All-Star Panel: Hillary Clinton under fire for using personal e-mail

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," March 3, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


REP. TREY GOWDY, R - SC: The State Department is relying on Secretary Clinton herself and her attorneys and advisors to tell us and to tell you what e-mails they think are to be preserved. It is frankly nothing short of incredible that any official in the current administration would engage in a practice such as that.

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: They reviewed her personal e-mails to capture all of those that pertain to the conduct of her -- of official U.S. business.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Well, White House responding to a New York Times story about Hillary Clinton e-mails. She used a private e-mail throughout her entire time as secretary of state. Remember that iconic picture of her on the plane with her Blackberry? Well, that was a private e-mail. And many people are weighing in on this. National Journal Ron Fournier writing "Clinton exposed confidential and potentially dangerous information on non- secure commercial e-mail system. She gave Chinese spies a better shot at reading her e-mails than U.S. taxpayers." This is generating a lot of attention. We're back with the panel. Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Look, when you hear these stories about the Clintons, it's all of a pattern. Whether or not it was illegal, how scandalous it is, yes, it was a breach of secrecy. It established a security risk, and, of course, it allows the Clinton complete control over what is known and not known, which is not supposed to be the case.

But it is so Clintonian, it sort of walks the line. The amazing thing here is they never sought to hide it. I mean, she goes four years, no one ever receives an e-mail from her that has the State Department address.  It's all private. So it wasn't as if they were hiding it. But it's as if the Clintons are entitled to their own rules on all aspects of public life, including, for example, the collection of contributions from foreign governments in a way that is truly scandalous but that is sort of done almost in the open because the Clintons are entitled.

BAIER: A.B., she did hand over 22 months after she left secretary of state. State Department comes to her and says do you have any e-mails? She says yes, I have 55,000. She gives these e-mails that she says are dealing with state.

But her long-time aide Sydney Blumenthal -- it was discovered years ago had many exchanges over this private e-mail system, and it was a hacker that actually got those e-mails. And they run the gamut, global flash points, Nigeria, Turkey, Mali, Libya, European Central Bank, Georgia elections, Germany. And one of them says "The following information comes from extremely sensitive sources and should be handled with care." We don't know whether those e-mails are part are part of the stuff that she gave over.

A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE HILL: No. Look, apart from what she was asked for and then she released, it's all supposed to be in the system. It's all supposed to be captured in the system on your official State Department e-mail account.  So, forget that she runs the Clinton Foundation, and all -- and that she is under investigation by the Benghazi select committee and everything else.  When she took that office, she knew better than anybody when you work in the government, nothing is private and everything has to be secure and you have to be accountability. And she made the decision to make her e-mails as insecure as possible and, therefore, her business as State Department secretary. This part alone is astonishing, let alone the fact that she has been a presidential candidate since 2005. And in 2009, when she took this, job she was leaving every single door open for that job.

BAIER: Steve, how do we know that there aren't Clinton Foundation e-mails where she is talking to foreign governments about donations for the Clinton foundation and really she is secretary of state at the time? That would seem to be a bank shot.

BAIER: Well, we know that because the State Department has assured us that that's not the case, that she has turned over the relevant e-mails and everybody else should just butt out.

Look, what I find is astonishing about this as much as anything is that she is still relying on the advice of Sydney Blumenthal. He is a conspiracy theorist. That alone should disqualify her from the presidency. If you look at the conventional wisdom about the Benghazi select committee when it started, remember, all of the questions about Benghazi had been answered. That apparently is not true. We learned through this investigation, this investigation only, none of the other investigations turned up the fact that Hillary Clinton was using her personal e-mail, didn't even have a State Department email. What this does, I think, as it relates to Benghazi, is it further weakens her primary defense, which was the ARB report done by the State Department. We now know that the ARB report didn't interview her, apparently didn't have access to any of her e-mails, that the co-chairman of the ARB report was providing draft report to Hillary Clinton's chief of staff and was coaching witnesses before they went before Congress. That's her best defense. It crumbles under even the slightest scrutiny, and I think we are going to get a lot more scrutiny.

BAIER: This will not be the end of this story. Many Democrats are weighing in. Kudos to the New York Times for doing the story. That's it for the panel, but stay tuned to see a local news report that went downhill really fast.

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