Politics November 6, 2016: November surprise FBI’s Comey announces Clinton will still not face charges over server

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November surprise FBI’s Comey announces Clinton will still not face charges over server

 By Bonnie K. Goodman

FBI Director James Comey testifies before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on July 7, 2016. Comey is testifying on his July 5 recommendation that no charges be brought over US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while secretary of state, saying the investigation does not support a criminal prosecution. / AFP / YURI GRIPAS (Photo credit should read YURI GRIPAS/AFP/Getty Images)

FBI Director James Comey testifies before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on July 7, 2016.
Comey is testifying on his July 5 recommendation that no charges be brought over US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state, saying the investigation does not support a criminal prosecution. / AFP / YURI GRIPAS (Photo credit should read YURI GRIPAS/AFP/Getty Images)

In an election cycle with never ending surprise, FBI Director James B. Comey whipped up a November surprise with barely two days left to Election Day. On Sunday afternoon, Nov. 6, 2016, Comey sent another letter to the chairman of Congressional committee announcing that they have reviewed the newly discovered emails and that the FBI is standing by their July decision not to recommend any criminal charges against the former Secretary of State over her usage of a private email server. The announcement is just as interfering in the election as Comey’s first letter on Oct. 28, and it has been met with criticism from Republicans as a close campaign enters its final two days.

In Comey’s second letter, he informed Congressional leaders that the second investigation had been completed, “Since my letter, the FBI investigative team has been working around the clock to process and review a large volume of emails from a device obtained in connection with an unrelated criminal investigation. During that process, we reviewed all of the communications that were to or from Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State.”

The FBI Director concluded, “Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton.” Attorney General Loretta Lynch disagreed with Comey’s first letter, but on Sunday, the Justice Department issued a brief statement, saying, “The Department of Justice and the FBI dedicated all necessary resources to conduct this review expeditiously.”

The Clinton campaign was relieved after hearing the news but defiant. Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon tweeted, “We were always confident nothing would cause the July decision to be revisited. Now Director Comey has confirmed it.” While Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton’s communications director told reporters, “We have seen Director Comey’s latest letter to the Hill. We are glad to see that he has found, as we were confident that he would, that he had confirmed the conclusions he reached in July and we are glad that this matter is resolved.”

Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, was equally pleased with the results of the investigation and its timing. Schiff in a statement expressed,
“While the original letter should never have been sent so close to an election, the expeditious review of these emails should put to rest — once and for all — the irresponsible speculation indulged in by the Trump campaign and others. Voters can now make their decision based on the merits, and that decision should be simple: it is the choice between a woman superbly qualified to be commander in chief, and a man patently unfit for office.”

Not all Democrats were as content one told CNN “It opened a wound that cannot be quickly healed.” Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, is still angry at Comey. In a statement, Feinstein said, “Today’s letter makes Director Comey’s actions nine days ago even more troubling. There’s no doubt that it created a false impression about the nature of the agency’s inquiry. The Justice Department needs to take a look at its procedures to prevent similar actions that could influence future elections.”

The Republicans, however, were less than impressed by the November Surprise that might ruin their argument to vote Republican so close to the election. The letter seemed like another election spoiler. Trump spokesman Jason Miller commented on CNN, “We thought that Director Comey and the FBI were wrong when they made their initial recommendation in July, and we think that they’re wrong now.”

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan dismissed the letter, saying, “Regardless of this decision, the undisputed finding of the FBI’s investigation is that Secretary Clinton put our nation’s secrets at risk and in doing so compromised our national security,” Ryan said in a statement. “Fortunately, the American people have the opportunity to ensure Secretary Clinton never gets her hands on classified information again.”

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus agreed with Ryan, stating, “None of this changes the fact that the FBI continues to investigate the Clinton Foundation for corruption involving her tenure as secretary of state. Hillary Clinton should never be president.”

GOP vice presidential nominee Mike Pence hammered Clinton at “a rally in an airport hanger in Hickory, North Carolina,” saying, “Mishandling classified information is a crime. Hillary Clinton said that she never sent or received any classified information and the director of the FBI told the Congress classified information was sent.”

Meanwhile, Republican nominee Donald Trump spoke very little about the letter at his rally in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which began minutes after the news broke. The GOP nominee, however, renewed his call of a rigged system, claiming, “Well, you have to understand it’s a rigged system and she’s protected.” Top Trump surrogate Newt Gingrich concurred on Twitter, accusing, “Comey must be under enormous political pressure to cave like this.”

In July, Comey announced his decision not to prosecute Clinton after a lengthy FBI investigation. Comey said on July 5, “Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.” Although Comey expressed, the FBI could not “find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts,” he called Clinton’s handling of her emails “extremely careless.” Clinton has always dismissed the issue as merely a “mistake” of judgment.

Then on Friday, Oct. 28, Comey sent a letter to Congressional Committee Chairman informing them that the FBI uncovered new “pertinent” emails relating to the Clinton investigation in an unrelated case, and advised that the FBI would be reopening their investigation into Clinton’s private server. The FBI discovered 650,000 emails on the computer of disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner in their investigation of his sending sexually inappropriate text messages to an underage girl.

Weiner is the estranged husband of Huma Abedin, Clinton’s longtime aide who was Clinton’s deputy chief of staff at the State Department and is now her deputy campaign chair. Abedin also had an account on Clinton’s server. Abedin denied knowing the emails were ever on her husband’s laptop; she had been cooperating with authorities on the matter.

Initially sources claimed the emails were not duplicates of those the FBI already reviewed, but it turns out they were all copies. FBI agents knew of the emails for two weeks before notifying Comey on Thursday, Oct. 27. The Bureau was granted a warrant to search the emails on Sunday, Oct.  30. The probe was supposed not to be complete before the election, but pressure from the White House forced the FBI to complete the investigation before. The FBI used computers programs to scan and the emails and compared with those they already they had in the possession.

Initially, Comey faced praise from Trump’s campaign but was attacked and criticized by Clinton her campaign, Congressional supporters, most Democrats and President Barack Obama for the timing of the letter. Democrats in Congress even threatened to investigate Comey and the FBI for the timing of the letter, which interfered in the election a long known taboo.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder who formally instituted a policy in 2012 preventing investigations from interfering with elections wrote an editorial in the Washington Post criticizing Comey. Holder joined 100 Justice Department writing an open letter telling Comey his “letter to Congress was inconsistent with prevailing department policy, that it broke with longstanding practices followed during past elections and that they were astonished and perplexed.”

Now the Republicans and still some Democrats are criticizing Comey with good reason. Comey has played with the voters’ emotions and the election. Clinton may have received her all clear before the election, but Clinton lost her lead the contest is now close between Trump and Clinton, with Trump eclipsing Clinton is some crucial battleground states. The first letter united Republicans and saw them rallying around the nominee. The electoral map shifted in Trump’s favor after the first letter, will the second letter flip it back to Clinton or will voters remain wary of a scandal and investigation prone Clinton. Only on election night will anyone know how much Comey’s October and then November Surprises affected the 2016 election.

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Politics November 6, 2016: New scandal Clinton had her maid print classified emails documents, yet she leads in polls

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New scandal Clinton had her maid print classified emails documents, yet she leads in polls

By Bonnie K. Goodman

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 06: Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during church services at Mt. Airy Church of God in Christ on November 6, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. With two days to go until election day, Hillary Clinton is campaigning in Florida and Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

PHILADELPHIA, PA – NOVEMBER 06: Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during church services at Mt. Airy Church of God in Christ on November 6, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. With two days to go until election day, Hillary Clinton is campaigning in Florida and Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is taking laziness and risking national security to a new level. On Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016, the New York Post dropped a bombshell; Clinton asked her maid in her house in Washington, DC to print for her emails and documents including classified docs during her tenure as Secretary of State. The NY Post is claiming their story comes from emails and FBI memos. The news comes just two days before the election as the race is close between Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump and just a week after the FBI’s Director James Comey announced they were reopening their investigation. Ironically, polls are still positive for Clinton with her lead growing in the campaign’s final days.

