Clinton email controversy could hurt 2016 White House run

 

 

 

View https://twitter.com/hillaryclinton

 

 

 

 

WASHINGTON   |  2015-03-06 06:37:14

 

Clinton email controversy

could hurt 2016 White House run

 

By Matthew Rusling 

 

 

The 2016 White House hopeful Hillary Clinton’s sole use of a private email account to conduct government business is raising hackles among critics, and experts say it could hurt her run for the presidency.

This week’s New York Times uncovered Clinton’s use of a private email account and a private server located in her home during her four-year stint as head of the U.S. State Department.

Critics are blasting Clinton over the discovery, arguing that she could have compromised U.S. national security and that she may also have violated U.S. laws governing transparency among public officials.

While it’s still very early in the campaign, the real problem is that the scandal re-enforces the perception that the Clintons — both Hillary and her husband, former President Bill Clinton — are secretive, experts said.

“It is unprecedented for a high level U.S. official to solely use a personal email to conduct government business. Let alone have her own personal servers in her basement,” Republican strategist Ford O’Connell told Xinhua.

“It’s a growing pattern for Hillary Clinton of secrecy and lacking transparency,” he said.

The message Clinton is sending to the average voter is that the laws do not apply to her, and that could hurt her campaign, as Americans want a candidate to whom they can relate on a personal level, O’Connell said.

“It’s the perception of the violation that’s going to be more difficult for Hillary Clinton to overcome than the violation itself,” he said.

Clinton has been lambasted for what critics call stonewalling on the investigation into the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya that killed a U.S. ambassador. Critics also take issue with her acceptance of foreign donations to her foundation.

“They (the Clintons) have to be careful that this (email) issue doesn’t combine with other issues to re-enforce a negative perception about them,” Brookings Institution’s senior fellow Darrell West told Xinhua.

“Certainly Republicans have these kinds of negative perceptions about the Clintons, but if you have a lot of candidates running around the country reminding people about it, it can become a more widespread perception,” he said. However, he added that it is still early in the election season and it would be hard to see the issue as having a major impact on Clinton.

On Wednesday of March 4, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ed Royce, a Republican, said he was “deeply troubled” that Clinton used personal email to conduct official State Department business. “The Federal Records Act exists to provide to the American people the level of transparency and accountability they deserve from their federal government. Her practice frustrated Congressional oversight,” he said.

 

 View - https://twitter.com/hillaryclinton

 

Later that day, Clinton broke her silence, taking to Twitter to say that she wants the public to see her emails. “I asked State to release them. They said they will review them for release as soon as possible,” she tweeted.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the department will review the emails “as quickly as possible,” although observers note the State Department would only have access to emails to and from that department, but not any third party emails Clinton sent or received.

The email development opens the door to many questions, such as whether there was any intent to keep information away from the public, and if so, why?

It also begs the question of whether anything classified was sent or received, or why she kept a private email and a server located in her home, which is considered a highly unusual move for a secretary of state.

While many Republicans hold a negative view of Clinton, and Democrats have a very positive view of her, the real question is whether the email controversy will start to impact how those in the middle view her, experts said.

 

 

 

 

 

WASHINGTON  |  2015-03-10 10:43:23

 

Clinton remains silent

as questions mount over email scandal

 

By Zhi Linfei

 

Questions are mounting over 2016 U.S. presidential contender Hillary Clinton’s private email account as the Democratic front-runner remains silent on the controversial issue.

Last week it was discovered that Clinton had solely used a private email account and kept private servers in her home to conduct business during her four-year stint as head of the State Department, instead of a government-issued email account, which is the norm.

Critics are blasting Clinton over the highly unusual practice, arguing that she could have compromised U.S. national security and that she may also have violated U.S. laws governing transparency among public officials.

The move has also sparked myriad questions over whether there was any intent to keep information away from the public.

Clinton has ordered the State Department to hand over 55,000 pages of emails, but critics say Clinton will still be able to decide which emails the public can see, and the State Department says it does not know for sure whether there were any deleted emails.

At the same time, Senator Dianne Feinstein said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Clinton needs to “come out and state exactly what the situation is,” explaining that her continued silence on the issue could hurt her.

