Hillary Clinton’s new clarifications about email fall short

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at the 2016 National Association of Black Journalists' and National Association of Hispanic Journalists' Hall of Fame Luncheon at Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, Friday, Aug. 5, 2016. | AP Photo/Andrew Harnik; St. George News

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (AP) — Hillary Clinton asserted Friday that FBI Director James Comey said she was truthful in her statements to investigators about her private server and use of private emails — and that those statements were consistent with what she has said publicly. But Comey made no such blanket assessment.

FBI Director James Comey makes a statement at FBI Headquarters in Washington, Tuesday. Comey said the FBI will not recommend criminal charges in its investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while secretary of state. District of Columbia, July 5, 2016 | AP Photo/Cliff Owen; St. George News
In this July 5  photo, FBI Director James Comey makes a statement at FBI Headquarters in Washington, Tuesday. Comey said the FBI will not recommend criminal charges in its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state. District of Columbia, July 5, 2016 | AP Photo/Cliff Owen; St. George News

He actually questioned the accuracy of some of her public statements and said only that investigators had “no basis to conclude she lied to the FBI,” whatever she told other people.

Clinton tried to use her appearance at a joint session of associations of black and Hispanic journalists to defuse a mounting controversy over her recent remarks about her emails. Over the past week, she cited Comey’s public comments from last month to demonstrate she was truthful about her private email use and had not put at risk classified information in the messages she sent and received.

What resulted Friday were still more mischaracterizations.

Clinton’s comments about her email use have shifted over time. When she first acknowledged the use of private emails in March 2015, Clinton said: “I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material.”

She later shifted her explanation to say she never sent or received “any emails marked classified at the time.”

Comey debunked that assertion in July. He said FBI investigators found that 113 emails from Clinton’s server contained classified information that had been secret at the time it was sent or received. Many more emails contained sensitive information but were marked classified only later.

On “Fox News Sunday,” Clinton said, “Director Comey said my answers were truthful and what I’ve said is consistent with what I have told the American people.” This, despite Comey’s earlier statement to Congress that her public statement about classified material was “not true.”

On Friday, Clinton said she wanted to clarify her recent remarks and acknowledged she had “short-circuited” what she intended to say. But her intended clarification was yet another short circuit of the public record.

CLINTON: “I have said during the interview and in many other occasions over the past months that what I told the FBI, which he said was truthful, is consistent with what I have said publicly.”

THE FACTS: Comey has declined to say precisely what Clinton told FBI investigators, but he has never publicly called Clinton’s comments truthful. He said only that “we have no basis to conclude that she lied to the FBI” — a legally calibrated statement that explained only that investigators did not find any evidence that she was lying to them.

When Comey was asked during a House hearing the same month about whether Clinton lied to the public, Comey begged off, saying: “That’s a question I’m not qualified to answer. I can speak only about what she said to the FBI.”

CLINTON: “And so what we have here is pretty much what I have been saying throughout this whole year and that is that I never sent or received anything that was marked classified.”

THE FACTS: At the July House hearing, Comey was asked about Clinton’s public statements that there was “nothing marked classified” in the private emails she sent or received. Comey replied, “That’s not true,” and added, “there was classified material emailed.”

In the hearing last month, Comey said three marked emails had a “C” mark at the time they were sent or received by Clinton, which would have indicated their classified nature. He also said other emails deleted from Clinton’s server also probably had classified markings at the time.

Clinton said Friday that the three emails cited by Comey “did not have the appropriate markings” and as a result, “it was therefore reasonable to conclude that anyone, including myself, would not have suspected that they were classified.”

Clinton seized on a later State Department statement that in two of the emails, the agency found that the classification markings made at the time had been made in error. And she said Comey’s own statements during the July hearing showed “there was absolutely no intention on my part to either ignore or in any way dismiss the importance of those documents.”

But Comey’s statement last month was not so assertive.

Comey said that it was “possible that she didn’t understand what a ‘C’ meant when she saw it in the body of the email like that.”

Overall, he described her handling of “very sensitive, highly classified information” as “extremely careless.”

Written by STEPHEN BRAUN, Associated Press

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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  • RealMcCoy August 5, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    Why is this news?
    We know she is a liar. A consistent liar, and yet she is still allowed to ‘run’ for president.
    She’s been pre-selected, was already guaranteed the Presidency for dropping out and letting Obama take it in 2008. She knows she is untouchable, and is flaunting it in our faces now.
    Whatever dirt she has to hold over FBI Director James Comey must be pretty big for him to not press charges on what a regular person would be serving a life sentence for.
    I hope it was worth his reputation; he’s now as big a joke as Hillary herself.
    Our government is a joke.

