Hillary Clinton’s response on whether she wiped email server: ‘With a cloth?’


Welcome to Trail Guide, your daily tour through the wilds of the 2016 presidential campaign. It's Tuesday, Aug. 18, and this is what we're watching:

  • Hillary Rodham Clinton  shows some frustration with reporters' questions about her use of personal email while running the State Department.
  • Donald Trump's immigration plan is exposing the divisions within the GOP.
  • Trump  keeps his lead in the latest post-debate poll of Republican candidates.
  • Scott Walker outlined  a plan to replace Obamacare as he tries to drive both the issue and his candidacy back into the spotlight.
  • Clinton and Bernie Sanders  were courting the labor vote at an AFL-CIO state convention in Las Vegas.
  • John Kasich  was the latest candidate to head to the Iowa State Fair.

Clinton on whether she wiped her email server: 'Like with a cloth or something?'

Hillary Rodham Clinton appeared to grow frustrated with new questions about her use of a private email server as secretary of State, insisting to reporters Tuesday that a review of whether classified material was improperly transmitted over her account would also have happened if she'd used a government account.

At one point, when asked directly whether she had wiped her server clean before it was handed over to the Justice Department, Clinton appeared to crack a joke:

More of what Clinton said Tuesday:

"I've been thinking about the fact that I get a lot of attention because I had a personal email account, as did other high-ranking officials in the State Department and elsewhere in the government. And I had not sent classified material, nor received anything marked classified.

"If I had had a separate government account, so that I had a totally designated government account and a totally designated personal account, and I started running for president and I said, 'I want the American people to see everything that was part of my time in the State Department, because I think it's educational, and I want the State Department to release all of my emails' -- which they already had, by the way, you know, in the government computer system -- we would be going through the same process.

"That's what I want Americans to understand. When something is released -- whether it's in response to a Freedom of Information request or in my case, where I said there's 55,000 pages out there, please put them out, there is a process that has to be gone through. You want to make sure nobody's personal email is on there and other personnel issues -- those kinds of things. So we would be going through the same [thing] because other agencies get to make the same claims. Like, you know, this may not have been an issue in 2009, but now it is. Or in 2011 this should have been handled differently than it was.

"It has nothing to do with me. And it has nothing to do with the fact that my account was personal. It's the process by which the government -- and sometimes in disagreements between various agencies of the government, make decisions about what can and can't be disclosed.

"So I'm very comfortable that this will eventually get resolved, and the American people will have plenty of time to figure it out."

Later, when Fox News' Ed Henry followed up, Clinton said, "Ed, you're not listening to me," and repeated her explanation of the review process.

It was then that Clinton was asked repeatedly whether she "wiped the server."

"Like with a cloth or something?" she said. "No, no. I don't know how it works digitally at all."

Hillary Clinton goes after Republicans on Black Lives Matter movement

In a small reflection of how the Black Lives Matter movement has gained force in presidential politics, Hillary Rodham Clinton addressed the group's key issue head on in her opening stump speech at a town hall meeting in Nevada on Tuesday, rather than waiting for a possible question about it later on.

In a riff accusing Republicans of being silent on some issues during their debate this month, Clinton listed criminal justice reform as an urgent matter that had gone unaddressed.

"Not one word about college affordability. Not one word about equal pay for equal work for women. Not one word about dealing with criminal justice and mass incarceration, and that black lives matter," she said.

Instead, voters only heard "out-of-touch, out-of-date policies and over-the-top rhetoric."

"And it's not just the front-runner," she said, referring to Donald Trump. "The others are saying the same thing, without the pizzazz or the hair."

Her comments came a week after a Jeb Bush campaign event was disrupted in the same community, and after Clinton met face-to-face with advocates who had planned to demonstrate during one of her campaign rallies.

Clinton was campaigning in North Las Vegas, Nev., a state that's among the first contests of the 2016 presidential primary season. The city is a majority-minority community - 19.9% black and 38.8% Hispanic or Latino, according to 2010 census data.

Clinton, asked during the question-and-answer session about her views on criminal justice, said policy decisions were made in the 1980s and '90s - a period that includes her husband's presidency - to address high crime rates that "went further than we needed to go." She noted that one of the first speeches she gave in this campaign was on possible reforms like full use of body cameras for law enforcement.

