Simplest Ever Explanation of Hillary's Emails - In a Tweetstorm

By Peter Daou and Tom Watson

Brian Fallon, Press Secretary for Hillary Clinton's campaign, took to Twitter with an epic 32-tweet explanation of the trumped-up (no pun intended) email story. It cuts right through the frenzied spin by Hillary's opponents and we figured it was worth posting in full.

As you read through Fallon's tweets, consider this data point from Gallup:

Democrats' overall opinions of the major Democratic contenders for president have changed little despite six eventful weeks of campaigning. Hillary Clinton remains the best liked among her party faithful. She enjoys a net favorable score of +60, which is essentially where she stood in July. 

UPDATE: David Ignatius pens an editorial titled, aptly, The Hillary Clinton e-mail ‘scandal’ that isn’t

Does Hillary Clinton have a serious legal problem because she may have transmitted classified information on her private e-mail server? After talking with a half-dozen knowledgeable lawyers, I think this “scandal” is overstated. Using the server was a self-inflicted wound by Clinton, but it’s not something a prosecutor would take to court.

“It’s common” that people end up using unclassified systems to transmit classified information, said Jeffrey Smith, a former CIA general counsel who’s now a partner at Arnold & Porter, where he often represents defendants suspected of misusing classified information.

Back channels are used because the official ones are so encrusted by classification and bureaucracy. State had the “Roger Channel,” named after former official Roger Hilsman, for sending secret messages directly to the secretary. The Joint Chiefs of Staff had a similar private channel. CIA station chiefs could send communications known as “Aardwolves” straight to the director.

Are these channels misused sometimes? Most definitely. Is there a crime here? Almost certainly not.

UPDATE 2: From USA Today, an op-ed that destroys a GOP talking point touted by Donald Trump: 

Former attorney general Michael Mukasey recently compared the inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server when she was secretary of State with former CIA director David Petraeus’ federal conviction for the unauthorized removal and retention of classified information.

As the former U.S. attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, I oversaw the prosecution of Gen. Petraeus, and I can say, based on the known facts, this comparison has no merit. The key element that distinguishes Secretary Clinton’s email retention practices from Petraeus’ sharing of classified information is that Petraeus knowingly engaged in unlawful conduct, and that was the basis of his criminal liability.


Peter Daou and Tom Watson founded #HillaryMen to provide actionable analysis of the 2016 campaign focusing on the gender barrier in U.S. politics. Peter is a former senior digital adviser to Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative. He is a veteran of two presidential campaigns (Kerry '04 and Clinton '08). Tom is an author and Columbia University lecturer who advises companies and non-profits on social activism.