The Washington Post’s Fact Checkers awarded Hillary Clinton four “Pinocchios” – their worst rating – after the former Secretary of State defended her use of a private email server in an interview Sunday by claiming the FBI director said she had been “truthful” about the subject.
In the interview on Fox News Sunday, Clinton had defended her use of a private email server, saying “[FBI Director James Comey] said my answers were truthful, and what I’ve said is consistent with what I have told the American people, that there were decisions discussed and made to classify retroactively certain of the emails.”
But the Fact Checkers at the Washington Post weren’t buying it.
“Clinton is cherry-picking statements by Comey to preserve her narrative about the unusual setup of a private email server. This allows her to skate past the more disturbing findings of the FBI investigation,” they wrote.
Parsing Clinton’s public statements and comparing them to Comey’s congressional testimony, the Post’s Fact Checkers determined that while Clinton’s answers to the FBI during its investigation may have been truthful, that description couldn’t reasonably be extended to everything she’s said in public – parts of which apparently contradict Comey’s description of the server.
As the Post’s Fact Checkers explained, “As we have seen repeatedly in Clinton’s explanations of the email controversy, she relies on excessively technical and legalistic answers to explain her actions. 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 [Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace’s] question. Comey has repeatedly not taken a stand on her public statements.”
The Post continued, “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.”
Clinton campaign spokesperson Brian Fallon responded to the Washington Post’s verdict on Monday in an interview on MSNBC.
“I think that the question she got yesterday was sort of suggesting that she had misrepresented things to the American people over the last several months,” Fallon said,
“And what she attempted to indicate in her response was that Director Comey was very clear when he was asked in the hearing before Congress last month about the nature of the answers that she gave in her interview to the Justice Department. And Director Comey’s response was quite clear, that he had no reason to believe anything that she ever said to the Justice Department was at all untruthful, and what she was indicating in that interview to Chris Wallace was what she said to those Justice Department interviewers was entirely consistent with what she has said to the public for the last several months, and the many questions we’ve answered on this issue.”
Naomi Lim contributed to this story.