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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

HRC's Bummer Summer

Anne Gearan, Karen Tumulty, and Dan Balz write at The Washington Post that HRC was hoping for a fresh start this year.
But two dynamics have crystallized this month, suggesting the New Hillary is hobbled by old weaknesses. Once again, worried supporters see signs of a bunker mentality in response to bad news about her e-mail server and other controversies, and they see a candidate who can seem strangely blinkered to the threat posed by a lesser-known challenger.

“A lot of the people who were hired by the campaign were new to the Clintons,” said a prominent Democrat who counts both Hillary Clinton and former president Bill Clinton as friends. “I kind of assumed it would be different. But it hasn’t changed.”

That Democrat and other supporters requested anonymity in order to discuss the shortcomings of a candidate whom they still overwhelmingly support and think can win the White House. Several supporters said that while no one is pulling the fire alarm, they see worrisome patterns emerging.

Among them: insularity, rigidity and a sense that the operation is tone-deaf to changes happening around it.
Alexis Simendinger writes at RCP:
Her communications patterns were years in the making: As a New York senator, she conducted official Senate work using a private email, transferred that address to the State Department, set up a personal server with a new clintonemail.com address and steered clear of federal records rules that applied to the employees she supervised. When this was uncovered as part of GOP-led probes of the Benghazi attacks that killed four Americans, Clinton, her aides and her legal advisers attempted to control the communications in her possession, declined to relinquish one server (and there may be more than one involved), while assuring the State Department, congressional investigators, and the public that no classified information was sent or received through her system, the complete details of which she has not described. Thus far, Clinton has been pushed to release 30,000 work-related emails, having acted with aides’ assistance to destroy 31,000 self-described personal communications. And this week she capitulated to the FBI and turned over at least one server, which she said in March contained “personal communications from my husband and me.” The server is blank, according to a lawyer representing the company that turned it over to the FBI. The intelligence community’s inspector general informed lawmakers that highly classified references and communications not marked as classified improperly slipped through Clinton’s server system and still pose a security risk. 
Political scientist Charles Lipson writes at RCP:
I assume the Department of Justice will be lethargic. Under Eric Holder, the Obama Justice Department was the most politicized since John Mitchell cleaned the Augean Stables for Richard Nixon. The department is still packed with political appointees, but Holder’s successor, Loretta Lynch, has a good reputation from her days as a prosecutor. She may well play this straight. If so, then she would start with the IT guy and Clinton’s assistants and try to roll them up, as you would in a normal criminal probe. My guess is she will do that only if she gets a wink and a nod from a White House ready to sink Hillary.

Politicized or not, the DOJ will be increasingly boxed in by the FBI and intelligence community investigations. Normally, when the intelligence community finds classified materials in unauthorized locations, it seeks felony prosecutions. Gen. David Petraeus was sunk for keeping his own personal calendars in an unlocked drawer at home. The calendars were deemed classified, even if they lacked an official stamp. President Clinton’s CIA Director, John Deutsch, lost his job and security clearance for using his portable computer at home. It had classified material on it. Those violations are trifling compared to Hillary Clinton’s exposure.