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Chris Cillizza On What Donald Trump Said And Didn’t Say Wednesday

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The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza joined me today to discuss the Donald Trump presser yesterday.  Chris agrees with me that characterizations of Trump’s remarks yesterday as an invitation to the Russians to hack into Secretary Clinton’s server now are wrong:




HH: Joined now by Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post. You can read his Fix column every single day. You can get it by email as well. Chris, how do people sign up for The Fix? Welcome.

CC: Thank you. Send me an email. Put subscribe, Hugh Hewitt, put whatever you want in the subject line, and I’ll add you to the list.

HH: It’s very important to get it and read it. It’s very entertaining. Chris, I asked Chuck Todd this last segment, so I want to ask you. As between Cleveland and Philadelphia on a logistical level only, who’s putting on a better show?

CC: Oh, Cleveland, not close. Not close.

HH: Just like the Cavs.

CC: I mean, look, I always, one thing I think that people miss when they, you know, do their media critiques is a lot of it is just like any other job. It’s logistics – how fast can I get from this place to this place? You know, does the wi-fi work? Is there air conditioning there? You know, and in Cleveland, and this is rare, because it’s a little bit smaller city, they basically shut the city down. And the walk from the media filing center to the Quicken Loans Arena to E. 4th Street where you know, all the media and TV hits were, was 15 minutes. That is not the case here. Wells Fargo Center is you know, way in South Philly, 25 minutes away from hotels, basically everything else.

HH: So Chris, I’ve got a bur in my saddle this morning, I mean, really a bur.

CC: Okay.

HH: The media has misrepresented what Donald Trump said yesterday, and Nick Kristof, a very good guy and a great guest on this show, in his column this morning writes, “It seems scandalous to me that Trump on Wednesday effectively invited Russia to hack into Clinton’s computers for deleted emails from when she was Secretary of State.” Now I’ve already tweeted this out. I just talked about it with Chuck Todd. He did, Trump did not do that. He was rude to Katy Tur. He shouldn’t have done that. He called on Russia to publish the emails. I’ve played the tape again and again. But I would be outraged if he called on Russia to hack. He didn’t. He did the Geico thing. It’s what they do. We know they do it. We think they’ve got her 33,000 emails.

CC: That’s right.

HH: And if they do…

CC: He said if they, that’s right, he didn’t say you should go get them. He said if you have them, right?

HH: And that is a key point. That is a key point…

CC: Yeah.

HH: …that the media is not making.

CC: I do think that you’re right. I mean, look, he did not, I mean, I listened to it. I was watching it on C-SPAN. He said if they have them, and I don’t know if they do, they should release them. There’s some elision there to say that he called on them to hack into either a personal or a government server. I think that’s right.

HH: Okay, now let’s go to what Mike Morell told me 14 months on this show. I want to play you cut number 29, the former deputy director of the CIA:

HH: What did you make of the Secretary of State having a private server in her house?

MM: So I don’t think that was a very good judgment. I don’t know who gave her that advice, but it was not good advice, and you know, she’s paying a price for it now. Yeah, it was, it was not good.

HH: As a professional matter, do you believe that at least one or perhaps many foreign intelligence services have everything that went to and from that server?

MM: So I think that foreign intelligence services, the good ones, the good ones, have everything on any unclassified network that the government uses, whether it’s a private server or a public one. They’re that good.

HH: So that’s a yes?

MM: Yup.

HH: So Chris Cillizza, wouldn’t it be better if Donald Trump focused like a laser on that as opposed…you know, he has this deliver style that allows people to conflate confuse, and he conflates and confuses. But the key of what he’s trying to get across is she committed a national security dangerous breach.

CC: Right. You know, look, I’ve taken a lot of grief for this from Twitter and email and various other people, because I’ve stayed on the Clinton email story, because I think it’s significant. I mean, I still think the FBI Director’s presentation about what happened is remarkable. You know, and it feels like it’s turned into, like everything, a partisan issue when it fact, it’s sort of a judgment issue that I don’t think is terribly partisan. You know, to me, it seems like it’s about should this have been done in the first place? And then, why did she fail to grasp that this was problematic? You know, I mean, so anyway, I mean, I feel like I’m, I still, I have been writing and thinking about it for a lone time. Look, there’s a tendency, again, to just say well, you know, it’s already been adjudicated. I’m not sure that it’s totally been…

HH: It has not been. Stay on it, Chris Cillizza. You’re one of the guys who gets it, and I appreciate that you are also objective about what Trump said and didn’t say. Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post, follow him on Twitter, @The Fix.

End of interview.


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