President Obama on Sunday appears to have inappropriately interfered in an FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton, suggesting she did little that was seriously wrong and touting her as a woman who might have exhibited “carelessness” but had done “an outstanding job” as secretary of state.
“I continue to believe that she has not jeopardized national security,” Obama said during an interview on Fox News on Sunday. “There’s a carelessness in terms of managing emails that she has owned and she has recognized, but I also think it’s important to keep this in perspective. This is somebody that has served her country for four years as secretary of state and done an outstanding job.”
The comments send an unmistakable message to FBI officials investigating Clinton that the president is disinclined to see her prosecuted. Nevertheless, Obama insisted that he was keeping his hands off the case.
“Nobody gets treated differently when it comes to the Justice Department,” Obama said. “Nobody is above the law.”
When pressed on the issue by host Chris Wallace, the president got annoyed. “How many times do I have to say it, Chris? Guaranteed,” Obama said.
Many national security experts believe she not only transmitted highly sensitive information over an unclassified email system, but that the private server she used may have been hacked. What’s more, nobody knows what is in the tens of thousands of emails she deleted.
In other Sunday show news, Paul Manafort, the newly installed Donald Trump aide in charge of corralling delegates, accused Sen. Ted Cruz of using “Gestapo tactics” to sweep up support from GOP delegates. “You go to these county conventions, and you see the Gestapo tactics — the scorched-earth tactics,” Manafort said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Cruz has used his superior organization and months of preparation to take delegates in various states who are not specifically committed to a candidate based on voting that occurred in the state.
Meantime, Sen. Bernie Sanders insisted Sunday that the Democratic nomination is still within his grasp, despite Hillary Clinton’s significant delegate lead.
Coming off his victory in Wyoming Saturday — his seventh win in the last eight primaries — Sanders was confident. “In the last three and a half weeks, we have reduced her margin by a third,” he boasted to George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week.”
“I think the proper number is about 220 delegates or so that we are now behind. We’re moving to New York State. We’re moving to Pennsylvania. We’re heading out west to California, Oregon, a lot of big states out there,” and “we believe that we have the momentum,” he said.
Sanders strategy for victory rests on his argument that he is in a stronger position to defeat the Republican candidate — be it Sen. Ted Cruz of Donald Trump — than Clinton, and the hope that argument is strong enough to sway the minds of the superdelegates.
“At the end of the day, what Democrats all over this country want to make sure is that somebody like a Donald Trump or a Ted Cruz does not end up in the White House,” he told Stephanopoulos. “And I think what more and more Democrats are seeing is that Bernie Sanders is the stronger candidate,” he said.
“If you look at the polling out there, we do a lot better against Trump and the other Republicans in almost every instance — not every one — than she does” so “I think you’re going to see a lot of Democrats saying, look, what’s most important is making sure that we defeat Trump or Cruz or whoever” he insisted.
“I think a lot of the super delegates will say what is a lot more important is that we don’t have Trump in the White House and we’re gonna support Bernie Sanders,” he told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”
Clinton, however, is confident that her victory is inevitable. Clinton told Tapper that her campaign isn’t preparing for a scenario in which neither she nor Sanders has the necessary number of delegates needed to secure the nomination by the time of the convention. “I intend to have [the] delegates that are required to be nominated,” she said.
Republican candidate Gov. John Kasich, for whom an outright victory is mathematically impossible, is nevertheless equally as optimistic as Sanders about his prospects, relying on much the same strategy.
“We’re going to win more delegates,” he told CBS’ John Dickerson on “Face the Nation.” Kasich pointed out that “in New York we’re running in second place” and that his “crowds are growing.”
“We will accumulate delegates and we’ll go into the convention we believe with momentum,” he claimed. “I don’t want to get into all the process, but I think you’re going to see a significant changes in the delegates voting after the first ballot. And we have like the best people who can know how to manage a convention,” Kasich insisted.
But the likelihood of anyone but Trump or Cruz earning the Republican nomination after the first — or second or third — ballot is extremely small. The success of Cruz and Trump has been fueled by an anti-Establishment anger into which Kasich has simply been unable to tap. As Sanders told John Dickerson, “people really are tired of establishment politics, establishment economics.”