NBC's Lauer: Hillary Clinton Email Scandal Gives 'Lay-Up' to Critics

In an interview with former Obama White House press secretary and current NBC political analyst Robert Gibbs on Tuesday's Today, co-host Matt Lauer saw big problems for Hillary Clinton in the wake of revelations that she used a private email account during her tenure as secretary of state: "It provides a lay-up, doesn't it Robert, for her critics who say this is all about a lack of transparency as she prepares for a run in 2016, that you can't go back and look at those emails?"

Surprisingly, the longtime Democratic operative agreed with Lauer's assessment: "I think there's no doubt. I think this is another one of those things that the Clinton campaign, such as it is, is gonna have to explain. I think it's much easier for critics to explain why they don't exist than it might be for her to explain why she used her private email."

In a prior question, Lauer wondered: "Can you give me one good reason why she would have done that?" Gibbs replied: "I think it is obviously highly unusual....I think it's something that they're going to have to explain in good measure today and probably figure out how to get a lot of those emails, or as many as they can, back into the archives."

Here is a transcript of the March 3 exchange:

(...)

7:08 AM ET

LAUER: Let me move on to the other big story in the headlines this morning. When she was secretary of state, Hillary Clinton used a personal email account exclusively to communicate with staffers and administration officials, and perhaps world leaders, and then her aides did not preserve those emails on government servers. Can you give me one good reason why she would have done that?

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Hillary Clinton Email Scandal; Report: Private Account Use May Have Violated Law]

GIBBS: Honestly, I can't, Matt. I think it is obviously highly unusual. There are lots of briefings that you have when you – certainly when you go into the White House – about preserving any email that you have, making sure that it's part of your official account. I think it's something that they're going to have to explain in good measure today and probably figure out how to get a lot of those emails, or as many as they can, back into the archives.

LAUER: It provides a lay-up, doesn't it Robert, for her critics who say this is all about a lack of transparency as she prepares for a run in 2016, that you can't go back and look at those emails?

GIBBS: I think there's no doubt. I think this is another one of those things that the Clinton campaign, such as it is, is gonna have to explain. I think it's much easier for critics to explain why they don't exist than it might be for her to explain why she used her private email.

LAUER: Alright, Robert Gibbs. Robert, thanks very much for joining us this morning.

GIBBS: Thank you, Matt.

LAUER: I appreciate it.

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