Almost from the moment we first heard the astonishing news that Hillary Clinton conducted business while serving as secretary of state on a secret email account operating from a home server and then deleted most of its contents, Democrats have been telling the American public that there was nothing to see so they should just move on. In their favor was the fact that, as bizarre as this scenario was, it was a scandal not directly linked to an actual crime. Republicans had discovered her odd behavior while investigating the Benghazi terror attacks and this encouraged Democrats to think that, no matter how inexplicable her behavior might have been, the public’s patience with what seemed like an endless dead end story had long since ended. But last week, the Hillary Clinton email mess got new life when it turned out that, contrary to her assertions, the former secretary of state had not, as she said, turned over all of her work-related emails to the State Department before deleting all other data on the server that Clinton claimed were personal. A subpoena served on Clinton crony Sidney Blumenthal turned up 15 emails that didn’t match any of the 30,000 that she turned over to the State Department. This raises two factors that ought to worry Democrats counting on her being the next president. One is that we now know for sure that she lied about the deleted emails not being about official business. The other is that the Blumenthal connection highlights the unholy nexus of official and private business interests that link the Clinton Family Foundation to the Hillary Clinton State Department.
The timing of this discovery couldn’t be worse for Hillary since, as our Noah Rothman wrote last week, it comes on the heels of polls showing sizeable numbers of Democrats in crucial early voting states like New Hampshire may be tempted to vote for her socialist challenger Bernie Sanders. The Vermont senator offers an authentic left-wing voice to a party that is increasingly shifting to the left. While most Democrats will stick with Hillary, this latest reminder of her mendacity further damages her credibility.
Moreover, it is also a reminder of the unpleasant odor that emanates from the Clinton Foundation. The willingness of the Clintons to raise vast sums of money from individuals and countries that hoped to influence U.S. foreign policy while she served as secretary of state was a shocking conflict of interest. That was especially true of some of the egregious examples uncovered by author Peter Schweizer in his Clinton Cash book, such as the owners of a uranium mine that needed and got State Department approval for its sale to Russia after becoming donors to the foundation.
Blumenthal was a paid consultant to the Foundation while he was also advising Clinton on Libya policy, the subject of the emails that just turned up. Blumenthal had never even visited the country, but the longtime Clinton political hit man had business interests there and was seeking to influence the secretary’s decisions about U.S. strategies in the strife-torn North African country. The emails also appear to reveal that contrary to another of Hillary’s assertions, his advice was not unsolicited and that she encouraged him to keep the information coming.
What does this mean?
In Clinton’s favor, the emails still provide no direct link to a felony either involving her emails or the foundation. But the Blumenthal emails show that is clear that there were at least some, if not quite a lot of emails relating to official business that were deleted when she had her home server wiped. We’ll never know what those said. But what we do know is that she has lied about them. Moreover, we also know that this shows that foundation connections were inextricably tied up with official state department policy discussions. Democrats, like ranking Benghazi panel member Rep. Elijah Cummings, may complain that the committee is focused solely on investigating Hillary Clinton but blaming this all on a “vast right-wing conspiracy” won’t end questions that have caused most Americans to tell pollsters they don’t trust the former First Lady.
The email story has legs because we now know Hillary not only didn’t follow President Obama’s advice about transparency but also lied about she was doing with her records. None of this would be a subject for discussion if she had used a government email or hadn’t wiped her server clean. Nor would there be grounds for suspicion if the Clintons weren’t operating a political slush fund under the guise of a charity that raised billions but gave little of it to directly help the poor.
As it has been repeatedly said in the last few months, if not being indicted is the sole criteria for electing a person to the presidency, it’s likely Hillary Clinton will qualify. But if even the New York Times is prepared to admit that the Blumenthal emails contradict Clint’s assertions, Democrats know their presumptive nominee has a serious problem. the continuing questions will help Sanders undermine her juggernaut and cause her to have to fight harder for her party’s nomination and drift farther to the left to do so. That doesn’t mean she can’t ultimately win the presidency. But the higher the pile of Clinton lies grows, the easier it is to imagine that she will not be taking the oath of office in January 2017.