Posts Tagged ‘Hillary Clinton’s email’

Trump Pressed to Confront Putin After Mueller’s Indictments — But Didn’t Hillary Clinton Have a Private Email Server With No Government Security Protections While She Was Secretary of State?

July 14, 2018

A guy that gets a sexually transmitted disease can always blame the woman. But he should have worn a condom.

So all this kerfuffle about Robert Muller catching Russians who got emails from U.S. computers really overlooks the lack of very basic cybersecurity.

And maybe we should think again about the consequences for James Comey and Peter Strzok letting Hillary Clinton walk free for her inability to protect U.S. classified information while Secretary of State…..

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Peter Strzok during a congressional hearing, July 12, 2018. Reuters photo

Peace and Freedom


From Bloomberg News


Whatever Donald Trump had hoped to get out of his summit with Vladimir Putin, Robert Mueller changed the game.

The U.S. president’s goals for the meeting had always been unclear. But now Trump is under pressure — including from several members of Congress from his own party — to finally confront Putin once and for all over trying to sabotage the election that put Trump in the White House.

Democrats called on him to scrap the summit in protest. That’s not happening, the White House said. And there’s no sign that Trump will demand that Putin turn over the 12 Russian intelligence officials the special counsel indicted — and they likely will never stand trial.

Image result for Trump, Putin, Russian nesting dolls, photos

But Monday’s meeting in Helsinki has become a pivotal test of Trump’s strength and will to defend election integrity — something he hasn’t done so far.

“It will be somewhat more difficult for him to simply go through the motions,” said Daniel Fried, who served as assistant secretary of state for Europe under President George W. Bush. “The point is to send Putin a very clear message: Stay out of our elections.”

‘Extensive Plot’

Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican, said the indictments add to evidence confirming an “extensive plot” by the Kremlin to sow discord among American voters, attack the 2016 election, and undermine faith in democracy.

“President Trump must be willing to confront Putin from a position of strength and demonstrate that there will be a serious price to pay for his ongoing aggression towards the United States and democracies around the world,” McCain, the Republican presidential nominee in 2008, said in a statement. “If President Trump is not prepared to hold Putin accountable, the summit in Helsinki should not move forward.”

Trump focused his ire not on Putin but his predecessor, former President Barack Obama, in a series of tweets Saturday morning from his Turnberry golf club in Scotland.

“The stories you heard about the 12 Russians yesterday took place during the Obama Administration, not the Trump Administration,” Trump wrote. “Why didn’t they do something about it, especially when it was reported that President Obama was informed by the FBI in September, before the Election?”

DNC Server

In a subsequent tweet, Trump questioned why the FBI didn’t take possession of the Democratic National Committee server that was hacked by the Russians, and appeared to insinuate that a unsubstantiated and unexplained conspiracy involving the “Deep State.” Former FBI director James Comey said last year Democrats had opted to give the server to a third party that shared its analysis with the FBI, rather than turning it over directly to the government.

The tweets followed remarks at a press conference Friday where Trump belittled the idea of challenging the Russian president over election interference during a press conference on Friday just before the criminal charges were announced, though Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had warned Trump earlier in the week the indictments were coming.

Donald Trump speaks on July 13.

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

“I will absolutely, firmly ask the question” to Putin, Trump said at a news conference on Friday with U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May at Chequers, her country estate. But he suggested there was little point to the exercise..

Perry Mason Moment

“I don’t think you’ll have any ‘Gee, I did it, I did it, you got me,”’ Trump said. Referring to a TV courtroom drama of the 1950s and 1960s that often featured a dramatic, last-minute confession, he added, “There won’t be a Perry Mason here, I don’t think, but you never know what happens, right?”

Trump has previously shown little appetite for pressing the issue, telling reporters after meeting with Putin in Vietnam last November that he was done discussing it and that he believed the Russian leader’s denials were sincere.

“He said he didn’t meddle. He said he didn’t meddle. I asked him again. You can only ask so many times,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One after the meeting. “And I believe, I really believe, that when he tells me that, he means it.”

