Emails obtained by the Republican National Committee find close contact with Hillary Clinton’s nascent presidential campaign in early 2015
Byron Tau reports: Newly disclosed emails show top Obama administration officials were in close contact with Hillary Clinton’s nascent presidential campaign in early 2015 about the potential fallout from revelations that the former secretary of state used a private email server.
Their discussion included a request from the White House communications director to her counterpart at the State Department to see if it was possible to arrange for Secretary of State John Kerry to avoid questions during media appearances about Mrs. Clinton’s email arrangement.
In another instance, a top State Department official assured an attorney for Mrs. Clinton that, contrary to media reports, a department official hadn’t told Congress that Mrs. Clinton erred in using a private email account.
The previously unreported emails were obtained by the Republican National Committee as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking records of Mrs. Clinton’s time in office. The RNC provided to The Wall Street Journal only some of the emails, leaving it unclear what was in the remaining documents. The RNC said it released only emails relevant to the communication between the White House and State Department.
Meredith McGehee, chief of policy, programs, and strategy at the nonpartisan advocacy group Issue One and an expert on ethics and campaign finance, said the email exchange would probably raise no legal concerns because federal law permits members of the White House staff to engage in some political activity.
Mrs. Clinton’s email arrangement has dogged her campaign for months, with Republicans and other critics saying it shows a carelessness with government secrets and undermines her claim to good judgment. Donald Trump’s campaign posted a statement on his website last month saying the Obama White House knew Mrs. Clinton was using a private email server.
Mrs. Clinton has acknowledged the arrangement was a mistake, but she has rejected the notion that national secrets were placed at risk. Her campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment about the new email disclosures.
The emails highlight the revolving door between the State Department, the White House and the Clinton campaign in early 2015 as Mrs. Clinton geared up to run for president. Read the rest of this entry »
Out of Touch: Obama Stubbornly Opposing American National Security Interests; House Passes Refugee Bill in Defiance of Veto ThreatPosted: November 19, 2015
Jack Martinez reports: “National security and public safety are not simply factors to be considered,” in policy decisions said Trey Gowdy, the South Carolina representative who heads the House Special Committee on Benghazi, during debate over a refugee bill in the House of Representatives. Instead, he argued, they are the main issues, the most important issues that should be considered in making every decision.
That appears to the be the rationale behind HR 4038, a bill authored by Republican Michael McCaul of Texas and backed by Paul Ryan, the new Speaker of the House. Debate raged on for hours over the bill, which ultimately passed with votes from all but three Republican representatives, and 48 Democrats.
The bill, if signed into law, would introduce new checks on refugee admission into the United States. Under current policy, defined mostly by the Refugee Act of 1980,the State Department has broad discretion to determine refugee admission and resettlement, in consultation with the FBI. Congressional Republicans want the FBI, the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security to play a greater role; the law would require all three entities to approve each individual refugee admitted to the United States after conducting background checks.
The bill does not contain any specific provisions for what the new vetting would look like, nor how it would differ from current vetting, but it does emphasize that the new measures would apply to refugees from Syria and Iraq. One house Democrat characterized the vote as purely symbolic, a way of “patting ourselves on the back” without making any policy changes to ensure the safety of the American public. Others expressed concern about a growing anti-refugee sentiment on Capitol Hill, and the likelihood that the bill would effectively pause resettlement efforts, or otherwise severely hamper them. Read the rest of this entry »
President Obama reportedly phoned home tonight to brief federal officials on the security protocols for resettling Syrian refugees in the United States and assured them that American citizens are safe; however, he took a moment to express his anger with those opposed to accepting refugees, calling them “scared of widows and 3-year-old orphans.”
John Nolte reports: A fine piece of reporting from Jennifer Epstein of Bloomberg Politics informs us that Hillary Clinton has a pretty brilliant strategy to get her out of her current email scandal: Wait for America’s unbiased, objective, not-at-all liberal media to bail her out. The strategy is a smart one that worked throughout Bill Clinton’s presidency. It also depends exclusively on the cooperation of a willing national media.
Clinton and her team are aware that her tactics will only hold out for so long and that she’ll eventually have to answer questions about her e-mail practices, but she and her advisers are aiming to delay that moment, ideally until she formally announces she’s running for president. At that point, they hope, the controversy will have subsided to the point where her campaign launch will be a much bigger headline than her response to a month-old scandal. An added benefit to the approach: the potential for Republicans to overreach and overreact while Clinton stays silent.
The strategy is simple and, as Epstein points out, “time-tested.”
- Hunker down and refuse to answer questions until the media loses interest and moves on.
- Hope the media accuses a Republican — any Republican, of “overreaching” on the scandal. The Narrative around the scandal can then turn to those mean, wild-eyed Republicans.
Despite all the national security and ethical issues surrounding the use of an email server located in her own home, despite the fact that we will probably never know if we are seeing all of a former-Secretary of State’s emails, Clinton Land is certain that in the end none of this will matter to the media.
Rather than fearing the media will run the story to ground and demand she give a full accounting, Clinton is counting on being able to wait out the media and the fact that the media is always eager to find a way to blowback the story on any Republican that can be accused of “overreach.”
The media is already eager to pounce on overreach…
Hillary has no war room or WJC publicly defending; her best bet for relief is that old Clinton standby: a GOPer going too far in attack
— Mark Halperin (@MarkHalperin) March 6, 2015
Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Representative Michael McCaul