The senior senator is the first Democrat to call on Clinton to address the issue in public.

“Democrats want to make sure that Hillary Clinton gets out front on the email issue and answer basic questions. They do not want that controversy to torpedo her campaign before it gets off the ground,” Brookings Institution’s senior fellow Darrell West told Xinhua.

“She needs to explain why she relied on a private account,” West said.

Republicans have blasted Clinton over the controversy, such as Representative Trey Gowdy, a House Republican leading an investigation of how the former secretary of state handled the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in which U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed.

Gowdy took to the airwaves Sunday on the CBS’ “Face the Nation” to blast Clinton over the email scandal.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of the Republican Party also expressed concerns over the email account’s security. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, a Republican front-runner for the 2016 presidential race, said Clinton’s decision to use a personal server is “baffling.”

“Republicans are complaining about her not following the administration’s rules because it helps them argue that she fell short in a variety of ways as Secretary of State,” West said.

Indeed, foreign policy is expected to be a major issue in 2016, and that may spell trouble for Hillary Clinton, as critics will view the likely candidate as tainted by the White House’s perceived foreign policy missteps on such issues as the Islamic State, which has overrun vast swaths of territory in the Middle East and threatened to attack the United States.

“(Republicans) want to argue that she has a poor record of foreign policy and that many of the criticisms about (U.S. President) Obama also apply to her,” West said.

A number of presidential candidates see foreign policy as a great issue for the Republican Party because of all the chaos and uncertainty that exist around the world, he added.

 

 

 

 

 

 

WASHINGTON  |  2015-03-10 11:00:03

 

White House: Obama emailed Hillary Clinton

at private address, unaware of account details

 

By Lu Jiafei

 

U.S. President Barack Obama emailed Hillary Clinton at her personal email address during her time as U.S. Secretary of State, and only recently learned that Clinton had set up her own email server, the White House said on Monday of March 9.

“The president, as I think many people expected, did over the course of his first several years in office, trade emails with the Secretary of State,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said at the daily briefing.

In an interview with U.S. TV network CBS aired Sunday, Obama said he learned of Clinton using her private email instead of the State Department email to conduct business during her tenure only through news reports.

“That maybe one conclusion to draw from the president’s remarks, but it would not be an accurate one,” said Earnest, stressing that Obama meant to say he was not aware of Clinton’s own email server and how Clinton and her team were planning to comply with the Federal Records Act.

“But what is clear is that as president said in his interview, the emails that he sent are properly maintained, consistent with the Presidential Records Act,” Earnest said.

U.S. news outlets revealed last week that Clinton did not use an official email address while taking the helm at the U.S. State Department. Instead, she dealt with daily business on a private account exclusively. The Clinton team also set up her own email server to fully control who could have the access to those emails.

The exposure of Clinton closely guarding her emails posed not only a public relations crisis for a promising Democratic presidential candidate for 2016 elections, but a possible legal investigation into whether her practice had broken laws.

Clinton has already turned over 55,000 pages of emails to the State Department and in her first response on Wednesday, she tweeted that she wanted the public to see her emails, hours after a U.S. House investigation committee into the Benghazi incident issued subpoenas to the State Department for all Clinton emails related to Libya.

Meanwhile, Top House Republican Benghazi investigator Trey Gowdy said on Sunday that the emails Clinton had handed over for reviews have “huge gaps” that lasted for months.

According to U.S. TV network CNN, Clinton was expected to hold a press conference in New York in coming days to address the issue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

UNITED NATIONS  |  2015-03-11 06:53:28

Hillary Clinton defends

using personal email account

in official business

 

By Gu Zhenqiu

 

Former U.S. secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton on Tuesday of March 10 defended using personal email account in official business of her four-year tenure, yet she also told reporters here that “it would be better” to have used two separate devices for her personal and work email accounts.

“It would be better” and “it would have been smarter to use two devices” for her personal and work email addresses, said Clinton at a hastily arranged press conference after she addressed a UN meeting on gender equality.

Clinton, the presumed front-runner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, has been under fire out of concerns including as a potential security risk in her correspondence for using a private email account for official business when she served as the top U.S. diplomat.