‘Not a Question’

Lawmakers from his own party said Friday that was no longer enough.

Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, a frequent critic of the president, said Trump must do more than ask.

“Mr. President, as today’s indictments reaffirm, election interference is not a question to be asked of Vladimir Putin, but a statement to be made to Vladimir Putin: You interfered in our elections,” Flake said on Twitter.

House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce, a California Republican, said in a statement Friday that Trump “should use today’s indictments to challenge” Putin at the meeting.

A chorus of Democrats including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California said Trump must call off the summit.

“President Trump should cancel his meeting with Vladimir Putin until Russia takes demonstrable and transparent steps to prove that they won’t interfere in future elections,” Schumer said in a statement. “Glad-handing with Vladimir Putin on the heels of these indictments would be an insult to our democracy.”

No Russia Criticism

The White House’s initial reaction to the indictments was defensive and didn’t include any criticism of the Russian government or its indicted operatives, all of whom were identified as officials in Moscow’s main military intelligence agency, the GRU. The Russians are charged with stealing user names and passwords of people working in Democrat Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, including its chairman John Podesta, and hacking into the computer networks of other Democratic party organizations.

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John Podesta: His password was “password”.

White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said in a statement that “today’s charges include no allegations of knowing involvement by anyone on the campaign and no allegations that the alleged hacking affected the election result.”

Podesta said in an interview that at the summit “maybe he should ask Putin to turn over the 12 people indicted to the United States for trial.”

Trump has long downplayed Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election, and has repeatedly referred to Mueller’s investigation as a “witch hunt” even as it has piled up guilty pleas and indictments of Russians and Trump campaign associates.

Better Putin Relationship

Trump suggested at stops in Europe that his primary goal for his meeting with Putin is a better relationship, though he also said he would discuss Russia’s incursions into Ukraine, the civil war in Syria and nuclear proliferation.

“We go into that meeting not looking for so much,” he told reporters at a news conference Thursday following a NATO summit in Brussels.

“I didn’t go in with high expectations,” Trump told reporters at the Friday press conference with May. “We do have political problem where — you know in the United States we have this stupidity going on. Pure stupidity. But it makes it very hard to do something with Russia. Anything you do, it’s always going to be, ‘Oh, Russia, he loves Russia.”’

The indictments are the most detailed explanation so far of how units of Russia’s GRU attempted to influence the 2016 election by stealing Democratic emails, then releasing them in ways meant to dominate news headlines as voters made up their minds.

Prosecutors also detailed a second Russian operation targeting the infrastructure that Americans use to cast their ballots and the officials that oversee those elections locally.

American intelligence agencies have concluded that Putin personally ordered a campaign to undermine “public faith in the U.S. democratic process” with the goal of hurting Clinton’s candidacy and ultimately helping to elect Trump.

— With assistance by Justin Sink, Margaret Talev, Tom Schoenberg, Michael Riley, and Steven T. Dennis

(Updates with Trump tweets starting in ninth paragraph.)
See also:

John Podesta: ‘We Just Found Some Witches And They Were Indicted’



Hillary Clinton speaking during a campaign event in Columbus, Ohio, on Monday.

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Be Careful What You Wish For: Democrats, Especially Hillary Clinton, Will Likely Regret Russian Election Hacking Probe

March 7, 2017

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Credit Getty Images

By John Crudele

The investigation of Russian interference in the US election could turn into a big headache for the Democrats. The phrase “Be careful what you ask for” comes to mind.

For months before the presidential election, I explained why the Democrats were making a big mistake by picking Hillary Clinton as their candidate. And I correctly predicted that she would lose.

The Democrats didn’t listen, and now their party is in shambles. They aren’t going to listen to me now either about the unintended consequences of an investigation of the Russians, but I’m going to explain anyway.

One of the reasons I predicted Hillary would lose was that the Russians had hacked her emails — along with those of some other Democratic Party higher-ups.

A very reliable source told me that the Russians did it, through a proxy and — this is the important part — that the National Security Agency had hacked the Russians while the Russians were hacking Hillary.

