The Hillary Clinton Email Scandal, Explained in Plain English

Even the best-case scenario is problematic

Hillary Rodham Clinton
AP

To break the Hillary Clinton email scandal down into plain English, here is the absolute best-case scenario:

Hillary Clinton put the national security of the United States at risk in order to conceal information from the public, but did not break any laws. 

That is the best-case scenario. Clinton made a conscious decision to conduct government business over a private, unsecured email server because she was planning to run for president and, for whatever reason, did not want her emails subject to standard transparency requirements. This is essentially indisputable at this point. There are people who will dispute it, but their argument boils to down to "we should trust Hillary Clinton," even though most Americans don't, and for good reason. For crying out loud, she asked to borrow a book that has an entire section devoted to "How to Delete Something So It Stays Deleted."

In terms of Hillary's own statements about her email set-up, the best-case scenario is that, while she hasn't told the truth, she hasn't technically told a lie. Still, most people will find it hard to reconcile reports that "top secret" information gleaned from spy satellites passed through her email server with Hillary's initial insistence that "there is no classified material" on her server.

The discrepancy, we are told, is simply the result of a "disagreement" among government agencies about whether certain information should be given either no classification, or the highest possible classification. While no one ever went broke underestimating the competence of the federal government, this seems like the sort "disagreement" that could be resolved relatively quickly.

There's also the fact that the FBI found it necessary to take possession of her email records, which, according to the Clinton campaign, is just the "kind of nonsense [that] comes with the territory of running for president."

No, it isn't.

Hopefully we will be able to get as close to the truth as can reasonably expected when a Clinton is involved. Whatever the case, one thing is certain: Hillary will be treated differently because she is a prominent politician running for president, and will continue to campaign as a champion for "everyday Americans" struggling in a society in which certain individuals enjoy unfair advantages due to their wealth and/or privilege.

Most people at least claim to believe that things like government transparency and accountability are important. The most discouraging thought in all of this is that some, perhaps many, will come to the conclusion that electing Hillary Clinton is even more important. She will get elected, and, having already set an abysmal precedent as Secretary of State, will continue to behave like a Clinton.

That's not good. It's bad.