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WaPo Fact Checker Gives Hillary Clinton Emails Tweet Four Opposite-Pinocchio Un-Lies!
Stopped clock amazes onlookers.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took to Twitter the other day to point out that, no matter how many times Donald Trump and his sycophants chanted "Locker Up!" (out of nostalgia for high school, I assume), not a single one of her emails was actually classified, while Trump literally took hundreds of classified documents — some of them at the highest levels anyone admits the US has — back to his Florida retirement estate when he was finally cleansed from of the Oval Office.
I can’t believe we’re still talking about this, but my emails…
As Trump’s problems continue to mount, the right is trying to make this about me again. There’s even a “Clinton Standard."
The fact is that I had zero emails that were classified.
Comey admitted he was wrong after he claimed I had classified emails.
Trump’s own State Department, under two different Secretaries, found I had no classified emails.
That's right: ZERO .
By contrast, Trump has hundreds of documents clearly marked classified, and the investigation just started.
Clinton then linked to the National Memo's recent reminder that yes, zero of the State Department emails on her private email server were classified, and that every subsequent investigation, including the two performed by Trump's administration, came to that conclusion. While both investigations criticized Clinton for using the private server because it might have been vulnerable, none of the information on it was classified, nope.
Then yesterday, in the Washington Post, "Fact Checker" columnist Glenn Kessler — who has a habit of griping that completely accurate information is still somehow flawed by his nitpicky goofball standards — certified that yes indeed, Clinton's Tuesday tweet thread is accurate, although it's also truthful ( Free gift linky here ).
Remembrance of Wonks Past:
Hilariously, though, along the way to declaring Clinton accurate, Kessler does feel compelled to gripe that she somehow shaded the truth in a way that she didn't even do, although ultimately he concludes that even with the hair-splitting she hadn't done, she was still right.
Clinton, in her tweet, suggests none of her emails were marked classified. That’s technically correct. Whether those emails contained classified information was a major focus of the investigation, but a review of the recent investigations, including new information obtained by the Fact Checker, shows Clinton has good reason for making a distinction with Trump.
Well actually GLENN, Clinton doesn't suggest anything of the sort. She doesn't say "marked" at all, simply that none of her emails were classified. We honestly don't know where you're getting any whiff of "suggest" there at all, apart from your assumption that Hillary Clinton must always shade the truth even when she's stating it outright.
You pissy little pud.
We won't walk through every point in the column, which goes into the weeds at times, and they aren't even the kind mellow weeds we like around these parts. But Kessler eventually explains that not only were none of the emails marked classified, they also didn't contain anything that actually was classified either.
Maybe it's just habit. Kessler notes that during the 2016 election campaign, the Post ran " 16 fact checks on the email issue, frequently awarding Pinocchios to Clinton for legalistic parsing." He adds that this time out, Clinton is comparing "Trump’s current travails" to the billion and six investigations of her email server, and by golly, she's right: She didn't have any classified emails.
There are a few interesting News McNuggets in the piece, like a discussion of how the CIA has always thought the State Department isn't vigilant about protecting even the lowest levels of classified information. We also get a fun/tedious explanation of why one email that James Comey initially said was classified actually wasn't, not at all.
The confusion arose from the fact that the emails concerned talking points for a call Clinton planned to make to a foreign leader. The header of that email didn't mark it as classified, but the body contained the marking "(C)," which indicates a message is "confidential," the lowest form of classification. But by the time a copy of the email thread was transferred from the State Department's internal server to Clinton's private server, it had been declassified altogether so Clinton could discuss the matter with the foreign leader.
The State Department later said the (C) markings should have been removed as a matter of course once Clinton decided to place the call but through “human error,” they had not been deleted.
So that was mildly interesting. Nobody went to jail over that, either, which just proves how thoroughly riddled with non-crime the Obama administration was.
Kessler also provides an overview of the two State Department investigations that took place under Secretaries of State Rex Tillerson and Mike Pompeo, both of which looked at a bunch of email threads and found bupkis, no evidence that any of the emails were classified. The Tillerson probe ended in June 2017, and the State Department sent Clinton's attorney, David Kendall, a letter saying that the personal server was a security violation, but also that Clinton had "no individual culpability” in the matter.
Kendall told The Post that wasn't any surprise, because Clinton and her staff
"based their emails on the work the Department was doing and did not believe any of the emails contained classified information [...] The Secretary and her colleagues knew how to use (and did) State’s high-side secure system for transmitting classified information and properly marked such communications when appropriate.”
The second probe, under Pompeo, looked at additional email chains that hadn't previously been investigated, but similarly concluded that Clinton didn't "bear any individual culpability" for alleged "spillage" of secrets. Kessler adds that the declassified report on that investigation found there had been "91 valid violations attributable to 38 individuals," but didn't name anyone.
And again, the report tut-tutted about the private server, but concluded that
Instances of classified information being deliberately transmitted via unclassified email were the rare exception and resulted in adjudicated security violations. There was no persuasive evidence of systemic, deliberate mishandling of classified information.
And again, the few times that happened, it hadn't been Clinton's responsibility. In short, nope, Clinton didn't mishandle classified information, and she certainly didn't have any reports on a foreign country's nuclear weapons programs hidden away in the mud room of a Florida trash palace. Her emails were neither buttered nor salty.
[ WaPo (gift link)]
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