Friday, September 4, 2015

Unfiltered Hillary: The Andrea Mitchell Interview

Seeing as this interview is already being presented inaccurately, today's Andrea Mitchell interview of Hillary Clinton on MSNBC seems a good candidate for the Unfiltered Hillary series, where Clinton's statements are presented without filter and without editing.

As always, Clinton's quotes are in bold. Video above the fold, transcript after it.

The interview opens by asking if Clinton is sorry for using personal e-mail at State:
AM: Welcome, Secretary Clinton. Thank you so much for doing this interview. You said recently that using your personal e-mail while you were Secretary of State was not the best choice, and that you take responsibility. Are you sorry?
HRC: Well, I certainly wish that I had made a different choice, and I know why the American people have questions about it. And I want to make sure I answer those questions, starting with the fact that my personal e-mail use was fully above board. It was allowed by the State Department, as they have confirmed. But in retrospect, it certainly would have been better.
I take responsibility. I should've had two accounts - one for personal, one for work-related - and I've been as transparent as I could, asking all 55,000 pages be released to the public, turning over my server, looking for opportunities to testify before Congress. I've offered for more than a year. Finally, the committee will give me a chance to testify in public toward the end of October. And I'm going to answer these questions, and I'm also going to continue to talk about what's important to the people that I meet about this presidential campaign.
Because it really is critical that we renew the basic bargain of America. So that if you work hard, you do your part, that you can get ahead, and pay for college. And have equal pay for equal work, and all the other important issues that are on people's minds.
Mitchell moves on to ask...if Clinton is sorry about using her personal e-mail at State:
AM: But this has created what even your own campaign manager said are some headwinds and a lot of noise out there. So let's get through some of it. First of all, are you sorry? Do you want to apologize to the American people for the choice you made?
HRC: Well, it certainly wasn't the best choice. And I have said that, and I will continue to say that. As I've also said many times, it was allowed, and it was completely above board. The people in the government knew I was using a personal account.
But it would've been better if I had two separate accounts to begin with. And certainly I'm doing everything I can now to be as transparent about what I did have on my work-related e-mails. I think, you know, they will be coming out. I wish it were a little bit faster. It's frustrating that it's taking a while.
But there's a process that has to be followed.
Moving on to...her e-mail:
AM:Well since 1995, the State Department Foreign Affairs manual said that all e-mails, all records had to be preserved. In 2005, the manual was updated to say, "Sensitive but unclassified information should not be transmitted through personal e-mail accounts." Eight months after you took office, the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations was updated to say that agencies that allow employees to send and receive official electronic e-mail messages using a system not operated by the agency must ensure that federal records sent or received on such existing systems are preserved by the appropriate agency recording system.
So there were a lot of advisories. No laws, correct. But a lot of advisories, written White House guidance, against using personal e-mail, and especially using personal e-mail exclusively.
You say - just now, you said - people in the government knew you used personal e-mail. The recent e-mails that were released indicated the the help desk at the State Department didn't know. They couldn't recognize what your e-mail address was.
HRC: Well, the people I was e-mailing to on the .gov system certainly knew, and they would respond to me on my personal e-mail. But I do think it's a fair question. It was allowed and I chose to do it, as other who had been in high official positions had as well.
And I believe, and it's turned out to be very much confirmed, that the vast majority of everything that I was sending to a .gov, the official government account, would be captured.
And I have gone the extra step, and I have gone through all of the e-mails I had from those four years in the State Department. To be sure that anything, even being overly inclusive, that could possibly be work-related, was made available to the State Department.
The next question is about...e-mail!:
AM: Well, a few quick points. There was an Inspector General's report last March that in 2011, only 61,000 e-mails out of a billion at the State Department were preserved because the archival system for five years was so bad. People didn't know how to use it. People weren't trained properly. So things weren't captured at the receiving end.
HRC: Well, that isn't the case with my e-mails. I know that our government, and this is an issue we must address, is not up to speed technically. And there's a huge amount of information - I can just speak about the State Department, certainly - but the entire government, as we have seen with the White House and every other agency, is struggling to keep up with the onslaught of e-mails.
About trust...and e-mails!:
AM: But does it concern you that people don't trust your answers on this. There was a Quinnipiac - and I know this poll was everyone, Republicans and Democrats - but the first words that came to mind when asked about you were "liar," "untrustworthy," "crooked." How does that make you feel?
HRC: Well, it certainly doesn't make me feel good.
But I am very confident that by the time that this campaign has run its course, people will know that what I've been saying is accurate. And I will have the chance to do that in front of the entire world with the Congressional Committee hearing. They may disagree, as I now disagree, with the choice that I made, but the facts that I have put forth have remained the same.
But more importantly, the American people will know that they can trust me when it comes to standing up for them and fighting for them and being their advocate and their champion.
And I think that's what this election, when it's all said and done, has to be about.
Who has the vision for America.
Who will be there every single day trying to renew the basic bargain that Americans should expect from our country.
Who will get results.
Who has the tenacity and the skill to do that.
And I'm very confident that the American people will believe that I do, and will support me for president.
Moving on from e-mails to...e-mail servers:
AM: A couple of other quick points. Why did you wipe the server clean, even after you knew that a Congressional committee, or more committees, were investigating? And why delete the 30,000 or so e-mails that were deemed personal? How did you decide what to delete, what not to delete?
