Liberal Professor Attacks Clinton Secrecy
Even liberal Bush administration critics are, as Hillary Clinton would say, "piling on" the Senator from New York and Democratic presidential candidate. George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, a regular guest on "Countdown with Keith Olbermann," who suggested that President Bush "could well have committed a federal crime...30 times" with the NSA wiretapping program, offered harsh words for Senator Clinton on the November 6 "Fox and Friends."
Turley opined that the Clintons "seem to want" documents being released "at a glacial pace." Turley noted that "it’s not just health care stuff" but also "things like pardons, controversies involving Hillary Clinton’s brothers."
Host Gretchen Carlson cited Clinton’s claim that he actually "sped things up." A skeptical Professor Turley said he does not "see how former President Clinton could say he sped things up" and that many of these documents are very difficult to reach because of some "very, very broad" "exemptions."
The entire transcript is below.
SENATOR HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY): My husband has not with held a single document. And we have hundreds of requests that are being dealt with and are being processed as quickly as the archives can.
GRETCHEN CARLSON: The battle over access to the Clinton White House papers. So why the delay?
STEVE DOOCY: George Washington University Constitutional law professor and extremely smart man, except that he got up so early this morning, Jonathan Turley joins us live from DC good morning.
PROFESSOR JONATHAN TURLEY: Thank you.
DOOCY: Alright, so Hillary Clinton says those archivists are working as fast as they possibly can to release this stuff. But isn't it true, professor, that she herself could have ordered these papers released years ago because she is one of two people that the former president designated as keepers of his papers?
TURLEY: There's no question, first of all that it's moving at a glacial pace and I think there's also no question the, the Clintons seem to want it that way. I mean, if you look at this objectively, they could have done a lot more to release much of this information. It's not just the health care stuff. It's many things that historians are interested in, including things like the pardons, controversies involving Hillary Clinton's brothers. And so there's a lot there that academics want access to, but there have been long complaints that President Clinton, former President Clinton put very difficult exemptions in place that make this a movement a slow pace.
CARLSON: So Jonathan, apparently back in 2002, President Clinton wrote a letter. Some people say that, that slowed down the process of releasing these documents. Now he has come out the last few days and said "hey, now that letter really sped things up." What's your perspective?
TURLEY: I don't see how former President Clinton could say he sped things up. He sent a letter that extended the release date for 12 years. Presidents can do that. After five years, they can be released or organized by the archives. The president can extend all of that twelve years before anything's released. But what President Clinton did was he cited a series of exempted- exemptions or categories. And those are very, very broad. They contain most everything that academics and reporters want to see. That's what has slowed this down so dramatically.
DOOCY: Right, and in fact, they referred to "Newsweek" magazine, to quote some of the locals down in Little Rock. They called the library "Little Rock's Fort Knox" because it's almost impossible to get stuff out of there. And when you look at it, professor, it, it- so, okay, you can have my papers in 12 years, that is just a little too convenient, isn't it? By that time, Hillary Clinton would have run for president, and some people are just saying they planned this from the get go.
TURLEY: Well, frankly, I don't think that they're eager to see a large scale release of papers for obvious reasons running for the presidency. I can't say that they are more hostile to release than other presidents. It is true that President Clinton has gone further in terms of the scope of his exemptions than President Bush's father or Ronald Reagan. But it's largely due to Hillary Clinton's role in government. She also had a more extensive role. First ladies have not been subject to these types of exemptions in terms of their communications. That clearly is the case here and that makes it more extensive.