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Clinton banks on trust

It was Hillary Clinton at her worst.

First, she began her news conference by tooting her own horn about working for women. Then she slammed Republicans for sending a letter making clear that, for an Iran deal to be binding, it must have approval from Congress.

Then she got to the emails. That’s when things got dicey.

She used one device for both personal and business use, she said, because it was “convenient,” but then she turned over everything that could “possibly” be work-related. How do we know there wasn’t something work-related but unflattering? She assures us there wasn’t.

Was she briefed about security risks? She answered with a nonanswer: She never sent anything classified. She said that, in retrospect, it could have been done better, but she insisted she complied with all rules. How do we know it was secure? It was in a secure compound and there were no breaches, she said. (Um, but what about risking a breach?) Will she turn over the mail server? Nope. It is staying private, she announced.

In a nutshell, she said, Trust us — even if she herself did not follow the rules that others were expected to comply with. She would have us believe that she did everything by the book. It is not an answer that will put to rest concerns about her obtuseness and secrecy.

As for her foundation taking money from countries that abuse women, she insisted that her foundation does good work. She gave no hint that there was any appearance of impropriety or hypocrisy. To admit that would suggest she is capable of feeling shame. We know otherwise.

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., who heads the House select committee on Benghazi, put out a statement after the news conference that read in part: “Without access to Secretary Clinton’s personal server, there is no way for the State Department to know it has acquired all documents that should be made public, and given State’s delay in disclosing the fact Secretary Clinton exclusively used personal email to conduct State business, there is no way to accept State’s or Secretary Clinton’s certification she has turned over all documents that rightfully belong to the American people.” He’s right about that.

Democrats, at least some, will now rally to Clinton’s side. Republicans would be wise to pipe down and let her stumble into an uncontested primary. If this is the person whom Democrats intend to market as a servant of the people, as above-board and trustworthy, then they should go for it.

But really, does no potential liberal contender wonder how Clinton is going to get through news conferences, debates and negative ads with this attitude of remorselessness and entitlement? You wonder where her polling is going to be in a week or so.

© 2015, The Washington Post

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