So everything the Russians have, the NSA also has. And, as I said back then, the NSA offered those hacked emails — including Hillary’s — to the FBI, which declined the offer.

Everyone now agrees with me that the Russians did indeed hack Hillary. In fact, Clinton herself treated this as a fait accompli — something that had actually happened — when she started to address what was in those emails. She said the 30,000 or so messages were mostly discussions about yoga and daughter Chelsea’s wedding.

That, of course, is absurd.

Only Hillary really knows what’s in those 30,000 emails because they never came out, although they were supposed to.

WikiLeaks, which dumped hundreds of thousands of Democratic emails onto its site, never had one email that came from Hillary or was sent to her.

WikiLeaks had promised what it called the fourth phase of email dumps the week before the election, but that’s the only promise it didn’t keep. So what happened? My guess is that President Obama’s stern warning to Vladimir Putin caused the Russian president to stop the promised leak of Hillary’s personal emails.

Any investigation of the Russian hacking is liable to result in Hillary’s emails being read, and perhaps released.

The other possibility is even more likely. Putin could get annoyed by the firestorm over his interference in the US election and decide to have the surrogate he had do the hacking release Hillary’s emails.

Imagine how quickly attention will shift if we suddenly have Hillary ’s emails about Obama, Bill Clinton, donations to the Clinton Foundation and many other topics.


Trey Gowdy: “Could a President Hillary Clinton Do What Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Did?” And would that be illegal? “We don’t want grossly negligent people handling classified information”

October 3, 2016

Congressman Trey Gowdy was interviewed by Maria Bartiromo Sunday and he spoke about “equal protection under the law,” Hillary Clinton’s email, FBI Director James Comey and the Justice Department here:

Congressman Gowdy said on November the 8th, the jury of the United States, the people, the voters get to decide by voting if what Hillary Clinton was doing by negligently handling was acceptable or not.



The FBI director can’t defend immunity for Hillary Clinton’s aides—which says volumes. — FBI deliberately chose to accept some lies…

FBI Director James Comey is sworn in before testifying at a House Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., Sept. 28.
FBI Director James Comey is sworn in before testifying at a House Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., Sept. 28. PHOTO: REUTERS


Trey Gowdy is still demanding justice for Hillary Clinton’s part in the Benghazi murders and her email scandals that shook Americans’ faith in government. More and more, he’s questioning the powers-that-be, namely FBI Director James Comey. On Wednesday, Congressman Trey Gowdy held Comey’s feet to the fire as he interrogated him once again. Gowdy’s comments and questions have drawn a great deal of support, particularly on social media, as videos have been circulated far and wide, with words of affirmation. If Gowdy’s goal as a representative is to represent the American people, some would argue that he’s been successful. He’s put himself and his reputation on the line in repeated attempts to seek justice in the actions taken by Mrs. Clinton. Watch the video below to hear Trey Gowdy’s most recent demand for justice.

One of the most telling, and powerful, points he made was how disappointed he was in the FBI’s reputation sinking so low as a result of the Clinton cover-up. As the Inquisitr previously reported, Trey Gowdy tackled the issue of her email scandal by breaking through the bastion of intent. This past summer, Gowdy even managed to get Comey to refute several of the statements Clinton made during her FBI investigation. Gowdy circled back on Wednesday, cornering Comey once again for his defense of the presidential candidate’s lack of intent in her email misconduct.

“The way to prove [guilty intent] is whether someone took steps to conceal or destroy what they’d done. That is the best evidence you have that they knew it was wrong, that they lied about it.”

There’s no doubt Comey knew that, just as all Americans from both parties knew, yet he still told the Justice Department, much to their relief, that he didn’t recommend charges against Mrs. Clinton for what she’d done. According to Western Journalism, Trey Gowdy is still demanding justice for Hillary Clinton’s actions. The FBI hasn’t escaped accusation. Gowdy had a few more words for Director Comey.

“This is not the FBI that I used to work with. I’ve been really careful not to criticize you… I just disagree with you. But it’s really important to me that the FBI be respected. It looks to me like things were done differently, that I don’t recall being done back when I used to work with them.”

