The week ends with a double whammy for Hillary Clinton, courtesy of the Associated Press, which discovered that dozens of names and events have been scrubbed from her official Secretary of State calendar, and also confirmed that Clinton destroyed at least one work-related email stored on her illicit email server.
The latter revelation has a distinct whiff of “smoking gun” about it. The deleted email was between Clinton and her aide Huma Abedin. When Abedin suggested that Clinton should start using the state.gov email account that Clinton was supposed to be using, the Secretary of State replied, “Let’s get separate address or device, but I don’t want any risk of the personal [email] being accessible.”
This frank email was not among the records Clinton reluctantly handed over to the State Department, long after she departed from office. We only know about it because Abedin included a copy among her work-related emails.
“That copy of the email was publicly cited last month in a blistering audit by the State Department’s inspector general that concluded Clinton and her team ignored clear internal guidance that her email setup violated federal standards and could have left sensitive material vulnerable to hackers,” the Associated Press recalls.
Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon attempted to dismiss the importance of this discovery by saying, “Secretary Clinton had some emails with Huma that Huma did not have, and Huma had some emails with Secretary Clinton that Secretary Clinton did not have.”
The Clinton campaign apparently assumes no one understands how email works, and that no one will care that Clinton signed documents, under oath, certifying that she had returned all work-related correspondence to the State Department.
Most of all, they’re gambling that everyone will forget Clinton is under scrutiny for deleting some 30,000 emails on her own judgment that they were personal messages, unrelated to her work as Secretary of State.
We now have confirmation she destroyed at least one official email – the Associated Press notes that her exchange with Abedin “appears clearly work-related under the State Department’s own criteria for agency records under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.” How many others will we learn about?
(Hint: watchdog group Judicial Watch says it has identified at least a dozen more work-related emails that were not in Clinton’s production to the State Department.)
As for Clinton’s scrubbed Secretary of State calendar, the AP says “no known federal laws were violated and some omissions could be blamed on Clinton’s highly fluid schedule, which sometimes forced late cancellations.”
It certainly does look suspicious, though, and it fits no one’s definition of transparent government:
The AP review of Clinton’s calendar — her after-the-fact, official chronology of the events of her four-year term — identified at least 75 meetings with longtime political donors and loyalists, Clinton Foundation contributors and corporate and other outside interests that were either not recorded or listed with identifying details scrubbed. The AP found the omissions by comparing the 1,500-page document with separate planning schedules supplied to Clinton by aides in advance of each day’s events. The names of at least 114 outsiders who met with Clinton were missing from her calendar, the records show.
The missing entries raise new questions about how Clinton and her inner circle handled government records documenting her State Department tenure — in this case, why the official chronology of her four-year term does not closely mirror other more detailed records of her daily meetings.
At a time when Clinton’s private email system is under scrutiny by an FBI criminal investigation, the calendar omissions reinforce concerns that she sought to eliminate the “risk of the personal being accessible” — as she wrote in an email exchange that she failed to turn over to the government but was subsequently uncovered elsewhere.
The Clinton campaign made its usual ritual declaration of commitment to “transparency,” and said the calendar omissions “simply reflect a more detailed version in one version as compared to another, all maintained by her staff,” but the AP seems more than a little skeptical of that breezy dismissal – probably because it took them two years just to make the State Department admit Clinton’s calendar existed, followed by a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. To date, only a third of Clinton’s planners have been released.
“The missing or heavily edited entries in her calendar included private dinners with political donors, policy sessions with groups of corporate leaders and ‘drop-bys’ with old Clinton campaign hands. Among those whose names were omitted from her calendar were longtime adviser Sidney Blumenthal, consultant and former Clinton White House chief of staff Thomas ‘Mack’ McLarty, former energy lobbyist Joseph Wilson and entertainment magnate and Clinton campaign bundler Haim Saban,” notes the Associated Press.
There was also quite a bit of money changing hands after a particularly One Percenter breakfast Clinton held with Wall Street leaders in 2009, whose guests included CEOs whose companies later “donated to Clinton’s pet diplomatic project of that period, the U.S. pavilion at the 2010 Shangai Expo.” The guests lobbied the State Department while Clinton was in charge, and made donations to the Clinton Foundation. Their names were all scrubbed from the official Secretary of State calendar, but are now exposed because of the Associated Press.