The inspector general report is careful in its conclusions, but damning on the facts.
Kimberley A. Strassel Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s 500-page report covers plenty, but it can be distilled to two words he uses to describe the Federal Bureau of Investigation during the 2016 election: insubordination and bias. Two terms that are chilling in connection with such a powerful agency.
That won’t be the message from Democrats and most of the press, who will focus on a few episodes they will claim cost Hillary Clinton an election. Watch for them to blame former FBI Director James Comey, whom the report faults for “a serious error of judgment,” for having “concealed information” from superiors, and for “violation of or disregard for” departmental and bureau policies.
True, the report is damning about the man who lectures Americans on “higher loyalty.” It describes how an “insubordinate” Mr. Comey was, as early as April 2016, considering how to cut his Justice Department bosses from a public statement exonerating Hillary Clinton. He hid this scheme for fear “they would instruct him not to do it”—and therefore was able to “avoid supervision.” He then “violated long-standing Department practice and protocol” by using his July 5 press conference for “criticizing Clinton’s uncharged conduct.” In October, he made public that the FBI had reopened the investigation, even though the Justice Department recommended he not do so. Mr. Comey went rogue, and President Trump had plenty of justification in firing him in May 2017.
Yet it is the report’s findings on the wider culture of the FBI and Justice Department that are most alarming. The report depicts agencies that operate outside the rules to which they hold everybody else, and that showed extraordinary bias while investigating two presidential candidates.
There’s Loretta Lynch, who felt it perfectly fine to have a long catch-up with her friend Bill Clinton on a Phoenix tarmac and whom the inspector general slams for an “error in judgment.” Read the rest of this entry »
John Fund, Hans A. von Spakovsky write: President Trump has announced that his administration will be launching a major investigation of voter fraud, including those who are registered in more than one state, “those who are illegal” and those voters who are dead but still registered. This followed a media firestorm in which the New York Times and others called Trump’s assertion a “lie.”
But just last week, President Obama told a whopper at his last news conference that went almost completely unnoticed, much less criticized.
He promised he would continue to fight voter-ID laws and other measures designed to improve voting integrity. The U.S. is “the only country among advanced democracies that makes it harder to vote,” he claimed.
The real problem in our election system is that we don’t really know to what extent President Trump’s claim is true because we have an election system that is based on the honor system.
What we do know, despite assertions to the contrary, is that voter fraud is a problem, and both sides of the political aisle should welcome a real investigation into it — especially since the Obama administration tried so hard for eight years to obfuscate the issue and prevent a real assessment.
Former Justice Department attorney Christian Adams testified under oath that he attended a November 2009 meeting at which then-deputy assistant attorney general Julie Fernandes told DOJ prosecutors that the administration would not be enforcing the federal law that requires local officials to purge illegitimate names from their voter rolls.
This refusal to enforce the law came despite a 2012 study from the Pew Center on the States estimating that one out of every eight voter registrations is inaccurate, out-of-date or a duplicate. About 2.8 million people are registered in more than one state, according to the study, and 1.8 million registered voters are dead. In most places it’s easy to vote under the names of such people with little risk of detection.
The Obama administration did everything it could to avoid complying with requests from states to verify voter registration records against federal records of legal noncitizens and illegal immigrants who have been detained by law enforcement to find noncitizens who have illegally registered and voted.
The Justice Department has also opposed every effort by states—such as Kansas, Arizona, Alabama and Georgia—to implement laws that require individuals registering to vote to provide proof of citizenship. This despite evidence that noncitizens are indeed registering and casting ballots. Read the rest of this entry »
Don’t Kid Yourself — Liberals Are Just As Susceptible To Fake News.Their brand may be more sophisticated, but it’s no less harmful.
David Harsanyi writes: No one ever loses an election in America anymore. It’s always some nefarious, shrouded force that’s destabilizing democracy that’s at fault. Now that Democrats have sort of moved on from blaming the Electoral College and James Comey and the Russians, they’re absolutely convinced that “fake news” turned the election against Hillary Clinton (although it’s still a mystery why they lost more than 1,000 other seats since Obamacare was passed).
