Today in court filings, the Department of State confirmed that the 30 emails that had been recovered from 15,000 emails Clinton had deleted or had not been located during State’s search of its records were not the “smoking gun” that Judicial Watch had promised Americans they would be.
Judicial Watch started smearing Clinton in August, as soon as the process for reviewing the 15,000 emails began. Of the 15,000, only 30 (a tiny number in my line of work as a defense lawyer in government investigations) hit on very broad search terms, which likely included words like “Benghazi, “ambassador,” “al Qaeda”, and the names of the victims.
The fact that 30 emails hit on the search terms is not a story. But, Judicial watch announced that the emails were “Benghazi-related” and raised “fresh doubts” about Clinton; and Trump piled on too. Even though they had no idea: (1) the content of the emails; (2) whether they were in fact “Benghazi-related”; or (3) whether the “new” emails were duplicates of emails that had already been turned over to the FBI because they were work-related.
Turns out that all but three had already been turned over. Two were “near-duplicates” of emails that had been produced to the FBI (the only difference being that Clinton had forwarded the email with a “please print.”) The sole remaining email was a touching personal note after Clinton’s Benghazi testimony from then-U.S. Ambassador to Brazil Thomas Shannon to Cheryl Mills, who forwarded it to Clinton. “I watched with great admiration as she dealt with a tough and personally painful issue in a fair, candid and determined manner” he said.
Once again, no scandal here.