White House Suddenly ‘Reluctant’ to Weigh in on Clinton Email Investigation

• March 4, 2016 1:53 pm


White House spokesman Josh Earnest said he was "reluctant" Friday to weigh in on the latest in the Hillary Clinton email server investigation, a marked contrast from earlier this year where he predicted Clinton would not face an indictment over the controversy.

"Let me ask you about the development at the State Department today," a reporter said. "Their IG has issued a final memo on the email practices of the past and current secretaries of state, and they claim pretty definitely that past secretaries, specifically Rice and Powell, have handled classified material on unclassified systems and basically, bottom line, is they're moving towards making this case closed.

"And my question is does the president, with respect to Secretary Clinton, consider this matter closed? Should the matter be closed with respect to her email situation?"

"Well, I'm reluctant to weigh in directly on your question, because there is an ongoing independent investigation into this, and I certainly want to avoid even the appearance of trying to influence the outcome of that independent investigation by suggesting the president's view of how it should conclude," Earnest said.

However, in January, Earnest remarked "based on what we know" that Clinton would not be indicted over the scandal when a reporter asked if he had "confidence" in that regard.

He had a different tone on Friday.

"We've all along been respectful of that ongoing independent investigation, and once that independent investigation is concluded, then that will be announced by the independent investigators who are performing it," Earnest said.

The reporter reminded Earnest of Obama's 60 Minutes interview where he opined that Clinton's private server did not endanger national security.

"Does he still share that view?" the reporter asked.

"His views on this haven't changed, but his views also include, as he noted in that interview, that there's an ongoing independent investigation that is led by independent investigators," Earnest said. "They'll follow the facts, and they'll reach their own independent determination."