Hypocrisy Alert:  GOP Senate Hopefuls Cared *A Lot* About Classified Information Last Year

Back in 2016 and earlier, ambitious Republican politicians scored political points by feigning outrage over the handling of classified information. Now these Republicans are running for U.S. Senate — or are weighing campaigns — and what action are they taking about Donald Trump’s dangerous recklessness with classified intelligence?

Nothing.

(Or, if you’re Jeff Flake and Dean Heller, worse than nothing: excuses for doing nothing that give Trump a free pass).

Let’s turn back the clock and take a look at what Republican Senate hopefuls said about the mishandling of classified information…

Pennsylvania: Rep. Lou Barletta: “A crime”
Florida: Gov. Rick Scott: Spent $1 million on ads about classified emails
Indiana: Luke Messer: “Dishonesty and poor judgment”
Missouri: Rep. Ann Wagner: Cannot be trusted
North Dakota: Rep. Kevin Cramer: “Appoint a special prosecutor to formally investigate”
Pennsylvania: Mike Kelly: “Recklessly put our national security at risk.”
West Virginia: Evan Jenkins: “The handling of classified information is critical to protecting our national security”
West Virginia: David McKinley: “A serious lack of judgement”

Check the Hypocrisy:

Pennsylvania: Rep. Lou Barletta
Politico: Barletta Said There Should “Absolutely” Be An Investigation Into The Source Of Leaks Of Classified Material Because Giving Out That Information Was “A Crime.” According to Politico, “The president-elect’s allies on Capitol Hill want to know how reporters obtained classified material about alleged Russian ties. […] Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.), one of the first lawmakers to endorse Trump last year, said there ‘absolutely’ should be an investigation into the source of the leaks, which he said have been dripping ‘nonstop since Donald Trump was elected.’ ‘It’s a big concern if it came from intelligence and the government: It’s a crime,’ Barletta said. ‘It’s worrisome that the news media seems to be getting stories possibly from people who’d be breaking the law, violating the law, by giving them’ this information.” [Politico, 1/11/17]

Florida: Gov. Rick Scott
Orlando Sentinel: “During The Election Last Year, A Pro-Donald Trump Political Action Committee Chaired By Gov. Rick Scott Ran Ads Bashing Hillary Clinton For Mishandling Emails Containing Classified Information.” According to the Orlando Sentinel, “During the election last year, a pro-Donald Trump political action committee chaired by Gov. Rick Scott ran ads bashing Hillary Clinton for mishandling emails containing classified information. The ad features Clinton denying that she sent or received classified information, then shows clips from news articles in the New York Times and ABC News showing that some classified material was among the emails she sent and received on her personal email account. Scott tweeted about it after the FBI reopened its investigation in the final weeks of the campaign, noting that his PAC spent $1 million on the ad buy in the Philadelphia media market. ‘More emails, more lies. FBI reopens investigation. @RebuildingAmNow launching this new ad as part of $1M Philly TV buy,’ Scott posted last October.” [Orlando Sentinel, 5/16/17]

Indiana: Luke Messer
Messer In July 2016: The FBI’s Decision Not To Prosecute Over “Recklessly” Mishandling Classified National Security Information Defied Common Sense. According to a Rep. Luke Messer press release obtained via Office of Rep. Messer, “Congressman Luke Messer released the following statement after FBI Director James Comey recommended that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton not be prosecuted for her ‘extremely careless’ mishandling of classified information: ‘The FBI’s investigation proved that Secretary Clinton recklessly mishandled classified national security information, misled the American public, and displayed a consistent pattern of dishonesty and poor judgment. While I respect the law enforcement professionals at the FBI, this decision defies common sense no one should be above the law, not even Hillary Clinton,’ said Congressman Messer. ‘The American people deserve better.’” [Office of Rep. Messer, 7/5/16]

Missouri: Rep. Ann Wagner
Wagner Said That Clinton’s “Reckless Mishandling Of Classified Information Proves That She Cannot Be Trusted With The Support Of Missouri Families.” According to a press release from Ann Wagner, “Saint Louis, MO – Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-Ballwin) released the following statement on the FBI investigation into new Hillary Clinton emails: ‘Secretary Clinton’s reckless mishandling of classified information proves that she cannot be trusted with the support of Missouri families. I am hopeful that this most recent probe by the FBI will be conducted fairly, swiftly and more thoroughly than the previous investigation.’”[Ann Wagner For Congress, 10/28/16]

North Dakota: Rep. Kevin Cramer
Cramer Signed Letter To AG Lynch About Clinton Emails: “Given That There Is Clear Evidence Of The Mishandling Of Sensitive Information, The FBI’s Recommendation That No Charges Be Filed Potentially Demonstrates To The American People That The Political Class Is Above Prosecution.” According to a July, 2017 Rep. Salmon led letter to AG Loretta Lynch, “It is important to note that Director Comey, in stating that the FBI could not find facts that would support bringing criminal charges, conceded that any other person handling sensitive, classified information in similar circumstances would be subject to security or administrative sanctions, but that these steps were not being considered at the present moment. Furthermore, given that there is clear evidence of the mishandling of sensitive information, the FBI’s recommendation that no charges be filed potentially demonstrates to the American people that the political class is above prosecution. In light of the circumstances of this case, we respectfully request that you, pursuant to your authority under federal law, appoint a Special Prosecutor to formally investigate the matter of Secretary Clinton’s negligent use of a private e-mail server to transmit classified information related to United States national security. Doing so will help preserve the independence of our legal system and further promote this important principle in the American legal tradition […] Sincerely, […] Rep. Kevin Cramer”[Rep. Salmon Letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch,7/11/16]

Pennsylvania: Mike Kelly
October 2016: Kelly Said Hillary Clinton Had Been “‘Extremely Careless’ With Classified Information” And “Recklessly Put Our National Security At Risk.” According to a press release via the Office of Rep. Mike Kelly, “U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) issued the following statement today in response to news that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has resumed its investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for criminal wrongdoing regarding her e-mail server. […] “It is already outrageous that our Secretary of State was ‘extremely careless’ with classified information during her service and recklessly put our national security at risk. It is equally shameful and dangerous that this individual is now seeking to occupy the world’s most powerful office, the American presidency.” [Office of Mike Kelly, 10/28/16]

West Virginia: Evan Jenkins
Jenkins: “The Handling Of Classified Information Is Critical To Protecting Our National Security, And Clinton Showed A Reckless Disregard For National Secrets And Classified Information By Using A Private Server.” According to a post on Evan Jenkins’ Official Facebook Page, “The FBI has a second chance to show that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is not above the law and complete a thorough investigation of her use of a private email server while in office. I strongly disagreed with the FBI’s decision back in June not to pursue a criminal case against her, and I’m calling for this case to be reopened and prosecuted just as if she were a private citizen. The handling of classified information is critical to protecting our national security, and Clinton showed a reckless disregard for national secrets and classified information by using a private server.” [Evan Jenkins Official Facebook Page, 10/28/16]

West Virginia: David McKinley
McKinley: “The News That The FBI Has Decided To Re-Open The Criminal Investigation Into Hillary Clinton Shows That She Demonstrated A Serious Lack Of Judgement In Handling Classified Information.” According to David McKinley’s Facebook Page, “The news that the FBI has decided to re-open the criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton shows that she demonstrated a serious lack of judgment in handling classified information. As my good friend Congressman Bob Goodlatte stated, “no one should be above the law.’” [David McKinley’s Facebook Page,10/28/16]