Nothing about the 2020 presidential campaign is typical and the debates are no different. Diane talks with Janet Brown, executive director of the Commission on Presidential Debates, about how they are planning in the middle of a pandemic.
Hillary Clinton has come under renewed scrutiny over her use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state. Last week the State Department’s inspector general released its report after investigating the matter. The report concluded that Clinton did not follow the requirements for handling records and should not have used a private server for department emails. Clinton’s critics were quick to say it underscores a lack of trustworthiness. Her defenders say she did little more than make a mistake by using a private server and there’s nothing in the inspector general’s report that’s very damaging. Diane and her guests discuss the continuing controversy over Hillary Clinton’s emails.
- Brian Fallon Spokesman for the Clinton campaign
- Eric Lichtblau Reporter, The New York Times
- Jonathan Turley Professor of public interest law, The George Washington University Law School
- Hilary Rosen Democratic strategist; managing director, SKDKnickerbocker, a political consulting and PR firm; and a CNN contributor
MS. DIANE REHMThanks for joining us. I'm Diane Rehm. A state department report released last week criticized Hillary Clinton's email practices while she was secretary of state. Clinton said the report is consistent with what she's been saying, that her use of private email was a practice by other secretaries of state and she reiterated it was a mistake on her part to have continued the practice. Her Republican rival, Donald Trump, said the report reflected a pattern of dishonesty.
MS. DIANE REHMHere to talk about the controversy, Jonathan Turley of the George Washington University school of law, Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen of SKDKnickerbocker, a political consulting firm and Eric Lichtblau of the New York Times. But first, joining us by phone from New York City, Brian Fallon. He's a spokesman for the Clinton campaign. Brian, thanks for joining us. This email controversy has one on to dog Secretary Clinton. Tell us why she declined to be interviewed by the inspector general.
MR. BRIAN FALLONWell, good morning, Diane. Thank you so much for having me.
FALLONI appreciate this opportunity to talk about the report. I would just say for starters that this was a rather lengthy report, but I think it boils down to one bottom line finding, which was that the particular email setup that Secretary Clinton used during her tenure at the state department, that is exclusive reliance on a personal email account hosted on a personal server, was not a good idea. And she does not question or disagree with that judgment.
FALLONIn fact, as you noted, she has said on a multitude of occasions now that this was an error, that if she had it to do over again, she would. At this point, we're glad that the state department inspector general has concluded its review. It puts us one step closer to resolving this. Of course, what remains is the review being lead by the justice department. In terms of answering questions on this matter from the state department IG, this has been one of many reviews that have been undertaken by various agencies with the government, as well as different congressional committees.
FALLONSo you have the House Benghazi Committee, the Senate judiciary committee, the Senate homeland security committee, the state IG, the intelligence community IG, and the justice department, as I mentioned, just to name a few. By the end of this process, Hillary Clinton will have answered pretty much every question that could possibly have been asked on this issue. So we're confident that, in terms of what the voters expect of her, that she answer every question and be forthcoming about what was going through her mind when she decided to set up her email this way, we think we'll meet that standard.
FALLONAnd what we find, in general, is that after a year's worth of discussion on this topic, that the voters would really prefer that we focus on the issues that matter most to them, general election matchup between her and Donald Trump so that's what we're going to do.
REHMHowever, wouldn't it have been more transparent to the voters had she spoken directly with the inspector general?
FALLONWell, Diane, when she does speak with the justice department, I suspect they will leave no stone unturned and the same will be true of her aides whom she has encouraged to cooperate in every way with the justice department review. I think that they are going to take a very wide-ranging look at this. They're going to look at the reasons for setting up the email server in the first place, the degree to which any sensitive national security information was compromised by virtue of that setup.
FALLONWe, of course, think that none was. But they are going to take a very holistic and comprehensive look at this. I suspect that every possible question is going to asked when she meets with them, whenever that happens. And so, in addition to the public interviews that she has granted where she's answered questions on this, I think that we have been as transparent as we could be. And I think that, in general, the public agrees that after a year's worth of attention on this issue, that it is -- they certainly want us to see it through and that is our intentions with respect to the final review being conducted by the justice department.
