September 8, 2015

Just once -- once -- I would love to see a cable news bobblehead actually prepare enough to know exactly what he's talking about. This debate between MSNBC's Thomas Roberts and Howard Dean is a perfect example. Via Mediate:

While discussing the revelation that Hillary Clinton paid a State Department staffer to manage her private email server, MSNBC host Thomas Roberts and former Gov. Howard Dean (D-VT) got into an extended debate over whether this controversy is media-driven or a legitimate problem for the Democratic presidential candidate.

[...] Dean’s main contention: The media is overplaying the email scandal by constantly relitigating her private server, ignoring that she has “the right” to maintain such a server seeing as she is a former First Lady with an intensely public life. Roberts’ rebuttal: Taxpayers expect transparency, and it is clear she had no oversight while using this server.

Roberts explains how "unique" this situation is, more than once. Is it?

Bush administration emails about the political (and potentially illegal) firings of U.S. attorneys were destroyed, and many White House officials (including Karl Rove) had private email accounts hosted on Republican National Committee servers.

From Time magazine, April 13, 2007:

Late Tuesday, the Bush Administration admitted that in reviewing documents requested by Democrats for their investigations, it discovered that as many as 50 of its staffers may have violated the Presidential Records Act. The staffers, the White House said, were using e-mail accounts, laptops and BlackBerries provided by the Republican National Committee for official executive branch communications rather than the exclusively political work for which they were intended. Because the RNC had a policy until 2004 of erasing all e-mails on its servers after 30 days, including those by White House staffers, and because some of those staffers may have deleted e-mails on their own, the White House said it could not assure Congress that they have not violated the PRA, which requires the retention of official White House documents. The White House officials who may have broken the law include senior adviser Karl Rove, his deputies and much of their staffs.

You know what the difference is? The Republicans were actually doing something wrong. They were firing U.S. attorneys for non-cooperation with politicized investigations directed by Rove.

Via Media Matters:

On the March 15 broadcast of ABC's World News, legal correspondent Jan Crawford Greenburg said, "Of course, the president can fire U.S. attorneys when he chooses" and suggested the only "problem for the White House ... and the Justice Department" is that "the White House hasn't been forthcoming with how this whole plan" to dismiss specific U.S. attorneys "began." But the president's authority to fire U.S. attorneys per se is not in question, and possible misconduct goes beyond simply a failure on the part of the administration to be "forthcoming."

For example, regarding the alleged pressure on former New Mexico U.S. attorney David C. Iglesias by Sen. Pete V. Domenici (R-NM) and Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM) to expedite a corruption investigation of state Democrats, according to the Washington Post, "Legal experts say it violates congressional ethics rules for a senator or House member to communicate with a federal prosecutor regarding an ongoing criminal investigation." Second, Gonzales and McNulty may have given false testimony to Congress in January. According to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), Department of Justice (DOJ) "officials have testified before Congress that the U.S. Attorneys were asked to resign for performance related reasons, that the White House was minimally involved in the firings and that the Department was in no way attempting to evade the confirmation process for new U.S. Attorneys." CREW alleged that Sampson "knew that he was causing DOJ officials to make inaccurate statements to Congress" when those officials testified before Congress about the attorneys' dismissals, which CREW claims could violate federal prohibitions against lying to Congress.

And for those who say this requires strictest scrutiny because Hillary Clinton is a potential president:

Jeb Bush, Scott Walker and Marco Rubio all used private email accounts for public business.

We all know this is a political fishing expedition. It's time for the media to stop pretending otherwise.

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