The US State Department’s Inspector General released a report Wednesday that was highly damaging to presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The report found that Clinton did not receive any approval to host a private server whatsoever and there were two known attempted hackings. But you may not have learned the true severity of the situation if you were watching NBC’s and ABC’s evening news programs.
NBC News tried to play it down, first by reporting on it after leading the night with the riots at Donald Trump’s rallies in New Mexico and California. “An independent government report is breathing new life into the controversy that just won't go away for Hillary Clinton,” Nightly News host Lester Holt whined while leading into the story. Clinton fan, Andrea Mitchell was the reporter on the case and she described the development as, “Today Hillary Clinton again dogged by her e-mail controversy.”
NBC’s report hid the severity of Clinton’s disregard for known protocol by failing to report that the server came under two known attacks. Mitchell mimicked the Clinton campaign and spun the IG’s concern as that of record keeping and not security. Concluding, “Sending e-mails from a personal account to other employees is not an appropriate method of preserving e-mails,” Mitchell reported.
She also pointed fingers at the State Department and former Secretary Colin Powell:
The report also says that former Secretary of State Colin Powell didn’t retain his personal e-mails. But the rules were tightened under Clinton years later. And the report blames the State Department for long-standing cyber-security failures.
ABC’s World News Tonight host David Muir and reporter Cecilia Vega pointed out Powell’s private e-mail account as well. They also chose to play down the report, this time by playing a clip of Clinton appearing on Ellen with Kate McKinnon, who plays the former Secretary on Saturday Night Live.
Kudos to CBS Evening News though, for leading the night with the story and being the only network in the big three to treat it with the seriousness that it deserves. Reporter Nancy Cordes was the only one to report that even if Clinton had requested to use a private server, she would have been denied. CBS was the only network to report on both hacking attempts and the scolding IT personnel received for talking about them.
Univision also had commendable reporting on the issue. Lourdes Meluza reported that Clinton would not have received permission to host her own server. She also reminded viewers that Clinton had destroyed roughly 30,000 e-mails she claimed were private.
Telemundo, on the other hand, chalked it up to deep systemic problems within the department. “It was a systemic problem of the Department of State where certain practices and norms were not the most recommended, but also wasn’t anything illegal,” stated Freddy Balsera, a Democratic analyst for Telemundo.
May 25, 2016
7:03:57 PM Eastern [2 Minutes 15 Seconds]
LESTER HOLT: An independent government report is breathing new life into the controversy that just won't go away for Hillary Clinton. A harsh rebuke from the State Department's Inspector General's office over Clinton use of a personal e-mail server for official business, when she was Secretary of state. It comes at a critical time in her race for president. NBC's Andrea Mitchell now with late details.
[Cuts back to live]
ANDREA MITCHELL: Today Hillary Clinton again dogged by her e-mail controversy. A yearlong Inspector General investigation from the State Department, blasting Clinton for using only a private home e-mail server while secretary of state. And finding she violated the federal records act by not turning over all official e-mails before she left office. Concluding, “Sending e-mails from a personal account to other employees is not an appropriate method of preserving e-mails.” Despite her previous claim.
HILLARY CLINTON: This was fully above board. People knew I was using personal e-mail. I did it for convenience. I sent e-mails that I thought were work related to people's “.gov” accounts.
MITCHELL: In fact, Clinton knew as early as 2010 her e-mails were not all saved for the record. The report revealing a new e-mail exchange with Clinton-aide Huma Abedin. Abedin asked, should she get an official state department e-mail address or release her private address to the department? Clinton responded, “let's get separate address or device, but I don't want any risk of the personal being accessible.” And the report found no evidence Clinton requested or obtained permission to use a private server, and would not have been granted it if she'd asked. Clinton refused to be interviewed by investigators. Today her spokesperson saying she wanted to talk to the FBI first.
BRIAN FALLON: We quite fairly, I think, made the decision that we were going to await the opportunity to answer questions from the Justice Department.
