The Washington Examiner is presenting emails released six months ago as new to falsely claim that Hillary Clinton "is only now facing questions about how she characterized" the 2012 terror attacks on a diplomatic facility in Benghazi.
On November 30, the State Department published 7,800 pages of Clinton's private emails. Reporting on those emails under the headline "New Clinton emails contradict Benghazi testimony," the Examiner reported:
A new batch of Hillary Clinton's emails made public Monday by the State Department indicate the former secretary of state was worried about whether she had overplayed the administration's Benghazi narrative, blaming the attack on a demonstration over a YouTube clip, less than two weeks after four Americans at the diplomatic compound in Benghazi were killed.
More than three years after the attack, Clinton is only now facing questions about how she characterized the raid.
The Examiner cites a September 24, 2012, email from Clinton aide Jake Sullivan to Clinton two weeks after the Benghazi attack in which he provides her with a compilation of her statements on the attacks and notes that she "never said spontaneous or characterized the motives" of the attackers but was instead "careful in your first statement to say we were assessing motive and method."
Unfortunately for the Examiner, that email isn't news. In fact, it was released by the Select Committee six months ago and was reported at the time by Reuters, Los Angeles Times, The Hill, New York Post, MSNBC, and CNN, among others.
And despite the Examiner's attempt to scandalize the email, it's not surprising that Clinton had sought to determine if her public statements on the attacks had been accurate given evolving assessments made by the intelligence community in the weeks following the attack.
Initial intelligence suggested that the Benghazi attacks had grown out of protests against an anti-Islam YouTube video, resulting in a set of CIA talking points released to congressional and administration officials on September 15 that stated that "the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the US Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the US diplomatic post."
Then-National Security Advisor Susan Rice was heavily criticized for using those talking points during a series of September 16 media interviews. But the intelligence continued to evolve and on September 24 -- the day of the Sullivan email -- the CIA changed its assessment, finding based on video footage and FBI interviews that no protest had occurred outside of the Benghazi facility.
The November 30 Examiner article also offered a second false attack on Clinton, claiming that an email that is actually newly released contradicts Clinton's October 22 testimony before the House Select Committee on Benghazi.
The Examiner cited a single email forwarded to Clinton on the night of the Benghazi attack as contradicting her testimony to the Benghazi Committee that she "conducted the majority of her work outside of email":
Email sent the night of the attack indicate Clinton did indeed receive updates about the unfolding violence in Benghazi via her private, unsecured email network, contrary to her testimony in an Oct. 22 hearing before the House Select Committee on Benghazi.
Clinton argued last month that she had conducted the majority of her work outside of email and that she had been receiving live updates about the attack in person, not on her private server. When describing her modes of communication she used on the night of the attack, Clinton cited secure phones and the SCIF, or sensitive compartmented information facility used for viewing classified material, in her home.
But Clinton defended the lack of Benghazi updates among her private emails by arguing that most of her communications did not take place over email.
This argument makes no sense. By definition, Clinton conducting "the majority of her work outside of email" and "arguing that most of her communications did not take place over email" suggests that some communication did take place over email. At no point in her testimony did Clinton state that she received no email communications on the night of the attack. (In fact, she did testify that beyond secure phones she used "other equipment that kept [her] in touch with the State Department at all times.")
And while the Examiner wrote that Clinton said she conducted most of her work outside of email in order to "defend the lack of Benghazi updates among her private emails," her testimony actually indicates that she made that remark while explaining why she did not have emails concerning an April 2012 attack on an U.N. convoy in Benghazi.
That hasn't stopped Hugh Hewitt, the Salem Radio host who serves as a panelist on CNN's Republican primary debates, from trying to badger CNN anchor Chris Cuomo with the Examiner report as "evidence crucial to" the election:
She testified though that she did not use her server on night of attack. Turns out she did. https://t.co/6uDqd1K8Jq-- Hugh Hewitt (@hughhewitt) December 1, 2015
During a subsequent appearance on Cuomo's New Day program on December 1, Hewitt suggested that the GOP candidates should use the next debate to "point out that yesterday, for example, new e-mails showed up that make it abundantly clear that Mrs. Clinton lied during her testimony before the Benghazi committee about not receiving e-mails on her private server the night of Benghazi."
Conservatives have made so many fraudulent Benghazi attacks that they are starting to lose track of them.
A day after The Wall Street Journal attacked the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for attempting to rein in racial bias in auto loan practices, Politico questioned the agency for seeking advice from a consumer advocacy group that many media outlets -- including Politico -- frequently ask to comment on consumer issues.
On November 19, Politico questioned the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) supposedly "cozy" relationship with a consumer advocacy group after emails revealed the agency consulted with the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) on payday lending reforms. CRL is a leading source of research on the issue of payday loans; however the article misleadingly compared the CFPB consulting with a consumer advocacy nonprofit to the often nefarious "influence of big banks and lobbyists in writing legislation":
When the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau put out its proposal to overhaul payday lending rules in March, the move was cheered by consumer advocates as a much-needed crackdown on an industry that preys on the poor.
