We’ve all heard the old saying, “it’s not what you say, but how you say it”, and the adage doesn’t get any less true as you age or grow successful.
In fact, when it comes to finding out the truth in politics, examining the way in which any of our silver-tongued elected officials deliver a message is key to understanding that message.
Such is the case with Hillary Clinton this week, as the former First Lady lashes out at the conservative media for their reporting on a recent court filing that involved members of her team…and she did so with vague legal threats included.
Clinton went so far as to accuse Fox of brushing up on the line of actual malice, an important legal distinction in defamation law.
“It’s funny the more trouble Trump gets into the wilder the charges and conspiracy theories about me seem to get,” Clinton said during a keynote speech at the New York Democratic Party’s convention. “Fox leads the charge with accusations against me, counting on their audience to fall for it again. As an aside, they’re getting awfully close to actual malice in their attacks.”
Court filings are hardly “conspiracy”, however.
At the center of the allegations is a recent filing by the special counsel John Durham in his ongoing case against the former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann, who was charged last year with lying to the FBI. The filing in question says Sussmann obtained nonpublic data from the White House via a technology executive who had legal access to the data. While the details in the filing raised questions about the ethics of their conduct, Durham did not accuse the lawyer or the tech executive of spying or hacking.
This recent outburst, along with a previous tirade against the revelations, aren’t unexpected from Clinton; she was always going to defend herself. But it’s her ferocity, or how she reacted, that is more telling. It’s defensive and legally-suggestive, and reads more like a warning than an observation.