According to the report, Marina Santos is the maid at the center of the new controversy. Santos is a Filipino immigrant who works at Clinton’s home, Whitehaven and does not have or had a security clearance. According to the NY Post, Clinton had Santos print for her “drafts of her speeches, confidential memos and “call sheets” – background information and talking points prepared for the secretary of state in advance of a phone call with a foreign head of state.”

Emails show that Clinton routinely asked her staff and aides to forward documents to Santos so she could print them for her. Some of the examples include an unclassified email from 2011  where Clinton asked her longtime Huma Abedin, “Pls ask Marina to print for me in am.”  Abedin is the center of the FBI’s renewed investigation where all of her State Department communications that were also on Clinton’s private server were uncovered on her estranged husband’s former congressman Anthony Weiner’s laptop.

There are also three other emails that are labeled as classified under the level of confidential in which Santos is referred to print items all come from aide, Monica Hanley. One from 2012 had to do with the new president Malawi, the other from the same year had to do with Iran both times Hanley mentioned Santos printing them, first writing, “We can ask Marina to print this,” and the other time “Marina is trying to print for you.” Hanely also mentioned a State Department fax in a 2012 email, “to see before your Netanyahu mtg. Marina will grab for you.”

The FBI’s investigation notes always pointed out that Santos had access to these documents by accessing the SCIF room (sensitive compartmented information facility) set up in Clinton’s Whitehaven home. The FBI wrote from their interview with Abedin, Santos “collected documents from the secure facsimile machine for Clinton.” Some of the documents besides emails were “the Presidential Daily Brief” on national security issues.

Despite the revelation and Santos involvement, she has not been interviewed neither has her devices been subpoenaed by the FBI for review. The FBI never asked Santos to hand over the iMac she received the emails on or the printer she used. Santos also was responsible for downloading all of Clinton’s State Department emails onto the Secretary’s Apple MacBook laptop, and USB flash drive that has become conveniently missing throughout the investigation.

The FBI noted in the case summary, “The two copies of the Clinton e-mail archive (one on the archive laptop and one on the thumb drive) were intended to be stored in Clinton’s Chappaqua and Whitehaven residences,” and that it “does not have either item in its possession.” Hanley told the FBI the devices were lost, a sadly unbelievable excuse.

What is believable that Clinton may have had her maid print out documents. The latest batch of emails released by the State Department and uncovered by the FBI during their investigation were near duplicates that usually had a “please print” added to it. Clinton said she used the private server mostly as a convenience to use one phone for both her professional and personal emails, essentially admitting laziness. If Clinton was that lazy, she had to have her information stored on the State Department server, and have an assistant with security clearance print and fetch her documents, not her maid.

Despite these reports, and the renewed FBI investigation American voters still say they are voting for Clinton. Two new polls released Sunday give Clinton comfortable leads. The ABC News-Washington Post Tracking gave Clinton a 5-point advantage 48 percent support to Trump’s 43, while the NBC News and Wall Street Journal poll has Clinton with a four-point lead, 44 percent to Trump’s 40.

In the opposite spectrum the LA Times/USC Tracking which has had an essential tie between the candidate opens up to a five-point lead for Trump, with 48 percent to Clinton’s 43 percent. The most reliable poll in 2012, the IBD/TIPP Tracking has the race at a tie, one up for Trump in a four-way race with while Clinton has the one-point advantage in a two-way race. However, the election is a four-way race with voters inevitably casting their ballots for third-party candidates.

Why would anyone want to elect a president who is extremely careless with FBI investigations over their head and a Congress that is threatening impeachment? In a recent exchange on Twitter with former Politico reporter and author of “HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton” Jonathan Allen, he claims it is a “prioritization” about voters believing “Clinton is competent to run the country and that Trump is not.”

Being politically corrupt, however, is worse than any lack of readiness for the presidency. The two last presidents Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Barack Obama were criticized for not being ready enough for the presidency. Bush resolved the issue by surrounding himself with experience advisors and very hands on Vice President in the form of Dick Cheney, while Obama learned the lessons himself with the help of a Democratic Congress.

Trump too can surround himself with experienced advisors, and he has an accomplished running mate in Indian Governor Mike Pence, a veteran of Congress as well. Trump will also have a Republican Congress backing him up. As leaks from the Trump campaign’s final days prove, he can learn to listen and restrain himself. Maybe the outsider needs a learning curve, but at least he has never risked national security and classified documents as Clinton did as Secretary of State, indictment or not she was irresponsible, and that never makes anyone “competent to run the country.”

Politics November 4, 2016: State Department releases the last batch of Clinton emails before the election

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State Department releases the last batch of Clinton emails before the election

By Bonnie K. Goodman

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 04:  Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign rally at Eastern Market on November 4, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. With less than a week to go until election day, Hillary Clinton is campaigning in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

DETROIT, MI – NOVEMBER 04: Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign rally at Eastern Market on November 4, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. With less than a week to go until election day, Hillary Clinton is campaigning in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The State Department released the final two batches of emails from former Secretary of State and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s tenure before the election. On Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016, the State Department released 357 emails or 1,250 pages while on Friday, Nov. 4 they released 74 emails or 280 pages. The emails are part of the 15,000 the FBI discovered over the course of their first investigation into Clinton potentially endangering national security by using a private server for her email communications.

The majorities of the emails released are near duplicates of the emails the State Department previously released but include another mostly insignificant chain. State Department Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner explained the emails in a statement, writing, “For instance, a ‘near duplicate’ would be substantively identical to previously released emails, but for a top email in the chain stating ‘Please print.'”

The emails are being released as part of Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the Conservative group Judicial Watch. Judicial Watch was responsible for the lawsuit that forced the State Department to release the approximately 30,000 work related emails Clinton handed over to the State Department in December 2014. Clinton deleted the same amount of emails. The FBI recovered these 15,000 emails while examining the server.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ordered the State Department to review 1,000 documents before the election. The State Department previously released “75 emails, or around 270 pages, on Oct. 7, about 112 emails or 240 pages on Oct. 21, and 357 on Thursday.” Of the 15,000 emails, 60 percent were personal emails, 37 percent, 5,600 were from her work, but many were duplicates. The State Department will review 500 pages each month after the election and then release those that are appropriate.

Politics November 3, 2016: Clinton related emails discovered on Weiner’s computer, not duplicates

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Clinton related emails discovered on Weiner’s computer, not duplicates

By Bonnie  K. Goodman

RALEIGH, NC - NOVEMBER 03: Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign rally at Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek on November 3, 2016 in Raleigh, North Carolina. The U.S. presidential general election is November 8. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

RALEIGH, NC – NOVEMBER 03: Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign rally at Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek on November 3, 2016 in Raleigh, North Carolina. The U.S. presidential general election is November 8. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The emails the FBI discovered on former Congressman Anthony Weiner’s computer relate to former Secretary of State and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s tenure and are not duplicates. CBS News spoke to an official involved in the investigation and reported on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016, that the emails James B.Comey referred to his letter renewing the investigation are from Clinton’s tenure and the FBI has never seen them before.

The source told CBS generally about the emails but did provide details on the number of emails discovered that are specifically related to Clinton and if they are “significant” to their probe into whether she mishandled classified information by using a private server. According to a report conducted by CBS News’ Andres Triay, “At this point, however, it remains to be seen whether these emails are significant to the FBI’s investigation into Clinton. It is also not known how many relevant emails there are.”

On Friday, Oct. 28, FBI Director James Comey sent a letter to Congressional Committee Chairman informing them that the FBI uncovered new “pertinent” emails relating to the Clinton investigation in an unrelated case, and advised that the FBI would be reopening their investigation into Clinton’s private server. The FBI discovered 650,000 emails on the computer of disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner in their investigation of his sending sexually inappropriate text messages to an underage girl.