She also criticized "stand your ground" laws such as that in Florida, a focus of controversy after the death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012.

"That wasn't 'stand your ground.' That was an overreaction," she said, referring to Martin's shooting by a neighborhood watch member. "Nobody should want to create circumstances where innocent, unarmed people are killed."

The comments came after Black Lives Matter activists released video of their interaction with Clinton after a town hall meeting in Keene, N.H., last week. The activists had intended to speak out during her event, which focused on substance abuse issues, but arrived too late to be seated.

John Kasich - a Tim Tebow fan?

We were told by Republican leaders during the campaigns last year that we just needed a Republican Senate to be elected to repeal Obamacare. Well, here we sit. You know, both chambers of the United States Congress have been controlled since January by Republicans, and yet there's not a bill on the president's desk to repeal Obamacare.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker criticized his party's leadership Tuesday, as he rolled out his alternative to Obamacare.

Antonio Villaraigosa raises money for Hillary Rodham Clinton, as his attention turns to 2018

Hillary Rodham Clinton and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at a 2007 rally outside Los Angeles City Hall.

Hillary Rodham Clinton and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at a 2007 rally outside Los Angeles City Hall.

(Paul Buck / European Pressphoto Agency)

Hillary Rodham Clinton wasn't in Los Angles on Monday night, but it didn't keep former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa from raising money for the former secretary of State.

Since Villaraigosa announced in February he would not run for the state's open U.S. Senate seat, he's kept a relatively low profile.

Many political observers and strategists believe he will run for governor in 2018.

On Tuesday, Villaraigosa embarks on what amounts to a "listening tour" around the state.

The Times' Michael Finnegan and Kurtis Lee report.

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Video of Clinton meeting with Black Lives Matter demonstrators is released

From New Hampshire to Washington state and Nevada, Black Lives Matter activists have confronted presidential candidates, calling on them to address issues such as poverty, racial profiling by police, incarceration and homelessness.

In the video posted above, Hillary Rodham Clinton meets with Black Lives Matter demonstrators following a rally in New Hampshire last week.

Patrisse Cullors, a founder of Black Lives Matter, told The Times last month that the group wants to "ensure that these candidates will actually deal with the issues that black people face."

“Until we hear from candidates, beyond just saying, 'Black lives matter,' until we hear them really address how we are continuously cut out of the American democracy, we're going to continue to shut debates down,” Cullors vowed.

Good magazine, a news website, posted the video after obtaining it from the demonstrators.

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Donald Trump's immigration plan is putting his rivals on the spot

On Monday, we broke down Donald Trump's immigration plan into three categories: the familiar (stricter law enforcement, a border wall), the far-fetched (forcing Mexico to pay for the wall by impounding remittances, repealing birthright citizenship, mass deportation) and the big, heated rhetoric (blaming immigrants for stagnant wages).

Far-fetched or not, the proposal forced his rivals to immediately declare their positions on all of these matters. Their responses demonstate, yet again, why this is not the conversation most GOP candidates want to be having at the moment. Immigration inevitably divides the party, risks alienating Latino voters and generally makes candidates look like they're not searching for practical solutions. But in this race, Trump is driving the train.

How his rivals responded to his plan:

> As he walked through the Iowa State Fair, Scott Walker clearly endorsed ending birthright citizenship, which grants citizenship to people born in the U.S. regardless of their parents' citizenship. It's widely believed to be protected by the 14th Amendment. Walker's campaign later tried to dial back his comments.

> Jeb Bush and Sen. Lindsey Graham, two candidates who might be considered party moderates on the issue of immigration, blasted Trump's plan as fantasy -- at least part of it.

"Donald Trump's eight-page plan is absolute gibberish. It is unworkable," Graham told CNN. "Mitt Romney said his biggest mistake as a candidate for president was embracing self-deportation. That hurt our party. Donald Trump's plan is forced deportation. It's not going to work."

"How do you revoke remittances?" Bush wondered. "A plan needs to be grounded in reality."

Both men, however, were less critical on the question of birthright citizenship. Graham said he'd support ending it. Bush dodged: "There are like 10 things I would change in the Constitution with a magic wand," he said.

