The constant meme from Hillary Clinton's campaign is that she didn't do anything with regard to her State Department emails that former secretary of state Colin Powell didn't do.
But it apparently took being behind closed doors and giving testimony she believed the public (and Colin Powell!) would never know about for Clinton to go a step farther and reportedly claim that Powell actually told her to do what she did.
Ah, leadership — the ability to grasp failures, arch one’s back … and blame someone else for them. Hillary Clinton has used the “Colin Powell did it” line ever since the e-mail scandal broke eighteen months ago, even though it’s not actually true. In her FBI interview, the New York Times reports today, Hillary went even further by claiming that Powell told her to use private e-mail for official business.
Here is how the New York Times describes it:
Pressed by the F.B.I. about her email practices at the State Department, Hillary Clinton told investigators that former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell had advised her to use a personal email account
The account is included in the notes the Federal Bureau of Investigation handed over to Congress on Tuesday, relaying in detail the three-and-a-half-hour interview with Mrs. Clinton in early July that led to the decision by James B. Comey, the bureau’s director, not to pursue criminal charges against her.
When the FBI acceded to demands of Congress and released the testimony to members, Powell of course realized the use to which he was being put. He issued a rebuttal. It should be noted that Powell did not have a private server and that, though he said he used a AOL for while serving as secretary of state, he says he never advocated or used AOL for classified material.
A forthcoming book by my old friend Joe Conason (I have been both hired and edited by Joe at the New York Observer many years ago, and have utmost respect for Joe, despite what I regard as his unfortunate political sympathies) will have a dinner party conversation between Clinton and Powell that may be the basis for what Clinton told the FBI. The New York Times reports on Joe's forthcoming book:
“Toward the end of the evening, over dessert, Albright asked all of the former secretaries to offer one salient bit of counsel to the nation’s next top diplomat,” Mr. Conason writes. “Powell told her to use her own email, as he had done, except for classified communications, which he had sent and received via a State Department computer.”
Mr. Conason continued, “Saying that his use of personal email had been transformative for the department,” Mr. Powell “thus confirmed a decision she had made months earlier — to keep her personal account and use it for most messages.”
This doesn't help Mrs. Clinton one iota. Several points: Clinton was already using both private email and a homebrew basement server (or servers, as it now appears may be the case )at the time of the conversation. Second point, Powell said he has used his own email "except for classified communications, which he had sent and received via a State Department computer."
What is interesting here is that Clinton appears to have gone further, actually fingering Powell only when she believed she would be safe from discovery. Thus this becomes, as is often the case with Mrs. Clinton, an issue of character.
Fasten your seatbelts, if she becomes president, for four to eight years of–uh–excitement.