Bernie Sanders had it right when he said to Hillary Clinton during a debate last fall, “The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails.”
The conservative group Judicial Watch has stirred another distracting round of talk about this exhausted and exhausting subject with its release Monday of hundreds of emails from one of Clinton’s closest aides, Huma Abedin. The emails, disclosed as part of a lawsuit, show no evidence that Clinton took improper action as secretary of state because of donations to the Clinton Foundation.
Meanwhile Monday, a federal judge pushed the State Department to release nearly 15,000 of Clinton’s undisclosed emails gathered by the FBI. This batch consists of emails from Clinton’s private server and the computer archives of government officials with whom she corresponded as secretary of state.
The emails were found and reviewed by the FBI before FBI Director James Comey concluded that Clinton had been “extremely careless” in protecting her email but had broken no laws.
The emails are expected to be released beginning in October after State Department review. That schedule ensures that voters will be run through more rounds of speculation and innuendo.
Clinton has apologized for using a private server on which her personal and government correspondence mixed. She has released 55,000 pages of emails with no scandal found. And it’s highly unlikely that this already FBI-vetted batch will produce anything startling, or even interesting.
To be sure Hillary and Bill Clinton have brought some of this on themselves. They’ve shown a lack of propriety and caution. But character flaws are not illegal. Indeed, it’s impressive that Clinton has survived the congressional probing of Benghazi, an FBI investigation and now this email-by-email scrutiny with so little finding of fault.
What makes this relentless investigating and speculation even worse is that it is being fanned by a Republican presidential candidate who refuses to release his tax returns. Donald Trump has left it a mystery to voters about his financial worth, how much he pays in taxes and how much he gives to charity. Answering these questions is vital to understanding Trump’s truthfulness, his priorities and his patriotism. But he ignores his obligation to be open with the people he would lead.