Vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine defends his running mate Hillary Clinton on the issue of trustworthiness and transparency and whacks Donald Trump over his attacks on the release of the Iranian hostages and money transfer.
August 7, 2016

Tim Kaine was a guest on today's Meet the Press with Chuck Todd, discussing a wide range of issues related to the election. Todd dove right into GOP only's real controversy about Clinton - her dang emails. Yes, the issue that will never go away. Here is a bit of the exchange:

CHUCK TODD: Let me start with our poll and a lot of other polls. Essentially, if you look at our poll, this race would be over right now but for one giant issue that the American public has. And that is a trustworthiness issue with Secretary Clinton. How do you-- how do you govern if the public doesn't trust you? And if they don't trust you, how do you restore the trust?

TIM KAINE: Chuck, you know, I'm not assuming that's going to be the case even a month from now. I think we came out of the convention with a real positive momentum. The convention, as you know, started off with some churn on the Democratic side on Monday. But by Thursday night, we were together and pulling the same direction. Hillary Clinton did a great job telling her story. And others talked about how she had helped them. And I think the reason that we're doing better in polling since last week is folks are getting reintroduced to that story in a positive light. The other thing that I have the ability to do as her running mate, I can brag about Hillary in a way that she's not going to brag about herself. We're both Midwesterners who are a little reticent to talk about ourselves. But I love talking about other people. And I love talking about Hillary Clinton's life of service, especially her work to empower families and children, which has been a consistent theme throughout her life.

CHUCK TODD: You know, but she didn't really help herself last weekend when, on another Sunday show, she was asked about the e-mail situation and what Director Comey said. And I want to play, actually, a back and forth for you to listen to and get you to respond on the other side. It's both Secretary Clinton and Director Comey. Here it is.


CHUCK TODD: Let me ask you, Senator Kaine. She seems to be conflating the true-- what she said to the F.B.I. and what she said to the American public. Can you conclude here whether or not Secretary Clinton lied to the American public about sending and receiving classified e-mails?

TIM KAINE: Chuck, let me just say this. I'm going to jump right to the punch line. I have heard Hillary Clinton say over and over again when I've been sitting next to her and when I've watched her on T.V. that, with respect to the e-mails, "I made a mistake, and I've learned something, and I wouldn't do it again." And I've heard her apologize.

I did hear that back and forth. And I think Chris Wallace and Hillary were sort of talking past each other last week. She was saying what Director Comey acknowledged to be true, that, when she spoke to the F.B.I., when she was talking to the F.B.I., the F.B.I. thought her answers in that setting were truthful. Chris might have been asking her a different question. But the bottom line is this. She made a mistake and she said over and over again, "I made a mistake, and I've learned from it, and I'm going to fix it, and I apologize for it."

CHUCK TODD: You know, in fact, in an interview the other day, you said she told you she's going to do it differently. What does that mean? Are you guys going to be more transparent. What does that mean?

TIM KAINE: It's the same thing that she has said. "Look, knowing what I know now, I wouldn't have done the private server in that way." She said it was a mistake. I am not presumptuous enough to start thinking about how I'm going to do things after November. But I know that this is something that she's learned from, and we're going to be real transparent, absolutely.

Will this rational explanation be enough for the GOP, though? No. Because this is all they have on Clinton. Literally. All. They. Have.

Moving on to Trump's imaginary video of us giving Iran $400 Million Dollars (said in my the Austin Powers voice) in exchange for hostages. Yes, that video does not exist. He imagined it. Dreamed it. Hallucinated it. His delusions told him it was real. His psychosis assisted him in creating this alternate reality.

CHUCK TODD: All right. I want to move to a bunch of national security issues. President at a big press conference.


CHUCK TODD: Want to ask you about this Iran issue. Obviously, there's been some concern that the payments that the American government owed the Iranian government, going back in the '70s, were essentially made right at the same time as the hostages that they had were released. The president swears it's not ransom. But how can-- do you understand why the American public looks like that it was some sort of connection that Iran wasn't going to budge until the U.S. started giving back money it thought it belonged to them?

TIM KAINE: You know, Chuck, here's the only thing new about this. This arrangement, the settlement of a claim with Iran, the payment of a portion of that settlement, hostages coming home, thank God, this was briefed to Congress and the American public months ago.
The only thing new this week, the only thing new, is Donald Trump's claiming to have seen a nonexistent video of cash being delivered to the Iranians. That's the only thing new that's happened this week. He persisted in making that claim again and again until he finally got shamed into acknowledging that there was no such video.

CHUCK TODD: --that wasn't my question. My question is, I understand, fine it was six-months-old news. It doesn't mean-- do you understand why it looks like a ransom?

TIM KAINE: Well, I understand—

CHUCK TODD: Donald--

TIM KAINE: I understand why Donald Trump's trying to make something out of it. But look, you have two important issues. The first one is there was a legitimate claim against the United States. The United States bargained it down to a fraction. We're making claims in international tribunals, and we're having claims made against us all the time.
We bargain it down to a fraction and paid a portion of the claim. And we got hostages home. Both of those things are appropriate. And I understand why Trump's trying to make something out of it. But there's just no 'there' there.

CHUCK TODD: You don't believe it looks like a ransom?

TIM KAINE: Nope, absolutely not. We don't--


TIM KAINE: --pay for hostages. We don't negotiate for hostages.


TIM KAINE: Absolutely not. But we are a nation of laws. And if there's a claim that we think we owe something on, we try to bargain the best deal we can. And that's what we ought to do.

Chuck Todd, trying to connect this fictitious "Obama paid ransom for hostages" to Hillary Clinton in some way to add at least one other issue that the GOP can bash her on. Too bad it appears even Trump had to admit he flat out lied about it.

Good job, future Vice President Kaine.

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