Hillary Clinton answers questions from reporters on March 10, 2015 at the United Nations in New York. 

This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal

Let's return to the original sin: Hillary Rodham Clinton violated White House policy, federal rules, and every principle of political common sense by stashing her government email on a home-brewed server. Her covert and unprecedented actions — she deleted more than half the email and scrubbed the server — thwarted the rights of Congress and the public to review many of those records.

Now for the repeated sin: Clinton is not being honest with people about what she did and why she did it. Her most recent comments were legalistic at best, deceptive at worst, and require an experienced Clintonologist to parse them.

I volunteer.

(RELATED: Justice Dept. May Probe 'Compromise' of Classified Info In Hillary Clinton's Email)

On Saturday, the former secretary of State responded to the fact that at least one Obama administration inspector general wants the Justice Department to investigate the exposure of classified material she had hidden on her server.

Facts, not spin. Her actions, not the media's or even the GOP's. But don't look for such candor from the candidate.

Here's how ABC News reported Clinton's remarks:

"First, let me say that I am confident that I never sent nor received any information that was classified at the time it was sent and received," Clinton told reporters at the Third District Democrats Summer Wine Down in Winterset. "What I think you're seeing here is a very typical kind of discussion, to some extent disagreement, among various parts of the government over what should or should not be publicly released."

Clinton went on to explain that she did not have to make all of her emails available to the public when she turned them over to the State Department, and argued that the new investigation is only a consequence of her doing so.

"If I just turned it over, we would not be having this conversation. But when I said, 'Hey, I want it to be public,' it has to go through the FOIA process. That's what's going on here," Clinton said. "This is all about my desire to have transparency and to make the information public."

Now I'll break it down.

— "I am confident that "¦" This is an equivocation rather than a declarative statement, a loophole as large as Bill Clinton's infamous definition of "is."

(RELATED: Clinton to Appear Before House Benghazi Committee on Oct. 22, Campaign Says)

— "... that was classified at the time it was sent and received." Her second equivocation in a single sentence, "at the time" back-peddles away from assurances that her actions didn't expose classified material to dangerous disclosure. "There is no classified material," Clinton vowed in March.

The timing isn't exculpatory for Clinton. First, federal rules put the onus on government officials like the secretary of State to protect classified material, even when it's not designated as such. The second point is the most important: Any chain of events or excuses that led to the disclosure of these documents begins with Clinton's decision to go rogue with government email.

— "What I think you're seeing here is a very typical kind of discussion "¦" Nope. There is nothing typical about this conversation, because no Cabinet official has ever had the temerity to store their government email on a private server against White House and government policy. Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice served as secretaries of State when email was not nearly as critical to government communications. Neither of them defied their president's transparency orders like Clinton did.

""¦ and argued that the new investigation is only a consequence of her doing so." This one would be funny if it wasn't so pathetic. Clinton is arguing that the problem is that she's too transparent, that there would be no question about classification had she not released 55,000 pages of email. Never mind the tens of thousands more documents she deleted, the congressional requests and subpoenas she thwarted, the Freedom of Information Act requests she ignored, and her team's repeated mischaracterizations.

Clinton regrets being too transparent in the same way a bank robber might second-guess his confession.

— "This is all about my desire to have transparency and to make the information public." If your eyes aren't rolling, you're not paying attention.

(RELATED: Clinton's Conspiracy of Secrecy Worthy of Criminal Probe)

Clinton has put herself in a box. She can either hand the server over to an independent third party, who would protect her private email and our government's working email. Or she can stonewall.

The latter course gives every voter the right — and every self-respecting journalist the responsibility — to ask, "What were you hiding, Hillary?"

What are you hiding?

{{ BIZOBJ (video: 5548) }}

This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.