MSNBC Skips Hillary Dodging Press Conferences, Scathing E-Mail Criticism; Mentions VA Scandal

Late Tuesday afternoon, CNN and MSNBC were both granted interviews with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and while both had to nearly identical run times (seven minutes and 44 seconds on CNN versus seven minutes and 47 seconds on MSNBC), the two differed on a variety of issues ranging from Clinton’s e-mail scandal to her refusal to hold a press conference to the VA scandal. 

All In host Chris Hayes conducted MSNBC’s interview and began with a soft, open-ended question to Clinton about her “reaction to what happened at Trump Tower today” in reference to his press conference.

Hayes used the Trump press conference’s topic of veterans to ask Clinton an intriguing question about how she thinks President Obama has handled the VA scandal since she openly flaunts her desire to further his so-called legacy:

There's been a tremendous amount of criticism directed at the VA for a variety of issues. Chiefly wait times at VA hospitals, but a whole set of logistical challenges that veterans have faced. You have talked about how you see yourself inheriting the Obama administration. In your mind, is the care and the performance of the VA under this President acceptable? Is it an acceptable performance from the VA?

After inquiring about Clinton’s shifting campaign focus to California, Hayes lamented that he “need[ed] to ask you” about her e-mail scandal and the FBI investigation: 

Donald Trump and Republicans have made a great deal of both the I.G. report on e-mail use, but more than that, they've invoked the specter of the FBI quite often and so I need to ask you, you have been contacted by the FBI about an interview regarding the e-mail situation?    

Closing out his portion, Hayes wanted to confirm whether or not she had heard of any staff members discouraging State Department staffers from discussing her private e-mail server (which, naturally, she denied).

Over on CNN, The Lead host Jake Tapper started on a similar note by asking Clinton about Trump’s presser and specifically a comment on a statement her campaign released hours beforehand. Seconds later, he wondered if Clinton could elaborate on “[w]hat have you given to veterans charities and more broadly, what have you done for veterans?”

As for Trump clashing with the media, Tapper wondered if Clinton took anything from that (neglecting the fact that her husband stated at one point that he wanted to punch one in the face):

Historically speaking throughout your decades in public life, you and your husband have had occasionally contentious relationships with journalists, though it certainly never went as far publicly as it did today with Donald Trump calling journalists sleazy and dishonest and unfair. So, what went through your mind watching his press conference today?

The Lead and State of the Union host then hit the former secretary of state on her refusal to hold a press conference (to which Clinton filibustered about how she’s done hundreds of interviews in 2016 alone).

“You do do interviews and you're calling in right now, obviously and we appreciate that. But it has been pointed out to me it's been something like five or six months since you've held an actual press conference. Is that something you'll remedy soon,” he asked.

Tapper closed by attempting to pry from her how she’d reach out to Bernie Sanders supporters, but not before this hardball on her e-mail scandal (with an assist from USA Today):

I want to turn to the inspector general's report about your private e-mail server which you said you set up for convenience. In an editorial out today, USA Today called this, quote, “a threat to national security, one she repeatedly ignored despite multiple warnings” and they added that you are, quote, “going to have to convince voters that she can put the national security of the United States above her own short-term self-interest.” Do you see this as a challenge that you have to face to convince voters that you'll put national security ahead of your own interests?

The relevant portions of the transcript from MSNBC’s MTP Daily on May 31 can be found below.

MSNBC’s MTP Daily
May 31, 2016
5:07 p.m. Eastern

CHUCK TODD: Chris Hayes, my colleague, has Hillary Clinton on the phone. Chris, take it away. Like I said, we have so many presidential candidates, we don't know what to do with them right now. So you go, then we'll go. 

CHRIS HAYES: I like this format. I’m enjoying listening to Gary Weld — Gary Johnson and Bill Weld, and we'll get a chance to hear more from them in a second. Right now, joining me on the phone is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Ms. Clinton, are you there? 

HILLARY CLINTON: I am, Chris. Can you hear me? 

HAYES: Oh wonderful. I can hear you, Madame Secretary, thank you very much for calling in. I wanted to start by asking, Donald Trump today said that the press should be thankful to him, to Mr. Trump, for giving — raising $5.6 million for veterans charities. He said, what is Hillary Clinton doing? What is your reaction to what happened at Trump Tower today?

(....)

HAYES: Let me follow up on this aspect of it. There's been a tremendous amount of criticism directed at the VA for a variety of issues. Chiefly wait times at VA hospitals, but a whole set of logistical challenges that veterans have faced. You have talked about how you see yourself inheriting the Obama administration. In your mind, is the care and the performance of the VA under this President acceptable? Is it an acceptable performance from the VA? 

(....)

HAYES: You have — your campaign has canceled some events you were going to do in New Jersey, which of course, votes on June 7th, along with California, headed instead to California. There are people who are interpreting that as a campaign that is nervous about winning California on what is a sort of big final day, except for D.C. Are you nervous about California? 

(....)

HAYES: Donald Trump and Republicans have made a great deal of both the I.G. report on e-mail use, but more than that, they've invoked the specter of the FBI quite often and so I need to ask you, you have been contacted by the FBI about an interview regarding the e-mail situation? 

(....)

HAYES: One final small follow-up on that. There's just one line in that I.G. report that stuck out to me and I just wanted to get clarification from you directly in which the I.G. found that subordinates of yours had told people to stop asking about your use of private e-mail. That was a striking phrase. Is that true to your knowledge?

NB Daily Tell the Truth 2016 Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Media Bias Debate Bias by Omission Political Groups Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Political Scandals CNN The Lead MSNBC MTP Daily USA Today Video Veterans VA Scandal Veterans Administration Veterans Affairs State Department Chris Hayes Jake Tapper Hillary Clinton Barack Obama Donald Trump William Weld
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