AP Fact-Checks Hillary's Lies: Her Story 'Collapses' Under Scrutiny

She escaped legal ramifications; will she escape the court of public opinion?


The majority of mainstream media outlets are burying FBI director James Comey's recent remarks on the key findings of his investigation into Hillary Clinton's home-brew email server. While the Democratic presidential candidate skirted punitive repercussions, Comey's revelations did -- or at least, should -- indict Clinton in the court of public opinion, as he enumerated just how often and egregiously Clinton lied both to authorities and the American public. 

While the lead story of the day was glossed over by most mainstream network broadcasts, and likewise, buried at the bottom of their respective websites' front pages, some outlets did surprise. To their credit, CBS, MSNBC, the New York Times, and The Washington Post prominently featured the Clinton-Comey lead and its implications for Clinton. 

Even the Associated Press released a fact-check juxtaposing Comey's findings with Clinton's bald-faced lies, noting the Democratic presidential hopeful's story "collapses" under scrutiny. Below are key excerpts from AP's fact check.

On Clinton's lie: "I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material": 

THE FACTS: Actually, the FBI identified at least 113 emails that passed through Clinton's server and contained materials that were classified at the time they were sent, including some that were Top Secret and referred to a highly classified special access program, Comey said.

Most of those emails — 110 of them — were included among 30,000 emails that Clinton returned to the State Department around the time her use of a private email server was discovered. The three others were recovered from a forensic analysis of Clinton's server.

"Any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton's position or in the position of those with whom she was corresponding about the matters should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation," Comey said before adding that Clinton and her staff "were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information." 

Comey purposefully used the term, "extremely careless" instead of "gross negligence" -- the latter being the more specific legal language that defines the terms of the statute. As many legal experts have accurately noted, however, "extreme carelessness" is in fact the very definition of "gross negligence," thus Comey's choice of verbiage here was likely politically motivated.  

The AP continues with its fact check... 

On Clinton's lie: "I never received nor sent any material that was marked classified." 

THE FACTS: Clinton has separately clung to her rationale that there were no classification markings on her emails that would have warned her and others not to transmit the sensitive material. But the private system did, in fact, handle emails that bore markings indicating they contained classified information, Comey said.

He said the marked emails were "a very small number." But that's not the only standard for judging how officials handle sensitive material, he added.

Comey noted that "even if information is not marked classified in an email, participants who know, or should know, that the subject matter is classified are still obligated to protect it."

Indeed, and if the highest-ranking diplomat in the country is incapable of deciphering what does and does not constitute "classified" information, it seems reasonable to say that person should be disqualified from holding the office. 

On Clinton's lie: "I responded right away and provided all my emails that could possibly be work related" to the State Department. 

THE FACTS: Not so, the FBI found.

Comey said that when his forensic team examined Clinton's server it found there were "several thousand work-related emails that were not in the group of 30,000" that had been returned by Clinton to the State Department.

On Clinton's lie: "I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for personal emails instead of two." 

THE FACTS: This reasoning for using private email both for public business and private correspondence didn't hold up in the investigation. Clinton "used numerous mobile devices to view and send email" using her personal account, Comey said. He also said Clinton had used different servers.

On Clinton's lie: "It was on property guarded by the Secret Service, and there were no security breaches. ... The use of that server, which started with my husband, certainly proved to be effective and secure." 

THE FACTS: The FBI did not uncover a breach but made clear that that possibility cannot be ruled out.

"We assess it is possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton's personal email account," Comey said.

AP reiterated Comey's explanation, saying that evidence of a breach would be difficult to find because hackers can often cover their tracks, but that FBI investigators found security lapses when Clinton used "her personal email extensively while outside the United States, including sending and receiving work-related emails in the territory of sophisticated adversaries." To its credit, AP reminded readers that the Romanian hacker dubbed Guccifer "accessed and later leaked emails from Sidney Blumenthal, an outside adviser to Clinton who regularly communicated with her."

It should also be noted that Clinton's defense about the "Secret Service guarding her server" are preposterous. After all, how does physically guarding a server defend it from being hacked?  

On Clinton's lie that she "opted for convenience" of simply using a personal email account, and that she was permitted to do so "by the State Department":  

THE FACTS: The FBI found that Clinton's personal server was "not even supported by full-time security staff like those found at agencies and departments of the United States government or even with a commercial email service like Gmail," the director said.

A May 2016 audit by the State Department inspector general found there was no evidence Clinton sought or received approval to operate a private server, and that she "had an obligation to discuss using her personal email account to conduct official business with their offices." Courts have frowned on such a practice.

All in all, the AP did good work enumerating Clinton's lies in its fact-check, something few other outlets will be willing to do. While many legal experts declared Tuesday a "dark day for criminal justice," Comey's revelations will provide countless sound-bites for the Trump campaign to use against its rival. Of course, the ads exposing Clinton as a pathological liar are already circulating the Internet and a few of those are featured above.