The Corner

Politics & Policy


(Yana Paskova/Getty)

Hillary stonewalled and has now outsourced her problem to attack-dog subordinates and Democratic stalwarts who, she believes, have Hillary—or no one—for 2016. I guess the message is “I’m lying, so what?”

Remember Richard Nixon’s vain attempt to keep Watergate tapes because he alone had determined that some were only private in nature and did not relate to government business or subpoenas—and the subsequent reaction to his “gaps.” That is Hillary Clinton’s absurd line of something like “secretary of state privilege,” and thus her press conference could only end in disaster. After all the obfuscation, the only thing that one can take away from this embarrassing performance is that Hillary Clinton envisioned her own personal server for just such contingencies: to trash a large percentage of her incoming and outgoing e-mails after becoming the sole arbitrator of what constituted her own, and her government’s, business, and thus the preserver or destroyer of all her communications.  

Some depressing details:

Hillary used a U.N. forum as a prop to address a private scandal, largely because she assumed the press pool might be a little different and she could suggest that the e-mail scandal was incidental rather than essential to her more important global messaging. But in typical Clinton fashion that gambit proved counter-productive: She inappropriately used the U.N. prop, and the reporters were not necessarily D.C. pets, as she learned when she abruptly cut off their questions.

Then she reviewed her feminist credentials, omitting her own role in gender-pay inequalities, the misogynist nature of the benefactors to her foundation, and, of course, her husband’s recent troubles in regard to feminist issues.

Then she accused Republican senators of either wishing to help the Iranians or to undermine their commander-in-chief. 

That was a warm-up to her defiant replies:

1) She confuses device and account: Many people have one device and two e-mail accounts. In the private sphere, one does not need two devices to have two different e-mail accounts. Teenagers can set up two in 30 seconds. If not, Hillary should make the case that one cannot do that with government accounts and that the problem affected her alone and not others of similar status. When her fable of the one phone/two phone dilemma is reviewed, her veracity will be again questioned, as it will when we learn she still probably used multiple phones like most D.C. grandees do.

2) She seems to think that her dilemma was unique and no other high government official faced the same private/public quandary that required her special solution; if she were correct, then almost any other cabinet member would have had only a personal account with his own private server to conduct all government business. No one apparently has ever had a BlackBerry with a separate government and a private account without a private server.  

3) There will be no third-party adjudicator to determine which of her e-mails were private and which non-private, and those she determined were private are now apparently already destroyed. 

4) She confused, again deliberately, State Department rules. When Hillary refers to “my practice was” that is not the same as the law demands: She seems to think not turning over all her e-mails on her sole account when she left office was okay because the State Department and / or the government in theory could always spend thousands of hours to hunt down all the recipients of her supposedly purely government e-mails. Try that with the government, as for example not paying your taxes on April 15 on the theory that you can always pay when and if the government hunts you down and comes after you and fills out your 1099 for you. 

Her final message? It’s over; get over it; and the messages are destroyed even if you had wanted to have determined that I lied about the private/public divide. What are you going to do—hound the likely next president of the United States? 

What’s next? We are back to 1998–99 where the law does not apply to the Clintons; and if it did, it pales in importance to their progressive efforts on our behalf; and if you doubt it, there are plenty of hirelings who can make  life miserable for you right-wing conspiracists and disbelievers.

Victor Davis Hanson — NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author, most recently, of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won.

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