How the email scandal is smothering Clinton's campaign

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report with Bret Baier," September 2, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


HILLARY CLINTON, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Nothing was marked "classified" at the time I sent or received it.

FBI DIRECTOR JAMES COMEY: Our investigation found that there was classified information sent.

CLINTON: There was nothing marked "classified" on my e-mails, either sent or received.

COMEY: There was classified material e-mails.

CLINTON: I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal e-mails instead of two.

COMEY: She used multiple devices during the four years of her term as secretary of state.

COMEY: In looking back at our investigations into the mishandling or removal of classified information, we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts.


DOUG MCKELWAY, GUEST ANCHOR: Well, you've seen many of those clips or at least portions of them before, but doubters are looking at them in a whole new light now that the FBI in a classic Friday holiday document dump has released its report on its investigation of Hillary Clinton's e-mail practices. It shows a degree of carelessness, her critics would say, that we have not seen before.

Let's bring in our panel now: Charles Hurt, political columnist for The Washington Times; Charles Lane, opinion writer for The Washington Post, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. Charlie, any observations?

CHARLES HURT, THE WASHINGTON TIMES: Well, now we realize why James Comey delivered such a scathing non-indictment when he delivered the news that they weren't going to press charges against her.

But this is a real problem for Hillary Clinton. You know, if she's going to be running a campaign as, you know, I might be the dishonest one, or I might be dishonest, I might be, you know, have been around forever, but I'm the competent one, this thing, the ineptitude that is revealed here and the forgetfulness, which I don't really believe, and then the idea -- the degree to which the people, those around her, gave her bad advice, and yet none of them have been fired. She's not, you know, throwing any of them under the bus over this. Something has to give. The incompetence here undermines any assertion she could ever make that she is prepared to be president.

MCKELWAY: Chuck, does anything in this report change your mind?

CHARLES LANE, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, I don't think it changes -- let's put it more broadly. I don't think it's going to change anybody's mind. I think it's going to sort of reinforce preexisting positions. And, you know, right now, the American people sort of have a negative opinion of Hillary Clinton. She's showing up in the latest "USA Today" poll at 59 percent finding her not honest and trustworthy, which you would think is a terrible number, except you go a little further in the same poll and you see Donald Trump is at 61 percent honest and trustworthy. So she has been very lucky in her political opponents.

And every time I see something new come out about this e-mail issue, which just seems to sort of eat away at her all the time, I keep thinking to myself, what if the Republicans had nominated someone else for president, how would this be playing out? Because Trump's negatives are even higher than hers, and it's the only thing -- and it's one of the main things holding her up right now.

MCKELWAY: Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I think what's striking about what came out today is the brazenness. I mean, everyone knows she lied. William Safire wrote 20 years ago that she was a congenital liar. So we've had 20 years of lies in the interim.

But when you remember that you said originally she did it for convenience, and said it with a straight face, now it turns out that she had 13 devices. She didn't want to carry two, but she actually had 13, many of which, I think most of which are, in fact, unaccounted for.

But in the end I think what's going to hurt her, yes, it reinforces the idea of her being untrustworthy and living by a different set of rules, but that's known. I think it's baked in. I think the effect of this is that nothing can penetrate out of her campaign into the general public want who she is, what she stands for, and what she would do as president. There's no message. This is completely smothering her campaign. Can anyone remember anything she has said or done in the last week or two or three since the convention that has been news other than some new leak, some drip, drip, drip, or some weak campaign response to yet another piece of news?

MCKELWAY: You talked about the brazenness of it. Let's delve into a little bit of it. Full screen, number one, this shows the carelessness here and the propensity for being subject to hacking. Quote from the report, "Clinton received another phishing e-mail purportedly sent from the personal e-mail account of a state official. The e-mail contained a potentially malicious link. Clinton replied to the e-mail stating, quote, "is this really from you? I was worried about opening it." Everybody knows if you have a phishing expedition like this, don't open it. It's unclear whether she opened the link, which is a whole different matter.

Full screen number two, a porn e-mail, "In a separate incident, Abedin sent an e-mail to -- redacted -- indicating Clinton was worried someone was hacking into her email given that she received an e-mail from a known associate containing a link to a website with pornographic material." This is the stuff you watch out for.

KRAUTHAMMER: This is Anthony Weiner at work again.


MCKELWAY: That's not what I meant.

KRAUTHAMMER: He mislabeled the e-mail address. He's done that before.

MCKELWAY: There are also questions, and I'll call up one more full screen from the report itself, about her health. I know that the campaign and many Democrats have completely dismissed this and call it completely out of bounds. But listen to this. "Based on her doctor's advice, she could only work at state for a few hours a day and could not recall every briefing she received."

LANE: That was apparently during December of 2012. And that's been known, they've talked about that. I learned all about that on Twitter today, myself. But nevertheless, to have it come up in the middle of the campaign, again, and to have her sort of pleading bad health, right, to sort of cite that as a reason she couldn't remember this information or shouldn't be held accountable for that particular moment in the story, it's not a great moment for her, because, again, it, A, reinforces this sort of meme that's out there that she's somehow got something wrong with her health. And it shows her in a way hiding behind it to protect herself.

KRAUTHAMMER: But claiming, with the other hand, that to raise the issue of her health is somehow illegitimate.

HURT: It's precisely the notion that the normal laws of anything simply don't ever apply to them. And then the other thing, you know, going back to the thing about the classification. You know, she's, in government for a long time. She was in the U.S. Senate for a long time. These things, she couldn't have been oblivious to all of these things. She had to have known exactly what she was doing, or she really is -- a friend of mine was joking at the time over Comey's announcement, that basically she was too dumb to prosecute. Well, if she really is that stupid, then that excludes her from being president, you know, just on those grounds.

MCKELWAY: As we close this, she also said initially at that press conference last year at the United Nations, that she had two mobile devices. We learned in this report that she had 13 in all. Granted, it could be that some of them broke, she maybe dropped one, had a broken screen or whatever, maybe they weren't functioning properly.

But then we learned from Catherine Herridge that an aide to Bill Clinton smashed some of them with a hammer. What completely innocent person does that kind of a thing? I don't know.

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