Clinton’s careless email could provide ammunition for Trump’s rhetoric

By Matthew Rusling Source:Xinhua Published: 2016/7/11 22:23:27

Though US presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has escaped indictment over her email controversy, her Republican rival Donald Trump still might benefit from the email scandal, experts said.

Clinton has been cleared of criminal charges which could force her out of the presidential race, but Trump will continue to sew it into his narrative about "crooked Hillary," a name Trump uses to describe what he sees as a dishonest Washington insider who doesn't abide by the rules.

"It can help him," Julian Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, told Xinhua, referring to how the decision not to indict would impact Trump.

"The story will now continue ... In addition, he (Trump) will claim, and already is claiming, that the decision not to move forward with the case was some kind of political deal," Zelizer said.

Indeed, Clinton has been embroiled in a scandal over whether she jeopardized US national security by using a private email account and server for official business while she was secretary of state, instead of using a State Department email account and a secure government-protected server.

"Trump will continue to use his crooked Hillary line because even though she was not indicted, the FBI director did say she and her staff were careless in how they handled classified information," said Darrell West, vice president of director of governance studies of the Brookings Institution.

"That gives Republicans some ammunition that it was not a complete vindication of Clinton. She will bask in headlines saying she has been cleared by the FBI while opponents will continue to say the episode reflects poorly on her personal judgment," West said.

Still, West said he doubts many minds will be changed by the issue, because 85 percent to 90 percent of Americans have already made up their minds about the election.

"The people who think she was dishonest will continue to think that, while those who support her will still believe she is far preferable to Trump," West said.

"In the end, the election is likely to turn more on big issues of the economy, immigration, and terrorism than this email scandal," West further added.

Meanwhile, critics noted what they call a cozy relationship between Clinton and a number of individuals in the Justice Department, which oversees the FBI.

US Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who heads the Justice Department, was appointed by Hillary's husband, former president Bill Clinton in 1999 to be the US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

The author is a writer with the Xinhua News Agency.

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