NBC Tries to Change the Subject from E-Mails, Touts Hillary Bashing GOP Over Iran Letter

To its credit, Wednesday's NBC Today actually brought on Republican Senator Rand Paul to react to Hillary Clinton's Tuesday press conference regarding the email scandal. However, co-host Matt Lauer used the second half of the interview to parrot Clinton's attacks on the GOP: "...she talked about this open letter that you and forty-six other Republican senators wrote and then signed and sent off to the leaders of Iran during very delicate negotiations over this nuclear deal. She said that you and the others were either trying help Iran or undermine...the commander-in-chief."

Lauer grilled Paul: "Let me just ask you, if you're no longer Senator Rand Paul, but President Rand Paul, and you're trying to conduct foreign policy in the midst of delicate negotiations, would you want members of the Senate undermining that?"

Paul responded in part: "I want to strengthen his hand by saying, 'You know what? We've got a lot of hard liners and we're gonna have to get this agreement by Congress.' And in doing so, maybe the President will negotiate a more appropriate deal where we actually get Iran to give up their nuclear ambitions."

Lauer incredulously replied: "You really think that by signing that letter you strengthened the President's hand?"

Paul explained: "Well, I've also reiterated what the Constitution says....I think this is the law no matter whether there's a letter....that the sanctions can only be removed by Congress. And by reiterating that, I think we send a message that this needs to be a good deal."

Here is a full transcript of the March 11 interview:

7:15 AM ET

MATT LAUER: Let's get more now on Hillary Clinton's email controversy. Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky is joining us. He's calling for an independent investigation into all of this. Senator Paul, good morning to you.  

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Critics Blast Clinton's Explanation: Rand Paul Speaks Out on Email Scandal]

SEN. RAND PAUL [R-KY]: Good morning, thanks for having me.

LAUER: Secretary Clinton said she did this for convenience. She used that private email server, she didn't want to carry two devices, she only wanted to carry one. You've called for this independent investigation, what did she say or not say that makes you believe perhaps she's not telling the whole truth?

PAUL: Well, here's the thing. I don't think convenience should trump national security. She also has admitted in other interviews that she has an iPhone and a Blackberry. So she does carry two devices. I think that the fact that she didn't obey the rules on putting her emails on a government server and now she says there wasn't classified information, I'm not sure that can be trusted since we can't trust her to do the right thing the first time.

And the thing about classified information, we're not talking about transmitting, necessarily, a document that's classified, but many of her investigations would be classified. So let's say I wanted to know tomorrow about all her conversations by email with the President. I would think many of those would be classified, and yet she says that she did these conversations on a private server.

LAUER: Yeah, she says nothing was classified. She says that she's turned over 55,000 pages of emails to the State Department, but she does say she discarded some 30,000 emails. Raises a couple of questions, I think you'll agree. One, did she make the right decision between what was purely official and what was purely personal? And I guess you must also be wondering, are they gone for good, those emails, or are they still on that server in Chappaqua?

PAUL: Yeah, nothing seems to ever be gone for good on the internet. But the other question I would have is there is a period of time when she was traveling to Libya that we are concerned about her emails and those aren't out there. So did she delete those?

I mean, really the problem is, is when someone shows themselves not necessarily to be trustworthy with doing the right thing. She was supposed to put the emails on a government server, on a secure server, and she didn't. And now she says, "Well, I didn't do the right thing then, but trust me now that the ones I deleted weren't pertinent. And now trust me even though there aren't emails that exist concerning this trip to Libya, trust me that I am doing the right thing." I don't know, my sense of trust is a little bit lost by the whole episode.

LAUER: Let me ask you about something else she mentioned before her remarks on the email controversy, she talked about this open letter that you and forty-six other Republican senators wrote and then signed and sent off to the leaders of Iran during very delicate negotiations over this nuclear deal. She said that you and the others were either trying help Iran or undermine the commander-of-chief, let me – the commander-in-chief. Let me just ask you, if you're no longer Senator Rand Paul, but President Rand Paul, and you're trying to conduct foreign policy in the midst of delicate negotiations, would you want members of the Senate undermining that?

PAUL: Well, I'm kind of one of the senators who's in favor of negotiations with Iran. I want there to be a peaceful outcome, but I want to strengthen the President's hand. So I want to strengthen his hand by saying, "You know what? We've got a lot of hard liners and we're gonna have to get this agreement by Congress." And in doing so, maybe the President will negotiate a more appropriate deal where we actually get Iran to give up their nuclear ambitions.

LAUER: You really think that by signing that letter you strengthened the President's hand?

PAUL: Well, I've also reiterated what the Constitution says, is that the powers are separated and that when legislation is passed by Congress – Congress passed most of the sanctions – they can't be taken back without Congress passing new legislation. So I think this is the law no matter whether there's a letter, no matter whether the Corker bill passes or not, I think the law is that the sanctions can only be removed by Congress. And by reiterating that, I think we send a message that this needs to be a good deal.

LAUER: Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. Senator, thanks for joining us this morning, I appreciate it.

PAUL: Thank you.

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