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Sean Hannity called Donald Trump’s claim that he “never attacked” Hillary Clinton’s religious beliefs “honest,” despite Trump arguing that “we don’t know much about Hillary in terms of her religion” nine days earlier.
While criticizing Clinton on the June 30 edition of Fox News’ Hannity, Donald Trump argued he never attacked her faith, claiming he only said he knew nothing about it. Hannity replied saying “that’s an honest answer”:
SEAN HANNITY: Can you imagine if you're the one -- she's that programmed that they actually put in how she should act after she gives a line. I don't know what -- if you did it, it would be -- it would be a bigger story.
DONALD TRUMP: They thought it was so cute, it was so wonderful. They were saying, oh, isn't that cute? Isn't that nice? Isn't that wonderful? Can you imagine if I did it?
TRUMP: I never noticed that on teleprompter. When I do a teleprompter, they don't put sigh. You're supposed to be who you are. Can you imagine sigh? And let me tell you, I never attacked her faith. A question was asked about her faith. I said I know nothing about it. I wasn't saying that in a good way or a bad. I really know nothing about her faith.
HANNITY: Well, that's an honest answer.
TRUMP: I would never attack her faith. So, I just want to let that be clear.
But during comments made by Trump to a June 21 gathering of evangelical Christian leaders Trump said that despite Clinton being in the public eye for decades, “we don’t know anything about Hillary in terms of religion,” and suggested that people keep their “guard up” even more than they have with President Obama:
Speaking to a group of top social conservative evangelical Christian leaders at a gathering in New York City, Trump said, “we don't know anything about Hillary in terms of religion.” “Now, she's been in the public eye for years and years, and yet there's no — there's nothing out there,” Trump said. “There's like nothing out there. It's going to be an extension of Obama but it's going to be worse, because with Obama you had your guard up. With Hillary you don't, and it's going to be worse.”
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Former Secret Service officer Gary Byrne, who served in the West Wing during the Clinton administration, recently released Crisis of Character, an anti-Clinton book purporting to warn the country about how Hillary Clinton does not have the temperament to serve as president. In promoting his book, Byrne has repeatedly stumbled through contradictions in his various accounts of the events he claims to have witnessed, with key details differing between his 1998 sworn testimony in the Kenneth Starr investigation, the book itself, and the various appearances he has made in right-wing media.
After nearly four years of right-wing myths about the September 2012 attack on an American diplomatic compound and CIA compound in Benghazi, Libya, and as Republicans and Democrats on the House Select Committee on the attacks release their reports, Media Matters has compiled a list of more than 50 myths and facts regarding the origin of the attack, the security surrounding the compounds, the Obama administration’s handling of the attack during and after its occurrence, attacks on then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and other lies and misinformation regarding the Benghazi attack.
Fox News host and Trump supporter Sean Hannity devoted the full hour of his Fox News show to hyping claims presented in the discredited book Crisis of Character written by former Secret Service agent Gary Byrne.
Hannity interviewed Byrne on the first half of the June 27 edition of Fox’s Hannity, providing the author with an uncritical platform allowing him to peddle his discredited claims and attacks against Hillary Clinton. During the second half of the show, Hannity devoted a panel discussion to Byrnes' comments and attacks on Clinton. In what Fox News described as an “expose” with the “blacklisted” Byrne, claims such as cocaine use in the White House, fits of rage by former First Lady Hillary Clinton, and the disposal of towels covered in “bodily fluids” were pushed by Hannity and repeated by Byrne.
At no point did Hannity question Byrnes’ dubious claims or bring up the numerous contradictions that he’s made over the years in regards to these claims, including while under sworn testimony.
On June 20, Buzzfeed reported that while Byrne claims in his book to have disposed of towels covered in “translucent and white, half gooey” substance that would be easily recognizable to “any boy lucky enough to live past his high school years,” a 1998 deposition given by Byrne directly contradicts those claims:
Byrne testified that he saw Nelvis cleaning up the Oval Office study, holding towels, when the steward said, “I’m tired of having to clean up this crap, or this something, you know, to that effect.” Byrne went on to say that he drew his “own conclusion that there was…some kind of possible physical contact between them and the president” and got the impression that Nelvis felt it was not right. Nelvis, he further recalled, said “something about lipstick,” and he “assumed that, that it was on these towels,” though the steward didn’t say it. Byrne told the investigators that he did not personally see lipstick or other stains on the towels.
As for their disposal, Byrne said that he advised Nelvis “to get rid of it; in other words, to throw it out” so that the people who did the laundry wouldn’t see it. After that, he said of Nelvis, “I just remember him kind of walking away, and that was it. I don’t know what he did with them. That was the end of the thing.”
Furthermore, the Association of Former Agents of the U.S. Secret Service has denounced Byrne and his assertions as false, and accused him of having a political agenda focused on smearing Clinton. Politico reported:
People familiar with West Wing security laugh at the idea that Byrne or any uniformed officer ever would have walked in on Bill Clinton anywhere, whether in a meeting or, as a New York Post article over the weekend claims, in the middle of a make-out session in the Map Room with the late daughter of former Vice President Walter Mondale. The Secret Service presidential detail would have stopped him.
