National Security

Obama ‘neither sought nor received’ briefing on Clinton email probe

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President Obama has neither requested nor received confidential briefings about federal investigations into Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton’s private email server, and his only source of knowledge is public news reporting, the White House said on Monday.

{mosads}White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that Obama’s hands-off position is a sign of the president’s refusal to inject politics into the matter and his insistence on leaving the matter to dedicated law enforcement investigators.  

“This is a decision that should be made by federal prosecutors with regard to the law and not with regard to politics,” Earnest said during his daily briefing.  

Earnest’s comments come a day after Obama appeared to dismiss concerns about Clinton’s controversial email setup, which is the target of probes from the FBI and a pair of federal inspectors general.

In an interview with “Fox News Sunday,” Obama appeared to excuse Clinton’s setup, which she has acknowledged was an error of judgment.

“I continue to believe that she has not jeopardized America’s national security,” Obama said. “Now what I’ve also said is that — and she has acknowledged — that there’s a carelessness, in terms of managing emails, that she has owned, and she recognizes.”

Critics of the president took issue with those remarks, given the Obama administration’s general crackdown on leakers of secret data.

But Earnest appeared to distance the current administration from the record number of prosecutions under the 1917 Espionage Act during Obama’s watch.  

Many of those cases — such as one against former National Security Agency official Thomas Drake and ex-CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling — began under President George W. Bush.

The fact that those investigations were allowed to continue, Earnest said, “should be an indication” of the administration’s commitment to ensuring that the cases are “insulated” from political sensitivities and that they “aren’t subjected to second-guessing by people who have politics in their job description.”

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