Carly Fiorina says Hillary Clinton’s email server explanation ‘not plausible’
Among those skeptical of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s contention that she was “not thinking” when she set up a private email server at her home is tech-savvy Republican Carly Fiorina.
Mrs. Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO, said Sunday she found the Democratic presidential front-runner’s explanation implausible because “it takes a lot of work to install a private server system in your basement.”
“That actually takes a lot of work and lot of effort,” said Mrs. Fiorina on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “And so I don’t think it’s plausible for her to say, ‘Oh, I wasn’t paying any attention.’ She clearly was paying attention.”
The Republican presidential hopeful’s reaction came as evidence thatMrs. Clinton’s email-related woes are unlikely to be erased by her latest explanation, which came during an interview Friday with NBC News.
“You know, I was not thinking a lot when I got in. There was so much work to be done. We had so many problems around the world,” Mrs. Clinton told Andrea Mitchell. “I didn’t really stop and think, ‘What kind of email system will there be?’ “
At the same time, the former secretary of state stopped short of apologizing even after she was asked directly if she were sorry. She said instead that she wished she had “made a different choice,” adding that the private server at her suburban New York home was “fully aboveboard” and known to government officials.
After a “Women for Hillary” rally Saturday in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Mrs. Clinton told reporters that her family had paid a State Department employee to assist with the private home server “for a period of time.”
“We obviously paid for those services and did so because during a period of time we continued to need his technical assistance,” Mrs. Clinton said.
Still, the controversy surrounding her use of a private email server may be taking a toll on her poll numbers. An NBC/Marist poll released Sunday found her moving in the wrong direction, now trailing Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont in the key early primary state of New Hampshire by 41 percent to 32 percent.
The same poll found her leading Mr. Sanders in July by 10 percentage points. Similar polls in the spring showed Mrs. Clinton leading by as much as 50 percentage points.
Mrs. Fiorina, whose standing in the crowded GOP field is on the rise, referred to the recent revelations surrounding Bryan Pagliano, the former State Department employee and Clinton campaign tech worker, who helped her set up the home server.
“We know, for example, that she hired into the State Department a political operative who had done IT work on her campaign and for her PAC, and that that IT operative was paid $5,000, not by taxpayers, but byMrs. Clinton herself, to do IT work on that basement server,” Mrs. Fiorina said.
Attorneys for Mr. Pagliano said last week he has invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in response to a subpoena from the House Benghazi committee.
The NBC interview, Mrs. Clinton’s first in weeks, was intended to stem some of the political bleeding she has suffered in the wake of questions over her use of her own email server to conduct government business.
She again insisted that she did not send or receive any material marked secret, saying the nearly 200 messages already released and marked classified were designated only after the fact and didn’t indicate she mishandled information.