Of course the Internet is teeming with bogus news. That’s nothing new. Even the smartest people fall for fake stories sometimes. It’s a problem. And of course thinking about how social media affects our democratic institutions is legitimate. But considering how often voters use news — fake or real — to reinforce their pre-existing worldviews, I’m skeptical anyone can quantify how much misinformation matters, or if it matters at all.
That study supposedly showing “Fake News Beat Real News” in the last months of 2016 election–it shows no such thing https://t.co/nxFcFbpMDU
REWIND: July 2016, Katie Pavlich reported: Just one week before FBI Director James Comey announced the Bureau would not recommend charges be filed against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for storing and transferring top secret, classified information on multiple private, unsecured email servers, Attorney General Loretta Lynch had a private meeting with former President Bill Clinton on her private jet in Phoenix.
After being caught by a local reporter, Lynch claimed the email investigation wasn’t discussed and that social topics like grandchildren and golf were the topics of the day. She said the same yesterday during congressional testimony.
But according to a report from the New York Post, FBI agents believe an inside deal was struck on that plane to keep Hillary Clinton free of indictment. Considering the severe retaliation inside the Obama administration against those who speak out, FBI agents are cited anonymously. FBI agents investigating the Clinton email servers were also forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement.
In an unusual move, FBI agents working the Hillary Clinton e-mail case had to sign a special form reminding them not to blab about the probe to anyone unless called to testify.Read the rest of this entry »
“It is painfully clear that, like her predecessor Eric Holder, Lynch is far more concerned with promoting the social justice agenda than protecting the Constitutional rights of American citizens. What exactly is speech that “edges toward violence”? What exactly are “actions predicated on violent talk”? In the end, it is whatever she decides it to mean.”
Speaking to the audience at the Muslim Advocate’s 10th anniversary dinner Thursday, Lynch said her “greatest fear” is the “incredibly disturbing rise of anti-Muslim rhetoric” in America and vowed to prosecute any guilty of what she deemed violence-inspiring speech. She said:
The fear that you have just mentioned is in fact my greatest fear as a prosecutor, as someone who is sworn to the protection of all of the American people, which is that the rhetoric will be accompanied by acts of violence. My message to not just the Muslim community but to the entire American community is: we cannot give in to the fear that these backlashes are really based on.
Assuring the pro-Muslim group that “we stand with you,” Lynch said she would use her Justice Department to protect Muslims from “violence” and discrimination.
Claiming that violence against Muslims is on the rise and citing France’s clamp down on potentially radicalized mosques, Lynch suggested the Constitution does not protect “actions predicated on violent talk” and pledged to prosecute those responsible for such actions….(read more)
Lynch addressed the Muslim Advocate’s 10th anniversary dinner and declared that she is concerned about an “incredibly disturbing rise of anti-Muslim rhetoric . . . that fear is my greatest fear.” Her greatest fear is — not terrorism — but a nonexistent Islamophobic backlash? ISIS has demonstrated that it can bring down passenger jets, strike the heart of a great Western capitol with urban assault teams, and inspire horrible carnage in California. We also know that ISIS has pledged to keep attacking the U.S. and possesses chemical weapons. Yet it’s politically incorrect speech that strikes fear into the heart of our attorney general.
What about blurring the distinction between speech and violence? Lynch is so serious about stopping Islamophobia that she’s sending a clear message to those who engage in “anti-Muslim rhetoric” — the Department of Justice is watching you:
“When we talk about the First amendment we [must] make it clear that actions predicated on violent talk are not American. They are not who we are, they are not what we do, and they will be prosecuted.”
And yet, there is no legally meaningful category of “action[s] predicated on violent talk.” Lynch spoke against rhetoric that “edges towards violence,” but the law obviously prohibits violent actions — she’s speaking in terms alien to the First Amendment. True threats are unlawful, and true “incitement” isn’t protected by the Constitution, but these are extraordinarily narrow legal categories. Is it not enough to declare that the Department of Justice will enforce the law and uphold the Constitution?
The First Amendment protects an enormous range of speech — even speech that’s anathema to the Obama administration. Americans are perfectly within their rights to not just condemn jihad but also to make sweeping and angry statements about Islam. If the administration disagrees with this speech, it’s free to make its own statements, but when it starts making up legal categories of problematic speech, it is getting disturbingly close to discarding the Bill of Rights. Read the rest of this entry »