James Comey is delivering his first sworn testimony after being fired by the Trump administration. And several major findings have already been discussed in the first hour. One surprising moment was when Comey said that it wasn’t just the Trump administration that may have asked him to cover up an FBI investigation. It was actually Loretta Lynch, President Obama’s attorney general, who asked him to lie about the probe into Hillary Clinton’s email scandals. According to him, Lynch asked him to not call it an investigation at all — instead, she wanted him to call it a “matter.” Read the rest of this entry »
Asked about polling numbers that show major problems for Hillary Clinton’s trustworthiness, Charles Krauthammer argued that the renewed FBI investigation contributes to that, but that it probably will not be enough to swing the election.
That’s all a reflection of the Comey recount. I mean, this is all the aftereffects of that bomb. A lot — some of it is WikiLeaks, but I don’t think Wikileaks had a dramatic affect. There’s also the Obamacare rise in the premiums really affecting people with their wallets. It was the fact that the charge is now revived. She’s under investigation. Criminal investigation. Here she is. In the ads, Trump is saying she’s under criminal investigation.
That revives everything that had been buried and banished when he gave her this sort of semi-exoneration in July. That’s what we’re seeing. Look, all you have do is to say that if nationally — if everywhere he loses a point or two or three, which he certainly has and probably more, nationwide that shifts a whole bunch of states into different categories. That accounts for what we’re seeing. I suspect the effect of that is now attenuated. This is not a growing influence on the campaign. It’s probably spent so that unless there is another revelation, another shocking WikiLeak, it could stabilize it right where it is and we end up with your scenario, which is a Clinton squeaker.
Paul Crookston writes:
…Gowdy laying out the ways in which all the grounds for prosecuting Clinton were there:
Intent is awfully hard to prove. Very rarely do defendants announce ahead of time, “I intend to commit this crime on this date, go ahead and check the code section — I’m going to do it.” That rarely happens. So you have to prove it by circumstantial evidence, such as whether or not the person intended to set up an e-mail system outside the State Department. Such as whether or not the person knew or should have known that his or her job involved handling classified information. Whether or not the person was truthful about the use of multiple devices.
I think you would agree with this, Director: False exculpatory statements are gold in a courtroom. I would rather have a false exculpatory statement than a confession. I would rather have someone lie about something — and it be provable that that is a lie — such as, that “I neither sent or received classified information.” Such as that “I turned over all my work-related e-mails.” All of that, to me, goes to the issue of intent.
For those who may have to prosecute these cases in the future — what would she have had to do to warrant your recommendation of a prosecution?
Comey defended his definition of intent, and added another protection against Clinton that the lack of previous prosecutions somehow absolves Clinton of violating the statute:
We’d have to be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt a general awareness of the unlawfulness of your conduct — you knew you were doing something you shouldn’t do. Obviously that is on the face of the statute itself. Then you need to consider who else has been prosecuted in what circumstances, because it is all about prosecutorial judgment. Read the rest of this entry »
More questions about the FBI’s special handling of the email case.
FBI Director James Comey appears Wednesday before the House Judiciary Committee, where he’ll get another chance to explain his agency’s double standard regarding Hillary Clinton. His probe of the former Secretary of State’s private email server is looking more like a kid-glove exercise with each new revelation.
House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz on Friday disclosed that the FBI granted immunity to Mrs. Clinton’s top aides as part of its probe into whether Mrs. Clinton mishandled classified information. According to Mr. Chaffetz, this “limited” immunity was extended to former chief of staff Cheryl Mills and senior adviser Heather Samuelson, in order to get them to surrender their laptops, which they’d used to sort through Mrs. Clinton’s work-versus-personal emails.
Why the courtesy? “If the FBI wanted any other Americans’ laptops, they would just go get them—they wouldn’t get an immunity deal,” Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan told Politico. He’s right. The FBI merely had to seek a subpoena or search warrant. By offering immunity, the FBI exempted the laptops and their emails as potential evidence in a criminal case.
Beth Wilkinson, who represents Ms. Mills and Ms. Samuelson, says the immunity deals were designed to protect her clients against any related “classification” disputes. This is an admission that both women knew their unsecure laptops had been holding sensitive information for more than a year. Meanwhile, Mr. Comey also allowed Ms. Mills and Ms. Samuelson to serve as lawyers for Mrs. Clinton at her FBI interview—despite having been interviewed as witnesses and offered immunity. Read the rest of this entry »
The materials include what appears to be a summary of Clinton’s interview with agents.
