MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell on Thursday lambasted Hillary Clinton for her excuses about her private email server while serving as secretary of state, asserting that a new report by the State Department inspector general "completely undercuts" her argument and can only be seen as a "devastating" development.
"There are so many flaws in [the Clinton campaign’s] argument," Mitchell said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. "The politics, we’ll have to see how that plays out. But I don’t see how this is anything but devastating given the fact that they have been making a completely different argument now for more than a year."
The IG report was leaked Wednesday, the day before it was set to be publicly released, and says that Clinton failed to comply with National Archives and Records Administration regulations on the use of personal email accounts by senior administration officials.
"She did not comply with the Department’s policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act," the document reads. "Secretary Clinton should have preserved any Federal records she created and received on her personal account by printing and filing those records with the related files in the Office of the Secretary."
Clinton has long maintained that her use of a home-brewed private email server was allowed by the State Department, but the report shows that statement is false. When multiple department officials raised concerns about Clinton’s exclusive use of her private server, one director in Clinton’s office told them "the matter was not to be discussed any further" and to "never speak of the secretary’s personal email system ever again."
The Clinton campaign released a statement about the IG report that says in part: "The inspector general documents show just how consistent her email practices were with those of other secretaries and senior officials at the State Department who also used personal email."
"Even the statement is not accurate," columnist Mike Barnicle remarked when Morning Joe host Mika Brzezinski read the campaign statement aloud.
"I know," Brzezinski responded.
Mitchell then shot down Clinton’s response to the IG report and her justification for using the server in the first place.
"It was not allowed to not return those records before she left the State Department. She violated the official Records Act, according to her own State Department IG appointed by President Obama," Mitchell said. "What you have shown just now, Mika, completely undercuts the argument that she’s been making for more than a year. Just as she is trying to persuade voters that she is not untrustworthy."
Mitchell went on to say that the most shocking aspect of this story is the Clinton campaign’s reaction.
"Claiming that this is the same as what former secretaries did, the comparison they’re making to Colin Powell. The facts are that Colin Powell was the first secretary of state to ever use email. He used it specifically to try to launch the State Department into the new century and try and get people to communicate by email. He was using it as an example," Mitchell said.
"[Powell] did use some personal emails; he didn’t always separate them, "Mitchell continued. "But it was a completely above board—everybody in the State Department knew what he was doing. It was not, in fact, violating rules that were put in place under Clinton, not after she left. It was put in place under Clinton, and she was warned beforehand of decades of this Records Act that prohibits you to leave the State Department, leave any agency, and not turn over your records."
Clinton’s senior staffers also violated record-keeping regulations with their use of emails, the report found.