Chris Wallace to Adam Schiff: 'We're Done With' Hillary's 'Colin Powell Did It' Defense

May 29th, 2016 10:24 PM

On Fox News Sunday, in a segment comparing statements in the State Department Inspector General's report with claims Hillary Clinton has made about her emails and use of a home-brew private server while she was Secretary of State, host Chris Wallace had to endure Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff's obsessive insistence on bringing up former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who left office over 11 years ago, at seemingly every turn.

At one point in the Sunday morning segment, Wallace said, twice: "We’re done with Colin Powell," and then told Schiff that "I would expect more from you," clearly meaning, "I expected better." But then, after quoting a section of the IG's report noting that Powell was interviewed, while Mrs. Clinton, despite public assurances to the contrary, refused to cooperate with the investigation, Schiff basically said, "Aha, you brought up Powell!" Wallace's final comeback was priceless: "You know what? I’m not going to vote for Colin Powell for president this time." He did not give Schiff a chance to speak again — nor should he have.

The video which follows contains almost all of the full 12-minute segment, and includes Republican Senator James Lankford, who serves on the upper chamber's Intelligence Committee.

Anyone taking blood-pressure medicine should make sure they're properly medicated before viewing Schiff's blood-boiling attempt to hijack Wallace's segment:

Transcript (slightly edited for accuracy from Fox's full rush transcript found here; the Powell-related text is bolded):

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS SUNDAY: Now to the Hillary Clinton e-mail scandal. A new report by the State Department Inspector General says Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server while she was Secretary of State violated department policies.

Joining me now, two members of the House and the Senate Intelligence Committees. Here in Washington, Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff. And in Oklahoma, Republican Senator James Lankford.

So, gentlemen, the way that I want to structure this is to show what Clinton said, and then what the Inspector General’s report concluded.

And first, on the issue of whether or not Clinton's exclusive use of a private email and a personal server was allowed.


CLINTON: It was allowed under the rules of the State Department. And, again --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So nobody signed off on it?

CLINTON: No. No. It was allowed.


WALLACE: But, here’s what the report from the Inspector General said. "OIG," Office of Inspector General, "found no evidence that the Secretary requested or obtained guidance or approval to conduct official business via a personal e-mail account on her private server."

Senator Lankford?

SEN. JAMES LANKFORD, R-OKLA., INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Yeah, that -- that’s entirely accurate. She didn’t go -- try to get permission. She didn’t -- if she would have asked permission, the Inspector General said she would not have received that.

Since 2002, the State Department has not even allowed employees to be able to forward on from a private e-mail to their official one, because they said it wasn’t secure. So this is an established issue, has been established a long time, for the State Department. You cannot do this.

WALLACE: Congressman Schiff, it actually gets worse when that when two members of the State Department’s recordkeeping division complained about this, expressed concerned, a superior instructed them this way. He "instructed the staff never to speak of the secretary’s personal e-mail again." That's a quote from the OIG report.

Congressman Clinton never got approval.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF, D-CALI., RANKING MEMBER, INTELLIGENCE CMTE: No, she was mistaken about that. She thought that it was approved, that the practice was allowed, and she was wrong. The report also makes clear that Secretary Powell also thought it was appropriate to use a personal server, private server --

WALLACE: But that’s not -- that’s not true. That is not true. And I -- I had a feeling you were going call me on that and let’s discuss it right now.

SCHIFF: Yes. I am going to call you on that.

WALLACE: Secretary Powell had two computers in his office. He used one, a government computer, for classified information. He had a second computer for private e-mails. Some of those included business, State Department business, but he did have a separate office of the State Department, Secretary of State, computer.

SCHIFF: He had a -- a laptop, a State Department laptop, which the OIG report says he never used for e-mail. Not for official business.

WALLACE: That’s not what -- that's not what Secretary Powell said.

SCHIFF: The -- the -- the -- the -- the OIG report says that he used personal e-mail exclusively for all of his official e-mail business. And the OIG also says that when the -- Secretary Powell was asked to provide --

WALLACE: Did he use -- let me ask another question.

SCHIFF: No, no, -- let me -- this -- this is very important.

WALLACE: Well, let me just ask you this, though, did he ever use a private server?

SCHIFF: He did use a private server. It wasn’t his own private server. It was a server owned presumably by America Online. But he -- yes, he used exclusively a private server. And --

WALLACE: And he had a laptop that goes to the State Department.

SCHIFF: But let me -- let me -- let me make one other point, which is -- is I think very critical, which is, the OIG also found that the retention by Secretary Clinton of her e-mails, the fact that she provided 55,000 pages of e-mails, mitigated the fact that she used a private server. In the case of Secretary Powell, there was no mitigation. None of those e-mails were turned over. So the -- the person who was secretary of the state during the decision to go to war in Iraq did not preserve any of his e-mails, one of the most consequential decisions in recent history. That, to me, is far more consequential than the fact that the secretary did preserve them and turn them over.

