Then-candidate Donald J. Trump said he was just joking in July 2016 when he called on Russia to “find the 30,000 emails” that Hillary Clinton had not turned over to State Department investigators, ostensibly because they were personal correspondence and not government business.
Now that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has obtained indictments against 12 Russian intelligence officers in connection with hacking into multiple Clinton campaign-related email accounts in the four previous months, it puts Trump’s comments in a different light.
The indictment alleges that the Russian agents broke into accounts for the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and various volunteers and employees at Clinton’s campaign — including the email account of her campaign chairman, John Podesta. It goes into some detail on how it identified the responsible parties, adding weight to the allegations.
The agents are not accused of hacking Clinton’s private email server, which isn’t surprising. Although former FBI director James Comey said in 2016 that the server could have been hacked by a hostile government, FBI investigators later told the agency’s inspector general that they were “fairly confident” the server was not compromised.
Regardless, emails taken from the DNC account started leaking in June 2016 at the site DCLeaks, then the following month from WikiLeaks. A hacker using the moniker Guccifer 2.0 — later linked by security experts to Russia — claimed credit for the leaks, but others did too, leaving the culprits unclear. Bear in mind that much of the discussion of the leaks centered on the DNC’s apparent favoritism for Clinton over her main rival for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). So while there were suspicions about Russia, the precise motives behind the leaks were hard to divine.
That’s the backdrop for Trump’s remarks. And now one has to wonder, just how much did he know about what Russia was actually doing?
In an editorial The Times ran shortly after Trump’s remarks, we noted the spin applied by Trump’s campaign:
“A spokesman for the Trump campaign later insisted that ‘Mr. Trump did not call on, or invite, Russia or anyone else to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails.’ Instead, Jason Miller suggested, Trump was saying the Russians already had the data because Clinton’s server wasn’t secure.”
Or maybe Trump was saying the Russians probably had the data because he knew they’d grabbed so much else from Clinton’s campaign.
The White House responded with a statement from Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters: “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. This is consistent with what we have been saying all along.”
Clinton: I was on way to winning until Comey, Wikileaks
(CNN) Hillary Clinton’s ongoing struggle to deal with the revelation that she used a private email server during her time as secretary of state dominated the conversation about her presidential candidacy, and research suggests it might have doomed her campaign, according to a new study by a consortium of pollsters released over the weekend.
In the paper, presented at the American Association for Public Opinion Research’s annual conference in New Orleans, pollsters and political scientists from Gallup, Georgetown University and the University of Michigan studied the daily Gallup tracking poll from July 10 to November 7, 2016. In particular, they zeroed in on one question: “Have you read, seen or heard anything about (Hillary Clinton/Donald Trump) in the last day or two?” They then zeroed in on the “yes” responses and categorized what, exactly, people said they had read, seen or heard.
Here’s what people had read, seen or heard about Clinton looks like in a word cloud (the bigger the word, the more often it was mentioned):
As you can see, “email” drowns out every other term mentioned about Clinton. It was, without question, the dominant narrative of the election for her — at least in the five months that this paper documents. And, according to the study, the mentions of email correlate directly to negative views of Clinton.
Now, check out Trump’s word cloud:
There’s nothing to match the Clinton “email” mentions. And although some of the most commonly mentioned words are negative storylines for Trump — “women,” most notably — there’s a lot of more neutral mentions: “debate,” “people” and “president.” This speaks to the theory that by throwing so many balls up in the air every day — via his stump speeches, Twitter, etc. — Trump made it impossible for anyone to follow all of them. Everything seemed like a molehill. Even the mountains.
Clinton blames Comey, Russia for election loss
What’s more, the word “email” came up more and more in the final weeks of the election — particularly in the wake of then-FBI Director James Comey’s announcement in late October that he was re-starting an investigation into Clinton’s server.
Here’s the word clouds broken into a week-by-week timeline of the last month of the campaign. Again, the larger the word appears, the more it was mentioned as something people had seen, read or heard about Clinton or Trump.
Not only did “email” dominate the conversation around Clinton, it dominated the entire conversation in the race. From October 23 on, Trump is barely talked about — an amazing feat for someone so willing to make news.
This study will be used by liberals as evidence that the media’s unnecessary focus on Clinton’s email server cost her the election.