It was her first major public engagement with reporters in five months since a political event in the U.S. state of Iowa last September.

There were no security breaches of her personal email server and her personal email server will remain private, she said.

After her speech in a large UN conference room, Clinton strode down a large hallway to a microphone set in the glare of television lights in front of a crowd of reporters waiting outside the Security Council chambers and read from a prepared statement about the women’s conference before turning to the issue of the day.

“When I got to work as secretary of state I opted for convenience to use my personal email account, which was allowed by the State Department, because I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal emails instead of two,” she said, referring to a smart phone.

“Looking back, it would have been better if I simply used a second email account and carried a second phone,” she said. “But at the time this just didn’t seem like an issue.”

Nonetheless, Clinton was quick to point out “the vast majority” of her work emails went to government employees at their government addresses and were “captured and preserved immediately on the system at the State Department.”

After leaving her post at the end of U.S. President Barack Obama’s first four-year term, Clinton said the State Department asked all former secretaries of state to provide copies of “work- related emails from our personal accounts.”

She said she “responded right away and provided all my emails that could possibly be work-related which total approximately 55, 000 printed pages, even though I knew that the State Department already had the vast majority of them.”

“No one wants their personal emails made public and I think most people understand that and respect that privacy,” Clinton said, explaining many were about arrangements for her daughter Chelsea’s wedding plan and her mother’s funeral and even yoga routines.

“I took the unprecedented step to make all my work-related emails public for everyone to see,” she said. “I am very proud of the work that I and my colleagues and our public servants did during my four years as secretary of state and I look forward to people being able to see that for themselves.”

A furor erupted over her emails when it was learned they were kept on her private server in her home in Chappaqua, about 50 kilometers north of New York City in New York State, instead of on a secure, government server.

“I thought as a matter of convenience, and it was allowed, others had done it,” Clinton said. “It was allowed .. was for convenience” and since she sent emails “to State Department and other government officials on their dot-gov accounts, those emails would be automatically saved in the state department system to meet record-keeping requirements and that indeed is what happened. ”

She explained that, “The system we used was set up for President (Bill) Clinton’s office and it had numerous safeguards. It was on property guarded by the Secret Service and there were no security breaches. So I think the use of that server which started with my husband, certainly proved to be effective and secure.”

As for what’s in the emails now in possession of the State Department, Clinton said, “I trust the American people to make their decisions about political and public matters and I feel that I have taken unprecedented steps to provide these work-related emails, they are going to be in the public domain and I think that Americans will find that interesting and I look forward to having a discussion about that.”

There was certainty there would be discussion about her emails should she decide to seek the next presidential nomination of the Democratic Party.

“I think that we have more than met the requests from the State Department,” she said. “The server contains personal communications from my husband and me and I believe I have met all of my responsibilities and the server will remain private and I think that the State Department will be able, over time, to release all the records that were provided.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

WASHINGTON  |  2015-03-13 08:19:04 

Clinton’s email controversy

could fade, despite unanswered questions

 

By Zhi Linfei

 

Questions remain over 2016 White House potential contender Hillary Clinton’s private server and email account, but the controversy could fade into the background as election season gets fully underway.

The New York Times revealed last week that Clinton solely used a private email account to conduct business during her four-year tenure as secretary of state, and kept a private server at her residence, sparking a wave of controversy and myriad questions, such as whether she sent any classified information through the account.

On Tuesday, Clinton broke her week-long silence on the issue, likening the move to an honest mistake, saying it “would have been better” if she had used a government email account, which is the norm, but that she used a personal account for the sake of ” convenience.”

During a press conference at the Headquarters of the United Nations in New York, Clinton alleged she sent no classified information through the account, and that the private server would remain off limits, as it contained correspondence between her and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, as well as friends. She also suggested she did not keep half of the 60,000 emails she sent during her time in office, as they involved personal matters such as planning her mother’s funeral and her daughter’s wedding.

The explanation, while seemingly innocuous and coming from a poised and confident Clinton, did not answer myriad questions, the most glaring being how it was possible not to send classified emails in a job that routinely deals with classified information.

