- The Washington Times - Monday, May 30, 2016

With little shot at capturing the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Bernard Sanders finally has seized on Hillary Clinton’s email scandal as he mounts a last-ditch effort to swing party superdelegates to his side.

Mr. Sanders — who famously said last year that neither he nor anyone else cares about Mrs. Clinton’s “damn emails” — over the weekend said party superdelegates should consider the issue as they weigh who to support at this summer’s Democratic convention.

He specifically hinted that a recent State Department inspector general’s report, which found Mrs. Clinton violated agency policy, could cause superdelegates to rethink their positions.

“It was not a good report for Secretary Clinton. That is something that the American people, Democrats and delegates are going to have to take a hard look at,” he told CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “I mean, everybody in America is keeping it in mind, and certainly the superdelegates are.”

The comments are something of a reversal for the Vermont senator, who has all but ignored the email scandal throughout the entire Democratic presidential primary. His refusal to attack the former secretary of state over her emails was a political risk; the issue plays heavily into voters’ doubts about Mrs. Clinton, who is widely seen as dishonest and untrustworthy.

But now, with the primary process winding down and with virtually no chance at overtaking Mrs. Clinton among pledged delegates, the senator seems to be revisiting his strategy.

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His remarks to CBS came just days after the State Department’s inspector general released a scathing report that found Mrs. Clinton violated agency rules by forgoing an official State.gov email address and instead using a private server inside her New York home.

The report also found that Mrs. Clinton’s inner circle — including longtime aides Cheryl Mills, Huma Abedin and others — not only were aware of the email arrangement but helped facilitate the secretary’s email system.

While Mrs. Clinton has apologized for using a private server, the issue continues to dog the Democratic presidential front-runner. Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump has already made hay over the scandal, calling her “Crooked Hillary” and may make it a centerpiece of the general election campaign.

“Donald Trump and other Republicans will seize on it,” Mr. Sanders told NBC News on Sunday. “There’s no doubting that.”

Swinging superdelegates to his side is Mr. Sanders’ only real shot at snatching the nomination from Mrs. Clinton, though there’s no indication so far that those party officials are willing to change allegiances. A mass defection is even less likely after Mr. Sanders has all but declared war on the Democratic Party establishment, including his call for the ouster of Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Mrs. Clinton’s lead among superdelegates is massive. As of Sunday, she has the support of 541 superdelegates to just 43 for Mr. Sanders, according to an Associated Press tally.

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Overall, the former first lady has 2,310 delegates to 1,542 for Mr. Sanders.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat and a superdelegate supporting Mrs. Clinton, said Sunday it’s time for everyone to move on from the email scandal.

“Hillary herself has said, ‘Yes, I made a mistake. If I had a chance to do it over again. I’d do it differently.’ I mean, what do people want?” she said on ABC’s “This Week” program on Sunday. “I don’t think we should make a federal case over it.”

• Ben Wolfgang can be reached at bwolfgang@washingtontimes.com.

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