Friday, July 20, 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
Tampa Bay and Florida businesses expect tariffs to drive prices up

Tampa Bay and Florida businesses expect tariffs to drive prices up

TAMPA — Tariffs imposed by the Trump administration and other countries are beginning to push up prices and depress demand in spots around the Tampa Bay area and Florida, business executives say."We’ve definitely seen that the tariffs have increased ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
March column: Is Congressional District 16 more flippable? What about District 15?

March column: Is Congressional District 16 more flippable? What about District 15?

In the wake of good fundraising news for Democrat David Shapiro, who is running against Rep. Vern Buchanan in Congressional District 16, political analysts are upping their odds of Shapiro’s winning. But what about Congressional District 15, where Re...
Published: 07/20/18
Trump says he’d have no problem beating former VP Biden in 2020

Trump says he’d have no problem beating former VP Biden in 2020

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump said in an interview broadcast Thursday that running against Joe Biden in 2020 would be "a dream," claiming that Barack Obama "took him out of the garbage heap" to make him his running mate in 2008.Trump was asked ...
Published: 07/19/18
At St. Pete rally, protesters call Trump’s remarks on Russia ‘treason’

At St. Pete rally, protesters call Trump’s remarks on Russia ‘treason’

ST. PETERSBURG — Linda and Jack Miller braved the humidity at Demens Landing on Wednesday night for a simple reason: "Treason," said Linda Miller, 66. The St. Petersburg couple joined more than 100 protesters toting signs, pins and megaphones...
Published: 07/18/18
Updated: 07/19/18
Meet the man who might have brought on the age of ‘downloadable guns’

Meet the man who might have brought on the age of ‘downloadable guns’

During the summer of 2012, Cody Wilson hung around J&J, a car-repair shop run by two "goofy" guys in their late 20s. The Austin warehouse was crowded with engine blocks, car parts and Pelican boxes that never seemed to have been opened, but the 24-ye...
Published: 07/18/18
‘She was like a novelty’: How alleged Russian agent Maria Butina gained access to elite conservative circles

‘She was like a novelty’: How alleged Russian agent Maria Butina gained access to elite conservative circles

WASHINGTON - For nearly five years, the young Russian political-science student was an unusual fixture at the most important events of the U.S. conservative movement.Maria Butina, who was indicted this week on charges of being a covert Russian agent,...
Published: 07/18/18
PolitiFact: Fact-checking the Donald Trump-Vladimir Putin summit

PolitiFact: Fact-checking the Donald Trump-Vladimir Putin summit

President Donald Trump and President Vladimir Putin made inaccurate statements to the media following their one-on-one talks in Helsinki about election meddling, global terrorism and nuclear nonproliferation.Here’s a rundown of our fact-checks.Trump:...
Published: 07/17/18
Obama gives Trump sharp rebuke in Mandela address on values

Obama gives Trump sharp rebuke in Mandela address on values

JOHANNESBURG — Former U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday took aim at "strongman politics" in his highest-profile speech since leaving office, urging people around the world to respect human rights and other values now under threat in an imp...
Published: 07/17/18
Romano: Excuse me Gov. Scott, but you’re a hypocrite

Romano: Excuse me Gov. Scott, but you’re a hypocrite

Hypocrisy, thy name is Rick Scott.And, yes, I owe Shakespeare an apology.But I think Florida’s governor owes all of us an apology.This isn’t about one man’s opinion, and it isn’t about philosophical differences. This is about a politician who is publ...
Published: 07/17/18
Trump questions US intel, not Putin, on Russia 2016 meddling

Trump questions US intel, not Putin, on Russia 2016 meddling

HELSINKI — Standing next to Russia’s Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump openly questioned his own intelligence agencies’ conclusions that Moscow was to blame for meddling in the 2016 U.S. election to Trump’s benefit and seemed to accept Putin’s i...
Published: 07/16/18