Mark Steyn says Clinton's email explanation 'doesn't pass the smell test'

Clinton: It was more convenient to use just one device


This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," March 10, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Welcome to "Hannity." Our top story tonight, earlier today, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton finally stepped up and answered questions about her use of a personal email address during her time at the State Department. Now, here is how she tried to brush away the controversy.


HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: There are four things I want the public to know. First, 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.

Second, the vast majority of my work emails went to government employees at their government addresses, which meant they were captured and preserved immediately.

Third, after I left office, the State Department asked former secretaries of state for our assistance in providing copies of work-related emails from our personal accounts. I responded right away, and provided all my emails that could possibly be work-related.

Fourth, I took the unprecedented step of asking that the State Department make all my work-related emails public for everyone to see.

Looking back, it would have been better for me to use two separate phones and two email accounts. I thought using one device would be simpler, and obviously, it hasn't worked out that way.


HANNITY: All right, here now is the author of "The Undocumented," Mark Steyn. "Don't Say You Were Not Warned." Mark Steyn is with us. 

Mark, good to see you. Let's -- let's set this up...


HANNITY: Let's set this up in a way -- we found inconsistencies, number one. Number two, you can actually put -- we'll help Hillary Clinton out. You can put two e-mail addresses on one device. Just a side note.

STEYN: Right.

HANNITY: But here's what Hillary said back in 2007 about secret emails in government.


CLINTON: Our Constitution is being shredded. We know about the secret wiretaps. We know about the secret military tribunals, the secret White House email accounts. 

It is a stunning record of secrecy and corruption, of cronyism run amok.


HANNITY: Now, we found some inconsistencies, Mark. I'm going to play it for you. She said she used it out of convenience. I'm going to play that with her admitting she had up to four devices. So she does have a lot of devices. Watch this.

STEYN: Right.


CLINTON: I opted for convenience to use my personal e-mail 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 e-mails instead of two. Looking back, it would have been better if I had simply used a second e-mail account and carried a second phone, but at the time, this didn't seem like an issue.

QUESTION, FEB. 24: iPhone or Android?



CLINTON: iPhone. OK, in full disclosure...

QUESTION: Blackberry.

HANNITY: And a Blackberry.

I have a -- you know, an iPad, a mini-iPad, an iPhone and a Blackberry.


HANNITY: So she has four! And you can put two email addresses on one account, one device! What is your reaction to that?

STEYN: Right. Right. Well, this is Queen Mary (sic) Antoinette.  Instead of let 'em eat cake, let 'em eat spin, and not even good spin at that. This doesn't pass any kind of smell test. We're supposed to be impressed because she turned over 55,000 emails. That works out to about 38 a day while she was secretary of state. The average person in business receives something like 121 business emails a day. So this supposedly high number of emails that she's turned over doesn't sound right to me, doesn't pass the smell test, and everything else, she says she deleted after the State Department requested her emails. 

So she -- she, rather than any government guidelines, has been the arbiter of what emails she's willing to let into the public record.


STEYN: And Americans are the chumps of the planet for putting up with this!

HANNITY: The average person -- according to Forbes in 2012, average e-mail user gets 147 e-mail messages a day.

STEYN: Right.

HANNITY: Break this down, and she's talking about 20.

STEYN: Right.

HANNITY: Break this down and she's talking about 20.

But the question is, she says it was legal and lawful and that, "Oh, it was recorded because I sent it to other people, their accounts that were recorded" because we have a records act.


HANNITY: And then she said, "Well, no sensitive documents..."


HANNITY: Go ahead -- classified materials.

STEYN: That's right. Because she says, "Well, don't worry, they're in there somewhere," because she replied to the assistant deputy, assistant deputy secretary of whatever, and it's in his file. You try that with the IRS this time next month, Sean!


STEYN: You say, "Well, I'm not telling you what income I have because the guy who wrote me the check at Fox News has already told you what I earn. And the guy who writes you the check for the radio show has already told you...

HANNITY: And good luck to me!

STEYN: ... what you earn." And see how far you get with the IRS if you try that approach.

HANNITY: Bring me a cake with a file at that point.

STEYN: Right.

HANNITY: All right, there's even a bigger controversy emerging here.  And I thought this was the worst answer she could possibly give. She was asked by Andrea Mitchell, who very apologetically asked the question about the Clinton Foundation taking money from countries like Saudi Arabia, and here's how she answered that.


CLINTON: With respect to the foundation, I am very proud of the work the foundation does. I'm very proud of the hundreds of thousands of people who support the work of the foundation and the results that have been achieved for people here at home and around the world.

And I think that we are very clear about where we stand, certainly, where I stand on all of these issues. There can't be any mistake about my passion concerning women's rights here at home and around the world. So I think that people who want to support the foundation know full well what it is we stand for and what we're working on.