Weiner is the estranged husband of Huma Abedin, Clinton’s longtime aide who was Clinton’s deputy chief of staff at the State Department and is now her deputy campaign chair. Abedin also had an account on Clinton’s server. Abedin denied knowing the emails were ever on her husband’s laptop; she has been cooperating with authorities on the matter.

FBI agents knew of the emails for two weeks before notifying Comey on Thursday, Oct. 27. The Bureau was granted a warrant to search the emails on Sunday, Oct.  30. Comey has faced praised from Trump’s campaign but criticism and attacks from Clinton her campaign and Congressional supporters and now President Barack Obama for the timing of the letter.

The investigation is not going to be complete before the election. An official spoke to USA Today and indicated that neither would the FBI provide updates throughout the investigation or give the results of their preliminary probe despite repeated calls from Democrats and Clinton’s campaign to do so. Another source told Reuters, Comey was motivated to send the letter to Congress to have control over the investigation and prevent leaks from the Bureau.

Politics November 1, 2016: Voters not too bothered by renewed Clinton email investigation, but why?

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Voters not too bothered by renewed Clinton email investigation, but why?

By Bonnie K. Goodman

NORTH LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 19: Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (L) and her husband former U.S. President Bill Clinton speak during a debate watch party at Craig Ranch Regional Amphitheater following the third U.S. presidential debate at UNLV on October 19, 2016 in North Las Vegas, Nevada. Tonight was the final debate ahead of Election Day on November 8. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

NORTH LAS VEGAS, NV – OCTOBER 19: Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (L) and her husband former U.S. President Bill Clinton speak during a debate watch party at Craig Ranch Regional Amphitheater following the third U.S. presidential debate at UNLV on October 19, 2016 in North Las Vegas, Nevada. Tonight was the final debate ahead of Election Day on November 8. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Three new polls show that American voters do not seem to care very much about the FBI Director James B. Comey’s renewed investigation into Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s email server, which is troubling. On Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016, ABC News/Washington Post poll found that 66 percent of voters say the new probe is not going to change how they vote. Meanwhile, in the first national Politico/Morning Consult poll released after the news from FBI on Monday, Oct. 31, Clinton still maintains her same three-point lead over Republican nominee Donald Trump. Even worse, in the latest the Reuters/Ipsos survey released on Monday, Clinton has 5-point lead over Trump. Although this good news for Clinton it does not say much about the judgment of the American voters where an FBI investigation does not matter when the person in question wants to be president.

With a week left before the election, Clinton still holds on to her lead in the latest national Politico/Morning Consult poll. Clinton has the support of 42 percent of voters to Trump’s 39 percent support in a four-way race. Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson has 7 percent support, while Green Party nominee Jill Stein has 5 percent. Clinton still maintains her lead in a two-way race with 46 percent to Trump’s 43 percent.

The poll also asked voters how they felt about Clinton’s renewed email scandal. Fortunately at least a minority find it troubling, and it will now to affect how the vote on Nov. 8. According to the poll, 33 percent say they are “less likely” to vote for Clinton after the news broke, while 39 percent of Americans say it will not sway their vote. However, 45 percent “agreed with Trump” Clinton’s email scandal is worse than Watergate. The ABC News/Washington Post poll seems to concur; determining that 34 percent of voters are less likely to vote for Clinton after newly discovered emails forced the FBI to renew their investigation into Clinton.

Even more troubling is a third poll released Monday, the Reuters/Ipsos survey gave Clinton a five-point lead. In the survey, Clinton has 44 percent support to Trump’s 39 percent in a two-way race. The polls give Clinton a six percent lead in a four-way race, Clinton has 43 percent support to Trump’s 37 percent, while Johnson has six percent with Stein at just one percent.

On Friday morning, Oct. 28, FBI Director James Comey sent a letter to Congressional Committee leaders informing them of a new development the discovery of news and that the FBI will be reopening their investigation into Clinton’s private server. The FBI discovered 650,000 emails on the computer of disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner in their investigation of his sending sexually inappropriate text messages to an underage girl.

Weiner is the estranged husband of Huma Abedin, Clinton’s longtime aide who was Clinton’s deputy chief of staff at the State Department and is now her deputy campaign chair. Abedin also had an account on Clinton’s server. FBI agents knew of the emails for two weeks before notifying Comey on Thursday, Oct. 27. The bureau was just granted a warrant to search the emails on Sunday, Oct.  30. Comey has faced praised from Trump’s campaign but criticism and attacks from Clinton her campaign and Congressional supporters for the timing of the letter.

Voters’ attitude toward the renewed investigation is surprising. We live in a society that still despite advances for many demographic groups views criminal activity, whether suspected, questionable or convicted with abhorrence. The mantra might be innocent until proven guilty, but in the public opinion, any question, nevermind an arrest is enough to convict in the court of public opinion. In the United States criminals even lose their voting right when convicted.

This same opinion is not just reserved for the average person, or demographic groups that the public feel are more prone to get involved in criminal activity sometimes based just on social circumstance but usually for our politicians. Americans put leaders to a higher standard and claim they want them to have with impeccable morals. Former President Richard Nixon’s involvement in the Watergate cover-up is forever seared as the standard-bearer. Although he worked hard to rehabilitate his image as the elder statesman, he was still considered by many a “crook.” The sex scandals that are discovered are enough to usually get a politician banished for life, never mind any hint or whiff of political corruption.

Republican nominee Donald Trump has felt the burn enough this campaign cycle much to the hypocrisy. His comments calling some Mexicans immigrants criminals calling for a wall on the border with Mexico were derided as racist, but privately many who do not consider themselves racist feel the same, or rationalize it as a class issue rather one of race. The same about Muslim immigrants, many want to consider themselves open-minded, but secretly are afraid maybe some do have terrorist leanings, possibly avoiding interactions with Muslims because of their fears. The same people were outraged at Trump’s position.

Then there was Trump’s 2005 tape bragging about groping women because of celebrity status, and his failed attempt at an affair with a married woman. The tape and the 12 women accusing Trump of sexually inappropriate behavior mostly unwanted kisses and hugs nearly destroyed his campaign. The public was already writing his campaign obituary, and arguing when he refused to say whether he would concede the election. The public and news media were being presumptuous arguing and insulting over a hypothetical situation three weeks before the election when Trump did not lose yet.

The Clintons however, seem to defy every common convention, the logic goes out the door when it comes to former President Bill Clinton and former First Lady, New York Senator, Secretary of State and now Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. The Clintons have had had scandal after scandal since they entered the political sphere in the 1970 s and it has exacerbated since their entrance onto the national stage in 1992.

There have been strings of “allegations of legal or ethical wrongdoings” that have plagued the Clintons since Bill’s administration (1993-2000). The most notable being Whitewater, Paula Jones sexual harassment case, the Monica Lewinsky scandal and subsequent impeachment never mind the countless smaller ones. Through it, all Clinton maintained his high approval ratings, fiercely defended by Democratic colleagues even remaining in office after becoming only the second president ever impeached. Bill Clinton has been the exception rather than rule with politicians involved in sex scandals.

Hillary Clinton has always appeared as a Lady Macbeth, her scandals after her husband’s presidency only confirm that reputation of ruthless ambition above all. Clinton might have called her private email server as Secretary of State a convenient mistake; it was a shrewd way to manipulate her actions and political future but risking national security and giving a disgraced congressman access to it all unintentionally. Equally troubling is the blurring lines between her post at the State Department and her husbands’ Clinton Foundation. The WikiLeaks released emails from her campaign chairman John Podesta, the Democratic National Committee and others in the Clinton circle give an unappealing backstage view at the shrewd Clinton machine; that should not be ignored or dismissed.

One after the other the Clintons blamed someone else, with their favorite being the Republicans, they played the misunderstood victim, the innocents being preyed on, never truly taking responsibility for their actions. The Clintons played the American public, and in turn, they bought continuing their devotion and love affair. It either proves American voters are truly stupid or have stone age brains as historian Richard Shenkman argues, or the Clintons’ are master manipulators whose put on charm is truly inescapable.

