According to Thursday’s Department of Justice Inspector General’s report, former President Barack Obama was one of the few people to have “direct contact” with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email account — despite appearing to claim otherwise in the past.
“FBI analysts and Prosecutor 2 told us that former President Barack Obama was one of the 13 individuals with whom Clinton had direct contact using her clintonemail.com account,” Inspector General Michael Horowitz wrote.
The report added that former President Obama used a pseudonym for his username and thatnone of his sent or received emails contained classified information.
In a 2015 interview, the former president claimed he discovered Clinton’s use of a personal email address during her tenure at the State Department at “the same time everybody else learned it, through news reports,” adding that Clinton was an “outstanding public servant.” From CBS News:
President Obama only learned of Hillary Clinton’s private email address use for official State Department business after a New York Times report, he told CBS News in an interview.
CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante asked Mr. Obama when he learned about her private email system after his Saturday appearance in Selma, Alabama.
“The same time everybody else learned it through news reports,” the president told Plante.
Ironically, he went on to insist that his administration encouraged transparency, saying, “And that’s why my emails — the Blackberry that I carry around — all those records are available and archived.”
Shortly after that interview, former White House press secretary Josh Earnest acknowledged that former President Obama did, in fact, communicate with Clinton via email.
“The president, as I think many people expected, did over the course of his first several years in office, trade emails with the secretary of state,” he said at the time, adding that Obama was not aware of her private server or how she was complying with federal records law.
According to Politico, the Obama White House also insisted he was not aware Clinton was using the private email address routinely for official business.
Horowitz also asked investigators why no effort was made to obtain the personal devices of Clinton’s aides out of concern that they were “potential sources of Clinton’s … classified emails.”
Officials claimed “the culture of mishandling classified information at the State Department” was widespread, which “made the quantity of potential sources of evidence particularly vast.”