THE HILL — Hillary Clinton’s email headache is about to get even worse.
A scathing inspector general’s report this week was just the first in what is likely to be a series of official actions related to her private server stemming from the FBI, a federal courthouse and Capitol Hill.
Clinton’s presidential campaign has failed to quiet the furor over the issue, which has dogged her for more than a year.
In the next few weeks — just as the likely Democratic presidential nominee hopes to pivot towards a general election — it will face its toughest scrutiny yet.
“All of that feeds into this overarching problem of public distrust of her,” said Grant Reeher, a political science professor at Syracuse University.
“To put it in slang terms, she’s got a pretty deeply held street rep at this point. This fits the street rep,” he added.
The State Department’s watchdog report was especially damaging, given the official nature of its source. The report claimed that Clinton never sought approval for her “homebrew” email setup, that her use of the system violated the department’s record-keeping rules and that it would have been rejected had she brought it up to department officials.
Clinton’s allies attempted to paint the office as partisan in the weeks ahead of the report’s release, but the effort failed to leave a lasting impact.
For months, Clinton and her team have failed to offer a convincing explanation for the use of the private server, and she has steadfastly refused to apologize.
“I thought it was allowed,” she said in an interview on CNN’s “The Situation Room” this week, after the watchdog’s report became public. “I knew past secretaries of state used personal email.
“It was still a mistake. If I could go back, I’d do it differently,” she said.
Clinton and many of her top aides declined to take part in the inspector general’s probe. But they won’t have that option going forward.
On Friday, Clinton’s former chief of staff Cheryl Mills was interviewed behind closed doors as part of a court case launched by conservative watchdog Judicial Watch. In coming weeks, longtime aide Huma Abedin, former IT specialist Bryan Pagliano and other officials are scheduled to answer questions under oath for sessions that could last as long as seven hours.
A federal judge this week preemptively blocked Judicial Watch from releasing videotapes of the upcoming depositions.
But the group this week released the transcript from its first interview, with longtime State Department veteran Lewis Lukens. And it plans to do the same thing following each of the upcoming depositions, providing fodder for weeks to come from some of the closest rings of Clinton’s inner circle.
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