If people want a peek at the defense on the e-mail scandal that will come from Team Hillary will mount — sans Hillary Clinton, at least for a while — check out this exchange between Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace and longtime Clintonland figure Lanny Davis. His very presence on FNS shows just how much Hillary wants to stand up for herself, and after watching this exchange, it’s pretty clear why. Davis insists that Hillary didn’t do anything illegal, but also that she did nothing wrong, and Wallace can’t believe it:
Davis at one point argues that nothing can be deleted from a hard drive, which is either breathtakingly insincere or completely ignorant:
WALLACE: I want to ask you about preserved. Because when the government said preserved — do you think they had in mind someone who never turned over any records during the entire four years that she was secretary of state, never turned over any records when she left as secretary of state, did not, in fact, turn over any records until almost two years after she left as secretary of state? Do you think that’s what the rules meant when President Obama, when the Federal Records Act, when the foreign manual all talked about preserving records?
DAVIS: The answer is yes, and you –
WALLACE: Two years after, that’s what they meant?
DAVIS: And you, Chris Wallace, may have a subjective belief of what might have been the case, I hear the word “may”. I’m talking about what is the case. Those records are preserved. Governor Huckabee said, well, maybe they were deleted. Last time I looked you cannot delete on a hard drive.
Yes, you actually can delete files on a hard drive. That’s been true since hard drives first hit the market, and it’s true to this day. Many people do not know how to effectively delete data from hard drives, which is why forensic analysts from law enforcement can often recover data — and why places like the IRS destroy hard drives rather than just throw them out in the trash. Files can be deleted, though, and it’s a safe bet that Hillary’s IT team has tried to ensure that they’ve covered those tracks. Maybe Davis should look again.
Davis then tries to play the Jeb Bush card:
DAVIS: For the same reason Jeb Bush had 3 million –
WALLACE: No, no, no. You’re talking about Jeb Bush and I’ve heard you play this game before.
DAVIS: You don’t know.
WALLACE: I’ve heard you play this Jeb Bush game before. It’s like the Republicans doing Watergate saying, well, Lyndon Johnson wiretapped people, too. It’s completely irrelevant, and, please, let’s not play that game.
DAVIS: Well, let’s not interrupt me and let me explain. What Jeb Bush –
WALLACE: I’m not asking about Jeb Bush. I’m asking why it was that Hillary Clinton in 2011 told all State Department officials use government e-mails and she continued to refuse to do it?
It’s worth noting two things about Bush. First, as governor of Florida, he had no obligation to comply with the Federal Records Act, and second, the only reason Davis is bringing him up is because Bush voluntarily released his e-mails.
Davis then plays Hillary’s own words from 2007 declaring that “secret White House e-mail accounts” were “shredding the Constitution,” at which point Davis is reduced to parsing out the meaning of the words “secret,” “volunteer,” and “outrageous”:
WALLACE: Lanny, she certainly thought private e-mails were a problem then. She said the Constitution was being shredded.
DAVIS: She listed a number of secrecy acts –
WALLACE: Including private e-mails.
DAVIS: And she has now done the unprecedented, maybe we should — White House did the same unprecedented, no secretary of state has ever volunteered to turn over all her e-mails –
WALLACE: She didn’t volunteer. She had to negotiate for four months with the State Department lawyers, lawyer to lawyer, before she turned them over, from August of last year until December. Why was it so outrageous for the Bush White House to use private e-mails, but for her it’s OK?
DAVIS: So, I keep answering your question. There were other things she just listed that she said were outrageous.
Boy, if this doesn’t bring back Clinton nostalgia … I wonder when Davis plans to expound again on the meaning of “is”?
All this leads an exasperated Wallace to ask how long Davis plans to make Clintonian spin his career:
WALLACE: Finally, as we said at the beginning, you served in the Clinton White House handing legal matters like campaign finance, like impeachment. Do you ever get tired of cleaning up after the Clintons?
DAVIS: No, you say cleaning up because you have a certain perspective. I am proud, given the public career and the public good of Bill and Hillary Clinton, as reflected by the popular goodwill they have across the country. Unlike Chris Wallace, I don’t regard it as –
WALLACE: When you say unlike Chris Wallace, unlike me in what way?
DAVIS: Well, you call it cleaning up. You’re entitled to your viewpoint. I am proud to defend a great public servant.
DAVIS: Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton –
WALLACE: Proud of Monica Lewinsky? Proud of campaign finance? Proud of the private e-mails? So, those are moments of pride for the Clintons?
DAVIS: There’ve been mistakes.
No kidding. Wallace, clearly annoyed, signs off with Davis by saying, “Whatever you call it, you’ve been doing it for a long time.” Hey, it pays the mortgage.