Academics and pundits are defending Clinton’s actions, blaming sexism, Republicans or anything else. These academics and pundits would never tolerate Clinton’s behavior in their personal situations if they even suspected someone they knew behaved a similar manner they would throw stones, cut ties and blacklist making sure they are banished forever. Still, they continue to compromise their principals for an op-ed, a quote, radio or TV appearance book sales some professional attention. Too many academics and pundits see the Clintons’ scandals as fueling their careers, and they are milking it if she becomes president staying on the right side will gain them a favor. Keeping up with the popular position whether ethically sound or not shows they are morally not too far from the Clintons themselves.

There is no way to defend a criminal repeat offender, and there is no excuse for the Clintons’ repeated scandals, nothing justifies it after all this time. Former assistant FBI director James Kallstrom has come out to deride the Clintons’ repeated scandals in a recent radio interview calling the Democratic nominee a “pathological liar.” Kallstrom agrees with Comey’s decision to send the letter to Congress notifying them of the renewed investigation, saying, “The Clintons, that’s a crime family, basically. It’s like organized crime.”

It is not hatred, antipathy or anything else, upright and moral Americans, for the most part, want justice, they believe that politicians and leaders should be treated the same way they would in similar situations, the problem is the Clintons always escape that justice and that is the only reason for the animosity. They appear, act and behave like a ruling class when we live in a democracy.

Is it not because Clinton is a woman, her scandals and how far she has come, proves she plays the game better than any man does, and maybe even better than her husband. Clinton’s main advantage is as Trump accuses overusing the woman card, while she and her defenders cry out sexism; they use that as the top excuse to get away with anything. Neither is about her being a Democrat; there are many fine Democrats whose morality is without reproach including our current President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. Obama tolerates Clinton for the ambition of securing his legacy, while Biden commended FBI Director Comey and reminded the public he would have won the primary and been the nominee.

The poll results are disheartening it shows American voters particularly Democrats are cutting themselves short and have been doing so since the primaries. They want justice and morality for everyone but their future president if the name is Clinton. So many scandals, an FBI investigation over Clinton’s head, how can even the staunchest Democrat accept that after all, this time it is not a witch-hunt there has to be some truth to the accusations. I had a professor who once claimed in a seminar that it is fine to be a hypocrite as long as one knows they are. He was wrong, it is never right to be a hypocrite, it is wrong if one knows they are, and it only worse when they do not realize it, and that is this election’s greatest problem.

Politics October 30, 2016: FBI Director Comey’s courageous decision to rise above politics in reopening Clinton case

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FBI Director Comey’s courageous decision to rise above politics in reopening Clinton case

By Bonnie K. Goodman

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 27:  FBI Director James Comey testifies during a hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee September 27, 2016 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The committee held a hearing on "Fifteen Years After 9/11: Threats to the Homeland."  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 27: FBI Director James Comey testifies during a hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee September 27, 2016, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The committee held a hearing on “Fifteen Years After 9/11: Threats to the Homeland.” (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

FBI Director James B. Comey put his conscience before politics when he sent a letter to Congressional leaders informing them that the FBI found new “pertinent” emails relating to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s email case. Comey faces threats and opposition to revealing the news a little over a week before Election Day. According to news reports on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016, the Justice Department and Attorney General Loretta Lynch was against Comey’s letter and warned him against it. Now the Clinton campaign is struggling to survive the devastating blow so close the election with the only way they know to attack the FBI director and dismiss it all yet again.

An anonymous government source revealed that Lynch was against Comey interfering in the presidential race. The source explained, “The AG’s position is consistent with the department’s position not to take investigative steps that would influence an election so close to an election and to not comment on ongoing investigations. Director Comey decided to operate independently of that guidance by sending that letter to the Hill.”

Lynch did not speak directly to Comey on the issue but staying out of the election, has long been the silent policy for federal officials. The source said, “The position of the department was made clear to the FBI.” In 2012, former Attorney General Eric Holder issued a memo on the practice, writing, “Law enforcement officers and prosecutors may never select the timing of investigative steps or criminal charges for the purpose of affecting any election, or for the purpose of giving an advantage or disadvantage to any candidate or political party. Such a purpose is inconsistent with the Department’s mission and with the Principles of Federal Prosecution.” Such a memo reeks of politics and a desire of ambition above the good of the nation.

Comey knew his letter, and the developments would be unpopular and misunderstood, but he believed it was necessary to make them public. The FBI director wrote a note to his staffers before sending the letter to Congress, explaining his motives, “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.” The FBI is supposed to a politically independent agency. Comey only discovered news of the emails on Thursday, Oct. 27, while FBI agents knew about them since early October keeping them from their director and possibly influencing the presidential campaign.

Comey’s sending the letter of Congressional Committee Chairmen has rocked the 2016 presidential campaign and has become “the October Surprise” in what was already a rollercoaster of a campaign ride. Republican nominee Donald Trump has praised Comey profusely and Democrats mostly nominee Clinton’s campaign staff have criticized the FBI director. Both sides have been demanding that Comey provides more details about the investigation and the possible content of the emails. Comey keeps his hand close and will probably not reveal more details publicly until he is certain of the probe’s direction.

On Friday, Oct. 26, hours after the news broke; Clinton spoke to reporters during her campaign stop in Des Moines, Iowa. Clinton demanded, “We are 11 days out from perhaps the most important election of our lifetimes…. So the American people deserve to get the full and complete facts immediately.” Clinton was also insistent selling the line; the new emails “will not change the conclusion.” On Saturday, Clinton continued her criticism during a campaign rally in Daytona Beach, Fla. Clinton accused, “It’s pretty strange to put something like that out with such little information right before an election. In fact, it’s not just strange, it’s unprecedented and it is deeply troubling.”

Clinton’s running mate Virginia Senator Tim Kaine also slammed Comey’s lettersaying interview on Friday with Vice News. Kaine echoed his running mate, saying, “When you do this 11 days before a presidential election and you don’t provide many details, but details are apparently being given by the FBI to the press, this is very, very troubling, and we hope that the director- and we really think that he should give a clearer accounting of exactly whats going on right now.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), “the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee” was furious at Comey sending the letter so late in the campaign. Feinstein issued a statement on Friday, attacking the director, “The FBI has a history of extreme caution near election day so as not to influence the results. Today’s break from that tradition is appalling.”

The news initially paralyzed Clinton’s campaign on Friday. On Saturday, the Clinton campaign seemed set to be at war and attack the FBI director for his decision. According to CNN, campaign officials were critical calling Comey’s letter “light on facts” and “heavy on innuendo.” Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta “accused” Comey of not being “forthcoming with the facts,” and “providing selective information.” Writing on Medium on Saturday, Podesta also expressed that the FBI Director’s decision was “bewildering” and “unfair to voters.”

Campaign manager Robby Mook had harsher words for the FBI director, saying “The Justice Department’s longstanding practice is: Don’t do anything seen as trying to influence an election. It’s completely unfair to Secretary Clinton and it’s really unfair to the voters.” The Clinton camp intends to attack Comey for being a Republican, praise the FBI’s professionalism and tout the director’s decision in July not to recommend criminal charges against Clinton and his subsequent testimony to Congress in September in an attempt to downplay the disastrous news.

What is uncertain is how the news will affect long-time Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s role in the campaign. After all, her and her husband’s disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner’s devices that had the emails in question. The federal investigation into her husband sending sexually explicit text messages to a 15-year-old girl prompted the investigation and led to the discovery.

Trump has long said Abedin’s marriage to Weiner was a liability to Clinton, even now, as they are separated. Trump commented at a campaign stop on Saturday in Golden, Colorado questioning, “Huma’s been a problem. I wonder if Huma’s going to stay there. I hope they haven’t given Huma immunity because it seemed that everybody that walked down the sidewalk got immunity. She knows the real story. She knows what’s going on.” Abedin was noticeably absent on Saturday as Clinton campaign in the battleground state of Florida.

