MSNBC’s “The Last Word” host Lawrence O’Donnell openly laughed at former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm’s (D) defense of Hillary Clinton on Wednesday.
O’Donnell began by reading from a 2009 regulation that says “agencies that allow employees to send and receive official electronic mail messages using a system not operated by the agency, must ensure that federal records sent or received on such systems are preserved in the appropriate agency recordkeeping system,” and arguing Clinton didn’t follow this rule and that “there’s no way of knowing now how many of Hillary Clinton’s e-mails are — that were in that system were actually properly preserved.”
Granholm responded, “well, the issue, lawrence, is that — what was the state department’s proper recordkeeping system? What she did was follow the precedent that had happened before, which is that she had — she did e-mail –”
O’Donnell then interjected “when there’s a new regulation issued while you are Secretary of State in 2009, you don’t get to say, ‘I’m doing what everyone before this regulation did,'” to which Granholm asked, “why not?”
A visibly frustrated O’Donnell responded “because they just changed the regulation. If I raise your tax rate, you don’t get to say to me, ‘I’d like to pay the old one.'”
Granholm continued to argue precedence, saying “Lawrence, if it worked for the previous administration, why not –”
O’Donnell at this point began laughing, and said “oh, listen, this is — that’s a ridiculous — are you saying you should just ignore all new regulations?”
Granholm did admit, under questioning from O’Donnell that she didn’t know how many e-mails Clinton didn’t release.
After Granholm argued that politicians on both sides have used private e-mails, O’Donnell turned to New York Times Correspondent Josh Barro and said “what I just heard, is what I don’t believe Governor Granholm would be saying — Josh Barro, if this were a Republican administration. And it is not what I heard any Democrat say when they discovered that [New Jersey Governor] Chris Christie’s (R) team was using private e-mail when convenient to them when they were trying to get around the use of official e-mail. This strikes me, when I hear responses like that of already the reaction to it is purely partisan. If you support Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, you’re going to say there’s nothing wrong here. We turn the tables and just put a Republican name beside this story, totally different response.”
Barro agreed, adding that e-mail story is “helping us to learn who will defend anything Hillary Clinton does, no matter how indefensible.”
Later, Granholm said that voters care about jobs and foreign policy, not whether record-keeping laws were followed.
She further claimed that Clinton had not refused to answer questions about the e-mails, a claim that O’Donnell also laughed at.
Barro further added that they didn’t know whether Clinton had turned all her e-mails over, other reporters at the Times were getting “very limited” answers from Clinton’s spokespeople, and that Clinton had certainly failed to turn e-mails over in a timely manner.
Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett