Writing in The Atlantic, Yoni Applebaum asserts that “Clinton, and her loyalists, insist that the email probe is a distraction, and that there is no evidence that she deliberately broke any rules, much less violated the law. And so far, those claims have been borne out by each new round of disclosures.”
That assertion is simply and flatly wrong for a number of reasons, some of which I have discussed in detail here.
It is true that, so far, Hillary has not been indicted for violating secrecy and classification laws (though others have been for behavior much less brazen than hers: John Deutsch, Sandy Berger, Gen. Petraeus). But it is also true that possible secrecy/classification criminal violations, though highly serious, are not the beginning and end of the issue, and it is abundantly clear by now that she did indeed break any number of rules and regulations concerning the obligation to preserve public records.
Don’t just take my word for it (but you should at least read what I’ve written, cited above, before rejecting it). Last week in a hearing in one of the several pending lawsuits over Hillary’s attempt to privatize her public record as Secretary of State, U.S. Federal District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan stated tersely that “we wouldn’t be here today if the employee [Mrs. Clinton] had followed government policy.”
My title claims “another” journalist makes mistakes about Hillary’s email. I was thinking of the following letter, dated August 20, that the Washington Post chose not to print:
To the Editor:
In his “5 mistakes Hillary Clinton made in her latest e-mail press conference,” your reporter, Chris Cillizza, makes a whopper himself when he claims that “No neutral observer has suggested that there is any illegality in what Clinton did.”
That is true only if the Inspectors Generals of the State Department and the Intelligence Community, both appointed by President Obama, are not neutral. The referral they recently made to the FBI and the Justice Department “detailing the possible compromise of classified information” at least suggests the possibility of criminal violations.
Mr. Cillizza must also question the neutrality of Dan Metcalfe, who spent more that 25 years as the founding director of the Justice Department’s Office of Information and Privacy. Describing himself in an article he published in Politico over four months ago (“Hillary’s Email Defense Is Laughable: I Should Know — I ran FOIA for the U.S. Government,”) as in effect “the federal government’s chief information-disclosure ‘guru,’” Mr. Metcalfe analyzed in detail Mrs. Clinton’s exclusive use of a private server for her email. He concluded that “I know full well that both what Secretary Clinton arranged to do and what she now has said about that are, to put it most charitably, not what either the law or anything close to candor requires.”
That may not sound “neutral,” but Mr. Metcalfe’s concluding sentence in his March article was, “And I say that even as someone who, if she decides to run for president and is the Democratic nominee, will nevertheless vote for her next year.”
True, these suggestions and accusations of illegality do not come from “neutral” observers. They come from Democrats.
But perhaps it is asking too much to expect journalists to do some research before confirming, as The Atlantic article does, that the claims of “Clinton, and her loyalists, … have been borne out” by the release of some documents that have no bearing whatsoever on the argument that her decision to conduct her official business on her own private server, maintaining complete personal control over the decisions regarding what was public and what was “private,” violated scores of laws, rules, regulations regarding the management and preservation of public records.