system onto a private server, e-mails and other documents must be migrated via thumb drives and similar hardware, or they must be transcribed by hand and then re-typed into non-secure e-mails, such as those found on your server. Did you or any members of your staff use such methods to transfer communications from State’s secure system to your unsecured server? If not, what methods were used to transfer these communications, and who employed them?
#related#13. One or more e-mails on your private server called Iranian nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri “our friend,” apparently because he gave U.S. officials intelligence on Iran’s atomic-weapons program. The Iranian government eventually hanged Amiri for treason. Do you believe that the e-mails in your system that exposed Amiri as an American spy led to his execution? If so, would you take this opportunity to apologize to Mr. Amiri’s family for contributing to his death?
14. Do you now concede that your abuse of these state secrets constitutes felonious gross negligence under the Federal Espionage Act — 18 U.S. Code § 793? If not, why not?
15. Given your grossly negligent, or at least, as FBI Director Comey described it, “extremely careless” handling of classified data, why should the American people trust you to safeguard state secrets if you become president of the United States?
— Deroy Murdock is a New York-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor with National Review Online.
Editor’s Note: This piece has been amended since its initial publication.