I took a look at Hillary Clinton’s performance on Meet the Press this past Sunday here (video and transcript are posted at the link). Meet the Press host Chuck Todd carefully circumscribed the scope of his questions, avoiding anything that touched on Clinton’s exposure of classified information to hostile foreign governments on an insecure private server.
Instead, Todd sought Clinton’s reassurance to Democrats that the “drip, drip, drip” would stop. My guess is that Todd and his colleagues at NBC will do their best to turn off the spigot. He certainly made no effort to explore the profoundly serious issues raised by Clinton’s misconduct. It was almost as though he was unaware of them.
Clinton’s answers to Todd’s questions projected a prefeminist image of herself. She didn’t busy her pretty little head with issues related to her private email arrangement at the time she adopted it. She didn’t busy her pretty little head with separating work email from personal email after her service; she turned responsibility for that over to her lawyers. And the technical issues, well, what’s a lady to do? She relied on the little people to take care of them for her.
Washington attorney Shannen Coffin has closely followed Clinton’s comments on her email issues with an eye to the applicable law. His column on Clinton’s Meet the Press interview is “Hillary now blames her lawyers.” Shannen observes that Clinton took a different tack to the question of responsibility in this interview than she has in the past:
For months, Mrs. Clinton has insisted that she, and she alone, had the power to determine whether her e-mails were required to be preserved as federal records. In her initial press conference at the United Nations in March, she explained that “for any government employee, it is that government employee’s responsibility to determine what’s personal and what’s work-related.” Her campaign website reinforces that contention, arguing that the “Federal Records Act puts the obligation on the government official to determine what is and is not a federal record.” And the Department of Justice recently told a federal judge the same thing: “Under policies issued both by the National Archives and Records Administration and the State Department, individual officers and employees are permitted and expected to exercise judgment to determine what constitutes a federal record.”
Despite months of consistent reliance on this defense, Hillary now admits that she never exercised any judgment to determine what constitutes a federal record. Instead, somewhat astonishingly, Hillary didn’t review a single e-mail to determine what she had to preserve and what she could delete. When asked by Todd whether she could say with 100 percent certainty that she didn’t delete anything that she was supposed to preserve, Mrs. Clinton responded: “All I can tell you is that when my attorneys conducted this exhaustive process, I [did] not participate. . . . I didn’t look at them.”
Shannen has much more, all of it important to understanding Clinton’s current approach to the fix she has created for herself several times over.
The URL of Shannen’s column refers to “hillary lies lies lies more lies.” Shannen tells me he didn’t have anything to do either with the headline of his column or the URL for it, but the headline accurately addresses Clinton’s comments in the Meet the Press interview while the URL covers each installment of Clinton’s comments on her email arrangement.