“Director Comey said my answers were truthful, and what I’ve said is consistent with what I have told the American people, that there were decisions discussed and made to classify retroactively certain of the emails.”
—-Hillary Clinton to Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, asserting that what was demonstrably false was true, regarding a public statement by Comey that can be Googled and watched on YouTube instantly.
My reaction when I saw that: KABOOM! The top of my head blew right off, bounced off the ceiling and knocked over the lamp. Wallace asked Clinton directly about what she had been saying to the public about her e-mails since May of 2015: that she did nothing wrong, that her private, secret e-mail server was approved by the State Department, that she never received or sent a classified e-mail…okay, that didn’t work, that she never knowingly sent a classified e-mail…wait, wait, that she never sent or received an e-mail that was marked classified. Comey, in his televised, live statement announcing his decision not to recommend prosecution for Clinton, directly contradicted her.
In his careful statement Comey said,
“Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.,,,seven e-mail chains concern matters that were classified at the Top Secret/Special Access Program level when they were sent and received. These chains involved Secretary Clinton both sending e-mails about those matters and receiving e-mails from others about the same matters. …There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position, or in the position of those government employees with whom she was corresponding about these matters, should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation…even if information is not marked ‘classified’ in an e-mail, participants who know or should know that the subject matter is classified are still obligated to protect it.”
There is no way that an individual of normal facility with the English language can listen to or read that statement and conclude that Comey was saying that Hillary’s answers to questions about the e-mails to the American public and the news media–for over a year!––were truthful, as in “full of truth.” A technical argument can be made, if one wishes, that Comey didn’t say that Clinton lied, because maybe she is an idiot and incompetent, and didn’t know or understand what “any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position” should have known and understood, leading to her factually false (and constantly evolving as more facts where uncovered) explanations over months and months.
What should we make of this? The less left-biased of the Washington Post’s factcheckers, Glenn Kessler, slammed Clinton’s statement to Wallace with his worst lie rating, Four Pinocchios. He also seemed disgusted, writing,
Clinton is cherry-picking statements by Comey to preserve her narrative about the unusual setup of a private email server. This allows her to skate past the more disturbing findings of the FBI investigationFor instance, when Clinton asserts “my answers were truthful,” a campaign aide said she is referring to this statement by Comey to Congress: “We have no basis to conclude she lied to the FBI.”
…In her response to Wallace, Clinton at one point appeared to deflect responsibility to her aides: “I relied on and had every reason to rely on the judgments of the professionals with whom I worked. And so, in retrospect, maybe some people are saying, well, among those 300 people, they made the wrong call.”
…As we have seen repeatedly in Clinton’s explanations of the email controversy, she relies on excessively technical and legalistic answers to explain her actions. While Comey did say there was no evidence she lied to the FBI, that is not the same as saying she told the truth to the American public — which was the point of Wallace’s question. …And although Comey did say many emails were retroactively classified, he also said that there were some emails that were already classified that should not have been sent on an unclassified, private server.
Then—sigh!— Kessler’s bias sneaked through, as he wrote, “That’s the uncomfortable truth that Clinton has trouble admitting.” This is blatant equivocation. She refuses to admit it, and more than that, claims the opposite. That isn’t “having trouble,” that’s refusal to tell the truth, even to the extent of lying about what is right in front of everyone’s eyes. Hence the Jumbo designation. Indeed, Hillary’s lie on Fox is worse than “Elephant? What elephant?” Hillary is saying, “Elephant? That’s no elephant! It’s a puppy!”
The reaction of Atlantic’s Ron Fournier, a liberal journalist who nonetheless is capable of honesty and integrity, to Clinton’s answer to Wallace was anger and dismay:
This is a note to Clinton Democrats—a desperate plea, actually. Your candidate staged a winning convention in Philadelphia: big stars, tight messaging, and a compelling case against her rival, Donald Trump….Hillary Clinton may be rising in the polls as a result, which is good news for people like me across the political spectrum who find Trump to be vacuous, soulless, and temperamentally unfit for the presidency. Yet I’m not angry at Trump; I expect him to be repugnant. I am angry at Clinton, because she followed up her convention with another unnecessary lie; another excuse for people to distrust her; another thin reed upon which undecided voters could justify a belated allegiance to a man who former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg called “a dangerous demagogue.”