HRC: Well, let me tell you the process here. I'm glad you asked that, Andrea, because I think it is one of the questions that people have.
In the fall, I think it was October of last year, the State Department sent a letter to previous Secretaries of State asking for help with their record-keeping, in part because of the technical problems that they knew they had to deal with. And they asked that we, all of us, go through our e-mails to determine what was work-related and to provide that for them.
The letter came to my lawyers. I asked my lawyers to please do that, and it took weeks, but they went through every single e-mail.
AM: So the lawyers did that.
HRC: Yes, every single e-mail. And they were overly inclusive. They thought anything was connected. So inclusive that the State Department has already told us they're gonna return 1,200 e-mails because they were totally personal.
At the end of that process, again following the request of the State Department, they had to print out all of those e-mails that were work related, and it ended up being 55,000 pages. Those were delivered to the State Department. They kept a thumb drive that was delivered to, or kept by, my lawyers under lock and key.
That left all of my personal e-mails, and I was asked, "Do you need to keep all of your personal e-mails?" And I said, "No, I don't. You can delete those."
And they were.
But that doesn't change what we were asked to do, how carefully we did it, and how even the State Department said we sent them things that they don't believe that the should have gotten.
Next question. E-mails:
AM: Do you know what lot of people are asking? "Why? Why have just a personal system? You've said that is was convenient. Clearly, from the e-mails that have been released, it wasn't convenient. There were a lot of confusing things. There were breakdowns. There were outages. Why do that? Were you trying to keep reports or investigating committees away? What was the defensive mode?
HRC: You know, I had a personal e-mail when I was in the Senate, as the vast majority of Senators do. It was very convenient. I did all my business on my personal e-mails.
AM: But you were the national security advocate.
HRC: Well, that's why I am so careful about classified information.
And has been confirmed repeatedly by the Inspectors General over and over, I did not send or receive any material marked classified.
We dealt with classified material on a totally different system. I dealt with it in person. I dealt with it on secure phone lines. I had the traveling team, the technical team, that went with me and set up tents, so that when I was traveling, anything that was classified would be protected from prying eyes. I take classified material very, very seriously, and we followed all the rules on classified material.
Now what happens when you ask, or a Freedom of Information Request asks, that information be made public, all the agencies get to weigh in. And what you're hearing from other agencies is, "It wasn't classified at the time, but now we think it should be."
And that is not uncommon. In fact, if I'd had just a government account that was on the unclassified system, they would go through the same process.
So it's confusing, and that's why I'm trying to do a better job explaining it to the American people.
AM: You have said that Colin Powell did the same thing. He actually had a personal e-mail and a State .gov official e-mail system. So he didn't just rely on a personal system. I don't think there's any precedent for someone just relying on a personal e-mail system at your level of government.
HRC: Well, I can't speak for him. That has certainly been portrayed differently, depending on how it's considered, but this was fully above board, people knew I was using a personal e-mail. I did it for convenience. I sent e-mails that I thought were work-related to people's .gov accounts. The vast majority were captured by the system, and now we've made sure that everything that could be considered work related is in the system of the State Department.
AM: Did anyone in your inner circle say, "This is not a good idea. Let's not do this"
HRC: You know, I was not thinking a lot when I got in. There was so much work to be done. We had so many problems around the world. I didn't really stop and think, "What kind of e-mail system will there be?"
AM: Does it raise judgment questions?
HRC: I don't think so. I think that the facts are pretty clear that we had a lot of work, a lot of hard choices to make in those four years. And I'm very proud of the work I did. I'm very proud of all the people that I worked with. I think we really served our country well. And now the State Department has everything that they could have. So at the end of the day, I am sorry that this has been confusing to people and has raised a lot of questions. But there are answers to all these questions, and I will continue to provide those answers. And those answers have been confirmed and affirmed by the State Department and by other government officials, and eventually I'll get to testify in public, and I'm sure that it will be a long and grueling time there, but all the questions will be answered. And I take responsibility and it wasn't the best choice.
On authenticity and connecting with voters:
AM: Looking at the campaign now you see huge crowds for Bernie Sanders and for Donald Trump, and people talking about Joe Biden having an opening if he decides to make a difficult choice on an emotional level. They talk about how authentic these campaigns are.
HRC: (Laughs) AM: Does it hurt you when people say you’re too lawyerly, you parse your words, you’re not authentic, you’re not connecting.
HRC: Well, that’s just not my experience, out campaigning. I feel very, very good about where we are. We’ve built a terrific organization in the early States, and we’re expanding into those States that will be after Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada. The level of support, the intensity of support that I’m experiencing as I speak with people, and talking about issues that I, I know are on their minds.
I want to be the President who deals with all those big problems that are in the headlines, but also those problems that keep families up at night, and that’s why I started out listening. Because I think you can come with your own ideas, and you can, you know, wave your arms and give a speech, but at the end of the day are you connecting with and really hearing what people are either really saying to you of wishing that you would say to them.
So, on everything from mental health issues to substance abuse to college affordability to the continuing struggles that families face in spite of the fact that we’ve got a recovery and unemployment's down, people aren’t feeling it. I am very excited, and very energized, by the campaign that I’m running.
