Things got a little tense Friday between former Clinton White House counsel and public-relations consultant Lanny Davis and MSNBC host Tamron Hall when Davis went on Hall’s show to discuss the latest surrounding former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email system while at the State Department.
The discussion broke out into an argument when Davis took issue with MSNBC reporter Alex Seitz-Wald saying on the show the email situation has been feeding into questions of whether Clinton “violated policy, she might have opened herself up to potential security breaches.”
“The fact is she did nothing wrong, Hillary Clinton did nothing wrong, Hillary Clinton did nothing wrong, as long as they’re preserved and there’s nothing to hide,” Davis said.
“If that’s the case, why haven’t we heard in your opinion from secretary Clinton, other than the tweet?” Hall asked.
“I think Secretary Clinton unfortunately has a brain educated by a law degree, as I do, and what we are trained to do, unlike Alex who just went through—he is a great reporter—a couple of minutes of all of the things we don’t know, not one of them a fact, but he’s right, we don’t know whether there are Martians on the moon,” Davis said.
Hall took issue with that and pointed to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) choosing to release a batch of email correspondence from his time in office. Bush, like Clinton, has indicated strong interest in running for president.
“I tell you this, people say you’re deflecting on Alex and his accurate reporting, he has not reported anything that’s untrue, he is following the story, traveling to Miami, and others will say you’re deflecting to Jeb Bush,” Hall said.
“Deflecting?” Davis said, with a grin.
Hall began to read a passage from the Associated Press before Davis tried to interject.
“Do you mind if I respond to what I think was a jab at me?” Davis asked.
“No no no, It wasn’t a jab,” Hall said. “I would have told you, I am saying this is what people will say, you have my correspondent, my colleague Alex on, you’re pointing to his reporting and you brought up Jeb Bush when I clearly asked the question, simply, I think, what you do you believe or why do you believe she’s behind this story responding only so far through Twitter?”
Davis said he wasn’t “criticizing Alex one iota.” But, Davis continued, Seitz-Wald is reporting “speculative, not facts, what we don’t know.” Seitz-Wald had a small smile on his face while Hall and Davis went back and forth.
Davis said he wasn’t “deflecting,” just arguing that there’s a “double standard in media coverage where we’re not pointing out that there’s precedent for what Hillary Clinton did, whether there’s a governor or Secretary of State Powell, that’s all.”
“Well, Secretary of State Powell did not control his own server…” Hall responded. “We know that.”
“Excuse me! Governor Bush did,” Davis shot back. “When you make these distinctions, you’re in argument, not doing facts. You want to argue with me, that’s your right as a host of a program.”
Davis pressed Hall on Bush’s release of his emails, quibbling with the phrase “document dump.”
“Excuse me. It was a partial release. It was not a document dump. That’s false. His press secretary said that you guys reported it. He released a portion. He did not release his personal,” Davis said.
Watch the key part of the exchange below: