During Wednesday's Democrats debate in Miami sponsored by the Washington Post and Univision, Jorge Ramos went after Hillary Clinton hard about her email fiasco. Ramos forced Hillary to bob and weave with a series of tough questions including:
- Who authorized her unusual private email setup?
- Whether she had a double standard with one set of rules for herself and another set of rules for other State Department employees?
- “Would you drop out of the race if you get indicted?”
Ramos also tried and failed to get Bernie Sanders to take a shot at Hillary for her D*mn emails. Sanders continues to abide by that good political advice -- when your opponent is in trouble, you get out of the way.
You can watch the exchange in the following YouTube video. Keep your eyes on Hillary's very expressive face as Ramos asks these questions:
Transcript of the exchange:
RAMOS: Secretary Clinton, I want to disclose once again that my daughter Paula works for your campaign. And now I have a question about your emails. Your Republican opponents say that those emails have endangered our national security. When you were secretary of state, you wrote 104 emails in your private server that the government now says contain classified information according to The Washington Post analysis.
That goes against a memo that you personally sent to your employees in 2011 directing all of them to use official email, precisely because of security concerns. So it seems that you issued one set of rules for yourself and a different set of rules for the rest of the State Department.
So who specifically gave you permission to operate your email system as you did? Was it President Barack Obama? And would you drop out of the race if you get indicted?
CLINTON: Well, Jorge, there's a lot of questions in there. And I'm going to give the same answer I've been giving for many months. It wasn't the best choice. I made a mistake. It was not prohibited. It was not in any way disallowed. And as I have said and as now has come out, my predecessors did the same thing and many other people in the government. But here's the cut to the chase facts. I did not send or receive any emails marked classified at the time. What you are talking about is retroactive classification. And the reason that happens is when somebody asks or when you are asked to make information public, I asked all my emails to be made public. Then all the rest of the government gets to weigh in.
And some other parts of the government, we're not exactly sure who, has concluded that some of the emails should be now retroactively classified. They've just said the same thing to former Secretary Colin Powell. They have said, we're going to retroactively classify emails you sent personally.
CLINTON: Now I think he was right when he said this is an absurdity. And I think that what we have got here is a case of over classification.
RAMOS: If we get your permission...
CLINTON: I am not concerned about it. I am not worried about it and no Democrat or American should be either.
RAMOS: Secretary Clinton, the questions were, who gave you permission to cooperate? Was it President Obama?
CLINTON: There was no permission to be asked. It had been done by my predecessors. It was permitted.
RAMOS: If you get indicted would you going to drop out?
CLINTON: Oh, for goodness -- that's not going to happen. I'm not even answering that question.
RAMOS: Senator Sanders, you have gone from saying the following, the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn e- mails, to claiming that it is a very serious issue. Which is it?
SANDERS: There is a process under way, and that process will take its course. Today in America, the middle class is disappearing. We have massive levels of income and wealth inequality, climate change threatens the whole planet, 47 million people live in poverty. I'm going to focus on the issues facing the working families of this country. That process specifically
Chris Cillizza and Byron Tau provided some instant fact checking on Hillary's answers. Cillizza Tweeted that Hillary's predecessors "DID NOT do the same thing. She is the first Secretary of State to EXCLUSIVELY use a private email account." Byron Tau tweeted that Hillary did not "ask" for her emails to be released. They were released under court order.
CNN also fact checked Hillary's response to Ramos' questions and found them wanting:
But it should be noted that Clinton's statement that "my predecessors did the same thing" in the same answer is not entirely accurate. While Powell used a private email account occasionally (and Rice actually never used email herself during her tenure), none of her predecessors used a private server for the entirety of their tenure, as Clinton did.
Not a good exchange or debate for Hillary.