Happening Now

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  • Right-Wing Media Claim Trump Was “Joking” About Russian Espionage, But National Security Experts Aren’t Laughing

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    After Donald Trump encouraged Russian intelligence services or hackers “to find” and release State Department emails that could prove damaging to Hillary Clinton, right-wing media covered for Trump, suggesting that Trump’s comments were simply “tongue-in-cheek” or that he was “joking” about inciting a cyber attack by a foreign government on an American presidential candidate. National security experts condemned Trump’s comments, saying Trump has asked “an adversary of the United States [to] perform espionage on the United States,” calling it “a national security crisis.”

  • Five Times Comey Corrected Right-Wing Media Misinformation During His Congressional Testimony On Clinton Email Probe

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    During his July 7 testimony on Capitol Hill, FBI Director James Comey dismantled several right-wing media myths about Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she served as secretary of state. In his testimony about the FBI’s recommendation against pursuing criminal charges, Comey debunked flawed comparisons and corrected faulty definitions that right-wing media have repeatedly pushed.

  • FBI Director Explains Why The “Marked Classified” Clinton Email Discrepancy Is Overblown

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    A day after a State Department spokesperson explained that two emails that were sent to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and bore classified markings were, in fact, classified in error, FBI Director James Comey testified to Congress that it would be reasonable to assume that even “an expert at what is classified” would not have realized these emails were “marked classified.”

    Media outlets have reported on Comey's July 5 statement that a small number of the former secretary’s emails turned over to the State Department contained a marking suggesting the "presence of classified information," saying it contradicts Clinton’s past statements that no emails “marked classified” were sent from or received on her private email account. On July 6, State Department spokesperson John Kirby provided an explanation for the discrepancy: Two emails with a “(C)” notation -- indicating that their information about a future Clinton phone call was “confidential” -- had been marked classified in error.

    On July 7, the FBI director, called by congressional Republicans to testify as to why he had concluded “no charges are appropriate” against Clinton for her use of a private server, provided more details about his statement that a few emails “bore markings indicating the presence of classified information," further undermining media efforts to scandalize that comment.

    Without commenting on the substance of the emails, which Kirby had already explained were inappropriately marked “confidential,” the director further clarified that this mistaken attempt to mark the emails classified was incorrectly performed. In fact, Comey agreed with Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) that without a required header indicating the email with a "(C)" notation was “marked classified,” it would be a “reasonable inference” that even an “expert at what is classified and what's not classified” would not have realized the email was classified. From the director’s July 7 testimony:

    REP. MATT CARTWRIGHT (D-PA): All right, you were asked about markings on a few documents. I have the manual here, Marking Classified National Security Information, and I don't think you were given a full chance to talk about those three documents with the little c's on them. Were they properly documented? Were they properly marked according to the manual?

    JAMES COMEY: No.

    CARTWRIGHT: According to the manual -- and I ask unanimous consent to enter this into the record, Mr. Chairman -- according to the manual, if you're going to classify something, there has to be a header on the document, right?

    COMEY: Correct.

    CARTWRIGHT: Was there a header on the three documents that we've discussed today that had the little c in the text someplace?

    COMEY: No, there were three emails, the c was in the body, in the text, but there was no header on the email or in the text.

    CARTWRIGHT: So, if Secretary Clinton really were an expert at what's classified and what's not classified, and were following the manual, the absence of a header would tell her immediately that those three documents were not classified. Am I correct in that?

    COMEY: That would be a reasonable inference.

    CARTWRIGHT: Alright. I think you for your testimony, Director. I yield back.

  • Trump, Right-Wing Media In Sync With Conspiracy Theories Over FBI Referral On Clinton Email Server

    ››› ››› BRENNAN SUEN & BOBBY LEWIS

    After FBI Director James Comey announced that the FBI has concluded its investigation into the private email server Hillary Clinton used as secretary of state and recommended no criminal charges be filed, right-wing media figures and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump pushed baseless conspiracy theories, including suggesting that the timing of the event was linked to Clinton’s campaign appearance with President Obama later that day.

  • The “Gross Negligence” Claim About Clinton Emails That The FBI Specifically Rejected

    ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS

    FBI Director James Comey announced that he would not recommend criminal charges be filed against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server. Right-wing media, echoing Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, soon baselessly accused Comey of excusing Clinton’s “gross negligence” in violation of the Espionage Act.

  • Why The Clinton Email Case Is Substantially Different From David Petraeus' Crimes

    ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    In response to FBI Director James Comey’s announcement that the FBI is not recommending criminal charges in the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of private email as secretary of state, right-wing media fell back on the already debunked claim that former CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus was charged in a similar case. Other media outlets pointed out the many differences between the Petraeus case -- which involved the general intentionally sharing classified information with his biographer -- from the Clinton case, noting that it is “flatly wrong” to compare the two.

  • Conservatives Lose Their Excuse To Question The Results Of The Clinton Email Investigation

    ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY, CYDNEY HARGIS & NICK FERNANDEZ

    Conservatives have just lost their excuse to question the results of the investigation relating to Hillary Clinton’s email server, which legal experts say lacks a “legitimate basis” to charge Clinton with crimes. Right-wing media figures have ignored those experts to suggest that if the investigation does not result in a Clinton indictment, it must be politically tainted. But Attorney General Loretta Lynch affirmed that she will “be accepting the recommendations” made by “career agents and investigators” and FBI Director James Comey in the case, and conservative media have spent months lauding Comey’s “impeccable integrity” and ability to impartially conduct the investigation.

  • A Comprehensive Guide To Benghazi Myths And Facts

    ››› ››› BRENNAN SUEN & OLIVIA KITTEL

    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.