Congrats to Washington Post on Following the Facts

Like a lot of other people, I’ve been pretty hard on the media lately in terms of how they are covering the so-called “scandals” about Hillary Clinton. Because of that, it is important to notice and point out when one of the biggest news sources in the country gets it right. So I want to give a shout-out to the editorial board at the Washington Post. They published on op-ed titled: “The Hillary Clinton email story is out of control.”

The criticisms many of us have had about how the stories about the Clinton Foundation were handled were not about the investigations into the questions that had been raised. They were about the seeming unwillingness to come to a conclusion about those questions based on the facts that were uncovered.

In writing about Clinton’s email issues, the editors at the Washington Post pointed out facts that came to light yesterday. The first is a memo from FBI Director James Comey to his staff saying that anyone who is second-guessing their decision to not recommend charging Clinton doesn’t know what they’re talking about. There are those who are implying corruption of the FBI in this matter and he is having none of that.

The second piece of evidence that surfaced yesterday came from an email exchange from Colin Powell to Hillary Clinton that was released by House Democrats. You might remember that Clinton had formerly said that Powell had advised her about using a private server and he had reacted rather defensively by saying that she was trying to pin this controversy on him. It turns out that Clinton was right. Here are some of the excerpts from Powell’s email:

“I didn’t have a BlackBerry. What I did do was have a personal computer that was hooked up to a private phone line (sounds ancient.) So I could communicate with a wide range of friends directly without it going through the State Department servers,” Powell, who served as secretary of state for four years under President George W. Bush, wrote in a January 2009 email to Clinton.

“I even used it to do business with some foreign leaders and some of the senior folks in the Department on their personal email accounts. I did the same thing on the road in hotels,” he added…

In his email to Clinton, Powell did warn her about the potential for her personal emails to become public.

“However, there is a real danger. If it is public that you have a BlackBerry and it it (sic) government and you are using it, government or not, to do business, it may become an official record and subject to the law,” he wrote. “Be very careful. I got around it all by not saying much and not using systems that captured the data.”

The third piece of evidence came in the form of the release by the FBI of the 30 Benghazi-related emails that were recovered during their investigation. Prior to their release, the existence of these emails had provided the merchants of doubt with fodder for the kinds of “questions” that fuel these so-called “scandals.” But upon their release, we learned that only one was previously undisclosed and it was an email from the then-ambassador to Brazil praising Clinton for her handling of the Benghazi attack and aftermath.

Those are the most recent facts that the editorial board of the Washington Post relied on to reach this conclusion:

Ms. Clinton is hardly blameless. She treated the public’s interest in sound record-keeping cavalierly. A small amount of classified material also moved across her private server. But it was not obviously marked as such, and there is still no evidence that national security was harmed. Ms. Clinton has also admitted that using the personal server was a mistake. The story has vastly exceeded the boundaries of the facts.

We all know that this will not silence those who have already decided that Hillary Clinton is “crooked” and are determined to be the merchants of doubt regardless of the evidence. But at least one major media publication has reviewed the facts and stated a conclusion. In a better world, that wouldn’t be praiseworthy. But based on the one we actually live in, I’ll simply say, “Congrats,” and, “More of this please!”

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.