BROWNSTEIN: That's what's the most troubling, I thought, in this report. I mean kind of the insularity and the arrogance. Not so much the specifics of the e-mails, but about the kind of leadership style and what it says about how you might be as president. I did a panel a couple of years ago when Jim Baker and George Mitchell were winning the Lifetime achievement Award from the National Academy of Public Administration, and they each said the same thing, the toughest thing was to find someone who could tell a president they were wrong. And what was -- what was -- what was, I thought, most apparent in this report was that there was no one around her who was willing to tell her that she was wrong. And when people tried to raise questions, they were told to be quiet. That is a -- that was ominous traits for a president.But what about Trump? Are people around him able to tell him he's wrong? Peggy Noonan brought that up:
NOONAN: We talked about people around Hillary can't tell -- tell her the truth.... Who around Donald Trump says to him, boss, stop this, don't do that anymore, it's not nice?Speaking of Noonan, she also said this:
NOONAN: When you look at the tape of Mrs. Clinton saying things about the e-mails that have been shown to not of them true in the IG thing, she has been -- I hate to say lied, but she has lied coolly and -- in a creamy, practiced way. It doesn't look good.Creamy... I wrote that word down to search for in the transcript. Hillary lied in a coolly... creamy, practiced way.
ADDED: On the ABC show "This Week," Dianne Feinstein, the Hillary Clinton proxy, was confronted by Jonathan Karl:
KARL: But Mrs. Clinton has said -- that it was widely known that she was using her personal email. But, if you look at this report, it says that when State Department staffers expressed concerns about the arrangement, their supervisor, quote, "instructed the staff never to speak of the secretary's personal email system again." That sure sounds like somebody trying to hide something.Feinstein's answer was so weak, I almost don't want to copy it here. I'm embarrassed for her having to say something, but here it is:
FEINSTEIN: Whoa, wait a second. I don't believe she was trying to hide anything. I've known Hillary for a quarter of a century. Let me tell you what I do think, I think this is a woman who wants a little bit of a private life. She wants to be able to communicate with husband, with daughter, with friends, and not have somebody looking over her shoulder into her emails. Having said that, it is what it is. And you know I don't think we should make a federal case over it.Let's unpack that:
1. "Whoa, wait a second." Stalling for time.
2. "I don't believe she was trying to hide anything." Denial.
3. "I've known Hillary for a quarter of a century." Trying to vouch for her, but, really, owning up to bias. One likes one's friends.
4. "Let me tell you what I do think, I think this is a woman who wants a little bit of a private life. She wants to be able to communicate with husband, with daughter, with friends, and not have somebody looking over her shoulder into her emails." This is the heart of the argument, and it seems to evoke female privilege, to beg for deference to Hillary as a woman, but it's a kind of deference that, if we really believed it, would disqualify Hillary from working as Secretary of State and as President.
5. "Having said that...." The classic, empty transitional phrase.
6. "... it is what it is." That's just giving up!
7. "And you know I don't think we should make a federal case over it." And now she's regressed to talking the way I remember kids talking in grade school in the 1950s, when I didn't have the slightest idea what a "federal case" was. The fact is, obviously this is a federal case!