Trey Gowdy speaks from experience. The South Carolina congressman was once a very successful federal prosecutor and worked closely with FBI agents on some cases. The scolding comes from a high place and threatens to bring a once-solid institution to a lower place it just may well have earned for itself by allowing Comey to recommend a no-bill for Clinton.

James Comey’s infamous statement listing the Clintonian sins had the typical American voter holding his breath, waiting for the recommendation for charges that would surely follow. America collectively exhaled when Comey announced he wouldn’t be recommending charges. The disappointment was rampant, at least for the conservative voters.

It turns out that Loretta Lynch didn’t escape the fury of the people, either.

American voters may have lashed out at Comey’s decision not to charge Hillary, but it did little good. Comey spoke, and Lynch responded. Not so fast, according to Trey Gowdy. Still demanding justice for her behavior, he continues to doggedly pursue justice, and some acknowledgment from Comey, Lynch, and company.

Taken on its own, the email scandal would be enough for prosecution, if social media comments are any indication. Unfortunately, the email scandal doesn’t stand alone in the ammunition conservatives have against Hillary Clinton. Trey Gowdy has that covered, as well, as you’ll see in the video below.

As World News Politics has said, Trey Gowdy is “not afraid to speak the truth no matter how harsh it sounds” and is “always forthright” in his questioning about crooked behavior.

If past behavior is truly an indicator of future behavior, we can see that Trey Gowdy is not going to let it go. His demands for justice will continue, and it appears that a significant number of American people will stand behind him. What do you think about Congressman Gowdy’s pursuit of justice? Is it founded or an exercise in futility? Please sound off in the comments section below.

[Feature Image by Alex Wong/Getty Images]


Hillary Clinton Avoids Deposition But Must Still Answer E-Mail Questions

August 20, 2016

By Andrew M Harris
Bloomberg News

August 19, 2016 — 5:03 PM EDT Updated on August 19, 2016 — 6:26 PM EDT

— U.S. judge denies watchdog’s bid to question nominee in person

— Candidate has 30 days to answer from time queries put forth

Hillary Clinton won a U.S. court order denying a conservative watchdog group’s bid to force her to submit to questioning under oath about her use of a private e-mail server while secretary of state, but she’ll need to answer at least some of those queries in writing.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan on Friday set an Oct. 14 deadline for Judicial Watch to submit its questions to the Democratic presidential nominee, meaning her replies may not come until after the Nov. 8 election. Judicial Watch said it will act quickly, signaling Clinton’s answers may arrive in the final weeks of the campaign.

The e-mail controversy spurred a federal criminal investigation and has dogged Clinton for more than a year as she vies for the White House. Her Republican opponent, Donald Trump, and his party have made it the centerpiece of their attacks on her honesty and credibility.

Aiding that endeavor has been Judicial Watch, a Washington-based group that uses Freedom of Information Act lawsuits to extract records from the federal government. In a suit filed in 2013, closed and then revived, it has pressed for information about Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s overlapping employment at the U.S. State Department, the Clinton Foundation and an outside consulting firm while the Democratic nominee was the top U.S. diplomat.

Tom Fitton, president of the watchdog group, said the organization was pleased with the court’s order, calling it a reminder the candidate wasn’t above the law. “We will move quickly to get these answers,” he said.

Earlier this year, the organization won an order giving it permission to question members of Clinton’s State Department staff about its response to FOIA requests and about the e-mail system based in her Chappaqua, New York home.

Telling Judge Sullivan they were dissatisfied with what they’d learned, the group’s lawyers pressed him last month to let them depose the former Secretary of State.

Just days earlier, FBI Director James Comey said that while he wouldn’t recommend bringing charges, Clinton and her aides had been “extremely careless” in their handling of sensitive government information. On July 6, the Justice Department declared the matter closed.

Long-time Clinton lawyer David Kendall objected to the Judicial Watch request at a July 18 hearing. In court papers he called their request “futile” and said the information sought was already public.

