We've previously marveled at the bizarre claim from the Clinton campaign on the damning emails revealed this week: the emails show Clinton Foundation donors receiving special privileges at Mrs. Clinton's State Department. But never mind–the emails were sent sent not by Mrs. Clinton herself but by her top aides.

In other words it was only Mrs. Clinton's alter egos (Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin) who appear to have colluded in a pay to play scheme that involved the Clinton Foundation and the U. S. Department of State.

Yes, laughable–except that it is emerging as the official response to the latest Clinton scandale.

John Sexton of Hot Air looked at the transcript from yesterday's presser at State:

A State Department spokesperson clarified Thursday that Hillary Clinton’s 2009 ethics pledge—to avoid conflicts of interest with the Clinton Foundation—did not extend to Clinton’s top aides at the Department.

Spokesperson Elizabeth Trudeau was asked about recently revealed emails that showed top members of Hillary Clinton’s staff doing favors for Clinton Foundation associates. “I’m not going to speak to specific emails, but I think you guys know State Department officials are regularly in touch with a wide variety of outside individuals and organizations including businesses, nonprofits, NGOs, think tanks,” Trudeau replied.

“You don’t feel like there was impropriety in the relationship between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department at the time?” the reporter asked. But Trudeau simply repeated her statement about the Department talking to a wide range of people.

At this point another reporter interjected, “Importantly, in this case, Secretary Clinton made a pledge that she would not personally or substantially, in any way, involve herself with the Clinton Foundation.” He continued, “So it’s not just any outside organization, it’s the specific organization that she said ahead of time she wouldn’t have contact with.” “Doesn’t this then seem to violate that pledge?” he asked.

“So, again, to reiterate, you know, Department officials are in touch with a wide range of individuals,” Trudeau replied. She added, “I’d note that former Secretary Clinton’s ethics agreement did not preclude other State Department officials from having contact with Clinton Foundation staff.”

Pause a moment and consider what a slimy, Clintonian formula this is, one that reveals how utterly hollow Clinton’s pledge was all along. Does it matter if Clinton vowed not to be involved with the family Foundation if her chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, and top aide, Huma Abedin, were free to carry on as they pleased? What kind of ethics pledge is this?

So the defense that originally seemed so hilarious is bubbling up as the official response. Even the mainstream media seemed incredulous:

“I’m sorry, am I not speaking English?” [AP reporter Matt] Lee snapped. “Is it coming across as a foreign…I’m not asking you if…no one is saying it’s not okay, or bad, for the department to get a broad variety of input from different people. The question is whether or not you’ve determined that there was nothing improper here.”

CNN has reported that Mills did work for the Clinton Foundation while on the payroll at State:

A top aide to Hillary Clinton at the State Department traveled to New York to interview job candidates for a top job at the Clinton Foundation, a CNN investigation has found.

The fact that the aide, Cheryl Mills, was taking part in such a high level task for the Clinton foundation while also working as chief of staff for the secretary of state raises new questions about the blurred lines that have dogged the Clintons in recent years.

Upon entering office as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation agreed to a set of rules to ensure any activities by the foundation would not "create conflicts or the appearance of conflicts for Senator Clinton as Secretary of State."

On June 19, 2012, Mills, then the chief of staff for Clinton at the State Department, boarded a New York City-bound Amtrak train in Washington's Union station.

According to Mills' attorney, her work for the Clinton Foundation while she was employed at the State Department was strictly voluntary. She received no pay and no government funds were used to finance the short trip.

Clinton's presidential campaign re-iterated that Mills was working as a volunteer on the trip.

So it was sort of like volunteering at a soup kitchen?

Senator Chuck Grassley of the Senate Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry asking for clarifications on the Mills trip on behalf of the Clinton Foundation in January. He has so far not received a reply.

Ms. Mills is the lawyer who defended Bill Clinton in his impeachment proceedings. Mills left the Clinton Foundation board when she took a job at State but has since rejoined the board.

Meanwhile, Ms. Abedin was receiving compensation from the Clinton Foundation while working for Mrs. Clinton at State. Simultaneously, Abedin also drew a salary from Teneo Group, a firm led by Doug Band who helped set up the Clinton Foundation. Bill Clinton was a paid consultant to Teneo.

With the polls showing Mrs. Clinton in the lead, gird yourself for four to eight years of this kind of double talk. It is behavior of this kind that has led Keith Koffler of White House Dossier to characterize the Clintons as grifters who see America as their mark:

Republicans take a lot of heat for Trump, but the Democrats have chosen nominate and defend a self-evidently corrupt individual, Hillary Clinton, to be their standard bearer. And right beside her in the White House will be her equal in the wages of sin, Bill Clinton. Once they have control of the government, the opportunities for financial enrichment of themselves and their friends will literally be unlimited.

It’s like electing Richard Nixon president when you know he is going to do Watergate. Was the hush money and the coverup worse than what we already know about the Clintons? Was it?

Despite the incredulity of the press at the press conference earlier this week, expect this issue to vanish momentarily. The press would be more able to sustain skepticism if Mrs. Clinton were a Republican.

And you must admit that monetizing public "service" this cleverly is quite original.