January 31, 2016

Former Bush Attorney General and torture apologist turned Jeb! Bush adviser, Michael Mukasey made an appearance on CNN's Smerconish this Saturday -- along with former Clinton lawyer and spokesperson and all-around sleazebag, Lanny Davis -- and was allowed to baselessly accuse Hillary Clinton of removing the classification on the latest round of emails that has everyone on the right's heads exploding and insisting once again that she's going to prison.

MICHAEL MUKASEY, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, in a sense it's more of the same but because these are not disclosed at all, it makes it obviously much more apparent that somebody was apparentely moving the classified markings on State Department communications and getting them on to her home server. That I think is the real significance here.

SMERCONISH: But how can she have culpability if nothing was so designated as classified at the time?

MUKASEY: If it was designated classified and the classification was removed, according to a protocol that she knew about and wanted because that was the only way to get it on her home server, then she is in it up to her eyeballs.

SMERCONISH: What's the basis of your suspicion that perhaps so-called classified markings would have been removed?

MUKASEY: Well, the documents originated someplace. They didn't drop in from Mars. The person who originated them necessarily put classified markings on them because the State department has said that they won't release any of them. So they were at one point marked.

Now how did the markings get off? I think if you turn to an e-mail exchange between her and one of her staffers back in 2011, you find that she's waiting for a classified set of talking points and at one point says if they can't get a secure fact, she says turn it into non- paper with no identifying heading and send non-secure.

Now that is very particular language relating to the fact that there are three communication systems within the government. Non-secure, sipper or secure and the highest, which is jay wicks. The information from sipper and from jay wicks cannot move on the low end system, nipper, and if you put anything on there that's got those markings on it, it essentially sets off an alarm that alerts people involved with security.

So those markings have to be taken off and when she said in June of 2011, take the markings off, it becomes apparent she knew how that system works.

As much as I loathe agreeing with anything that comes out of Lanny Davis's mouth, after all I've read about the back and forth over these emails, I'd say he's correct in his assertion that Mukasey's accusations are ridiculous and partisan. He can spare me the lines about the "great respect" he has for Mukasey. He doesn't deserve an ounce of it.

DAVIS: Well, we don't know and I wouldn't speculate that somebody has committed a crime on national television which is why I consider the former attorney general's comments as unethical for a lawyer. You can speculate. You're a pundit. You wouldn't speculate that Michael Smerconish may have committed a heinous game because that would be irresponsible, so it's all speculation.

But as far as that particular one, which I'm glad you mentioned again, we now know, even though Hillary Clinton has asked all of these e- mails to be published and they haven't been, that that one involved talking points that couldn't possibly have been considered classified.

Her fax machine was not working. She and her campaign have explained that that one sent by Jake Sullivan was supposed to be sent to her. She couldn't get it. She said put it on a fax but she didn't ever say remove classified designations. The judge is speculating --


DAVIS: And speculation is improper --

SMERCONISH: OK. Let me ask a basic question because I don't want to lose people in the weeds. It's against the law for officials to discuss classified information on unclassified networks. It's pretty straightforward. Isn't that what she did here?

DAVIS: She categorically denied that and the only basis for your asking the question is pure speculation and now we know politically motivated. Do you think it's a coincidence, Michael, that we're talking about this on the Saturday morning before the Iowa caucuses.

You think it's a coincidence that the IG (INAUDIBLE) sent a letter to Senator Grassley who after leaking this material from the IG then appears with Donald Trump in Iowa? Do you think it's a coincidence that one of the top officials of the IG's office --

SMERCONISH: I get it --

DAVIS: -- involved in the prosecution of Hillary Clinton and that he denied --


DAVIS: -- now he has to admit it. It's about raw politics that way Whitewater --


DAVIS: Then you should know better.

SMERCONISH: Well, come on, it's a legitimate inquiry --

DAVIS: A legitimate inquiry for a journalist but you should know that this is about politics --

Things got uglier as the two went at each other for the better part of the end of the segment. This is what we get to put up with until either the primaries or the presidential election is over at a minimum. Even if the FBI clears Clinton, the right is going to claim they were influenced by the Obama administration and that it's the next Watergate.

Here's more from Digby:

We don't know what these emails contain obviously. We do know that they were not classified when they appeared on her server. We also know they have been classified after the fact by the one of the intelligence agencies not the State Department. It's possible, of course, that they were secret lists of clandestine agents but let's just say it's doubtful. This is likely a result of intelligence community bureaucratic bungle, an ass-covering ploy or a purely political exercise. Nobody really controls the intelligence community, they control us. With the leaks coming from that sector to the Republicans in congress I'd say it could be all three.

Anyway, from what I can gather Democrats and independents have finally figured out that the Republicans have been crying wolf with this stuff for decades so the only people who get excited about it anymore are the GOP and the media, the latter of which have been their usual irresponsible selves.

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