HH: All right, so Chuck Todd’s now in a secure room. Are you guys covering this projectile story? All over it?
CT: We are. We are. No, and there is certainly, well, but there’s something amiss on what appears to be the left, so the bottom left corner of the engine…
CT: …of the window, the windshield of the engine, the first one there. So we’ll see, the locomotive part of it. So…
HH: Now I’ve got to play for you Mike Morell, former deputy director of the CIA, was on with me, and he reacted to the Tsarnaev verdict this way, Chuck Todd. I want to get your reaction to his. He’s got the great new book out, The Great War Of Our Time. Here’s what Morell told me.
HH: I’m curious about your reaction to earlier today, Tsarnaev, the terrorist in Boston, received the death penalty. What’s your reaction to that, Mike Morell?
MM: So you know, he killed, helped kill a whole bunch of people. And I guess my reaction is I wanted him to get the sentence that he didn’t want, because I feel so strongly about what he did. So if he wanted the death sentence, then I’m a little disappointed. If he didn’t want the death sentence, then he got what he deserved. You know, some of these guys want to die, and some of these guys want to die a martyr. Some of them don’t. So I hope he got what he did not want.
HH: What do you think of that, Chuck Todd?
CT: You know, it’s interesting, I’ve heard, I’ve actually heard that from others in the field who have said you know, they’re not a fan of letting these guys be martyrs, right? And there’s some thought the death penalty does that. But can we be realistic here? Do we think he’ll ever be put to death?
HH: I do, actually, because it’s the Boston Marathon bombing, and it will be, usually, death penalty goes on forever because people aren’t paying attention. But this one, people are going to pay attention to.
CT: Well, but you’re still going to have a lot of appeals.
HH: Oh, it’ll take forever. It’ll take 15 years.
CT: By the way, let’s throw in the issue of lethal injection.
HH: Yeah, and it will be, they’ll have 15 years to perfect that. Chuck, I made a little news with Mike Morell as well. I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to read his amazing book. I now list it with…
CT: I’m in the middle of it, and it’s fantastic. I mean, this guy was on the front lines.
HH: Oh, my gosh, it’s a book.
HH: So here’s what I asked him at the end of my interview, which is making news at this hour over at Politico and other places, an exchange on Hillary’s server.
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 not good.
HH: As a professional matter, do you believe that at least one or perhaps many foreign intelligence servers, 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?
HH: Yup. Chuck Todd, that presents a problem to her, doesn’t it?
CT: You know, I think it does, because this is, it was, you know, she put national security at risk. Forget the politics of it, it’s just poor judgment at somebody who’s got a high level clearance for national security issues. But let me tell you something else on this, on that front. Do you know that I have now talked to plenty of people in the national security community who have, they have now been told unequivocally just assume all unclassified email, what Mike Morell just said is what everybody in the White House is told, it’s what everybody now is told at the Pentagon, It’s what everybody is told on Capitol Hill. Assume the Russians and/or the Chinese are going to get all of your unclassified email.
CT: They can’t stop it. They can do, they can try to contain it as best they can, but they haven’t been able to figure out how to totally stop this cyber espionage.
HH: That’s why, and Morell confirming that creates a real problem. And that’s where the real Hillary Clinton story is. I know you have Rand Paul coming on this weekend, Chuck Todd, and in the Morell book, he talks in defense of Section 215 authority, and indeed of expanding it to emails. It’s quite contrary to the House vote. Are you going to be talking about that with Senator Paul?
CT: I am. I mean, I want to get into that issue. It’s funny, I want to get into basically the two big national security issues. The other one is Iraq, because it is fascinating that the one thing in the whole Jeb Bush week, if you want to call it that, this week with Iraq. What did he confirm? All of a sudden, the rest of the Republican Party is moving to where Rand Paul was on the Iraq war, and where Rand and Ron were on the Iraq war. And the idea now that the Iraq war wouldn’t have been waged knowing what we know now is now the mainstream Republican position. Just two years ago, there was still the mainstream Republican position, and you can correct me if I’m wrong, Hugh, was well, the intelligence was bad, but we’re better off with Saddam not there.
HH: That is my position still, that you probably would have gone to war anyway, but what Morell and I just had this fascinating conversation, because it’s in his book, it’s a hypothetical that no one should answer. They should say based upon what was known then, and he has a long segment, he said there’s no doubt that the CIA without political pressure thought they had WMD. So they’re all saying, that’s the real question is if you think somebody’s got WMD, do you invade? Will Rand Paul say no to that as well, do you think?
CT: Well, and I think that is, honestly, I think that’s the better hypothetical to be asking.
HH: Sure, it is.
CT: Is that, because that gets into the whole issue of preemption, right?
CT: Do you do this under circumstances like this? And I think, you know, I think we know where Rand Paul probably will come down on that. I mean, he’s been, hasn’t been shy about being against the idea of preemption. But where would the other candidates go down on that, and I think that’s something the public should have an answer, which by the way, I am pro-hypothetical. I like the idea that hypothetical, the whole idea of running for president is a hypothetical.
HH: Sure. That’s well said. That ought to go in the quote book, Chuck Todd. – Chuck Todd – the whole idea for running for president is a hypothetical. Amen to that. Chuck Todd on Meet The Press on Sunday.
End of interview.