Bob Woodward: Hillary E-Mails ‘Reminds Me of the Nixon Tapes’

During an appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Monday, veteran journalist Bob Woodward expressed his frustration with Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail system and her continued refusal to turn over her server “reminds me of the Nixon tapes.” 

Woodward proclaimed it was “extraordinary” that of the 60,000 e-mails on Clinton’s server she “has said 30,000 of them, half, were personal and they were deleted. Who decided that? What's on those e-mails?”

The veteran journalist said he “would love to have all 60,000 read them, it would be a character study about her personal life and, also, what she did as Secretary of State” and then proceeded to note that Clinton’s e-mail setup has caused outrage within the Intel community:

You've got the FBI, you've got the inspector generals, you've got lots of people in government who are furious, because they spent hours being trained, like the example of Madeleine Albright. You have to be careful about this. Hillary Clinton went in -- I mean, what was the origin? Who knew about this idea of using a private server? When I first read about that, it's unimaginable.

Later in the segment, Woodward observed that Clinton’s refusal to turn over her server to the FBI was Nixonesque, and although she eventually handed it over, its contents will likely not be “pretty”: 

So you've got a massive amount of data. It, in a way, reminds me of the Nixon tapes. Thousands of hours of secretly recorded conversations that Nixon thought were exclusively hers, his, that he was not going to get them. Hillary Clinton initially took that position. I'm not turning this over. There's going to be no cooperation. Now they're cooperating. But, this is -- this has to go on a long, long time. And the answers are probably not going to be pretty. 

While Woodward did note that currently there are no charges against Clinton, he did stress that it was dishonest for her to claim that the investigation into her server was purely partisan: 

[F]or Hillary Clinton to go out, as she did, in recent days and say, this is politics. This is dirty politics. They're trying to smear me in an unfair way, that dog will not hunt, at all. You have got Barack Obama's government now investigating her and looking at this. 

See relevant transcript below. 

MSNBC’s Morning Joe 

August 17, 2015

JOE SCARBOROUGH: And Bob Woodward, obviously, you hear that not only from a lot of career diplomats, you also hear that, of course, off the record from an awful lot of people in the Intel agency, who just cannot believe how sloppily all of this was handled. 

BOB WOODWARD: It's extraordinary. And, again, it's the volume. 60,000 e-mails and Hillary Clinton has said 30,000 of them, half, were personal and they were deleted. Who decided that? What's on those e-mails? I would love to have all 60,000, read them, it would be a character study about her personal life and, also, what she did as Secretary of State. And let's step back for a moment the big question about Hillary Clinton is, who is she. Is she this secretive, hidden person, or is she this valiant public servant?

Look at those 60,000 e-mails, and you're going to get some answers. And there's a hydraulic pressure always in the system here. You've got the FBI, you've got the inspector generals, you've got lots of people in government who are furious, because they spent hours being trained, like the example of Madeleine Albright. You have to be careful about this. Hillary Clinton went in -- I mean, what was the origin? Who knew about this idea of using a private server? When I first read about that, it's unimaginable.

SCARBOROUGH: And Bob, that's what I hear. When you talk to people in the FBI and other Intel -- and people in Intel agencies, and even people that have worked at the State Department, they are furious that this was ever allowed to happen in the first place. And that they didn't immediately seize -- we've been talking about this for a couple of days. They're all asking the same question. Why did they allow Hillary Clinton and David Kendall, her lawyer, to allow whether they were going to turn over that classified information or not? I think this is unprecedented. 

WOODWARD: Well, it certainly is, but, I mean, follow the trail here. You know, there are all of these e-mails. Well, they were sent to someone or someone sent them to her. So if things have been erased here, there's a way to go back to who originated these e-mails or who received them from Hillary Clinton. So you've got a massive amount of data.

It, in a way, reminds me of the Nixon tapes. Thousands of hours of secretly recorded conversations that Nixon thought were exclusively hers, his, that he was not going to get them. Hillary Clinton initially took that position. I'm not turning this over. There's going to be no cooperation. Now they're cooperating. But, this is -- this has to go on a long, long time. And the answers are probably not going to be pretty.

NICOLLE WALLACE: Bob, is there any legal jeopardy that her staffers would face, anywhere from a senior staffer who may have been aware of this or a low-level staffer, who may have simply been instructed to do something that turns out to be illegal, like take off the classification? 

WOODWARD: You know, I don't think that's really the question, but that's also a possibility. 

WALLACE: If you're a staffer it is, though. I mean, worked in the White House staff during investigations. It can be a scary place when an investigation like this picks up steam and the FBI gets involved. 

WOODWARD: That's exactly right. That's why this, you know, who knows how long this is going to go on. But, the other issue here is, for Hillary Clinton to go out, as she did, in recent days and say, this is politics. This is dirty politics. They're trying to smear me in an unfair way, that dog will not hunt, at all. You have got Barack Obama's government now investigating her and looking at this.

Now, at the same time, nothing's been proven to be illegal and Rendell there had a good point that, you know, kind of slow down. I think in the media and political environment we're in, where everything is driven by impatience and speed, that's going to not be possible. But, they're going to have to get some answers. 

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