Jonathan Tobin, Commentary:
For now, the Clintonistas are sticking to their story that claims that her awful poll results about trust and the rise of an implausible rival has nothing to do with the email scandal. Yet the news this week that Senator Bernie Sanders has already overtaken Clinton in New Hampshire and is beginning to move within striking distance in Iowa should have shaken her. If that wasn’t bad enough, the fact that Gallup shows her net favorability at its lowest point since December 2007 makes it clear that her assumptions about an easy win are falling apart.
The standard explanation for the Sanders surge is that voters are bored and that Democrats want a semblance of a race. Even Sanders’ big crowds and increasingly good poll numbers can be explained away if you believe Democrats will choose Hillary once it’s clear that his candidacy is more than a symbolic protest. But the drip-drip-drip of scandal is eating away at her confidence.
It might have been possible for her campaign to browbeat the New York Times into backing down from its initial story last month about a criminal probe into the email scandal. But this week Clinton was forced to turn over her email server and a thumb drive to the FBI. Even worse, the Inspector General for the Intelligence Community told Congress that at least two of the four emails that were discovered on her wiped home server were classified as being “top secret,” making the possession and transmission of such information a potential crime.
It should be remembered that the explanation for the initial news about the investigation was that it was not Clinton but her aides who were being investigated. But now that we know that Huma Abedin, Clinton’s “shadow” and “keeper” is being put under the legal microscope and lawyering up, the problem can’t be treated as tangential to the candidate.