Private emails, lawmakers going around the president: Is it 2007 again?

On his Fox show March 10, host Sean Hannity said “In 2007 when Nancy Pelosi met with President Assad of Syria against the Bush administration's wishes, nobody got upset.”
On his Fox show March 10, host Sean Hannity said “In 2007 when Nancy Pelosi met with President Assad of Syria against the Bush administration's wishes, nobody got upset.”

Questions about Hillary Clinton’s use of private email and a letter from 47 Republican senators to Iran have pundits talking about 2007 again.

Fox News host Sean Hannity said on his March 10 show that Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., acted counter to President George W. Bush’s strategy of diplomatically isolating Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, by traveling to Syria in 2007 to open up relations. Pelosi was then the House speaker.

Yet this barely caused a ripple at the time, Hannity suggested.

"In 2007, when Nancy Pelosi met with President Assad of Syria against the Bush administration's wishes, nobody got upset," Hannity said. "But now this is the greatest sin of all times, and they're being called traitors in the New York Daily News on their cover."

Hannity was correct to say that Pelosi’s visit with Assad went against Bush administration policy. But to say nobody got upset belies reality.

That claim rates False.

Elsewhere Fox News pundit Juan Williams compared Clinton’s email controversy with a controversy in the George W. Bush administration.

On the March 15 edition of Fox News Sunday, the pundit panel debated the importance of the ongoing controversy regarding Clinton’s decision to exclusively use a private email account, rather than a .gov account, during her time as secretary of state. In doing so, experts say she was able to circumvent transparency and records preservation standards.

Williams turned to his fellow commentator, Republican strategist and former Bush adviser Karl Rove, arguing that the email scandal during the Bush administration didn’t garner the same level of media criticism. Thus, the attention on Clinton is unwarranted.

"When Karl was in trouble back in ‘07, (there was) no press coverage, just about zero press coverage of this issue," Williams said, noting that he found just one Washington Post editorial criticizing the private email use.

"Juan, you are in a different reality, and I wish that I was there with you," Rove said.

Williams went too far in claiming there was "no press coverage," even allowing for some hyperbole.

That claim rates Mostly False.