Former Governor Ed Rendell (D-Penn.), a Clinton loyalist, defended Hillary Clinton's use of a private e-mail account during her tenure at the State Department on MSNBC this afternoon and received a grilling from host Alex Wagner and Glenn Thrush of Politico. Rendell dismissed the growing controversy swirling around Clinton and justified the private account.
"Governor, let's talk first about the security issue because I don't feel like this has been discussed as much as the record-keeping aspect," Wagner said to Rendell." Hillary Clinton is e-mailing heads of state over sensitive matters of state and is using an e-mail address that we know was hacked into once that was not on government servers at a time when cyber-security is a major priority for the administration, for the White House, for the American government."
"Did she do the wrong thing here?" Wagner asked.
"First of all, your premise, I think, Alex, is not correct," Rendell said. "Your premise is government e-mail is so much more secure. Well, Edward Snowden taught us that government e-mail is not."
"No, that's premise," Wagner shot back. "My premise is government servers have people monitoring them. They get hacked into. Her e-mail account was also hacked into. But at least with government servers you have a dedicated web team that is trying to deal with the threat."
"We've got no assurances from the Clinton campaign that they were doing anything of the sort," Wagner added.
"I got to say first and foremost," Politico's Thrush said, "I had a Clinton staffer in 2008 tell me that Ed Rendell was their best surrogate, and I have to say that is as true today as it was then."
"He's amazing," Thrush added.
"I this is much ado about a lot," Thrush said. "While that number 55,000 (e-mails) seems impressive just as a raw number, how many other tens of thousands of e-mails predated that two-month period? The bottom line is even if this turns out to be less than meets the eye, there is a tremendous number of unanswered questions here."
"This is going to drag on for months and months and months. This is really going to be a cloud over her announcement in a couple weeks," Thrush declared.
"Governor, what do you think about that in terms of casting a shadow over a possible announcement maybe as early as next month?" Wagner asked. "I mean there are outlets, and they are not necessarily conservative outlets, that are now revisiting Clinton scandals of past, ones that directly pertain to this in terms of the shroud of secrecy. Again, whether that is Whitewater, whether that's Sandy Berger, whatever it is, it dredges up a chapter in the Clinton history that I'm sure former Secretary of State Clinton does not enjoy revisiting."
"I don't understand what the issue is here," Rendell said. "Can anybody cite a case, an individual case where something happened because Secretary Clinton didn't use her government email?
"We don't know," Thrush said.
"That's part of the issue," Wagner chimed in.
"Don't you think you would know?" Rendell responded.
"No, absolutely not," Thrush answered.