The information the FBI discovered must have been damaging or Comey would not have broken ranks. No matter the content the fact that former disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner had access on his computer to any State Department emails, documents or work product is in itself troubling and demonstrates a risk to national security, something Trump has long warned the public concerning.

An anonymous official told the Los Angeles Times, the emails were not to or from Clinton and some might be repetitive, while Fox News reported that the FBI found tens of thousands State Department emails on Weiner’s computer. Comey felt the public needed to know all the facts before voting; it would have irresponsible to hide the facts. Should the information be damaging, the nation cannot face the divisiveness of another Watergate scandal, when terrorism threatens the country and the world, Comey did not want to be responsible for that.

The Clintons repeated scandals and the changing stories around her email server and handling of classified information made the new development all the more necessary to share to the electorate for them to make the most informed decision as possible, even if the Democrats, Clinton campaign, and Obama Administration do not like it. Throughout their national public life, the Clintons have a had a steady stream of scandals, blaming them on their opponents, repeatedly calling them unfair attacks, dismissing them as reasons why they should continue to go on without lasting consequences. Their entitlement has gone too far and too long as the nation and voters continually give them a free pass. National security in a dangerous era is on the line now, it is the FBI’s duty to above all else to “protect and defend” the country and “uphold criminal laws,” the nation needs to know if a potential president is deserving and abiding by the rules.

Former assistant FBI director James Kallstrom has come out to deride the Clintons’ repeated scandals in a recent radio interview calling the Democratic nominee a “pathological liar.” Kallstrom agrees with Comey’s decision to send the letter, saying, “The Clintons, that’s a crime family, basically. It’s like organized crime. I mean the Clinton Foundation is a cesspool.” Kallstrom says FBI officials were angry at the original investigation, which was essentially stifled by the White House. Kallstrom fervently believes Clinton’s action should prevent her from the presidency, expressing, “God forbid we put someone like that in the White House.”

As the nation’s highest law enforcement agent, Comey felt that his duty to his country superseded politics or the desire of President Barack Obama to secure his legacy. The Clinton’s campaign attacks on Comey show a lack of respect to law enforcement, proving that for the Clintons’ no matter what they say public service is not about the public but what is best for their ambitions. No matter who wins the election, the public should applaud and revere Comey’s decision to place the country’s safety before politics; his decision to rise above it all is the ideal of what law enforcement is all about.

Bonnie K. Goodman has a BA and MLIS from McGill University and has done graduate work in religion at Concordia University. Ms. Goodman is an expert in presidential campaigns and election history and she has been covering American elections as a journalist since 2004.

Politics October 19, 2016: State Department tried to convince FBI during investigation to declassify emails

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State Department tried to convince FBI during investigation to declassify emails

By Bonnie K. Goodman

LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 12:  Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign rally at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts on October 12, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Clinton, who will return to Las Vegas for the final presidential debate on October 19, continues to campaign against her Republican opponent Donald Trump with less than one month to go before Election Day.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS, NV – OCTOBER 12: Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign rally at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts on October 12, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Clinton, who will return to Las Vegas for the final presidential debate on October 19, continues to campaign against her Republican opponent Donald Trump with less than one month to go before Election Day. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The FBI released 100 more pages of the investigation into Democratic nominee and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private server and it shows the State Department may have tried to influence the FBI to declassify an email. The FBI released the new pages on Monday, Oct. 17, 2016, as per a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by the Congressional Republicans. The new documents include 302s, notes and summaries of the interviews the FBI conducted with State Department employees, contractors, and Clinton aides. Among the most glaring discoveries is one high ranking staffer tried to influence the FBI to declassify an email in exchange for a favor, prompting outcries of a “quid-pro-quo.”

The documents show that Undersecretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy repeatedly tried to force an FBI official from the International Operations Division (IOD) to declassify an email from Clinton’s private server only because it “caused problems.” The interview notes reveal, “Not yet knowing the email’s content, [the FBI official] told Kennedy he would look into the email in question if Kennedy would provide authority concerning the FBI’s request to increase its personnel in Iraq.”

One person interviewed felt “pressured” by the FBI to comply with Kennedy’s request. The interviews present contradictory evidence as to who requested the quid-pro-quo. One interviewee claimed the State Department offered it in exchange for helping the FBI “overseas in sensitive areas.” While, another said the FBI official was willing to do so if a “personal request in Iraq” was fulfilled.

One interviewee recounted that during a State Department meeting with government agencies, he responded about classified emails that went through Clinton’s server with a “well, we’ll see.” Later the interviewee saw Kennedy with FBI official recounting, “Kennedy spent the next 15 minutes debating the classification for the email and attempting to influence the FBI official to change its markings.” The State Department’s reasons were politically motivated as to help Clinton in her run for the presidency.

Despite Kennedy repeated pleadings, after consulting with the Counterterrorism Division, the FBI official decided to keep the email classified saying “there was no way” to declassify it. Kennedy would not back down and decided to go the head of the Counterterrorism Division, Michael Steinbach where he “pleaded” that the email remains unclassified. The notes say, “Steinbach refused to do so.”

The email in question was from Nov. 18, 2016, concerning “possible arrests” in the Benghazi, Libya terror attacks. The email was one of the first released by the State Department in May 2015, although it was heavily redacted. The FBI kept the email classified, and the statement did not increase FBI personnel in Iraq.

Both the FBI and State Department are vehemently denying the allegations. State Department Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner commented on Monday, “Classification is an art, not a science, and individuals with classification authority sometimes have different views,” Toner said. “There can be applicable FOIA exemptions that are based on both classified and unclassified rules. … We have been committed to releasing as much information to the public as possible, and ensuring that documents are withheld due to classification only when necessary to prevent damage to national security — as the Executive Order on classification calls for.”

The FBI released their statement to deny the accusations. The statement read: “The FBI determined that one such email was classified at the Secret level. A senior State Department official requested the FBI re-review that email to determine whether it was in fact classified or whether it might be protected from release under a different FOIA exemption. A now-retired FBI official, who was not part of the subsequent Clinton investigation, told the State Department official that they would look into the matter. Having been previously unsuccessful in attempts to speak with the senior State official, during the same conversation, the FBI official asked the State Department official if they would address a pending, unaddressed FBI request for space for additional FBI employees assigned abroad.”

Despite the denials coming from the FBI, State Department and Obama Administration, Republicans do not believe a word. Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus commented Monday in a statement. Priebus said, “It is deeply troubling that a top State Department official close to Hillary Clinton offered the FBI a ‘quid pro quo’ to hide the full extent to which she mishandled classified information. The more documents that come out, the more we learn Hillary Clinton cannot be trusted with a job that is supposed to begin each day with a classified intelligence briefing.”

Full Text Political Transcripts September 2, 2016: FBI report on Hillary Clinton’s private email server

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN:

FBI report on Hillary Clinton’s private email server

Source: FBI, 9-2-16

 

Politics August 17, 2016: FBI hands Congress over Clinton interview notes investigation report

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FBI hands Congress over Clinton interview notes investigation report

By Bonnie K. Goodman

The FBI handed over its report on their decision not to recommend criminal charges for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over her private email server to Congress. The FBI sent the classified report originally for the Department of Justice and interview memos, called 302s to the House Oversight Committee on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016, following through on their request. The House is also is also request the DOJ file charges because Clinton perjured herself in her sworn testimony to the House’s Benghazi committee.

FBI Acting Assistant Director Jason V. Herring included a letter to “House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz” and “ranking Democratic member, Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings” re-explaining the bureau’s decision not to charge Clinton. Herring wrote, “The FBI conducted this investigation, as it does all investigations, in a competent, honest and independent way. As the director stated, the FBI did find evidence that Secretary Clinton and her colleagues were extremely careless in their handling of certain, very sensitive, highly classified information.”

Continuing Herring clarified, “The term ‘extremely careless’ was intended to be a common sense way of describing the actions of Secretary Clinton and her colleagues. The director did not equate ‘extreme carelessness’ with the legal standard of ‘gross negligence’ that is required by the statute. In this case, the FBI assessed that the facts did not support a recommendation to prosecute her or others within the scope of the investigation for gross negligence.” Herring also suggested that usually what Clinton would be subject to is “severe administrative consequences.”

