Halperin: Clinton Met With Lynch Because He’s a ‘Really Social Guy’

Appearing on NBC’s Today on Friday, Bloomberg Politics editor Mark Halperin offered a laughably naive explanation for Bill Clinton’s controversial meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch: “The most obvious explanation and probably the right one, is Bill Clinton is a really social guy...”

He cast Clinton and Lynch as celebrities who just ran into each other: “And we’ve all seen situations where famous people on the tarmac, the two planes, it's kind of fun, ‘Hey, let's go over and visit.’” He acknowledged: “Someone – Bill Clinton or Loretta Lynch – or someone who worked for them standing there should have said, ‘This is the wrong time for a social meeting.’ The fact that it was 30 minutes is arousing a lot of suspicion....That's a long time.”

On Thursday’s Morning Joe, Halperin excused the meeting and argued, “I bet you they didn't talk about [the e-mail investigation]...I bet you they didn’t.” Even liberal co-host Mika Brzezinski wasn’t buying it: “Come on, stop!”

On Friday, Halperin lamented that “the suspicion will never go away” and co-host Matt Lauer observed: “This plays right into the narrative that a lot of Republicans, and many Democrats as well, have about – or have been using with the Clintons. That they play by their own set of rules and that they’re above everything. This doesn't help her.”

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Halperin replied:

It doesn't help. And again, it's...totally self-inflicted.....President Clinton made a mistake and there was no reason for it, but the people who are critical of him will say he did this on purpose, that he did do this to try to influence the investigation. And there’s no way for him to – without a transcript of the conversation – there’s no way for him to prove to people that that’s not what this was about.

Here is a full transcript of the July 1 segment:

7:04 AM ET

MATT LAUER: Let's bring in Mark Halperin. Mark, good morning to you.

MARK HALPERIN: Good morning.

LAUER: I know you think that Loretta Lynch is doing the right thing here saying she’ll go along with whatever the FBI decides in this, but has this in some ways already jeopardized the investigation?

HALPERIN: It certainly hurts it. In our polarized country, people who were going to be suspicious of this will become more suspicious. She probably would have done this anyway, she would have deferred to the career prosecutors, to the FBI, both because it's the right thing to do and because the appearance would be horrible. This is the President's appointee as attorney general. It makes the decision now even more high profile.

TAMRON HALL: Mark, to the optics of this, the Clintons know better than anyone else what this – the appearance in the divisive world we live in. Why this error? Why this unnecessary meeting?

HALPERIN: The most obvious explanation and probably the right one, is Bill Clinton is a really social guy, right? And we’ve all seen situations where famous people on the tarmac, the two planes, it's kind of fun, “Hey, let's go over and visit.” Someone – Bill Clinton or Loretta Lynch – or someone who worked for them standing there should have said, “This is the wrong time for a social meeting.” The fact that it was 30 minutes is arousing a lot of suspicion. You know, talking about golf and grandkids for 30 minutes? That's a long time. That's without commercial breaks, that’s a solid 30 minutes. And the President knew this was a critical time, I’m sure he regrets it. But the suspicion will never go away.

LAUER: The former President.

HALPERIN: Yeah, the former President Clinton. Suspicion will never go away.

LAUER: This plays right into the narrative that a lot of Republicans, and many Democrats as well, have about – or have been using with the Clintons. That they play by their own set of rules and that they’re above everything. This doesn't help her.

HALPERIN: It doesn't help. And again, it's a totally – as Andrea said – totally self-inflicted, and it puts the Attorney General in a horrible position. That's why she’s got to take this extraordinary step today. Yesterday she defended it, she said there was nothing to it. I’ll be really curious to see if she says she made a mistake today. President Clinton made a mistake and there was no reason for it, but the people who are critical of him will say he did this on purpose, that he did do this to try to influence the investigation. And there’s no way for him to – without a transcript of the conversation – there’s no way for him to prove to people that that’s not what this was about.

LAUER: Alright, Mark Halperin. Mark, thanks.

HALPERIN: Thank you.

LAUER: Appreciate it.  

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