Permanent outrage and hysterical doom-mongering do not attract moderate voters.
John Fund writes: The good news for Democrats is that the apathy of many of their voters — which contributed to Hillary Clinton’s losing in November — is gone now that Donald Trump is president.
“We have never in living memory seen an electorate as fired up and angry and engaged as they are right now, Ben Wikler, Washington director of the left-wing group Moveon.org, told RealClearPolitics.
The bad news for Democrats is that the fires of protest could burn so brightly that they alienate moderate voters and threaten any Democrats who decline to throw gasoline on the fires.
The anger of the liberal base is such that “a firestorm of criticism . . . awaits [Democratic lawmakers] when they don’t stand up to Trump,” Wikler says. As for primary challenges for Democrats who won’t confront Trump at every turn: “Everything is on the table.”
It certainly has been when it comes to the ceaseless efforts to delegitimize Trump. As soon as the election was over, state recounts were mounted, with the approval of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, angry demands were made that members of the Electoral College go against the results of their state votes and dump Trump, and wild charges were hurled that Russian hacking swung the election. FBI chief James Comey, an Obama appointee, was accused of tilting the election against Clinton, and blue-collar voters in the Midwest were smeared as “racists” who were easily manipulated by Trump.
Gallup Poll: President Obama’s Average Approval Rating was Among the Worst of the Post-War PresidentsPosted: January 26, 2017
Only three presidents scored worse than Obama since Gallup started doing these surveys in 1945.
As President Obama left the White House, the mainstream press was falling over itself proclaiming how popular he was.
“Obama leaving office on a very high note,” was a typical headline.
Yet despite the media’s fixation with polls, the press completely buried one of the more newsworthy poll findings — a Gallup report that came out last Friday, which took a final look at the President Obama’s popularity over his eight years in office.
“Obama even did worse overall than Richard Nixon, whose average approval was 49%, and was less popular overall than George W. Bush, who got an average 49.4%.”
That poll found that Obama’s overall average approval rating was a dismal 47.9%.
Obama even did worse overall than Richard Nixon, whose average approval was 49%, and was less popular overall than George W. Bush, who got an average 49.4%.
That sounds newsworthy, doesn’t it? But you’d never know this if you relied on the mainstream press for information. That’s because not one of them reported on Gallup’s finding. Read the rest of this entry »
“Obama’s approval ratings also fell to 38% in September 2014, shortly after the Islamic State terrorist group released videos showing the beheadings of U.S. journalists captured overseas.”
Gallup, in an analysis released Friday, published the average approval rating for all twelve presidents who have served since World War II.
“After his first year he received sustained majority approval only once more during his first term in office. Fortunately for him, that came during his 16th quarter in office — around the time he was re-elected in the fall of 2012.”
John F. Kennedy ranks highest with an average approval rating of 70.1 percent. He is followed by Dwight Eisenhower (65.0 percent), George H.W. Bush (60.9 percent), Bill Clinton (55.1 percent), Lyndon Johnson (55.1 percent), Ronald Reagan (52.8 percent), George W. Bush (49.4 percent), Barack Obama (47.9 percent), Gerald Ford (47.2 percent), Jimmy Carter (45.5 percent) and Harry Truman (45.4 percent). Read the rest of this entry »
THE BIG IDEA: President Trump completed his hostile takeover of the Republican Party last July, and on Friday he completed his hostile, if temporary, takeover of Washington.
In some significant ways, Trump is more like a corporate raider of the 1980s, when he came of age, than a typical politician of 2017. Thirty years ago, Gordon Gekko might have been more likely to deliver the speech that the billionaire businessman did today than Ronald Reagan.
No president has ever before referred to “the establishment” in his inaugural address nor declared that every country in the world ought to pursue its own self-interest. But the guy who ended the Bush dynasty and then vanquished the Clinton machine, in a period of 17 months, put “the establishment” of both parties on notice once more.
“For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost,” he said, as leaders from each side of the aisle looked on stoically. “The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. … What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.” Read the rest of this entry »
Incoming president Donald J. Trump inherits a presidential office more powerful than it has ever been.