And you know, after Labor Day you kind of move more toward the laying out of your plans and moving toward debates. and having the exchanges that you expect in a campaign. That’s the next stage and I’m looking forward to that.
On Joe Biden:
AM: Are there real differences, big differences, between you and Joe Biden on domestic or foreign policy?
HRC: You know, I'm not going to address any of the political questions around my friend, Joe Biden. He has to make a really difficult decision, and you can see him struggling with it, and I just wish the best for him and his family.
If he continues as Vice President, he will continue to serve with great distinction.
If he gets into the race, there'll be plenty of time to get into the debate and the back and forth.
But I think everybody should give him the respect and space that he deserves to make what is a very difficult choice for him and his family.
On the Iran Deal:
AM: You're gonna be giving a big speech on Iran next week. At the same time, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are going to be holding a rally on Capitol Hill against the Iran Deal. What do you say to your friends, many of them in the Jewish community, who think this is a terrible deal?
HRC: Right. Well, that's why I'm giving a speech next Wednesday, because I was involved in the preliminary work. I helped to put together the sanctions that pushed Iran to the negotiating table. I was the person who explored the early efforts to see whether there could be a negotiation.
So, I believe that the agreement is not perfect. It is by no means some validation of Iran. You know, my view is, "Don't trust but verify." But it is a very important step, and it is better than the alternatives.
So on Wednesday, I will be outlining in great detail both why I support the agreement, but equally importantly, what I would do as president to enforce it, to hold Iran accountable, and to make clear that no options were off the table. They can never, ever have a nuclear weapon.
So this is not only about the agreement and what looks to be its approval by the Congress. It's about what comes next.
And I think the American people are going to want a president who supports diplomacy, even with those who are our adversaries, to try to reach the kind of understandings that we have, but who will also get up every day and enforce that agreement, strongly and vigilantly.
And I think that's a far better approach than some of the words you will hear on the same day I deliver my speech from those who apparently don't believe in diplomacy, don't believe in the hard work of putting together international coalitions, don't believe in trying to get the best deal you can, that don't believe it needs to be enforced the way that I would enforce it.
On Donald Trump:
AM: And Donald Trump, among other things he has done, has really personally attacked one of your closest aides, Huma Abedin. What was your feeling about that?
HRC: Well, he's attacked so many people, including my close aide, and myself, and many other people.
You know, I can take that. I mean, that's just par for the course.
I do regret that he is going after so many people, many of them by name, from great basketball players to people who express different opinions from him.
I think it's an unfortunate development in American politics, that his campaign is all about who he's against, whether it's immigrants, or women broadcasters, or aides of other candidates. He is the candidate of "being against."
The vision I have for America is how we come together, how we work together, how we set big goals again, whether it's combating climate change and getting moving on clean energy, or whether it's making college affordable.
I have specific plans about what I think would be good for the American people and good for us as a nation.
I think we are a great country, and I think that we are great because of our values, because of our history, because of the way we've overcome adversity, how we keep moving toward a more perfect union.
That's what I'm running on.
And so, he can run his own campaign. He can, unfortunately, do what he's doing, which I think is a bad development for our American political system.
AM: Do you think he had a point in raising the question of whether it was appropriate for her to be taking a State Department salary and also be paid by an outside company closely associated with your husband, by you?
HRC: Well, I was not directly involved in that, but everything that she did was approved under the rules as they existed by the State Department.
And so, again, he can...
You know, he's great at innuendo and conspiracy theories and really defaming people.
That's not what I want to do in my campaign, and that's not how I'm going to conduct myself.
And I also believe the President of the United States does have to be careful about what he or she says.
You know, I do know sometimes people say that I'm careful about what I say. That's because for more than twenty years, I've seen the importance of the President of the United States, the leader not only of our nation, but of our world, having to send messages that will be received by all kinds of people.
Loose talk, threats, insults. They have consequences.
So I'm going to conduct myself as I believe is appropriate for someone seeking the highest office in our country.
On the Syrian refugee crisis:
AM: As someone who has such a record in foreign affairs, what do you think, what do you feel, when you see these thousands and thousands of migrants, men women, and children, caught between two worlds, unable to get to Germany and Austria, to open arms willing to receive them? Should the United States raise its quotas and permit more people from Syria to come here?
HRC: Well, the pictures and the stories - we've been watching this terrible assault on the Syrian people now for years - are just heartbreaking. And I think the entire world has to come together. It should not be just one or two countries, or not just Europe and the United States. We should do our part, as should the Europeans, but this is a broader, global crisis. We now have more refugees than we've had in many years. I think since the second World War.
And as we've seen tragically, people are literally dying to escape the conflict in Syria. I think that the larger Middle East, I think Asia, everybody should step up and say, "We have to help these people."
And I would hope that under the aegis of the United Nations, led by the Security Council, and certainly by the United States, which has been such a generous nation in the past, we would begin to try to find ways to help people get to safety in other lands.
However, that does not solve the problem, and the problem is one that the entire world now sees doesn't just affect the Syrian people. It affects all of us. That's what I've been saying for years.
