Fox News Sunday Panel Hits Hillary’s Answers on E-Mail Scandal

After Hillary Clinton gave a rare interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell about her ongoing e-mail issues, the political panel on Fox News Sunday took the former Secretary of State to task for her refusal to fully take responsibility for her use of a private e-mail server.

Conservative columnist George Will dismissed Clinton’s claim that she “absentmindedly set up an alternative e-mail system” as something that “doesn't pass the laugh test.” 

USA Today reporter Susan Page observed that Hillary “can’t get out of the briar patch that is this e-mail controversy” and noted that Clinton’s answer about not thinking her e-mail decisions through was “unpersuasive”: 

If she had not have time to think through her e-mail system, wouldn't she have just used the State Department system that was in place? This is a controversy that is not going away. It's going to be here for months and it is costing her dearly in two ways. In her reputation as an honest and trustworthy person but also in her ability to talk about some other issue. 

Page continued to blast Clinton, specifically the revelation that she paid a State Department official to manage her server, as evidence that she failed the basic political steps when a controversy emerges: 

It's an example of exactly the opposite of what you're supposed to do when you face a political problem like this. Rule number one, get the whole story out there. Deal with it. Say you're sorry. Maybe you apologize and move on. And Hillary Clinton has failed do those very basic kind of political 101 steps on this controversy. 

While the rest of the panel was quick to criticize Clinton’s answers on the e-mail scandal, Washington Post reporter Robert Costa made sure to make the point that Democrats don't really care that much about the issue: 

I’m saying this is an issue -- when I talk to Republican campaigns, they say this is going to be an issue in the general election. We feel like we’re seizing on this more with the Benghazi hearings it will do even more. But with the Democrats when you're on the trail and you’re in Iowa and New Hampshire, Democrats are still not really thinking this is a big issue for her. 

See relevant transcript below. 

Fox News Sunday 

September 6, 2015

CHRIS WALLACE: And We got a lot of questions from you about the decision of a State Department staffer whom Hillary Clinton paid to help set up her e-mail server, her private e-mail server in Chappaqua, New York. His decision, his announcement that he is going to take the Fifth Amendment in all investigations of this and you can see here's one of the questions, Phil Mayfield sent us on Facebook, “if the panel offers immunity to that staffer, can the aide be compelled to testify or risk being charged with contempt of Congress?” Susan how do you answer that? 

SUSAN PAGE: Absolutely. If they offer him immunity, he doesn't have a Fifth Amendment right not to testify, he will be forced to testify. I assume he would testify in that case as opposed to going to jail and Richard [North Patterson], you talked about being thrown back into the briar patch when it comes to gay marriage. Hillary Clinton can't get out of the briar patch that is this e-mail controversy.

And one thing that I think was especially unpersuasive about her answer in the clip that you just showed was if she had not have time to think through her e-mail system, wouldn't she have just used the State Department system that was in place? This is a controversy that is not going away. It's going to be here for months and it is costing her dearly in two ways. In her reputation as an honest and trustworthy person but also in her ability to talk about some other issue. 

WALLACE: And what do you think about the fact that this fellow Bryan Pagliano says that he's going to take the Fifth? Hillary Clinton saying there's not wrong, there’s nothing unethical, there’s nothing improper, certainly nothing illegal. And here's a guy taking who’s taking the fifth against self-incrimination. 

PAGE: And we discovered yesterday I think with the Washington Post story that he was being paid personally by the Clintons to maintain this e-mail server, something that we didn’t know before. Now maybe there's nothing wrong with that but it's an example of exactly the opposite of what you're supposed to do when you face a political problem like this. Rule number one, get the whole story out there. Deal with it. Say you're sorry. Maybe you apologize and move on. And Hillary Clinton has failed do those very basic kind of political 101 steps on this controversy. 

WALLACE: George, we seem to sort of give a temperature here every week. Is Hillary Clinton in better or worse shape on the e-mail scandal at the end of this week? 

GEORGE WILL: Oh worse because they're paying this person, absentmindedly. She was saying I was so caught up in fixing relations with Russia and Libya and all the rest that I absentmindedly set up an alternative e-mail system. It doesn't pass the laugh test. 

ROBERT COSTA: If she's so crippled though politically by this, I just wonder where is Vice President Biden? He's still on the sidelines. You have a lot of Democrats, Senator Sanders, Governor O'Malley, resisting to take negative shots at Secretary Clinton. You still have a Democratic Party, for all her struggles, is pretty much behind her and people are reluctant to get in and really make that a battle. 

WALLACE: So, what are you saying then in terms of her standing? 

COSTA: I’m saying this is an issue -- when I talk to Republican campaigns, they say this is going to be an issue in the general election. We feel like we’re seizing on this more with the Benghazi hearings it will do even more. But with the Democrats when you're on the trail and you’re in Iowa and New Hampshire, Democrats are still not really thinking this is a big issue for her. 

NBDaily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential FOX Fox News Sunday Robert Costa Chris Wallace Susan Page George Will Hillary Clinton

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