Hillary Clinton exonerated over email (AGAIN) but is it too late? | Women's Agenda

Hillary Clinton exonerated over email (AGAIN) but is it too late?

This graph shows the impact the FBI’s announcement on 28th of October had.

Two days out from the US presidential election, Hillary Clinton has been exonerated by the FBI over the use of her email while Secretary of State. Again.

At the end of last month, eleven days out from the election, the FBI’s director, James Comey, announced the bureau would be investigating a new tranche of emails from the computer of a top Clinton aide, Huma Abedin, obtained in an unrelated matter.

It is impossible to understate the significance of this announcement.

After completing its long-running investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server in July, with no findings of criminality, news that the FBI was effectively re-opening a case against her had immediate ramifications. As the national political reporter for Bloomberg, Sahil Kapur, reported Clinton’s unfavourable rating doubled from -7 to -14, after the FBI announced it was investigating Clinton again.

The dark cloud that has plagued Clinton’s campaign courtesy of ‘emailgate’ was back. Her integrity and judgement were once again called into question and dominated airtime and headlines, making it the election campaign pivot of Donald Trump’s dreams.

It was, quite literally, a game-changer for him. It fed into Trump’s preferred narrative of Clinton being untrustworthy at best and criminal at worst. Voters listened. Clinton’s lead shrunk, her unfavourables plummeted and, suddenly, Trump was back with a chance.    

And then? On Sunday Comey wrote to Congress and advised “based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton.”

Once again, no grounds for pursuing the candidate. With just days to spare before Americans head to the polls (not to mention those who have already cast their vote), it’s cold comfort.

As the headline on Vox’s Matthew Yglesias piece succinctly puts it: “The real Clinton email scandal is that a bullshit story has dominated the campaign”.

Or, in a few more words, “The real scandal here is the way a story that was at best of modest significance came to dominate the US presidential election — overwhelming stories of much more importance, giving the American people a completely skewed impression of one of the two nominees, and creating space for the FBI to intervene in the election in favor of its apparently preferred candidate in a dangerous way.”

If you read nothing else today, make it his methodical unpacking of the email ‘scandal’.  

And while you are there, linger over this sobering line: “In total, network newscasts have, remarkably, dedicated more airtime to coverage of Clinton’s emails than to all policy issues combined.”

Clinton’s experience is a double-edged sword. Her time in public office is what makes her arguably the most experienced presidential candidate in American history. But it also subjects her to scrutiny which her opponent escapes by virtue of his lack of experience.  Having never occupied public office, Trump’s emails, tax returns and track record, remain hidden in a way Clinton’s never could. It’s a bitter irony.  

In a world where women are often told they lack the “merit” to occupy senior roles, imagine the first female presidential candidate effectively being disqualified by virtue of the experience which makes her so meritorious. It’s awful to contemplate.

Stay Smart! Get Savvy!

Get Women's Agenda in your inbox