Andrea Mitchell Defends Hillary on Emails: 'I Don't Think There is Legal Culpability'

Hillary Clinton's criminal defense attorney made a surprise appearance on today's Morning Joe, saying . . . oh, wait: that wasn't Hillary's lawyer--it was Andrea Mitchell. Same difference.

Relying on her sources, Mitchell asserted "I don't think there is the legal culpability here."  Andrea first suggested that Hillary lacked "intent." Joe Scarborough pushed back hard, noting that the statute also criminalizes being "reckless" with classified material. Mitchell then switched to a truly absurd argument. Noting that the official State Department system had been hacked, Mitchell said that Hillary's "defense could well be the whole damn system is vulnerable." Shot back Scarborough sarcastically" "good luck with the Justice Department on that."

At one point, admitting she isn't a lawyer, Mitchell said "I only play one on tv." She certainly went all Johnnie Cochran on Hillary's behalf today. Can anyone remember a supposedly objective "correspondent" so blatantly defending a politician on the criminal hotseat?

ANDREA MITCHELL: Honestly, from my sources, and they go pretty high up including -- including some of the people who are doing the review for the -- inside the intelligence community, I don't think there is the legal culpability here. I don't think there is going to be what has been widely reported. For a bunch of reasons. You have to prove intent, you have to prove motive. I mean, you're a lawyer. I only play one on television.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: You actually don't. Whoever is telling you that -- no, no, whoever is telling you that is not telling you what the statute actually says. 

MITCHELL: No, no, no  The statue says --

JOE: The statute also says that if you were reckless in the use of classified -- use of information, then that also is an offense. 

MITCHELL But here's the problem with that. The statute says if you're reckless. Take a look at what happened at the State Department last June, they shut down the State Department computer system for more than a month because it had been hacked. The official system. 

JOE: Right. 

MITCHELL: 22 million people who worked for the government or used to work for the government were hacked. 

JOE: Are you -- but that would only mean that somebody who had a home-brewed server in Chappaqua would be even more vulnerable. Is this their defense? 

MITCHELL: Their defense could well be the whole system -- the whole damn system is vulnerable. I'm just saying --- 

JOE: Good luck with the Justice Department on that.

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.