One aspect of Hillary Clinton's private email server has been receiving scant attention in the press: Why did she do this in the first place? Yes, we can say with reasonable certainty that she wanted to withhold the public record of transactions, but what sorts of transactions?
Kimberley Strassel writes in today's Wall Street Journal:
Classified information matters, and Mrs. Clinton stands accused of sloppy handling. Yet the former secretary of state didn’t set up a home-brew server with the express purpose of exposing national secrets—that was incidental.
Mrs. Clinton went to elaborate lengths to build a secret, private system for some other reason. She says it was for “convenience.” Others speculate she did it out of the Clintons’ longtime paranoia over paper trails. . . .
Lost in the classified kerfuffle is the other, lately ignored but still potent, scandal: the Clinton Foundation, and the unethical mixing of Mrs. Clinton’s public work and her personal fundraising/speech-giving/favor-doing. The more evidence that comes out, the more it looks as if that server was set up to provide an off-the-grid means for those two worlds to interact.
Strassel points to the interesting case of longtime Clinton aide and personal internet guru Bryan Pagliano, who has reportedly received immunity to talk to the Department about Mrs. Clinton's emails, and who belongs to the select group paid by both the State Department and the Clintons. Others in this illustrious company are Huma Abedin, who worked for State and the Clinton Foundation, and Cheryl Mills, also holding a position at the Clinton Foundation while working for State.
Sydney Blumenthal, whom the Obama administration would not permit Mrs. Clinton to hire at State, nevertheless provided her information while being paid by the Clinton Foundation. In a way the focus on carelessness about classified information may be helping Mrs. Clinton draw attention away from the real reason the homebrew server may have been set up in the first place.
Mrs. Clinton would have us believe that the 31,830 emails she deleted from her server pertained to yoga and weddings. And yet look at what the press has gleaned even from the few emails and foundation details that were released.
Foundation cash after Russian mining approvals. More than a dozen speeches by Bill to corporations and governments with business pending before Hillary’s State Department. Dozens more donations to the foundation from companies that were lobbying the State Department. Checks to the foundation from a Swiss bank after Secretary of State Clinton solved its IRS problem. An email to Ms. Abedin, while she was at State, asking for help winning a presidential appointment for a Clinton Foundation donor.
What else? Plenty, surely. The Clinton Foundation existed in recent years to serve as an unofficial PAC for Mrs. Clinton’s expected presidential run. And Mrs. Clinton’s job at State was designed to serve the same end. Of course the business of the two was intertwined. And here’s to betting the server was maintained to facilitate that intertwinement.
Of course, if this is the case, we will know this in time for the November election only if the FBI uncovers the relevant information. But Strassel has an interesting idea: maybe Bernie Sanders is taking a pass on attacking Mrs. Clinton for her handling of classified information because he believes that Mrs. Clinton has a bigger problem.