CNN's Blitzer Presses Hillary on E-Mails; She Sticks To Discredited Talking Points

CNN's Wolf Blitzer refreshingly pursued Hillary Clinton on Friday's The Lead over her e-mail scandal. Blitzer twice quoted from FBI Director James Comey: "You acted — in his words...in an 'extremely careless' way in handling classified, sensitive information. Do you acknowledge you were extremely careless?" He later asked, "He said someone in your position as secretary of state should have known better...should you have known better?" Mrs. Clinton stuck by her old talking points on the controversy, despite the fact that the FBI investigation's findings discredited them. [video below]

The anchor spent the final five-plus minutes of his interview with the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee on the e-mail scandal. He first asked, "Now that the threat of criminal prosecution is behind you, what have you learned from this entire episode about your e-mails?" Clinton replied, in part, that she was "certainly relieved and glad that the investigation has concluded. But I also know how important it is to make sure everybody understands that I would certainly not do that again....it was the wrong choice."

Blitzer continued with his quotes from Director Comey's critique of Mrs. Clinton's handling of classified material:

WOLF BLITZER: ...Comey, the FBI director, also said, in announcing his findings this week, that you acted — in his words, 'extremely careless' — in an extremely careless way in handling classified, sensitive information. Do you acknowledge you were extremely careless?

HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Well, I think the director clarified that comment, to some extent — pointing out that some of what had been thought to be classified apparently was not....I think there are about 300 people in the government...with whom I e-mailed over the course of four years. They, I believe, did not believe they were sending any material that was classified....I do not think they were careless. And, as I have said many times, I certainly did not believe that I received or sent any material that was classified. And, indeed, any of the...documents that have been referred to, I think, were not marked or were marked inaccurately, as has now been clarified.

BLITZER: But the FBI director did say about a hundred and ten e-mails were classified..Even if they had not been marked, he said someone in your position as secretary of state should have known better. Here's the question — should you have known better?

CLINTON: I just believe that the material that was being communicated by professionals — many with years of handling sensitive, classified material — they did not believe that it was. I did not have a basis for second-guessing their conclusion. And these were not marked...and, in retrospect, some have said — well, they should have been, but they were not at the time.

Tell the Truth 2016

Blitzer ended the segment by pointing out that the State Department "has decided now to reopen its own internal review of your use of that private e-mail server or servers — now that the Justice Department, the FBI, has completed its investigation." He twice asked his guest if she would cooperate with this investigation, but the former secretary of state wouldn't give a direct answer. Instead, she went back to repeating her talking points.

Earlier in the interview, the CNN journalist pressed Mrs. Clinton on the recent police shooting of a black man in Minnesota:

BLITZER: Madam Secretary, the violence in Dallas, as you know, followed that fatal shooting by police a day earlier of a black man — Philando Castile — during a routine traffic stop in Minnesota. The governor there said that if the people in that car had been white, that wouldn't have happened. Do you agree with him?

CLINTON: Well, I know the governor called for a Justice Department investigation, and I absolutely support that. We've got to figure out what is happening when routine traffic stops — when routine arrests — escalate into killings. And I don't think that we know all of the answers for that, Wolf. Clearly, there seems to be a terrible disconnect between many police departments and officers; and the people they are trying to protect—

BLITZER: But do you agree with the governor, Madam Secretary? Do you agree with the governor when he said if those people had been white, they would not — he would not have been shot?

CLINTON: Well — well, I think the — we have to find where the evidence leads us; but the facts are clear, and the governor knows those facts — that too many African-Americans have been killed in encounters with police over matters that should not have led to that action being taken. That's why, again, I reiterate a call for national guidelines.

We have 18,000 police departments. Some of them are very small. Some of them are not very well trained. Some of them — you know, don't really have the resources that are necessary to keep training and retraining. And, frankly, Wolf, to go after systemic racism — which is a reality and to go after implicit bias.