The Growth of Presidential Power
Eisenhower warned that this was a problem.The dramatic increase in government services and departments during the Great Depression, coupled with the expansionary effects of a world war, left the federal government, and the president in particular, with new and broad powers. Gazing upon the redesigned government, Eisenhower warned of a military-industrial complex, saying, “Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.”
Nonetheless, many citizens did not worry as Johnson to create “The Great Society.”
With Nixon, however, Americans awakened to the real problem of providing presidents with so much control over foreign and domestic affairs. Nixon claimed the power to unilaterally authorize the bombing of Cambodia (after Congress explicitly condemned any action in that country) and he authorized the NSA to spy on American citizens without a warrant.
Congress attempted to check these actions, creating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court intended to provide government oversight of domestic surveillance. Instead, it provided the government with judges they needed to rubber stamp warrants for domestic surveillance.
They also passed the War Powers Resolution intended to contain presidential discretion over military affairs. Instead, it served to provide the executive with a way to legally justify unilateral action that falls below the 60-90 day threshold. Presidents came to have legal authority to engage in actions without having to go through Congress.
For this reason, Reagan saw a genuine opportunity to maintain popularity and achieve his objectives as president by using the power of his office to dramatically increase the arms race in order to defeat the Soviet Union. His gamble paid off as the Soviet Union fell.
Both George H.W. Bush and Clinton followed this model, seeing major domestic policies frustrated while enjoying heightened popularity when they intervened internationally.
By the time George W. Bush came to power, the executive branch had an established focus on international crises, only paying lip service to any sweeping legislative changes. The War on Terror served as a shot of steroids to presidential unilateralism and continues juicing it to this day.
While the president today has a variety of powers (enumerated, implied, discretionary and — more controversially — inherent ones), none are more controversial and disconcerting than the commander-in-chief power and the ability to authorize executive orders.
The Commander-in-Chief Power
As we all know from reading the Constitution (that’s something everyone does, right?) the president is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. This provides him with the ability to initiate hostilities against any organization or country around the world at any time by ordering the armed forces into action.
They are duty-bound to follow his orders. Even if the president orders an illegal action, such as waterboarding suspects or targeting the families of terrorists, it is likely that the military would have the same reaction as they did when George W. Bush ordered illegal actions — they obeyed and simply wrote memos outlining their legal and moral concerns. Read the rest of this entry »
Kevin Daley reports:
“I do regret sitting down and having a conversation with him, because it did give people concern.”
“It didn’t cross your mind that sitting there like ‘Oh somebody’s going to make a big deal about this?’” he asked.
“I do regret sitting down and having a conversation with him, because it did give people concern,” Lynch responded. “And as I said, my greatest concern has always been making sure that people understand that the Department of Justice works in a way that is independent and looks at everybody equally.”
“And when you do something that gives people a reason to think differently, that’s a problem. It was a problem for me. It was painful for me, and so I felt it was important to clarify it as quickly and as clearly and as cleanly as possible.”
“My greatest concern has always been making sure that people understand that the Department of Justice works in a way that is independent and looks at everybody equally. And when you do something that gives people a reason to think differently, that’s a problem. It was a problem for me. It was painful for me, and so I felt it was important to clarify it as quickly and as clearly and as cleanly as possible.”
Evidence keeps piling up that the American people have a very low opinion of how the media reports on our elections. The latest Pew Research Center opinion survey revealed “Just 22% give the press a grade of an A or B, while 38% give it a failing grade” – an F. The approval of the media has been declining for years. After the 2004 re-election of George W. Bush, 33 percent of voters gave the press an A or a B, compared to just 16 percent picking “F.” Read the rest of this entry »
Bob Bryan reports: Paul Krugman, the Nobel-winning economist and New York Times columnist, suggested Thursday that an “alliance” between a faction of the FBI and Russian President Vladimir Putin swung last week’s election in favor of Donald Trump.
“So it looks more and more as if we had an election swung, in effect, by a faction of our own security sector in alliance with Putin.”
— Paul Krugman, during a psychotic break, on Twitter
Krugman said that given the small margin in swing states that decided the election, the FBI’s reactivation of its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server was just enough to change the minds of some voters.
“The economist has frequently taken to Twitter in the days after the election to bemoan the outcome and to draw concern over early policies of Trump.”
