Hillary Clinton email scandal “worse than Watergate”

November 1, 2016 1:00 pm
Donald Trump has leapt on fresh revelations in Hillary Clinton’s email scandal, doubling down on his claim the drama is “worse than Watergate”.
the FBI is investigating a new set of emails, found on a laptop used by one of the Democratic nominee’s top aides, has thrown a grenade into her camp before the final week of campaigning.
With scant detail released on the emails’ significance, political commentators and campaigners are in overdrive speculating on their contents and making wild accusations.
Trump’s people say Clinton is unfit to be president. Clinton’s team have turned on Bureau chief James Comey, saying his decision to publicise the discovery without more information so close to the election violates his duty to remain bipartisan.
Meanwhile, CNN contributor Donna Brazile resigned after separate emails she sent to Clinton’s chairman were released by Wikileaks, showing she passed the candidate information on questions ahead of a debate and town hall meeting.

Here’s why the emails are important and what they mean in terms of trust for the potential future president.It’s hardly “cutting through the noise” of the campaign, something the Democratic candidate had hoped to achieve in the run-up to polling day.

THE NEW EMAILS

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None of the new emails were to or from Clinton, a law enforcement official told Newsweek, and there is no indication she withheld them during the investigation into her use of email as Secretary of State.
The FBI found the 650,000 messages on a laptop seized as part of an investigation into disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner sexting a 15-year-old girl.
Weiner is the estranged husband of Clinton’s gatekeeper and “second daughter” Huma Abedin, who apparently used the computer to print out emails for her boss to read.
Comey revealed the discovery in a letter on Friday, after the Bureau said in July it had completed its investigation into Clinton’s use of a private server to handle official emails.
If any of the documents found on the laptop were classified, Abedin could be judged to have mishandled them, but she will only have committed a crime if it can be shown she intended to disclose the contents or knew she was mishandling the information.

THE OLD EMAILS

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has been using the latest revelations to his advantage as the campaign enters its final week. Photo / AP

The original investigation was completed in July after none of the emails found on Clinton’s private server in the basement of her home were found to have compromised state security.
Classified government documents typically aren’t shared by email but discussed in enclosed areas known as SCIFS (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities), sent via courier or through other secure forms of communication.
But the scandal still leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
Timothy Naftali, founding director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Museum, told the New York Times the State Department under Clinton appeared too well run for incompetence to be the sole reason for the email bungle, and “the public deserves a better explanation.”
Clinton had the authority to determine the classification of most of her own communication but not that of the CIA, White House or other agencies who could have emailed her.
Instead of allowing State Department archivists to review her email, she kept it all and returned only what her representatives decided was official.
Perhaps she didn’t trust civil servants to maintain her privacy, suggests Associate Professor Naftali, but her actions risked the jobs of staff close to her who may have known what she was doing.
Five individuals were eventually granted immunity by the Justice Department.

‘DARKEST MOMENT IN FBI HISTORY’

Photo / AP

Unless the FBI finds evidence Clinton deliberately tried to expose the American public, the scandal is unlikely to result in any criminal conviction.
But while state security may not have been exposed, and emailgate may not be Watergate, it doesn’t paint the Democratic nominee in the best light.
Her biggest problem in this campaign has been that many voters see her as untrustworthy, part of an elite ruling dynasty and someone who doesn’t think the rules apply to them.
Clinton’s use of a private email server for official emails suggests an arrogance and lack of caution – something she was also accused of in relation to meetings with top Clinton Foundation donors when she was Secretary of State.
Even if her actions weren’t malicious or ethically compromised, it is up to a president to behave in a way that is demonstrably unimpeachable.
The fact her lead over Trump has narrowed in the wake of the latest revelations shows the public wants reassurance.
If Trump now wins, Democrats will say the election result was unfair on the basis of Comey’s revelations. If Clinton wins, Republicans have already said they will insist on further investigation into why the email scandal wasn’t further explored by the FBI.
It could go down in history as one of “thedarkest moments in the bureau’s history”, according to Newsweek.
Not only has a supposedly impartial institution been dragged into this nasty election campaign, but America’s future leadership looks doomed.