That's why I advocated for a more robust response when Assad began his onslaught on the Syrian people, and I think that we have got to come to grips with the fact that this is not going away, and the millions of people who are fleeing need safe places to be, but the conflict has to be brought under control.
AM: Is this a failure of the president's policy?
HRC: Well, it's the world's policies. It's not only the United States. I advocated for, as I say, a more robust policy, but sitting here I can't say that that would have, on its own, made a difference. Because this had to be an international effort. Of course, we know, the Russians were standing in the way.
And I negotiated the agreement in June of 2012 in Geneva, which the Russians signed off on, and then immediately began to renege. So we know that this is not just a problem that the United States can solve.
We have to do what I did with the Iranian sanctions, and to get the Russians on board. I had to get the Chinese on board. It was not easy. But that's the kind of intensive diplomacy that is going to be required in order to stop the flow of refugees, and to try and bring some peace and security back to the region.
On Beijing @ 20:
AM: We have the President of China coming in a few weeks for a state visit, and twenty years ago - twenty years ago, tomorrow - you were leading the delegation and gave a speech that accused China of human rights abuses, implicitly. You said that, "Women's rights are human rights and human rights are women's rights." And I'm wondering whether you feel twenty years later that women have any more rights, have made progress in China and indeed around the world?
HRC: You know, Andrea. It feels like it was yesterday. You were there. You were there in Beijing.
AM: We were just kids.
HRC: And I was very humbled and proud at the same time to represent the United States, and to make that speech, and to set forth a platform for action.
Twenty years later, I would say this:
Women and girls have made progress in health and in education. In health, we have done a lot to improve women's health, particularly lower maternal mortality.
In education, we have closed the gap in primary education, so that girls are attending at about the same rate as boys.
But the gap then comes back in secondary education, so we have work to do. But if you look at economic rights and participation, political rights and participation, security, and conflict, we have a lot to do.
So it's a glass half filled kind of scenario. And as a Senator, as Secretary of State, I argued strongly for putting women's rights at the center of foreign policy because when women have rights, you're more likely to have a middle class, you're more likely to have more stable families, we are more likely to have the opportunity for democracy to take hold and grow.
So this for me was not only a moral issue, a humanitarian issue, a rights and equality issue. It was a security and strategic issue.
And I'm going to continue to make that case.
There has been progress in China. They have a long way to go, as so many other countries do.
But even in advanced economies like our own, we don't have equal pay for equal work. The minimum wage - 2/3 of the people on minimum wage are women. That's not a way to get yourself out of poverty. We still have our own challenges. And clearly, my running for president is a way of sending a message that we have unfinished business in America, and we have an opportunity to lift up everyone - women, men, girls, and boys - at the same time.
AM: And I didn't know this at the time, but you kept that speech very secret, because you knew that the State Department and the White House National Security advisers did not want you to deliver that strong a message. Never before had a First Lady taken the world stage and shaken things up. Did you get a lot of blowback? Did your husband or others respond...?
HRC: No. Before I went, there was a lot of hand-wringing, in the Congress as well as the administration.
AM: I remember that well.
HRC: But I made it clear that I was going to go. We had an excellent delegation. It was bipartisan in those days, both Democrats and Republicans, and Madeleine Albright, then our Ambassador to the U.N., was the official head of the delegation. I was the honorary chair of it.
And I made it clear that this - even though it was twenty years ago - this was a critical issue about America's values and our interests and our future security. So I made the case, and I went. And I was very pleased that after the speech, some of the naysayers contacted me and thanked me for doing it.
On both her previous and her current presidential campaign:
AM: I think back to 2008. You were in the coffee shop in New Hampshire, and people really saw a different side of you. Perhaps you thought it might be slipping away after what happened in Iowa.
Do you think back about that, and do you worry that this could be happening again? That what happened with your e-mail has created so much controversy that you could be losing this opportunity a second time?
HRC: Well, I don't feel that. I feel that I have questions to answer, which I intend to do at every turn, with you and others about the whole e-mail issue, and to keep saying the same thing.
And then also to keep making the case that I'm making for the presidency, what I stand for, what I've always stood for, what I will fight for, and how hard I will work to make sure that not just my granddaughter, but every child, every grandchild in America has the same chance to live up to his or her God-given potential.
And I know that we're living in a time where there's a lot of skepticism about politics, even cynicism. People are angry, they're frustrated, they feel somehow that their lives are slipping away, you know? And they want some answers.
Sometimes those answers are bombastic and very ideological, but I can understand why people are looking for some way out of what they view as their own problems, particularly their economic problems.
I mean, we're beginning to see the fruits of the recovery, but paychecks aren't growing. People are not feeling that they are rising with rising corporate pay and rising corporate profits.
That's just wrong, and I have said that for many years, and even in my campaign last time, I was very clear against some of the worst abuses that I thought were, unfortunately, bad for our economy and not fair to the American people.
I'm talking about the same things. I will continue to talk about the same things.
And I really trust the American people. I trust them to assess who will really get up and fight for them.
Not just give a speech to them, not just sort of appeal to their emotions.
But will work to put a coalition together, whether it was on Iran, or whether it was in the Congress when I served in the Senate and I worked across the aisle.
Who will work every single day to make their lives better?
And I think that when they look at all the candidates, they will believe that that is exactly what I will do. That is my commitment.
For more on Hillary Clinton's campaign for the presidency, check out…  

