Hillary Clinton’s email scandal has grown into a credible threat to her candidacy. Worse for her, she continues to offer up a defense filled with contemptible excuses, weak explanations and outlandish dodges.
When asked Tuesday if she wiped her entire private email server clean before turning it over to investigators, Clinton responded with a retort suitable for a playground argument.
“Like with a cloth or something?” she asked, while making a wiping motion with her right hand.
It was a snarky answer — don’t tell us the humorless one was trying to employ humor — and it’s received a lot of attention.
But it’s not Clinton’s only try at putting a layer of fog around the personal email account she used while secretary of state. She has let forth a steady stream of nonsense to steer public attention elsewhere.
Here are examples of Clinton misdirection resurrected from its glory days of the 1990s. Some are lame attempts at obfuscation, others are outright lies.
It’s a nonissue trumped up by the vast right-wing conspiracy:
“It’s being turned into a partisan attack connected, unfortunately, with the continuing Republican partisanship over Benghazi, which was a great tragedy and has already been investigated from one side to the other.”
There’s nothing to see here:
“I am confident that I never sent nor received any information that was classified at the time it was sent and received.”
Who’s Huma Abedin?
“It was my practice to communicate with State Department and other government officials on their .gov accounts so those emails would be automatically saved in the State Department system.”
Never mind that story that says Bill has sent only two emails in his life:
“The server contains personal communication from my husband and me.”
What difference does it make now anyway?
“Everything I did was permitted.”
It’s really not all that bad:
“Others had done it.”
Those other devices you saw me with were merely props:
“I opted for convenience to use my personal email account . .. because I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal emails instead of two.”
I’ll do better after I’m elected president:
“It would have been probably, you know, smarter to have used two devices.”
Mixing emails about yoga routines with emails related to national security and high-level international diplomacy is nothing to get worked up about:
“Well, my personal emails are my personal business, right?”
I’m the law around here:
“We went through a painstaking process and turned over 50,000 pages of anything we thought could be work related. Under the law, that decision is made by the official. I was the official. I made those decisions.”
There’s nothing to see here, Part 2:
“Nobody talks to me about it other than you guys.”
They’ll never indict a former first lady and secretary of state, so why not?
“I have directed that all my emails on clintonmail.com in my custody that were or potentially were federal records be provided to the Department of State.”
I plead ignorance about what constitutes classified material. It’s so darn complicated:
“Whether it was a personal account or a government account, I did not send classified material and I did not receive any material that was marked or designated classified, which is the way you know whether something is.”
This is what voters will like to hear:
“Look, I take responsibility.”
This all about someone else’s bad behavior:
“It has nothing to do with me. And it has nothing to do with the fact that my account was personal.”
This is what voters will like to hear, Part 2:
“We are all accountable to the American people to get the facts right. And I will do my part.”
Trust me, this will all blow over:
“So I’m very comfortable that this will eventually get resolved, and the American people will have plenty of time to figure it out.”
It must have been lost in the mail:
“I’ve never had a subpoena.”
You listen to me … :
“I am not a crook.”
OK, she didn’t make that last statement. Not yet, anyway. But there’s always time to employ the Nixon defense, which is usually resorted to when situations get dire.
Give her credit. Clinton has stayed on point. But her situation is quickly approaching that level of desperation. Her thread of lies and deflections is being crushed by the weight of a story that continues to unfold. She can no longer control the flow of information and soon it’s unlikely she will be able to do much about the narrative that is developing.
And now she’s watching her lead for the Democratic nomination shrink. CNN reported Wednesday that “47% of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters say they support Clinton for the party’s nomination,” down nine points since July. It’s “the first time her support has dipped below 50% in national CNN/ORC polling.”
Clinton is free to try to wait out her circumstances with hopes that the public will forget and she’ll be able to regain her lead in the polls. It looks, though, that soon too much damage will have been done.
She should forget the White House and retire to the Clinton compound in Chappaqua, N.Y., where she can spend her free time wiping, washing and polishing the family email server.