Among the documents, the FBI handed over was the summary of Clinton’s three and a half hour interview with the bureau that took place last month. FBI Director James Comey promised the reports and memos when he testified on July 7 before the House Oversight panel, saying he would do “everything I can possibly give you under the law and to doing it as quickly as possible.”

The documents are considered classified and will never be made public. Republicans are trying to keep Clinton’s email scandal in the limelight the election, hoping it can damage her bid for the presidency despite leading Republican Donald Trump in the polls. The FBI issued a statement warning that the information should not be made public, writing, “The material contains classified and other sensitive information and is being provided with the expectation it will not be disseminated or disclosed without FBI concurrence.”

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) issued a statement, however, arguing the documents should be made available to the public. Grassley wrote, “On initial review, it seems that much of the material given to the Senate today, other than copies of the large number of emails on Secretary Clinton’s server containing classified information, is marked ‘unclassified/for official use.’ The FBI should make as much of the material available as possible. The public’s business ought to be public, with few exceptions. The people’s interest would be served in seeing the documents that are unclassified. The FBI has made public statements in describing its handling of the case, so sharing documents in support of those statements wherever appropriate would make sense.”
Clinton campaign responded with a statement, “This is an extraordinarily rare step that was sought solely by Republicans for the purposes of further second-guessing the career professionals at the FBI. We believe that if these materials are going to be shared outside the Justice Department, they should be released widely so that the public can see them for themselves, rather than allow Republicans to mischaracterize them through selective, partisan leaks.”

The spokesperson for the House Oversight Committee confirmed receipt in a statement, “The FBI has turned over a ‘number of documents’ related to their investigation of former Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal email server. Committee staff is currently reviewing the information that is classified SECRET. There are no further details at this time.”

Congressional Republican are looking to make sure Clinton pays as CNN pointed out a “political price” for her actions during her tenure at the State Department since the FBI did not recommend criminal charges. Reps. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and Bob Goodlatte, R-Virginia sent a letter to the Department of Justice asking the DOJ to charge Clinton with perjury claiming she perjured herself during her testimony to the House’s Benghazi committee.

Republicans are accusing Clinton of lying four times in her testimony to the committee saying what she said countered what she told the FBI. In the letter, Chaffetz and Goodlatte wrote, “The evidence collected by the (FBI) during its investigation of Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal email system during her time as secretary of state appears to directly contradict several aspects of her sworn testimony.”

On Monday, Aug. 15, 35 Republicans led by Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) called on Comey to release Clinton’s interview notes because they believe she perjured herself. Tuesday morning before the documents were handed over Marino appeared on Fox News where he said about Clinton, “That she lied under oath to Congress when she came into testify. And if she lied, she perjured herself. She lied to Congress, therefore she can be prosecuted and spend as long as 10 years in prison for doing that. The director of the FBI, the Justice Department, in my opinion, they’re taking direction from the White House saying, ‘Do nothing about this.'”

Politics August 12, 2016: Senate Republicans take on possible corruption over State Dept and Clinton Foundation

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Senate Republicans take on possible corruption over State Dept and Clinton Foundation

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Republican are taking the news that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton might have abused her power as Secretary of State seriously. Senate Majority Whip Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Friday, Aug. 12, 2016, questioning why the State Department and Department of Justice refused to investigate a potential conflict of interest between Clinton’s high-ranking aides working at the department and her husband former President Bill Clinton’s foundation.

In the past couple of days, two troubling incidents have shown a possible conflict of interest or at worst abuse of power during Clinton’s tenure. First, was when Conservative Watchdog group Judicial Watch published previously unreleased emails from Clinton’s aide with emails to and from Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills and Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin, two trusted aides to Clinton.

The emails consisted of a request from to find a position for someone close to the foundation by a close aide to Bill Clinton, and to help a donor meet the Lebanese ambassador. Next came the CNN investigation report which uncovered that Mills interviewed candidates to head the Clinton Foundation, while she was Chief of Staff at the State Department.

Although Clinton’s campaign and the State Department defended Mill’s actions, Republicans are not accepting those responses. Cornyn in his letter said the State Dept and DOJ “favors Secretary Clinton.” The Majority Whip wrote, “This contrast does little to instill faith in the Department, part of why I called for an appointment of the Special Counsel in the email matter. But greater clarity for the public on the basis for your decision may.”

The Texas Senator called the recent discoveries “unacceptable” behavior. Sen. Cronyn continued, “It violates the commitment Secretary Clinton made to Congress and the Executive Branch following her nomination to be Secretary of State. That and her proven record of extreme carelessness with national security warrant a careful examination of Secretary Clinton’s other conduct and that of her staff.”

Additionally, Cronyn asked about CNN’s report, and why the FBI asked the DOJ to “open a case and pursue criminal charges,” however, the DOJ decided against an investigation. The DOJ claims they did not investigate because of lack of “evidence.” Cronyn wanted to know if DOJ employee, who decided against pursuing the case were questioned. The Majority Whip was concerned that at Lynch’s meeting with former President Clinton at a tarmac in Phoenix earlier this summer they discussed the conflict of interest.

Politics August 11, 2016: Investigation State Dept aide interviewed job candidates for Clinton Foundation

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Investigation State Dept aide interviewed job candidates for Clinton Foundation

By Bonnie K. Goodman

It is possible the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton blurred the lines with her husband’s Bill Clinton’s foundation while she was serving as Secretary of State. According to a CNN investigation report released on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016, Clinton’s Chief of Staff and longtime aide Cheryl Mills interviewed two candidates in 2012 for a high position at the Clinton Foundation.

In 2009, as Clinton was set to become Secretary of State to she created guidelines about the Clinton Foundation to ensure that it does not “create conflicts or the appearance of conflicts for Senator Clinton as Secretary of State.”

Recent emails, however, released by Conservative Watchdog Group Judicial Watch and CNN investigation prove otherwise. The emails indicate that Clinton’s top aides at the State Department Mills and Huma Abedin, another longtime aide who served as Deputy Chief of Staff may have blurred the lines between their positions at the State Department and the Clinton Foundation showing possible “corruption.”

According to the report, on June 19, 2012, Mills, still serving as Clinton’s Secretary of State Chief of Staff at the State Department took an Amtrak train from Washington to New York. There at executive search firm Mills interviewed two business executives “one from Pfizer and another from Wal-Mart” for the position leading the Clinton Foundation. Both companies are donors to the foundation and “partner” with the Clinton Global Initiative.

Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon downplayed any connection, saying in a statement on Thursday, “Cheryl volunteered her personal time to a charitable organization, as she has to other charities. Cheryl paid for her travel to New York City personally, and it was crystal clear to all involved that this had nothing to do with her official duties. The idea that this poses a conflict of interest is absurd.” Mill’s lawyer also claims that she did the work voluntarily, was not paid and did not use government funds for the trip.

The Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Republican Chuck Grassley of Iowa also wants real answers about Mills trip and her involvement in the job search. In January, Grassley sent current Secretary of State John Kerry a letter requesting further explanations about Mill’s actions but never received a response.

Scott Amey, “an attorney for the Project on Government Oversight,” believes the State Departments needs to provide answers and be accountable to Congress on this potential corruption and abuse of power. Amey stated, “Congress has a rightful right to ask for any information that it wants to from the executive branch of government to keep track of them. And the government should be turning that information over, when you have a breakdown in that system, we have a breakdown in our democracy.”

CNN asked the State Department if Mills had permission or needed it to do what she did with the Clinton Foundation job search. The department responded, “Federal employees are permitted to engage in outside personal activities, within the scope of the federal ethics rules. All federal employees are subject to federal ethics laws and regulations, including rules pertaining to conflicts of interest.”

