Lanny Davis vs. MSNBC Host on Hillary's Private Email: "She Wasn't Aware She Was Doing Anything Wrong"


Lanny Davis, Clinton confidant and former special counsel to President Bill Clinton, had a tense interview on MSNBC defending former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for using a private e-mail account when she ran the State Department. In an interview with MSNBC's Tamron Hall on Friday, Davis claimed Clinton "wasn't aware she was doing anything wrong" and asked why the media isn't focusing on Jeb Bush, who also ran a private e-mail serve. Bush served two four-year terms as Governor of Florida and left office in 2006.

Davis said Congress "will have 100% access to any e-mail that was preserved."

Davis also told MSNBC's Hall he has a "breaking story" that Hillary is "ready to be transparent." Davis took another jab at Bush, saying "he only released some, not all."

"I can tell you here today, maybe a breaking story, she's ready to be transparent," Davis said. "What she said in her Twitter account two nights ago is everything will be made available. I would love to see Governor Bush say the same thing. Governor Bush hasn't said that. He only released some, not all."

"I would like to see everyone take a breath," he added.

"We're going to have verification by her being believed that she's going to turn over everything," Davis also said.

TAMRON HALL, MSNBC: Lanny, you were special counsel to President Bill Clinton in the late '90s. I know you've read the reports and heard the commentary from pundits who say this is just another example of how the Clintons do business, that they don't want to be transparent, that they work under their own rules.

I want to play, before you respond, what Senator John McCain said to my colleague Andrea Mitchell yesterday.

SEN McCAIN: The question that I think is going to rise over time is how can we be confident that once she carries out what she tweeted, that is she wants all the e-mails known, how are we going to know that? How are we going to have verification of that?

HALL: How will we have verification of that, Lanny?

LANNY DAVIS, CLINTON CONFIDANT: Well, we're going to have verification by her being believed that she's going to turn over everything, third parties, including subpoenas. Senator McCain, Congressman Gowdy, anybody in State Department will have 100% access to any e-mail that was preserved, fact one. Fact two is that nobody has disagreed with me as a lawyer that what she did was lawful. Lawful.

Now all the what ifs, suppose that Alex [Seitz-Wald]'s reporting is all speculation, we don't know whether, that's not fact, that's speculation. So, I always say, it is my mantra, can we all wait for the facts to come in? Here's what we know are facts. One, what she did was lawful, as long as they were preserved, because the law changed in 2014 about private e-mails.

Fact two, what she did was open. She sent these e-mails to thousands of people with that e-mail address. So there's no intent to hide, maybe a judgment call can be questioned, but no intent to hide is a fact. And fact three, this is not without precedent. Why are we not talking about Jeb Bush using not state dot gov Florida, but his personal e-mail with his own server that didn't get the headlines. The fact is he did nothing wrong, Hillary Clinton did nothing wrong, as long as they're preserved and there's nothing to hide.

HALL: If that is the case, why haven't we heard in your opinion from Secretary Clinton, other than the tweet?

DAVIS: Well, I think Secretary Clinton unfortunately has a brain educated by a law degree, as I do, and what we are trained to do, unlike Alex who just went through, he is a great reporter, a couple of minutes of all of the things we don't know, not one of them a fact, but he's right, we don't know whether there are martians on the moon. But he definitely says we don't know.

What we know as a fact and Hillary Clinton knows that what she did had precedent. Colin Powell used the same private e-mail system for government business and that she wasn't aware that she was doing anything wrong. Now she's trying to catch up with the facts.

But I can tell you here today, maybe a breaking story, she's ready to be transparent. What she said in her Twitter account two nights ago is everything will is going to be made available. I would love to see Governor Bush say the same thing. Governor Bush hasn't said that. He only released some, not all. So, I'd like to see everyone take a breath, and even my friend Alex whose work I greatly admire. Let's differentiate what we don't know which is fair enough from what we do know which is fact.

HALL: I'll tell you this, people will say you're deflecting on Alex and his accurate reporting at this point. He hasn't reported anything that is untrue, he is following the story, traveling to Miami, and others will say you're deflecting to Jeb Bush. I want to read what Associated Press put here.

DAVIS: Deflecting?

HALL (reading from Associated Press article): This is what makes what Clinton did both sneaky and some say genius... if you want a complete record of Clinton's electronic correspondence while she was helping to decide matters of war and peace, you'd have to knock on her door and ask politely. Or take her to court.

HALL: And that speaks to a little of what you were saying regarding her being an attorney. With that said, she may well run for office where we know transparency matters.

DAVIS: Do you mind if I respond to what I think was a little jab at me.

HALL: No, no. It wasn't a jab, I would have told you. I am saying this is what people will say, because you have my correspondent, my colleague Alex on, you're pointing to his reporting and you brought up Jeb Bush when I clearly asked the question simply I think what do you believe or why do you believe she's behind this story responding only so far through Twitter.

DAVIS: So two things I would really like to respond to. I am not criticizing Alex one iota. But I am saying accurately, Alex will not disagree, he is reporting speculative, not facts, what we don't know. Secondly, I am not deflecting. Jeb Bush is a fine man, what he did was nothing wrong. I am saying there's a double standard in media coverage where we are not pointing out that there's precedent for what Hillary Clinton did, whether it is a governor or whether it is Secretary of State Powell, that's all.

HALL: Well, Secretary of State Powell did not control his own home server. We know that.

DAVIS: Excuse me, Governor Bush did. When you make these distinctions, you're in argument now, not doing facts. You want to argue with me, that's your right as host of a program, but you just made a distinction --

HALL: I am not a host of a show that argues. I ask questions.

DAVIS: Then why not talk about Jeb Bush having a home server? Why did you omit that?

HALL: And we have discussed what you referred to as the document dump by Jeb Bush as well, but we had you on as a guest to discuss this.

DAVIS: Excuse me, it was not a document dump. Excuse me, it was a partial release. It was not a document dump. That's false. His press secretary said that, you guys reported it. He released a portion. He did not release his personal.

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