Since news first broke about Hillary Clinton’s “home-brew” email server, conservatives and transparency advocates have run a full-court press against Clinton’s efforts to keep prying hands off of her official and personal communications. What should have been a simple (if massive) request for transparency has ballooned into a legal and political nightmare, leaving investigators open to a barrage of accusations claiming that, when it comes to Clinton, former Secretaries of State should remain virtually untouchable.

The idea is nonsense, not only because it ignores the law, but because it ignores the question anyone with a brain and common sense has been asking since day one, but no one with a big enough megaphone has asked.

Finally, someone asked it.

During a town hall-style interview for the Today Show, Savannah Guthrie went there, asking Clinton, “do you know how bad it looks?”


SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: I guess my question to you is, which is it? If you’re blaming the Republicans, some might wonder how genuine is that apology?

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, actually it’s both, I mean, I’m sorry that I made a choice that has resulted in this kind of situation, and I’ve said I’ve made a mistake. Obviously if I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t. It was allowed and everybody has confirmed that. But it’s also, as we now know very clearly, the way that the Republicans are trying to bring my– as they admit– poll numbers down.”

So it’s really both, Savannah, it’s both, ‘Hey, you know what, turn the clock back, it was allowed.’ I was thinking about many other things [than] my email account when I became Secretary of State.

GUTHRIE: It’s allowed, but you know, anybody who works in government knows it’s really not encouraged to use your personal email. And I just — do you get how bad it looks?

It looks like you set up a personal server, you set up your own email so that you would have control of those emails and you and you alone would decide when to release, whether to release them. And that’s in fact what happened.

CLINTON: Well, Savannah, first of all, it was allowed, And I’ve said it wasn’t the best choice. And every government official gets to decide what is personal and work-related.

She doesn’t answer the question, because any politician worth their donor dollars knows that a full “mea culpa” after months of claiming otherwise is chum in the water for their opponents and unfriendly media. If she were truly honest, and truly “sorry” for the time and expense now dedicated towards investigating her system of records, she would at least attempt to explain herself using an excuse other than, “it was allowed!”

Guthrie also pressed Clinton on an apparent double standard—if it were Cheney, would you expect us to be so understanding about this? House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s Benghazi megagaffe on the House Benghazi committee reared its head, affording Clinton the opportunity to pivot away from uncomfortable honestly and toward her usual GOP-blaming and -bashing:

“The real issue here is what happened to four brave Americans,” the White House hopeful said from New Hampshire, just minutes before joining TODAY’s Pancakes & Politics town hall.

A visibly agitated Clinton discussed an upcoming congressional hearing on Benghazi, which House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has suggested was created with political motivations. When asked if she would have gone after Republicans such as former Vice President Dick Cheney if tables were turned, Clinton insisted: “I would never have done that.”

“This committee was set up, as they have admitted, for the purpose of making a partisan political issue out of the deaths of four Americans,” she said. “I would never have done that, and if I were president and there were Republicans or Democrats thinking about that, I would have done everything to shut it down.”

She pointed out that seven investigations, led mostly by Congressional Republicans, have looked into the issue and cleared her of any wrongdoing.

Of course, McCarthy suggested no such thing, but alas—such is the nature of the gaffe.

Hillary Clinton spent this entire interview looking for an outlet to blame Republicans for problems she was directly responsible for during her time as Secretary of State. Even assuming, for the sake of argument, that there was no wrongdoing on her part with regards to what happened in Benghazi—why blame Republicans? If we make the same assumption about about her email server—why blame Republicans?

You’d think such a strong, confident, glass ceiling-shatterer would have better ammunition backing up her arguments.

Follow Amy on Twitter @ThatAmyMiller


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