FALLONBut I think, in general, they want to see us talk about the issues that matter most. And I think that at the beginning of this process, you know, when the word of her email arrangement first was disclosed, since that time, we have seen 55,000 pages worth of documents be handed over to the state department, some 30,000 emails have been produced so people can look them up online and read them for themselves.
REHMOkay. And what about the report indicating that Secretary Clinton's server was hacked in 2011? What did she do when she was alerted to that fact? Was she concerned about it? Did she say, you know, maybe I'd better not do this anymore? Surely, that must've raised some eyebrows within the Clinton secretarial office.
FALLONIt did. And the IG's report documents that there were certain emails sent by the individuals that were maintaining her server from a security standpoint at that time and what those email indicate is that there were attempted intrusions, in terms of attempted hacks upon the server. That fact itself was not new. In some of the emails that have been disclosed on a monthly basis prior to now, it had been disclosed that there were various attempts made to gain access, unauthorized access to her server.
FALLONBut there's no evidence that any of those attempts succeeded and, in fact, the steps that were documented in the IG report show how seriously the individuals guarding her IT security were taking this matter. And so there have been various reports chronically the fact that this server log showed that despite various attempts that there were never any successful intrusions. And so to date, there's really no basis for some of the conspiracy theories that have been floated out there suggesting that, indeed, her server was hacked. All the evidence, so far, is to the contrary.
REHMBut given the concerns about secret information, why wouldn't she have shut down that private server as a result of hearing queries about hackers?
FALLONUm-hum. Well, certainly, I think this goes back to my earlier point where this is just another reason why she agrees, in retrospect, that having this particular arrangement with a personal server hosting her account was not wise and if she could do it again, she would do it differently. I think that, as she has sought to explain in the multitude of interviews she's done in the last few days since the report has come out, there was -- and this is backed up in the IG report -- one of her predecessors, Secretary Powell, had used personal email exclusively.
FALLONAnd so she felt that in setting up her arrangement, that since his was approved, that hers was similar enough that it would be approved, too. Of course, from the IG report, we now know that had it been personally reviewed by the individuals in the diplomatic security office, they would've said, hey, you shouldn't go forward with this. She respects that judgment and that's why she has said that she regrets the decision.
REHMOkay. And Brian, considering that this issue has been dogging Secretary Clinton, I wonder just how damaging you think this latest report could be in her fight for California. I understand she is now going out there to spend at least five days because Bernie Sanders is on the upswing.
FALLONWell, Diane, we feel pretty good overall about how we are looking for the states that are voting on June 7. You know, one of the other big states, delegate-wise is New Jersey and we are in a very strong position there. So we feel like we have the opportunity to go on offense and spend the majority of our time in this final week before June 7 in California. Obviously, it's the tightest contest of any of those states that are voting. We did pick up a big bit of momentum this morning with the endorsement of Governor Brown.
FALLONIt was not clear he was going to endorse ahead of the primary, but he did so this morning. And so we feel we have some wind at our back in the state of California. Obviously, just to maintain perspective, from a delegate standpoint, her lead is so significant that I don't think that the nomination is in any doubt, in terms of the result that we see in California. But we have said from the beginning that we were going to contest this primary all the way through the finish line and that includes doing everything we can to have a strong a finish as we can in California.
REHMBut how damaging do you think this whole issue of emails could be to Hillary Clinton in California?
FALLONWell, frankly, I feel that -- and our campaign feels that this issue has been well litigated and fully aired in the press over the last year so that there's probably no such thing at this point, as a low information voter, when it comes to factoring in her email use, and yet, despite the fact that this has been aired out there and much discussed throughout the primaries, we see that, in terms of where she stands today, she has more votes than any candidate on either side, including Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders.
FALLONAnd so I think that, as I said before, this reflects a fact that, you know, voters have accounted for this that have obviously in the past wanted her to answer questions and she's done so. Now, I think there's an interest in focusing on the choice between her and Donald Trump. And just today, we're learning that, for Donald Trump's part, there's going to be some documents released related to Trump University, based on a class action lawsuit that has been waged against him.