The Hillary 2016 Platform Series

Part 1: Criminal Justice Reform
Part 2: Immigration Reform  
Part 3: Voting Rights

Unfiltered Hillary: The Transcripts

August 14, 2015: Iowa Wing Ding Dinner
July 31, 2015: National Urban League
July 20, 2015: Facebook Q&A
July 17, 2015: Iowa State Democratic Party Hall of Fame Dinner
April 23, 2015: Women in the World Summit


  1. I thought Hillary did a great job today - very strong performance. Andrea Mitchell was good, too. Hillary actually got to speak to other issues besides the emails, which is a good thing for her. I especially liked the way she schooled others on the way words matter, bringing it full cycle to her foreign policy chops. Overall it was a good day for her. No matter the analysis of the msm, the one solid thing coming through this interview is the notion that Hillary is more than capable and qualified of being the leader of the country.

  2. Thanks, as always, for the transcript! It's a lot faster than listening.

  3. There was a totally biased report on CNN Sat morning where both a Democrat strategist and a Rep falling all over themselves at how bad Hillary did and a smirking Martin Savidge agreeing with them. It was CNN at its worst.

    1. Yes, where Hillary is concerned, always negative. It could be the best interview in the world, but they'll find some extraneous part to portray negatively, ignoring the most important take aways. Makes you wonder if we were all watching the same interview.

  4. I thought her explanations about both the e-mail nonsense (I was trying to save the world, not really thinking about my e-mail setup) and her measured way of speaking (presidents can't just talk off the cuff, given that the whole world is listening) were both brilliant and kinda obvious as soon as she said them.