Chris Wallace Battles Lanny Davis Over Hillary’s Use of Private E-Mail

On Sunday, Fox News Sunday moderator Chris Wallace repeatedly hammered former White House special counsel Lanny Davis for his repeated defense of Hillary Clinton’s sole use of a private email account while working at the State Department.

Speaking to Davis, Chris Wallace pressed his guest to defend Clinton’s insistence that her employees use a state.gov email address when she did not and even wondered if Davis was “saying it's such a burden to have to use state.gov?”  

The combative portion of the interview began with Wallace pressing Davis to concede that Mrs. Clinton did in fact violate the State Department guidelines by not using a government email account:

The State Department's foreign affairs manual said employees must use secure department approved computer systems. The agency that regulates the Federal Records Act, that's a law, said emails must be, quote, “preserved in the appropriate agency.” The Obama White House said private emails must be preserved and later, 2011 when she was still Secretary of State, that all work should be conducted on government email. And you say Hillary Clinton did nothing wrong?

Wallace then hit Davis over Clinton’s failure to use a government email address despite instructing her own staff to use one:  

WALLACE: If Clinton did nothing wrong, why did she send out a memo, why did she send out a memo in 2011 to all State Department posts with this directive, “avoid conducting official department business from your personal email accounts.” Why was it so important for every other member of the State Department, but it was a directive that she ignored?

DAVIS: I can explain that by saying that a Secretary of State traveling to 111 countries might be needing to have one email system versus people in the department who should use the official system. I wonder why you --

WALLACE: No, no, no. I don't understand that. You're saying it's such a burden to have to use state.gov?

DAVIS: I didn't say such a burden. You said such a burden. I said that it's understandable.

The former Clinton official then attempted to deflect from Hillary by bringing up Jeb Bush's own private email account but Wallace wouldn’t accept his spin:  

DAVIS: For the same reason Jeb Bush had 3 million emails.

WALLACE: No, no, no. You're talking about Jeb Bush and I've heard you play this game before.

DAVIS: You don't know.

WALLACE: I've heard you play this Jeb Bush game before. It's like the Republicans doing Watergate saying well Lyndon Johnson wiretapped people, too. It's completely irrelevant, and please let's not play that game.

The back-and-forth continued for several more minutes but Chris Wallace refused to simply accept Lanny Davis' answers and continuously hammered the former Clinton official throughout the entirety hard-hitting interview. 

See relevant portions of transcript below.

Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace

March 8, 2015

CHRIS WALLACE: Now we want to bring in former White House special counsel Lanny Davis, who handled legal troubles in the Clinton White House, including campaign finance, and impeachment. Lanny, you said repeatedly Friday, and this was your quote, “Hillary Clinton did nothing wrong.” I can understand saying she didn't break the law. But do you really believe she did nothing wrong?

LANNY DAVIS: I do. But let me correct my friend Governor Huckabee. I don't want to hurt his political chances, but he is a really good man, and a capable man, but he's wrong on the law. The director of litigation –

WALLACE: I have --if you can answer my question. I'm asking specifically do you think she did anything wrong?

DAVIS: I said no. But she also did nothing illegal and Governor Huckabee suggested that she might. The reason I don't think she did anything wrong is that one, there's plenty of precedent, General Colin Powell did exactly the same thing. Number two--

WALLACE: The rules were completely different.

DAVIS: The rules were not completely different.

WALLACE: Yes, there were. There was a new rule in 2009 that came in.

DAVIS: In fact the rule in 2009 only talked about preservation, which she has followed. And in 2014 the rules changed.

WALLACE: Alright.

DAVIS: The rules were the same –

WALLACE: No, let me go through if I may. A list of the various rules, regulations, laws, that she may have violated. Let's put them up on the screen.

DAVIS: May have violated.

WALLACE: If I may finish, sir. The State Department's foreign affairs manual said employees must use secure department approved computer systems. The agency that regulates the Federal Records Act, that's a law, said emails must be, quote, “preserved in the appropriate agency.” The Obama White House said private emails must be preserved and later, 2011 when she was still Secretary of State, that all work should be conducted on government email. And you say Hillary Clinton did nothing wrong?

--

WALLACE: When did she turn them over?

DAVIS: She turned them over last -- well she said she --

WALLACE: Turned them over in December?

DAVIS: To turn everything to the public over. She turned them over last December, yes.

WALLACE: Right. Which was almost two years after she left office.

DAVIS: And exactly consistent with the law and the law changed in 2014, which you forgot to mention, and the New York Times forgot to mention it.

WALLACE: No, I didn't say that -- I didn't say it hadn't changed. I said that it also changed in 2009. Let me ask you a question Lanny.

DAVIS: It changed in 2009 and it was complied with because--

WALLACE: If Clinton did nothing wrong, why did she send out a memo, why did she send out a memo in 2011 to all State Department posts with this directive, “avoid conducting official department business from your personal email accounts.” Why was it so important for every other member of the State Department, but it was a directive that she ignored?

DAVIS: I can explain that by saying that a Secretary of State traveling to 111 countries might be needing to have one email system versus people in the department who should use the official system. I wonder why you --

WALLACE: No, no, no. I don't understand that. You're saying it's such a burden to have to use state.gov?

DAVIS: I didn't say such a burden. You said such a burden. I said that it's understandable.

WALLACE: Why?

DAVIS: As the secretary --

WALLACE: Why?

DAVIS: For the same reason Jeb Bush had 3 million emails.

WALLACE: No, no, no. You're talking about Jeb Bush and I've heard you play this game before.

DAVIS: You don't know.

WALLACE: I've heard you play this Jeb Bush game before. It's like the Republicans doing Watergate saying well Lyndon Johnson wiretapped people, too. It's completely irrelevant, and please let's not play that game.

DAVIS:Well let's not interrupt me and let me explain. What Jeb Bush --

WALLACE: I'm not asking about Jeb Bush. I'm asking why it was that Hillary Clinton in 2011 told all State Department officials use government emails and she continued to refuse to do it?

DAVIS: Chris, I gave you that answer that she as Secretary of State had a good reason --

WALLACE: What was the good reason?

DAVIS: I gave you the reason, you're apparently not listening. 111 countries--

WALLACE: You said -- I don't understand somehow it was going to be more convenient?

DAVIS: Maybe you don't understand because you're not letting me finish.

 

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