Hard for staffer interviews not to be a disaster when telling the truth could land Hillary in the hoosegow . . . Yesterday, this NewsBuster was gobsmacked by the spectacle of senior Hillary aide Jennifer Palmieri suggesting that the FBI would be happy to discover that Hillary's infamous email server had been scrubbed clean. We wrote about it here.
Today's Morning Joe picked through the smoldering ashes of that interview with the participation of John Heilemann, who conducted it. Joe Scarborough said that "everybody" he talked to called the interview a "disaster." Heilemann suggested that top Hillary staffers are "in the dark." The cruelest cut came from Mika Brzezinski, who said "there are no good answers." So where does Hillary go from here?
Note: Scarborough and Heilemann agreed that any other candidate faced with this sort of scandal would have the lawyers brief the campaign staffers at length. But there's a good reason for Hillary to have apparently failed to order such a sit-down. If the lawyers know that the candidate is in serious legal jeopardy, briefing third parties would jeopardize attorney-client privilege and put the lawyers in a generally untenable position. So let the benighted staffers go out there and do their best: sometimes ignorance is the best shield.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: John Heilemann yesterday, yeah, there was an interview on your show [With All Due Respect on Bloomberg TV] that was described by everybody I talked to as just a disaster for the Clinton team. Talk about it.
JOHN HEILEMANN: Well I talked to Jen Palmieri who is --
JOE: Who you've known for a very long time.
HEILEMANN: Since the '92 campaign. She's the communications director for Hillary. We did a lengthy interview. We talked for about 25 minutes, we ended up running 15 on the show. I thought that she was -- she was acting with consummate professionalism in terms of trying -- it was all on the e-mail issue. And I think she was in a bad place. There were some of -- there were some elements of her -- some of the things we've seen from the campaign, evasiveness and misdirection. Also, there were a lot of basic questions she didn't have the answer to. I think we have some sound that we're going to throw to you. Let's take a look at that.
JENNIFER PALMIERI: I've encountered this a lot in politicis, where people think that answer is a lot more complicated than it really is. And she's answered this many times and she had, you know, she did have her own e-mail account, others have done it before and it was just more convenient and she kept it like that. She didn't really think -- that's the thing. She didn't really think it through. She has said, had she, she would have done it differently.
HEILEMANN: When you say that the Secretary of State didn't think it through, it sort of beggars belief.
JOE: Yeah, it does. It was, I don't know how to say this charitably, it was a disaster of an interview. At least that's what everybody that I talked to thought, Mika.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: She seems to be really struggling . . . and the problem is that there's not a good answer. Right? Does anyone have a good answer for this?
JOE: There is not a good answer.
MIKA: Really work on it--make up one.
. . .
JOE: You said any other candidate in America would have had everybody come together for ten hours and have the lawyers here and the campaign people here and then walk them through it. But they obviously aren't doing that with Hillary.
HEILEMANN: I don't know whether that meeting is taking place. As a matter of fact, I do not know it. But on the basis of all my interactions with the campaign and this talk yesterday with Jennifer, I just don't think that's happened. I think there are many of the people who work for the campaign are in the dark about key facts of what transpired.
JOE: They can't Mika, I think you're right. They can't answer basic questions because there are no good answers to those questions.