Carly Fiorina, almost certainly a candidate for the GOP presidential nomination, joined me on Wednesday’s show to discuss Hillary’s “homebrew” server and the race for the GOP nomination:
HH: So pleased to welcome back Carly Fiorina, likely to be a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, long-time friend, former candidate for Senate in California. Carly, welcome, it’s good to speak with you.
CF: It’s great to speak with you, Hugh, thanks for having me back.
HH: I want to give the audience a little context. When you were running HP, every quarter you’d have to have an earnings call, and all these analysts would throw questions at you. Those are tough questions, right? They’re throwing hardballs at your head most of the time.
CF: Yeah, that’s right, because you know, in the business world, you have to produce results, and you have to be accountable for those results, and you get questioned about those results, and you’re right, it happens every quarter, every three months, like clockwork. And you know, you take the questions as they come and answer them as honestly as you can. And they want to know not only what has happened, but what’s going to happen.
HH: And the reason I raise that is because former Secretary of State Clinton held a press conference yesterday. It consisted, I think, of eight questions. What did you make of her performance having been on the receiving end of all those quarterly calls plus all the press conferences you’ve done since?
CF: Well, you know, my overall reaction was something that I tweeted yesterday, which basically is that Hillary Clinton told us to trust her. And nothing in her track record suggests that we should do so. So that whole press conference was basically her saying with a rising sense of indignation just trust me. I mean, I did this for convenience, just trust me, that all I deleted were personal emails. Just trust me that no one could have possibly beached the security of this server. Just trust me. I found it quite amazing, actually.
HH: Let me play for you the single most stunning admission of hers yesterday, cut number 15:
HRC: The system we used was set up for President Clinton’s office. And it had numerous safeguards. It was on property guarded by the Secret Service, and there were no security breaches.
HH: Now Carly Fiorina, you come out of the world of IT. Can she actually make that statement knowing what we know about cyber hackers and their tendency not to tell you that they put a worm in your system?
CF: Of course she cannot make that statement. Of course, she can’t make the statement. And honestly, guarding the server is, I mean, it is laughable. I’m imagining these Secret Servicemen guarding the server as if that would make any difference. But the other thing that I found kind of amusing about the whole thing is when she said she deleted all these personal emails, she said that many of them were with Bill Clinton. She, you know, had some big number that were with her husband, and he then said at some point that he’d only sent two emails in his life. So you know, the story doesn’t really hang together, is I guess what I would say.
HH: It does not add up. It doesn’t add up on a lot of different levels. And earlier in the program, Congressman Mike Pompeo intimated that the Select Committee on Benghazi will be subpoenaing the server, which I hope they do. Has it begun to occur to you that if you’re the Republican nominee, you might be running against someone other than Hillary Clinton?
CF: Well, that’s possible. I mean, I think if she steps aside, Elizabeth Warren will step in. But I also think while I am encouraged that the press hasn’t let go of this quite yet, I also think this will not deter Hillary Clinton from running, because I think she believes this is a tempest in a teapot. I think she believes that maybe once again this is a vast right wing conspiracy set out to challenge her and her husband. I don’t think, honestly, she understands why this is an issue. And I think her failure to understand it is an example once again of her lack of leadership, because leaders understand that transparency is vital. Leaders cannot be trusted if they are not transparent. People want to know can I trust your character, can I trust your competence, can I trust your motivation. And the only way to build that trust over time is to be transparent enough that people say oh, I see your actions are consistent over time, your actions match your words, you do what you say you’re going to do. So I think she thinks a question about transparency is illegitimate. A leader knows that transparency is a requirement.
HH: And I want to draw again on your experience as a CEO of a Fortune 20 publicly traded, with legal obligations of disclosure and transparency far in excess of those that apply to the routine public official, and especially the Clintons. Do you think that anyone in the public arena running other than you has actually had that level of scrutiny mandated by law as you have had in the past when you were the CEO of HP?
CF: Well, probably not now that you’ve put it that way. I hadn’t quite thought about it in that way, but as you say, every three months at a minimum, there is an exhaustive set of questions. Beyond that, of course, everything you do in terms of results is public record. So there is no place to hide. Whatever the company does, it’s public record and needs to be retained, needs to be explained in writing, verbally, in every conceivable way.
HH: And so the dealings of the Clinton Foundation, and I mean these are murky with a capital M, they define murky. Is there any way that those would hold up without SEC enforcement actions directed against you?
CF: No. I mean, if the Clinton Foundation were a publically-traded company, none of that would hold up. And yes, it’s very murky, and you certainly get the distinct impression that while President Clinton talks about you have to be as transparent as possible and just let everybody know everything, it’s clear that’s actually not the case. This is yet another example of do as we say, not as we do. And of course, what we do know about the Clinton Foundation is deeply troubling. It’s deeply troubling that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State, the Foundation is not only taking donations from governments with an extremely spotty record on human rights, but that certain things happened in conjunction with those governments not very long thereafter. It’s extremely murky.
HH: Last question, Carly Fiorina, yesterday Secretary of State Clinton began her terrible press conference, her catastrophic press conference, by condemning the Republican Senators’ letter authored by Tom Cotton, signed by 46 other Senators as inimical to American interests. What did you make of that letter?
CF: Well, you know, first of all, I think the letter is a gutsy move. And I think it lays out for the Iranian regime in a very clear way that the American political process is inextricably linked with this negotiation, whether President Obama likes it or not. My only hope is that the letter doesn’t distract from what I hope is still going on, and that is an attempt to gain a bipartisan majority, a veto-proof bipartisan majority of Senators to sign a letter to send to President Obama in essence demanding that their Constitutionally guaranteed right to approve and be engaged in these negotiations in an approval process be upheld. That’s an important letter to send to the President. It’s important that it’s veto-proof, and it’s important that it’s bipartisan, because then it’s clear that this isn’t a partisan issue. This is about the safety of America.
HH: I hope you’re right on that. Carly Fiorina, always good to talk to you. Follow Carly on Twitter @CarlyFiorina.
End of interview.