Update 8:21 p.m. Aug. 11: News broke Tuesday night that Clinton had two classified "top secret" e-mails on her private server and that her attorney has turned over the server and a thumb drive to the FBI. The below post, which we are re-upping, is from Monday.
Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton made a calculated move over the weekend to put the questions and controversy about a private e-mail account and server she used as Secretary of State to rest. As the Post's Roz Helderman writes:
Clinton....signed a statement over the weekend declaring “under penalty of perjury” that she has turned over to the government all of the e-mails that were federal records....
....In a statement that begins, “I, Hillary Rodham Clinton, declare under penalty of perjury that the following is true and correct,” Clinton also acknowledges that her top aide, Huma Abedin, used an account on the same private domain for public business. She states that another aide, Cheryl Mills, did not use the @clintonemail.com domain.
This the ultimate trump card for Clinton to play in the months-long back and forth about how (and why) Clinton maintained a private server and e-mail address -- the first Secretary of State to ever do so. By signing a pledge that puts her in genuine legal jeopardy if she is proven to be lying, Clinton believes that she will effectively end the active debate about whether she properly protected her e-mails and whether she turned over everything that was at all work-related to the State Department.
Would she do all of that if there was ANY doubt in her mind that her e-mail inbox had been appropriately sorted between business and personal, her supporters will ask, rhetorically. She has gone above and beyond to make clear there is no wrongdoing here, they will note.
To which I say: It won't matter much. The Clinton e-mail story isn't going away no matter how many statements Clinton submits about what she knew when. Here's why, explained in one pie chart.
Clinton deleted more e-mails than she turned over. And, the process by which she decided which e-mails were entirely personal -- and, therefore, could be deleted -- remains relatively opaque. We know that these are the four criteria Clinton's office used to decide which e-mails to turn over:
1. Any e-mail sent to or received from an address including ".gov" was included.
2. The e-mail set was searched for the first and last name of 100 State Department employees and government officials. Any matches were reviewed.
3. All of the other e-mails were reviewed to evaluate the sender and recipient, in case of typos.
4. All of the e-mails were searched for specific terms, including "Libya" and "Benghazi."
But, we don't know a) who led this process b) how many people were involved in it c) whether Clinton herself was involved in it or d) whether any one person actually read all of the e-mails. What we do know is that people on Clinton's payroll were in charge of deciding which e-mails to turn over to the State Department and which to permanently delete. And, let me emphasize again, that we are talking about 31,380 e-mails that will never, ever be seen again -- barring a stroke of amazing luck.
So, it's impossible to prove Clinton wrong here. The e-mails that might raise questions about whether she turned over everything that had anything to do with State Department business are all gone. Deleted. Never to be seen again. Even if she -- or whoever made the final call on what to turn over to State -- made an innocent mistake and deleted, say, 10 e-mails that had to do with official business, we will simply never know.
That fact means that Republicans won't ever give up attacking Clinton on the e-mail issue. And, politically speaking, that makes all the sense in the world.