This is a rush transcript from "Journal Editorial Report," March 15, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
PAUL GIGOT, HOST: This week on the "Journal Editorial Report," Hillary Clinton breaks her silence on the email controversy, but will this week's performance reassure anxious supporters or coax another Democrat into the presidential race?
Plus, as the U.S. leads from behind in Iraq, Iran is filling the power vacuum. What it means for the fight against ISIS and American interests in the Middle East.
And just in time for 2016, the Justice Department announces a crackdown on coordination between candidates and the outside groups that support them. Should conservatives expect the same treatment they got from the IRS?
Welcome to the "Journal Editorial Report." I'm Paul Gigot.
Hillary Clinton broke her silence this week on the scandal surrounding her use of a private email address while serving as secretary of state, calling it a matter of convenience and claiming she complied with all State Department rules.
Take a look at some of the highlights from her Tuesday press conference.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: When I got to work as secretary of state, I opted for convenience to use my personal email account, which was allowed by the State Department, because I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal emails instead of two.
We went through a thorough process to identify all of my work-related emails and deliver them to the State Department. At the end, I chose not to keep my private, personal emails, emails about planning Chelsea's wedding or my mother's funeral arrangements.
I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIGOT: Here with reaction, Wall Street Journal columnist and deputy editor, Dan Henninger; foreign affairs columnist, Bret Stephens; and Washington columnist, Kim Strassel.
So, Kim, some of the pundits down there in Washington, your environment you kind of work in, say that this press conference put the issue behind Secretary Clinton. Do you agree with that?
KIM STRASSEL, WASHINGTON COLUMNIST: They wish. This raised 10 times more questions than we had even before. I mean, did she turn over all of those documents? Who, in fact, ran that process for her? How do we know there was no classified information? What, in fact, was the security arrangement of this? And as this story has grown, we have now got more questions that have not been answered. We've now found out there's a document that all State Department employees are supposed to sign as they leave, attesting that they have turned over all work product and material. Did she sign that? And if she did, what does that mean? So, no, a flurry of questions, still. And I don't know when or if she intends to ever answer them.
GIGOT: Well, I think she doesn't intend to answer them. I suspect this is all we're going to get from her, unless there's some new revelation.
But just a simple question about the authority and fact. Did she have the authority under the law to be able to make the decision by herself to - - which emails to turn over and which to keep?
STRASSEL: That question is central. She's making the argument, well, everybody gets to make this choice.
GIGOT: Right. It's all up to the individual no matter how high or how high up the ladder.
STRASSEL: Right. But this is classic Clinton, Paul. The records law is very clear about what you should do. And she crafted a system that was entirely outside the realm of anything that had ever happened before. And she's now having to revert to making to make legalistic arguments about whether or not she technically followed the rules. There's no question she violated the spirit, absolutely, if not the law itself.
GIGOT: OK, she also said she was emailing Bill all the time. You know, her husband. Then turns out, Bill --
GIGOT: -- Bill, as the Wall Street Journal reported, doesn't do email. Sent out two in his life, and not to his wife.
So I mean, what do you make of --
GIGOT: How far is this going to go?
DAN HENNINGER, COLUMNIST, DEPUTY EDITOR: I think -- this is a typical Clinton behavior. This is known as stonewalling. It's almost like it's the Clinton family sport. Rather than give a full explanation of anything, you stonewall.
GIGOT: You put out the story out there and you say, that's it, I'm sticking to it.
HENNINGER: There's one big difference here though. During the Clinton presidency, Bill Clinton deployed all the resources of the federal legal apparatus to defend himself. It was like a phalanx around the White House. She's a private citizen. She does not have those resources. And, you know, the members of Congress, Trey Gowdy, the prosecutor looking into Benghazi, Jason Chaffetz, the head of the House Oversight Committee, are making requests. I can see this escalating up from voluntary appearances before them, then perhaps a subpoena, then perhaps the issue of being held in contempt of Congress. Not that they'd be able to that, but it means the issue will be kept alive.
BRET STEPHENS, FOREIGN AFFAIRS COLUMNIST: I suspect that strategy will end up helping Mrs. Clinton because she will paint herself probably with some success as the victim of a congressional witch-hunt.
GIGOT: Oh, so you're saying Republicans should drop it?
STEPHENS: Well, I think they should be careful politically about how they go about doing this. I think quite frankly what this scandal reminds all Democrats of is the immortal column by the late Bill Safire that Mrs. Clinton, in his words, is a congenital liar. And I think that this is being felt very powerfully not simply among Republicans who have always felt this or conservatives who have always suspected this of Mrs. Clinton, but among the very Democrats in 2008 who decided they desperately needed a different alternative, they desperately needed a different narrative from the Clinton narrative of lie, stonewall, deceive, obstruct.
GIGOT: How will you get to the bottom of it if the Republicans don't use the subpoena power to try --