May 31, 2016

Feinstein on ABC: Hillary ‘Broke No Law,’ and ‘Enough Is Enough’

Two NewsBusters posts on Sunday addressed Senator Dianne Feinstein’s This Week interview with ABC’s Jon Karl that morning. Nicholas Fondacaro noted the California Democrat’s insistence that Hillary Clinton rival Bernie Sanders should be “able to read the sign posts as well as anybody else,” and that “If he did that, he would know that it’s all but over.” Brad Wilmouth posted on the laughable excuse Feinstein made for Mrs. Clinton’s use of a private server, namely that “She wants to be able to communicate with husband, with daughter, with friends, and not have somebody looking over her shoulder into her emails.”

Feinstein’s most outrageous single statement during the interview was her talking-point repetition of what has clearly become Clinton defenders’ primary, clearly coordinated last-ditch lie about the contents of the State Department Inspector General’s report last week on her handling of job-related emails and her use of a home-brew private server while she was Secretary of State, namely that she supposedly “broke no law.”

In response to Karl’s question about whether Mrs. Clinton has “been misleading the public on this for well over a year,” Feinstein responded with a vague, “No, I don’t think so,” followed by what is seen in the video below:

Transcript (bolds are mine throughout this post):

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN: I think questions are asked and answers are sometimes taken out of context. Hillary Clinton broke no law. I read all 42 pages of the report. The conclusion of the report does not say that. What it says is that the department does not handle these electronic platform operations well and needs to do better.

Hillary, herself, has said, yes, I made a mistake. If I had a chance to do it over again, I’d do it differently.

I mean, what do people want? This goes on and on and on. We’re reaching the final stages of a primary. Hillary Clinton is going to win this primary. I say enough is enough. Let’s get to the major problems facing this nation.

Karl failed to follow up on Feinstein’s “broke no law” claim, and instead asked about intimidation by State Department “supervisors” of anyone who questioned Mrs. Clinton’s IT arrangements — a valid item for discussion, but not a reason to let a blatant and outrageously false statement go unchallenged.

Now let’s address each of the bolded items in the video transcript above.

FEINSTEIN: Hillary Clinton broke no law.” … The conclusion of the report does not say that.”

The “conclusion of the report” is one boilerplate paragraph about the need to “recognize and to manage effectively the legal requirements and cybersecurity risks associated with electronic data communications.” Feinstein’s reference to this conclusion, which is a generic introduction to a series of management recommendations, is a carefully concocted misdirection designed to deceive those unfamiliar with the OIG’s report about its contents.

As to the “broke no law” claim itself, the OIG report did not use those three magic words, nor did it specifically cite and referenced laws as having been “broken.” But anyone familiar with the law will recognize that the OIG did in essence assert that laws were broken. As Andrew McCarthy explained at National Review’s The Corner blog on Wednesday:

State Dept IG Finds Hillary Clinton Violated Government Records Act and Refused to Speak to Investigators

The report is devastating, although it transparently strains to soften the blow. For example, it concludes that State’s “longstanding systemic weaknesses” in recordkeeping “go well beyond the tenure of any one Secretary of State.” Yet, it cannot avoid finding that Clinton’s misconduct is singular in that she, unlike her predecessors, systematically used private e-mail for the purpose of evading recordkeeping requirements. “Secretary Clinton should have preserved any Federal records she created and received on her personal account by printing and filing those records with the related files in the Office of the Secretary,” the report states. By failing to do so, and compounding that dereliction with a failure to “surrender all emails dealing with Department business before leaving government service,” Clinton, the IG finds, “did not comply with the Department’s policies.”

This articulation of Mrs. Clinton’s offense is also sugar-coated. By saying Clinton violated “policies,” the IG avoids concluding that she violated the law. But the IG adds enough that we can connect the dots ourselves. The “policies,” he elaborates, “were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act.” To violate the policies … is to violate the law.

FEINSTEIN: “Hillary, herself, has said, yes, I made a mistake.”

As noted by McCarthy, the fact that she systematically used a private server shreds the idea that her decision to use one was a “mistake.” As National Review’s Jonah Goldberg explained in his syndicated column Mondy:

By setting up a secret email server in her home in Chappaqua, N.Y., without proper authorization from any legal or security official, Ms. Clinton displayed a cavalier disregard for national security and an outrageous desire to hide her doings from Freedom of Information Act requests, government archivists, Congress, the press and, ultimately, the American people.

When Mrs. Clinton says she made a “mistake” and would “do things differently” if she had a chance to start over again, she is really saying, “I would have figured out an absolutely airtight, undetectable way to hide my decisions and actions from Freedom of Information Act requests, government archivists, Congress, the press and, ultimately, the American people.”

Senator Feinstein, by repeating that mealy-mouthed non-apology, is aiding and abetting Mrs. Clinton’s attempts to evade accountability for breaking the law.

FEINSTEIN: “I mean, what do people want? This goes on and on and on.”

Here we go again to the Clintons’ quarter-century-old playbook.

It’s the classic claim that investigations are a waste of time and money, that they’re lasting years and years, that everyone’s tired of them, and that they should just stop. Just as Bill Clinton’s and Hillary Clinton’s delaying and stonewalling tactics during Bill Clinton’s presidency caused investigations to last years instead of months, Hillary Clinton’s strategies during the various civil, criminal and internal email/private server investigations have caused them to go late into the presidential primary season. Thanks to these delays, and the now-breathtaking scope of the investigation owing to the couple’s abuse of their foundation, matters may not be fully resolved until at least January of next year. At that point, President Obama may, whether or not Mrs. Clinton wins the general election, decide to pardon her as one of his final acts before leaving office.

These matters are going “on and on” because, now that genuine accountability possibly looms, the Clintons want them to go on and on.

FEINSTEIN: “I say enough is enough. Let’s get to the major problems facing this nation.”

This is another classic Clintonian line, and it is especially offensive in the current political climate.

A substantial portion and likely a majority of the American public believes that the single biggest problem facing this nation is its corrupt, immoral political class. That sentiment is shared across virtually the entire political spectrum. As Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit wrote for the umpteenth time Tuesday morning, “We have the worst political class in American history.”

Among the three remaining major-party presidential candidates, only Mrs. Clinton is the walking, talking embodiment of the established political class and all of its worst instincts.

Despite being polar opposites in so many ways, supporters of the other two candidates, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, agree that the “major problems” to which Ms. Feinstein referred will never be satisfactorily addressed as long as politicians like Mrs. Clinton are in charge of running the show.

Getting back to Feinstein’s central claim that Hillary Clinton “broke no law,” the State Department report confirms what has been generally known for over a year, namely that she did break several laws. ABC’s Karl should have challenged Feinstein, and failed to do so.

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