John Dean pens a brilliant dissection of the “bogus and outrageous” perjury allegations against Hillary. I’ve combined his analysis with BNR’s extensive reporting on Hillary’s emails to create a definitive debunking of these false and malicious claims against her.
Dean sets the scene:
Endless efforts by congressional Republicans to foil or foul up Hillary Clinton’s run for the presidency have hit a new low. The members of Congress involved cannot be sued for defamation, since they are protected by the “Speech and Debate Clause” of the Constitution, but the fact that they are not merely smearing the former secretary of state but are trying to send her to jail on phony charges of perjury and lying to Congress is beyond the pale of dirty politics. It is an abuse of power and their effort to criminalize politics could one-day blowback on them and result in their going to jail on bogus charges.
That two of the most powerful committee chairs in the House of Representatives have trumped up these bogus charges is stunning to me. This is not the way mature democracies like ours are supposed to operate. These men—along with their staff and the Republican leadership that are part of this ploy—are blatantly abusing congressional powers.
Dean’s thorough — and definitive — analysis goes through the false charges and rips each one to shreds. He concludes:
The hard evidence shows that Hillary Clinton did not lie, rather those charging her have distorted her testimony, or claimed she had information she simply did not have at the time she testified. It is pretty ugly stuff, made even uglier because it is being promoted by two high ranking Republican chairmen who are, the facts show, trying to frame her.
His argument is comprehensive, going through all four spurious allegations:
Does [FBI Director] Comey’s Testimony Show Secretary Clinton Lied When Testifying She Did Not Send or Receive Emails Marked Classified?
Does Comey’s Testimony Show Secretary Clinton Lied When Testifying Her Lawyers Went Through Every Single Email?
Does Comey’s Testimony Show Secretary Clinton Lied When Testifying She Had One Server?
Does Comey’s Testimony Show Secretary Clinton Lied When Testifying She Provided All Her Work-Related Emails?
The singular vengeance with which Hillary’s opponents question her honesty may seem convincing to some people, but as Dean shows, the accusations are groundless.
Time and again, those who assail her integrity end up looking like fools. Case in point: Hillary’s detractors have viciously attacked her in recent days for reportedly telling the FBI that Colin Powell recommended the use of a private email. Sure enough, the facts show she was telling the truth:
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said Friday he once sent Hillary Clinton a memo touting his use of a personal email account for work-related messages after she took over as the nation’s top diplomat in 2009.
In a statement provided to The Associated Press, Powell said he emailed Clinton describing his use of a personal AOL account for unclassified messages while leading the State Department under President George W. Bush. Powell said he told Clinton his use of personal email “vastly improved” communications within the department, which at the time did not have an equivalent internal system.
There’s a reason 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.
On August 16, I published a detailed rebuttal of attacks on Hillary’s honesty in the aftermath of James Comey’s congressional testimony (attacks that are regularly echoed by the mainstream media). I used these six words from Comey to demonstrate her veracity: “That would be a reasonable inference.”
The most cursory application of logic and common sense demonstrates that Hillary has always been honest about her emails.
Consider this crucial exchange between 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.
Tommy Christopher adds further context by fact checking the fact-checkers on this story and finding 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. 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.
Here’s an analogy simple enough 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.
The bottom line is that Hillary 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.