Why the “scar tissue” excuse for Hillary’s document destruction fails

Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post offers a familiar excuse for Hillary Clinton’s insistence on using a private email server. According to Marcus, “the scar tissue built up over years of politically motivated attacks and endless investigations reinforced Clinton’s instinct for the protective crouch.”

Marcus’ explanation sounds plausible, but it happens to be false (except for the part about “instinct for the protective crouch”).

We know the explanation is false because Clinton engaged in similar behavior before she came to Washington as First Lady. I’m referring to her handling of her law firm’s billing records in the Castle Grande matter, which I discussed at length here, in a post based mainly on the evidence developed by the Office of Independent Counsel that investigated “Whitewater.”

Clinton stole and/or caused to be destroyed the records that established her role as the attorney for participants in the fraudulent Castle Grande scheme. She did so to avoid the political price she feared would be exacted if, with candidate Bill Clinton decrying the “decade of greed” that had brought on the S&L scandals, she was exposed as having been the lawyer for a crooked S&L.

For this purpose, Clinton, working with Webster Hubbell and Vince Foster, stole hard copies of the billing records of the Rose law firm where they were partners. They erased the electronic version of these records. One set of the documents was later found in the White House, just outside Hillary’s private office, by an employee. Another set was found in Foster’s attic by his widow, some years after he committed suicide. Clinton’s time sheets (handwritten, as was the practice back in the day) were never found.

The theft of the billing records occurred on March 7, 1992. It was then that a story on Whitewater/Castle Grande by New York Times reporter Jeff Gerth “hit the wire.” That night, Rose Law Firm documents were passed to a Clinton campaign aide in the firm’s parking lot.

The theft of these documents thus preceded the ugliness of the Clintons’ eight years in the White House. It preceded the “endless investigations” of that era. It helped fuel some of these investigations.

Hillary’s pattern of document destruction seems to have continued during the White House years. The New York Post reports that in 1999, investigators discovered that more than 1 million subpoenaed e-mails had been mysteriously “lost” due to a “glitch” in a West Wing computer server. The hole in the White House archives covered a critical two-year period — 1996 to 1998 — when special prosecutor Ken Starr was subpoenaing White House e-mails.

By then, the Clintons were battled scarred. That’s no defense for destroying records, though. And even this excuse does not apply to Hillary’s theft of billing records that belonged to her law firm.

In sum, Hillary Clinton’s crooked practices cannot be explained by citing “politically motivated attacks and endless investigations.” The New York Times’ Jeff Gerth wasn’t launching a politically motivated attacks, he was simply reporting.

Clinton’s crooked practices are rooted in her personality. It’s that simple.