Republicans have been largely silent following the release of a State Department report last week that cleared former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of any deliberate mishandling of classified information when she used her personal email to conduct official government business.
The report, sent to Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley on Oct. 16, found 38 employees “culpable” of violating department security protocol, but those violations did not apply to any transmitted material that had been marked as “classified.”
“Additionally, APD adjudicated 497 valid violations where no individual was found to bear culpability, resulting in a ”valid, but not culpable’ determination,” the report stated. It added that “by and large, the individuals interviewed were aware of security policies and did their best to implement them.”
“There was no persuasive evidence of systemic, deliberate mishandling of classified information,” it concluded.
The report was the result of a years-long probe into Clinton’s email practices, which Donald Trump roundly criticized during the 2016 election.
Trump repeatedly hammered Clinton over her use of a private server, suggesting she had committed a crime and should be imprisoned. He frequently led campaign rally attendees in chants of “Lock her up” and even said he would investigate Clinton if elected president.
“How can Hillary run the economy when she can’t even send emails without putting entire nation at risk?” Trump tweeted in June 2016.
The Republican National Committee followed suit. “Hillary Clinton continues to get called out for lies about her reckless email server that put natl security at risk,” the official RNC account tweeted the following month.
How can Hillary run the economy when she can't even send emails without putting entire nation at risk?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 21, 2016
Hillary Clinton continues to get called out for lies about her reckless email server that put natl security at risk https://t.co/wrJgvrnHjq
— GOP (@GOP) August 2, 2016
But since the release of this information on Friday, Trump and the RNC have said little. Neither have apologized for their role in playing up the email scandal and neither responded to emails asking whether they stood by their previous allegations.
Since the report became public, Trump has found the time to tweet out numerous complaints about his own decision not to hold the 2020 G-7 summit as his own golf club. The White House initially announced last week that Trump would host the event at the Trump National Doral resort in Miami before backtracking after intense bipartisan pushback.
Trump has also found time to tweet an ad for a pro-Trump book, boasts about the border wall he falsely promised Mexico would pay for, and attacks on congressional Democrats investigating the Ukraine scandal, which prompted a House impeachment inquiry against him.
The RNC, meanwhile, has retweeted several Trump tweets and bragged about its fundraising prowess.
Upon reading the State Department report, one journalist — CNN chief legal analyst and New Yorker staff writer Jeffrey Toobin — issued a public mea culpa for “blowing the story out of proportion” during the 2016 election.
Many have criticized the media response to the Clinton email scandal, suggesting media coverage was skewed and did not fairly document Trump’s own scandals with the same amount of energy.
Published with permission of The American Independent.