- The Washington Times
Sunday, July 31, 2016

Hillary Clinton is sticking to her story.

The Democratic presidential nominee Sunday repeated her claim that she never sent or received classified information on her private email as secretary of state, directly contradicting what FBI Director James B. Comey said the agency found in its investigation.

“I was communicating with over 300 people in my emails. They certainly did not believe and had no reason to believe what they were sending was classified,” Mrs. Clinton said on “Fox News Sunday.”

“I take classification seriously,” she said, repeating her frequent assertion that she made a mistake in using a private email account hosted on a private server kept at her home in Chappaqua, New York.

On July 5, Mr. Comey said 110 of Mrs. Clinton’s email messages contained information that was classified at the time she sent or received them, and a small number of them included markings that identified them as classified.

He also announced that he would not recommended pursuing criminal charges against Mrs. Clinton. But he said she and her staff were “extremely careless” in using a personal email account hosted by a secret email system in her home and that it jeopardized classified information.

Yet Mrs. Clinton maintained that the material was “retroactively” classified, a claim she has made since it was revealed that some of classified material was sent through her secret home-based email system.

“There were discussions and decisions made to classify retroactively certain emails,” she said.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign described the interview by saying, “Clinton lies again about email scandal.”

“Hillary Clinton spent her Sunday morning lying to the American people, and doubling down on her desire to serve as a third term for [President] Obama’s failed policies,” the campaign said in an email, reinforcing the message that Mrs. Clinton is dishonest and can’t be trusted.

Republican lawmakers have insisted that the Justice Department should have prosecuted Mrs. Clinton.

Mrs. Clinton exclusively used the secret email system for business as secretary of state. It shielded her correspondence from open-record laws and congressional oversight while making her email susceptible to hacking.

The secret email was revealed when House investigators probing the deadly 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, couldn’t get the State Department to produce Mrs. Clinton’s email.

Nearly two years after leaving office, Mrs. Clinton turned over roughly 32,000 messages she and her attorneys identified as work-related. Another 30,000 emails that she deemed personal were erased.

In the interview, Mrs. Clinton also passed the buck for mishandling classified information, suggesting that “some people” might blame State Department professionals for mistakes that were made.

She said she refused to second-guess her underlings.

“I relied on and had every reason to rely on the judgment of the professionals with whom I worked,” she said. “So in retrospect, maybe some people are saying, ‘Well, among those 300 people, they made the wrong call.’ At the time, there was no reason in my view to doubt the professionalism and the determination by people who work every single day on behalf of our country.”

In Mr. Comey’s statement and subsequent testimony to Congress, he refuted many other claims by Mrs. Clinton:

⦁ He said the FBI had evidence that Mrs. Clinton did not turn over all her work-related email to the State Department, as she claimed.

⦁ He said Mrs. Clinton used several email devices, undercutting her claim that she set up the secret email system because it was “more convenient” to use one device.

⦁ He debunked Mrs. Clinton’s claim that her email was never hacked, saying it was possible her email was hacked, because many of the accounts of people with whom she communicated were hacked.

“I think she was negligent,” Mr. Comey said of Mrs. Clinton’s handling of classified material.

Fox News host Chris Wallace pressed Mrs. Clinton about Mr. Comey’s announcement, saying, “None of those things that you told the American public were true.”

“Chris, that’s not what I heard Director Comey say,” said Mrs. Clinton. “Director Comey said my answers were truthful and consistent with what I have told the American people.”

She also insisted that she cooperated fully with the FBI investigation, including when she was interviewed over the July Fourth weekend just before Mr. Comey’s announcement.

• S.A. Miller can be reached at smiller@washingtontimes.com.

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