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White House Coordinated on Clinton Email Issues, New Documents Show

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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.

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

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.

Secretary of State John Kerry was interviewed on CBS shortly after the existence of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server became known. Photo: Jason DeCrow/Associated Press

Secretary of State John Kerry was interviewed on CBS shortly after the existence of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server became known. Photo: Jason DeCrow/Associated Press

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 »

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Out of Touch: Obama Stubbornly Opposing American National Security Interests; House Passes Refugee Bill in Defiance of Veto Threat

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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.

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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.

U.S. President Barack Obama pauses during news conference in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington

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 »


Michael McCaul: ‘Time for a Discussion About Firearms on Military Bases’

Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Representative Michael McCaul

“I think a lot of people don’t realize that our military that defends our freedoms abroad . . . when they come home to the military base, they are not allowed to carry weapons,” McCaul pointed out. “We need to talk to the commanders about whether it would make sense for some . . . of our senior leadership officers and enlisted men on the base [to] carry weapons for protection.”

Read the rest of this entry »