HANNITY: All right, the question was, why do you accept money at the Clinton Foundation from countries that treat women horribly? And as you answer, by the way, I'll put up the treatment of women in Saudi Arabia, in Kuwait, the UAE and Oman and other places. You know, all she said basically is, "Donate. I'm proud of what we do."


HANNITY: What is your reaction?

STEYN: Yes. And she does nothing for women's rights in those places.  And that's not why those governments, some of the most repulsive governments on the planet, give her money. They give money to the Clinton Foundation in return for something, even if it's just to buy a hearing in Washington, for example, the deal between General Electric and I think it was the Algerian government. 

So they're not giving money because the Saudis are the most charitable people on the planet. And again, it gets -- there's some -- this is the Clintons being Clinton. They did this for eight years in the 1990s, and this particular leopard does not change her spots, and it boils down to a consistent position. The rules are for the little people. 

No Republicans need be involved in these scandals. It was a Democrat ambassador to Kenya that Hillary Clinton's State Department fired because he used private email. It was the CIA director of a Democrat administration, General Petraeus, who pleaded guilty to a crime for having supposedly classified material at his home.

She has, by her own admission, all the classified material from her time as secretary of state, went to this private e-mail address. Why is it that if you're a low-level Democrat ambassador, you have to be -- you have to obey the rules, but if you're the Democrat ambassador's boss, you don't?  

I mean, this is essentially an intra-Democrat fight! Which Democrats don't have to obey the law and which Democrats do!

HANNITY: Well, let me -- let me -- we have the former ambassador you're referring that lost his job as a result of this very same thing, and here's what he had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As I was going through it, I did not perceive that it was a double standard because I did not know of Secretary Clinton's use of a commercial email account. But as I've reflected on it over the last couple days, it does appear like there was a different standard that was used in my case and that has been used in hers.


HANNITY: The president first denied that he knew about the account, but then we found out he was emailing with her on her private account.

STEYN: Right.

HANNITY: So she...


HANNITY: What about the -- how is it possible that there's all these gaps that Trey Gowdy talked about on a trip to Libya and Benghazi that they've been requesting now for two years? What would happen if you did that, Mark Steyn?

STEYN: Yes, I wouldn't get anywhere with that. And essentially, we're being asked -- because she's Hillary, we're being asked to accept that she has the right to choose which laws she'll obey. That's Big Ben behind me in the background there, Sean. The only reason the houses of parliament exist is because 800 years ago, King John was forced to sign Magna Carta, which said that even a king has to bow to the law. 800 years later, Queen Hillary -- Queen Hillary says, No, no, no, the laws don't apply to me.

HANNITY: You know...

STEYN: The laws are for the little people!

HANNITY: But you've got to give her credit in one sense. I mean, they're great at spinning. And she comes out in the press conference, talks about gender inequality issues, but she didn't mention that her office in the Senate paid women 72 cents on the dollar what they were paying men. And then she pivots and she talks about a letter that 47 Republican senators wrote to the Iranian leaders...

STEYN: Right.

HANNITY: ... saying, "Hey, we have a constitutional republic here, and if the president doesn't come to us, this will be null and void over a period of time." So she pivots. She distracts. And she does it fairly well. And this is what she said.


CLINTON: The recent letter from Republican senators was out of step with the best traditions of American leadership. And one has to ask, what was the purpose of this letter? There appear to be two logical answers.  Either these senators were trying to be helpful to the Iranians or harmful to the commander-in-chief in the midst of high-stakes international diplomacy.


HANNITY: Now, Mark, in 2007, she praised Speaker Pelosi for going to meet with President Assad against the wishes of the Bush administration.  And then, of course, John Kerry met with Commandant Ortega to undermine Reagan's policy.

STEYN: Yes. That's right.

HANNITY: So I don't think she actually has a leg to stand on here because all these Republicans did was write a letter, which we'll talk about later in the show.

STEYN: No. And you know, Bill Clinton could have pulled that off, that kind of spin. What struck me about the press conference was actually just how hand-fisted her attempts to distract were, bringing up this letter, saying that the emails she deleted were just about wedding plans for Chelsea Clinton. I know Chelsea had one of the most lavish weddings New York State has ever seen, but I don't believe she was responsible for tens of thousands of emails.

And this wasn't slick enough. This wasn't smooth enough. It all seemed very false. And even the idea of actually holding this press conference at the U.N. and having these U.N. reporters ask her -- she thought, I think, that they were going to ask her easy, soft questions.  And in fact, they showed more teeth, those guys, than some of the sycophants in the White House press corps or on the "Today" show or the other places.

HANNITY: The first question was a little rough -- "Do you think this is because you're a woman," some reporter said. I don't know if that was exactly the...

STEYN: Well, that -- that...

HANNITY: That was kind of sounding like American media to me, that moment, so -- all right...

STEYN: Yes, that guy was the guy from Turkey, and I think he'd -- he'd -- he drank a little too much of the Clinton Kool-Aid...


STEYN: He should ask that question of his own leader back in Istanbul!

HANNITY: All right, Mark Steyn, thanks for being with us.

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