NBC’s Lauer to Kerry on Clinton E-Mails: ‘Is This Politics or Is She in Real Trouble?’

In a live interview with Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday’s NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer lobbed a softball about the news that the Justice Department was considering launching a criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s e-mail scandal: “As you’ve heard, two inspectors general have called for a criminal investigation into her use of that private e-mail server for sensitive information. As someone who occupies the job and knows what information is handled by someone in your position, is this politics or is she in real trouble?”

Kerry dodged the controversy: “...all I know is what I’ve read today and learned today....What I do know is that in the State Department we have a whole team working extremely hard to get all of the required e-mails out, public as fast as possible. And I can't wait until that happens, I'm sure Hillary can't either. And I'm sure it’ll be cleared up with the final release...”

In a report prior to the sit-down with Kerry, White House correspondent Kristen Welker reported: “...the Justice Department confirms this morning that it is looking into and considering a request to look into whether government information was mishandled in connection with the personal e-mail account that Clinton used when she was secretary of state.”

Welker then made sure to note that the original New York Times story had changed: “Now, The New York Times revised its lede late last night. It initially suggested that Clinton was the subject of the probe but later softened its language to suggest others, not Clinton herself, was being investigated.”

Welker failed to mention that the Times altered the story after being pressured by the Clinton campaign. She recited a campaign statement attacking the paper:

Now, her campaign said this morning in a written statement, quote, “Contrary to the initial Times story, which has already been significantly revised, she followed appropriate practices in dealing with classified materials. As has been reported on multiple occasions, any released e-mails deemed classified by the administration have been done so after the fact and not at the time they were transmitted.”

Welker concluded: “Clinton's campaign has been dogged by her use of a private e-mail account during her time as secretary.”

On ABC’s Good Morning America, White House correspondent Jon Karl revealed: “ABC News has been given – has obtained a memo here from the inspectors general for the State Department and intelligence community that says, ‘Hundreds of potentially classified e-mails were included within the collection of Mrs. Clinton's e-mails on that private server.’”

However, like Welker, he sought to provide defense for Clinton: “Now, there is a very important point here, David, and that is, there's no evidence to suggest that any of the information on her e-mails was marked classified at the time or that Mrs. Clinton ever knowingly handled classified information on those private e-mails.”

Fill-in co-host and World News Tonight anchor David Muir replied: “Which would be an important distinction, Jon. In the meantime, how’s the Clinton camp responding?”

Karl touted:

Well, the Clinton campaign is sticking to what has been their line from the start. A statement from Nick Merrill, that’s her spokesperson, said that she followed appropriate practices in dealing with classified materials at all times and they are reiterating that point, that nobody is saying that anything was marked classified at the time she either sent or received it with those private e-mails.

CBS This Morning provided the toughest coverage, with correspondent Jan Crawford actually contrasting the development with Clinton’s past claims of innocence:

So CBS News has confirmed that two inspectors general, one with the State Department and one with the intelligence agencies, have asked it to open a criminal investigation. Now, at issue is whether Hillary Clinton sent classified information on a private e-mail account that she used when she was secretary of state. Clinton repeatedly has said that she did not, but the inspectors general told the Justice Department her private account included hundreds of potentially classified e-mails, including at least one that already has been publicly released.

Now, in March, Clinton insisted she was careful in her handling of information on her private account. She said, “I did not email any classified information to anyone on my email. There is no classified material.” She said she used the account for convenience. But it also, you know, it made it harder for Congress and the media to get access to it when she was secretary of state. And she’s since asked the State Department to release her e-mails, some 55,000 pages.

In a later interview with Florida Senator and Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio, co-host Norah O’Donnell wondered: “Senator, can I ask you about some of the news overnight that two inspector generals have now sought a criminal inquiry into the Clinton e-mail account. What's your reaction to that?”

Unlike Kerry, Rubio took the issue head-on:

Well, I don't know a lot about that story. Obviously, that needs to be taken seriously, those recommendations. I have deep concerns about the use of those e-mails because they contained sensitive information of the United States government and the way we do business on the diplomatic front that she exposed to foreign agents by using a non-government server. But even more concerning is the constant drama that surrounds anything Clinton. In essence, it's not just now  It's not just the e-mails. It's just a long string of things that every time they are involved, there's something going on with deception or keeping things from the public eye or some other drama. And we just really, as a nation, cannot afford four or eight years of that.   