FALLONAnd so I think that we're just beginning to understand and subject to a full vetting Donald Trump. Whereas with Hillary Clinton, you've got 55,000 pages of her emails out there, 38 years of tax returns out there. I think voters feel like they know who they're dealing with with Hillary Clinton. I don't think we can say the same yet of Donald Trump.
REHMBrian Fallon, he's spokesman for the Clinton campaign. I want to thank you so much for joining us.
FALLONThank you so much, Diane.
REHMAnd short break now. We'll be right back.
REHMAnd now, turning to guests in our studio, Jonathan Turley, professor of public interest law at the Georgetown University -- forgive me, the George Washington University School of Law, Hilary Rosen, she's a democratic strategist and a Hillary supporter, but not a surrogate, and Eric Lichtblau, he's a reporter for The New York Times. Jonathan Turley, you've heard what Brian had to say. How does what the State Department inspector general was looking at differ from what the FBI was looking at?
MR. JONATHAN TURLEYWell, there's obviously overlap. What the State Department was looking at is not necessarily criminal conduct. But the findings of the State Department could well be material to the FBI and the FBI is going to look very closely at that report. And you have a sort of stratigraphic record, unfortunately, coming from the Clinton camp and Hillary Clinton herself in terms of the explanations of what has happened. That doesn't help. You know, I do criminal defense work and I have to tell you, the last thing you want is to have a client out in public giving different accounts, even nuanced differences.
MR. JONATHAN TURLEYAnd some of the statements made by Brian Fallon add to that, you know, to -- in his colloquy with you, he said, well, you know, she -- since Powell had used a private email system, she thought that she could as well. That suggests that she had knowledge that Powell had such s system, which seems unlikely. But that's the type of question that the State Department wanted to ask her, obviously. You know, we're talking about only two emails from Powell. That's why it'd be sort of surprising that she would know that he was using an unsecure email system.
REHMYou're saying, in his entire tenure, there were only two private emails that he sent?
TURLEYWell, those were the classified emails...
TURLEY...that were sent.
TURLEYBut he had a relatively small number of emails. But in -- to -- in fairness to Hillary Clinton, there was not as much email traffic back then. I think that might have been either at the very start or even before the iPhone. But when, you know, when Brian says, you know, quote, "Every question that could possibly be asked has been asked," that's the type of thing that really infuriates investigators. The State Department wanted to ask her something more than just these sort of spin questions about knowledge issues like this.
REHMSo, Eric Lichtblau, how is the information that the inspector general released -- give us a sense of what is in there that really, really upsets them.
MR. ERIC LICHTBLAUSure. You know, I thought that it really contradicted a lot of the assertions that the Clinton camp has been making for the last year, specifically, that what she did was allowed by the State Department. The inspector general found just the opposite. They found that no one had reviewed this, none of the lawyers or anyone else, and no one had approved it. And they said that, if anyone had been asked to look at this, they would have rejected it because...
REHMWas she supposed to ask before she began using a private server?
LICHTBLAUYes. And that's a critical distinction from what she did versus what Secretary Powell did, which was that the rules were, in the words of the inspector general, very fluid when Powell was secretary of state and they were much more firm and comprehensive by the time Clinton was secretary of state. In fact, some of these memos went out under her own name, where there were clear prohibitions on using email for sensitive information and using it in the way that she did. And that's why the IG said that, if they had ever been asked, this would not have been approved.
REHMAnd what about the 22 emails that the FBI is looking at? Are they all classified emails?
LICHTBLAUWell, the FBI's really looking at thousands of emails. The classified ones are really the point of the spear, if you will, because those are the ones that could be the most damaging. And the FBI investigation really differs from the IG. The IG stepped around the whole issue of classification. They barely spent any time looking at that. And that is the crux of the FBI's investigation, which is whether or not certain material that was classified or confidential or classified at lower levels than top secret was passed on the transom either to or from Hillary Clinton.
REHMOkay. So the inspector general is simply looking at specific procedures.
LICHTBLAUThey're looking mostly at procedures. And what they're looking at is whether or not policies and laws in two main areas were violated, which were the Freedom of Information Act, where there are clear laws as to what the public and groups that sue have access to, and also preservation of records. So those were the main areas that they were concerning themselves with.