“We’re not here writing on a blank slate,” Kendall told Sullivan in court. “They’ve had all the discovery they’ve asked for.”

The judge concluded Clinton’s testimony was necessary to explain the purpose of the private e-mail system, but that an in-person deposition wasn’t needed to do so. He ordered the organization to “propound questions that are relevant to Secretary Clinton’s unique firsthand knowledge” of the system and of her department’s FOIA processing practices.

Clinton’s campaign claimed a measure of victory in the outcome.

“Judicial Watch is a right-wing organization that has been attacking the Clintons since the 1990s,” spokesman Brian Fallon said in an e-mailed statement.

“This is just another lawsuit intended to try to hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and so we are glad that the judge has accepted our offer to answer these questions in writing rather than grant Judicial Watch’s request.”

The case is Judicial Watch Inc. v. U.S. Department of State, 13-cv-1363, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).


Convicted spy cites Clinton emails to seek leniency — Says Clinton’s damage to national security certainly greater than his

August 16, 2016

Convicted spy cites Clinton emails to seek leniency

By Julian Hattem – 08/15/16 08:45 AM EDT

A Navy sailor who has pleaded guilty to espionage charges for photographing classified areas of a nuclear submarine is citing Hillary Clinton’s email setup in an effort to avoid jail time.

Lawyers for 29-year-old Kristian Saucier told a federal court in Connecticut on Friday that the Justice Department’s decision not to press charges against Clinton, despite the existence of classified material on more than 100 messages on her server, was one of several cases that should compel a reduced sentence.

“Most recently, Democratic Presidential Candidate and former Secretary of State Hilary [sic] Clinton … has come under scrutiny for engaging in acts similar to Mr. Saucier,” his legal team claimed.
The FBI has criticized Clinton’s private setup, attorney Derrick Hogan noted, “however, the FBI recently recommended Mrs. Clinton not be brought up on any charges as she lacked ‘intent.’”

Saucier pleaded guilty to possessing just six sensitive photographs, Hogan added, “far less than Clinton’s 110 emails.”

“Further, Mr. Saucier pled guilty to [a legal prohibition] which does not require intent.

“Wherefore, it will be unjust and unfair for Mr. Saucier to receive any sentence other than probation for a crime those more powerful than him will likely avoid.”

Clinton’s case is listed as just one of several in which officials were either not charged or given relatively light sentences for their crimes. Circumstances surrounding the former secretary of State were also different than those for Saucier, who acknowledged that he was aware that the pictures he took were classified. Clinton has maintained that she did not believe any of the information she receive via email ought to have been protected.

But the citation is likely to inflame critics of the Democratic presidential nominee, who they warn exposed a two-tiered process of justice after federal prosecutors announced they would not indict her or her senior aides.

“We believe that you have set a precedent, and it is a dangerous one,” House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) scolded FBI Director James Comey during a hearing in July.

Before a federal court in May, Saucier admitted he took cellphone photos of sensitive portions of a submarine in 2009. The photos were not discovered until his cellphone was found in a dumpster three years later.

He is set to be sentenced on Friday.

Federal sentencing guidelines suggest he be put in prison for up to 6.5 years, but Saucier’s attorneys are claiming he should instead be given probation.

“Mr. Saucier has new responsibilities as a father, husband and grandfather, and has grown out of the mistakes he made in his early twenties,” his legal team claimed on Friday. “Therefore, at 29 years old, any sentence of confinement will be greater than necessary.

See also Politico:


Experts: Clinton emails could have compromised CIA names

June 9, 2016

By Deb Riechmann
The Associated Press
June 8, 2016

WASHINGTON (AP) — The names of CIA personnel could have been compromised not only by hackers who may have penetrated Hillary Clinton’s private computer server or the State Department system, but also by the release itself of tens of thousands of her emails, security experts say.

Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, turned over to the State Department 55,000 emails from her private server that were sent or received when she was secretary of state. Some contained information that has since been deemed classified, and those were redacted for public release with notations for the reason of the censorship.