Matt Zapotosky and Rosalind S. Helderman report: The FBI on Friday released a detailed report on its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, as well as what appears to be a summary of her interview with agents, providing the most thorough look yet at the probe that has dogged the campaign of the Democratic presidential nominee.
“The FBI’s investigation and forensic analysis did not find evidence confirming that Clinton’s e-mail accounts or mobile devices were compromised by cyber means. However, investigative limitations, including the FBI’s inability to obtain all mobile devices and various computer components associated with Clinton’s personal e-mail systems, prevented the FBI from conclusively determining whether the classified information transmitted and stored on Clinton’s personal server systems was compromised via cyber intrusion or other means.”
The documents, which total 58 pages, do not seem to provide any major revelations about Clinton’s actions — though they paint her and her staff as either unaware of or unconcerned with State Department policies on email use. The materials also show that the FBI was unable to track down all of Clinton’s devices, including phones, it sought, and that made it impossible for agents to definitively answer every question they had, including whether Clinton’s emails were hacked.
“The FBI’s investigation and forensic analysis did not find evidence confirming that Clinton’s e-mail accounts or mobile devices were compromised by cyber means,” the author of the report wrote. “However, investigative limitations, including the FBI’s inability to obtain all mobile devices and various computer components associated with Clinton’s personal e-mail systems, prevented the FBI from conclusively determining whether the classified information transmitted and stored on Clinton’s personal server systems was compromised via cyber intrusion or other means.”
FBI Director James B. Comey announced in July that his agency would not recommend criminal charges against Clinton for her use of a private email server. Comey said that Clinton and her staffers were “extremely careless” in how they treated classified information, but investigators did not find they intended to mishandle such material. Nor did investigators uncover exacerbating factors — such as efforts to obstruct justice — that often lead to charges in similar cases, Comey said.
The FBI turned over to several congressional committees documents related to the probe and required that they be viewed only by those with appropriate security clearances, even though not all of the material was classified, legislators and their staffers have said.
Those documents included an investigative report and summaries of interviews with more than a dozen senior Clinton staffers, other State Department officials, former secretary of state Colin Powell and at least one other person. The documents released Friday represent but a fraction of those.
A summary prepared by FBI agents of their hours-long interview with Clinton in July shows that Clinton’s account to law enforcement was generally consistent with what she has said about her email situation publicly, though she repeatedly told agents she could not recall important details or specific emails she was questioned about.
She told the agents that she began using the private server as a matter of convenience and denied the set-up was intended to help evade public records laws. She indicated she never sought nor received permission to use a private server and said she largely turned over the set-up of the system to aides. Read the rest of this entry »
Former President Bill Clinton delayed Phoenix takeoff to snare ’20-25 minute encounter’ with Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
An exclusive interview with a security source who was present at the unplanned meeting Monday night on a Phoenix tarmac between former President Bill Clinton and Attorney General Lorretta Lynch has shed additional light on an unusual summit that is embroiling the AG in charges of favoritism. As attorney general, Lynch heads the Department of Justice just as it is deciding whether to proceed with charges against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton over her use of a private email server during her tenure as President Obama’s secretary of state.
“This is a head-slapping case of bad judgement”
— Howard Kurtz
The source has decades of experience providing security to government officials. The source spoke to the Observer for 20 minutes and answered follow-up questions via text message on the condition that no further details be revealed, including even gender, given the possibility of losing his or her job as an active overseer of security arrangements. This person was on-hand for the entirety of the meeting and some of its aftermath.
According to this source, whose credentials were checked and confirmed by the Observer with sources inside both the FBI and the United States Secret Service, the attorney general was caught completely off guard by the meeting and the source dismisses suggestions that have been raised alleging that she waited there to see Bill Clinton or accommodated his request to see him. In fact, it seems from this source that it was Bill Clinton who was maneuvering for face time with the attorney general, because his plane had been scheduled to leave before hers arrived.
“Then I see Clinton walking over. His detail guys ran over to hers and said he’s coming. ‘He’s closing.’ He walked straight there to the Air Force guy at the door and next thing I know he’s going up the steps…”
“Fair is fair. I’m a conservative-leaning [person] [gender-identifying word redacted]. I don’t support anything this administration does. I don’t know much about the attorney general’s past, except she has a good reputation. But I really don’t like this executive’s office, so that said, politically, that’s where I’m at. But I just happened to be in a position to know firsthand what went down that day.”
The FBI protects the attorney general and the Secret Service protects POTUS and there are elements from that agency that protect former presidents. According to the source, “The AG and the director each have a protective detail because they travel extensively and that duty falls to the FBI. They have a formalized unit, a detail, that lives and works out of Washington, D.C. Then there will be FBI leaders who are experts in other towns and regions who coordinate visits—someone in Chicago FBI will coordinate with the D.C. detail when the director or the AG comes to Chicago.
