Clin­ton re­lents, gives up pos­ses­sion of pri­vate email server


Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton has re­lented to months of de­mands that she re­lin­quish the per­sonal email server she used while sec­re­tary of state, di­rect­ing the de­vice be given to the Jus­tice Depart­ment.

The de­ci­sion an­nounced Tues­day ad­vances the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the U.S. Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial front-run­ner’s use of a pri­vate email ac­count as the na­tion’s top diplo­mat, and whether clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion was im­prop­erly sent via and stored on the home-brew email server she ran from her house in sub­ur­ban New York City.

Clin­ton cam­paign spokesman Nick Mer­rill said she has “pledged to co­op­er­ate with the gov­ern­ment’s se­cu­rity in­quiry, and if there are more ques­tions, we will con­tinue to ad­dress them.”

It’s not clear if the de­vice will yield any in­for­ma­tion — Clin­ton’s at­tor­ney said in March that no emails from the main per­sonal ad­dress she used while sec­re­tary of state still “re­side on the server or on back-up sys­tems as­so­ci­ated with the server.”

Clin­ton had to this point re­fused de­mands from Repub­li­can crit­ics to turn over the server to a third party, with at­tor­ney David Kendall telling the House com­mit­tee in­ves­ti­gat­ing the deadly 2012 at­tacks that killed four Amer­i­cans in Beng­hazi, Libya, that “there is no ba­sis to sup­port the pro­posed third-party re­view of the server.”

The email con­tro­versy has proved a dis­trac­tion to Clin­ton’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. Polls show her with a com­mand­ing lead over her Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial ri­vals. But the is­sue of her use of a per­sonal email server has given Repub­li­cans an op­por­tu­nity to rekin­dle ques­tions about whether she is trust­wor­thy and they hope that will weaken her as a po­ten­tial can­di­date in the Novem­ber 2016 elec­tion.

Repub­li­cans jumped on Tues­day’s de­ci­sion to change course, as well as the ad­di­tional dis­clo­sure that two emails that tra­versed Clin­ton’s per­sonal sys­tem were sub­se­quently given one of the gov­ern­ment’s high­est clas­si­fi­ca­tion rat­ings.

“All this means is that Hil­lary Clin­ton, in the face of FBI scru­tiny, has de­cided she has run out of op­tions,” Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee Chair­man Reince Priebus said in a state­ment. “She knows she did some­thing wrong and has run out of ways to cover it up.”

Fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tors have be­gun look­ing into the se­cu­rity of Clin­tons’ email setup amid con­cerns from the in­spec­tor gen­eral for the in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity that clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion may have passed through the sys­tem.

There is no ev­i­dence she used en­cryp­tion to shield the emails or her per­sonal server from for­eign in­tel­li­gence ser­vices or other po­ten­tially pry­ing eyes. Kendall has said pre­vi­ously that Clin­ton is “ac­tively co­op­er­at­ing” with the FBI in­quiry.

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