REHMAnd to you, Hilary Rosen, this stuff has been going around and around and around and around. How damaging to Hillary do you think all this has been? And is?
MS. HILARY ROSENWell, I think in the big picture, you know, the fact that she essentially has a mistake over a long and well-respected tenure as secretary of state, you know, in the media business we have this notion that, the more you can repeat something, the deeper it goes. So the fact that this is the sort of over and over and over and over again comment about Hillary Clinton, whereas when you -- elections are about choices -- when you look at Donald Trump, you've got a choice of 150 mistakes of judgment and cheating and lawsuits and problems. And so, you know, I think, in some respects, it's harder for Hillary Clinton to dig out because this has penetrated some.
REHMAt the same...
ROSENBut I think when people begin to look at this, it's different. I think there is some context that's valuable here though, Diane, which is two-fold. One, there is no evidence that this behavior on her part created any national security problem. There's no activity that's happened today with allies or enemies that would lead anyone or has led anyone to believe that some national security breach occurred.
ROSENThe second is that, even for the classified emails, they weren't classified until after Hillary Clinton submitted them all to the State department. Because when she was communicating with her staff, it was never an attempt not to share those emails. She was sending them to State Department employees and thought that they were being archived.
REHMWhat about that, Jonathan Turley, that they were classified after?
TURLEYWell, I have tremendous respect for Hilary and she's -- I think that her points are valuable ones. But I have to disagree with the legal aspects of them. First of all, this is a national security risk, a great risk indeed. I mean, I've had a clearance of this level since the Reagan administration, because I do national security work, and I would have lost my clearance in the heartbeat. I mean, the number of instances detailed here are really egregious. Her bringing a phone onto the executive level, which is like almost a giant SCIF, which is really incredibly damaging. If used by a foreign power, it can be virtually an open door into conversations.
TURLEYBut the position that it has to be classified is completely, utterly wrong. You know, we all sign an SF-312, which says, very clearly, that classified information does not have to be marked. And obviously it doesn't. When the president speaks in the Oval Office, someone's not there stamping the air. Hillary Clinton had classifying authority, original classifying authority. She was one of the highest ranked members in the government. She creates classified information, just like Obama does. If the test is that it has to be marked, it would be ludicrous in our system and that was well known at the time. And the State Department makes very clear in its report that these standards were very clear.
TURLEYAnd indeed, I was doing classified work at this time and the email rules were very clear from security folks.
ROSENActually that's not true, Jonathan. And I'm not going to quibble the legal issues with you because I wouldn't stand a chance. But there were -- are two systems at the State Department. There is a classified system of communication and an unclassified system of communication. And so, for instance, when the secretary of state and her posse travel to countries around the world, they go into a diplomatic room in the embassy and communicate via a classified electronic communication. The unclassified system, the traditional email that people use for state.gov communication to each other is not a classified system. And there is a difference and always has been for those people.
LICHTBLAUWell, I think Jonathan, Hilary are both right in a way. In one sense, this relates to sort of the over classification in government of thousands and thousands of documents...
REHMWhich has been talked about a great deal at the...
LICHTBLAUYeah, I mean, as we understand it, some of the classified documents relate to stories in my own newspaper, The New York Times, about, you know, the existence of drone strikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan, which most people would not consider exactly state secrets. At the same time, the policies, you know, were fairly clear and the fact that the document weren't stamped classified at the time is probably not a get-out-of-jail-free card as far as the FBI is concerned.
REHMHilary, you've said and you've heard Brian say that elections are about choices -- pardon me. But in Hillary's case, that old question of trustworthiness continues to resound as far as she's concerned. How do you think this issue of the emails piles on that question?
ROSENWell, I guess, I'd object to the premise originally anyway. And when I say that this issue is over and there's no evidence of a problem, I think, yes, you can talk about all the theory in the world, but we have not had a problem due to this. And so, we've moved on as a country and in our national security and diplomacy. I think, you know, Hillary Clinton, in her tenure at the State Department, had approval ratings in this country of over 70 percent. I do not think that she has a trust problem that has dogged her. I think that it is inevitable that anyone who has been in public service as long as Hillary Clinton has, has people who have opposed her on policy ground or even have opposed things that she's done on political grounds.
