As Politico pointed out, the exclusive, closed to the press annual Clinton Foundation gala on Wall Street last night couldn’t have come at a worse time for presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
With its star-studded cast of attendees, its plush setting at the famed downtown Cipriani, and its strict no-media rules, the Clinton Foundation’s annual gala could hardly be coming at a worse moment for Hillary Clinton before she launches her all-but-certain presidential campaign.
And just as that was playing out behind closed doors, the news that the Associated Press is considering legal action over unfulfilled Freedom of Information Act requests for government documents covering Hillary Rodham Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state is about as disastrous a headline as one could imagine under the circumstances:
In its requests, the AP asked for her full schedules and calendars and for details on the State Department’s decision to grant a special position to a longtime Clinton aide, Huma Abedin, among other documents. The oldest request, the news organization said, was made in March 2010.
“We believe it’s critically important that government officials and agencies be held accountable to the voters,” said AP’s general counsel, Karen Kaiser. “In this instance, we’ve exhausted our administrative remedies in pursuit of important documents and are considering legal action.”
The statement comes after the revelation this week that Mrs. Clinton used a personal email account for her government business, an unusual practice that some have suggested insulated her correspondence from the eyes of investigators and the public.
Yes, Hillary took to Twitter last night with some nonsense about asking the State Department to release her emails. But media outlets know that’s a farce and are already reporting it as such. Hillary’s use of a private email server in her New York home gave her complete control of all of her emails, which were screened privately before being released.
Finally, late yesterday, the New York Times reported that having a private Clinton email domain was seen as a mark of “status” among those in her circle. That feeds into the same sense of nobility fueled by her closed door gathering on Wall Street last night:
An aide who had been with the Clintons since the 1990s, Justin Cooper, registered the domain name, clintonemail.com, which had a server linked to the Clintons’ home address in Chappaqua, N.Y. Obtaining an account from that domain became a symbol of status within the family’s inner circle, conferring prestige and closeness to the secretary.
Chelsea Clinton was given one, but under a pseudonym, Diane Reynolds, which she frequently used when she checked into hotels. Huma Abedin, Mrs. Clinton’s longtime aide and surrogate daughter, was also given a coveted clintonemail.com address.
And Mrs. Clinton used this private address for everything — from State Department matters to planning her daughter’s wedding and issues related to the family’s sprawling philanthropic foundation.
Six years later, as Mrs. Clinton prepares for a 2016 presidential campaign, her exclusive use of her clintonemail.com address while secretary of state has set off intense criticism, because it shielded her correspondence from being searched in response to public records requests at the State Department. The practice has also raised questions about whether Mrs. Clinton’s private email was vulnerable to security risks and hacking.
At the request of the State Department, Mrs. Clinton turned over about 50,000 pages of emails from clintonemail.com related to the government issues late last year. But her aides have declined to describe the process by which they selected which emails to hand over and which to hold back, and public records experts have expressed alarm that Mrs. Clinton’s correspondence was not being preserved as part of the State Department record-keeping system while she was in office.