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Hillary Clinton's Nixon problem as email scandal replicates White House tapes

Democratic Candidate Hillary Clinton's email scandal could be as big as Richard Nixon's White House Tapes in the Watergate Scandal according to journalist Bob Woodward as 305 emails are flagged for classified information, Aug. 17, 2015
Democratic Candidate Hillary Clinton's email scandal could be as big as Richard Nixon's White House Tapes in the Watergate Scandal according to journalist Bob Woodward as 305 emails are flagged for classified information, Aug. 17, 2015
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Democratic frontrunner and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is facing mounting problems from the email scandal with her private server. On Monday, Aug. 17, 2015 those problems grew as the State Department flagged 305 emails to review for potential classified information contained on them. Veteran Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward who with Carl Bernstein unearthed the Watergate scandal (1972), believes Clinton's emails will end up being just as much a scandal as Richard Nixon's secret White House tapes that ended up being his downfall leading him to be the first president to resign from office in 1974.

The State Department in their reviewing of Clinton's emails to be released to the public discovered over 300 emails that needed to be reviewed, that represents 5 percent of all reviewed emails. There are 30,000 emails in total to review and it is believed that 1500 emails in total will have to flagged for possible classified information.

According to the filed court documents, "The Intelligence Community reviewers "perform preliminary screening of emails to identify their agencies' equities, [w]hen an IC reviewer identifies an agency equity in an email, that email is sent to the relevant agency for consultation." The IC reviewers "recommended 305 documents - approximately 5.1 percent - for referral to their agencies for consultation."

The State Department originally filed the court documents because of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, and because they had to report to the court, why they could not release 15 percent of all the emails by the monthly July 31 deadline.

As been the practiced throughout the scandal, the Clinton camp has been downplaying the significance, saying it is routine. Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill issued a statement, saying, "This is not surprising given the sheer volume of intelligence community lawyers now involved in the review of these emails. We expect there will continue to be competing assessments among the various agencies about what should and shouldn't be redacted. It remains our hope that this process not get hampered by bureaucratic considerations and that her emails be released as quickly and transparently [as] possible."

Clinton's email scandal also led to an FBI probe. The FBI is further investigating "the handling of classified information on Clinton's private email server" after two emails with classified information, deemed "top secret" was discovered among Clinton's emails.

Another problem is the Colorado company Platte River Networks that set up Clinton's server says that a backup copy of the entire server and every email was most probably set up. The idea that the emails are not in government hands scares the FBI, who collected the backup from the company.

The scandal is affecting Clinton's campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination and the presidency. Her once large margin over her Democratic challengers and Republican opponents have shrunk to that point that Democratic rival Bernie Sanders has over taken Clinton in New Hampshire and three Republican are beating her in potential matchups in three swing states important to winning the general election.

The scandal also affects the way American voters perceive Clinton and gauge her honesty. A recent Fox News poll showed 58 percent of American voters believe Clinton "knowingly lied" about having classified information on her email server in March, while 54 percent believe Clinton jeopardized national security. Another poll from Monmouth University poll showed that Americans believe Clinton's actions may have been criminal. According to the poll 52 percent of American voters believe Clinton "should be subject to a criminal investigation for potential release of classified material."

Veteran journalist Bob Woodward is taking the scandal further comparing it to the worst one in American political history, Richard Nixon's Watergate scandal that cost him the presidency. What brought Nixon down was his secret White House tapes of his oval office conversations. Woodward appeared on Monday, Aug. 17 on MSNBC's "Morning Joe", warning that investigators should "Follow the trail here."

Woodward noted that although Clinton may have erased emails from her server, those that received them have copies; the truth is out there. Woodward said, "You've got a massive amount of data. It, in a way, reminds me of the Nixon tapes: thousands of hours of secretly recorded conversations that Nixon thought were exclusively his." Woodward believes the truth about Clinton's emails and the full story is going to take a long time to come to light. Woodward commented, "This has to go on a long, long time, and the answers are probably not going to be pretty."

This is not the first time Clinton has been compared to Nixon, Journalist Evan Thomas was speaking about his new book Being Nixon: A Man Divided in early July told ABC News Clinton does resemble the former president, "Mrs. Clinton does have some Nixonian attributes." Unlike Woodward, Thomas however, did not believe Clinton has the scandals Nixon had yet, but she cannot continue her behavior or else she will be going down the same road as Nixon did. Thomas explained. "She's not involved in anything like Watergate. She's not Nixon. If you think you can manipulate the press and stonewall forever, [when] you're running for president and you're president, I don't think that works."

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