Published daily by the Lowy Institute

Powell not taking the rap for Clinton email saga

Powell not taking the rap for Clinton email saga

So what do we take away from the leaked emails of former US Secretary of State Colin Powell?

Leaving aside the fact the emails were leaked on a site linked to the Russian government, and the consequences (don't type anything you don't want on Twitter), the revelations fall into two camps: what we didn't know but are not surprised to discover and what we didn't know and perhaps didn't expect. In that second category are the revelations of the extent to which the Hillary Clinton camp hoped it could persuade Powell to take the rap for Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.

Powell wrote in May:

I've told them repeatedly that they are making a mistake trying to drag me in, yet they still try... The media isn’t fooled and she is getting crucified.

Last month he reported spending the 'last week with [Clinton confidante] Cheryl Mills and the HRC team burying the email flap'.

Sad thing it that HRC could have killed this two years ago by merely telling everyone honestly what she had done and not tie me into it. I told her staff three times not to try that gambit. I had to throw a mini tantrum at a Hampton’s party to get their attention. She keeps tripping into these ‘character’ minefields.

[fold] He can't remember the dinner party in which he allegedly gave Clinton advice on using email. And he is pretty clear in his view that what he did (using a personal email account) was nothing like what Clinton did:

When I left I took no emails or records with me. No private servers in the basement, etc. No secrets——everyone in the Department knew what we were doing.

It's unfortunate (but probably not coincidental) these emails came in a week in which the delay in passing on a doctor's diagnosis once again undermined Clinton's reputation as a trustworthy individual. Now we know her people had no qualms in suggesting Powell did other than what he did in order to make her look less bad. That may not be out and out lying but 100% gospel truth it ain't.

And then of course there is the admission from Powell (straight after referring to Clinton as a friend who he respects) as having 'unbridled ambition' and 'greedy, not transformational'.

As many have noted, polling has been a lot more consistent than the headlines in this campaign and Clinton has consistently had a winning lead. But while the news cycle moves on, some stuff that quickly fades from the headlines lingers as reinforcement for particular impressions. After a while we can't remember how or why those layers of perception came into being, but we still feel their weight. Poll averages on RealClearPolitics show more than half of Americans (55.4%) view Clinton unfavourably and, despite all of the campaigning, that has hovered between 49% and 56% for the past year. Fortunately Trump is even more unpopular.

Photo: Getty Images/Bloomberg

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