Monday, April 23, 2018
Politics

Officials took pains to grant Hillary Clinton email access

WASHINGTON — State Department officials took pains to accommodate Hillary Clinton's email practices as secretary, according to newly released testimony by a career agency official.

Clinton was offered a "stand-alone" computer near her office that would let her access the Internet without entering a password or logging into the department's network as other employees are required to do, the official said.

The official, Lewis A. Lukens, executive director of Clinton's executive secretariat from 2008 to 2011, said he was told the proposal was declined because Clinton was "not adept or not used to checking her emails on a desktop." However, Lukens said, Clinton was "very comfortable" using a BlackBerry — even though she would have to leave her office to use the device due to security protocols.

Lukens's testimony on May 18 came in the first of six depositions scheduled until late June of current and former State Department and top Clinton aides in a civil lawsuit probing whether Clinton's exclusive use of a private email server while secretary from 2009 to 2013 thwarted federal open-records laws.

The Lukens transcript was released Thursday, one day after State Department Inspector General Steve A. Linick issued a highly critical, 83-page report on Clinton's email practices. The report concluded that Clinton failed to seek legal approval for the server arrangement and that, if she had, it would not have been granted because of security risks.

Clinton allies had braced for the IG report and findings from a pending FBI investigation into whether the email setup mishandled classified information or violated other federal laws.

However, the ongoing depositions appear likely to keep a spotlight on the matter that Clinton has tried to put to rest in her presidential campaign.

On Friday, Clinton's former chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, is to give sworn testimony in the lawsuit brought by the conservative legal advocacy group Judicial Watch. The lawsuit concerns the group's 2013 public records request for information about the employment arrangement of Mills's deputy, Huma Abedin.

In a statement Thursday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, said that IG report "makes clear that Secretary Clinton and a number of other former Department officials have not been truthful with the American people" and failed to turn over certain emails from personal email accounts.

In his testimony, Lukens, a Foreign Service officer for 27 years who oversaw 110 employees providing administrative support to the secretary, said he never recalled speaking about Clinton's email address or use of a personal BlackBerry with a direct subordinate, John Bentel, in charge of the secretariat's electronic communications.

Lukens said Mills did not ask for Clinton to have a computer in her office, and that he did not think a State email account was set up for Clinton because she did not ask for one.

"At that point, as far as I knew, there was no requirement for her to be connected to our system," Lukens said.

Lukens did not think it unusual because, he said, "I'm not aware of former secretaries of state having email addresses on our system."

In its report, the inspector general's office noted that "long-standing systemic weaknesses" in department handling of electronic records that spanned several secretaries, and noted that Colin Powell when secretary used a personal email account for official business.

Lukens said he assumed Clinton used a commercial email service and did not know of her private server until it was reported last year. He proposed a "stand-alone" computer for Clinton to access the Internet to check her emails because mobile phones are not allowed in the secretary's office suite.

Lukens initially said he wanted to make it easier for Clinton to bypass the department's computer network so she could log on with fewer passwords, before acknowledging that Clinton could not access the system without a department email account.

Comments
Trump says he doesn’t think personal lawyer will ‘flip’

Trump says he doesn’t think personal lawyer will ‘flip’

WEST PALM BEACH — President Donald Trump said Saturday that he doesn’t expect Michael Cohen, his longtime personal lawyer and fixer, to "flip" as the government investigates Cohen’s business dealings. Trump, in a series of tweets fired from Florida o...
Published: 04/21/18

Vive la France: Trump hosts glitzy White House state dinner

WASHINGTON — Now it’s President Donald Trump’s turn to pull off the ultimate charm offensive. Wined and dined on multiple state visits during his tour of Asia last year, Trump is paying it forward and celebrating nearly 250 years of U.S.-French relat...
Published: 04/21/18
Romano: Okay, now who sounds like a hysterical teen talking about guns?

Romano: Okay, now who sounds like a hysterical teen talking about guns?

The writer of the letter sounds hysterical. Perhaps a little desperate. And maybe that’s just who Marion Hammer is these days.Most of the world knows her as the take-no-prisoners maven of the National Rifle Association who directs Florida politicians...
Published: 04/21/18
Rick Scott’s term limits idea: Hugely popular and highly unrealistic

Rick Scott’s term limits idea: Hugely popular and highly unrealistic

WASHINGTON — Gov. Rick Scott’s first policy idea as a U.S. Senate candidate won’t happen and most of his fellow Republicans don’t support it.But it’s a surefire applause line at political rallies.Scott wants term limits for members of Congress: 12 ye...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Ex-FBI deputy director ‘disappointed’ in Comey comments

Ex-FBI deputy director ‘disappointed’ in Comey comments

WASHINGTON — Andrew McCabe, the former FBI deputy director, is "very upset and disappointed" by comments made by his former boss James Comey that contradict his account of a disclosure to the news media, McCabe’s lawyer said Friday. "Andy has at all ...
Published: 04/20/18
Carlton: Mayor’s race: plot twists, meteoric rises, candidate implosions. It’s what we do in Tampa.

Carlton: Mayor’s race: plot twists, meteoric rises, candidate implosions. It’s what we do in Tampa.

The one thing you can say for sure about electing a mayor in Tampa is you can’t really say anything for sure.Historical proof: A couple of elections ago, Harvard-educated hometown-boy-gone-to-Washington Frank Sanchez was going to be our next mayor, h...
Published: 04/20/18
Carlton: Kids, want to make them listen? Vote

Carlton: Kids, want to make them listen? Vote

Today across America, high school students are expected to walk out of class in their latest show of solidarity against gun violence and elected officials unwilling to do much about it. It marks a grim anniversary — 19 years since Columbine bra...
Published: 04/20/18
Castor ends speculation: She’s running to be Tampa’s next mayor

Castor ends speculation: She’s running to be Tampa’s next mayor

TAMPA — For months, Tampa political aficionados have speculated: Will she or won’t she?Does Jane Castor, the city’s first woman police chief and presumed heavyweight mayoral candidate, really want the job? Asked and answered. Castor filed paperwork T...
Published: 04/19/18
Everybody loses in a trade war, Canadian chamber CEO warns Tampa officials

Everybody loses in a trade war, Canadian chamber CEO warns Tampa officials

TAMPA — President Donald Trump has tweeted "trade wars are good, and easy to win."Don’t believe it, the president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce told Tampa business and political leaders on Wednesday."We share more with you than with anybody els...
Published: 04/19/18
Hernando clerk of the court announces resignation to run for judicial seat

Hernando clerk of the court announces resignation to run for judicial seat

BROOKSVILLE — Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller Don Barbee this week submitted his resignation — effective Jan. 7 — to run for an open circuit judge seat.Barbee, who is in the middle of his second term, said he made the move "with a tremendo...
Published: 04/17/18