Obama's Hillary e-mail claim walked back by Josh Earnest

President Obama’s claim that he only learned of Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail account from the media was a lie that lasted only two days.  He told CBS:

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.

But yesterday, faced with skepticism that the president never exchanged e-mails with his secretary of state for four years, Josh Earnest played language games:

“The president, as I think many people expected, did over the course of his first several years in office trade emails with his secretary of state,” Earnest said. “I would not describe the number of emails as large, but they did have the occasion to email each other.”

“The point that the president was making is not that he didn’t know Secretary Clinton’s email address, he did,” Earnest said. “But he was not aware of the details of how that email address and that server had been set up or how Secretary Clinton and her team were planning to comply with the Federal Records Act.”


Back in the days of Watergate, they called this making a statement “inoperative.”  The weaseling of Earnest can’t obscure the fact that Obama lied about not knowing his SecState was violating his own policy on use of government e-mail accounts for all official business.  Unless he was such a moron that he never noticed the .com instead of a .gov e-mail address.

Of course, there is a pattern to Obama claiming he knew nothing about scandals until he learned about them from the media.  Sharyl Attkisson lists 8 other incidents in which Obama claimed to be out of the loop in his own administration.

Earnest is doing his best to keep Obama away from further entanglement in the scandal.  Neil Munro of the Daily Caller:

When asked what Obama will do to ensure that copies of all of Clinton’s emails were available to the public, Earnest dodged again. “That might be one step too far. It is the responsibility of the State Department,” he said.

If congressional leaders, such as Rep. Trey Gowdy, want copies of Clinton’s emails, they should contact the State Department, Earnest said.

“He should raise that directly with State Department officials,” said Earnest.

Which leads to the question: who’s in charge?  I guess within his own administration he is leading from behind.