FBI Director James Comey announced the discovery of new emails “pertinent” to the case on October 28 — 11 days before the election — before clearing her again a week later.
“As evidence accumulates that Trump benefited from a lot of late deciders breaking his way, the case that it was Comey gets stronger,” Krugman wrote in a tweet.
The US intelligence community publicly accused the Russian government of being behind the hacks of emails of members of Democratic Party organizations and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, whose electronic communications were released in droves by WikiLeaks during the final weeks of the campaign. Read the rest of this entry »
Free association should not be for powerful liberals only
Stephanie Slade writes: “As one who celebrates and strives for diversity, individual freedom, and respect for all lifestyles, I will not participate in dressing or associating in any way with the next First Lady,” wrote fashion designer Sophie Theallet in an open letter this week.
“Personally, I applaud Theallet’s design to disassociate herself with the next occupant of the White House. I see Donald Trump as a shameful human being with few redeeming qualities as a leader and even fewer as a person, and if I were a business owner, I too would decline to serve his administration.”
People magazine reports Theallet, who has designed and donated clothes for outgoing First Lady Michelle Obama numerous times over the last eight years, may not be alone: “A source tells People, ‘This has already been going on for months. Designers wouldn’t lend to Melania, Ivanka or Tiffany, so they either bought the items themselves or wore Ivanka’s brand. … There was a lot of shopping their own closets.'”
As Theallet put it, ‘we consider our voice an expression of our artistic and philosophical ideals.’ I suspect Barronelle Stutzman, the white-haired grandmother who owns Arlene’s Flowers, feels the same way about her craft.”
Personally, I applaud Theallet’s design to disassociate herself with the next occupant of the White House. I see Donald Trump as a shameful human being with few redeeming qualities as a leader and even fewer as a person, and if I were a business owner, I too would decline to serve his administration.
“But instead of assuming a live-and-let-live attitude on the matter, Washington state has systematically worked to destroy Stutzman’s business unless she agrees to take part in a celebration to which she is morally opposed.”
Both are examples of associational freedom—the right to make decisions for yourself about how and with whom you spend your time and energy. This includes the right not to take on a client or project that elevates, in your view, a value you disagree with. Read the rest of this entry »
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the two talked about various issues but refrained from disclosing the contents of the meeting with Trump because the talks were unofficial.
He made the comments in New York after a meeting that was intended to smooth relations following Trump’s campaign rhetoric that cast doubt on long-standing U.S. alliances.
Abe became the first world leader to meet Trump on Thursday, seeking reassurances over the future of the U.S.-Japan security and trade relations.
Abe met with Trump in New York, where the incoming president is working on setting up an administration after his surprise election victory last week that has injected new uncertainty into old U.S. alliances.
“I do believe that without confidence between the two nations (the) alliance would never function in the future and (after) the outcome of today’s discussion I am convinced Mr. Trump is a leader in whom I can have great confidence,” Abe said following the meeting.
Trump’s campaign rhetoric caused consternation in many world capitals, including Tokyo. Trump has said he would demand that allies such as Japan and South Korea contribute more to the cost of basing U.S. troops in their countries.
Such comments have worried Japan at a time when the threat from North Korea is rising, and China is challenging the U.S.-led security status quo in the Pacific. Read the rest of this entry »
Qatari officials pledged the money in 2011 to mark the 65th birthday of Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton’s husband, and sought to meet the former U.S. president in person the following year to present him the check, according to an email from a foundation official to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign chairman, John Podesta. The email, among thousands hacked from Podesta’s account, was published last month by WikiLeaks.
Clinton signed an ethics agreement governing her family’s globe-straddling foundation in order to become secretary of state in 2009. The agreement was designed to increase transparency to avoid appearances that U.S. foreign policy could be swayed by wealthy donors.
If a new foreign government wished to donate or if an existing foreign-government donor, such as Qatar, wanted to “increase materially” its support of ongoing programs, Clinton promised that the State Department’s ethics official would be notified and given a chance to raise any concerns.
Clinton Foundation officials last month declined to confirm the Qatar donation. In response to additional questions, a foundation spokesman, Brian Cookstra, this week said that it accepted the $1 million gift from Qatar, but this did not amount to a “material increase” in the Gulf country’s support for the charity. Cookstra declined to say whether Qatari officials received their requested meeting with Bill Clinton.
