Hillary Clinton's Emails Won't Be Released Until, Well, Possibly The Worst Time Ever For Her Campaign
The State Department revealed Monday that it will not release Hillary Clinton's emails sent from a private account during her time as Secretary of State until Jan. 15, 2016. That delay will put the release of Clinton's 30,000 emails right before the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary, the first big show of 2016 elections. Uh oh.
Clinton handed over around 55,000 pages of emails to the State Department last December. As Emailgate reached a fever pitch in March, Clinton asked that the emails be released and said that the department would "review them for release as soon as possible."
But, yet again, the government's idea of ASAP proves to be a little different from us plebes.
To their credit, 30,000 emails is a lot to go through. In a 13-page declaration in response to a FOIA suit by Vice News, State Department FOIA chief John Hackett detailed an extensive process of sorting and taking inventory of the emails. The department had to scan all 55,000 pages by hand, which they completed earlier this month. Hackett said in the declaration:
Given the breadth and importance of the many foreign policy issues on which the secretary of state and the department work, the review of these materials will likely require consultation with a broad range of subject matter experts within the department and other agencies, as well as potentially with foreign governments.
But talk about bad timing. This week Clinton is courting voters in Iowa and New Hampshire, famous political battlegrounds in the primary campaign. The Democratic National Committee set the dates — Feb. 1 for Iowa and Feb. 9 for New Hampshire — last August. And tougher sanctions imposed after trigger-happy states wrecked the 2008 and 2012 calendar mean it's unlikely that they will shift.
Depending on the content of the emails, this could be a boost for Bernie Sanders or any other Democratic hopeful that emerges. But in a Politico essay, politics whisperer Larry J. Sabato said that scandal doesn't move the needle much on presidential candidates.
Even when scandals were prominent in the headlines or recent memory, they have only rarely had a critical impact on the selection of a president. If you examine the 29 presidential elections since 1900 to look for the dominant deciding factor(s), you’ll find that scandal has seldom played any conclusive role. The traditional, overriding voter concerns about the economy and war adequately explain the bulk of election outcomes.
And unlike the GOP field, the Democratic primary race isn't bloated with potential candidates. Clinton will weather the storm, but the timing will force her, for once, to answer some questions.
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