So what happened here is that the FBI agents in Phoenix were in touch with the detail leaders in D.C. for the AG’s visit. Somebody from D.C. will advance the trip and liaise with the local element, who has a big SWAT team and provide everything they need so they can send only a skeletal unit with her, two people—a medic and protection. They don’t need to commit 27 people. Details include surveilling all the locations, the routes, the hospitals, safe zones; that’s all handled by [the local FBI people] [actual words redacted to avoid identifying source].”
According to the source, the FBI agents protecting Lynch “knew former POTUS was in town and another executive was coming and knew Lynch was coming so we knew there’d be congestion. We were waiting for her plane to touch down at the executive terminal area of Phoenix’s Sky Harbor where it’s best suited to control. Clinton’s plane was on the ground already. But he wasn’t there. We had been hoping to get him out before she arrived, just to avoid too much traffic. They [their planes] were 75 yards apart. We have a procedure we do to clear [space for] a motorcade. As we were ready to receive her, I saw the other motorcade coming in—we were like, ‘great timing.’ ”
The source was being sarcastic in saying “great timing,” indicating that it would have been better logistically for Clinton’s plane to take off before Lynch’s arrived, to avoid the congestion of two motorcades on the tarmac at once. Read the rest of this entry »
Alana Goodman reports: The fired House staffer who is accusing the Benghazi select committee of running an anti-Clinton witch-hunt also moonlights as a professional storyteller around the Washington, D.C., metro area.
Maj. Bradley Podliska, who is suing the committee after getting axed in June, claims the panel is running a “partisan” probe against Clinton. The committee’s chairman, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R., S.C.), called Podliska’s allegations “sensationalist and fabulist” on Sunday. The committee said that Podliska was fired after mishandling classified information and using resources for an unrelated PowerPoint project.
The former staffer has some experience with storytelling. Podliska performed last year with the live Virginia-based storytelling group “Better Said Than Done,” where he recounted a terrible blind date he went on as part of the Washington Post’s “DateLab” feature in 2011.
His story started out mild and self-deprecating, but he soon launched into a tirade of insults against the woman.
According to Podliska, his date was a drunken disaster who “liked to drink like a fish” and told him to “quit the chit-chat, I’m here to drink on the Washington Post’s dime” when he attempted polite conversation.
By the end of the night, Podliska said, the woman “was looking as if she had run 300 miles in a tornado, while jumping on a trampoline, all while upside down, underwater. In other words, she was two sheets to the wind.”
He also claimed the “blindly drunk female” bad-mouthed him in the Washington Post article after their date, calling him a “Neanderthal” for attempting to walk her to the train. Read the rest of this entry »
John Nolte writes: While our corrupt media frenzies over the fact that Republican frontrunner Donald Trump did not defend Barack Obama at a campaign event last night, there is one teensy-weensy detail the media is choosing to hide from everyone: It was Hillary Clinton who started the Obama-Is-A-Muslim rumors.
The reason this is pertinent is due to the fact that our feckless media is (again) trying to crucify Trump, his time for not vouching for Obama’s Christian faith after a questioner at a campaign event accused Obama of being a Muslim.
This is more bubbled overreach from our stupid media. Nobody cares that Trump didn’t defend Obama. It’s a stupid headline: Trump Doesn’t Defend Most Powerful Man In The World – a tempest in The Acela Teapot.
But the media is telling a huge lie of omission.
And they know it.
The root of the Birther/Obama-Is-A-Muslim movement can be found in Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign.
That’s a fact.
Hillary Clinton is the grandmother of the Birther movement.
Nevertheless, although they are well aware of this, hack reporters like NBC’s Andrea Mitchell aren’t asking Hillary about her clear responsibility here. Nope. Instead, today Mitchell chose to ignore this fact and instead ask Hillary three questions teeing up Trump as the villain.
It wasn’t Trump who sent the photo above to everyone.
All he did was blow off a loon. Read the rest of this entry »
“As I said, it was allowed and there was no hiding it.”
“I do think I could have and should have done a better job answering questions earlier. I really didn’t perhaps appreciate the need to do that,” the democratic presidential candidate told Muir in an exclusive interview in New York City.
“But I’m sorry that it has, you know, raised all of these questions. I do take responsibility for having made what is clearly not the best decision.”
“What I had done was allowed, it was above board. But in retrospect, as I look back at it now, even though it was allowed, I should have used two accounts. One for personal, one for work-related emails. That was a mistake. I’m sorry about that. I take responsibility.”
