Those Damn Emails: An Impartial Look at the Latest Clinton Rumors

At the first Democratic presidential debate, Senator Bernie Sanders famously quipped that he was sick of hearing about Hillary Clinton’s “damn emails.” Alas, journalists don’t appear to feel the same way. Seven months later, this maybe-kind-of-sort-of scandal is still scoring headlines.

To be honest, I’ve had difficulty determining whether there’s any merit to these allegations. So many of the sources that claim Clinton will be indicted any day now thanks to this email issue lean right or ultra-left. Are they reporting facts or these articles wishful thinking?

In order to understand whether Clinton’s campaign is really in any danger, I looked for mainstream sources that featured facts rather than spin. Here’s what I discovered:

Procedures werent followed

As a report by FactCheck.org (a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center) details, Clinton took several liberties when setting up her private email server. While she was not forbidden from using a non-government email to conduct government business as Secretary of State, she was required to archive these emails for the record before leaving office. Clinton did not end up handing over these emails for nearly two years after that.

It’s pretty apparent that Clinton didn’t follow all of the rules regarding her government emails. What’s up for debate is whether she skirted a few procedures for the sake of convenience or she had criminal intentions in setting up her emails in this manner.

There’s a lot of conjecture on this question, but so far, there’s no concrete evidence available to the American public to suggest something nefarious was at play.

There is an FBI investigation underway

That said, it’s possible that the FBI has evidence to the contrary since the agency bureau is actively looking into the matter. Agents have already interviewed a handful of Clinton’s top aides, and Clinton herself is expected to be interviewed within the next month. Clinton has said she will gladly cooperate with any of the FBI’s questions.

In the media, Clinton has downplayed the FBI’s probe, referring to it as a mere “security inquiry.” However, at a press conference, FBI Director James Comey revealed that he was, in fact, conducting an actual investigation. “I’m not familiar with the term ‘security inquiry,’” Comey added.

Okay, but would the sitting director of the FBI really come down on a presidential frontrunner? Though nominated to his post by President Barack Obama, Comey is a Republican, it’s hard to say what kind of underlying loyalty (or lack there of) he would have to Clinton.

Emails with Clintons tech guy are unaccounted for

While working for the State Department, Clinton kept an IT aide, Bryan Pagliano, on her own payroll. Pagliano is the man responsible for setting up and maintaining Clinton’s private server.

Via Freedom of Information Act requests, pundits have requested to see archives of Clinton’s emails with Pagliano. Certainly, those would be important messages to look at since her communications with him could indicate whether she was knowingly avoiding state email rules by using a private server.

Somehow, though, all emails between Pagliano and Clinton are missing. Undoubtedly, Clinton sent emails to her own IT staffer at least occasionally, especially since there are accessible archives of her communicating with all of her other aides.

Perhaps there’s a perfectly good explanation, but until that explanation is offered, it’s hard to deny that those missing emails aren’t at least a little suspicious.

We dont know when well know answers

A lot of people care less about what the FBI finds out in its investigation and more about when. If, for example, Clinton were charged with something serious stemming from the emails now, there would still be time for Sanders to secure the Democratic nomination. On the other hand, if Clinton were charged with something serious in October, that could very well hand the election to the Republicans.

Comey is unwilling to offer a timeline and says he will conduct the investigation without much concern for election dates. “You want to do it well and we want to do it promptly,” said Comey. “I feel pressure to do both of those things… I don’t tether to any particular deadline.

In other words, for all we know, this “scandal” could fizzle out as nothing shortly, or blow up massively at a time that’s inconvenient for Democrats. That uncertainty is of no comfort to politically engaged Americans, but that’s the situation at hand.

Inconclusive conclusions

Unfortunately, my research did not produce solid answers. There are a lot of rumors, yet not too many facts from which to work.

At the present anyway, the email situation doesn’t appear like it will disqualify Clinton from running for president in November. Perhaps she’ll get a slap on the wrist for willfully ignoring government email procedures, but given the murky ethics that dominate Washington, D.C., it’s doubtful that her email discretions are anything worse than “politics as usual.”

That’s not to say that an ongoing investigation won’t hurt her in the polls, though. In an election marked by voters of all affiliations looking for candidates who don’t fit the usual political mold, a non-scandal that points to “politics as usual” doesn’t help her image any.

For that reason, don’t expect articles about Clinton’s emails to disappear anytime soon. The facts would just get in the way of the speculation anyway.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

109 comments

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hillabout a year ago

Why do you think that Bill met Lynch's plane? They discussed how to get Hillary out of this! Anyone else would have been indited and prosecuted! Many have been punished for doing far less with our secrets! Who really thinks that the Russians and Chinese did not hack her? There is a reason why the rules say to use the .gov emails! How could anyone vote for someone who can't protect secrets and put them in the White House? NOT me!

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallusabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld1 years ago

Catrin,
Agreed. Let the Bureau proceed, without political interference.,

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Catrin NoForwardsPlease

This needs to be properly investigated and in a timely manner as well.

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Eric Lees
Eric Lees1 years ago

@Glennis Whitney "Why do people keep wanting to throw up SH.T, it is happening with the Australian Elections. Crap happens. Thank you for caring and sharing."

Why? It shows she either intentionally exposed classified communications or she is just that ignorant of technology. Because if a fraction of it's true then it means that Hillary is unfit to hold any type of security clearance.

Which would make it pretty hard to run the USA Empire don't you think?

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Karl S.
Karl S1 years ago

DAVID F.

From what I remember the lady was writing his "memoirs" and was doing it from his bed. If, in fact, she was an officer, her clearance did not come close to that of the head of the CIA. You can carry on about conspiracy theories all you like, the fact is that Patraeus was thinking with his "little head" and gave information that he knew was to be classified, to a person he knew had no clearance to have it. Whether or not that info ever got past her has no bearing on the case. In fact he got off easy.

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Veronica Danie
.1 years ago

Thanks!

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Peggy B.
Peggy B1 years ago

It needs to be accelerated and finished. It's not going away.

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Glennis Whitney
Glennis W1 years ago

Why do people keep wanting to throw up SH.T, it is happening with the Australian Elections. Crap happens. Thank you for caring and sharing.

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Glennis Whitney
Glennis W1 years ago

She is still running to be President, this crap hasn't stopped her. Thank you for caring and sharing.

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