Thursday 26 April 2018

Email server report throws up more problems for Clinton

Hillary Clinton on the presidential campaign trail. Photo: AP
Hillary Clinton on the presidential campaign trail. Photo: AP

Lisa Lerer in Salinas, California

Hillary Clinton has a problem. Her campaign has been built on a stern order to voters not to trust Donald Trump.

But a new US government report about her use of a private email server as secretary of state is complicating that message.

The sharp rebuke from the State Department's inspector general, which found Ms Clinton did not seek legal approval for her homebrew email server, guarantees that the issue will remain alive and well for the likely Democratic presidential nominee for a second summer.

The new report comes at a particularly challenging time for the Clinton campaign, as she faces a two-front war against GOP nominee Donald Trump and primary rival Bernie Sanders.

Already, she faces questions about her trustworthiness, with months of polling showing voters give her low marks for integrity. It's a narrative that Mr Trump has been eager to encourage - he's dubbed Clinton "Crooked Hillary", a moniker intended to underscore questions about integrity.

And he's focused on the scandals of her husband's administration, insinuating that questions still remain about those controversies.

"She had a little bad news today, as you know. Some reports came down, weren't so good," Mr Trump told thousands of supporters packed into the Anaheim Convention Center. "Not so good. The inspector general's report - not good."

Mr Sanders made no mention of the report during a rally near Palm Springs, choosing instead to point to polls that show him faring better against Mr Trump than Ms Clinton in hypothetical match-ups.

Though he's declined to turn the email inquiries into a pivotal issue during the primaries, Mr Sanders has spent months questioning Clinton's record on economics, foreign policy and even social issues including same-sex marriage.

While she's just 78 delegates from capturing her party's nomination, Ms Clinton has been unable to edge her primary rival out of the race - or win over his most passionate backers.

Protesters backing Mr Sanders greeted Ms Clinton at a rally in Salinas, California, on Wednesday with signs reading "Hillary 4 Jail".

Former President Bill Clinton, campaigning separately in New Mexico, ended up in a 30-minute debate with a 24-year-old Sanders supporter, who asked a question about the president's record on welfare.

Ms Clinton avoided questions about the report at her campaign events on Wednesday, ignoring reporters who tried to press her on the issue.

Her campaign cast the report as little more than a rehash of existing information about her email set-up, saying the finding showed that problems with record retention dated back years at the department.

Irish Independent

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