When the existence of Hillary Clinton’s private email server was revealed last year, she should have recalled Mark Twain’s quip: “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” That might have kept her from the lies that have now become numerous, convoluted and damaging.
Take her July 31 appearance on Fox News Sunday. Host Chris Wallace showed video of her saying: “I did not email any classified material to anyone,” “I never sent nor received any information that was classified at the time,” and “I had not sent classified material nor received anything marked classified.”
But Mr. Wallace noted, “After a long investigation, FBI Director James Comey said none of those things that you told the American public were true.” Mrs. Clinton replied, “That’s not what I heard Director Comey say, and I thank you for giving me the opportunity to, in my view, clarify.”
When a politician thanks her interrogator for an incriminating question, an evasion will likely follow. So it was here: “Director Comey said that my answers were truthful,” Mrs. Clinton claimed. That grossly mischaracterized Mr. Comey’s remarks, as numerous fact-checkers attested.
Mrs. Clinton was forced into a further clarification days later in an exchange with black and Hispanic journalists. What she had been pointing out, she claimed, was that “Director Comey had said that my answers in my FBI interview were truthful.” Mrs. Clinton admitted that she “may have short-circuited” in her interview with Mr. Wallace, but added: “I think Chris Wallace and I were probably talking past each other, because of course, he could only talk to what I had told the FBI and I appreciated that.”
Come again? This last gobbledygook shows that it isn’t only the initial lie, but also the subsequent fibs that corrode a politician’s reputation for honesty.
After further reading it is clear that the “he”—the person who could only speak to what she had told the FBI—refers not to Mr. Wallace but to Mr. Comey. Then Mrs. Clinton insisted that what she told the FBI “was consistent with what I had said publicly.”
However, Mr. Comey never vouched for that. And if Mrs. Clinton did in fact tell the FBI what she had said publicly before, then she possibly could be charged with making a false statement. That’s why it’s hard to believe that she didn’t change her story when the FBI had her in the hot seat.
The way to find out is for the FBI to release the contents of its investigation. One might hope that the FBI would have a transcript of its July 2 interview of Mrs. Clinton. But in his testimony to Congress the following week, Mr. Comey admitted that the agency neither put her under oath nor had a stenographer present.
FBI agents involved in such interviews customarily prepare a list of questions. One agent poses them, while the remaining agents take notes that are used to draft a “Report of Interview,” commonly called by its document number, “the 302.”
To prove that she told Americans in public the same things she told the FBI in private, as she claims, Mrs. Clinton should ask Mr. Comey to release the agency’s list of prepared questions and the 302 from her interview. Only then might voters have the information to decide for themselves whether Mrs. Clinton is being truthful or layering one lie on another.
To read more visit WSJ.com