Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive running for the Republican nomination for president, redoubled her criticism of Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton on Sunday. The only woman in the 17-strong GOP field said that “of course” Clinton passed classified information through a private email account, and lied about it.
The FBI has opened an investigation into whether Clinton sent or received classified material through a personal account she used while secretary of state. Clinton has repeatedly denied handling any material on the account that was “classified at the time”.
On Sunday, the Republican chair of a House committee investigating the September 2012 attacks on a US diplomatic outposts in Benghazi, Libya, said the US intelligence watchdog should look at the emails once the FBI investigation was complete.
“When the bureau is through with the server,” Trey Gowdy told Fox News Sunday, “I hope they turn that server over to the Inspector General so they can determine whether or not the record is full and complete.”
Fiorina, whose candidacy gained prominence after a well-received turn in the first Republican debate earlier this month, did not reserve her fire exclusively for Clinton. In a televised interview on Sunday, she also struck out at Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, in response to an attack by Trump on Fiorina’s business record.
Hewlett-Packard saw multiple rounds of layoffs when Fiorina was at the helm, and its stock jumped 6.9% the day her resignation was announced.
“She’s a very nice woman, she got fired, she did a terrible job at Hewlett-Packard,” Trump told reporters at the Iowa State fair on Saturday.
“I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about what Donald Trump says,” Fiorina said, on ABC News. “It’s not clear to me thatDonald Trump is a Republican, based on his willingness to run a third-party bid and some of the positions he’s taken.
“What I hear and see are both men and women who are sick of the professional political class.”
Fiorina’s sharpest criticism, however, was reserved for Clinton. “Hillary Clinton has lied,” she said.
“She’s lied about Benghazi, about her server and the emails,” Fiorina said. “There were some in the media that found that language harsh. But the more the story goes on, the more it becomes clear she has lied.”
The former tech executive said reports that Clinton’s private email server had been stored at an independent facility inNew Jersey raised questions about what the server was doing there.
“It strains credulity to accept that a secretary of state who handles all her communications on a home-brewed server never passed classified information,” Fiorina said. “Of course she did, and now we’re finding out she did. As usual, the cover-up is worse than the crime.”
Speaking to the Guardian this week, Bill Whalen, a fellow at the Hoover Institute at Stanford University, said Fiorina stood out from the Republican pack for the intensity of her attacks on Clinton.
“She has been the most vociferously anti-Clinton candidate from the beginning of this race,” Whalen said. “She has really gone after Clinton’s character in a way that other Republicans haven’t.
“Fiorina has made it intensely personal. Calling her a ‘liar’ – you can’t be much tougher than that.
“There’s an appetite for that in Republican circles. So she scores on that respect.”