No, I can’t believe it … mainly because if we’re talking about this president, Hillary Clinton’s argument has already been thoroughly debunked. Yesterday, the heroine of the Tuzla Dash (among other tall tales) lectured everyone on the need for abject honesty in politics. “The attacks on truth and reason and facts,” the former presidential candidate lamented, “doesn’t happen in the United States. It happens in authoritarian regimes, where they try to literally change reality in front of you.”
Hillary Clinton criticizes Trump administration's claims on inauguration crowd sizes: "There weren't that many people there, let's be honest."
— ABC News (@ABC) October 2, 2018
Ahem. Clinton then added to that clarion call for integrity the same false argument she’s been peddling for weeks, even after independent fact checkers called shenanigans on it:
Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton drew a comparison Tuesday between the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election, saying that in both cases, a foreign power had attacked the United States, but that in the latter, the president had “done nothing.”
Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, also said she thinks Russian interference and other factors “certainly altered the outcome” in several parts of the country during the last campaign. …
Clinton told Goldberg that while she did not want to look backward, “what we know now is incredibly troubling.” She added 2016 was the first time “that we have been attacked by a foreign power and have done nothing.”
“It would be like — I can’t even imagine — I mean, it’s a horrible example, but after 9/11, [if] George W. Bush said, ‘Well, I don’t have time to meet. I don’t have time to worry about this. It was terrible. We feel sorry about it. We’ll rebuild New York and the Pentagon, but we’re not going to worry about it.’ Well at a certain point, that’s what this is turning into. The evidence continues to accumulate,” Clinton said.
We’ll get to the larger argument in a moment, but the “first time since 9/11” argument isn’t entirely true either. The United States got attacked at its consulate (sovereign territory under diplomatic norms) in Benghazi in 2012, and we didn’t provide a military response to the attack despite being on the anniversary of 9/11 and having been warned that the security situation had disintegrated in the city. We lost four American lives in that attack, including the first ambassador killed in the line of duty in over 30 years, and for weeks pretended that it was just a local riot that ran out of control. Barack Obama got up at the United Nations and scolded those who would “slander the prophet of Islam,” a reference to a YouTube video that his White House tried to blame for the attack rather than admit it was a planned terrorist operation that the administration missed. When challenged on that point later in Congress, Clinton’s response to the falsehoods generated by the Obama administration was, in full: “What difference at this point does it make?”
Jake Tapper, in partnership with https://t.co/AktQdXZKhT, looks at Hillary Clinton's misleading comments about President Trump's actions to deter Russian election interference https://t.co/Qbk9Yiu85t pic.twitter.com/iKh0VMHCgZ
— CNN (@CNN) September 21, 2018
Be sure to follow the links to get a full sense of the beating that this argument got when The Atlantic allowed Clinton to publish it there. But there is a more basic problem with Hillary’s argument here, which is: just who was the president at the time of the attack? Hint: It wasn’t Donald Trump.
If Hillary means this as an attack on Barack Obama, well, she has a point. Obama had repeated opportunities to take action before and during the Russian interference operation. Tom Cotton urged Obama to focus on the risk in 2015, but Obama stripped the State Department even of its existing resources to defend against it. Then-CIA director John Brennan admitted that Obama retreated from any significant response in 2016, opting instead for a warning to Vladimir Putin which did nothing to intimidate Russian intelligence. Obama’s head of cybersecurity, Michael Daniels, later stated that Obama issued a stand-down order rather than follow through with a planned response. Only when Clinton’s victory appeared in doubt did Obama finally make the issue public, but the only other response was to expel three dozen Russian diplomatic officials/spies in December 2016 and call for some sanctions.
Hillary Clinton has a legit gripe about Obama on this score, not Trump. Don’t expect her to have the integrity to put the blame where it belongs.