Clinton’s Email Debacle Could Put Her in Political and Legal Hot Water

Democrats, eager to maintain their grip on the White House, are becoming nervous about the Clinton campaign and their inability to deal with the growing email scandal. Niall Stanage writes for The Hill:

Coupled with new polls that suggest Clinton is vulnerable, Democrats are nearing full-on panic mode.

“I’m not sure they completely understand the credibility they are losing, by the second,” said one Democratic strategist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “At some point this goes from being something you can rationalize away to something that becomes political cancer. And we are getting pretty close to the cancer stage, because this is starting to get ridiculous.”

“Look, this is a classic example of the cover-up being ten times worse than the so-called crime — though in this case there wasn’t a crime,” said another progressive strategist.

“The culture of secrecy that has surrounded the Clintons — understandably in some cases — has now yielded a situation where she did something that wasn’t necessary and looks nefarious.”

Actually, it appears increasingly likely that there was a crime committed, and it looks nefarious because it likely was nefarious, which is exactly why Democrats have good reason to worry.

That said, there is no doubt that Clinton’s response to this fiasco has been absurd. At nearly every turn she has obfuscated the truth, bent the facts to her liking, or outright lied when pressed on the contents of her rogue email server, the information it contained, and her decision to selectively delete certain emails.

In just the latest example, the Clinton camp told the Washington Post that she “did not send nor receive any emails that were marked classified at the time.” But that directly contradicts recent statements from the inspectors general for the intelligence community and the State Department, who have been reviewing the emails Clinton handed over to look for classified information. The IG reviewed a limited sample of 40 of her emails and found that “four contained classified information.”

The IG noted that the emails “were classified when they were sent and are classified now” and noted that “there are potentially hundreds of classified emails within the approximately 30,000 provided by former Secretary Clinton.”

That creates several potential problems for Clinton. First, that means that classified materials were being held in an unauthorized, insecure location, which is against the law. And second, it could mean that Clinton faces further trouble for illegally sending the classified information to her attorney on a thumb drive for safekeeping.

University of Chicago professor Charles Lipson, writing for RealClearPolitics, provides some context as to why this is such a big deal:

Normally, when the intelligence community finds classified materials in unauthorized locations, it seeks felony prosecutions. Gen. David Petraeus was sunk for keeping his own personal calendars in an unlocked drawer at home. The calendars were deemed classified, even if they lacked an official stamp. President Clinton’s CIA Director, John Deutsch, lost his job and security clearance for using his portable computer at home. It had classified material on it. Those violations are trifling compared to Hillary Clinton’s exposure.

With the façade of strength beginning to crumble, Clinton was forced to turn over her emails, a move she had resisted for months.

Since the news broke in March about her use of a rogue server during her tenure as secretary of state, Clinton has repeatedly insisted that she’s turned over all her work-related emails and deleted everything else, but refused to turn over the server to the government. On Tuesday, her stance changed, allowing her attorney to release the server to the Justice Department, a move that prompted Speaker John Boehner to say, “It’s about time.”

The problem is that the email server was apparently wiped clean by Platte River Networks Inc., the firm that managed Clinton’s email since 2013. That could leave the server largely useless unless the FBI’s data forensics team is able to piece together the information.

“The information has been migrated over to a different server for purposes of transition,” Platte‘s lawyer Barbara J. Wells told the Washington Post.

“To my knowledge the data on the old server is not available now on any servers or devices in Platte River Network’s control.”

That smells an awful lot like a cover up, which puts Clinton and Democrats in quite the bind. On the one hand, Clinton’s decision to scrub the files may allow her to avoid a legal snafu, but on the other, it inevitably assures a political disaster.