ROSENBut people, you know, for the last 20 years, Hillary Clinton has been number one or number two most-admired women in the world.
TURLEYWell, I have to disagree with Hilary on -- when she says, I don't think she has a trust problem. Hillary Clinton has a record negative score with Trump. These are the two least popular candidates to come out into the general election. And to say she doesn't have a trust problem, I think, is a bit far...
REHMWhy do you think she has a trust problem?
TURLEYWell, I think it's because she has a distinct problem being honest about these types of issues. If she had gotten out in front...
REHMGive me an example.
TURLEYWell, the -- well, besides the email question, throughout her career she's had controversies, with Bill Clinton, during investigations where they have been less than forthcoming. And they tend to get very combative. And they tend to get very defensive. And it tends to make it worse. The email system is a very good example of that.
TURLEYYou know, if she had gotten out in front this and said -- look, this was a huge mistake, this was, you know, I shouldn't have done this -- I don't think it would have built as far as it did. But instead, the initial spin was, this is perfectly okay, I have nothing to apologize for -- in fact, I believe in one debate she said, this was not an error in judgment -- when this is a colossal failure for someone with original classifying authority to used an unsecure line.
TURLEYAnd when Hillary says, look, there's no evidence someone's hacked or someone has penetrated this, you have a guy called Guccifer who just pleaded guilty to hacking. And he said that he regularly would review communications from her. But I have to tell you, as someone who's been in the business a long time, I would be astonished if she wasn't compromised by the Russians.
REHMAnd you're listening to "The Diane Rehm Show." Any evidence, Eric, that she was in fact compromised?
LICHTBLAUNo direct evidence. It's certainly, as Jonathan mentioned, there's this one hacker who was just arraigned, Guccifer, who claims to have done that. And there are some other incidents in the report indicating that the IT people at the State Department were concerned about hacks. In fact, they didn't, at that point, even realized that this was Hillary Clinton's email. They just realized that there was a disruption. And there are some interesting emails back and forth about what the heck's going on here? And Clinton's people go back to her and say, maybe we should get you a State Department email. And she says, no.
REHMAll right. We've got a lot of callers. Let's go first to Brian in New York City. You're on the air.
BRIANHi, Diane. Thank you very much.
BRIANI'd like to reinforce what Professor Turley has said. When you get a clearance, you sign this form, SF-312 and, in it, you promise to guard all classified documents, marked or unmarked. So the whole spin about things weren't marked is just that, it's spin. The other fact is, I had a Top-Secret clearance for two decades. And I never experienced classification after the fact. In fact, documents are classified based on content. They are considered classified at the moment of creation.
BRIANAnd the documents in question here, the 2,100 documents, mostly confidential -- we're led to understand these mostly deal with calendars, schedules, talking points. Those would have had the most value at that very time and therefore to classify them now is sort of meaningless.
REHMHilary, do you want to comment?
ROSENWell, I'll just reiterate. I said that I don't think we have any evidence that there's a resulting problem from what happened. She has said repeatedly it was a mistake, that she wouldn't redo that mistake. But my point is, we don't have any evidence that it matters now.
TURLEYWell, the problem, of course, is if the Russians compromised her system, they wouldn't be advertising it. They rely on the same methods and sources restrictions that we do. They don't reveal when they finally score against a top official because it would compromise their own operations. But as to the second statement, there is truth here. And I think that, in fairness to Hillary Clinton, when I look at -- there's about 15, almost 1,600 confidential emails that have been classified as confidential. And that is a really low level of clearance. And there is abuse in the system of over classification. there's also 22 top secret and 18 secret communications. And those can be, obviously, much more serious.
TURLEYThe most serious allegation hasn't been discussed and we're not sure where it's going to lead. And that is, there were some suggestions that information may have, so-called, jumped the gap. And when you work in a SCIF, as I often do...
TURLEYA SCIF is a, oh, specially designed room that prevents surveillance or interception. It's basically a big, metal room in a very secure building. When you work off those computers, as I have, you can't pull anything off the computers. You can't download anything. You can't even put in a disk. And so the most serious violation is if something, quote, "jumps the gap," something on the classified system ends up on the unclassified system. And I was always told that if you jump the gap, you're gone. I mean, if we find anything jumps the gap. There are suggestions that some of this might have jumped the gap and that would be very serious indeed.
