How will e-mail developments impact Hillary Clinton's campaign?

Reaction from the 'Special Report' All-Star panel


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," August 11, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


HILLARY CLINTON, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I did not e-mail any classified material to anyone on my e-mail. There is no classified material. So I'm certainly well aware of the classification requirements and did not send classified material.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: That's the last time Hillary Clinton really addressed the classification part. She hasn't taken questions on the e-mail scandal in awhile. She did sign something for a judge here, which she said, "I, Hillary Rodham Clinton, declare under the penalty of perjury that the following is true and correct. While I do not know what information may be responsive for purposes of this lawsuit," this is a lawsuit about judicial watch, "Directed all my e-mails on Clintonemail.com in my custody that were or potentially were federal records be provided to the Department of State and on the information on this belief this has been done.

"As a result of my directive, approximately 55,000 pages of these e-mails were produced to the department on December 5th, 2014." Cheryl Mills, her former chief of staff, did not have an account on Clintonemail.com. Huma Abedin did have such an account which was used at times for government business."

Of course the big news today is the inspector general is saying that he had found two of four e-mails with the highest -- one of the highest security classifications on two of the four e-mails.

We'll bring in our panel now. Steve Hayes, senior writer for The Weekly Standard. David Catanese, senior political writer for U.S. News and World Report, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer.

OK, Steve.

STEVE HAYES, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Well, it's important to remember that these four e-mails that we're talking about, the two of the four, the four of the 40, this is a subset of a subset of a subset of a subset. So you're talking about a massive universe of e-mails with potentially classified materials in there. These are not the only classified e-mails that have been found.

I just talked to a source or heard from a source about this who said no doubt the information was directly lifted from a classified document or source. No doubt on that. This person speculated that it couldn't be a top secret document unless -- they wouldn't reclassify it after the fact if it was a top secret document. It had to --


BAIER: So you're saying at generation.

HAYES: At generation, right. And she may not have seen it marked that way. There's a lot we don't know. There's a lot we need to learn. But certainly it's the opinion of this source with vast experience in intelligence and classification that this is not something that is likely to have been classified after the fact.

BAIER: We've reported before from five different intelligence agencies and sources that they believe that there could be more than 100 or hundreds.


BAIER: That fall into this category.

HAYES: Right. Absolutely. I mean, because again what you're talking about is a very small -- they basically took a sample. We reach in here, we want to see what we're looking at. And they found four of these 40 which is a reasonably high percentage. So if you extrapolate that out to the 30,000 some odd e-mails, documents, it's a big problem.

BAIER: Dave, how big a deal?

DAVID CATANESE, U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT: I think it's a very big deal given the sound bite that you played and it goes to her chief vulnerability politically -- honest and trust worthy. That's where you're seeing her numbers take a hit all summer long. That's why you see these battle ground polls against the Republicans. She's down a couple points or tied. When going into the summer she was ahead.

And look, the two topics that Hillary Clinton did not want to talk about or at least turn the page on going into the fall were the Clinton Foundation money and the e-mails. And this elongates that story. She's going to have to answer this at a podium eventually.

BAIER: It's one thing to answer it at a podium and in front of a microphone. But when you sign this document declaring under the penalty of perjury, it's a different deal.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, that's why the approach is on this, the question on this, from two sources. One is political from the Congress. And the other is judicial. Lawsuits. And that's where you have to sign and swear under the penalty of perjury.

And she is telling us that there was nothing that were in the destroyed thousands of e-mail that were destroyed as supposedly private. And she said it was about Chelsea's wedding. It was about her yoga and stuff. She is swearing that there is nothing there that could be considered official business.

Now unless they are completely sure that the servers were wiped clean, that could be shown to be untrue. And I think at some point in the process, probably from the courts, not from the Congress, there's -- the government is going to have to seize the servers, what's left of them. I assume they exist but are cleaned and checked that. And I mean, everything is going to hinge on that.

But on this issue today, I mean, it's not only her trustworthiness. It's the fact that nothing she says ever is true three weeks later. She says there was nothing classified and I know how to do that. I know the process. And then it was revised to nothing that at the time was classified. Well, now we're learning it is quite probable that actually at the time it was and she should have known it even if she'll claim obviously that she didn't.

There's always a movement, a parsing, a cutting of the edges with her husband and with herself. And that is the problem that dogs her and that she cannot escape.

BAIER: You know, you have the FBI looking into this and they're quick to point out that she's not the target of the investigation but they're looking into this overall. You have these inspector generals that are -- inspectors general that are looking into it. You have her private attorney, Steve, Kendall, holding a thumb drive with these e-mails. Now, one would think he's not authorized to hold classified material.

HAYES: That's certainly -- those are certainly the indications. I would add somebody else who's looking at this is Trey Gowdy and the Benghazi committee. And what will be interesting to see is if the Clintons have -- and David Kendall and others have used the same procedures that they used in the production of Hillary Clinton's e-mails and not coordinating the production of Sidney Blumenthal's e-mails.

Remember that's one of the things that tripped them up. There were gaps, there were differences in what Hillary Clinton had produced and what Sidney Blumenthal had produced. And it caused people to say wait a second, you haven't been honest with us because we're looking at two -- there are missing e-mails, that are edits to the e-mails. And I think the Clintons have learned a lesson from that and are in all likelihood producing things in a manner that's far more coordinated than they did with Sidney Blumenthal with the production of Huma Abedin's e-mails, Sheryl Mills e- mails, et cetera.

BAIER: Huma Abedin, her assistant and confidant. Cheryl Mills, her former chief of staff. And you know, this investigation is going to continue, David. It's going to drag on. And this is a drag, you think, on the Clinton campaign?

CATANESE: I think so. And just logically, just people out there, how can they really believe that Hillary did not send any type of classified data, that she was that careful? I mean, she's human. And just by the logical - - forget the legal stuff. Just the logical regular Joe smell test. You had all your e-mail on a private server as secretary of state, the nation's chief diplomat, and you never mistakenly even sent something that was top secret? I think that's the problem.

BAIER: Let alone what Secretary Kerry said today was that he's sure that China and Russia have read his e-mails.

KRAUTHAMMER: And he actually said it's probable. And then when he was asked about it directly he kind of hedged because he knew that's not something you want to say. Of course they are reading your e-mail. Whenever I've met with foreign diplomats, they all know that somebody is listening wherever it is. And you know, it's as if you've got to run the water or make noise or put on a fan if you want to say something. But everybody knows that happens. And to keep it secret in your own house I think is just something that is beyond the pale and it's now being exposed.

BAIER: We'll continue to follow it.

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