White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest claimed that President Obama’s knowledge of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state comes entirely from media reports.
The subject of Clinton’s emails came up during Obama’s interview on Sunday with Fox News’ Chris Wallace, in which Obama said that while Clinton was “careless” in managing her private email accounts, she didn’t jeopardize national security.
CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux asked Earnest whether or not it is a belief or knowledge, or had the President been briefed that the emails didn’t put national security at risk:
Earnest: Let me be clear about this. The President has neither sought nor received a confidential briefing or confidential information about the ongoing investigation. The President’s knowledge about this situation is based entirely on public reporting. This is one of the benefits of the approach that Secretary Clinton and her team have taken to dealing with this matter.
Secretary Clinton said “Let’s just make all these emails public.”
All of you and your news organizations have spent God knows how many hours reviewing all those emails, some of them interesting, most of them mundane. But it does give the American public some insight into what is included in those emails, and when you hear the President’s public comments on this matter, it’s based entirely on the reporting that you and your news organizations have done on this matter.
Malveaux then asked Earnest if Obama is confident that he has all the information pertaining to this matter. Earnest replied that the President is confident that the investigators will exercise their independent judgment and “set politics aside,” while focusing on the facts of the case.
Maybe the press corps was buying what Earnest was selling, but does anyone really believe that the President of the United States relies solely on the media for information on issues as important as this? There is no doubt that Obama has been well briefed on all the Clinton scandals, but has chosen instead to deceive the public by telling them otherwise in an effort to place just enough distance between him and Clinton, and her accompanying scandals, without doing any direct harm to her presidential ambitions.
Time will tell if that strategy will succeed.