Another Long Debunked Hillary Clinton Email Comparison Makes Its Way To Morning Joe​

MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell erroneously likened Hillary Clinton’s email use to the improper acts of former CIA Director John Deutch, who was pardoned in 2001 for using an unsecured CIA computer at his home to improperly access classified material. FBI Director James Comey announced July 5 that he would not recommend criminal charges against Hillary Clinton, asserting​,​ “In looking back at our investigations into mishandling or removal of classified information, we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts.” O’Donnell asserted “the case of John Deutch … is so similar,” but the comparison has long been debunked by media figures who have called the cases “quite different.”

From the July 7 edition of ​MSNBC’s Morning Joe:

JOE SCARBOROUGH​ (CO-HOST)​: Lawrence, you had a fascinating theory about why Comey ruled the way he did without precedent.

LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: It’s all about precedent, right? Everything he said in that statement ​was about precedent. And he got to say this very important sentence which is, “we couldn’t find a single case like this that supported criminal charges.” Not a single case. And I wondered, well, what if they could have found one? What if there was one? What if he ​had to ​say, well, there was this one other one. And that would be the case of John Deutch, which is so similar. CIA director under Bill Clinton. ​And ​John Deutch actually reached a plea deal on the misdemeanor of simply mishandling of classified information. Mishandling is you’re supposed to keep it here in this place and you kept it somewhere else.


John Deutch was an innocent act in the sense that the reason we discovered it is when he was leaving the CIA directorship he said “you know what? I have these government computers at home, I’d like to keep them because they have some of my personal, financial stuff on them.” He, in effect, said to them, as he was going out the door, “I mixed stuff up and if I could keep these it would be helpful.” ​And ​​t​hat wasn’t even the trigger to the CIA. The CIA then sent inspectors to look at his computers at home and that’s when they found, oh look, there’s all this classified stuff. There wasn’t a lot​, there was a​certain amount of classified stuff in the computer. It took a couple of years​.​ He agrees to a plea deal on Friday​,​ ​l​ate in the day​,​ so that it’s too late to file the guilty plea on a misdemeanor. The next day is inauguration day. That Saturday morning in the White House, Bill Clinton issued 140 pardons. Many of them highly criticized, Mark Rich and others. Some of them involved people who were represented by Hillary Clinton’s brother. So, this was the scandal that followed the Clintons out the door. But one of those pardons was John Deutch. John Deutch was pardoned Saturday morning so that Monday morning there was no plea agreement to file. Therefore, on that thin re​ed, you were allowed to say the sentence that no one has ever faced criminal charges in a case like this.

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