And if Byrne or any uniformed officer had been posted near a room the president entered, he would have been moved at least 15 yards away, to the outer edges of the security bubble — not quite what Byrne describes in his book: “I stood guard, pistol at my hip, outside the Oval Office, the last barrier before anyone saw Bill Clinton,” according to the Post, which has been teasing excerpts of the book.
“Operationally, one who has the working knowledge of how things are done there would realize that certain of those statements do not coincide with the operational plan,” said Jan Gilhooly, AFAUSSS president and a 29-year Secret Service veteran.
When contacted by Buzzfeed about the contradictions in his book, Byrnes’ publicist said that he would explain himself on his book tour. Fortunately for Byrne, Sean Hannity did not ask him to explain any of these issues.
Democratic members of the House Select Committee on Benghazi released a report debunking many right-wing media myths about the September 11, 2012, attack on diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans.
For months, media have repeatedly claimed that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump was beginning to “pivot” to become a more “serious-sounding candidate” whenever he appeared to begin using “a more subdued tone” or briefly refrained from insulting his opponents.
A new report from Politico highlights criticism from several Secret Service veterans targeting an upcoming anti-Hillary Clinton book from former Secret Service officer Gary J. Byrne. Those current and former Secret Service members argue Byrne “was too low-ranking” to have witnessed the gossipy events he details in the book and suggest he is lying for political and financial benefit.
Byrne’s Crisis of Character, which is set to be released next week, has received widespread promotion from conservative media outlets. Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has plugged the book several times on Twitter, claiming it shows Clinton does not have the temperament to be president. Trump also referenced the book during a June 21 Fox & Friends appearance, saying “her Secret Service agent” claims “she’s a total mess.”
Unsurprisingly, the Drudge Report, which has repeatedly promoted allegations from Crisis of Character, reports that Byrne will give his first TV interview promoting the book on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show (Hannity has already pushed the book, including during an interview earlier this month with Trump).
In contrast to the widespread praise from Trump and right-wing media outlets, Secret Service veterans think Byrne’s book is not credible. In a June 21 article, Politico reports complaints about the book from “several high-level members of Secret Service presidential details,” who say Byrne is “inflating his role,” relaying unverified gossip, and making “security harder by eroding the trust between agents and the people they protect.”
The nonpartisan Association of Former Agents of the U.S. Secret Service (AFAUSSS) will reportedly release a statement ripping the book, which Politico says “very carefully calls Byrne a liar.”
On Tuesday, AFAUSSS, which is strictly nonpartisan, is set to release a statement blasting Gary Byrne author of “Crisis in Character,” saying members “strongly denounce” the book, which they add has made security harder by eroding the trust between agents and the people they protect.
“There is no place for any self-moralizing narratives, particularly those with an underlying motive,” reads the statement from the group’s board of directors, which says Byrne has politics and profit on his mind.
AFAUSSS rarely issues public statements of any kind.
The book has rankled current and former members of the Secret Service, who don’t like anyone airing their business in public — but who also take issue with Byrne inflating his role. Byrne was a uniformed officer in Bill Clinton’s White House. But that’s the lowest level of protection within the White House and around the president.
People familiar with West Wing security laugh at the idea that Byrne or any uniformed officer ever would have walked in on Bill Clinton anywhere, whether in a meeting or, as a New York Post article over the weekend claims, in the middle of a make-out session in the Map Room with the late daughter of former Vice President Walter Mondale. The Secret Service presidential detail would have stopped him. (That affair was a well-worn rumor during the Clinton years, though strongly denied by Eleanor Mondale, who died of brain cancer in 2011.)
The group’s statement, which POLITICO obtained in advance of its release, very carefully calls Byrne a liar.
“One must question the veracity and content of any book which implies that its author played such an integral part of so many [claimed] incidents. Any critique of management by one who has never managed personnel or programs resounds hollow. Additionally, why would an employee wait in excess of ten years after terminating his employment with the Service to make his allegations public?” it reads.
Right-wing media have offered shameful defenses of some of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s most widely criticized remarks and proposals since the inception of his campaign one year ago.
While pushing presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s criticisms of the Clinton Foundation for accepting charitable donations from Middle Eastern countries, Fox News personalities failed to note Trump’s business ties in the Middle East and his campaign manager Paul Manafort’s previous work with dictatorial regimes.
News networks have repeatedly hosted former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani after terror attacks despite his divisiveness. Giuliani consistently uses his appearances on news programs to fearmonger about Muslims, blame President Obama for terror attacks, or advocate for divisive policies such as surveillance of Muslim communities.
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Fox News host Sean Hannity, a staunch supporter of presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump, has defended Trump numerous times, backing him when journalists and experts criticized his “racist” comments about a judge, debunked his claims, and dubbed his policy proposals “fact-free.”