Add another to the list of vocal Hillary Clinton backers.
A day after former Clinton adviser James Carville staunchly defended the former secretary of state, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean did the same.
Appearing on “Morning Joe,” Dean told hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski that the ongoing controversy over Clinton’s emails is “a nothing story” and “nonsense,” adding that “sometimes you have to circumvent the bureaucracy.”
And just like Andrea Mitchell did with Carville on Monday, the hosting duo fact-checked Dean non-stop, correcting him on regulations against using private email in the State Department and telling him his claims are “ridiculous.”
“This is pack journalism at its worse. This is a nothing story,” Dean said. “Every secretary of state has done it. She had her own ISP, that doesn’t mean she had a server in her house. This was not against the law. This is nonsense.”
“In 2009, there were regulations that explicitly said that if you do State Department business, it needs to be done on your State Department email and backed up by the State Department,” Scaroborough told Dean. “There is no argument. This is black and white, and the Obama administration said this non-stop.
“I would like to see those regulations, Joe, I’m not aware of them,” Dean said to a flabbergasted Scarborough. “What I am aware of is what Barack Obama signed in 2014, making this illegal. Hillary Clinton was no longer secretary of state by 2014.”
“Hold on,” Scarborough said cutting Dean off. “The regulations are there, we have been talking about for a week, and Hillary Clinton sent emails out to her own State Department people saying they had to live by the regulation and they shouldn’t do…”
“Do you think the secretary of state of the United States of America ought to be conducting back channel diplomacy?” Dean asked in response. “Even outside of the bureaucracy of the State Department? Because I do and I bet you every single one has.”
Surprisingly, there wasn’t a single panelist agreeing with Dean, including Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, who echoed MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell’s panning of Clinton’s use of private emails.
“Look, it was common practice in 2009 for cabinet officials to have an official e-mail account. It was just done. And the only reason you wouldn’t do it is deliberately,” Robinson told Dean. “Why would you do that? You would do that in order to have control, because you wanted total control of all your e-mail, official and non-official, for whatever reason, just because you are a control freak perhaps…It strikes me as, just on its face, not the right way to do business.”
“The State Department is a big bureaucracy,” Dean said. “I understand why she did this. I don’t think it’s illegal. I have never heard a case it was illegal. Joe makes a case there were regulations, first I’ve heard of it. I am going to defend Hillary Clinton on this. You have to be able to do business, and sometimes you have to circumvent the bureaucracy.”
“How about that regulation, that you’re walking in here saying you know nothing about. I think that’s ridiculous that you’re sitting in that chair pretending you’ve never seen or heard anything about this regulations,” said Scarborough. “Everybody in Washington D.C. is talking about it.”
“Come on Howard!” said an equally incredulous Mika Brzezinski.
Dean told co-host Willie Geist that Clinton may have used the personal email because the State Department’s email was “much more vulnerable” than her personal server.
“Well, it may be that this whole thing is because she wanted security. It may be…to have the State Department being much more vulnerable to hacking than her ISP that she set up.”
“It would be more vulnerable than her personal email?” Geist asked.
“That’s right.” Dean said. “We don’t know.”
“Um. Actually we do,” Brzezinski shot back. “What are you doing?!? What’s going on?!”
“Are you saying that a State Department server in Washington D.C., my head hurts…might be more prone to being hacked than a Homebrew system in Chappaqua?” Scarborough asked
Dean reiterated his belief that this is the case.