Jake Tapper joined me open today’s show on Hillary’s email presser:
HH: I begin today’s show with Jake Tapper, host of CNN’s The Lead. Jake, let me start with the global question. How did you personally react to the former Secretary of State’s presser today?
JT: Well, I’m almost 46, and it reminded me a lot of events from the 90s where there seems to be the Clinton administration would do something, and there’d be lots of questions raised, and it would snowball into a big story, and you never really quite felt like you were getting everything you wanted to know as a reporter. And it just reminded me a little bit of that. You know, I do think that she probably calmed a lot of jittery Democrats today with her press conference, and I do certainly understand the desire to have one device, not two. But there are still some questions that remain about this decision to use her private email. And I know that this is not the last we’ve heard of it. We’ve already heard the Select Committee investigating Benghazi in the House, Trey Gowdy, say that he’s not satisfied. He actually has more questions now than he did before.
HH: Let me play you some excerpts from today’s presser, Jake Tapper, cut number 15. I’m going to cut half of this after she makes a declaration which caught my attention.
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: So Jake Tapper, we already know that that’s not true, because the Sidney Blumenthal emails leaked. But anyone who knows about Stuxnet knows that if you’ve been hacked, it ain’t necessarily so that you know you’ve been hacked. And she’s not turning the server over. How do we know that the national security hasn’t been compromised?
JT: Well, I mean, I believe in the incident you’re referring to in 2013. It was Blumenthal whose emails was hacked, and that revealed some emails that Clinton had sent to him. I agree that there are a lot more questions about the security of that server. Now she says that she never emailed anything classified, of course, as you know and I’m sure your listeners know. There are many degrees and categories of classification beyond classified. There is secret but unclassified. There are a whole bunch of different ones. And just saying she never sent anything that was classified doesn’t answer questions about other status, other information that might have been sent that was not classified, but secret nonetheless. And you’re right. I mean, guarding the Clinton compound physically is not necessarily the same thing as guarding it in the world of cyber, as we know. I do not know enough about the protection that Secret Service provides for former presidents to know whether or not they also provide cybersecurity. That’ll be one of the many, many questions that I’m sure myself and lots of other reporters will be asking in the coming days.
HH: Yeah, I think it’s simply preposterous to most people who live in the world and who have been hacked, and I’ve been hacked, to simply assert I wasn’t hacked when you don’t, you can’t know that. That’s a non-knowable question. Here’s another exchange, Jake Tapper, cut number 16 and 17 back to back for Jake.
Reporter: How can the public be assured that when you deleted emails that were personal in nature that you didn’t also delete emails that were professional, but possibly unflattering? And what do you think about this Republican idea of having an independent third party come in and examine your emails?
HRC: You would have to ask that question to every single federal employee, because the way the system works, the federal employee, the individual, whether they have one device, two devices, three devices, how many addresses, they make the decision. So even if you have a work related device with a work related .gov account, you choose what goes on that. That is the way our system works. And so we trust and count on the judgment of thousands, maybe millions of people to make those decisions. And I feel that I did that, and even more, that I went above and beyond what I was requested to do. And again, those will be out in the public domain. And people will be able to judge for themselves.
HH: So Jake Tapper, does she answer the question about why we ought to believe her as to what she deleted?
JT: Well, she said she was adhering to the standard of all federal employees. They get to decide what emails are work related and which ones are personal. That’s another issue, and I apologize, because I was covering the press conference and then I had half an hour to prepare for my show, and then I did my show, and now I’m talking to you. So I have not had hours in working day to call and find out answers to some of these questions. But if you, first of all, as I understand it, the State Department under her, she was the only one that exclusively used a non-government account.
HH: That is my understanding as well, yeah.
JT: And in fact, as Ambassador Scott Gration, former Ambassador Scott Gration has pointed out, in the scathing Inspector General report, which went after the way he was running the embassy in Kenya, for many, many different reasons, but one of them was for using commercial email, not state.gov email. He was lambasted for that by the Inspector General of the State Department, and by Cheryl Mills, Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff at the State Department. So I don’t really quite understand the formulations she’s making. My understanding is that if you write an email on State.gov, that’s their property, and that remains their property forever, whether you are emailing about your daughter’s wedding or whatever. Now again, I need to find out more about that, but she seemed to be discussing what she did as if everybody had private email servers and got to make decisions, whereas you know, I think the State Department adapted rules while she was secretary, saying that you could use private email if you needed to, but only in the case of an emergency. And maybe in that instance, that’s what she was referring to, like a handful of emails somebody might send in an emergency situation. I’m not sure.
JT: But again, something else that where there needs to be more investigative reporting.
HH: Now Jake Tapper, if even one, much less 20 or 30 emails from Hillary’s Homebrew surface somewhere, dropped into the internet muddle that by anonymous or somebody else, isn’t that going to explode her whole theory of the case and potentially derail her candidacy if it happens any time between now and the campaign?
JT: I don’t know. I mean, possibly. I don’t, it is difficult for me to judge how much the American people care about this issue. I know that it’s an issue. We had Kevin Madden, former Romney advisor, on my show after the press conference, and Kevin said this is less an issue about the emails, per se, as it is an issue of trust. And I understand that that’s the case that people are making. It’s not about the emails, per se, it’s about her behavior and how she’s acting with this controversy. And do you, can you trust her? I also just don’t know if that will factor more in voters’ minds than other things such as Charles Cook, the prognosticator, was making the case that if voters feel she is on their side, quote unquote, you know, and that she has their economic best interest at heart, that that will matter more. It also matters who she’s facing. Is she facing somebody who has transparency issues of his own, or her own, theoretically? Or is she facing somebody who, I know Jeb Bush is trying to make the case that he’s released 275,000 emails from his time as governor, two terms. And even though he used his own server, he has released this information to the public.
HH: You know how I’d frame it, Jake?
JT: Others have pointed out…
HH: What she’s done is say look, my secrecy was more important than the national security. That’s how I view this. This is not a political issue. It’s when you’ve got someone with sensitive compartmented information clearances of all the key words at the highest level, you sometimes just let stuff out that you might not know. And she’s unwilling to have that tested. So I think it goes to a suitability for the office question, not a political question, not a trust question, but just a priorities question. You’ve been doing this a lot longer than most people. Does that radar tingle right now that this is a story that’s going to get bigger before it gets smaller? Or do you sense the opposite happening?
JT: No, no, I think that there is a lot more to ask about it. And I think there are a lot more questions. And of course, if there’s some major security breach, you know, that will raise even more questions. I don’t, you know, I understand that you see it as she’s putting her secrecy ahead of the national security. Obviously, she’s painting it as, pardon me, that she did this for convenience and she regrets it, and that there was no violation of national security. And the truth is, we just don’t know. We just don’t know. I mean, obviously, the email she sent to Sidney Blumenthal, I haven’t seen it. I saw a screen grab on Gawker. But I haven’t seen the depths of emails that have been sent that were hacked. But those were not hacked. I mean, those could have been hacked even if she had written them on her State.gov account.
HH: Lots of questions left. Jake Tapper of the Lead, thanks for talking to me to start off today’s Hillary show.
End of interview.