WALLACE: When -- when did -- when did Secretary Clinton leave the State Department?

SCHIFF: I believe it was in 2012 or 2013.

WALLACE: It as January of 2013. Do you know when she turned over the 55,000 pages?

SCHIFF: After she left office and she was --

WALLACE: No. No, sir, and you -- and you know it was --

SCHIFF: And she was -- and she was requested by the State Department.

WALLACE: Wait a minute, you know it was December of 2014. It was two years later.

SCHIFF: Yes. Yes, that’s right. That's absolutely right.

WALLACE: OK. Let me just bring in --

SCHIFF: But -- but -- but let me ask you this, Chris. I mean --

WALLACE: Well, no, no, no, let me -- I have to --


WALLACE: Bring in Senator Lankford.

This idea of comparing it to Secretary Powell?

LANKFORD: Yes, I’ve -- I’ve heard this over and over again. It’s -- it is apple and oranges. What Secretary Clinton did was, she kept a private serve in her home. This was all about her political security, not about national security. It was about retaining and controlling all these records. And she still has not turned over all these e-mails.

And I keep hearing these large numbers. She’s turned over $55,000 pages. Well, wonderful. The Inspector General's report, when you read it, says that there were e-mails from David Petraeus that they found on the Department of Defense website that were to Hillary Clinton in David Petraeus' official e-mail that she had sent that were never turned over. So we still don't know what it is. She self-filtered all these e-mails --

WALLACE: All right.

LANKFORD: And said these are official and these are not and we still don’t have those.

WALLACE: All right. I’m -- excuse me for interrupting both of you, but I want to -- to move on to another subject.

There’s also the security of the information that Clinton kept on her private e-mail server. Here is Clinton.


CLINTON: There were no security breaches.


WALLACE: But, the IG report found in January of 2011 a technical support staffer shut down the server twice because, quote, "someone was trying to hack us." The next day, a top State Department official told Clinton's staff not to e-mail the secretary anything sensitive. Now, in her defense, Senator Lankford, Clinton says there’s no evidence anybody actually got into her server.

LANKFORD: Well, that -- that is the defensive that no one got in, but can -- that’s something you cannot know. Right now we have about 1,300 plus e-mails and are at some level of classification from what we have and what we know of right now, many of them top secret. That is a major problem. You do not keep that. The issue is, she willfully retained information on a non-secure server that was separate from the government system, that she knew was classified, or that should have known was classified and kept that in a non-secure location. That is a major national security breach that no other cabinet level official did. And all this talk about Colin Powell and everything else, no other cabinet official in the Obama administration did what she did. Everyone else seemed to understand the rules but her.

WALLACE: All right.

LANKFORD: But she seems to prioritize her political security over national security.

WALLACE: Congressman Schiff, one, we had never heard about these attempted attacks until the IG’s report. So that's new. Two, if the sever was so secure, why did they have to keep turning it off? And, three, as Senator Lankford points out, you don’t always know if somebody has a successful attack because hackers don’t leave fingerprints.

SCHIFF: No, that’s true. What we do know from the OIG report is that there were a couple of attempts to hack into the system that were unsuccessful. So we don't know that there’s any evidence of a successful breach.

But I do want to get back to the point that -- that I want to finish, and that's -- Senator Lankford mentioned, and that is, the comparison with Secretary Powell is --

WALLACE: Oh, come on. Can we -- well, forgive me. Forgive me.

SCHIFF: Well, no, you -- you told me you would allow me to -- to push back, and I want to push back.

WALLACE: Wait a minute. No, no, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.

Hillary Clinton's running for president. Colin Powell is not running for president. The rules in 2004 were completely different. They're complete different guidelines. Sir, the guidelines were repeatedly strengthened in 2005, in 2006, in 2007 -- 2011. Hillary Clinton was operating in a different world. Can we please stay to the issue of what Hillary Clinton did or didn’t do and not talk about Colin Powell?

SCHIFF: Well, I know you don’t want to talk about Colin Powell because you -- you don’t want to --

WALLACE: It’s not -- it’s irrelevant to the issue.

SCHIFF: It isn’t irrelevant in this sense. If you look -- please, let me -- let me finish. The rules --

WALLACE: Did -- how can she say -- how can she say it was secure when they had to turn -- turn off the server because there were attacks?

SCHIFF: Chris, the rules --

WALLACE: Just answer my question.

SCHIFF: I will. I will answer the question. She should not have used the private server. She’s admitted she should not have used a private server.

WALLACE: How did she know it was secure?