MITCHELL: But already Donald Trump firing away.
DONALD TRUMP: She's as crooked as they come. The Inspector General's report, not good.
MARK HALPERIN: You now have President Obama’s State Department saying Hillary Clinton exercised bad judgment. She shouldn't have done it. And that's going to be a Republican talking point now all the way through Election Day.
[Cuts back to live]
MITCHELL: The report also says that former Secretary of State Colin Powell didn’t retain his personal e-mails. But the rules were tightened under Clinton years later. And the report blames the State Department for long-standing cybersecurity failures. Lester?
World News Tonight
May 25, 2016
6:39:00 PM Eastern [2 Minutes 17 Seconds]
DAVID MUIR: Meantime, Hillary Clinton under fire tonight. A scathing new report, a state department investigation now finding that she broke the rules with her private e-mail server. Clinton did not answer questions today on this, but tonight, her spokesman is talking, saying she did nothing different than the secretaries of state who came before her. Here's ABC's Cecilia Vega.
[Cuts to video]
CECILIA VEGA: Tonight, Hillary Clinton slammed by state department investigators who say she never requested or obtained permission to conduct government business on her private server, even though she had an obligation to do so. Clinton has repeatedly promised to cooperate with the FBI investigation into those e-mails.
HILLARY CLINTON: I'm more than ready to talk to anybody, any time. I'm happy to answer any questions that anybody might have. Any time you want to talk to me, here I am.
VEGA: But she refused to talk to state department investigators, and so did he close aide, Huma Abedin. Clinton said that private server was never hacked, but the state department investigation did uncover an attempted hack. Multiple Clinton staffers sounding alarms about it. One instructing her team not to e-mail Clinton anything sensitive, saying she would explain more in person. Clinton's campaign points out the new report also shows another secretary of state used a private e-mail account, too. A spokesman tweeting, her personal e-mail use was not unique at state department.
I tried to ask about it today. Secretary Clinton, why didn't you cooperate with the IG investigation? She ignored all questions. The campaign moving on.
While Clinton today appeared on Ellen with her SNL doppelganger.
KATE MCKINNON: Hi, Ellen, I'm Hillary Rodham Clinton. Every day, we face hard choices, like, which statement blazer to wear.
CLINTON: There you go.
[Cuts back to live]
MUIR: And Cecilia Vega joins us tonight from California, as well. And Cecilia, the state department investigators said today that Hillary Clinton did not cooperate with this investigation. But we know that she has promised to cooperate with the FBI. Any word when she'll sit down with the FBI?
VEGA: Well, David, campaign sources tell me that sit-down has not yet happened, indeed, and there is no date set for one yet. But we do know that her top aides, including Huma Abedin have been interviewed by the FBI. That is a sign, David, that this investigation could be nearing completion.
May 25, 2016
6:33:43 PM Eastern
JORGE RAMOS, ANCHOR, UNIVISION: An internal analysis from the Department of State indicates that Hillary Clinton should have informed them about her use of a personal e-mail server when she was Secretary of State, and she didn’t do it. She also didn’t demonstrate that the server that she used met minimal standards for security. Lourdes Meluzá tells us what this means.
LOURDES MELUZÁ, CORRESPONDENT, UNIVISION: As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton didn’t ask for legal authorization to use a private server for her e-mails, concludes an internal report from the Inspector General of the Department that will be released tomorrow. If she would have solicited permission, it would have not been given for it being a security risk, concludes the report of 83 pages, confirmed by a high ranking official in the State Department.
HILLARY CLINTON, DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE: I have turned over all of my e-mails…
LOURDES MELUZÁ, CORRESPONDENT, UNIVISION: [Translating Hillary Clinton] “I have turned in all my past e-mails and I have been very open about the subject, this will not affect my presidential campaign,” said Clinton to KMEX Univision in Los Angeles.