[Also see – Hillary Clinton Email Saga: Timeline]
This is the farthest Clinton has gone yet in offering an apology for her use of a private email server while Secretary of State.
When asked by Muir to clarify if she did feel she made a mistake by using her private account, Clinton conceded she did.
“I did, I did,” Clinton said. “As I said, it was allowed and there was no hiding it. It was totally above board. Everybody in the government I communicated, and that was a lot of people, knew I was using a personal email. Read the rest of this entry »
The former State Department IT staffer says he will invoke his Fifth Amendment rights.
Carol D. Leonnig and Tom Hamburger report: A former State Department staffer who worked on Hillary Rodham Clinton’s private e-mail server tried this week to fend off a subpoena to testify before Congress, saying he would assert his constitutional right not to answer questions to avoid incriminating himself.
“While we understand that Mr. Pagliano’s response to this subpoena may be controversial in the current political environment, we hope that the members of the Select Committee will respect our client’s right to invoke the protections of the Constitution.”
The move by Bryan Pagliano, who had worked on Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign before setting up the server in her New York home in 2009, came in a Monday letter from his lawyer to the House panel investigating the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
The letter cited the ongoing FBI inquiry into the security of Clinton’s e-mail system, and it quoted a Supreme Court ruling in which justices described the Fifth Amendment as protecting “innocent men . . . ‘who otherwise might be ensnared by ambiguous circumstances.’ ”
The FBI is investigating whether Clinton’s system — in which she exclusively used private e-mail for her work as secretary of state — may have jeopardized sensitive national security information.
Thousands of e-mails that have been released by the State Department as part of a public records lawsuit show Clinton herself writing at least six e-mails containing information that has since been deemed classified. Large portions of those e-mails were redacted before their release, on the argument that their publication could harm national security. Read the rest of this entry »
Criminal Investigation Sought Into Hillary Clinton’s Emails; Concerns About the Potential ‘Mishandling of Classified Information’Posted: July 25, 2015 | |
WASHINGTON— Byron Tau and Felicia Schwartz report: An internal government review of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s email archive has revealed that hundreds of those messages contain potentially classified information.
Due to concerns about the potential mishandling of classified information on Mrs. Clinton’s personal email server, the inspectors general for the Department of State and intelligence community have asked the Justice Department to consider a criminal investigation, a Justice Department official said.
A memorandum from both inspectors general viewed by The Wall Street Journal found that an investigation discovered “hundreds of potentially classified emails within the collection” of Mrs. Clinton’s emails.
The inspectors general also found that at least one of Mrs. Clinton’s emails already publicly released on the State Department’s website contained apparent classified information.
Mrs. Clinton “followed appropriate practices in dealing with classified materials. As has been reported on multiple occasions, any released emails deemed classified by the administration have been done so after the fact, and not at the time they were transmitted,” a spokesman for Mrs. Clinton said.
News of the request for a potential criminal investigation was first reported by the New York Times.
When she was secretary of state, Mrs. Clinton used her own email account that was run through a personal server for all of her work-related correspondence. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] OH YES HE DID: David Axelrod Caught Emailing Hillary Clinton at Personal Address He Knew Nothing AboutPosted: June 30, 2015 | |
It was so very, very considerate of concern troll David Axelrod to give Republicans some helpful advice on campaign priorities back in March:
The email trap: If the Rs make HRC email an obsessive fixation, to the exclusion of larger concerns of people, they will pay a price….
Chris Cillizza: ‘There Are 31,380 Clinton E-mails We’ll Never See. There’s Something Wrong With That’Posted: March 11, 2015 | |
Chris Cillizza writes: It’s been 18 hours (or so) since Hillary Clinton addressed questions about her decision to exclusively use a private e-mail address (and mail server) during her four years as secretary of state. And there’s one thing, actually one number, that I just keep getting stuck on: 31,380.
That’s the number of e-mails that Clinton and her lawyers deemed “private, personal records” and, therefore, neither turned over to the State Department nor preserved in any way, shape or form. What that means: Roughly half of all e-mails — 62,320 — that Clinton sent and received during her time as the nation’s top diplomat are gone forever. And that the only way anyone can verify that they were, as Clinton insisted on Tuesday, “private” and “personal” is to take her word for it.
That fact becomes even more politically troublesome for Clinton when you consider how, according to a document her office released in the wake of her news conference, the sorting of work-related and personal e-mail was conducted. Here are the four criteria her office used:
1. Any e-mail sent to or received from an address including “.gov” was included.
2. The e-mail set was searched for the first and last name of 100 State Department employees and government officials. Any matches were reviewed.
