Trump can't get it right on Clinton's email deletion
“33,000 e-mails deleted.…That was after getting a subpoena. That was not before. That was after.” — Donald Trump
“It’s just not true…They were personal emails and not official.” — Hillary Clinton
Some of Clinton’s emails were deleted by a computer technician after the House Benghazi Committee subpoenaed her for relevant records on March 4, 2015. However, Trump’s comments about Clinton deleting 33,000 messages are misleading in two respects. First, she gave the instruction to erase those messages in late 2014, before she was subpoenaed. Second, she has maintained that the messages she ordered erased were supposed to be entirely personal in nature.
A computer specialist, Paul Combetta of Platte River Networks, was granted immunity for testimony and told the FBI that he had an “Oh Shit” moment in late March 2015, realized he’d never erased the personal message archive, and deleted it at that time even though he was supposed to have done it much earlier.
It’s unclear, though, how thorough Clinton’s lawyers were when they separated her work-related messages, which were returned to the State Department, from those that were personal. FBI Director James Comey has said Clinton’s attorneys did not look thoroughly at the messages and generally relied on the “to,” “from” and “subject” fields.
This may have resulted in some work-related messages being erased as personal, but Comey said that if this happened it did not appear to be intentional. “We believe our investigation has been sufficient to give us reasonable confidence there was no intentional misconduct in connection with that sorting effort,” Comey said.
Both candidates had trouble with the numbers. Clinton at one point said she turned over 35,000 emails to State but her aides have said it was closer to 30,000. At one point Trump inflated the number Clinton had erased to 39,000, while her aides put the number at about 32,000.