REHMJonathan Turley of George Washington University School of Law. When we come back, more of your calls, your email. I look forward to hearing from you.
REHMAnd welcome back. Here's an email from Chuck in Washington, who says, this is not something that bothers me as a voter. She's been one of the most vilified and scrutinized women in modern history. But her taking actions to protect her privacy and her behavior of wanting to keep things as close to the chest as possible is not something I fault her for. This, to me, is another big nothing that has turned into something. What about the missing Bush and Cheney emails that would shed light on leading a nation into war? Do you want to comment, Hilary Rosen?
ROSENWell, I think Chuck's exactly right. When -- look, it's hard to imagine in 2016 how different we interacted with technology in 2008 and 2009 and 2010. And so, you know, this was not something that Hillary Clinton created just to go into the State Department. This was her personal email address that actually had been created when the president left office, President Bill Clinton. Somebody came and set up a system at home. And she was used to using this. And so she has said repeatedly, if I had it to do over again, I would have transferred all of this into some official capacity. But that's not how I was interacting with email and technology at the time.
ROSENAnd so I think -- I do think that real people understand that. It's a pain to go through and change everything over. And I think, from her perspective, she was planning a wedding and she was going through, you know, family issues and the like. And she thought, well, why am I going to subject all of that to State Department scrutiny? I'm just going to send everything that's important to my staff and it will be archived that way.
LICHTBLAUWell, I think the idea that she wanted to protect her personal emails is a bit of a red herring. You know, no one was stopping her for protecting emails, you know, to Chelsea Clinton or Bill or anyone else. It was the official documents that are subject to all sorts of rules and regulations that are supposed to be going through official government channels. And that's what she was avoiding, intentionally or not. And so there is at least the impression that she was trying to hide something. And that's what's gotten a number of people unnerved.
REHMHow likely do you believe it is that FBI Director Comey will go after Hillary before the election?
LICHTBLAUYou know, the FBI director said a couple of weeks ago to a group of reporters that he was not going to be bound by the election timetable, he would let this investigation go on its own course. There is certainly outside pressure for him to wrap this up -- really, not only before November but before the DNC convention in July. It seems likely that we'll know the end of this before November. But I certainly would not bet against this stretching, you know, into next year.
REHMWhat do you think, Jonathan?
TURLEYI think there's some natural pressure to try to get this resolved so that it's in front of the voters. You know, Comey is an interesting fellow because he views himself as sort of an agents' director. He's not one of those sort of political directors. He's very popular with agents. And if the agents are coming to him and saying, look, we feel that there has to be some indictment here, he's more likely, in my view, to go with the agents' view. And the question is, how far will he go? There's suggestions that, you know, would he, for example, threaten to resign if they scuttled an indictment at the Justice Department level. That would be a very serious escalation.
ROSENI think that's just crazily dramatic. And Comey and the FBI and the Justice Department -- the one thing that the inspector general's report did say, which has not been discussed yet, is that this has actually been practiced at the State Department. Colin Powell didn't just have two emails, there were only two classified after the fact. He used it for all of his emails. So is the Justice Department going to go back and indict, you know, all former, you know, the former secretaries of state, former ambassadors? I just think that this is going way overboard in terms of the potential drama here.
TURLEYWell, I think that that downplays the risk here. I know that there's a real spin here to say, look, this can't be a criminal matter. But it can. I mean the State Department certainly was not looking at the criminal violations. But what they were looking at was the procedures that were in place. And they said those procedures and rules were clear. They said that this wasn't some ambiguity, as the Clinton campaign has suggested. That kicks over to the criminal investigation, the degree to which the rules were clear, the degree to which people objected to this, as they did, in terms of how she was handling her communications. That plays into the criminal investigation.
REHMHere's a question about timing from Patricia in Royal Oak, Mich. She says, it was well known -- Secretary Clinton's tenure at secretary of state that she was using a personal email and a private email server. It only became an issue when it was apparent she was running for the presidency. Is this another Republican ploy, as the numerous Benghazi hearings were disclosed to be? Eric.
