Did an Inspector General's Report say Hillary Clinton committed 'sexual crimes against children'? And did Barack Obama lie to cover up Clinton's supposed crimes? No, neither are true: The IG report did not refer to any sexual crimes against children having been committed by Clinton, and the stories making the claims are taken way out of context.
The claim originated from an article (archived here) where it was published by Neon Nettle on June 15, 2018, under the title "IG Report: Hillary Clinton has committed 'Sexual Crimes Against Children'."
The following day, June 16, 2018, Neon Nettle published another article (archived here) with a headline repeating, and building on, the falsehood from the earlier headline. That article was titled, "IG Report: Obama Lied to Cover Clinton's Child Trafficking Crimes."
The first article opened:
The highly anticipated Inspector General's report is finally complete, and the bombshell details of the case have just been made public.
IG Michael Horowitz has been investigating fraud and corruption within the Justice Department and the FBI.
More specifically, Horowitz has been trying to establish whether the DOJ and FBI, under James Comey's leadership, mishandled the investigation into Hillary Clinton's misuse of classified emails on her private email server.
The second article opened:
Following Thursday's highly anticipated DOJ Inspector General report which exposed the DOJ/FBI's conduct during the Hillary Clinton email investigation, it is now revealed Obama lied to protect Hillary's crimes.
The bombshell, which has been previously hinted via WikiLeaks disclosures, revealed Obama lied when he said in 2015 that he found out about Hillary Clinton's private email server through a New York Times article.
Obama told CBS News the following:
President Obama only learned of Hillary Clinton's private email address used for official State Department business after a New York Times report, he told CBS News in an interview.
CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante quizzed Obama about when he learned about Clintons' private email system after his Saturday appearance in Selma, Alabama.
'The same time everybody else learned it through news reports,' Obama told Plante.
The introduction of Neon Nettle's article "IG Report: Hillary Clinton Has Committed 'Sexual Crimes Against Children'" contains the hyperlinked words, "made public." These words point the reader to a press release from the Department of Justice dated June 14, 2018. The 21-page release is a summary outlining the release of another, much larger report titled, "A Review of Various Actions by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice in Advance of the 2016 Election."
The opening paragraph of the second Neon Nettle article, "IG Report: Obama Lied to Cover Clinton's Child Trafficking Crimes." has the text "DOJ inspector General Report" hyperlinked, but this does not point the reader to the press release or to the DOJ report. It instead points back to Neon Nettle's own article from the day before.
Neither article yields detail to back up their "bombshell" headlines of "diabolic crimes." In both cases, after dropping the bombs about the shocking contents of this official report, the Neon Nettle meanders through a convoluted maze, mixing factual details about the actual investigation and report with unsubstantiated theories and rumors from anonymous sources and a conspiracy blog.
The publication never explains how those headlines were derived from the information in the DOJ report. This disinformation technique relies on trusting that the vast majority of their readers will not be digging into the 500-page report - if they even read these articles at all beyond the headlines.
Both articles contain the same screenshot taken from page 294 of the report (Due to the long introduction and table of contents, the numbering on the pages in the report, and the numbering of the pages of the PDF file, differ. Page 294 of the report, for example, is found on page 323 of the PDF.)
During the course of the investigation, some FBI officials involved with the probe retired or changed positions. In late 2015, Coleman became the Executive Assistant Director of the FBI Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch and was no longer involved in the investigation.
This excerpt, a list from Coleman's notes, is offered by Neon Nettle as if it is damning evidence. In the first article, Neon Nettle offers false context around the screenshot, and the second article provides no context at all.
(1) Anthony Wiener [sic]
(3) Wiener [sic] - texting 15 yo - Sexually Explicit
9/26 - Federal SW - IPhone/IPAD/Laptop
Initial analysis of laptop - thousands emails
Hillary Clinton & Foundation
Crime Against Children
This phrase, "Crime against children" contains one of the 30 instances where the word "child" appears in the report. (By pressing Ctrl + F - or some other search function - and entering a word or phrase, a reader can quickly navigate through a large document to find exact terms.)
Fifteen times, the word child appears specifically in relation to former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner and the federal search warrant of his electronic devices. This example, "the Anthony Weiner child exploitation investigation," is from page four.
There are five mentions of "grandchildren" from summaries of the conversation between then Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton that took place at Phoenix's Sky Harbor International Airport. This example, "He said that they then talked about their grandchildren, his recent visit to see former Attorney General Janet Reno, and his golf game," appears on page 205.
The last five instances of the word "child" are contained in Department of Justice regulations requiring disqualification arising from personal or political relationships. This had to do with former Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legislative Affairs Peter J. Kadzik and if he needed to recuse himself from Clinton related matters. The word child was included specifically in regards to his adult son, who was then seeking employment with the Clinton campaign. This example, "person for whom the employee's...dependent child is, to the employee's knowledge,...seeking to serve as an...contractor or employee." is from page 477.
Not a single instance of the word "child" in the document points to Hillary Clinton or her emails being involved with sexual crimes against children. Additionally, a sharp distinction between the scope of the federal warrant and the emails is made several times. For example, on page 275: "The case agent and SSA told us that because the search warrant for the laptop was limited to child exploitation offenses, they agreed during this meeting that the emails were not covered under the search warrant and the case agent should not review those emails."
NewsGuard, a company that uses trained journalists to rank the reliability of websites, describes neonnettle.com as:
A website publishing stories about politics, culture, science, and health that routinely reports false information and spreads conspiracy theories.
According to NewsGuard, the site does not maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability. Read their full assessment here.
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