Democrats Panic, Media Tries to Turn Hillary Email Into a ‘Republicans Say’ Story

REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

“Dems Near Clinton Panic Mode,” reads the headline at The Hill on Thursday.  Near?

Panic officially began yesterday, Dems. This email story is huge, it clearly involves violations of federal law, and it’s retroactively making the endless Clinton stalling tactics and obfuscation look even worse.

Even Democrat partisans are wondering why Clinton didn’t hand over her server and data storage much sooner. Even MSNBC hosts are hilariously sobbing that Clinton could have proved her innocence, if only she didn’t delete half of her subpoenaed emails.

The Hill quoted one Democrat strategist who uncorked the old “cover up is worse than the crime” canard:

“I’m not sure they completely understand the credibility they are losing, by the second,” said one Democratic strategist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “At some point this goes from being something you can rationalize away to something that becomes political cancer. And we are getting pretty close to the cancer stage, because this is starting to get ridiculous.”
“Look, this is a classic example of the cover-up being 10 times worse than the so-called crime — though in this case there wasn’t a crime,” said another progressive strategist.
“The culture of secrecy that has surrounded the Clintons — understandably, in some cases — has now yielded a situation where she did something that wasn’t necessary and looks nefarious.”

Since the crime in this case involved violating top-secret protocols and jeopardizing national security, I think it’s safe to say that no, the cover is not “10 times worse” than this particular crime – and it won’t be “progressive strategists” who get to decide that U.S. code doesn’t apply to progressive politicians. These people are still in denial about how bad Clinton’s situation is.

But on and on it goes, with one “Democrat strategist” after another trying to wave off Clinton’s actual offense as a trivial technicality, while moaning about how untrustworthy she’s making herself look, while Bernie Sanders is blowing past her and Joe Biden waits in the wings:

“It’s hard to imagine Americans in the heartland wondering about whether Hillary Clinton gave up an email server or not,” he said. “But [it adds to] this constant battering she’s taking, which is that people don’t trust her. It increases the feeling that something is not being told to them.”
Joe Trippi, who served as campaign manager for Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential bid, concurred.
“The thing that’s hurt has been losing the ground she’s lost on trustworthiness and honesty. It’s on trust, not on the specifics of emails or anything like that,” he said.

Some of these nitwits still seem to think there’s a magical clause hiding in federal law that will get Clinton off the hook, as long as she isn’t listed as the sender on any of the emails containing top-secret information.

Wait until they find out that doesn’t matter a bit, because Hillary is 100 percent on the hook for each and every violation of the laws protecting classified material by setting up the server in her house and granting the other violators access to it.

Others quoted in the article give Clinton’s team damage control advice that’s amusingly out-of-touch with the Age of Obama, such as the unnamed Democrat strategist who says, “Put everything out first, on your terms. If you wait, or you are forced to do it, you always lose and look bad.”

That’s the conventional wisdom Obama destroyed, and Clinton either adopted or pioneered his tactics. Their strategy is to stonewall and foot-drag, ignoring subpoenas and judicial orders as necessary, until stories die of old age. Obama and Clinton think “putting everything out first” is the height of folly, because it gets the public riled up and makes it hard for their media pals to ignore or downplay the story. In this case, Clinton’s delaying tactics probably would have worked, if Democrats had succeeded in shutting down the House Select Committee on Benghazi.

Most of what The Hill describes as “Democrat panic” is really more like “intensive Democrat spin control,” a last-ditch effort to reframe the story as Hillary failing to appreciate how bad this all looks, coupled with astonishment that Bernie Sanders is doing as well as he is.

Another desperate bid to save Clinton involves her friends, donors, and former employees in the media striving to make this a “Republicans say…” story. Here’s a typical contribution from CNN:

Every Big Media story is about what “Republicans allege” or “Republicans say,” as if the investigations of duly elected representatives of the American people are automatically invalid when the investigator has an (R) after his or her name. Newsbusters has a few more examples, including CBS News reporting how “Republican presidential candidates were quick to take advantage” of a situation that went from being “fodder for Republicans to a virtual feast.”

For good measure, CBS’ Nancy Cordes fretted that the email story is “a distraction for Clinton, who has tried to stick to substance in recent weeks.” Poor Hillary! She’s just trying to be substantial, and people are so unreasonably hung up on how she endangered national security, while showing judgment that would be considered shockingly poor for someone who manages an ice-cream truck!

Over at NBC, Andrea Mitchell tried to downplay the story as a “headache” for Clinton, while rushing to assure voters that “a new poll tonight shows she still has a commanding lead over Sanders in Iowa.”

Normally we’d be seeing the first Big Media pieces warning of “Republican overreach” right about now, but that hoary old dodge isn’t going to work this time. Charles Lipson at RealClearPolitics offers a preview of what’s coming next:

The FBI has clear legal responsibilities when it is presented with such a referral. It must investigate and secure the materials. Fortunately, the FBI is run by a director with a reputation for independence and integrity. James Comey’s agency has now gotten the server and thumb-drives, the ones Clinton said she would never give up. She had no choice but to surrender them or face obstruction-of-justice charges.

The legal and bureaucratic wheels will keep turning, and they will grind exceedingly fine. Since classified information was on the server, the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, and other intelligence services will be tasked with going through thousands of documents. They will want to know where the information originated, whether it was classified (either when it was received or later), and whether senior officials like Secretary Clinton and her top aides should have known the material was sensitive or subject to classification, even if it was not marked that way at the time. The intelligence agencies are already livid about this breach of security, and they will go through this material carefully. My guess is they will find hundreds of documents that should never have left a secure government location.

They will want to know several more things. Did the Clinton server meet the federal government’s standards for how servers are built, how they are secured, and how data is retained? Was all sensitive material encrypted or did it circulate without those protections? Did anybody hack into the server? Did Secretary Clinton, who says she erased all “personal” emails from the server, actually erase some government documents? If so, was that inadvertent or a possible coverup? Who handled IT security for this server? Could he read the materials if he wished? These are legal questions with huge political ramifications.

Lipson is duly skeptical that the hyper-politicized Obama Justice Department will go in for the kill, unless of course the President has decided Clinton needs to go down, but adds that “politicized or not, the DOJ will be increasingly boxed in by the FBI and intelligence community investigations”:

If the FBI officially determines classified material was being held on the server, or foreign intelligence agencies hacked into it, or official materials were erased and not turned over to the courts, as Clinton stated under oath she had, then Director Comey will face the hardest decision of his professional life. If he recommends prosecution and the DOJ refuses, you can be sure an infuriated intelligence community will leak the news. That would be fatal to Clinton politically since it would smell like a cover-up. It is possible, of course, that the investigations will give Secretary Clinton a clean bill of health. But it is far more likely that they will bring legal peril, and, with it, political disaster.

One thing for Democrats to consider is that Hillary won’t implode in a vacuum.  The whole Party has done much to assist her stonewalling – there are copious videos of congressional Dems putting on clown shows in those Benghazi hearings – and of course the judgment of the President who tapped her for Secretary of State could be called into question.

We have proof that members of the Obama Administration were aware of Clinton’s secret server, and said nothing. This thing could easily fireball into a Party-wide disaster. That’s when you’ll see what “Democrat panic” really looks like.