LICHTBLAUThat's simply not true. The use of her private server and the personal email became known in March of 2015, in my paper, in The New York Times, and later by the Associated Press. And it was not known even to a large number of people in the State Department that she was using a personal email, as the IG report makes clear. It says that there were various people at the State Department who were surprised to find out that, for instance, computer disruptions led back to the secretary's emails. So this was kept to within a fairly small number of people within her inner circle.
LICHTBLAUAnd, in fact, I think one of the most damning episodes in the IG report is the fact that two information technology people went to their boss to say, we're concerned that this is going on. And the director said, don't ever speak of this again.
ROSENWell, you know, I can't speak to that part of the report. I do know that I know Secretary Clinton and I know if somebody had told her that there was national security risk in what she was doing, she personally would not dismiss it out of hand, the way that it's being suggested here.
REHMA tweet from Mike. The damage that the recent email revelations to Secretary Clinton's campaign will not be felt in California. How will it hurt her in the general? Speculation?
TURLEYYeah, and that's the $64,000 question. Have people gotten tired of this issue, as many of her supporters believe? Or could it only get worse? I think that will depend in large part on what the Justice Department does or doesn't do.
REHMAll right. Let's go to Dan in Farmington, N.H. You're on the air.
DANGood morning and thank you. I just wanted to mention that this is the very sort of reason that people like Donald Trump and of course, on the other side, Bernie Sanders are getting a lot of traction. Hillary Clinton has a long-standing trust problem. When you look at issues like the email scandal and all the gamesmanship in Detroit and New York and Nevada with the primaries and that there's a lot of voters who are saying, you know, if it looks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, it must be a duck. Whether or not she did anything wrong needs to be much more clearly and fairly and honestly addressed, which she seems completely unwilling to do.
ROSENWell, she subjected herself to 10 hours of hearings in Congress. She's told the Justice Department that she is going to, anytime they request, sit down and answer their questions fully. She's responded to this in the media over and over and over again. So I don't understand any accusation that she is not dealing with this, that she's refusing to acknowledge the mistake that she made. I haven't heard Donald Trump once, in the last six or eight months say, wow, I made a mistake. That was a bad idea. I mean, Hillary Clinton has said it a hundred times about one thing. He hasn't said it once about a hundred things.
REHMAll right. To Joe in Greenville, S.C. You're on the air.
JOEHi. I disagree with the previous caller. You know, I feel like Hillary's being unfairly, you know, questioned and scrutinized. I recently listened to a video that was going around on social media. It was 13 minutes of Hillary Clinton lying. And, you know, even -- I didn't agree with any of it, but even when I listened to that, I listened to her kind of quipping with Terry Gross, I just feel like she is asked several very calculated, very political questions designed to get a -- to be a sound bite against her. And she's answering it in a very political, calculated way. And I think a lot of this has to do with her being a woman. I don't think she'd be getting that level of scrutiny if she weren't.
REHMYou know, I asked you earlier, Jonathan Turley, what other examples you could give me where you feel Hillary Clinton has not been trustworthy. And you came right back to the emails. I'm just...
TURLEYWell, I'd like to -- I will give you an example. But I just wanted to say one thing about the statement that this is -- that she was simply answering in a political, calculated way. We sort of avoid using direct language. I mean, when she said that she was cooperating with the investigation, that was untrue. It was untrue. She had said that she told the State Department she wouldn't cooperate, wouldn't speak to them. Her aides wouldn't speak to them. And when you're talking about national security and the State Department IG is looking into a serious series of breaches, you should have an obligation to speak with them. And that's not a political issue.
TURLEYBut in terms of her record, you know, what I think you're seeing with voters -- it's much like her position on gay marriage, when she said that she had a moral view that, you know, it was between a man and a woman and then later changed, and her position on trade deals and things of that kind -- it's not that she changed her position, it was that she resisted suggestions that she had changed. And, you know, the voters have a high tolerance.
REHMWhat about that, Hilary? I mean she has definitely changed her stances on issues like trade and on gay marriage.