Hillary Clinton forcefully challenged the FBI’s new email inquiry, declaring during a campaign rally in the battleground state of Ohio: “There’s no case here.”
Clinton’s comments were her most pointed yet on the subject, and they underscored her campaign’s decision to fight back aggressively against FBI Director James Comey.
Last weekend – just over a week from Election Day – Comey alerted Congress that the FBI has obtained new material that may be related to its dormant investigation into whether classified information passed through Clinton’s private email server while she served as Secretary of State.The FBI plans to review the emails to see if they contain classified information and if so, whether they were handled properly. The Justice Department said today it would “dedicate all necessary resources” to concluding the review promptly.

She said that if the bureau wants to look at the emails, which appear tied to her longtime aide Huma Abedin, “by all means, they should look at them”.Clinton accused the FBI of having jumped into the election “with no evidence of any wrongdoing with just days to go”.
But she insisted the FBI would reach the same conclusion it did earlier this year, when it declined to recommend Clinton and her advisers face charges for how they handled classified information.
“They said it wasn’t even a close call,” she said.
“I think most people have decided a long time ago what they think about all of this.”
The investigation appears to centre on a laptop belonging to Anthony Weiner, the disgraced former Congressman and Abedin’s estranged husband.
It’s unclear whether the material on the device was from Clinton. It’s also not known if the emails in question are new or duplicates of the thousands the former Secretary of State and her aides have already turned over.


In another sign of the Clinton campaign’s escalating feud with Comey, her advisers leapt on a CNBC report that the director opposed releasing information close to election day about Russian interference in the White House race.
Campaign manager Robby Mook called the report evidence of a “blatant double standard”.
The AP has not confirmed that report, and the FBI declined to comment on it today. Intelligence agencies have linked Russia to the hacking of Democratic groups during the campaign. Clinton has charged the Kremlin is trying to tilt the election in favour of Donald Trump and has questioned the Republican’s financial ties to Russia.
The Obama Administration delayed for weeks formally blaming Russia because of sensitive negotiations that were taking place with Moscow at the time over Syria, according to people familiar with the investigation. Even hawkish officials within the Justice Department who were urging an announcement blaming Russia did not object to waiting for those negotiations to conclude.


When the Syria talks collapsed in failure, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Homeland Security Department released a joint statement accusing Russia of the hacking.
Clinton’s advisers were stunned by Comey’s decision to publicly alert Congress that the bureau had new information that could be pertinent to its initial email investigation. Comey’s letter was short on detail, infuriating the Clinton campaign, which accused him of leaving the situation open to inaccurate interpretations.
Trump has seized on the FBI review, gleeful over getting a new opportunity to hammer Clinton’s trustworthiness and perhaps change the trajectory of a race that appeared to be slipping away from him.
Today, Clinton tried to refocus the contest on Trump as she opened the final full week of campaigning with a rally at Kent State University.
She’s blasted Trump at length for being unfit to serve as commander in chief, bringing together several of the charges she has leveled against him throughout the campaign.


Speaking in serious tones, Clinton warned at length about putting Trump in control of the nation’s nuclear stockpiles. She accused him of talking “casually” about nuclear war and wondered whether he knows “that a single nuclear warhead can kill millions of people”.
Clinton’s message was amplified by Bruce Blair, a former intercontinental ballistic missile launch control officer. Blair said he would “live in constant fear” of Trump making a bad call about nuclear weapons if he were still a launch officer.
Clinton’s blistering warnings about Trump’s preparedness for the Oval Office were an attempt to refocus the choice in front of voters after a rough stretch for her campaign.
Her team has long accepted that many voters simply don’t trust the former Secretary of State, but they believe she is viewed as more qualified than Trump to be president – an assertion backed up by many public opinion polls.
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