In 2015, President Obama told America he only learned that his secretary of state Hillary Clinton was illegally using a private email server to conduct public business after The New York Times published a story saying so. Today’s release of a Department of Justice inspector general report shows that was a lie.
“FBI analysts and Prosecutor 2 told us that former President Barack Obama was one of the 13 individuals with whom Clinton had direct contact using her clintonemail.com account,” the report says in a footnote on page 89. “Obama, like other high level government officials, used a pseudonym for his username on his official government email account.”
The report also says Obama Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey knew that Obama had lied. It was in 2015 that Obama had disclaimed knowledge that Clinton used a private, rather than government, email address. In 2016, while drafting a public statement explaining why the FBI wouldn’t prosecute Clinton during her run for the presidency, Comey changed the statement’s wording to hide that Obama had communicated with Clinton through her private email address, the report says.
“A paragraph [in Comey’s statement] summarizing the factors that led the FBI to assess that it was possible that hostile actors accessed Clinton’s server was added, and at one point referenced Clinton’s use of her private email for an exchange with then President Obama while in the territory of a foreign adversary,” the IG report says. “This reference later was changed to ‘another senior government official,’ and ultimately was omitted.”
Here’s Obama in March 2015, telling CBS News the opposite, that he had no idea Clinton was breaking the law using a private, unsecured email server to conduct public business.
CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante asked Mr. Obama when he learned about her private email system after his Saturday appearance in Selma, Alabama.
‘The same time everybody else learned it through news reports,’ the president told Plante.
Mr. Obama’s comments follow a long week of media scrutiny surrounding Hillary Clinton’s private email address and the ‘home-brewed’ server that hosted it.
‘The policy of my administration is to encourage transparency, which is why my emails, the BlackBerry I carry around, all those records are available and archived,’ Mr. Obama said. ‘I’m glad that Hillary’s instructed that those emails about official business need to be disclosed.’
Despite widespread criticism from Republicans who believe Clinton acted inappropriately, the president continued to defend his former Cabinet member’s record.
“Let me just say that Hillary Clinton is and has been an outstanding public servant. She was a great secretary of state for me,” Mr. Obama said.