ROSENWell, let's go right there. Because I'm a lesbian and how dare you. You know, if every politician who took a position 20 years ago stuck with that position, we would not have any equality today. So, you know, everything you just said makes no sense in terms of how civil rights laws evolve. Secondly, when you look at something like trade -- and I have had these discussions with Hillary Clinton and President Clinton -- there are evolutions in business that have migrated these situations.
ROSENHillary Clinton has been consistent about looking at the impact on trade and making her decisions based on that. So if you didn't have a policy leader who could look at the marketplace, who could look at the economy and say, you know, the standards for what I might have thought 15 years ago have to change based on impact, then that's not a very thoughtful leader. So I just think that this notion that somehow she's willowing in the wind about her policy impact, you know, is crazy. This is an intelligent, thoughtful, deep, deep policy analyst. And that is who we want as president.
REHMAnd you're listening to "The Diane Rehm Show." Do you want to comment on that, Eric. That is, politicians grow, they change, they evolve. Does that make them less trustworthy?
LICHTBLAUWell, I'll leave the policy disputes aside. But I think that at least on the email issue she has hurt herself by the "evolution," quote, unquote, of her stance over the last year. She, at first, gave a very aggressive defense and basically said, I did nothing wrong. Even the facts of her defense changed over the last year in terms of whether or not it was specifically allowed or not, what advisors had said or not said. So I think she's raised more questions than she's answered over the last year through her changing explanations.
REHMAll right. To Noah in Houston, Texas. You're on the air.
NOAHThank you. I just -- I've been hearing everybody speaking this morning and I think, you know, the thing, I think, for Hillary Clinton is that, as a politician, she speaks as if she -- there's -- she puts up a wall every time she's speaking and she just doesn't handle these issues well. And I agree with some of the folks who are there have said that she hasn't just been frank with people. I think, frankly, it seems to me that she just didn't want to have a trail. And that's not appropriate. But the question, I think, is I don't think she meant to put the country at risk for that. I just think that she didn't want to leave a trail and that's not appropriate.
NOAHThe bottom line though is, I think, we can't see trustworthy and characters through the prism of a singular decision, right? And right now the election's going to come down to a choice. It's going to be Hillary Clinton, Trump or another alternative. And voters just need to know whether or not this, you know, thing is disqualifying to Hillary Clinton -- if it's even illegal. So I hope that some of that gets addressed, whether it's illegal or not, and then make a decision. Because that's what needs to happen.
NOAHAnd I don't think she meant to put people at risk or put the country at risk. And that's what voters have to decide upon in November is what do you think that she meant to do and what you think she will do as president.
REHMAll right. Thanks for calling. Hilary.
ROSENI think that's a very fair point.
TURLEYWell, I think that the key though, in terms of the criminal investigation, is not whether she intended to harm the nation. You're talking about laws about the removal of classified information from secure areas, either electronic or physical. And that act can be criminal. And I think what the caller showed is the pressure, I think, on Comey to try to resolve this question. But it is not helping Hillary or the campaign to keep on saying things that are legally nonsensical. Like it's really important whether it was actually stamped as classified at the time. That's just going to infuriate investigators because that is not the standard under the law.
ROSENI think you can't have it both ways though. And they are under tremendous pressure at the campaign. I feel sorry for them. Because the media is not letting this issue go. They're asking them questions every single day. And yet we want to give the Justice Department space to do their investigation. So that's why, in some respects, the less they talk about it, the better off they are. But the media then thinks that they're hiding. So there's a catch 22 when you're running a political campaign that's quite difficult.
REHMBut is the pressure only coming from the media? Isn't it coming from politicians themselves?
ROSENI don't think it's coming from voters. I mean, if you talk to Hillary Clinton and her campaign, when she is on the trail, voters are not asking her about this. This is about -- voters have made their decision based on what the last caller said. At lease Democratic primary voters are. And we know this from the polling. Did she mean to hurt the country? Is she generally somebody who does what she thinks is in the best interest of real people?
REHMAnd, of course, we cannot forget Bernie Sanders saying, let's forget about the damn emails, or something to that effect. I want to thank you all so much for being here. Eric Lichtblau, Hilary Rosen, Jonathan Turley and, earlier, Brian Fallon of the Clinton campaign. And thanks to all of you for listening. I'm Diane Rehm.
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