    • .... August 6, 2016 at 8:54 am

      You don’t like it then go somewhere else and read the news. .duh

  • Don Bagley August 5, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    Mitt Romney for president.

    • .... August 7, 2016 at 9:36 pm

      Howdy Dowdy for president !

  • ladybugavenger August 5, 2016 at 9:50 pm

    Trump better get it together! His ego can’t afford to lose to a woman.

    Trump for President!

  • .... August 6, 2016 at 6:11 am

    Well its doesn’t really matter now does it ? she’s going to be the next President, courtesy of Donald Trump constantly shooting himself in the foot !

  • jaybird August 6, 2016 at 8:12 am

    Many don’t understand how the government classified servers work. Confidential e-mails go through a totally different network than private. Clinton’s mistake was trying to hide her private e-mails by holding a private server and not using another account for her personal emails. Personal e-mail are private and not subject to public scrutiny. She may be lying, but shut up about this. It’s NOT a big deal, republicans are making it a big deal to catch her in something. And they haven’t. So shut up about 3 confidential e-mails out of thousands. I think she’s learned her lesson and can be trusted along with those gutter snipes up there she works with. Go Hillary; don’t let those men pull you down. Men are worse backbiter/gossipers than women in the workplace.

    • Henry August 6, 2016 at 4:39 pm

      Jaybird – YOU obviously don’t understand how government classified servers work. Your comment is full of factual errors:

      * “Personal e-mail are private and not subject to public scrutiny.” Email on government systems, whether personal or private, is government property and subject to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for public review. Hillary’s email server was set up and operated in such a way that she intentionally avoided the official system and bypassed those who would be assessing and applying formal classification.

      * “3 confidential e-mails out of thousands.” You totally misinterpreted this portion of the story.

      Often certain parts of an email message will be unclassified and other parts will be classified, and they are marked paragraph by paragraph. A classified code known as a “portion marking” is inserted at the left-hand margin of a classified paragraph. The “C” means the paragraph was marked classified at the Confidential level.

      In the story, Director Comey was only referring to 3 emails that had the “C” marking on them. According to Politifact, Comey’s investigation found 110 emails in 52 email chains containing classified information. Eight chains contained “Confidential” info, 36 chains contained “Secret” info, and 8 chains contained “Top Secret” info.

      First point: the “marked classified” distinction is meaningless. Intelligence is classified due to the nature of its contents, not based on whether someone marks it as such.

      Second point: how could the classified material Hillary sent be marked “classified” if the whole point of her shadow server was to avoid oversight by the people who do the classifying?

      * “I think she’s learned her lesson and can be trusted.” Really? Hillary’s email excuses evolved from a blanket “there is no classified material” (false), to “nothing was classified at the time” (false), to “I didn’t send anything that was classified” (false), before finally settling on “nothing was marked classified at the time.” This final iteration is legally irrelevant; upon taking office, Clinton signed a binding non-disclosure agreement (NDA) swearing to protect all classified information, both marked and unmarked.

      Besides her email situation, Hillary also has her Benghazi lies, millions of dollars from Middle Eastern monarchies and Wall Street funneled through the Clinton Foundation “charity”, her story of dodging “sniper fire” in Bosnia, and her story of trying to enlist in the Marines. How could you trust this woman about anything?

  • jaybird August 6, 2016 at 8:14 am

    Trump is mental; Hillary is normal.

    • RealMcCoy August 6, 2016 at 3:28 pm

      Oh I get it now…you’re a troll!
      For a minute I thought you actually believed what you were writing!
      Godd play, Sir. Good play.

    • Real Life August 6, 2016 at 4:59 pm

      Okay. You betcha there “jaybird”.

      • .... August 7, 2016 at 9:35 pm

        Nobody cares what you think !

  • Curtis August 6, 2016 at 11:06 am

    She has 20 years in Washington as First Lady, Senator and Sec of State. She is running for President. So naturally she lies.

  • ladybugavenger August 6, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    I received my Raiders air freshener today, it looks cool but….. it smells like dirty socks sprayed with perfume.

    It smells like Hillary’s politics

  • .... August 6, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    Ladybug I will send you that’s smells like Cheetos and Coke ! ♡♡♡

    • ladybugavenger August 7, 2016 at 3:09 pm

      that would be better, i think? haha!

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