I’d agree that Clinton’s email server played a decisive role in deciding the election. But I wouldn’t agree with the idea that the media is responsible for it.
After all, it was Clinton who never seemed to grasp the seriousness of the issue and how it eroded the public’s already shaky confidence in her. Her inability to do those things meant she was never able to put the story behind her. And then the Comey announcement came, which undoubtedly surged the issue back to the top of many voters’ minds.
Whatever the reasons, when people thought of Clinton in the final weeks of the race, they thought of her emails. And that was a very bad thing for her.
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By Kelly Riddell – The Washington Times – Monday, November 7, 2016
Last year, the State Department said it would need about one year to comb through and release Hillary Clinton’s 30,000 emails, or the 55,000 work-related pages she handed over in March 2015. Yet, we’re to believe the FBI can evaluate roughly 650,000 emails in just eight days.
Either the FBI is incredibly efficient or — more likely — partisan politics has corrupted two departments in our executive branch.
In May 2015, the State Department said it would need until January 2016 to release all of Mrs. Clinton’s emails, which were stored on her private email server while she served as secretary of state. They proposed a date of Jan. 15, 2016, to go over all of the classifications, but were shot down by a U.S. District Court judge which suggested a rolling release.
The State Department did its best to slow-roll the process. When Jan. 15, 2016, came around, it asked for a one-month extension to release the emails because of “inclement weather.” The delay would ensure the releases were after the presidential primary.
An FBI probe into how the State Department dealt with Mrs. Clinton’s email review revealed how it had a “shadow government” working within State, specifically tasked with handling — and perhaps obstructing — the release of Mrs. Clinton’s emails.
“There was a powerful group of very high-ranking STATE officials that some referred to as ‘The 7th Floor Group’ or ‘The Shadow Government.’” the FBI’s interview summary said. “This group met every Wednesday afternoon to discuss the FOIA process, Congressional records, and everything CLINTON related to FOIA/Congressional inquiries.”
In February, a federal judge expressed dismay with State and determined that the delays in releasing the remaining of Mrs. Clinton’s emails were unreasonable. On Feb. 29, all of Mrs. Clinton’s emails were released — almost a year after they were received.
But that doesn’t count emails from Mrs. Clinton’s aides, which were also requested. The State Department said it would take 75 years to go through those roughly 450,000 emails. Seventy-five years!
“Given the Department’s current FOIA workload and the complexity of these documents, it can process about 500 pages a month, meaning it would take approximately 16-and-⅔ years to complete the review of the [Cheryl] Mills documents, 33-and-⅓ years to finish the review of the [Jake] Sullivan documents, and 25 years to wrap up the review of the [Patrick] Kennedy documents — or 75 years in total,” the State Department argued in a filing this June.
Yet the FBI can get through 650,000 emails in eight days.
They can’t. It, too, is all political — and corrupt.
Eleven days before the election, FBI Director James Comey came under intense political fire after he decided to send a letter to Congress to inform them his agency was reopening Mrs. Clinton’s email case in light of new information.
The bombshell sent shock waves throughout the presidential campaign, and sent Mrs. Clinton’s poll numbers crashing.
A McClatchy-Marist Poll released Nov. 4 found a majority of voters believed Mrs. Clinton did something illegal, with 83 percent believing she did something wrong. Thirty-two percent said she did something unethical but not illegal and just 14 percent believed she’d done nothing wrong.
Mr. Comey was blasted by Mrs. Clinton’s team — and multiple members of the mainstream media — for trying to sway the presidential election. There were reports that FBI agents forced his hand, threatening open rebellion if he didn’t do it.
President Obama said in multiple interviews although Mr. Comey is a “good man,” he may have acted improperly in alerting the public he was reopening the case.
“I do think that there is a norm that when there are investigations, we don’t operate on innuendo, we don’t operate on incomplete information, we don’t operate on leaks,” Mr. Obama said in an interview with Now This News. “We operate based on concrete decisions that are made.”
So, Mr. Comey fell.
On Sunday — 48 hours before voters hit the voting booth — he said the FBI had reviewed the emails, and criminal charges wouldn’t be pursued.
There’s no wonder why Americans are skeptical of their federal institutions — they should be. It all needs to be burned down in order to be rebuilt.
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