Hillary Clinton has spent a lifetime in politics lying about matters both big and small. This is not exactly a revelation. Over twenty years ago, longtime New York Times political columnist William Safire wrote about his painful realization that then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton was a “congenital liar” in his famous essay “Blizzard of Lies.” While most of time her tendency toward dishonesty manifests itself to cover up her own corruption and malfeasance, sometimes her fibs are intended to evoke sympathy. Other times — one suspects — she lies just for the fun of it.
It should be well established at this point that Clinton is not one to shy away from telling whoppers when the situation requires it. Her modus operandi these days in fact seems to be “lie big or go home.”
Which is exactly what she did on Fox News this weekend, earning herself four Pinocchios from the Washington Post.
“Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace played a video of Clinton saying: “I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified materials. I am confident that I never sent nor received any information that was classified at the time. I had not sent classified material nor received anything marked classified.” Following the clip, Wallace said, “After a long investigation, FBI Director James Comey said none of those things that you told the American public were true.”
Clinton said in reply: “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.”
Unfortunately for Hillary, that wasn’t the end of it. Wallace then played a video of the exchange between Comey and Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), chair of the House Select Committee on Benghazi:
GOWDY: Secretary Clinton said there was nothing marked classified on her emails either sent or received. Was that true?
COMEY: That’s not true.
GOWDY: Secretary Clinton said, “I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material.” Was that true?
COMEY: There was classified material emailed.
Clinton stumbled a bit after that.
“Well, Chris,” she said with a smile. “I looked at the whole transcript of what was said. And what I believe is I made a mistake not using two email addresses. I have said that and I repeat it again today. It is certainly not something that I would ever do again.”
She looked at “the whole transcript” and decided that her decision to set up a private email server to avoid Freedom of Information Act requests was a “mistake,” as if that admission makes any difference at this point.
Later, she tried to shift the blame on 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.”
Said Glenn Kessler, who writes “The Fact Checker” at the Washington Post:
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 investigation
For 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.”
But that’s not the whole story. When House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) asked whether Clinton had lied to the American public, Comey dodged: “That’s a question I’m not qualified to answer. I can speak about what she said to the FBI.”
At another point, Comey told Congress: “I really don’t want to get in the business of trying to parse and judge her public statements. And so I think I’ve tried to avoid doing that sitting here. … What matters to me is what did she say to the FBI. That’s obviously first and foremost for us.”
Reason TV did “get into the business of parsing and judging” Hillary’s public statements, and the result was damning:
As for retroactive classification of emails, Comey did say many emails were retroactively classified. But he also said that some emails were classified at the time — and Clinton and her aides should have been aware of that.
Here’s how Comey put it in his lengthy statement when he announced the completion of the investigation: “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.”
Comey said “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.”
He added: “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.” He noted that “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.”
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. That’s the uncomfortable truth that Clinton has trouble admitting.
There were “110 emails in 52 email chains were determined to include classified information at the time they were received” according to the FBI director.