White House Aims to Stop Release of Obama-Clinton Emails

31 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Emails between Hillary Clinton and Obama to be kept secret, White House says.

A new batch of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s emails presented a glimpse into the breadth of her personal network – a long list of powerful celebrities, CEOs, political advisers and politicians that she’s now tapping for her presidential campaign. The latest batch of emails released from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private server reveal day-to-day conversations with her staff, correspondence with big Washington and Hollywood names and a few moments of technological frustration.The White House has decided it will not release any emails between President Obama and Hillary Clinton until after he leaves office, a senior administration official confirmed to Fox News – a development that came as the State Department released another massive tranche of Clinton documents. In the first email dump since Clinton testified for more than ten hours before the House Benghazi committee, Clinton scolds her staff for putting together an “inadequate” timeline of her leadership on Libya in 2011.

Obama administration officials say they will not publicly release the exchanges, citing legal precedent that allows presidents to keep such communications confidential. The administration official told Fox News there was a “small number” of emails between the two, described as “mostly non-substantive” because the two leaders conducted most their discussions in person or by phone. Lady Gaga complimented her, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair praised her for doing the ”Lord’s Work,” Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi asked for technology help and former President Jimmy Carter pitched in on negotiations with North Korea. The committee investigating the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi has delved into the presidential candidate’s emails, half of which have now been released to the public.

The White House position is that the president’s communications are not subject to public record requests under the Freedom of Information Act and can be withheld while he’s in office. Ben Affleck, a longtime Clinton supporter, urged her in April 2012 to review a draft of a report about security problems in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Hours later Clinton emailed an aide: “I’d like to respond to Ben Affleck.” A day later she followed up: “I haven’t yet received a draft and would like to respond today.” In another December 2011 note the civil rights leader and former presidential candidate Jesse Jackson contacted Clinton’s staff with a request to talk to her before his visit to South Africa, asking how best to “represent her/admin thinking on any issues/opportunities that might arise”. Clinton has faced questions about whether her unusual email setup, which involved a private server located at her New York home, was sufficient to ensure the security of government information and retention of records. Yet Clinton’s place in preference polls has improved since the first Democratic primary debate, in which her chief primary rival, Vermont independent Sen.

Unclassified exchanges include an email from close adviser Sidney Blumenthal, who refers to Obama’s faltering poll numbers, calling it the “vulnerability of charisma.” Blumenthal has been a frequent name among the thousands of emails already released, often offering the then-secretary advice and gossip on foreign policy flashpoints, including the run-up to the intervention in Libya. Clinton and congressional Republicans, who have pressed for disclosure of her emails as part of an investigation into the administration’s handling of the Benghazi events. Though past email releases showed Blumenthal offering advice mostly on Libya, this batch showed him writing to Clinton about Syria and other countries.

Republicans on the House Select Committee on Benghazi who hoped the messages would help break new ground in their investigation of how Clinton handled the 2012 attacks in that Libyan city have found no new smoking guns. Bernie Sanders, defused the issue, saying ”the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails.” Roughly half of Clinton’s 30,000 work-related emails are now public, and the State Department’s effort to release the rest will linger into next year. Most of the correspondence made public to date involves the mundane workings of government – scheduling meetings, organizing secure phone lines and booking flights.

And after Clinton started using an older Blackberry, apparently for familiarity’s sake, she told aides: “I am quite bereft that I’ve lost the emoticons from my latest new old berry. A few of the emails hint at the ways Clinton maintained her network of campaign donors, even while serving in a position at a distance from electoral politics.

In a June 2011 message, an aide informs Clinton that longtime donor Susie Buell contributed $200,000 toward a summit at which Clinton was scheduled to speak. In April 2011, Clinton’s aides received a request from Jose Villarreal, a former Clinton campaign adviser from Texas, to speak at the launch of a project she asked him to start involving U.S. engagement with Mexico. Clinton told her aides to develop a press and social media outreach ”to every possible group.” Villarreal now serves as her campaign’s treasurer. Earnest later clarified that the president was aware that she sometimes used a private email address but did not know the details about how the server was set up.

She requests her password for The New York Times website, asks for help using the phone, searches for books and apologizes to old law school friends for being slow to reply to their emails. Clinton will eventually become public many years after the Obama presidency ends, under the terms of federal records laws. “There is a long history of presidential records being kept confidential while the president is in office,” a White House official said. “It is a principle that previous White Houses have vigorously defended as it goes to the core of the president’s ability to receive unvarnished advice and counsel.” White House officials said they were not asserting executive privilege, a specific legal authority that Mr. Obama has used only once, in the case of congressional inquiries into the “Fast and Furious” gunrunning operation, in which weapons ended up in the possession of Mexican gun cartels. Former presidents of both parties have done the same, often insisting that to do otherwise would open the president’s most sensitive deliberations to congressional and public inspection. “Direct communications by the president and his senior advisers are really at the very center of what is trying to be protected by executive privilege and the separation of powers,” said William Burck, a deputy counsel for President George W. Christopher Stevens, the United States ambassador to Libya, was concerned about security in Benghazi more than a year before he was killed in the attack there.

Stevens would meet with Libyan officials to “make a written request for better security at the hotel and for better security-related coordination.” How much Mrs. Rice, the United Nations ambassador, went on the Sunday talk shows and “did make clear our view that this started spontaneously and then evolved.” But a week later, after Ms.

Emailing under the code name “Evergreen” in February 2012, she wrote that she was “quite bereft” at the lack of the tiny pictures. “Any way I can add them?” she asked. Reines responded: “For email, no, I don’t think so — you need to type them out manually like :) for happy, or :-I I if you want to express anger at my tardiness.”

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