LOURDES MELUZÁ, CORRESPONDENT, UNIVISION: A year ago Clinton said “I complied totally with all the rules that governed me.” She admitted that it was a mistake to use private email for both official business and personal business.
XAVIER BECERRA, DEMOCRAT CONGRESSMAN FROM CALIFORNIA: Secretary Clinton has done everything to be transparent and also to give officials all the electronic communications that she had during her time as Secretary [of State].
LOURDES MELUZÁ, CORRESPONDENT, UNIVISION: The report also highlights that when she left the office of Secretary of State, Clinton did not immediately hand over all of her e-mails, as internal policies indicate. Almost two years later she handed over almost 30,000 e-mails that were government business, and destroyed another 30,000 that she said were private. They’ve discovered more correspondence, says the report.
JASON CHAFFETZ, REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN FROM UTAH: In the case of the State Department, we really do…
LOURDES MELUZÁ, CORRESPONDENT, UNIVISION: [Translating Jason Chaffetz] ‘In the case of the State Department, we really need these records, the law establishes a process that she evidently did not follow.” In California, her rival took advantage of the matter.
DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE: She’s as crooked as they come…
LOURDES MELUZÁ, CORRESPONDENT, UNIVISION: [Translating Donald Trump] “She is the most dishonest, she had some bad news today, some reports that weren’t good.” The FBI also investigates the controversial e-mails.
LOURDES MELUZÁ, CORRESPONDENT, UNIVISION: The investigation by the Inspector General included five other Secretaries of State, of both parties. It was critical also of Colin Powell, who used a personal email for official business.
May 25, 2016
6:34:48 PM Eastern
MARIA ELENA SALINAS, ANCHOR, TELEMUNDO: The scandal caused by the use of private electronic mail when she was Secretary of State continues to chase Hillary Clinton. Now an internal audit of the Department of State assures that Clinton, as well as other Secretaries of State, ignored security norms. So the question that follows is, how this report will impact, if at all, the aspirations of the Democratic candidate. Angie Sandoval went in search of answers.
ANGIE SANDOVAL, CORRESPONDENT, TELEMUNDO: In California, Hillary Clinton smiled at her followers, far from the scandal that seems to not dissipate. The Department of State assured today that Clinton broke federal norms by using a private server to send and receive thousands of classified e-mails.
HERNÁN MOLINA, POLITICAL ANALYST: The report by the Department of State in one way or another questions the common sense, the power of the decision-making of a candidate that will occupy, if she wins the elections, the White House.
ANGIE SANDOVAL, CORRESPONDENT, TELEMUNDO: But while the report of 80 pages criticizes Clinton and her employees for not collaborating with the investigation, it also says that the problems have been “systemic” and “extend beyond the mandate of one Secretary of State”. The Clinton campaign tried to minimize the report.
FREDDY BALSERA, DEMOCRATIC ANALYST: It was a systemic problem of the Department of State where certain practices and norms were not the most recommended but also wasn’t anything illegal.
ANGIE SANDOVAL, CORRESPONDENT, TELEMUNDO: However, Donald Trump used the report as ammo against his Democratic rival.
DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE: Inspector General report, not good!
ANGIE SANDOVAL, CORRESPONDENT, TELEMUNDO: The publication of this report comes less than two weeks from the California primaries, the Republican National Committee already took advantage of the opportunity to criticize who profiles herself as the nominee for the Democratic Party. “They won’t succeed,” affirms some Hispanic congressmen.
XAVIER BECERRA, DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSMAN FROM CALIFORNIA: What the people want to know is how we will increase jobs, how we’re going to increase salaries.
ANGIE SANDOVAL, CORRESPONDENT, TELEMUNDO: It is possible that California voters could ignore the criticisms from the Department of State.
HERNÁN MOLINA, POLITICAL ANALYST: This will be more a general election campaign theme when she has to take on Donald Trump, why? Because Donald Trump, just like Bernie Sanders, will keep attacking the credibility and also the qualities of Hillary Clinton as President.