Hillary Clinton was fact-checked by history on Tuesday after she claimed classified documents were not transmitted on her unsecured private email server.
What did Clinton say?
The twice-failed presidential candidate took to social media to reject comparisons between herself and former President Donald Trump.
Supporters of the former president allege that he is being treated differently from Clinton despite the premise of their alleged wrongdoing — storing or retaining classified documents in an unsecured setting — being the same.
“As Trump’s problems continue to mount, the right is trying to make this about me again. There’s even a ‘Clinton Standard.’ The fact is that I had zero emails that were classified,” Clinton tweeted.
— Hillary Clinton (@Hillary Clinton)
What was the reaction?
Clinton’s claim generated tens of thousands of responses because, in the words of Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton, the claim is “astonishingly false.”
In fact, it was quickly highlighted in response that former FBI Director James Comey has directly disputed Clinton’s claim.
At a press conference in July 2016, Comey revealed that Clinton’s email server had sent or received more than 100 documents that were classified at the time they were transmitted and more than 2,000 others that were later classified.
From the group of 30,000 e-mails returned to the State Department, 110 e-mails in 52 e-mail chains have been determined by the owning agency to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received. Eight of those chains contained information that was Top Secret at the time they were sent; 36 chains contained Secret information at the time; and eight contained Confidential information at the time— that is the lowest level of classification.
Separate from those, about 2,000 additional e-mails were “up-classified” to make them Confidential; the information in those had not been classified at the time the e-mails were sent.
— Pumpkin Spichael Knowles (@Pumpkin Spichael Knowles)
An investigation by DOJ inspector general Michael Horowitz, culminating in a 2018 report, later corroborated that Clinton sent and received classified documents through her email server, more government proof that Clinton’s claim is completely false.
Importantly, the investigation found that none of the documents contained classified markings.
From the report:
None of the emails, including those that were found to contain classified
information, included a header or footer with classification markings. … [T]his absence of clear classification markings played a
significant role in the decision by the Midyear prosecutors to recommend to
Attorney General Lynch in July 2016 that the investigation should be closed without
According to the LHM, the FBI, with the assistance of other USIC
agencies, identified “81 email chains containing approximately 193 individual emails
that were classified from the CONFIDENTIAL to TOP SECRET levels at the time the
emails were drafted on UNCLASSIFIED systems and sent to or from Clinton’s
personal server.” In other words, the USIC agencies determined that these 81
email chains, although not marked classified, contained information classified at the
time the emails were sent and should have been so marked.
On the other hand, the Justice Department released a controversial photo of classified documents allegedly seized from Mar-a-Lago. The photo showed documents with cover sheets indicating they are highly classified and belong in secure compartments.