Last night’s debate in Florida was, to give credit where due, one of the more explosive ones of the season. I rarely get the opportunity to shower praise on Univision anchor Jorge Ramos, but he popped open quite a few cans of worms which hadn’t gotten much oxygen in the previous outings between these two candidates. I can also offer a tip of the hat to Glenn Kessler at the Washington Post, who tore apart some of the flatly false statements which the candidates offered in response. It was a stunning display of denial of reality at times, but there’s only so much material for the two Democrats to work with when actually challenged.
One of the first biggies of the evening we need to touch on was the fact that somebody finally asked Hillary Clinton about the ongoing investigation into her email scandal. Ramos went one step further, however, and asked what so many others have wondered. Would Clinton end her campaign if she is finally indicted? She blew the question off with her duplicitous, stock answer about not having broken any laws and even said she wouldn’t respond when pressed with a follow up. Kessler notes that we’ve heard this song and dance before and it doesn’t hold water.
“It was not prohibited. It was not in any way disallowed. And as I have said and as now has come out, my predecessors did the same thing and many other people in the government.”
— Hillary Clinton
This is language that had previously earned Clinton Three Pinocchios. Clinton is relying on the fact that the legal requirement to immediately preserve emails from nongovernment email accounts was not made mandatory until nearly two years after she stepped down as secretary of state.
But that does not mean that when Clinton was secretary of state, there were not already in place State Department rules on how to handle emails and whether to use a personal email account. While Clinton says that “my predecessors did the same thing,” none had set up an exclusive and private email server for all of their departmental communications. (In fact, only Colin L. Powell has ever said he sent emails from a personal account, so Clinton’s use of plural is misleading.)
There’s much more on that one set of questions which is identified as either being highly dubious or flat out wrong. None of it, however, digs down to the fact that even the material which Clinton failed to mark as classified was still classified at the time of creation. Hillary keeps insisting there’s no chance that she’s going to be indicted and she may be right. But that’s only because she has friends in high places who control the Justice Department, not because there’s no fire under all that smoke. As Ambassador John Bolton said earlier this month, “If I’d done what Hillary Clinton did I’d be in jail.”
The candidates also got into a spat over who had supported the banking and auto…