Just when we thought we were finally moving on to issues of substance, those damned emails (as Bernie Sanders, in one of the most spontaneous moments of the primaries, called them) are back in the news. Like Freddy Kruger, they just won’t die—because the media won’t let them.
This time, they were reincarnated by the Washington Post, who gave Clinton four “Pinocchios” for trying to correct Chris Wallace in a Fox News Sunday interview on July 31. Wallace had said, inaccurately, that “FBI director James Comey said none of those things that you told the American public were true.” But Wallace was either uninformed or lying, for Comey had said nothing of the sort. Rather, he said (in the July 7 congressional hearing that followed his public announcement of the results of his investigation) that he wasn’t “qualified to answer” the question of whether Clinton had lied to the public.” What he did feel qualified to answer was whether her answers to the FBI were truthful, and on that issue he had replied that “we have no basis to conclude that she lied.”
What did Clinton reply that got her pantsuit set on fire? Instead of quoting Comey’s lawyerly “no basis to conclude that she lied,” she answered in terms ordinary people use and said Comey had said, “her answers were truthful.” She then went on to connect the dots between her FBI testimony and what she had said to the public, describing them as “consistent” with each other. Complicated, perhaps. Requiring a bit of thought on the part of listeners, yes. But a lie? Give us a break.