Remember Kristian Saucier? He’s the former Navy machinist’s mate who tried to use the “Clinton defense” after he was arrested for photographing sensitive areas inside his nuclear submarine and then tried to destroy the evidence. The judge didn’t buy it and sentenced him to jail. But Fox News ate it up and now, so has Donald Trump.
In January, Fox’s Sandra Smith used Saucier’s case to push for jail time for Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin. Here’s what author Kevin Koster wrote about the segment:
Smith told viewers none of Saucier’s incriminating history that separates his case from Clinton and Abedin: namely his intent and his efforts to destroy the evidence of what he had done. On top of that, a handgun not registered to Saucier was found in his home and allegedly bleached and hidden under the dishwasher after he had been questioned by the FBI and NCIS.
Instead, Smith all but argued Saucier’s case on his behalf, on the off chance he wasn’t incriminating enough of Clinton and/or Abedin on his own. This was her first “question” to him:
SMITH: To be clear, Kristian, and I think this is important to get this out here: You took responsibility for your actions. You owned it. You plead guilty. And then you served time. So it’s a double standard that you say that you believe exists.
Fox's effort to jail Clinton and/or Abedin did not pan out (yet). But more recently, Fox seems to have secured a pardon for Saucier. Last week, Saucier paid a visit to Fox & Friends, repeated his “Clinton defense” in the hope of reaching the show’s Number One Fan in the White House –and voila! Less than a week later, Saucier had his pardon.
Ronald Daigle, a lawyer hired to advocate for Saucier’s pardon, told HuffPost that Fox News played a key role in getting the case on Trump’s radar.
“Absolutely,” Daigle said when asked whether going on Fox News was a big part of their strategy. “They were big supporters of Kris right from the beginning. They supported Kris.”
In 2016, shortly after then-FBI Director James Comey announced the results of the Clinton email investigation, Saucier’s legal team began comparing the submariner’s case to Clinton’s. The Justice Department responded that Saucier was “grasping at highly imaginative and speculative straws,” but the case got Trump’s attention.
The disturbing thing is that Daigle’s efforts to reach Trump directly apparently failed:
Since the election, Saucier’s team has “sent tons of marketing materials to the White House” and distributed press releases in an effort to “capture the president’s opinion,” Daigle said.
Watch Smith try to use Saucier’s case to argue for the jailing of Clinton and Abedin below, from the January 2, 2018 The Story with Martha MacCallum.
The authorities had Saucier dead to rights and he knew it. I don’t think he got very far in his plan or they would have been a lot harsher with him – instead, they allowed him to plea to the least of the charges. He already served his time in jail and was dishonorably discharged. All this pardon does, to my knowledge, is wipe the discharge from his record. And essentially spit in everyone’s face, just like these guys did when they pardoned Arpaio.
I note that the Fox News narrative about Saucier has been a lie from the beginning. Hannity and the other pundits would have you believe Saucier was just taking selfies and was overly punished. No, Saucier was specifically taking forensic and panoramic photos of classified areas of the submarine maneuvering and reactor areas. The only reason he wasn’t charged on espionage grounds is because they let him plea to the lesser charges. And they only let him do that because he’d destroyed the laptop, phone and card that had the rest of the evidence. To have reconstructed those devices would have meant a lot of time and money that frankly wasn’t worthwhile here. (Where they did actually spend money was on Hillary Clinton’s server, and that cost millions to recover.) Saucier had a choice – if he really was innocent, he could have fought this in court. He knew they had him, and he was okay to take the least punishment possible.
As a sidenote, the Fox News version of this story, where sailors are overpunished for taking selfies on the sub, is completely debunked by the fact that several of Saucier’s fellow sailors on the Alexandria actually did get in trouble for taking selfies while on board. Their punishments were the usual smack on the wrist – one was temporarily reduced a grade in enlisted rank, and another was fined a few hundred bucks. As usual, Fox News is only telling a small part of the story, and only to make sure that their spin is supported.