Apparently, fact checking before accusing someone of a crime is too much for the Twitterer-in-Chief. Monday, after his favorite morning “news” show aired a misleading report about former FBI Director James Comey, Donald Trump took his tiny hands to Twitter and wrongly accused him of having leaked classified information. UPDATED.
As The Washington Post’s Philip Bump noted, the disturbing chain of events began with a report from Fox’s Jillian Mele:
MELE: A brand new bombshell report accuses Comey of putting our national security at risk. According to The Hill, the former FBI’s director’s personal memos detailing private conversations with President Trump contained top secret information.
That was a misleading account of what happened, based on a misleading article in The Hill, as reported by its new executive vice president, Hannity pal John Solomon. Solomon reported that four of the seven total memos prepared by Comey are marked as classified (though none as “top secret”). And Solomon wrote, “This revelation raises the possibility that Comey broke his own agency’s rules and ignored the same security protocol that he publicly criticized Hillary Clinton over in the waning days of the 2016 presidential election.”
But Solomon did not say that Comey actually leaked classified information. In fact, as Bump pointed out, during his June testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee, Comey “made clear that the memo he gave to his friend to leak, documenting a meeting on Feb. 14 of this year, was not one that included classified material.”
Yet Trump, who has access to all our country’s intelligence, apparently didn’t even bother to read The Hill article, much less mull over what it said. Instead, Trump retweeted Fox’s fake news Tweet that said, “Report accuses material James Comey leaked to a friend contained top secret information.” Then Trump added his own fake news by accusing Comey of leaking “CLASSIFIED INFORMATION” to the media.
James Comey leaked CLASSIFIED INFORMATION to the media. That is so illegal!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 10, 2017
Bump went on to note that Comey’s agreement with the FBI may have been violated with his release of the document but that is another matter.
Since then, Fox News has issued a sort of correction but it suggests that Comey leaked lesser classified material:
Correction: Comey's memos did not have top secret info. The report says half were classified at secret or confidential level, not top secret— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) July 11, 2017
Monday night, we had Trump-Slobberer Sean Hannity repeating the misleading news – while engaging in an unhinged rant accusing the rest of the media of dishonesty. Apparently, Hannity doesn't need no stinking fact checking either.
Watch Mele's report below, from the July 10, 2017 Fox & Friends.
UPDATE: Fox & Friends made an on-air correction today. Trump has not.
Report accuses material James Comey leaked to a friend contained top secret information pic.twitter.com/Hkg4cAb6o9— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) July 10, 2017