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A.B. Stoddard: Clinton woes far from over

Wow, those stupid remarks House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy made about the Benghazi Committee succeeding in denting Hillary Clinton’s favorability in her presidential bid really put the wind in her sails for a week. 

But now we have learned that two technology companies are worried Clinton may have ensnared them in a cover-up, and the FBI has seized four more servers from the State Department in order to determine how top-secret information flowed from Clinton aides at the agency to her private server during her tenure as secretary there. 

{mosads}Maybe a backlash against the Benghazi investigation won’t be enough to change the subject after all.

In an appearance on Fox News Channel last week, McCarthy (R-Calif.) said the probe into the 2012 terrorist attacks had damaged Clinton’s trustworthiness, making it appear to be a taxpayer-funded partisan attack on the presumptive Democratic nominee. Clinton fired back with a campaign ad, Democrats on Capitol Hill called for the committee to be disbanded, and some Republicans were furious with McCarthy. In line to replace Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) just weeks from now, the majority leader has donned a hair shirt, scrambling to retain support for his ascent to the Speakership, repeatedly apologizing and insisting the panel’s investigation into the four deaths at the U.S. compound in Libya is not political. 

Clinton was so thrilled by the McCarthy debacle she even managed to throw President Obama under the bus along with congressional Republicans. Blasting the committee on the “Today” show this week, she said, “I would never have done that, and if I were president and there were Republicans or Democrats thinking about that, I would have done everything to shut it down.”

As Clinton continues taking on water over the controversy over her emails at State, the campaign is busy trying to heave it out of the boat: circulating opposition research on Vice President Biden in case he enters the race, dispatching John Podesta to talk “strategy” with Democratic lawmakers in Congress, and prepping for the first Democratic debate next week, which will highlight her politically risky disagreements with competitor and socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). 

Perhaps Clinton has learned the value of distraction from Donald Trump; fresh off her comedy skit on “Saturday Night Live” she mailed copies of her book “Hard Choices” to the entire GOP presidential field with a cheeky note about them starting a book club together. She also spoofed McCarthy’s blunder in an online video and her surrogates continue to rage about it on Twitter.

But a Senate investigation has now revealed a second company that backed up Clinton’s emails, and it has turned over its data to the FBI investigation into whether she mishandled classified information. Documents also show the first company is now concerned it may have deleted emails following the initial request the State Department made for her work records. One employee of Platte River Networks, which turned the server over to the FBI in August, wrote to another of concern that “this whole thing is really covering up some shaddy [sic] shit,” according to documents. 

In the less than four months before Democrats start voting in primaries, Clinton will face continuing questions about her decision to use a private server for her work emails, what classified information was circulated and how her work at the State Department and the activities of the Clinton Foundation may have overlapped in emails deemed “personal” that were then deleted. While the former secretary insists what she did was allowed, she has never revealed who authorized the unprecedented use of a private server for her work communications. 

Biden and Sanders and Republicans are not Clinton’s problem. Killing the Benghazi committee won’t kill the doubts Democratic voters and donors have that they have heard the last about on Clinton’s server and how much damage it will do to her candidacy. There’s always more on the way.

Stoddard is an associate editor of The Hill.

Tags Benghazi Hillary Clinton Kevin McCarthy
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