Officials at Qatar’s embassy in Washington and in its Council of Ministers in the capital, Doha, declined to discuss the donation.
The State Department has said it has no record of the foundation submitting the Qatar gift for review, and that it was incumbent on the foundation to notify the department about donations that needed attention. A department spokeswoman did not respond to additional questions about the donation.
According to the foundation’s website, which lists donors in broad categories by cumulative amounts donated, Qatar’s government has directly given a total of between $1 million and $5 million over the years.
The Clinton Foundation has said it would no longer accept money from foreign governments if Clinton is elected president and would spin off those programs that are dependent on foreign governments. Read the rest of this entry »
The eight paragraphs that Thrush sent Palmieri were filled with glowing sentences about her. She wrote in the forwarded email to Clinton staffers, ‘He did me courtesy of sending what he is going to say about me. Seems fine.’
Thrush sent an email to Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri on April 17, 2015 with the subject line: “pls read asap — the [Jennifer Palmieri] bits — don’t share.” This was revealed in Thursday’s WikiLeaks release of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails. It is included in Podesta’s emails as Palmieri shared the email with several other Clinton staffers, including campaign manager Robby Mook and Podesta.
The eight paragraphs that Thrush sent Palmieri were filled with glowing sentences about her. She wrote in the forwarded email to Clinton staffers, “He did me courtesy of sending what he is going to say about me. Seems fine.”
The paragraphs about Palmieri ended up largely unchanged in the column, “Quiet, please. Hillary’s running,” a piece focused on Clinton’s press strategy.
In a previous email chain released by WikiLeaks, Thrush asked Podesta to look over a portion of a story pertaining to him. The Politico reporter in the email called himself a “hack” and said “please don’t share.” Read the rest of this entry »
FBI Director James B. Comey decided to inform Congress that he would look again into Hillary Clinton’s handling of emails during her time as secretary of state for two main reasons: a sense of obligation to lawmakers and a concern that word of the new email discovery would leak to the media and raise questions of a coverup.
“Of course, we don’t ordinarily tell Congress about ongoing investigations, but here I feel I also think it would be misleading to the American people were we not to supplement the record.”
— Director Janes Comey, in a memo to FBI employees
The rationale, described by officials close to Comey’s decision-making on the condition of anonymity, prompted the FBI director to release his brief letter to Congress on Friday and upset a presidential race less than two weeks before Election Day. It placed Comey again at the center of a highly partisan argument over whether the nation’s top law enforcement agency was unfairly influencing the campaign.
“It is extraordinary that we would see something like this just 11 days out from a presidential election. The Director owes it to the American people to immediately provide the full details of what he is now examining.”
— John Podesta, chairman of Clinton’s presidential campaign
In a memo explaining his decision to FBI employees soon after he sent his letter to Congress, Comey said he felt “an obligation to do so given that I testified repeatedly in recent months that our investigation was completed.”
“Of course, we don’t ordinarily tell Congress about ongoing investigations, but here I feel I also think it would be misleading to the American people were we not to supplement the record,” Comey wrote to his employees.
The last time Comey found himself in the campaign spotlight was in July, when he announced that he had finished a months-long investigation into whether Clinton mishandled classified information through the use of a private email server during her time as secretary of state. After he did so, the denunciation was loudest from Republican nominee Donald Trump and his supporters, who accused the FBI director of bias in favor of Clinton’s candidacy. There was also grumbling within FBI ranks, with a largely conservative investigative corps complaining privately that Comey should have tried harder to make a case.
Republicans and Democrats respond as the FBI makes new inquiries related to Hillary Clinton’s private email server. (Dalton Bennett, Alice Li, Ashleigh Joplin/The Washington Post)
This time the loudest criticism has come from Clinton and her supporters, who said Friday that Comey had provided too little information about the nature of the new line of investigation and allowed Republicans to seize political ground as a result. The inquiry focuses on Clinton emails found on a computer used by former congressman Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), now under investigation for sending sexually explicit messages to a minor, and top Clinton aide Huma Abedin, who is Weiner’s wife. The couple have since separated. Read the rest of this entry »
Judicial Watch filed a FOIA on July 7 for documents that included “all records related to the meeting between Attorney General Lynch and former President Bill Clinton on June 27, 2016.”
