Politics

Israel Gets Testy With CNN Anchor Over ‘Context’ of Hacked Podesta Emails

Rep. Steve Israel (D., N.Y.) got testy with CNN’s Brianna Keilar during an interview Tuesday over the "context" of the most recent WikiLeaks dump of Clinton campaign chair John Podesta’s emails.

Israel first tried to spin the story by arguing the emails could be fake because they were hacked.

"Congressman, I’m going to stop you there, because–you don’t give them credibility," Keilar said. "If they were fake, you don’t think the campaign would say they were fake? So you’re questioning the voracity of emails?"

Israel said the country has a responsibility to understand and "appreciate that these emails are hacked." He said he wanted to see the emails before commenting on them.

"Isn’t that sort of cynical for there to be this–" Keilar said before she was interrupted.

"No," Israel interjected.

"Well–let me finish," she said.

Keilar said that if the Clinton campaign thought these emails were fake, they would have already come out with a statement disputing their content.

"Look, I get it," she said. "These are emails that were hacked, but they’re still emails that exist. We can still read them and they are what they are. They tell us things. Isn’t it inappropriate that there was this communication between the Clinton campaign and the Justice Department?"

Israel responded by saying that he will not comment until he knows if these emails are authentic.

Keilar changed the question, asking if this line of communication should be practiced in general beyond the hacked emails.

"Should a campaign be communicating with an independent Justice Department about something pertaining to the candidate doing something that was being investigated by the FBI?" she asked.

Israel said that he did not know the context of the emails between the Clinton campaign and the Justice Department regarding the FBI’s investigation of Clinton’s private email server.

"Brianna, with all due respect, I don’t know the context," he said. "I’m very suspicious of these emails and would really counsel the American people, it’s not a campaign email versus email. It’s about fitness to serve."

"You know the context," Keilar said.

"She was–you know the context, her practices were being looked at by the federal government," she said. "You know that context. You know that. Should a campaign be in touch with an independent Justice Department over that? And you do know the context. You know the sort of specifics of what was going on there."

Israel dodged the question again, saying he did not know the context.

"Again, Brianna, without understanding the full context, without having that information available to me, I’m not going to make a judgment," he said.