Mills’ actions are not so innocent. Mills has a long history with both Clintons, and her loyalties have been with them. According to CNN during the first Clinton Administration, Mills served as Deputy White House counsel and defended Bill during his Congressional impeachment hearings. During Hillary’s first run for president in 2008 Mills was her senior legal campaign adviser. Mills also served on the board of the Clinton Foundation before leaving her post at the State Department, after the brief interlude, she is again serving on the board.

Politics July 11, 2016: Majority of Americans disapprove of the FBI deciding to charge Clinton over email server

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Majority of Americans disapprove of the FBI deciding to charge Clinton over email server

By Bonnie K. Goodman

American voters agree with Republicans that the FBI should have charged former Secretary of State and presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for using her private server and mishandling classified information during her tenure. A new ABC News/Washington Post poll published on Monday, July 11, 2016, shows that a majority of Americans disagree with the FBI’s decision. Voters are also worried about how Clinton will deal with the “responsibilities” of the presidency.

According to the poll, 56 percent of Americans disagree with “FBI Director James Comey’s recommendation not to charge Clinton,” while only 35 percent agree with his decision. American even worried about how Clinton would act as president, although 39 percent are not worried about how she would perform as president.

There are partisan divisions over the FBI’s decision, with 90 percent of Republicans objecting to Comey’s decision. Democrats are not too pleased with Clinton’s actions either with 30  percent believing she should have faced charges, while 60 percent agree with the FBI and Attorney General Loretta Lynch closing the case on their presidential nominee.

Although Clinton will not face any criminal charges, 28 percent of Americans are less likely to vote for Clinton in November after the yearlong investigation into her handling of classified information. Last week when Comey announced he would not charge Clinton, he still expressed that she and her aides’ treatment of classified information were “extremely reckless.”

Full Text Political Transcripts July 5, 2016: FBI Director James B. Comey’s statement not recommending criminal charges against Hillary Clinton over private email server

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & 114TH CONGRESS:

Statement by FBI Director James B. Comey on the Investigation of Secretary Hillary Clinton’s Use of a Personal E-Mail System

Source: FBI.gov, 7-5-16

Remarks prepared for delivery at press briefing.

Good morning. I’m here to give you an update on the FBI’s investigation of Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal e-mail system during her time as Secretary of State.

After a tremendous amount of work over the last year, the FBI is completing its investigation and referring the case to the Department of Justice for a prosecutive decision. What I would like to do today is tell you three things: what we did; what we found; and what we are recommending to the Department of Justice.

This will be an unusual statement in at least a couple ways. First, I am going to include more detail about our process than I ordinarily would, because I think the American people deserve those details in a case of intense public interest. Second, I have not coordinated or reviewed this statement in any way with the Department of Justice or any other part of the government. They do not know what I am about to say.

I want to start by thanking the FBI employees who did remarkable work in this case. Once you have a better sense of how much we have done, you will understand why I am so grateful and proud of their efforts.

So, first, what we have done:

The investigation began as a referral from the Intelligence Community Inspector General in connection with Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal e-mail server during her time as Secretary of State. The referral focused on whether classified information was transmitted on that personal system.

Our investigation looked at whether there is evidence classified information was improperly stored or transmitted on that personal system, in violation of a federal statute making it a felony to mishandle classified information either intentionally or in a grossly negligent way, or a second statute making it a misdemeanor to knowingly remove classified information from appropriate systems or storage facilities.

Consistent with our counterintelligence responsibilities, we have also investigated to determine whether there is evidence of computer intrusion in connection with the personal e-mail server by any foreign power, or other hostile actors.

I have so far used the singular term, “e-mail server,” in describing the referral that began our investigation. It turns out to have been more complicated than that. Secretary Clinton used several different servers and administrators of those servers during her four years at the State Department, and used numerous mobile devices to view and send e-mail on that personal domain. As new servers and equipment were employed, older servers were taken out of service, stored, and decommissioned in various ways. Piecing all of that back together—to gain as full an understanding as possible of the ways in which personal e-mail was used for government work—has been a painstaking undertaking, requiring thousands of hours of effort.

For example, when one of Secretary Clinton’s original personal servers was decommissioned in 2013, the e-mail software was removed. Doing that didn’t remove the e-mail content, but it was like removing the frame from a huge finished jigsaw puzzle and dumping the pieces on the floor. The effect was that millions of e-mail fragments end up unsorted in the server’s unused—or “slack”—space. We searched through all of it to see what was there, and what parts of the puzzle could be put back together.

FBI investigators have also read all of the approximately 30,000 e-mails provided by Secretary Clinton to the State Department in December 2014. Where an e-mail was assessed as possibly containing classified information, the FBI referred the e-mail to any U.S. government agency that was a likely “owner” of information in the e-mail, so that agency could make a determination as to whether the e-mail contained classified information at the time it was sent or received, or whether there was reason to classify the e-mail now, even if its content was not classified at the time it was sent (that is the process sometimes referred to as “up-classifying”).

From the group of 30,000 e-mails returned to the State Department, 110 e-mails in 52 e-mail chains have been determined by the owning agency to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received. Eight of those chains contained information that was Top Secret at the time they were sent; 36 chains contained Secret information at the time; and eight contained Confidential information, which is the lowest level of classification. Separate from those, about 2,000 additional e-mails were “up-classified” to make them Confidential; the information in those had not been classified at the time the e-mails were sent.

The FBI also discovered several thousand work-related e-mails that were not in the group of 30,000 that were returned by Secretary Clinton to State in 2014. We found those additional e-mails in a variety of ways. Some had been deleted over the years and we found traces of them on devices that supported or were connected to the private e-mail domain. Others we found by reviewing the archived government e-mail accounts of people who had been government employees at the same time as Secretary Clinton, including high-ranking officials at other agencies, people with whom a Secretary of State might naturally correspond.

This helped us recover work-related e-mails that were not among the 30,000 produced to State. Still others we recovered from the laborious review of the millions of e-mail fragments dumped into the slack space of the server decommissioned in 2013.

With respect to the thousands of e-mails we found that were not among those produced to State, agencies have concluded that three of those were classified at the time they were sent or received, one at the Secret level and two at the Confidential level. There were no additional Top Secret e-mails found. Finally, none of those we found have since been “up-classified.”

I should add here that we found no evidence that any of the additional work-related e-mails were intentionally deleted in an effort to conceal them. Our assessment is that, like many e-mail users, Secretary Clinton periodically deleted e-mails or e-mails were purged from the system when devices were changed. Because she was not using a government account—or even a commercial account like Gmail—there was no archiving at all of her e-mails, so it is not surprising that we discovered e-mails that were not on Secretary Clinton’s system in 2014, when she produced the 30,000 e-mails to the State Department.

It could also be that some of the additional work-related e-mails we recovered were among those deleted as “personal” by Secretary Clinton’s lawyers when they reviewed and sorted her e-mails for production in 2014.

The lawyers doing the sorting for Secretary Clinton in 2014 did not individually read the content of all of her e-mails, as we did for those available to us; instead, they relied on header information and used search terms to try to find all work-related e-mails among the reportedly more than 60,000 total e-mails remaining on Secretary Clinton’s personal system in 2014. It is highly likely their search terms missed some work-related e-mails, and that we later found them, for example, in the mailboxes of other officials or in the slack space of a server.

It is also likely that there are other work-related e-mails that they did not produce to State and that we did not find elsewhere, and that are now gone because they deleted all e-mails they did not return to State, and the lawyers cleaned their devices in such a way as to preclude complete forensic recovery.

We have conducted interviews and done technical examination to attempt to understand how that sorting was done by her attorneys. Although we do not have complete visibility because we are not able to fully reconstruct the electronic record of that sorting, we believe our investigation has been sufficient to give us reasonable confidence there was no intentional misconduct in connection with that sorting effort.

And, of course, in addition to our technical work, we interviewed many people, from those involved in setting up and maintaining the various iterations of Secretary Clinton’s personal server, to staff members with whom she corresponded on e-mail, to those involved in the e-mail production to State, and finally, Secretary Clinton herself.