Bill Clinton and Lynch met privately on a Phoenix tarmac in the final days of the email probe after they said their jets unexpectedly landed near each other.
While both parties claimed the meeting was purely social in nature, their visit sparked a fierce backlash among critics who accused Bill Clinton of attempting to tilt the outcome of the investigation in favor of his wife. Read the rest of this entry »
“Look, this brings us back full-circle to where we started. The original question was: ‘Why does she have a private e-mail?’ She said convenience — obviously, that was ridiculous, she’s carrying around a whole lot of devices — it was obvious she was hiding something. Think about it: She set it up in 2009, before becoming secretary of state. So she anticipated having exchanges that she would not want anyone to see.”
“We have been asking ourselves on this set for a year almost, “What exactly didn’t she want people to see? Well now we know. As we speculated, the most plausible explanation was the rank corruption of the Clinton Foundation and its corrupt — I don’t know if it’s illegal, but corrupt relationship with the State Department. And her only defense, as we saw earlier, the Democrats are saying, ‘Well, there was nothing that she did — as in the Raytheon case — that was corrupted by donations.’ You can believe that if you want, there’s a reason that people give donations in large amounts. That’s to influence the outcome of decisions. We are getting unfolding to us exactly what she anticipated having to hide. And it’s really dirty business.”
Source: National Review
[VIDEO] Clinton Surrogate Says ‘Nothing New Here’ Four Times in Response to Clinton Foundation StoriesPosted: October 27, 2016
The Clinton campaign (Washington Post) released audio on Friday of Donald Trump talking about hitting on a hot woman in 2005. Hillary Clinton tweeted out that she was “shocked!” in response to the audio! HillaryClinton – “This is horrific. We cannot allow this man to become president.” Really, Hillary? This is the same woman who threatened Bill Clinton’s accusers in 1998. It is commonly believed by Clinton victims that Hillary was behind the siccing of private investigators on the many women who accused her husband of rape, sexual assault or infidelity in the 1990s. Hillary Clinton revealed her hidden hand when she menacingly issued a clear warning of intimidation to her husband’s accusers (and those who would pursue their charges) on the nationally broadcast Today Show in early 1998 in the days after the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke.
The Today Show interview with Matt Lauer on January 27, 1998 is famous for Hillary’s claim that a “vast right-wing conspiracy” was behind the allegations of an affair between her husband President Clinton and White House intern Monica Lewinsky. “This is—the great story here for anybody willing to find it and write about it and explain it is this vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for president. A few journalists have kind of caught on to it and explained it. But it has not yet been fully revealed to the American public. And actually, you know, in a bizarre sort of way, this may do it.” Later in the interview, Hillary bluntly issued her threat: “I think we’re going to find some other things. And I think that when all of this is put into context, and we really look at the people involved here, look at their motivations and look at their backgrounds, look at their past behavior, some folks are going to have a lot to answer for.” Read the rest of this entry »
As reporters focus on Donald Trump, they miss new details on Hillary Clinton’s rotten record.
Kimberly A. Strassel writes: If average voters turned on the TV for five minutes this week, chances are they know that Donald Trump made lewd remarks a decade ago and now stands accused of groping women.
“But even if average voters had the TV on 24/7, they still probably haven’t heard the news about Hillary Clinton: That the nation now has proof of pretty much everything she has been accused of.”
But even if average voters had the TV on 24/7, they still probably haven’t heard the news about Hillary Clinton: That the nation now has proof of pretty much everything she has been accused of.
“The Obama administration—the federal government, supported by tax dollars—was working as an extension of the Clinton campaign. The State Department coordinated with her staff in responding to the email scandal, and the Justice Department kept her team informed about developments in the court case.”
It comes from hacked emails dumped by WikiLeaks, documents released under the Freedom of Information Act, and accounts from FBI insiders. The media has almost uniformly ignored the flurry of bombshells, preferring to devote its front pages to the Trump story. So let’s review what amounts to a devastating case against a Clinton presidency.
