Stoddard: How Trump helped Hillary on email scandal

Stoddard: How Trump helped Hillary on email scandal
© Getty

While Democrats at the highest levels grow increasingly concerned about the possibility that Donald TrumpDonald TrumpBiden says Roe v. Wade under attack like 'never before' On student loans, Biden doesn't have an answer yet Grill company apologizes after sending meatloaf recipe on same day of rock star's death MORE could beat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonNo Hillary — the 'Third Way' is the wrong way The dangerous erosion of Democratic Party foundations The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats see victory in a voting rights defeat MORE in a general election in November, they should thank him for helping her secure a path to the nomination. 

Simply put, the Trumpnado has drowned out the fact that Clinton cannot stop lying.

The all-consuming Donald distraction — a campaign fueled by hundreds of millions of dollars of free television time and a regular stream of outbursts designed to monopolize the news cycle — has nearly buried what would be an enormous political story in any other season. Absent the boisterous billionaire, Clinton could never have gotten away with dismissing and covering up her email scandal. The press, freed up from endless Trump rallies, Twitter rants and lengthy calls into television shows, would know far more about the former secretary of State’s conduct on a private server and the falsehoods she perpetuates when questioned about it. Undoubtedly this story would have been covered as breathlessly as Trump himself, consuming both Republican and Democratic primary campaigns alike.

ADVERTISEMENT

Since her private email server was revealed a year ago, Clinton’s false claims — of her unprecedented transparency, of the server arrangement being “fully above board” and of the State Department having 90 to 95 percent of her emails — have earned 19 Pinnochios from The Washington Post’s fact checker, which notes the ex-first lady uses “highly technical language to obscure the salient fact that her private email setup was highly unusual and flouted existing regulations.”

It started with a whopper, that she “did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material.” Now the count stands at 2,079 emails containing classified information, which experts claim could only be deliberately removed by retyping or taking screen shots of material on the separate classified system. 

Once again on Monday, Clinton, when questioned by Bret Baier in a Fox News Channel town hall, said she didn’t send or receive anything marked as classified. Of course, material is classified in its nature and substance, not by its marking, so it’s still classified when illegally removed from a secure system to be placed in an unsecured system, no matter how hard the presidential candidate is trying to confuse people.

On Sunday, when The Washington Post revealed Clinton had written 104 such emails herself, she spoke of the thrill of her longtime employee being granted immunity in the FBI investigation into her emails. Until then, Bryan Pagliano, who set up a private server for her he likely knew would subvert Freedom of Information Act laws, had pleaded his Fifth Amendment rights.

“It’s a security review. I’m delighted that he has agreed to cooperate, as everyone else has,” said Clinton in an appearance on “Face the Nation.” Yet according to former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, neither the process nor the term “security review” exists. 

“That designation is known to no one,” Mukasey told The Washington Examiner. “The FBI doesn’t conduct security reviews. They conduct investigations. They investigate possible crimes.”

Indeed, the woman who hid her government work on a private server and then deleted more emails than she turned over went on to say: “Remember, I’m the one who asked that all my emails be made public. I have been more transparent than anybody I can think of in public life.” And when anchor John Dickerson noted some Democrats are worried about possible indictments, Clinton responded, “Well, there’s no basis for that.”

No basis. OK — for now. Unfortunately for Clinton, if he does become the GOP nominee, the Donald will focus like a laser on every word in every answer about her email scandal. He may even call her a liar, maybe more than once.  

Stoddard is an associate editor of The Hill.