Lanny Davis: ‘A Governor Is Different From a Secretary’

RNC Communications Director Sean Spicer and former Clinton White House Special Counsel Lanny Davis squared off over Hillary Clinton’s e-mails on Monday’s “OutFront” on CNN.

Davis was first asked by anchor Brianna Keilar why Clinton hasn’t explained herself yet if what she did was completely legal, which he answered by talking about the length of the Whitewater investigation and maintaining that there was no story.

Spicer then said he wanted Democrats to be more fortright and asked Davis “you and your firm represent several countries that have a horrible human rights record. Did you at any time e-mail Secretary Clinton on that private email about any business pertaining to the countries that you represent?”

Davis denied that his firm represents any “horrible countries” and that he e-mailed Clinton about any business.

Spicer then stated “they don’t want to talk about what’s in those emails because they know some of that information pertaining to the Secretary’s — look, whether Lanny conducted business with her or not, right now we don’t know. The president today talked about the fact that he was emailing with her. Think of the cybersecurity concerns that should exist that you have the President of the United States e-mailing the Secretary of State on an unsecure server at a time when the Secretary of State is telling people about how vulnerable the United States is. That alone should present huge problems. Never mind the idea of we have no idea what people like Lanny or others were e-mailing her about with respect to to business in front of the State Department.”

He was then asked about the possibility of Republicans “overplaying” their hand and making Clinton look sympathetic, to which he responded that he was not concerned about this.

Spicer continued by listing questions that he believed Clinton needs to answer, “why did you have a server installed? What steps did you take to secure it? What things were e-mailed on that? How many more e-mails haven’t you turned over? That’s hardly going over the top, that’s just the beginning where we should be starting and something that every American should be asking”

Spicer then added, “this is a separation statement that every employee of the State Department was asked to fill out, including the time when Secretary Clinton was there. It requires that every employee from this Department of State, when they leave, agree that everything that they have — that they have turned over everything pertaining to government business has been turned over, and they have to sign that as part of the separation agreement when you leave the Department of State. The question is why is that something that was asked of every employee to make sure all documents, all business was officially turned over, and yet Secretary Clinton didn’t abide by that either?”

Keilar then jumped in, saying to Davis “I think it’s fair to say that she violated the spirit of this regulation for sure, and I just wonder why would she put herself in this position, especially when, you know, there’s been a narrative about the Clintons and Hillary Clinton that they’re not particularly forthcoming?”

Davis objected that saying Clinton violated the spirit of the rules was just her “opinion,” and “subjective,” to which she argued back “Democrats say it to me, Lanny.”

Davis then turned the the strict legality, pointing to a statement by former National Archives and Record Administration head of litigation Jason Baron about the legality of Clinton’s actions, Keilar objected  “I’m not saying illegal. But that’s not the point. You are setting up a straw man. I’m talking about whether she did– you can do something wrong and it’s not illegal.”

He answered, “Brianna, if you interrupt me and you don’t interrupt somebody who smeared me and lied about me, then, I’m sorry, that’s not appropriate. I’m telling you that she did not violate the spirit or the law. And that it’s a subjective term. I’m also saying to the gentleman from, gentleman, spoken loosely now that he lied about me from the RNC, if you’re talking about national security and preservation, a private server versus the State Department server, I would remind everyone about WikiLeaks that we’re not exactly secure. I would also remind that it’s different, a governor is different from a secretary. I understand that, Jeb Bush for 18 years had his own server, and we didn’t we didn’t know about 3 million emails. Good for him for disclosing 250,000, 2,750,000 haven’t been disclosed, and I say Jeb Bush did nothing wrong, either the spirit or the letter, because they’re available for everybody to ask for, and the server can’t have anything deleted. We all know that.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett