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Sunday, December 11, 2016

For those Americans who haven’t dived into the 7,121 pages of Hillary Clinton emails that were made public last week, here’s a summary based on a modest sampling:

Boring.

I mean throw-away-your-Ambiens boring.

The dreaded chore of slogging through every one of these messages falls to the staff of congressional Republicans who are trying to bust Hillary for leaking or hiding sensitive information while she was secretary of state.

Material was withheld from about 125 of her emails because the State Department retroactively classified it as “confidential.” The rest of the emails (and this was just one batch) are being dissected page by page, line by line.

And you thought your job sucked.

Among the early highlights is a series of emails about Hillary’s struggle to operate a fax machine. Here, I swear, is the actual exchange:

Hillary: I’ve done it twice now.

Clinton aide: Just pick up the phone and hang it up. And leave it hung up.

Hillary: I did.

Aide: Yes but hang up one more time. So they can reestablish the line.

Hillary: I thought it was supposed to be off-hook to work?

Before getting too snarky about this, let’s admit that most of us have done battle with uncooperative fax machines. However, the average person wouldn’t take the receiver off the hook and then expect the device to start ringing.

Because, see, it’s a phone. You need to hang up first.

Another private email from a close assistant, recounted in the Washington Post, arrived on Hillary’s computer with the following “Subject” noted:

Since the Secretary of State likes to track such things — The Associated Press: Rocker Juanes’ wife gives birth to son in Miami.

Is Hillary really a fan of Juanes, or is this seemingly innocent email a cleverly coded message about Benghazi?

As the GOP’s crack investigators will undoubtedly figure out, the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound took place three years after Juanes and his wife welcomed baby Dante into the world.

Evidently the email was nothing more than what it appeared to be — important breaking news that required the secretary of state’s immediate attention. She digs the man’s music.

There are plenty of emails to and from Hillary about heavy global situations, from Iran to Burma to Pakistan. These will, and should, be scrutinized. Some might even produce headlines.

Thousands of other emails won’t ever be seen. They were wiped from Hillary’s private server because, she said, they were strictly “personal” in nature.

Yet this one, from the secretary of state to then-Chief of Protocol Capricia Marshall, somehow squeaked through:

Hillary: Can you contact your protocol friend in China and ask him if I could get photos of the carpets of the rooms I met in w/POTUS (President Obama) during the recent trip? I loved their design and the way they appeared carved. Any chance we can get this?

Unless it comes out in the upcoming congressional hearings, we’ll probably never know if Hillary ended up scoring a cool Chinese carpet. Possibly the answer was contained in one of those suspiciously erased emails.

The mysterious “private server” used by Hillary for contacting aides and officials was diabolically registered as @clintonemail.com. That’s called hiding in plain sight.

Yet, somehow, the State Department Help Desk didn’t know Hillary’s private email address. What should we make of this?

On the one hand, it’s kind of cute that the State Department actually has a Help Desk. On the other hand, someone who needs to contact the Help Desk to find the secretary of state isn’t necessarily someone the secretary of state should be talking to.

All those wretched, underpaid souls who have been assigned to grind through the Hillary emails get occasional light breaks in the monotony.

When a person wearing a Hillary Clinton mask robbed a Virginia bank, an aide dutifully notified the secretary of state.

“Should I be flattered?” she joked.

One of her lawyers soon weighed in via email, reporting that other bank robbers had used masks of Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Richard Nixon. “We appear to be the first Democrat, however,” he said.

That’s a genuine deadpan punchline, much appreciated by hard-working professional scrutinizers.

Unfortunately, the State Department has released only one-fourth of Hillary’s emails so far, which means there are many more thousands to come.

Stay tuned, America. Caffeine is your friend.

(Carl Hiaasen is a columnist for The Miami Herald. Readers may write to him at: 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, FL, 33132.)

Photo illustration: National Memo (via)