In an angry moment at the Iowa Democratic Wing Ding on Friday, Hillary Clinton said she will not “get down in the mud” with Republicans who she claims are trying to exploit her use of a private email server and the Benghazi attacks for political gain.
“[Republicans will] try to tell you this is about Benghazi, but it is not,” Clinton told an audience at the event, her voice fraught with anger and her finger wagging in the air.
“Benghazi was a tragedy. Four dedicated public servants lost their lives,” she added. “And we have to be focused on how to prevent future tragedies.”
She said that seven congressional investigations have “already debunked all of the conspiracy theories” about the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
“It’s not about Benghazi,” Clinton bellowed to applause.
“And you know what, it’s not about emails or servers, either,” she continued. “It’s about politics.”
Clinton’s remarks are her most direct and hostile on the issue of her private email and private server use. The aggression comes at the same time that the FBI has opened an investigation into the server she used as secretary of state. The FBI seized the server this week from Platte River Networks, a Denver-based cybersecurity company Clinton hired in 2013 to manage the system.
But Clinton, as she’s done all throughout the scandal, which commenced in March due to the investigative work of the Republican-controlled House Select Committee on Benghazi, tried to portray herself as taking a proactive part in the inquiry. She said that she has insisted that the State Department publish the 55,000 pages of emails she turned over in December “as soon as possible.” She also said that she has offered to answer questions before Cognress “for months.”
“I’ve just provided my server to the Justice Department,” she touted.
Despite her spin, Clinton has stonewalled most inquiries into her email setup. She handed over her emails only after the State Department asked for them last October, more than a year-and-a-half after she left the State Department. And she handed over her server only reluctantly. She’s maintained since March that she would not turn the device over to a third-party. She gave it over only after the FBI asked for it.
“But here’s what I won’t do,” Clinton continued during her jeremiad against Republicans, “I won’t get down in the mud with them.”
“I won’t play politics with national security or dishonor the memories of those we’ve lost. I won’t pretend that that is anything other than what it is — the same old partisan games we’ve seen so many times before.”