 

Here are full transcripts of the July 24 segments on the NBC, ABC, and CBS morning shows:

Today
7:10 AM ET

MATT LAUER: Another breaking story overnight. The Justice Department considering a request to open a criminal inquiry into how government information was handled, all related to Hillary Clinton's use of a private e-mail account while she was serving as secretary of state. NBC White House correspondent Kristen Welker has the latest. Kristen, good morning to you.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Clinton Criminal Investigation?; Could Face Inquiry Over Personal Email Accounts]

KRISTEN WELKER: Matt, good morning to you. That’s right, the Justice Department confirms this morning that it is looking into and considering a request to look into whether government information was mishandled in connection with the personal e-mail account that Clinton used when she was secretary of state. Now this news was first reported by The New York Times late last night. The Justice Department has not decided whether it is going to pursue this investigation.

The inquiry was first reported and sparked by two inspectors general who had concerns that Clinton’s e-mail account contained hundreds of potentially classified e-mails. The former Secretary of State has said that there were to classified e-mails on her private server.

Now, The New York Times revised its lede late last night. It initially suggested that Clinton was the subject of the probe but later softened its language to suggest others, not Clinton herself, was being investigated.

Now, her campaign said this morning in a written statement, quote, “Contrary to the initial Times story, which has already been significantly revised, she followed appropriate practices in dealing with classified materials. As has been reported on multiple occasions, any released e-mails deemed classified by the administration have been done so after the fact and not at the time they were transmitted.”

Clinton's campaign has been dogged by her use of a private e-mail account during her time as secretary. She’s turned over 55,000 pages of e-mails to the State Department, which the department is now reviewing and releasing in batches. Matt, back to you.

LAUER: Alright, Kristen Welker. Kristen, thank you very much.


CBS This Morning
7:00 AM ET

ANTHONY MASON: Hillary Clinton could face a new criminal investigation over her e-mails.

7:07 AM SEGMENT [7:07:12 - 7:08:35, 1 min 23 sec]

NORAH O’DONNELL: Hillary Clinton's use of private e-mails as secretary of state could become a criminal matter. CBS News confirmed overnight that the Justice Department has been asked to open up a criminal investigation. Two government watchdogs are concerned whether classified information was mishandled. Jan Crawford is in Washington with the growing e-mail controversy. Jan, good morning.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Criminal Investigation?; Inspectors Ask DOJ to Probe Clinton Emails]

JAN CRAWFORD: Well, good morning. So CBS News has confirmed that two inspectors general, one with the State Department and one with the intelligence agencies, have asked it to open a criminal investigation. Now, at issue is whether Hillary Clinton sent classified information on a private e-mail account that she used when she was secretary of state. Clinton repeatedly has said that she did not, but the inspectors general told the Justice Department her private account included hundreds of potentially classified e-mails, including at least one that already has been publicly released.

Now, in March, Clinton insisted she was careful in her handling of information on her private account. She said, “I did not email any classified information to anyone on my email. There is no classified material.” She said she used the account for convenience. But it also, you know, it made it harder for Congress and the media to get access to it when she was secretary of state. And she’s since asked the State Department to release her e-mails, some 55,000 pages.

Now, the Justice Department has not said whether it’s going to open up that criminal investigation. Anthony?

MASON: Jan, thank you.


Good Morning America
7:14 AM ET

DAVID MUIR: We’re gonna turn in the meantime to new trouble for Hillary Clinton this morning. More questions about that private e-mail account for the Democratic presidential hopeful and a possible criminal investigation now. ABC's Jon Karl is live at the White House this morning with the latest. Jon, good morning.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Hillary Clinton Faces New Email Trouble; Justice Dept. Asked to Open Criminal Investigation]

JON KARL: Good morning, David. The Department of Justice tells ABC News this morning that they have been asked to investigate whether sensitive and possibly classified information was mishandled because of Hillary Clinton's use of that private e-mail account. And ABC News has been given – has obtained a memo here from the inspectors general for the State Department and intelligence community that says, "Hundreds of potentially classified e-mails were included within the collection of Mrs. Clinton's e-mails on that private server."

Now, there is a very important point here, David, and that is, there's no evidence to suggest that any of the information on her e-mails was marked classified at the time or that Mrs. Clinton ever knowingly handled classified information on those private e-mails.

MUIR: Which would be an important distinction, Jon. In the meantime, how’s the Clinton camp responding?

KARL: Well, the Clinton campaign is sticking to what has been their line from the start. A statement from Nick Merrill, that’s her spokesperson, said that she followed appropriate practices in dealing with classified materials at all times and they are reiterating that point, that nobody is saying that anything was marked classified at the time she either sent or received it with those private e-mails. But this is a new investigation.

MUIR: It certainly is. Our chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl with us this morning. Jon, thanks.

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Liberals & Democrats Political Scandals ABC Good Morning America CBS CBS This Morning NBC Today New York Times Video Matt Lauer Jonathan Karl Jan Crawford Kristen Welker Hillary Clinton

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