Indeed, the U.S. government classified 80 million documents in 2013, according to the U.S. Information Security Oversight Office, and critics contend Clinton’s claim was implausible.

While Republicans blasted Clinton’s explanation, political analysts said the controversy could well fade into the background if Clinton sticks to her decision not to turn over the server, and if she stonewalls reporters on that and other relevant questions.

That’s because U.S. media will eventually lose interest in the scandal, experts and pundits said, and move on to the news of the day, eventually billing the email controversy as “old news.”

Such was the case with the controversy surrounding the 2012 attack on Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans including a U.S. ambassador, which happened on Clinton’s watch as Secretary of State.

Many questions over that incident remain unanswered. While Republicans and other critics continue to accuse Clinton of not being forthcoming on how she dealt with the attack, most U.S. media is now tired of the controversy, aside from some conservative news outlets.

Moreover, polls show the average American pays little attention to political news, around a minute or two per month, on average, and large swaths of the public do not realize the importance of laws that require officials to turn over public records.

That means the public is unlikely to demand answers over the email controversy and may soon forget the issue.

The controversy also comes nearly two years before the election, and media will be enamored by all the excitement once candidates’ campaigns are in full swing, scurrying to file stories on the candidates’ every statement, blunder and gaffe.

Meanwhile, analysts, pundits and political prognosticators said Republicans will likely use the issue to add to their narrative of Clinton, and that could hurt her politically.

“Republicans need to play their cards right on this,” Republican strategist Ford O’Connell told Xinhua, explaining that the Republican Party (GOP) needs to use the email controversy as part of a larger theme to paint Clinton as secretive and as believing the rules don’t apply to her.

“This is still early on in the election cycle. We don’t know whether it’s going to change anything,” O’Connell said of the email scandal.

“Obviously some hard core supporters are still going to support her no matter what,” he said, but added that if the GOP is successful, the party could use the scandal to take some voters away from Clinton at the margins.

“This by itself is not going to torpedo her nomination,” but it could help Republicans portray her as someone who is, in their view, a consummate politician who will do whatever it takes to win, he said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

WASHINGTON  |   2015-03-18 02:41:05

 

U.S. House Republican leadership

calls for “third party” review on Clinton’s emails

 

By Lu Jiafei

 

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday of March 10 urged former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to turn over her personal email server to a neutral third party and let it decide what should be released to the public.

“The American people deserve all the facts about what happened in Benghazi,” said Boehner at a press conference, referring to the 2012 deadly incident on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, where four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, died.

“That’s why it’s so important for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to turn over her personal server to a neutral third party, ” Boehner said. “I think that is the fairest way to make sure that we have all the documents that belong to the public, and ultimately all the facts.”

U.S. news outlets revealed earlier this month that Clinton did not use an official email address while taking the helm at the U.S. State Department. Instead, she dealt with daily business on a private account exclusively. The Clinton team also set up her own email server to fully control who could have the access to those emails.

In her own defense, Clinton said on March 10, a whole week after the first exposure of her emailing habits, that the use of personal email account for official communications was “for convenience”.

Clinton said she had already turned over 55,000 pages work- related emails to the State Department and deleted some of her personal emails.

She also claimed since she sent the emails to other officials at their State Department email addresses, those emails were automatically archived on the State Department server.

However, State Department spokeswoman on Friday admitted to reporters that the email traffic of other senior State Department officials was not automatically or routinely archived till February.

The loose record-keeping practice raises possibilities that many emails have already been destroyed unless individual officials had saved their emails regularly.

The exposure of Clinton closely guarding her emails posed not only a public relations crisis for a potential Democratic presidential candidate for 2016 elections, but also threatened a possible legal investigation into whether her practice had broken laws.

 

 

 

 

WASHINGTON  |  2015-03-19 05:43:50

 

Hillary Clinton leads

in new 2016 presidential poll

 

By Guan Jianwu

 

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is far ahead on the Democratic nomination in the 2016 presidential election and takes a lead against her GOP contenders, a new poll revealed on Wednesday of March 11.

The new CNN/ORC poll showed that 62 percent of the Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents give their nod to Clinton for their party’s nomination. She is followed by Vice President Joe Biden, who has gained only 15 percent supporters.