The transcript of the final portion of Wolf Blitzer's interview of Hillary Clinton's from the July 8, 2016 edition of The Lead — focusing on their exchange over her e-mail scandal:

WOLF BLITZER: Let me turn to the sensitive issue, the e-mail investigation: now that the threat of criminal prosecution is behind you, what have you learned from this entire episode about your e-mails?

[CNN Graphic: "Clinton Responds To FBI Email Probe"]

HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Well, first, I greatly appreciate the work that the FBI,  Department of Justice did; and they handled it very professionally. And I have said many times — and I repeat clearly today — it was a mistake for me to use personal e-mail. And I regret that. I am certainly relieved and glad that the investigation has concluded. But I also know how important it is to make sure everybody understands that I would certainly not do that again. That is something that, at the time, as even [FBI] Director [James] Comey said, seemed like a convenience. But it was the wrong choice.

[CNN Graphic: "Clinton: 'Greatly Appreciate' Work Done By FBI; Clinton Reacts To Criticism From FBI Director"]

BLITZER: Because he — he clearly said you did not break the law — but Comey, the FBI director, also said, in announcing his findings this week, that you acted — in his words, 'extremely careless' — in an extremely careless way in handling classified, sensitive information. Do you acknowledge you were extremely careless?

CLINTON: Well, I think the director clarified that comment, to some extent — pointing out that some of what had been thought to be classified apparently was not. The State Department also made that clear.

I think there are about 300 people in the government — mostly in the State Department, but in other high positions in the government — with whom I e-mailed over the course of four years. They, I believe, did not believe they were sending any material that was classified. They were pursuing their responsibilities. I do not think they were careless. And, as I have said many times, I certainly did not believe that I received or sent any material that was classified—

BLITZER: All right—

CLINTON: And, indeed, any of the — any of the documents that have been referred to, I think, were not marked or were marked inaccurately, as has now been clarified.

BLITZER: But — but the — the FBI director did say about a hundred and ten e-mails were classified — various forms of classification. Even if they had not been marked, he said someone in your position as secretary of state should have known better. Here's the question — should you have known better?

CLINTON: I just believe that the material that was being communicated by professionals — many with years of handling sensitive, classified material — they did not believe that it was. I did not have a basis for second-guessing their conclusion. And these were not marked. They were not marked; and, in retrospect, some have said — well, they should have been, but they were not at the time.

And I have the highest regard for the people in the State Department who are doing the very hard work of diplomacy day in and day out — often under tremendous pressure from the field and under time pressures; and questions from journalists, and so much else. And I have no reason to believe that they were careless in their judgments in sending me the material that they did.

BLITZER: The State Department, as you know, has decided now to reopen its own internal review of your use of that private e-mail server or servers — now that the Justice Department, the FBI, has completed its investigation. Will you cooperate with this new State Department investigation?

CLINTON: Well, I assume they will pursue whatever process they think is appropriate; and I also assume that they will pay very close attention to what the findings were of the Justice Department investigation. But, again, I will repeat — because I think this is important — over 300 people were on these e-mail exchanges — some on many; some on a few — and these were experienced professionals who have had great years of dealing with classified material; and whatever they sent me, they did not believe; and had, in my view, no reason to believe, at the time, that it was classified.

So, I am very proud of the work that we did during my four years. We dealt with two wars; a financial collapse; the Arab Spring; and so much else. And I think that the professionals with whom I communicated were very careful about how they handled classified material, as I was, over the course of those four years.

BLITZER: We're completely out of time; but very quickly, will you cooperate with this new State Department investigation? Because I know you didn't cooperate with the inspector general of the State Department in his investigation.

CLINTON: Well, there was a Justice Department investigation going on at the time. And, of course, I fully cooperated with that.

BLITZER: Madam Secretary, thank you very much for sharing some thoughts with us on this day.

Tell the Truth 2016 NBDaily Dallas Police Shootings Foreign Policy Liberals & Democrats Political Scandals FBI CNN The Lead Video James Comey Wolf Blitzer Hillary Clinton
Matthew Balan's picture


Sponsored Links