This afternoon Democratic presidential frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, appeared on MSNBC’s Hardball with host Chris Matthews to discuss the missing emails from her time as Secretary of State. Following is a transcript of that interview which airs at 6 pm tonight on MSNBC.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Thank you for joining us today Madam Secretary. I also want to welcome your lovely daughter Chelsea. I don’t mind admitting that next to President Obama you are two of my favorite people. Now, let’s play Hardball!
HILLARY: Thank you for having us, Chris.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Madam Secretary, for months you have been under fire from rabid right wing conspirators about your private email servers. How are you holding up?
HILLARY: (laughing loudly) Oh, it’s going to take a lot more than pointless accusations from neocons to ruffle my feathers, Chris.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Ha! After all these years I guess you’re used to it, huh?
HILLARY CLINTON: (laughs loudly) They’ve had it in for me ever since I worked on the Watergate investigation.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: I think republicans are just jealous of how accomplished you are. (Looks at Chelsea) You must be awful proud of your mom.
CHELSEA: I have the best mom in the world, Chris.
CHELSEA: Oh, I sure do.
CHRIS MATTHEW: Madam Secretary, you and your daughter are here today to reveal some pretty astonishing news exclusively on MSNBC.
HILLARY: Yes, we are, Chris. We have decided to be candid and inform the American people that Chelsea is the one who scrubbed my computer drives clean.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: And you also claim she removed all the classified markings from sensitive emails?
HILLARY: Yes, that is true. (looks at Chelsea) Isn’t that true, honey?
CHELSEA: (swallowing hard) Yes, I did it. I’m the one who erased the servers and I also removed all classified markings.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: So it makes sense now, Madam Secretary, that you could not have known you had all those classified emails.
HILLARY: That’s correct, Chris.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Unfortunately there’s a heart wrenching part to this confession, isn’t there?
HILLARY: Yes there is, Chris. Chelsea was suffering from postpartum depression at the time.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Oh no.
HILLARY: As you are aware, Chris, postpartum depression is an awful affliction for millions of women following a pregnancy. The costs to the poor mother are devastating. Those of us who’ve never experienced it cannot imagine the anguish.
CHELSEA: I’m doing much better, Chris. After that awful period of overwhelming depression I’m just eager to put it behind me and get back to supporting my mom’s candidacy.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Chelsea, can you tell us what led to you meddling into your mother’s email?
CHELSEA: I don’t know for sure, Chris. When you suffer from postpartum depression you do things that you can’t explain. It’s almost like you’re a completely different person.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: I’ve heard that. It’s like when those ladies kill their kids, huh?
CHELSEA: (fidgeting) Well, I don’t know about all of that. I would never harm my baby.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: But how do you know? You said you acted like a completely different person.
CHELSEA: (looks at Hillary) Mom?
HILLARY: Uh, Chris, even though Chelsea did act in a confusing manner, I have no doubt she would never harm her baby. For some crazy reason that we’ll never understand, her only focus was on destroying my emails and scrubbing my hard drives.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: But there are many instances of women confessing they worried they could harm their babies during postpartum depression. Even Marie Osmond said that. And you don’t get more wholesome than Marie Osmond.
HILLARY: Chris, at this point what difference does it make? Chelsea’s only depression symptoms were her obsession with destroying my emails and scrubbing my drives. I can attest that even as she committed criminal acts with my email account she was a loving and compassionate mother.
CHELSEA: I don’t Chris. I mean, in a way I’m kind of amazed that I was able to delete that many.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: So if you can’t recall deleting 30,000 emails, how do you know you didn’t have thoughts of harming your baby?
HILLARY: Chris, the fact is, Chelsea does vaguely recall deleting my emails. Isn’t that right, honey?
CHRIS MATTHEWS: So now you’re vaguely aware of deleting your mom’s email and scrubbing her servers?
HILLARY: Yes she is, Chris. And that lays to rest any worries that Chelsea ever had thoughts of harming her baby or that I had anything to do with those emails disappearing.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: I gotta hand it to you, Madam President, that’s just an amazing story. But you know, now the republicans are going to come after your poor daughter who, under a state of extreme duress, destroyed your emails. They might even suggest that you put her up to this. That you were willing to sacrifice your own daughter for your own political ambitions.
HILLARY: You know what, Chris? If a bunch of old white men want to publicly excoriate the actions of a young woman suffering from the catastrophic effects of postpartum depression, I say bring it on!
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Ha! Bring it on? Is that what you said, Madam President?
HILLARY: I sure did, Chris. Nobody has fought harder for the rights of women than I have. If republicans want to escalate that war, they’re going to have to go through me first.
HILLARY: Chris, I couldn’t care less about my poll numbers. My sole priority is to protect my daughter and fight for women in this great country and around the world.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Wow. You’re the real thing, aren’t you?
HILLARY: You better believe it, Chris.