Hillary Clinton admitted this Sunday that it is “fair” for voters to have questions about her truthfulness. However, she then proceeded to make the very type of statement that has undermined her credibility with voters. Despite the express statement of the FBI that her emails contained clearly classified information, including some with classified markings, Clinton insisted that there was no such finding and seemed to deflect blame for her conduct to subordinates. The Washington Post gave Clinton “Four Pinnochios” for her interview on truthfulness and the email scandal. Clearly, Clinton is right that there is “work to do” on the truthfulness thing.
The FBI was scathing in its view of Clinton’s decision to use an unsecure personal server for her communications as Secretary of State — a decision that clearly came from her and not her subordinates who raised objections. Despite her decision to not to use the expensive, secured system at the State Department, Clinton insisted in her Fox interview that “I take classification seriously.” She then added that
“I relied on and had every reason to relied on the judgment of the professionals with whom I worked. So in retrospect, maybe some people are saying, ‘Well, among those 300 people they made the wrong call.’ At the time there was no reason in my view to doubt the professionalism and the determination by people who work every single day on behalf of our country.”
That would seem to blame her staff for her use of the personal server. However, it was the statement on the FBI findings that has caught the attention of many people. FBI Director Comey called Clinton and her staff “extremely careless” in using a personal email account and server.
When asked about the finding that she sent classified emails, she objected to that take on the FBI findings: “That’s not what I heard Director Comey say. Comey said that my answers were truthful and what I’ve said is consistent with what I have told the American people.” She repeated that the emails found to be classified were “retroactively” classified, which is not true.
However, Comey said that 110 of her emails contained information that was classified at the time she sent or received them. He also said that a smaller number emails had markings showing them to be classified. She added that “Director Comey said my answers were truthful and consistent with what I have told the American people.” However, Comey called her careless in her use of the personal server and the sending of these emails. He also directly contradicted her on the classification of the emails.
What is astonishing is that, while recognizing “fair” questions about her truthfulness, Clinton proceeded to repeat the very statements that were discredited by the FBI Director and the available record.
In giving her “Four Pinnochios” for her interview, the Post noted that
“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. Comey has repeatedly not taken a stand on her public statements. . . .
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.”