“That would be a reasonable inference.” Those six words from FBI Director James Comey contain the key to Hillary’s veracity on her emails. Simply stated: Hillary has always been honest and truthful about her emails.
For decades, the national media and Hillary’s political detractors have tried their best to convince the world that she is a liar. She isn’t. She wasn’t. She never will be.
That hasn’t stopped them from hammering her incessantly about her email server, despite the fact that her Republican opponent has made lying the centerpiece of his campaign.
The singular vengeance with which Hillary’s opponents question her honesty may seem convincing to some people, but the accusations are groundless. The most prominent, accomplished and respected people in the world consistently vouch for her honesty, integrity and trustworthiness. They do so because they know who she is, beyond the grotesque caricature portrayed in the media.
For example, the most cursory application of logic and common sense demonstrates that Hillary has always been honest about her emails.
Consider this crucial exchange between FBI Director James Comey and Rep. Matt Cartwright:
CARTWRIGHT: According to the manual, if you’re going to classify something, there has to be a header on the document? Right?
CARTWRIGHT: Was there a header on the three documents that we’ve discussed today that had the little c in the text someplace?
COMEY: No. There were three e-mails, the c was in the body, in the text, but there was no header on the email or in the text.
CARTWRIGHT: So if Secretary Clinton really were an expert about what’s classified and what’s not classified and we’re following the manual, the absence of a header would tell her immediately that those three documents were not classified. Am I correct in that?
COMEY: That would be a reasonable inference.
Let’s unpack that. Out of 110 emails that Comey testified contained classified information (which constituted only 0.2% of Hillary’s 55,000 emails), only three had any markings indicating the presence of classified material. And Comey conceded that those three were improperly marked.
He further testified that it would be a “reasonable inference” for Hillary to assume that those three emails were not classified.
Now let’s apply that same logic to the other emails that had no classified markings whatsoever. If it was reasonable for Hillary to assume that three “improperly marked” emails weren’t classified, then it would surely be reasonable to assume that completely unmarked emails were unclassified as well.
The implication of Comey’s six words is undeniable:
It was perfectly reasonable for Hillary to believe that she never sent or received classified information.
As I’ve argued previously, it’s patently obvious that Hillary told the truth based on the facts she knew at the time. 110 out of 55,000 emails contained information that was not properly marked classified; she did not know that they contained information deemed classified by other agencies. Simply put, Hillary trusted that the material she was sent — and on occasion replied to — was not classified. She stated her honest opinion when she said she didn’t send or receive classified information.
Whether or not her statements proved to be erroneous in hindsight says nothing about her knowledge and intention when she stated what she believed to be true.
The bottom line is that she trusted government officials not to send her classified emails without markings. The fact that she placed her trust in people is what’s good about her character. The fact that she refuses to throw them under the bus says even more about her integrity. And the fact that her detractors in the GOP and media are trying to distort that trust into something nefarious says something about them, not her.
UPDATE (8/5/16): Tommy Christopher fact checks the fact-checkers on this story and finds them lacking, as I do:
All of the “Big Three” fact-checkers acknowledged the substance of the exchange [with Rep. Cartwright] to some degree, but either downplayed or outright lied about it. The Washington Post‘s fact-checker, the oft-quoted Glenn Kessler, made zero mention of the exchange, instead relying on [an] earlier exchange that Comey himself later contradicted. So, the fact is that there were exactly zero emails sent or received by Hillary Clinton that were properly marked as classified. This is not some technicality, they were supposed to have big block letters at the top of every page, and they did not.
Christopher is exactly right. The fact-checkers in this case have omitted key details that support Hillary’s veracity.
UPDATE (8/16/16): Republicans are ratcheting up their desperate attempts to derail Hillary’s campaign, alleging that she committed perjury during her 2015 congressional testimony. They are flat wrong and they know it. Some of her statements were later proven to be erroneous in hindsight, but in her public statements and sworn testimony, she told the truth as she understood the facts at the time.
Here’s an analogy simple enough even for Hillary’s stubbornly unthinking GOP critics to understand:
If a vegetarian ordered and consumed a vegetable dumpling off a menu and said they did not eat meat, they would be telling the truth. If a forensic investigation by the department of health later showed that the restaurant contaminated their vegetable dumplings with meat, it doesn’t retroactively make the vegetarian a liar. They were telling the truth as far as they knew it.
Hillary has been honest all along, admitting she made a mistake in using a private email system and telling the public and Congress the facts as she understood them.
She is an honest, ethical, decent, dignified, accomplished, respected and admired leader who is being subjected to viciously disingenuous and disgusting attacks on her character. All for political gain.
That’s the game Republicans play with her. They’ve been at it for decades with the help of their media cohorts. And she’s still winning.