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Republicans on fake attack

If a candidate for president is federally indicted, should they withdraw their candidacy?

That is the question Republicans would most like to be asking in order to defeat the Hillary Clinton campaign for the presidency.

Certainly, if a secretary of state willfully violated and ignored U.S. law in the execution of his or her duties they should be subject to prosecution. And, if a secretary of state caused the loss of classified information to our enemies, or put at risk our human assets in intelligence gathering, they should be fired and subject to any and all legal actions.

So, in order to understand the case Republicans would hope for against Mrs. Clinton, who served as secretary of state from 2009 -2013, the two key questions to be asked to determine the importance of the issue are: did Clinton violate law in her use of a private server; and did the use of that server result in the release of classified information that our enemies then used against the United States?

The answer to both questions is no.

Then why do Republicans daily report that Clinton, who is not a target of a Department of Justice investigation, is about to be indicted?

Because since the Clinton candidacy was not damaged by the Republican fake Benghazi scandal, the next fake scandal up became the email scandal.

And, for Republicans, Clinton scandals are the most used tools in the toolbox of all attempts to defeat the Clintons. The history of such Republican attacks is long and filled with failures.

The facts are that Clinton’s use of a private server as secretary of state were not illegal. Other secretaries, of State and other agencies, have used private servers. Mrs. Clinton was the only one who used a private server exclusively instead of the @state.gov server provided by the government.

Only after Clinton’s service ended did the National Archives issue a recommendation to avoid the use of private servers except for emergencies. And, in 2014 President Obama changed federal rules that all private emails are the be copied to government emails.

Clinton’s use of a private server did make difficult the record keeping required to satisfy the Freedom of Information Act. Clinton has argued that most emails on the server used were stored by those who sent them or those she forwarded the emails to at state.gov. And State has confirmed that 90 percent of the emails that came to the Clinton server have been located on state.gov servers. But the issue of record retention was ultimately satisfied when Clinton provided, in 2014, 55,000 emails to State from the server used.

Clinton did have her attorney’s delete all personal e-mails during this same period. The determination of personal vs. private was made by the state.gov identification. Federal Law makes the government official, Clinton in this case, responsible for this determination of private vs. personal.

But did Clinton use the private server for classified government information, which would be a violation. In a word, no.

First, emails sent to Clinton were all sent on the government non-classified system. The federal government has a closed and separate system for classified content. It is not possible for a government employee to send a classified document on the non-classified system.

Second, most emails now deemed classified have been so defined after their initial transfers to Clinton. This happens when subsequent events make material of higher security value. Additionally, some information is redacted because federal law protects privileged communications between government officials.

Finally, there is no standard in the U.S. government for determining what is deemed classified. Agencies dispute this status on an ongoing and regular basis.

Did Clinton violate federal law? No.

Did her server get hacked, leaking classified information? No.

Do Republicans want to discredit Clinton at all costs? Yes.

Welcome to election 2016.

 

Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.