As the NYT first reported on Friday, in the latest attempt to justify her use of a private email server, the FBI notes from Hillary Clinton's deposition revealed that she told federal investigators that former Secretary of State Colin Powell suggested she use a personal email account as he had done.
We promptly noted a key inconsistency with this story: "where the attempt to deflect blame from Hillary and toward Powell fails is the following “Toward the end of the evening, over dessert, Albright asked all of the former secretaries to offer one salient bit of counsel to the nation’s next top diplomat,” Conason writes. “Powell told her to use her own email, as he had done, except for classified communications, which he had sent and received via a State Department computer.”
In an immediate response, Colin Powell's office in a statement said he could not recall the dinner conversation. He did recall describing the system he used to her, but the statement did not say he suggested Clinton do the same. "He did write former Secretary Clinton an email memo describing his use of his personal AOL email account for unclassified messages and how it vastly improved communications within the State Department," the statement said. "At the time there was no equivalent system within the department."
Furthermore, as Reuters noted, Powell has said he had no choice besides using his private account as the department did not have a fully functioning email system of its own when he joined in 2001. He used a secure department computer to manage classified information, the statement said.
Overnight, a rather displeased Colin Powell said Hillary Clinton’s campaign has been trying to use him to help justify her use of a private email server while she was secretary of State. On Sunday, Powell told People Magazine that Clinton was using her private email long before their meeting. “The truth is she was using it for a year before I sent her a memo telling her what I did [during my term as Secretary of State],” he said.
Why does the former diplomat believe this to be the case, the magazine rhetorically asked? "Why do you think?" he said. "It doesn't bother me. But it's okay; I'm free."
However, with both the news cycle and America's attention no longer preoccupied with Clinton's use of an email server, we doubt this latest distraction will have much impact, or coverage, in today's media narrative. The only thing that could possibly bring Clinton's personal email server to the forefront of public attention is if another hacked "leak" unexpectedly appears, one indicating that the server had also been hacked. We doubt the Clinton campaign would be so quick to pin that on the Russians.