President Obama’s interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes” Sunday has rightly received attention for his defensiveness about Vladimir Putin’s intervention in Syria. But the President made other news that deserves more attention: to wit, his legal advice to the FBI and Justice Department about Hillary Clinton’s email server.
The FBI has acknowledged it is investigating the former Secretary of State’s use of a private server for official communications, especially her mishandling of classified information. Though she denied in April that classified material had crossed her server, we now know that was false. Hundreds of emails sent to or from her server contained national secrets, some highly classified. She used her own email system in violation of the Federal Records Act and in order to protect her emails from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, and this evasion made her emails vulnerable to foreign hacking.
Yet when Steve Kroft asked if the server posed a security risk, Mr. Obama dismissed the idea by saying “I don’t think it posed a national security problem.” But how would he know unless his lawyers are filling him in on the investigation? Mr. Obama must know as a lawyer how inappropriate it is for a President to comment on a case being conducted by executive-branch officials who work for him.