And again, the bias slips out. “Slim reed”? Really, Ron? A political leader’s habitual and shameless lying to the American public to cover-up wrongdoing is a slim reed to justify rejecting a Presidential candidate as unfit and untrustworthy. Did I DREAM Watergate?
Then there is Mother Jones, a pretty typical progressive commentary site, which is to say, typically unable to be objective and debasing itself at every opportunity to deny that a Democrat/progressive/woman/black/ gay/ Hispanic is capable of wrongdoing or even mistakes. Mother Jones—I’m not kidding, now—used Hillary’s Unethical Quote Of the Month and Jumbo that made my head explode as a catalyst to publish an essay by its primary propagandist, Keven Drum, titled “Hillary Clinton Is One of America’s Most Honest Politicians.” It really did! Not only that, but the article, though obviously a Clinton defense tactic compelled by Clinton’s lie, didn’t mention the Fox interview while insisting that poor Hillary gets bad rap. Drum’s “proof” that she’s so honest? A chart showing how PolitiFact, the most biased and untrustworthy (but, like Drum, also the most ideologically biased) rates other politicians’ honesty compared to Hillary.
Here’s the funny part: Drum’s article was posted in the afternoon. the day after Clinton’s Jumbo. PolitiFact registered its assessment of Clinton’s answer to Wallace at around 6 pm. The assessment, according to its “Truth-O-Meter,” was…
…When Comey announced the FBI’s findings July 5, it was clear that there are obvious inconsistencies between what Clinton said publicly about classified information on her private email server before her FBI interview and what the FBI found. Pointedly, Clinton said there wasn’t any classified information in her email, and he said there was….
We’ll also note a couple other major inconsistencies between Clinton’s remarks and the FBI’s findings:
Clinton repeatedly said she turned over all work-related emails to the State Department in 2014, about 30,000 emails. However, Comey said FBI investigators uncovered “several thousand” work-related emails that she had not handed over to the State Department.
And, Clinton has said her email servers “had numerous safeguards. It was on property guarded by the Secret Service. And there were no security breaches.” Comey said that while there’s no evidence anyone successfully hacked Clinton’s email servers, they certainly were susceptible to attack. There was no full-time security staff, which are found at government agencies and commercial email providers like Google. Further, he noted that Clinton used her personal email abroad, which could have allowed “hostile actors” to access her account.
Our ruling:…A reasonable person would interpret Clinton’s statement to mean that Comey has endorsed her public remarks about her email. This is not the case….Further, while not explicitly rebuking Clinton’s public comments, Comey highlighted a major problem with them. Clinton repeatedly said she did not have any classified information whatsoever in her email, marked or unmarked. After the FBI investigation, including the interview with Clinton, Comey said she unequivocally did.
We rate her claim Pants on Fire.
Fortunately for Hillary, that rating didn’t make it into Drum’s chart. Whew!
Ethics Alarms’ take on the latest Clinton deceitfest is this. Commenting upon James Comey’s statement, I wrote, as my final observation,
8. If Clinton has sufficient integrity and common sense, she will quickly accept the verdict and conclusions described by Comey, admit carelessness and poor decisions, promise that she has learned important lessons that will make her a better leader, and vow to do better.
Well, she flunked that test, didn’t she? She flunked it because she treats the American public like serfs and fools, is incapable of being transparent or admitting wrongdoing, and deserves every bit of the distrust, dislike and suspicion most American have for her.
Hillary’s corrupted supporters like Drum—I may have to vote for this awful women, but I am not a supporter—need to dig deep and find some kind of integrity and ethical courage, so they can confront their hero—I know, I know, she has a vagina—and not allow her to enter the White House assuming that the nation doesn’t care if its leaders lie, and that just because they may elect a habitual liar when the alternative is an orangutan, a block of Limburger or Donald Trump doesn’t mean lying as a primary tool of governance is just fine with us.