3. All of the other e-mails were reviewed to evaluate the sender and recipient, in case of typos.
4. All of the e-mails were searched for specific terms, including “Libya” and “Benghazi.”
Okay. What those criteria never make clear is whether anyone actually read every one of Clinton’s 62,000-plus e-mails to determine whether there might be something in each one that could be seen as not purely personal. It’s possible that the fact that the e-mails were “reviewed to evaluate the sender and recipient” could mean that someone read each one, but that language is decidedly dense (whether purposefully or not).
It all comes back to this simple fact: People being paid by Clinton reviewed — whether individually or through a series of filtered searches — all of her e-mails and made a decision that more than 30,000 of them were purely personal. Read the rest of this entry »
Michael Barone writes: So what did we learn from Hillary Clinton’s press conference at the United Nations (scheduled less than 12 hours ago in a forum where reporters typically have to wait 24 hours to get credentials)?
Why did she use only a personal email account? Because she didn’t want to carry around two email devices. Does this pass the laugh test? How hard is it to carry around two cellphones or Blackberries? Especially if you have a purse to put them in?
“Who decided which of Clinton’s emails were personal and would not be handed over to the State Department? Some unnamed individual working for her. Who was told, she said, to err on the side of turning material over if there was any question it was work-related. So just trust Clinton and her unnamed staffer or staffers.”
Was there a risk that her personal account could be hacked? No, she tells us, because President Bill Clinton used it and it never was. We have just her own say-so on this. No corroboration. And even if that’s true, was it prudent in January 2009 to rely on the security of the Chappaqua home brew server rather than the State Department server? I think one can still conclude that secretary-designate was more concerned about concealing things from the American people than from foreign enemies.
Who decided which of Clinton’s emails were personal and would not be handed over to the State Department? Some unnamed individual working for her. Who was told, she said, to err on the side of turning material over if there was any question it was work-related. So just trust Clinton and her unnamed staffer or staffers. Anyway, she deleted the private emails so you’re never going to have a chance to judge whether they were properly classified. And even if some remain undeleted, she’s not going to turn them over.
How many emails were there? As I heard her, she said there were 60,000 in total, and half were work-related. But what she turned over to the State Department was described as 55,000 pages. That leaves the question of how many pages of emails were not turned over and how many destroyed. Read the rest of this entry »
Byron York writes: The State Department has faced a lot of questions about former Secretary Hillary Clinton’s secret email account, but the most fundamental one is: Do you have them all? Officials at State have said repeatedly that Clinton has turned over 55,000 pages of emails from her time at the department. But each time spokeswoman Marie Harf has been asked whether that material — 55,000 pages, not 55,000 emails — represents all of Clinton’s State Department emails, she ends up citing Clinton’s staff, who have told department officials that Clinton has turned over everything that is “responsive” to the department’s request for documents. Clinton, of course, decided what is “responsive” and what is not.
“According to Harf, State depends on the official involved to give everything to the office that answers FOIA requests.”
On Friday, Harf faced another part of the question. Yes, Clinton’s staff has said they have turned over everything, but is the State Department doing anything to make sure that’s really true? It took a long time to get around to the answer, which is “No.”
“But reporters wanted to know: Is there any way to check whether the employee has handed everything over?”
“Will any attempt be made to check whether these are all the emails, or will you just be accepting the secretary’s word on this?” asked a reporter.
“You’re saying that the State Department — for all FOIA requests, it relies on the goodwill of the individuals?”
“Well, as we have said, her staff has said these were all the responsive emails they had to our request, and that’s really a question for her staff to answer,” Harf said.
“Well, no, no,” said the reporter. “My question is: Will the State Department be attempting in any way to verify whether they are all the emails? I mean, what I imagine is there are various methods you can use to look at whether they’re in sequence or whether there are gaps. I mean, will there be any attempt to verify this?”
Harf didn’t have an answer. “Well, a couple points,” she said. “First, as I’ve said, it covers the breadth of her time at the State Department. So it covers the span of when she was here. But — ”
“The request does, but — ” the reporter interjected.
“No, the records in response cover — the emails she gave us back cover the breadth of her time at the State Department.”
“How do you know that? How do you know they’re all — ”
“Because I know when she started and when she left,” Harf said, “and they correspond to that and they cover all of the time in between.”
[Also see – Only the Shadow Knows – Maureen Dowd, NYT]
Reporters were still skeptical. “But you don’t know that there’s gaps or deleted emails or some that just weren’t sent,” one said. Read the rest of this entry »