Politics

Legal Adviser To Clinton: Time To Hire A Defense Attorney For Email Scandal

| by Kathryn Schroeder
Hillary ClintonHillary Clinton

A trusted legal adviser of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is a current Democratic presidential candidate, thinks it is time for her to hire a defense attorney to represent her, should she be indicted in the ongoing email scandal associated with her use of a private email server.

“This e-mail thing is spiraling out of control,” the 30-plus-year Clinton adviser told Edward Klein, writing for the New York Post. “To paraphrase John Dean of Watergate fame, it’s a cancer on her candidacy.

“Frankly, I am used to my advice on legal matters being taken very seriously and acted upon by the Clintons. I’ve told them repeatedly that this FBI e-mail investigation could go in a very dangerous direction very quickly.

“I think Bill takes the matter seriously. But Hillary is still acting as though it’s a political smear job by right-wing zealots.”

The adviser said he spoke with Bill and Hillary Clinton on the telephone and warned them that the Justice Department prosecutors handling her case believe the FBI probe will end sooner than expected, possibly by the end of the year.

The adviser thinks Hillary should hire a defense attorney in case she is indicted for mishandling classified documents on her private email server and for lying under oath.

“Hillary needs to secure the services of an expert legal counsel — preferably a big-league defense attorney from the Republican side of the aisle,” the adviser said. “She needs someone to find out whether the FBI and Justice Department are likely to conclude that she’s violated federal laws governing national security.”

The adviser added that while members of her campaign staff have been resistant to his advice, Hillary has been the biggest problem.

He claims she is in a state of denial, going so far as to make jokes about the scandal.

“By joking about her email problem and treating it like a PR issue, she’s only hurting herself, maybe mortally, with the prosecutors,” the adviser said. “Insulting career FBI and Justice Department investigators is a very bad and ill-advised strategy.

“You don’t want to be blindsided. And if you ignore it, pretend it is a partisan ploy, and act scornfully, it will blindside you.”

The adviser is hopeful the FBI will find Hillary did not commit a criminal offense.

“Hopefully, the FBI will determine Hillary’s behavior does not amount to a criminal matter, and that she hasn’t violated the letter of the law with security breaches,” the adviser said. “I hope that will be the outcome.

“But from what I know of the case, Hillary is extremely vulnerable. There is going to be blood in the water. The investigators are looking for weak links to get to the bottom of what went on with Hillary’s national security emails. And I’m afraid they will find it.”

The adviser’s advice comes just after new information in the email scandal was uncovered that could alter the investigation.

The emails on Hillary’s server were thought to be lower level correspondence, marked mostly as confidential, the lowest security level. The safe installed for Hillary’s lawyer to contain the documents was therefore considered secure enough for the materials.

In a letter written by Assistant Secretary of State Julia Frifield to Republican Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa on Sept. 22, Frifield wrote “while the safe was suitable for up to (top secret) information, it was not approved for TS/SCI material” because the documents were not in a facility authorized for the discussion of highly secret information, known as a SCIF, or Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, AP reports via Fox News.

It was not anticipated that Hillary would have sent or received highly sensitive information on her private email server while secretary of state.

Two emails have been found that were not marked classified when they were sent but have since been marked as “TK,” for the “talent keyhole” department, suggesting they contain information obtained from spy satellites. The “NOFORN” marking was also made on them, meaning they can only be shared with those who have security clearance.

One of the emails discussed a U.S. drone strike, and the second may have improperly referred to highly classified material, or released information independently, according to U.S. officials who have reviewed the correspondence.

Hillary maintains that her use of a private email server was allowed and that she did not send or receive any information marked classified, Opposing Views reported.

“What I did was allowed,” Hillary said. "It was allowed by the State Department. The State Department has confirmed that."

“I did not send or receive any information marked classified,” she said. “I take the responsibilities of handling classified materials very seriously and did so.”

Sources: New York Post, AP via Fox News, Opposing Views / Photo credit: Karen Murphy/Flickr