Leon Panetta and Bernie Sanders agree on one thing – they have had enough of the damn emails. On Sunday, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Mr. Panetta was a guest on ABC’s This Week, where he tackled a long list of hot political topics with host Martha Raddatz.
Panetta, who also worked as Secretary of Defense under President Obama, is a supporter of the Hillary Clinton–Tim Kaine ticket. The journalist jumped right away on the latest episode of the Clinton email saga.
The newest leak came from the Clinton Foundation showing that there were messages exchanged between employees for the charity and an aide at the State Department seeking a meeting for a wealthy donor and another attempting to get a better post.
While the optics looked terribly bad, according to the campaign, the meetings requested never took place, and therefore, no crimes were committed, and no lines were crossed.
Last week, when Donald Trump was not busy creating controversies of his own, he seized on the email scandal and said that there was a pay-to-play culture in the State Department under Clinton.
Panetta defended Clinton by saying that exchanges like the ones in the email leak occurred very often in governments and the business world. He explained:
“That’s something that, obviously, will continue to be looked at. Staff people trying to make connections in Washington is a pretty prevalent behavior by most people in Washington.”
He went on to add that there is no proof that Clinton was aware of the conversations between her staffers. He said:
“The question is, whether anything was done in return for that kind of donation. And, as far as I know, nobody’s been able to pin down that that happened.”
He pleaded with the media by saying that Clinton was not charged with any wrongdoing and asked reporters to turn the page on this story. Mr. Panetta shared:
“It’s been investigated; no action has been taken by the Justice Department.I really do think it’s time for the candidates and for the American people to move on and talk about the real issues.”
Panetta also took the opportunity to blast Trump for calling Obama the founder of ISIS. He said Trump and his advisers should be looking for ways to eliminate the terrorist group instead of insulting Obama. He explained:
“Instead of making an outrageous claim that somehow President Obama is the father of ISIS, which is a lie, he ought to present what strategy he would implement to defeat ISIS. He says he has a secret plan, and nobody knows what that plan is all about.”
Asked about Clinton’s high unfavorability, Panetta said that the American people will learn to trust her as the election approaches, and they get to know her even better.
“When you do elect somebody to be president of the United States, it is then, and then only, frankly, that that president begins to earn the trust of the American people. She ultimately will earn that trust by virtue of what, by what she does, not what she says.”
Experts predict that the email situation will probably continue to be a problem for Clinton until November.