Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski have wondered out loud whether Michael Schmidt, the New York Times reporter who broke the story about Hillary using private email during her time as Secretary of State, might be fearing "retribution" from Hillary's camp.
When Joe and Mika interviewed Schmidt on today's Morning Joe, Scarborough had to work to get Schmidt to say something that was in his own article: that while Colin Powell also used private email as Secretary of State, there were no rules prohibiting that at the time. Later, Joe and Mika later remarked that they were "taken aback" by the "strange" interview and that "something else was happening" during it. Mika mentioned that there was a "massive onslaught" of Twitter "hatred" from Hillary supporters overnight. She wondered whether Schmidt had been on the receiving end of that hatred, and if the "fear of retribution or something" had gotten into his head.
MICHAEL SCHMIDT: Condoleezza Rice didn't do e-mail, according to my reporting. Colin Powell did. And -- but the rationale that Hillary's side said, well, we didn't have to have a State account because the e-mail she was sending to the State Department and those people's accounts were catching me.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Hold on a second. Talk about the difference between Colin Powell and Hillary Clinton. How is it different between what Colin Powell did from 2001 to -- there is a difference. From 2001 to 2005 and what Hillary Clinton did in her four years as Secretary of State.
SCHMIDT: Well, Colin Powell is not running for president.
SCARBOROUGH: What else? Did colin Powell release the e-mails?
SCHMIDT: No, Colin Powell did not release the e-mails. Hillary Clinton is the only former Secretary of State to actually go back and give the State Department her e-mails. What you have to understand here. It's not like when Hillary Clinton left office she said here e-mails. What happened was, 22 months after she left office the State Department went to her and said, hey, do you have any e-mails from when you were Secretary of State on your personal account that could be government records. She came back and said, yes. I have 55,000 pages of emails.
SCARBOROUGH: So the difference is, I believe I read it in your story this morning. It must have been your story because you broke it. The difference was when Colin Powell was Secretary of State there weren't the laws in place because we obviously moved into a new era. And so once we moved into an era where most communication was through e-mails, the federal government decided that they needed to have these accounts. Is that correct?
SCHMIDT: That's true.
SCARBOROUGH: So there is a difference between Colin Powell and Hillary Clinton. Colin Powell was not required by law to do this. Hillary Clinton was required by law to do this. True or not?
SCHMIDT: There were explicit regulations in place when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State that said they had to be retaining her emails on government servers sort of in an active sense.
BRZEZINSKI: Did that happen?
SCARBOROUGH: And that was not the case when Colin Powell was Secretary of State, correct?
SCHMIDT: I don't believe so.
. . .
ARI FLEISCHER: As a Republican who is often critical of the New York times, kudos to the New York Times for breaking the tough news story, putting it on the front page.
BRZEZINSKI: I'm telling you. I think you're absolutely right. And I'm just watching a massive onslaught of hatred from what I've been following on Twitter as Hillary supporters. It's hard. There is a big wall around her of a lot of people who work very hard to protect her.
SCARBOROUGH: I wonder because they are absolutely brutal, Mika. I wonder if the New York Times reporter himself was getting abuse through the night because his interview with us was a strange interview.
BRZEZINSKI: It was -- I think -- we have it but we have another story to get to. I think we have to be careful how we say it but there was something else happening in this interview. And you wonder about that. If you get -- if the fear of retribution or something gets into your head. That's a very strong thing to say but we all were taken aback during this interview.