During an appearance on PBS’s NewsHour, MSNBC Host Jonathan Capehart was corrected on the spot after making a ludicrous claim defending former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private server scandal. Capehart falsely claimed Trump’s situation is worse because he kept classified documents while Hillary “did not”.
Capehart said “Donald Trump is being treated differently because he had classified documents that were about nuclear secrets, preparedness of America’s allies. … And what we’re discovering now is that he has done all of the things he has accused Hillary Clinton of doing, actually done. The emails that they found on Secretary Clinton’s server, a lot of them had to do with cooking recipes and appointments.”
He then said that the Clinton’s case had “nothing to do with nuclear secrets and secrets about our allies. And you just can’t — there’s no parallel. There is no symmetry. There is no similarity at all.”
Capehart was then immediately corrected by Gary Abernathy, a fellow panelist and also a Washington Post contributing columnist, who noted “Well, actually, Director Comey pointed out that a lot of her things that they found on her server were classified and probably were accessed by foreign agents. I mean, this is something they said probably happened. So, we don’t know if they were nuclear secrets. Of course, we don’t know about all of the ones that were deleted before anyone ever got to see them.”
Capehart then disingenuously claimed that “If they were nuclear secrets, Gary, we would have known. Trump’s DOJ? Come on.” He is not a position to know what the nature of the classified material that Clinton had on her server was. Former FBI Director James Comey did, however, effectively reveal that Hillary Clinton made numerous false statements and that “[m]ore than 2,000 of the 30,490 emails” she had were classified. He did not pursue charges against the former Secretary of State.
It is also a matter of law that the president has immense power over their own documents and the ability to declassify anything at any time for any reason. The secretary of state has no such sweeping powers in the executive branch. The secretary of state is also not protected by the Presidential Records Act like a (former) president is