FACT CHECK: Did Hillary Clinton Lie To The FBI?

David Sivak | Fact Check Editor

President Donald Trump claimed Monday that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lied during a 2016 interview with the FBI.

“I will say this, Hillary Clinton lied many times to the FBI,” said Trump. “Nothing happened to her.”

Verdict: False

Although Clinton has been criticized for making false claims on the campaign trail, there’s no clear evidence that she lied to the FBI.

Fact Check:

Throughout the 2016 presidential election, Clinton asserted in no uncertain terms that there was nothing improper about her use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state.

“I am confident that I never sent nor received any information that was classified at the time it was sent and received,” Clinton told reporters in 2015.

After former FBI Director James Comey announced in July 2016 the findings of an investigation into her use of the server, the media drew attention to inconsistencies between what Clinton claimed and what the FBI actually found.

Among these inconsistencies, agencies identified more than 110 emails that were classified at the time they were sent, a few of which had classified markings. “None of these e-mails should have been on any kind of unclassified system,” said Comey.

Two days after announcing the findings of the FBI investigation, Comey was brought before Congress to testify. Although he wouldn’t comment on whether Clinton had lied to the public, Comey did contradict Trump’s claim that Clinton lied to the FBI.

“We have no basis to conclude she lied to the FBI,” Comey testified.

The Daily Caller News Foundation reviewed notes of Clinton’s interview with the FBI, and found no statements by Clinton that conflict with the agency’s findings.

What TheDCNF did find were more cautious statements from Clinton than those she made in public.

Rather than declaring in definitive language that no classified emails were on her system, instead the FBI wrote that “CLINTON did not recall receiving any emails she thought should not be on an unclassified system.”

She expressed a lack of knowledge about classification markings, federal records requirements, and emphasized her reliance on staff and colleagues in handling classified information properly.

None of her responses were suspect, according to Comey. “I don’t think the agents assessed she was evasive,” he testified.

However, Clinton did make claims that critics believe to be untrue. She told the FBI that she used a private server as a matter of convenience and denied using the server to avoid federal records requirements.

But since there’s no way to assess Clinton’s motives, no federal prosecutor would have grounds to charge Clinton with making false statements.

Under the False Statements Act, a prosecutor would not only have to demonstrate Clinton lied, but also show she did so “knowingly and willfully.”

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David Sivak

Fact Check Editor
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