- - Monday, June 27, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

I see that CNN is calling upon the good offices of Mr. Potato Head to refute Donald Trump’s evisceration of Hillary Clinton in his speech last Wednesday. Mr. Potato Head is very indignant that Peter Schweizer has written a book, “Clinton Cash,” demonstrating that a pattern of corruption exists in the relationship between the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton State Department. He says that pattern of corruption does not establish the Clintons’ guilt. Well, an author can only do so much. Mr. Schweizer has written a convincing book about the Clintons’ corruption. The rest is left to the courts, which have yet to get the Clintons’ case, but my guess is the courts will have at the Clintons soon enough.

You might recall that Mr. Potato Head, as he was called 20-some years ago by The American Spectator, is in real life David Gergen. Two decades ago, he was employed by the Clinton White House and, apparently, he still works at least part-time for them. On CNN this past week, David looked even more like Mr. Potato Head than he did when he worked in the White House. Sometime in the early 1990s, I remember his calling me and complaining that we did not give him a “heads-up” on our Troopergate stories. He asked me if I would do so in the future. I generously offered to send him subscription information but no special rate — not even our student rate. The government of the United States could pay for its subscription to The American Spectator even as it paid for Bill’s subscriptions to Playboy and Hustler. Perhaps it could pay for two subscriptions.

Mr. Potato Head was in high dudgeon last week over Mr. Schweizer’s “Clinton Cash,” claiming the book had been “discredited.” Well, it was used as a source by The New York Times and The Washington Post. They relied on it heavily for its stories on the Clintons’ corruption, and it sold quite well.

Mr. Potato Head was working with CNN’s posse comitatus to bring down Mr. Trump for his revelations about Crooked Hillary, but it is they — the so-called fact checkers at CNN — who were brought down.

The CNN fact checkers deemed Mr. Trump in error for claiming the continuing bloodshed in Syria was due to Hillary Clinton’s support for regime change. But Mr. Trump never made that claim. All he charged was that her support for regime change began Syria’s descent into a bloody civil war. He did not say that she had a hand in the ongoing bloodshed. There is a significant difference, and she actually bragged about what she had done. “Yes, when I was secretary of state,” she boasted, “I did urge along with the Department of Defense and the CIA that we seek out, vet and train and arm Syrian opposition figures so that they could defend themselves against Assad.” That quote was actually broadcast during the CNN Democratic debate last April. The Syrian death toll now stands at some 250,000.

The CNN fact checkers assailed Mr. Trump again for claiming the U.S. trade deficit with China soared by 40 percent while she was secretary of state. This, the fact checkers said, is “exaggerated.” Unfortunately, we have at our disposal the U.S. Census Bureau, which in its report “Trade In Goods With China” asseverated this month that from 2009 to 2012, the trade deficit with China increased by $89 billion, or 39 percent. So Mr. Trump’s exaggeration was off by 1 percentage point.

Finally, CNN’s crack team of fact checkers rated Mr. Trump in error for saying that Mrs. Clinton’s State Department refused “all” requests for additional security at Benghazi. Actually, he said the State Department received “hundreds and hundreds of requests for security . Hillary Clinton’s State Department refused them all.” Well, there were few security personnel on the ground when Ambassador Christopher Stevens was murdered in Benghazi. Glenn Kessler in The Washington Post’s felicitously titled column “Fact Checker” claims that 581 documents have been found that deal with the security situation in Benghazi. The number is likely to climb higher if classified documents are taken into account. I find six other open-source accounts of lax security at Benghazi, among them one from Jan. 15, 2014 headlined “Democrats Join GOP To Blame State In Benghazi.” It reported: “Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks after having made requests for more security to the State Department. State acknowledged that security was not adequate .”

After last week’s speech, it appears Donald Trump’s charges against Hillary Clinton are absolutely copper bottom. CNN’s “fact checkers” should be retired. Like all politicians, Mr. Trump might occasionally exaggerate a trivial matter. Hillary lies repeatedly on things that matter.

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is editor in chief of The American Spectator. He is author of “The Death of Liberalism,” published by Thomas Nelson Inc.

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