But the final product wasn't a surprise to at least one nonprofit group.
While Elizabeth Warren and other progressives decry the influence of big banks and lobbyists in writing legislation, in this instance, the agency created by Warren to protect consumers from abusive lending leaned heavily on consumer activists as it drafted regulations for the $46 billion payday loan industry. The Center for Responsible Lending spent hours consulting with senior Obama administration officials, giving input on how to implement the rule that would restrict the vast majority of short-term loans with interest rates often higher than 400 percent. The group regularly sent over policy papers, traded emails and met multiple times with top officials responsible for drafting the rule.
Politico's criticism comes a day after The Wall Street Journal's editorial board lambasted the agency for drafting guidelines on ending racial bias in auto lending, and advocated for legislation to slow the CFPB's consumer advocacy work.
Politico's false comparison that consumer watchdogs have the same pervasive effect as big banks on legislation and rulemaking fails to note that the Center for Responsible Lending is a well-respected resource on financial products and how these products affect consumers. In the last month, research from the CRL has been cited by a Yale professor in The New York Times, and appeared in articles in Time, The Atlantic and The Huffington Post. On November 19, The Washington Post's Dave Weigel took to Facebook to criticize Politico, explaining to readers that "the nonprofit Center for Responsible Lending, which reporters who have covered any of this stuff recognize as a pretty above-board group that lobbies against predatory loan practices":
In 2009, the Center for Responsible Lending uncovered that 76 percent of the total volume of payday loans are borrowers taking out new loans to pay their existing loan. The CRL also reported that payday loan practices lead to $3.4 billion in excessive fees a year with over 75 percent of these fees generated by borrowers with more than 10 loans a year. The CRL and its sister non-profit -- the Self Help Credit Union -- use this research to advocate for lending practices that will end the perpetual payday loan cycle, saving low income Americans billions.
While Politico questioned why "CFPB requested data from the nonprofit on payday lenders 'to help focus these efforts,'" it failed to mention it has used reports and published comments from the Center for Responsible Lending on multiple occasions in relation to financial products and legislation. On October 29, Politico asked CRL's Maura Dundon to explain a financial ruling on student loans and, on October 16, quoted Dundon to emphasize the strength of a CFPB crackdown on for-profit colleges. In December of 2008, Politico reported on the CRL findings that minority homeowners were pushed into higher priced mortgage options:
Research by the Center for Responsible Lending, for instance, shows that African-American and Latino homeowners were often steered into subprime mortgages with hefty fees when their credit scores in fact qualified them for less expensive prime loans. Now those groups are experiencing some of the highest rates of foreclosure.
From the November 18 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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At least 30 state governors -- 29 Republican, 1 Democratic -- are parroting right-wing media myths about security concerns presented by incoming Syrian refugees to argue against taking part in expanded refugee resettlement programs. However, the overwhelming majority of refugees pose no credible threat to the United States, and the vetting process for refugee applicants is thorough. Furthermore, state governments lack the legal authority to dictate immigration policy in the United States.
In the wake of the November 13 Paris attacks, Republicans rushed with their conservative media allies to call for a halt to the admission of Syrian refugees into America, claiming that they would pose a significant threat to the United States. Major editorial boards slammed Republicans for "def[ying] what the nation stands for" and pushing divisive rhetoric that could "provide propaganda benefits to the Islamic State."
Conservative media used the terrorist attacks in Paris to fearmonger about the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the United States, claiming that the U.S. cannot effectively vet potential refugees, ignoring experts who say that the thoroughness of the U.S.'s refugee vetting process sets it apart from those of European countries.
Right-wing media seized on the November 13 terror attacks in Paris to make at least five false or misleading claims about Syrian refugees, past statements from Hillary Clinton, President Obama's strategy against ISIS, the release of Guantanamo Bay detainees, and how guns in civilian hands could have supposedly changed the outcome of the attacks.
Politico interviewed retired FBI senior official Ron Hosko about the FBI investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's email without disclosing Hosko's role as president of the right-wing Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund. Other media outlets have previously turned to Hosko for comments about the investigation without noting his role in or the political leanings of the conservative organization.
During Fox Business' November 10 Republican presidential debate, moderator Sandra Smith asked GOP hopeful former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) if he disagreed enough with Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen to "change leadership at the Fed," an action that is explicitly illegal.
Huckabee, a former Fox News employee and two-time presidential candidate, opened his response with an arguably sexist joke before asserting that he would "absolutely" support Smith's proposed change of leadership, joining other GOP aspirants -- Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) -- in attacking the nation's central bank. Huckabee confusingly blamed the Federal Reserve for wage stagnation that has been observed across four decades of fluctuating interest rate policy, and suggested that the United States return to policies like the outdated gold standard, which Washington Post Wonkblog economic reporter Matthew O'Brien once called "the world's worst economic idea."
