The Hillary Clinton campaign is seeking to downplay the bombshell news that emails maintained on the private server she used as secretary of state contained Top Secret information and that she has turned over the server to the Justice Department to help with its investigation into the matter.
“You might hear some news over the next few days about Hillary Clinton’s emails,” writes Clinton’s communications director, Jennifer Palmieri, in an email to supporters. “There’s a lot of misinformation, so bear with us; the truth matters on this.”
It was revealed Tuesday that the Intelligence Community inspector general had determined that two of a small sample of the 30,000+ emails Clinton handed over to the State Department in December contained information that is “Top Secret,” the highest classification. Shortly after that news broke, the Clinton camp told reporters that the Democrat had instructed her staff to relinquish her email server to the Justice Department.
The Justice Department declined to comment to The Daily Caller on whether it demanded the server or if Clinton volunteered it. The Clinton campaign has also declined to answer that question. Palmieri did not address that in her email blast to supporters.
Instead, she maintained the cagey language so far used by the Clinton team.
“Hillary directed her team to provide her email server and a thumb drive in order to cooperate with the review process and to ensure these materials were stored in a safe and secure manner,” Palmieri wrote, referencing a thumb drive that Clinton’s attorney, David Kendall, has kept at his Washington D.C. office.
The State Department had previously allowed Kendall to keep the device. The Justice Department seemingly overrode the decision.
In her note, Palmieri repeated Clinton’s familiar talking points about why the Democrat used a personal email account and whether she violated the law or federal regulations. Repeating what Clinton said in March during her first and only press conference on the matter, Palmieri asserted that the State Department permitted officials to use personal email accounts but that Clinton now acknowledges that she should have separated out her work and personal email accounts.
Palmieri also denied that Clinton ever sent or received classified email while she was in office.
“Hillary only used her personal account for unclassified email,” the spokeswoman wrote. “No information in her emails was marked classified at the time she sent or received them. She viewed classified materials in hard copy in her office or via other secure means while traveling, not on email.”
However, the Intelligence Community inspector general says that two emails that traversed Clinton’s server when she was in office should have been classified at the time they were sent.
Complicating matters is that the State Department has disputed that claim, as Palmieri made sure to point out in her email.
“Some emails that weren’t secret at the time she sent or received them might be secret now,” Palmieri writes. “And sometimes government agencies disagree about what should be classified, so it isn’t surprising that another agency might want to conduct its own review, even though the State Department has repeatedly confirmed that Hillary’s emails contained no classified information at the time she sent or received them.”
Palmieri also sought to portray the email inquiry as a witch-hunt directed by the “Republican-led Benghazi committee.”
She asserts that the House Select Committee on Benghazi, led by South Carolina U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, is now conducting “a partisan witch-hunt designed to do political damage to Hillary in the run-up to the election.”
“This kind of nonsense comes with the territory of running for president,” Palmieri concluded. “We know it, Hillary knows it, and we expect it to continue from now until Election Day.”
“And it’s vital that you read and absorb the real story so that you know what to say the next time you hear about this around the dinner table or the water cooler.”
One looming question Palmieri failed to address is why Clinton kept her emails out of the hands of the State Department for nearly two years. Clinton left the agency in Feb. 2013 and didn’t hand over her records — “Top Secret” information and all — until December.