- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sen. Ben Cardin on Sunday said ongoing attempts to dig into Hillary Clinton’s exclusive use of private email at the State Department amount to a “partisan with hunt” by congressional Republicans and right-leaning groups hoping to distract from Donald Trump’s own issues.

Mr. Cardin, Maryland Democrat, said Republicans should be focused on the Trump team’s alleged ties to Russia, after campaign chairman Paul Manafort stepped down amid questions about his lobbying efforts for former Ukrainian President Viktor F. Yanukovych — a pro-Moscow leader who was elected in 2010 and fled amid protests in 2014.

“It’d be nice to see if they had some interests as to what Russia’s involvement is in our campaign,” Mr. Cardin told “Fox News Sunday.” “But instead, they continue to go after the e-mail issue even though as I said, the FBI, the director, [James B.] Comey, has indicated that that case is closed.”

On Friday, a federal judge said Mrs. Clinton will have to give testimony about her secret email server and account, but it will be in writing rather than in person, delivering a partial victory to the Democratic presidential candidate.

Mrs. Clinton will have until the middle of November — after the election — to answer those questions, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ruled.

Judicial Watch, a conservative public interest law firm that has been trying to pry loose many of the details about Mrs. Clinton’s time as State Department secretary, had wanted in-person testimony, saying that was the only way to handle follow-ups that might arise based on what she says.

Mrs. Clinton exclusively used the email account tied to a server she kept at her home in New York for her government business. After being prodded by a congressional probe, she belatedly handed more than 30,000 messages she said were work-related back to the government in December 2014 — and deleted at least 30,000 other messages.

The FBI looked into the account and found Mrs. Clinton did mishandle classified information, but said no prosecutor would be able to make a case against her.

Democrats say that should be the end of it, though congressional Republicans have requested the FBI’s interview summaries from the investigation, as polls show that a majority of voters do not think Mrs. Clinton is trustworthy.

Mr. Cardin on Sunday said he is still not sure what feeds into that perception.

“I’ve known Hillary Clinton for a long time. She’s trustworthy. She’s ready from Day One to assume the office of presidency in the United States,” Mr. Cardin said. “She’s qualified and she’s ready, as compared to I think Donald Trump who has shown his recklessness, and dangerous statements that he’s made.”

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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