> New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also suggested that he would consider trying to amend the Constitution. "What I've said recently is that's gotta be something that should be discussed in the course of an entire reform package," he said on Fox News' "Fox and Friends."

But Christie was critical of Trump's plan to build a wall at the border: "That's not gonna fix the problem," he said.

> Carly Fiorina took a similar approach -- dismissing the wall plan and trying to hedge on the birthright cititzenship question.

"It would take passing a constitutional amendment to get that changed. This is part of our 14th Amendment, and so honestly I think we should put all of our energies, all of our political will over finally getting the border secured and fixing the legal immigration system," she told the Associated Press.

> Florida Sen. Marco Rubio weighed in on Tuesday, saying he does not support repealing the 14th Amendment and casting Trump's other proposals as unrealistic. "Obviously there are some ideas that have merit, but the majority of it is not a workable plan that could ever pass Congress," he told NBC News.

Read more

Another day, another poll confirms Donald Trump's lead

From the findings in the CNN/ORC poll: Among his supporters, Trump's backing runs deep. He has a whopping 98% favorability rating among them, and 58% among Republicans overall. That's up from 50% in June, according to the poll.

Read more

Marco Rubio peels off the campaign trail for the first day of school

Marco Rubio is shuffling his presidential campaign schedule so he can zip home Wednesday for his kids' first day of school in Miami.

Rubio, a Florida GOP senator, has been stumping at the Iowa State Fair, including a stop scheduled for Tuesday morning at the Des Moines Register Soapbox. But the campaign noted that "due to a personal scheduling conflict, Wednesday's events will be rescheduled for a future trip."

It might not be an official campaign event, but it's hard not to expect a few cameras when the Rubio drops off the kids.

What better way to portray a candidate of the 21st century, who is fond of suggesting that "yesterday is over," than as a young dad with kids in tow?

Rubio and his wife, Jeanette, have four young children -- Amanda, Daniella, Anthony and Dominick.

On Thursday, Rubio is back to campaigning with stops in Michigan, including at the Detroit Economic Club.

Scott Walker wants to change the conversation to Obamacare

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker plans to hit a favorite Republican target, "Obamacare," in an effort to excite many of the Republican primary voters who have ignored him in the five weeks since he entered the presidential primary.

Walker's entry into the race last month coincided with candidate Donald Trump's emergence as a poll leader and media magnet, overshadowing Walker's efforts to introduce himself to voters. Walker, whose performance in last week's debate has been criticized as lackluster, has seen his support drop in Iowa and other states he needs to capture if he expects to win the nomination.

Walker plans to travel to Minnesota on Tuesday to give a detailed plan to repeal and replace President Obama's healthcare plan. He promises to limit government interference while still “ensuring affordable coverage for those with preexisting conditions, and removing the fear that something as simple as changing jobs could result in loss of coverage.”

"On my first day as president, I will send legislation to the Congress that will repeal Obamacare entirely and replace it in a way that puts patients and their families back in charge of their healthcare — not the federal government," Walker will promise, according to prepared remarks. The new plan, he says, will be called "The Day One Patient Freedom Plan."

In an op-ed in the National Review posted Friday, Walker wrote that “the president's policies must be replaced with a plan that will send power back to the people and the states, fix the decades-old problems of rising medical-care and health-insurance costs, and support economic growth instead of punishing workers and small businesses."

That's a challenging goal. Five years after the Affordable Care Act was enacted, Republicans have not advanced a single alternative, in large part because maintaining the law's current protections for consumers while also cutting costs is extremely difficult.

Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, Walker's resistance to the law is taking a rising toll, data show. An analysis this year from the state's independent Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimated that Wisconsin could save $360 million over the next two years if Walker agreed to accept federal aid available through the law to provide Medicaid coverage to poor adults in the state.

Walker's speech will be an important one, despite the early juncture in the campaign. Walker had previously led many Iowa polls and scored well in national Republican surveys. But a CNN poll of likely Iowa Caucus goers released last week showed him in third place, with 9% of the vote, behind both Trump (22%) and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson (14%). A Fox News poll of national GOP voters taken last week had his support at just 6%, tied for fifth place with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Staff writer Noam Levey contributed to this report.