Start with a June 2015 email to Clinton staffers from Erika Rottenberg, the former general counsel of LinkedIn. Ms. Rottenberg wrote that none of the attorneys in her circle of friends “can understand how it was viewed as ok/secure/appropriate to use a private server for secure documents AND why further Hillary took it upon herself to review them and delete documents.”
She added: “It smacks of acting above the law and it smacks of the type of thing I’ve either gotten discovery sanctions for, fired people for, etc.”
A few months later, in a September 2015 email, a Clinton confidante fretted that Mrs. Clinton was too bullheaded to acknowledge she’d done wrong. “Everyone wants her to apologize,” wrote Neera Tanden, president of the liberal Center for American Progress. “And she should. Apologies are like her Achilles’ heel.”
“In a series of 2010 emails, a senior aide to Mrs. Clinton asked a foundation official to let her know which groups offering assistance with the Haitian earthquake relief were “FOB” (Friends of Bill)…Those who made the cut appear to have been teed up for contracts. Those who weren’t? Routed to a standard government website.”
Clinton staffers debated how to evade a congressional subpoena of Mrs. Clinton’s emails—three weeks before a technician deleted them. The campaign later employed a focus group to see if it could fool Americans into thinking the email scandal was part of the Benghazi investigation (they are separate) and lay it all off as a Republican plot.
“Clinton staffers debated how to evade a congressional subpoena of Mrs. Clinton’s emails—three weeks before a technician deleted them. The campaign later employed a focus group to see if it could fool Americans into thinking the email scandal was part of the Benghazi investigation…”
A senior FBI official involved with the Clinton investigation told Fox News this week that the “vast majority” of career agents and prosecutors working the case “felt she should be prosecuted” and that giving her a pass was “a top-down decision.” Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] Krauthammer: Powell Shows Resentment toward Clintons, Along with ‘Scathing Remarks’ on TrumpPosted: September 15, 2016
With all the attention on the leaked Colin Powell e-mails, Charles Krauthammer noted how the former secretary of state has been critical of both presidential candidates.
“Well he’s an equal-opportunity skeptic. He’s been near, particularly, to the Clintons, so he’s seen them in action. I can understand why he’d be particularly upset that he is dragged into this saga of e-mail, of cover-ups, of destroyed documents, and somehow associated with it in a very tenuous way by Clinton. And I can understand his resentment; it makes total sense.”
“This is a real day for: ‘If you believe that, you’ll believe anything.’ It makes you really want to walk away in disgust from politics and the media. That is an outright — well, I won’t call it a lie — that is not a believable statement.”
“As you say, it’s a second or two. It isn’t a question of time; they were covering for them! And the reason it’s important — it’s a slip, yes — but it’s in the context of a couple who hide stuff. They have been hiding stuff for 30 years, and what everyone is asking: are they hiding something more serious? The ‘frequently’ and the ‘rarely’ is a huge difference, and he said both. So which is true? You have to see them if you are going to make a choice.”
Read more at The Corner
Jim Geraghty: ‘Picture Comey’s Office When the Complete 68 Pages of the FBI Investigation Comes to his Desk’Posted: September 9, 2016
Jim Geraghty writes:
…Picture Comey’s office when the complete 68 pages of the FBI investigation comes to his desk. It’s a mess for her:
- Despite many public denials, 110 of her e-mails contained classified information. This, by itself, is a crime.
- She and/or her team destroyed e-mails that were under congressional subpoena.
- Her team used BleachBit to erase e-mails that were required to be preserved under public-records laws.
- She had not turned over work-related e-mails as she claimed; several thousand work-related e-mails were not given to the State Department, as required by law.
- Despite her continued insistence that her system was secure, an unknown individual using the encrypted privacy tool Tor to hide their tracks accessed an e-mail account on a Clinton family server.
- The evidence pointed to a deliberate, ongoing effort to keep all of her communications off of the secure State Department system, which would be subject to subpoenas and Freedom of Information Act requests. She used several different e-mail servers on her private system, as well as 13 mobile devices and five iPads.