While in the GOP field, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is the preferred by 16 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. The second and the third go to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, 13 percent, and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, 12 percent.

As for the presidential throne, Clinton gets 54 percent of the vote, which is a double-digit lead against all potential GOP challengers. Paul was beaten by 43 percent. While in a head-to- head matchup, Clinton will also win Bush with a score of 55 percent to 40 percent.

The poll was based on interviews with 1,009 adult Americans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

WASHINGTON  |  2015-03-21 04:54:29

 

U.S. House committee requests

Hillary Clinton hand over email server

 

By Guan Jianwu

 

The Congressional committee investigating the Benghazi attacks on Friday of March 20 officially asked Hillary Clinton to turn her private email server to a neutral party for assessments.

“I am formally requesting Secretary Clinton make her server available to a neutral, detached and independent third-party for immediate inspection and review,” the committee chairman, Republican of South Carolina, Trey Gowdy wrote in a letter to Clinton’s lawyer. Gowdy also suggested the State Department’s Office of Inspector General as a possible third party.

“The House of Representatives and the American people are entitled to a complete accounting of the secretary’s office record during her time as secretary of State,” he wrote.

Clinton has argued that her lawyers examined all of the emails she sent and received on the personal account when she was secretary of state and handed over the ones they thought to be government records to the State Department. She also said the emails her lawyers deemed personal were then deleted.

While Gowdy has said that the server needs to be checked because the committee has big gaps in the emails it has from Clinton’s personal email, and that Congress needs to have ” objective assurances” that it has all of her information.

Gowdy also warned that refusing to hand over the server could lead to action by the House to force Clinton to do so.

U.S. news outlets revealed earlier this month that Clinton did not use an official email address while taking the helm at the U.S. State Department. Instead, she dealt with daily business on a private account exclusively. The Clinton team also set up her own email server to fully control who could have the access to those emails.

The exposure of Clinton closely guarding her emails posed not only a public relations crisis for a promising Democratic presidential candidate for 2016 elections, but also a possible legal investigation into whether her practice had broken laws.

 

 

 

 

 

 

WASHINGTON  |  2015-03-21 15:07:39 

Gallup: Hillary Clinton retains

strong appeal to American Women

in lead-up to 2016 White House race

 

By Zhi Linfei

 

Fifty-six percent of U.S. women have a favorable opinion of likely 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, giving her a decided advantage among half the population that other candidates do not share, found a Gallup poll released on Friday of March 20.

Clinton owes much of her strong early position to her appeal to women. Not only is there a gender gap in Clinton’s overall favorable rating, but all major female demographic groups view Clinton more positively than do their male counterparts, including by age, education, race, marital status and partisanship, according to Gallup.

Among all major potential 2016 presidential candidates from either party that Gallup tested in the recent poll, Clinton has the highest favorable rating by far – at 56 – among U.S. women.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, another possible Democratic candidate, ranks a distant second among women in overall favorability, at 41 percent, followed by former Florida governor and possible Republican nominee Jeb Bush, with 32 percent. Clinton’ s +24 net favorable rating also is substantially better than any other possible candidate’s rating.

Reflecting her high visibility relative to her other potential rivals in the 2016 campaign, Clinton’s 44 percent favorable rating among men is higher than any other potential candidate, although her -1 net favorable rating trails several Republican candidates’ ratings.

Clinton must first win the Democratic nomination before Americans can elect her president. And currently Democratic women and men view her more positively than any of her potential challengers for the nomination. Eighty-three percent of Democratic women view Clinton favorably.

The wild card, however, for the White House hopeful is her sole use of a private email account to conduct government business, which is raising hackles among critics who say it could hurt her run for the presidency.

While it’s still very early in the campaign, the real problem is that the scandal re-enforces the perception among some that the Clintons — both Hillary and her husband, former President Bill Clinton — are secretive, experts said.

Analysts, pundits and political prognosticators said Republicans will likely use the issue to add to their narrative of Clinton, and that could hurt Clinton politically.

But on the other hand, the scandal has not yet hurt her, signaling the possibility that the issue could fizzle out by the time her campaign comes into full swing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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