March 3, 2017  the NR




Pence’s e-mail practices were not illegal and he didn’t lie about them. The same cannot be said for Clinton. It’s clear that many Democrats still haven’t grasped what they did when they nominated Hillary Clinton for president. They’re still trying to tell us that it was no big deal that she set up her own homebrew e-mail server and used it to conduct official business. They’re still trying to tell us that her corruption was negligible compared with Donald Trump’s and that America made a terrible, dreadful mistake when it elected him instead of her. The latest evidence? The willfully misleading comparison of Mike Pence’s legal use of a private e-mail account to conduct state business in Indiana with Hillary’s mishandling of highly classified information (not to mention months of lies, evasions, and deceptions). Here’s the Pence story in a nutshell — while governor of Indiana, he used his AOL account to conduct some state business, and that account was subject to a “broad” (not targeted) hack. His use of private e-mail was permitted by state law, he did not lie about it, and he did not handle any classified information on an unclassified system. The New York Times said Pence’s e-mail practices “echoed Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server.” Vox’s Matthew Yglesias said, “It was everything Clinton’s critics alleged.” CNN’s Bakari Sellers found it “hypocritical” that Pence favored a rigorous FBI investigation into Clinton’s e-mail practices: I could go on, but you get the idea. It’s all part of the sometimes-mistaken, often-deceptive notion that Clinton’s flaws were somehow within recognized norms. There was nothing special, corrupt, or disqualifying about her e-mail use, and it was nothing but a cynical right-wing, Fox News plot to allege otherwise. Yet there were reasons far beyond Fox News why Hillary Clinton is one of the least-liked and least-trusted politicians in American history. And those reasons extend rightfully into the e-mail controversy. Do we need to be reminded of the facts? She told falsehood after falsehood, earning Pinocchio after Pinocchio even from the left-leaning fact-checkers at the Washington Post. Some of the most egregious claims included falsely telling the public that she didn’t send or receive any classified information on her personal e-mail, and falsely telling the public that the FBI director himself had verified that her comments to the American people were truthful. Should we repeat some of her more memorable comments? On March 10, 2015, she said, “I did not e-mail any classified material to anyone on my e-mail. There is no classified material.” On February 4, 2016, Clinton said she “never sent or received any classified material.” She repeatedly denied sending or receiving e-mails “marked classified” (a curious distinction, since she’s legally obligated to protect both marked and unmarked classified information). This exchange, between Representative Trey Gowdy and FBI director Comey, sums up her honesty: Gowdy: Secretary Clinton said there was nothing marked classified on her e-mails either sent or received. Was that true? Comey: That’s not true. Gowdy: Secretary Clinton said, “I did not e-mail any classified material to anyone on my e-mail. There is no classified material.” Was that true? Comey: There was classified material e-mailed. That classified material included seven e-mail chains containing information classified at the Top Secret/Special Access Program level. And do we really need to continue into the more bizarre details of the FBI investigation, including evidence that Clinton aides destroyed her old devices with a hammer, that investigators couldn’t locate any of the 13 e-mail-capable mobile devices she used while secretary of state, or that staffers started deleting information from her server after the New York Times disclosed its existence? As I argued at the time, if she was, say, Captain Hillary Clinton of the United States Army, rather than a former secretary of state, a former first lady, and the present Democratic nominee for president, Hillary Clinton would have been fortunate to resign in lieu of enduring a court-martial. In her post-military civilian life, she would have been unemployable in any serious government position, and if any president made the mistake of appointing her to, say, undersecretary for food safety in the Department of Agriculture, the appointment would be immediately shot down in committee. Hillary’s scandal is substantially different from the relatively meaningless story of Mike Pence’s AOL account. So why even try to make the comparison? All too many Democrats still refuse to own their own dumpster fire. They refuse to grapple with the hard reality that their own establishment united to foist a dishonest candidate on the American people. They keep trying to paint the election of 2016 as a battle between good and evil, between social progress and cultural darkness. This narrative is utterly false. The Democratic party has no moral high horse to mount, and no amount of post-election spin can sell Hillary Clinton as anything other than what she was, a corrupt machine politician who should have been spending her time finalizing her plea bargain, not campaigning for president of the United States. — David French is a staff writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and an attorney.

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