Clinton Email: 5 Big Takeaways From the State Dept. Report

The report said that Clinton violated department policy.

ByABC News
May 26, 2016, 10:10 AM

— -- The Hillary Clinton email controversy has dogged the former secretary of state for more than a year and has now reached new prominence as the Democratic presidential contender attempts to fight off a challenge by Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Yesterday, a report released by the State Department’s Office of Inspector General said that Clinton shouldn't have used a private email server to conduct official business and would have not been allowed to do so had she asked. It also found that she violated department policy.

Clinton has not been charged with a crime and her spokesman, Brian Fallon, said the former secretary's email use was in line with former secretaries of state. He also said that political opponents were using the report in a misleading way.

Here are five important takeaways from the report:

This Report is About Rules, Not Laws

The report essentially says that Clinton (and a number of her predecessors) failed to comply with recommended email policy and established practices of record-keeping. In Clinton’s case, the report says she wouldn’t have been allowed to exclusively use a private email account during her tenure had she asked to do so -- which she did not. Furthermore she didn’t turn over all her email before leaving, which she was supposed to do. Questions about any potential crime are expected to be answered upon conclusion of an FBI investigation, which is completely separate. Instead of focusing on whether she should have been using private email, like this investigation did, the FBI is trying to find out if anyone is responsible for mishandling sensitive information.

Contradictory Statements?

If you visit Clinton’s campaign website, you will see talking points about her private email that say no rules were broken. “Was it allowed?” her website asks about her use of private email. “Yes. The laws, regulations, and State Department policy in place during her tenure permitted her to use a non-government email for work,” the answer reads. But yesterday’s report offered a more nuanced answer. It said that guidelines produced by the State Department during her tenure discouraged the use of private email and identified the risks of doing so, also saying that official State Department email should be used in “most circumstances.” Clinton never used it in any circumstance. The report also says that Clinton should have handed over her official emails after leaving. “Because she did not do so, she did not comply with the Department’s policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act,” the report says.

Lack of Cooperation

Earlier this month Clinton, in response to questions about the FBI probe, Clinton said in an interview with CBS News that she would be willing to cooperate with any investigation. “I think last August I made it clear I'm more than ready to talk to anybody anytime,” Clinton said at the time. But according to this report, that’s not true. The Inspector General’s office says both Clinton and her aides declined to be interviewed for the report. The four other secretaries investigated in the report: Madeline Albright, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and John Kerry, all participated in interviews.

Hacking Attempt