The latest installment of “Stupid Fact Checks” involves the Associated Press, which appears to be determined to deny the truth of any statement, no matter how obviously correct, made by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump or running mate Mike Pence.
At Sunday’s second debate, Trump said, “what President Clinton did, he was impeached, he lost his license to practice law, he had to pay an $850,000 fine to one of the women.” The AP, as seen after the jump, claims Trump was wrong in saying Clinton “lost” his license:
The guy engaging in what perhaps should be called “jumble-lie-a” here is the AP’s Stephen Braun.
Several dictionary definitions of “lose” fit the circumstances:
- “to suffer the deprivation of”
- “to fail to keep, preserve, or maintain”
- “to give up; forfeit the possession of”
Donald Trump was obviously right, and it’s an insult to AP readers’ intelligence to claim otherwise.
If your license is suspended, you “suffer the deprivation of” (i.e., you lose) the ability to practice law. Bill Clinton lost the ability to practice law in 2001.
If your license is suspended, you have “fail(ed) to keep, preserve or maintain” it (i.e., you have lost it).
Bill Clinton hasn’t had “the possession of” a law license since 2006, when he chose not to apply for reinstatement after the end of the five-year suspension Braun mentioned. That’s when he absolutely lost not just his ability to practice law, but the license itself. In theory, Clinton can apply for reinstatement at any time, but until then, the license remains lost. In 2013, an Arkansas reporter observed that that he “never applied for reinstatement of his law license after his five-year suspension and hasn’t paid dues since 2000.”
Braun failed to note that the five-year license suspension was an integral part of a deal with Independent Counsel Robert Ray on the final day of Clinton’s presidency to avoid criminal prosecution for his false testimony during Paula Jones case about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky.
Specifically, events played out as follows:
- In April 1999, District Judge Susan Webber Wright found Bill Clinton in contempt for “intentionally false testimony” in the Paula Jones sexual harassment trial and fined him over $90,000.
- In May 2000, an Arkansas Supreme Court committee determined that Clinton “should be disbarred for ‘serious misconduct’ in the Paula Jones case and began the court proceeding to strip him of his law license.” Almost no one besides Clinton himself and his lawyer genuinely believed that the state’s Supreme Court would fail to follow the committee’s recommendation.
- “On January 19, 2001, Clinton agreed to a five-year suspension of his law license and a $25,000 fine in order to avoid disbarment and to end the investigation of Independent Counsel Robert Ray,” which was formalized the next day.
Here’s another very pertinent point about the Jones lawsuit noted by columnist Dan Thomasson on April 16, 1999:
Clinton’s settlement of the Jones suit makes him the first president to cough up for something he contends he didn’t do. He paid $850,000 to settle a lawsuit that had been dismissed.
The payout was more than the $750,000 Jones and her attorneys originally sought. Based on the Lewinsky-related lies Clinton told during depositions in the suit that had been dismissed, Jones was in a position to revive the case with a reasonable chance of winning and establishing for the record that Clinton had lied about the sexual imposition involved in her case. No reasonable person believes that the settlement establishes anything other than Clinton’s determination to keep that from happening.
The AP’s bogus “fact check” is so far out of bounds here that even CNN, which has spent much of this week cutting off interview subjects any time they bring up Bill Clinton’s history of sexual misconduct and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s clear history as an enabler, has recognized that Trump was correct:
CNN’s evaluation: “Where does that leave us? The verdict: It’s true.”
Steven Braun and the AP should be ashamed of themselves — bravely assuming that they’re even capable of it.
Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.