Rep. Xavier Becerra (D., Calif.) was called out on Wednesday for deflecting questions by CNN’s Chris Cuomo on the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
Becerra, reportedly on Clinton’s shortlist of potential running mates to join her on the Democratic ticket, was asked by Cuomo why Clinton should be trusted to be president after he listed some of Clinton’s past claims about her server that FBI Director James Comey refuted in a statement Tuesday.
The congressman responded by praising Clinton’s work on the Osama bin Laden raid and her effort to "stop Iran’s nuclear buildup," adding that Clinton made a mistake with her email use.
"Did she make some mistakes with those emails? She has already admitted that she did," Becerra said. "She said she would never do that again. Did she do any violation of law that would cause her to be prosecuted? No. Did she do something that we all can learn from, and I mean you and me and every single one of us who’s trying to figure out technology and be ahead of it? She showed us that every one of us is human and we have to be very careful, especially if you’re secretary of state and expecting to be president of the United States."
Cuomo was not satisfied with Becerra’s answer.
"Right, but, I respect your deflection on this issue to what you are saying is a bigger matter of judgment and trust, but these matter too," Cuomo said. "I’ll give you, there is no illegality here, according to the FBI. That will be chewed over by the partisans from now until November. But, she lied about things there by dint of the investigation with the FBI, and this goes to trust and what is seen as a pattern of Clinton behavior. Fair assessment?"
"No. No, Chris. You’re using words that even FBI Director Comey did not use, that the FBI investigators did not use," Becerra said. "So, I don’t think that’s fair for you to say that."
"No, no, no, OK, OK, hold on a second. You are right in as much as Hillary Clinton was not cited for lying to the FBI. Had she, in all likelihood, she probably would have been indicted because that’s an indictable offense. You can’t lie to the FBI," Cuomo said.
"But, I’m saying as a result of the investigation, did they ask for permission?" Cuomo asked. "They said, yes, the Clinton people and it came out, ‘No, you did not get permission to do this.’ ‘Did you turn over the emails?’ ‘Yes, we did.’ ‘No, you deleted a lot of emails that nobody got to vet.’ Those would be seen as material inaccuracies, that would be seen as lying, not in the legal sense but, I’m saying, in the political sense."
Becerra disagreed with Cuomo’s assessment and continued to defend Clinton.