At least 47 of the emails contain the notation “B3 CIA PERS/ORG,” which indicates the material referred to CIA personnel or matters related to the agency. And because both Clinton’s server and the State Department systems were vulnerable to hacking, the perpetrators could have those original emails, and now the publicly released, redacted versions showing exactly which sections refer to CIA personnel.

“Start with the entirely plausible view that foreign intelligence services discovered and rifled Hillary Clinton’s server,” said Stewart Baker, a Washington lawyer who spent more than three years as an assistant secretary of the Homeland Security Department and is former legal counsel for the National Security Agency.

If so, those infiltrators would have copies of all her emails with the names not flagged as being linked to the agency.

In the process of publicly releasing the emails, however, classification experts seem to have inadvertently provided a key to anyone who has the originals. By redacting names associated with the CIA and using the “B3 CIA PERS/ORG” exemption as the reason, “Presto — the CIA names just fall off the page,” Baker said.

The CIA declined to comment.

A U.S. official said the risk of the names of CIA personnel being revealed in this way is “theoretical and probably remains so at this time.” The official, who did not have the authority to publicly address the matter, spoke on condition of anonymity and would not elaborate.

Steven Aftergood, who directs the Federation of American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecy, said even if any identities were revealed, they might be the names of analysts or midlevel administrators, not undercover operatives.

“I don’t think there’s any particular vulnerability here,” Aftergood said.

Clinton has acknowledged that the email server, set up in the basement of her New York home, was a mistake. But she says she never sent or received anything that was marked classified at the time of transmission. Clinton, who was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013, insists the personal server she used was never actually breached.

In this March 12, 2012 file photo, then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton checks her mobile phone after her address to the Security Council at United Nations headquarters. The names of CIA personnel could have been compromised not only by hackers who may have penetrated Hillary Clinton’s private computer server or the State Department system, but also by the release itself of tens of thousands of her emails. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

The AP discovered last year that Clinton’s private server was directly connected to the internet in ways that made it more vulnerable to hackers. A recent State Department inspector general’s report indicated the server was temporarily unplugged by a Clinton aide at one point during attacks by hackers, but her campaign has said there’s no evidence the server was hacked.

In each year from 2011 to 2014, the State Department’s poor cybersecurity was identified by its inspector general as a “significant deficiency” that put the department’s information at risk. Another State Department inspector general report revealed that hacking attempts forced Clinton off her private email at one point in 2011.

Then in 2014, the State Department’s unclassified email system was breached by hackers with links to Russia. They stole an unspecified number of emails. The hack was so deep that State’s email system had to be cut off from the internet while experts worked to eliminate the infestation.

Baker points out another instance where Clinton’s server might have been hacked.

A March 2, 2009, email warned against State Department officials using Blackberries. Eric Boswell, assistant secretary of state, says the “vulnerabilities and risks associated with the use of Blackberries … considerably outweigh their convenience.”

Nine days later, another email states that Clinton approached Boswell and says she “gets” the risk. The email also said: “Her attention was drawn to the sentence that indicates we (the diplomatic security office officials) have intelligence concerning this vulnerability during her recent trip to Asia.”

Clinton traveled to China, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea in February 2009.

Hillary Clinton’s Email Scandal Could Yet Destroy Her

May 28, 2016


By Julian Hattem05/28/16 06:09 AM EDT

A scathing inspector general’s report this week was just the first in what is likely to be a series of official actions related to her private server stemming from the FBI, a federal courthouse and Capitol Hill.

Clinton’s presidential campaign has failed to quiet the furor over the issue, which has dogged her for more than a year.

In the next few weeks — just as the likely Democratic presidential nominee hopes to pivot towards a general election — it will face its toughest scrutiny yet.

“All of that feeds into this overarching problem of public distrust of her,” said Grant Reeher, a political science professor at Syracuse University.

“To put it in slang terms, she’s got a pretty deeply held street rep at this point. This fits the street rep,” he added.

