McClatchy White House reporter Anita Kumar engaged in a humorous bit of hairsplitting Wednesday on behalf of Hillary Clinton, telling MSNBC's Morning Joe "there are several investigations into her conduct, not into her, but into her use of personal email and a personal server."
It is unclear what the difference between Clinton's conduct and Clinton herself being the target of a federal probe is.
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Kumar was one of three bylines on a McClatchy report Tuesday showing two emails from Clinton's private email at the State Department have now been classified "top-secret" as a federal investigation mounts into Clinton's server.
"How serious could this be for Hillary Clinton based on what you found?" co-host Willie Geist asked.
"It could be serious," Kumar said. "There are several investigations into her conduct, not into her, but into her use of personal email and a personal server. So she's facing an FBI investigation, she's got some investigations on Capitol Hill, and then yesterday, we heard from the Inspector General of the State Department saying that he is now looking into her aides' use of personal email."
This bit of unsolicited passive voice was reminiscent of last week, when several media outlets made very sure to say that Clinton's server, and not Clinton herself, were the target of a federal investigation.
The inspector general for the Intelligence Community notified senior members of Congress that two of four classified emails discovered on the server Clinton maintained at her New York home contained material deemed to be in one of the highest security classifications – more sensitive than previously known.
The notice came as the State Department inspector general’s office acknowledged that it is reviewing the use of "personal communications hardware and software" by Clinton’s former top aides after requests from Congress.
"We will follow the facts wherever they lead, to include former aides and associates, as appropriate," said Douglas Welty, a spokesman for the State Department’s inspector general.