- At no time did she get permission, as required, to do official work on her mobile devices. Clinton frequently lost her phones — which included her e-mails with classified information — and she and her staff could not account for them. An assistant to former president Bill Clinton lost a laptop holding Hillary Clinton’s e-mails. Again, as secretary of state, she swore an oath to protect that information. As Comey declared in his statement, “even if information is not marked ‘classified’ in an e-mail, participants who know or should know that the subject matter is classified are still obligated to protect it.”
- Either she or her staff lied to the FBI; Clinton said she never had a computer in her Secure Compartmentalized Information Facility (basically, a room that is nearly impossible to bug or eavesdrop). Huma Abedin said she did.
- During the interview with the FBI, Clinton said she “couldn’t recall” more than three dozen times. One portion of the report suggests Clinton could not remember whether or not she received security briefings. But she had previously signed official documents declaring she had been properly briefed.
Comey looked at that report and saw plenty of potential reasons to recommend impaneling a grand jury. But had the FBI recommended seeking an indictment of Hillary Clinton, it undoubtedly would have created a political earthquake.
The entire Democratic Party would have exploded in rage at the bureau. Comey would have instantly been painted as worse than Ken Starr, worse than Inspector Javert, worse than Torquemada. Clinton defenders would charge that the FBI was torpedoing her presidential campaign, and they might just be right: At the time of Comey’s decision, the Democratic convention was just three weeks away. Read the rest of this entry »
The FBI’s Blind Clinton Trust.
The closer we look at the FBI’s investigative file on Hillary Clinton’s emails, the more we wonder if Director James Comey always intended to let her off the hook. The calculated release before the long Labor Day weekend suggests political favoritism, and the report shows the FBI didn’t pursue evidence of potential false statements, obstruction of justice and destruction of evidence.
“The notes also show the G-men never did grill Mrs. Clinton on her “intent” in setting up her server. Instead they bought her explanation that it was for personal convenience. This helped Mr. Comey avoid concluding that her purpose was to evade statutes like the Federal Records Act. Mr. Comey also told Congress that indicting her without criminal intent would pose a constitutional problem.”
Mr. Comey’s concessions start with his decision not to interview Mrs. Clinton until the end of his investigation, a mere three days before he announced his conclusions. Regular FBI practice is to get a subject on the record early then see if his story meshes with what agents find. In this case they accepted Mrs. Clinton’s I-don’t-recall defenses after the fact.
“Ms. Mills has a particular reason for denying early knowledge of the server: She became Mrs. Clinton’s personal lawyer after they both left State. If Ms. Mills knew about the server while at State, she’d be subject to questions about the server. But if she didn’t know about the server until leaving State, she can argue that conversations with Mrs. Clinton are protected by attorney-client privilege. The FBI ignored all this, and it even allowed Ms. Mills to accompany Mrs. Clinton to her FBI interview as Mrs. Clinton’s lawyer.”
The notes also show the G-men never did grill Mrs. Clinton on her “intent” in setting up her server. Instead they bought her explanation that it was for personal convenience. This helped Mr. Comey avoid concluding that her purpose was to evade statutes like the Federal Records Act. Mr. Comey also told Congress that indicting her without criminal intent would pose a constitutional problem. But Congress has written many laws that don’t require criminal intent, and negligent homicide (for example) has never been unconstitutional.
The FBI notes also blow past evidence that Clinton advisers may have engaged in a cover-up. Consider page 10 of the FBI report: “Clinton’s immediate aides, to include [Huma] Abedin, [Cheryl] Mills, Jacob Sullivan, and [redacted] told the FBI they were unaware of the existence of the private server until after Clinton’s tenure at State or when it became public knowledge.”
That’s amazing given that Ms. Abedin had her own email account on the private server. It is also contradicted by page 3: “At the recommendation of Huma Abedin, Clinton’s long-time aide and later Deputy Chief of Staff at State, in or around fall 2008, [ Bill Clinton aide Justin] Cooper contacted Bryan Pagliano . . . to build the new server system and to assist Cooper with the administration of the new server system.”
The FBI must also have ignored two emails referred to by the State Inspector General showing Ms. Mills and Ms. Abedin discussing the server while they worked at State: “hrc email coming back—is server okay?” Ms. Mills asked Ms. Abedin and Mr. Cooper in a Feb. 27, 2010 email. Read the rest of this entry »