Janet Yellen, a decorated economist appointed by President Obama in 2014, serves as the head of an independent government agency in a four-year term ending February 3, 2018. A future president may choose not to re-appoint Yellen as chairwoman, but a member of the Fed's Board of Governors cannot be removed from their post because of policy disagreements:
Once appointed, Governors may not be removed from office for their policy views. The lengthy terms and staggered appointments are intended to contribute to the insulation of the Board--and the Federal Reserve System as a whole--from day-to-day political pressures to which it might otherwise be subject.
Does Fox Business not understand that it is illegal to remove Federal Reserve officials simply because a particular politician or president disagrees with them?
In 2013, Fox Business host Stuart Varney claimed that Yellen was a "shoo-in" to be the next Fed chair because she is a woman, ignoring her qualifications and broad support for her from other economists. Now, Fox Business moderator Sandra Smith is asking whether or not the next president will fire one of the most influential people in the world, despite the fact that doing so would be illegal.
Watch the full exchange between Smith and Huckabee below:
SANDRA SMITH (MODERATOR): Governor Huckabee, both Senator Santorum and Governor Christie were both critical of the Federal Reserve. Also, many have questioned whether Janet Yellen is the right person to be running the Fed. If elected president, would you keep Janet Yellen?
MIKE HUCKABEE: Look, I think the Fed's in a big trouble [sic] because they haven't addressed the number one issue that's hurting Americans, and that's the fact that wages for the bottom 90 percent of the economy have been stagnant for 40 years. In the 25 years after World War II, up to 1971, wages grew by 85 percent in this country. People were moving up in the middle class. There was a middle class. That's not happening anymore. And, in large measure, the Fed has manipulated the dollar so it doesn't have a standard.
SMITH: So, would you change leadership at the Fed?
HUCKABEE: Absolutely. Absolutely, because what we need to do is to make sure that they tie the monetary standard to something that makes sense, rather than to their own whims.
Federal law allows for-profit colleges to access more federal funding by enrolling large numbers of military veterans, despite evidence that many of these schools do not prepare their students for the job market. In recent years, predatory recruitment of service members by several for-profit college chains has been exposed by congressional and media investigations, yet the Wall Street Journal editorial board continues to defend the schools' recruiting practices and advocates for fewer student protections at for-profit institutions. In honor of Veterans Day, here are some of the Journal's most misleading and inflammatory arguments defending failing for-profits that take advantage of veterans.
From the November 10 edition of CNN's New Day:
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The office of the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has reportedly concluded that two emails received by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not contain top secret information, a reversal from the Intelligence Community inspector general's prior claim that they did, according to a Politico report. Media had previously used the notion that the two emails were highly classified to suggest that Clinton or her aides had engaged in criminal behavior.
In July, the New York Times published an article -- which it subsequently had to correct twice -- about a security referral the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community (IG IC) made to the executive branch about whether there was any classified material on Clinton's email account during her time as secretary of state. The IG IC highlighted four allegedly classified emails and subsequently stated that two of those four emails contained "top secret" information. The State Department disagreed about whether the material in the emails was actually highly classified. As Politico is now reporting, "that disagreement has been resolved in State's favor" and the previous claim that the emails contained top secret information is wrong.
Despite the original disagreement between the two federal agencies, Fox News initially responded by running with speculation from an anonymous State Department official that aides to Hillary Clinton had "stripped" the classification markings from emails that she received in her private email server, and claiming that even if the emails hadn't been marked classified, Clinton should have known they contained highly classified information.
But Politico reported on November 6 that the office of the Director of National Intelligence has now overruled the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community's prior conclusion that two emails received by Clinton contained highly classified information. As Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists explained to Politico, this "mistake" is nothing short than "astonishing" because "[i]t was a transformative event in the presidential campaign to this point. It had a potential to derail Clinton's presidential candidacy." From the article:
The U.S. intelligence community has retreated from claims that two emails in Hillary Clinton's private account contained top secret information, a source familiar with the situation told POLITICO.
The determination came from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper's office and concluded that the two emails did not include highly classified intelligence secrets. Concerns about the emails' classification helped trigger an on-going FBI inquiry into Clinton's private email set-up.
Intelligence Community Inspector General I. Charles McCullough III made the claim that two of the emails contained top secret information, the State Department publicly stated its disagreement and asked Clapper's office to referee the dispute. Now, that disagreement has been resolved in State's favor, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Intelligence officials claimed one email in Clinton's account was classified because it contained information from a top secret intelligence community "product" or report, but a further review determined that the report was not issued until several days after the email in question was written, the source said.
"The initial determination was based on a flawed process," the source said. "There was an intelligence product people thought [one of the emails] was based on, but that actually postdated the email in question."
A top expert in classification procedures called the development "an astonishing turn of events."
"It's not just a mistake," said Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists. "It was a transformative event in the presidential campaign to this point. It had a potential to derail Clinton's presidential candidacy."
Aftergood said Clapper's office should be credited for seriously reconsidering the earlier conclusions by intelligence agencies.
From the November 4 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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From the November 2 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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From the November 2 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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