The State Department’s watchdog report was especially damaging, given the official nature of its source. The report claimed that Clinton never sought approval for her “homebrew” email setup, that her use of the system violated the department’s record-keeping rules and that it would have been rejected had she brought it up to department officials.

Clinton’s allies attempted to paint the office as partisan in the weeks ahead of the report’s release, but the effort failed to leave a lasting impact.

For months, Clinton and her team have failed to offer a convincing explanation for the use of the private server, and she has steadfastly refused to apologize.

“I thought it was allowed,” she said in an interview on CNN’s “The Situation Room” this week, after the watchdog’s report became public. “I knew past secretaries of state used personal email.

“It was still a mistake. If I could go back, I’d do it differently,” she said.

Clinton and many of her top aides declined to take part in the inspector general’s probe. But they won’t have that option going forward.

On Friday, Clinton’s former chief of staff Cheryl Mills was interviewed behind closed doors as part of a court case launched by conservative watchdog Judicial Watch. In coming weeks, longtime aide Huma Abedin, former IT specialist Bryan Pagliano and other officials are scheduled to answer questions under oath for sessions that could last as long as seven hours.

A federal judge this week preemptively blocked Judicial Watch from releasing videotapes of the upcoming depositions.

But the group this week released the transcript from its first interview, with longtime State Department veteran Lewis Lukens. And it plans to do the same thing following each of the upcoming depositions, providing fodder for weeks to come from some of the closest rings of Clinton’s inner circle.

The court has said that Clinton herself may be forced to answer questions under oath, which would dramatically escalate the brouhaha surrounding the case.

At some point in the next month, the House Select Committee on Benghazi is also set to release its long-awaited report about the 2012 terror attack, which has been linked to Clinton.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks on stage in Harlem at the Apollo Theater on March 30. | Getty

The committee has pursued Clinton’s emails to the extent that they relate to the violence in Libya, and the report is likely to stoke new ire about the matter. However, its two-year investigation has been marred by partisan bickering, and the report will likely be shrugged off by Democrats.

What is potentially profoundly more damaging for Clinton is the looming FBI investigation, exploring the possibility that she or her aides mishandled classified information.

More than 2,000 emails that Clinton gave the State Department from her private server have been classified at some level, and 22 were marked as “top secret” — the highest level of classification — and deemed too dangerous to release publicly even in a highly redacted form. However, none of the emails were marked as classified at the time they were sent, complicating the investigation into whether her setup thwarted any laws.


Abedin, Mills and other Clinton aides have reportedly been interviewed as part of the FBI case. And Clinton herself is due up for questioning at some point.

Legal experts appear skeptical that the Justice Department would hand down a criminal charge against Clinton, due to both the high legal hurdles involved and the intense political scrutiny surrounding the likely presidential nominee.

But that won’t end the matter.

Republicans appear primed to cry foul if the FBI closes its investigation without handing down indictments or offering a public explanation. Senior lawmakers have already excoriated the Justice Department for failing to appoint a special prosecutor.

“It’s clear that the attorney general, who serves at the pleasure of President Obama, is going to have very little incentive or intention to pursue the appropriate investigation,” Sen. John Cornyn (Texas), the No. 2 Senate Republican, said on the chamber floor this week.

Other Senate Republicans, including Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) have launched their own investigations related to Clinton’s email. Some of their findings, Grassley said this week, were at odds with those of the State Department’s inspector general report.

“I will follow up to get to the bottom of these discrepancies because misrepresenting the facts to Congress is unacceptable,” Grassley pledged.

How much the email issue hurts Clinton’s electoral hopes remains an open question. Results of the June 7 primary contest in California, the nation’s largest state, could offer some clues about whether the email scrutiny hurts her polling.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), her primary opponent, has stubbornly refused to address the issue, memorably declaring in October that people “are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails.”

Recent events have disproved that claim.

And as she gears up for a general election, Clinton has to expect that Donald Trump won’t be as kind.

Sanders “didn’t pick up on the emails, which I think was a big mistake,” the presumptive GOP nominee said on “Fox and Friends” last weekend.

“I’m going to pick up bigly.”

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