Legendary Watergate Journalist Outlines Why Hillary Emails Remind Him of the Nixon Tapes

Legendary Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward says Hillary Clinton’s deletion of some 30,000 emails from a private server reminds him of the Nixon tapes, in part because of the massive amount of information contained in them that’s been shrouded in secrecy for years.

Woodward, who along with his colleague Carl Bernstein, broke the Watergate scandal that collapsed Richard Nixon’s presidency, appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Monday where he discussed the latest developments in the ongoing email controversy involving the 2016 Democratic presidential contender.

This June 11, 2012 file photo shows former Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward speaking during an event to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Watergate in Washington. (Credit: AP)

“Again, it’s the volume,” Woodward said, referencing the number of emails sent to or from Clinton while she was secretary of state. “Sixty thousand emails, and Hillary Clinton has said 30,000 of them – half – were personal and they were deleted. Who decided that? What’s on those emails? I would love to have all 60,000 and read them. It would be a character study and also what she did as secretary of state.”

Woodward suggested that access to those messages could provide the answer to the “big question” many are asking about Clinton in the run up to the election.

“‘Who is she?’ Is she this secretive, hidden person, or is she this valiant public servant? Look at those 60,000 emails and you’re going to get some answers,” Woodward said.

Woodward said that “lots of people” in government are “furious,” since they spent hours being trained on how to handle sensitive information, while the nation’s former top diplomat had her own private email server.

“You have to be careful about this,” Woodward cautioned. “What was the origin? Who knew about this idea of using a private server. I mean, when I first read about that, it’s unimaginable.”

Responding to host Joe Scarborough’s claim that the move was “unprecedented,” Woodward pointed out that the emails can still be traced, without obtaining the server, by following the trail of emails among numerous recipients.

“So if anything’s been erased here, there’s a way to go back to who originated these emails or who received them from Hillary Clinton, so you’ve got a massive amount of data in a way that reminds me of the Nixon tapes,” Woodward said.

“Thousands of hours of secretly recorded conversations that Nixon thought were exclusively his. Hillary Clinton initially took that position. There’s going to be no cooperation. Now they’re cooperating, but this has to go on a long, long time and the answers are probably not going to be pretty,” Woodward told Scarborough.

Clinton previously asserted that she never sent any classified materials over her private system, but a recent intelligence community audit deemed two emails “top secret,” which Clinton’s campaign says were not designated so at the time. Clinton turned over the server to the FBI last week.

Follow Jon Street (@JonStreet) on Twitter