New FBI notes suggest president may have misled public about when he learned of private server
President Obama may have misled the American public about when he first became aware of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state, according to information the FBI revealed in its 189-page document dump on Friday.
This second trove of documents further detailed the FBI’s investigation into Clinton and its interviews with several of her closest aides about the email server. One of the most interesting — and perhaps damaging — revelations included the disclosure that Obama communicated Clinton via her private email server while using a pseudonym.
“Once informed that the sender’s name is believed to be a pseudonym used by the president, Abedin exclaimed: ‘How is this not classified?’”
An interview that top Clinton aide Huma Abedin gave on April 5, 2016 indicated the FBI showed Abedin an email exchange between Clinton and Obama. The email thread took place on June 28, 2012, and bore the subject line “Re: Congratulations.” On the surface, there would seem to be little wrong with this communication — except why would the president use a pseudonym to communicate with Clinton unless he knew he was communicating on a non-government secured account?
Obama had told CBS News back in 2015 that he first learned of Clinton’s private email server when “everybody else” did following a March 2015 report from The New York Times.
“The policy of my administration is to encourage transparency, which is why my emails, the BlackBerry I carry around, all those records are available and archived,” Obama told CBS News in March 2015. “I’m glad that Hillary’s instructed that those emails about official business need to be disclosed.”
Obama added, “Let me just say that Hillary Clinton is and has been an outstanding public servant. She was a great secretary of state for me.”
If Obama knew he was emailing Clinton via her private email server in June 2012, that would mean he misled the American public to cover for Clinton.
When the FBI showed Abedin the email exchange, she did not recognize the name of the sender.
“Once informed that the sender’s name is believed to be pseudonym used by the president, Abedin exclaimed: ‘How is this not classified?'” the FBI’s report read. “Abedin then expressed her amazement at the president’s use of a pseudonym and asked if she could have a copy of the email.”
The actual text of the emails that Clinton exchanged with Obama will not be made available to the public. Lawyers have cited the “presidential communications privilege,” a form of executive privilege that allows private communications to be withheld under the Freedom of Information Act.