That was the verdict of the delegates at the Republican convention last night when New Jersey governor Chris Christie laid out a series of charges against Hillary Clinton and asked if she were guilty or not guilty. No surprise as to the verdict from the delegates but guess who else basically affirmed Hillary's guilt via fact checking Christie's speech. The New York Times. That's right. Times fact checkers Michael D. Shear and David E. Sanger went through Christie's speech and fact checked his charges. Essentially they determined that Christie was "not necessarily false" except for some "exculpatory evidence" that comes off as rather minor quibbles that did not contradict Christie's charges.
Like many indictments, the facts presented to the Republican jury were sometimes selective: not necessarily false, but often ignoring exculpatory evidence. Below is a closer look at Mr. Christie’s case.
Okay, let us look at some of that "exculpatory evidence":
Mr. Christie started in North Africa, accusing Mrs. Clinton of being the “chief engineer of the disastrous overthrow of Qaddafi in Libya.” Pretending to be a prosecutor speaking to a jury, he urged the raucous crowd to render a verdict. The crowd roared, “Guilty!”
Fact check: Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state during the period in question, and she did make a humanitarian case for intervening to prevent Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi from taking over Benghazi in 2011, when it appeared that his forces might kill more than 10,000 Libyan citizens. President Obama has expressed regret that plans for the aftermath of the strikes were not well thought-out, and that the world was wrong to expect the rebels to build a stable government there.
Huh? Where is the "exculpatory evidence" there? In fact, Hillary even gloated over Qaddafi's death.
In Nigeria, Mr. Christie said, Mrs. Clinton “amazingly fought for two years to keep an Al Qaeda affiliate off the terrorist watch list.” He said her actions had led directly to the kidnapping of hundreds of young girls by the group, Boko Haram, and demanded a verdict for “an apologist for an Al Qaeda affiliate.”
Fact check: The Clinton State Department did decline to add Boko Haram to its list of terrorist groups, in part because Islamic scholars and regional experts had urged it to try other means of confronting the group’s tactics. It did, however, put several Boko Haram leaders on other terrorist lists, and added the group in 2013.
Again, where is the "exculpatory evidence?" All I see is maybe a very minor quibble. If anyone out there can find that exculpatory evidence, send me a wire.
Mr. Christie accused Mrs. Clinton of being “desperate for Chinese cash” and said that in exchange for money to finance the Obama administration’s stimulus package, she had promised China that she would oppose the “Buy America” provision in the legislation. For supporting “big-government spending financed by the Chinese,” he called, “guilty or not guilty?”
Fact check: The Obama administration and Mrs. Clinton opposed the “Buy America” provision because, they said, it was a protectionist measure that could cause a trade war with China in the midst of an economic crisis.
Um... More like an excuse than anything resembling "exculpatory evidence."
That is pretty much how the rest of Shear and Sanger's "exculpatory evidence" went. Check the full article for yourselves because their "exculpatory evidence" was sure incredibly weak in the exculpating department as you can see in their final fact check:
On Her Emails
Finally, Mr. Christie accused Mrs. Clinton of choosing to set up a private email server in her home in order to protect her personal secrets. “Let’s face the facts: Hillary Clinton cared more about protecting her own secrets than she cared about protecting America’s secrets,” he said.
Fact check: Mrs. Clinton’s motivations for setting up the personal server have never been entirely clear. She said it was for her “convenience,” so she would not have to use multiple devices, though the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, said recently that she had used several devices anyway. The F.B.I. investigation did find that Mrs. Clinton sent email over the unsecured network while in adversarial countries, though it did not determine whether she “cared more” about protecting her own secrets.
Gee, what could her motivation have possibly been? Such a great mystery. Can we ever find out if she "cared more" about protecting her own secrets? Oh please! Give us a hint guys.
Exit question: Will Michael D. Shear and David E. Sanger be first on the line to the chopping block if the New York Times institutes massive layoffs later this year, as has been reported, for the high crime of basically verifying Chris Christie's charges against Hillary?