Email schmemails

It’s possible I’ll need Matthew Yglesias to explain these points about Hillary Clinton’s private server to me, especially FOIA-related matters of exposure — the only point that has mattered to me in this farrago:

Why did Clinton go out of her way to set up a private server?

Clinton, as you may have heard, is married to former president Bill Clinton, who stepped down from office in January of 2001. Clinton was in the White House throughout the 1990s when the rest of us were being bombarded with AOL signup CD-ROMs, so he didn’t have a personal email when he left. Gmail didn’t exist back then, and his new job was, in effect, running a Bill Clinton startup. He launched a charitable foundation, he established his presidential library, and he made big bucks on speaking tours. He had a staff and he needed IT infrastructure and support. So he paid a guy to set up an email server that he could use.

Hillary Clinton — who is, again, his wife — also set herself up with an account on the same server. This is a bit unusual, but a lot about being married to a former president is unusual. What it’s not is suspicious.

As for the purported Freedom of Information Act evasions:

Many people, for example, point to the fact that Clinton would routinely travel with multiple digital devices as debunking her supposed convenience argument. But this is silly. I’ve been known to travel with an iPhone, an iPad, a Kindle, and a laptop all at once. That doesn’t mean needing to carry two separate iPhones (one to check my work email and one to check my personal email) wouldn’t be inconvenient. After all, what if I was replying to a work email while a text came in to my personal phone and I wanted to check it.

I’d be left juggling phones and looking like an idiot, exactly how federal employees tended to look in the heyday of the double-fisting phones era.

I would not want to do that. Colin Powell did not want to do that. Hillary Clinton did not want to do that. Because that would be terrible.

By contrast, it’s a terrible solution to a desire to avoid having your emails disclosed to the public via FOIA. One way you can tell it’s a terrible solution is that Hillary Clinton’s work emails have been disclosed to the public

Months ago I adopted the Whitewater Rule: if simple things require complex explanations, it’s my fault. As many times as I cited the FOIA argument, I didn’t reckon with the fact that the receive of a Clinton email sent from a private server created a record — a record subject to FOIA.

Besides, what’s most egregious about Hillary Clinton’s State Department policy requires no FOIA.

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