SCHIFF: Look, we -- we know from the OIG report that there were two attempts to breach the server that were unsuccessful. That's what we know. But -- but please let me at least finish the point.

WALLACE: Not on Powell. I’m -- I’m -- forgive me, I’m going to keep going. I -- I -- I -- we’re done with Colin Powell.

SCHIFF: I think it's very telling --

WALLACE: We’re done with Colin Powell.

SCHIFF: OK. I they it's very --

WALLACE: OK, well, then we’ll move on.

SCHIFF: I think -- I think it’s very telling, though, Chris, that there’s no interest in anyone here but Secretary Clinton. That, to me, is a very different standard.

WALLACE: Really? Because she’s the only one running for president.

SCHIFF: Yes, but does that mean that other secretaries didn’t use the same practice, that their practices are irrelevant here?

WALLACE: I -- I think, first of all, we’ve shown that it is -- it is different. And, secondly, I think it’s, frankly, a red herring, sir, and I would expect more from you.

From the start, Clinton said that she would cooperate with any investigation. Here she is just last month.


CLINTON: We made clear that I'm happy to answer any questions that anybody might have, and I stand by that.


WALLACE: But here is the Inspector General's report. All right, let's talk about Powell and Powell’s standard here, congressman. "OIG interviewed Secretary Kerry and former Secretaries Albright, Powell, and Rice. Through her counsel, Secretary Clinton declined OIG’s request for an interview."

Congressman Schiff, what happened to answering anybody's questions at any time?

SCHIFF: But now you bring up Secretary Powell.

WALLACE: Oh, come on, I -- did he agree to an -- he agreed to an interview.

SCHIFF: Yes -- but -- he agreed to an interview.

WALLACE: Why -- why did he agree to an interview and Secretary Clinton not?

SCHIFF: Well, if you let me -- OK. I don't know why Secretary Clinton --

WALLACE: Do you think she should have agreed to an interview?

SCHIFF: I think she certainly could have agreed to the interview. She --

WALLACE: Should she have agreed to an interview?

SCHIFF: She’s -- she’s going to meeting with the Department of Justice and if there are any (INAUDIBLE) questions, she can answer them. But let me say this.

WALLACE: But why -- why shouldn’t she speak to the Inspector General of her own department?

SCHIFF: But, Chris -- Chris, you brought up Secretary Powell this time. So -- so --

WALLACE: I brought it up in the fact that -- in the fact that he spoke to them and cooperated with the investigation and she did not.

SCHIFF: That -- yes, that he (INAUDIBLE). But you didn’t -- you didn’t -- you did not bring up the fact that when Secretary Powell was asked to provide whatever e-mails he retained or to work with the private provider of those e-mails to provide them, he did not respond and still has not responded to the IG. You did not bring that up. Now --

WALLACE: OK. So, you know what, I’m not going to vote for Colin Powell for president this time.

That was the last we heard from Schiff.

Wallace was far more patient than he should have been, but his segment accomplished its objective, which was to "show what Clinton said, and then what the Inspector General’s report concluded":

  1. Hillary Clinton was not allowed to use a home-brew private email server for official State Department business. The point is not arguable, regardless of what Colin Powell did or didn't do. (Also, not that it's particularly germane, except to desperate Hillary defenders like Schiff, who demonstrated that Team Hillary has absolutely no other arguments, "The IG also noted that he used email less frequently than Clinton and top technology officials were aware of his personal email use."
  2. Hillary Clinton said that there were no security breaches. There were security breaches. Senator Clinton knew that her statement was not true, because she was involved in correspondence about having to shut down the private server, and because "in May 2011, Clinton told aides that someone was 'hacking into her email.'" It is not known for certain whether hackers were able to obtain sensitive or classified information as a result of these or other security breaches, but the server "was connected to the internet in ways that made it more vulnerable to hackers ... (and) appeared to allow users to connect openly over the internet to control it remotely." Oh, and there's this guy "Guccifer," who claims to have successfully breached Mrs. Clinton's server.
  3. Hillary Clinton publicly claimed that she was "happy to answer any questions that anybody might have," but refused to cooperate with the OIG's investigation. Additionally, "her former chief of staff Cheryl Mills and top deputies Jake Sullivan and Huma Abedin are among those who declined interviews."

Schiff had nothing for Points 2 and 3, tried to limit Wallace's efforts to Point 1, and, of all things, tried to bring up Powell's involvement in the decision to go to war in Iraq — a decision which Hillary Clinton supported as a Senator from New York.

Fortunately, Democratic Congressmen and Hillary Clinton apparatchik Adam Schiff, or Adam "Full Of" Schiff, as Scott Johnson at Powerline tagged him today, failed to blow up Wallace's effort. Shame on him for trying.

Cross-posted at