NYT Editor Dean Baquet Says He Doesn’t Regret Hillary Clinton Email Coverage

  • New York Times editor Dean Baquet said that he doesn’t regret the paper’s coverage of Clinton’s emails.
  • In an interview with The New Yorker, the editor rejected the notion that Trump escaped scrutiny from its reporters.
  • “My God, we were writing stories about Donald Trump harassing women — we did the first of those,” he told the magazine.

The New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet in an expansive interview with The New Yorker said that he did not regret the newspaper’s coverage of the email controversy involving former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“I know this is going to get everybody riled up again, but I don’t have regrets about the Hillary Clinton e-mail stories. It was a running news story. It was a serious FBI investigation. The stories were accurate,” he said in an interview published on Friday.

Baquet, a New Orleans native who shared the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Journalism while at the Chicago Tribune, also rejected the notion that the newspaper didn’t adequately cover Trump in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election.

“My God, we were writing stories about Donald Trump harassing women — we did the first of those. We wrote the first story about Donald Trump where we got a sheet of his taxes — or [Times investigative reporter] Sue Craig got a sheet of his taxes,” he told the magazine.

He emphasized: “I don’t buy that we were tougher on Hillary Clinton than we were on Donald Trump.”

Baquet, the paper’s first Black editor who has led The Times since 2014, is rumored to retire this year.

The controversy arose when Clinton — a former first lady and US senator for New York who served as the nation’s top diplomat from 2009 to 2013 before winning the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016 — was found to have used a private email server for official government communications in lieu of utilizing official State department emails on federal servers during her tenure at Foggy Bottom.

In March 2015, The Times broke the story that Clinton had used a personal email account while leading the State Department. It was viewed as a possible violation of federal law and questions were raised by critics about the preservation and potential exposure of sensitive information.

The issue became a focal point of the 2016 presidential election, with then-GOP candidate Donald Trump frequently using the controversy to frame Clinton’s behavior as careless and possibly criminal.

Many Democrats and media observers, however, criticized the newspaper for focusing on the issue — contending that the didn’t adequately probe ethical and financial questions surrounding Trump as he ran as a pro-business political outsider who would shake up Washington.

A three-year federal investigation into Clinton’s email practices didn’t find any criminal wrongdoing, but the handling of the controversy has been cited by Clinton and those in her orbit many as a likely reason behind her loss to Trump in 2016.

In July 2016, then-FBI director James Comey announced that Clinton had been “extremely careless” in the operations of her email correspondence but didn’t recommend any charges. However, in late October 2016 — less than two weeks before the general election — Comey informed Congress that the FBI was probing newly-found emails that appeared “to be pertinent to the investigation.”

But, two days before the 2016 election, — November 6 — Comey announced that the FBI had not shifted its position on Clinton. Critics called into question the timing of the letter, who argued that the uncertainty of the probe greatly influenced voters, notably those who had cast their ballots before Election Day.

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