Home 2016 elections No, We Really Shouldn’t Care About Hillary Clinton’s “Damn Emails.” And No,...

No, We Really Shouldn’t Care About Hillary Clinton’s “Damn Emails.” And No, She Didn’t Break Any Law.


I like and respect Charlottesville-based radio/TV host Coy Barefoot a great deal, and I usually agree with him, often strongly. But not this time. On his Facebook wall, Barefoot commented: “IF ANYONE ELSE at State or at the FBI or the CIA or the Pentagon had done what Hillary Clinton did— using a private email server to transfer and store sensitive, classified information— they’d be in prison. that’s a fact.” Uhhhhh…no. Just no. But don’t take my word for it; here’s the brilliant response from constitutional lawyer Lloyd Snook, which I think pretty much covers it anyone brings up Hillary Clinton’s “damn emails” (as Bernie says). Bolding added by me for emphasis.

I am no Hillary apologist, but here is a question for you — what crime could anyone prove that she committed? It is not a crime to maintain a private e-mail server. Whether it is wise is one thing; whether it is a crime is another thing entirely. It has been suggested that she has committed obstruction of justice, but rarely has anyone explained how. The theory would have to be that she destroyed e-mails rather than give them up, but that is only a crime if the e-mails themselves can be shown to be evidence of a crime, AND that at the time they were destroyed, SHE KNEW that they were or were likely to be evidence of a crime AND she destroyed them for that purpose. If she destroyed the e-mails to prevent voters from knowing her private connections to persons and organizations that her Department was doing business with, that wouldn’t violate the obstruction of justice statute, and wouldn’t be a crime at all. You might surmise all you want, but you need proof, and I haven’t seen anything that comes even close.

How about the laws about preserving government records? Sounds promising, until you actually look at the statutes.

The current law on the books for the preservation of official government records is H.R.1233, The Presidential and Federal Records Act Amendments of 2014. This law prohibits the President, Vice President, or any of their immediate staff or advisers (presumably including the Cabinet) from using non-official “electronic messaging” accounts unless that person also either copies a Federal employee in the original email, or forwards that message to the official account of a person covered by that law within 20 days of the sending. The law does not appear to prohibit the use of unofficial accounts by government officials covered by this law, either. It merely appears to dictate what these officials must do to comply with record-keeping needs should they use an unofficial account for communications.

Sounds promising, BUT — the statutory changes were signed into law on November 26, 2014, 2 years after Hillary left office. Those changes were not the law when Hillary was Secretary of State. In fact, those changes were made specifically because Congress recognized that there was no law prohibiting what Hillary did with her e-mail server.

That the great legal scholar Judge Napolitano says that she “arguably” violated the law on “improper storage” of classified information does not persuade me.

Nor does it persuade Bernie Sanders or almost anyone other than Fox “News,” Rush Limbaugh, etc. Just stop this crap already and talk about important stuff, like the fact that our planet is currently in the process of being made uninhabitable.

P.S. Also see Fact Check: Hillary Clinton, Those Emails And The Law, Hillary’s emails ‘not technically illegal’, Were Clinton ‘top secret’ emails illegal? What history tells us about such cases, Fox News Legal Analysts: Hillary Clinton Didn’t Break the Law and Condoleezza Rice Aides, Colin Powell Also Got Classified Info on Personal Emails.

  • Kindler

    The best sign you know someone’s blowing smoke out their rear on this topic is if they compare this situation to that for which David Petraeus was convicted. Petraeus deliberately released classified documents to the woman he was sleeping with, for a favorable biography of him — while he was CIA director! Not even close…

  • Joe Mancini

    Another in the long, long line of “Who killed Vince Foster?” screeds that have harassed and hounded, but not hindered (well, not too much), Hillary over the past two-and-a-half decades. They say, “Why does the FBI have 150+ people working on this case if there’s nothing there?” and the answer is because the Republicans desperately want there to be something there, Jennifer Rubin needs to write her “Woe be unto Hillary!” columns every week, and the right-wing talking points need to be kept in circulation.

    Keep knocking this down, Lowell. Every time my wife starts freaking out over this I show her columns like your and say, “See? Not to worry. No there there.”

  • Threadzilla

    The best sign you know someone’s blowing smoke out their rear on this topic is if they compare this situation to that of former Secys of State Colin Powell and Condi Rice, whose email setups were worlds away from Clinton’s. Who would make such a comparison?

  • Occupational Therapist Thomas

    This opinion-piece blog attempt is sad from any political perspective.

    Not only did she clearly delete emails, which violates the 18 US Code relating to mishandling and removing government data, but she therefor also commit perjury by stating under oath she had turned over all work-related emails.

    This problem isn’t going to disappear for her. It’s going to consume her.