Last, we have done extensive work to understand what indications there might be of compromise by hostile actors in connection with the personal e-mail operation.

That’s what we have done. Now let me tell you what we found:

Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.

For example, seven e-mail chains concern matters that were classified at the Top Secret/Special Access Program level when they were sent and received. These chains involved Secretary Clinton both sending e-mails about those matters and receiving e-mails from others about the same matters. There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position, or in the position of those government employees with whom she was corresponding about these matters, should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation. In addition to this highly sensitive information, we also found information that was properly classified as Secret by the U.S. Intelligence Community at the time it was discussed on e-mail (that is, excluding the later “up-classified” e-mails).

None of these e-mails should have been on any kind of unclassified system, but their presence is especially concerning because all of these e-mails were housed on unclassified personal servers not even supported by full-time security staff, like those found at Departments and Agencies of the U.S. Government—or even with a commercial service like Gmail.

Separately, it is important to say something about the marking of classified information. Only a very small number of the e-mails containing classified information bore markings indicating the presence of classified information. But 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.

While not the focus of our investigation, we also developed evidence that the security culture of the State Department in general, and with respect to use of unclassified e-mail systems in particular, was generally lacking in the kind of care for classified information found elsewhere in the government.

With respect to potential computer intrusion by hostile actors, we did not find direct evidence that Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail domain, in its various configurations since 2009, was successfully hacked. But, given the nature of the system and of the actors potentially involved, we assess that we would be unlikely to see such direct evidence. We do assess that hostile actors gained access to the private commercial e-mail accounts of people with whom Secretary Clinton was in regular contact from her personal account. We also assess that Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal e-mail domain was both known by a large number of people and readily apparent. She also used her personal e-mail extensively while outside the United States, including sending and receiving work-related e-mails in the territory of sophisticated adversaries. Given that combination of factors, we assess it is possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail account.

So that’s what we found. Finally, with respect to our recommendation to the Department of Justice:

In our system, the prosecutors make the decisions about whether charges are appropriate based on evidence the FBI has helped collect. Although we don’t normally make public our recommendations to the prosecutors, we frequently make recommendations and engage in productive conversations with prosecutors about what resolution may be appropriate, given the evidence. In this case, given the importance of the matter, I think unusual transparency is in order.

Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case. Prosecutors necessarily weigh a number of factors before bringing charges. There are obvious considerations, like the strength of the evidence, especially regarding intent. Responsible decisions also consider the context of a person’s actions, and how similar situations have been handled in the past.

In looking back at our investigations into mishandling or removal of classified information, we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts. All the cases prosecuted involved some combination of: clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information; or vast quantities of materials exposed in such a way as to support an inference of intentional misconduct; or indications of disloyalty to the United States; or efforts to obstruct justice. We do not see those things here.

To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences. To the contrary, those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions. But that is not what we are deciding now.

As a result, although the Department of Justice makes final decisions on matters like this, we are expressing to Justice our view that no charges are appropriate in this case.

I know there will be intense public debate in the wake of this recommendation, as there was throughout this investigation. What I can assure the American people is that this investigation was done competently, honestly, and independently. No outside influence of any kind was brought to bear.

I know there were many opinions expressed by people who were not part of the investigation—including people in government—but none of that mattered to us. Opinions are irrelevant, and they were all uninformed by insight into our investigation, because we did the investigation the right way. Only facts matter, and the FBI found them here in an entirely apolitical and professional way. I couldn’t be prouder to be part of this organization.

 

 

Full Text Campaign Buzz 2016 July 5, 2016: Donald Trump’s statement criticizing the FBI’s decision not to criminally charge Hillary Clinton over private server

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN:

Donald Trump’s statement criticizing the FBI’s decision not to criminally charge Hillary Clinton over private server

Source: DonaldJTrump.com, 7-5-16

The FBI Director laid out today a detailed case of how Hillary Clinton compromised the safety of the American people by storing highly classified information on a private email server with no security. He confirmed that her email could easily have been hacked by hostile actors, and confirmed that those she emailed with were hacked.

Our adversaries almost certainly have a blackmail file on Hillary Clinton, and this fact alone disqualifies her from service.

It has also been revealed that Hillary Clinton lied when she said that she did not send classified information. The FBI Director confirmed that over 100 emails were deemed classified at the time they were sent, including emails classified as top secret.

On top of it all, Hillary Clinton’s lawyers wiped the servers clean to delete another 30,000 emails – hiding her corrupt dealings from investigators. She used the State Department for her personal gain, trading favors for cash, and tried to conceal the records. Also, she didn’t want people to know the details about her botched decisions in Libya, Syria, Iraq and Egypt that destabilized the Middle East.

But because of our rigged system that holds the American people to one standard and people like Hillary Clinton to another, it does not look like she will be facing the criminal charges that she deserves.

Bill Clinton didn’t accidentally run into the Attorney General on the airport tarmac last week in Phoenix. Hillary Clinton didn’t accidentally sneak into the FBI during one of the country’s biggest holiday weekends to testify on her illegal activities, something that wouldn’t be afforded to others under investigation (and on a Saturday of all days). It was no accident that charges were not recommended against Hillary the exact same day as President Obama campaigns with her for the first time.

Folks – the system is rigged. The normal punishment, in this case, would include losing authority to handle classified information, and that too disqualifies Hillary Clinton from being President.
The final jury will be the American people, and they will issue the verdict on her corruption, incompetence, and bad judgment on November 8th.

Political Musings June 7, 2015: John Kerry’s bicycle injuries, accident or assassination attempt?

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

John Kerry’s bicycle injuries, accident or assassination attempt?

June 7, 2015

A rumor is going around in the Middle East media that Secretary of State John Kerry’s bicycle accident was not in fact an accident, but rather an assassination attempt by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, ISIS representatives..

Political Musings May 19, 2015: Clinton answers press questions on emails, income, donations, Benghazi scandals

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Clinton answers press questions on emails, income, donations, Benghazi scandals

May 19, 2015

Ever since officially launching her presidential campaign Hillary Clinton has done almost everything possible to avoid talking to the press, her 28-day drought finally ended on Tuesday, May 19, 2015. While in Iowa at a roundtable event about small…

Full Text Political Transcripts May 19, 2015: Hillary Clinton answers 6 questions from the press in Iowa

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN:

Hillary Clinton answers 6 questions from the press in Iowa

Source: USA Today, 5-19-15

FIRST QUESTION: Do you regret the way the Clinton Foundation handled foreign donations when you were U.S. Secretary of State? Your opponents say the donations and your private email account are examples of the Clintons having one set of rules for themselves and another set of rules for everyone else.

CLINTON: “I am so proud of the foundation. I’m proud of the work that it has done and is doing. It attracted donations, from people, organizations, from around the world, and I think that just goes to show that people are very supportive of the life-saving and life-changing work that it’s done here, at home and elsewhere. I’ll let the American people make their own judgments.”

SECOND QUESTION: Given the situation in Iraq, do you think we’re better off without Saddam Hussein in power?

CLINTON: “Look, I know that there have been a lot of questions about Iraq posed to candidates over the last weeks. I’ve been very clear that I made a mistake plain and simple. And I have written about it in my book. I’ve talked about it in the past and you know what we now see is a very different and very dangerous situation. The United States is doing what it can, but ultimately this has to be a struggle that the Iraqi government and the Iraqi people are determined to win for themselves. We can provide support, but they’re going to have to do it.”

THIRD QUESTION: On your income disclosure, you are in the top echelon of income earners in this country. How do you expect every day Americans to relate to you?

CLINTON: “Well, obviously, Bill and I have been blessed and we’re very grateful for the opportunities that we’ve had, but we’ve never forgotten where we came from, and we’ve never forgotten the country that we want to see for our granddaughter, and that means that we’re going to fight to make sure that everybody has the same chances to live up to his or her own God-given potential. So I think that most Americans understand that the deck is stacked for those at the top, and I am running a campaign that is very clearly stating we want to reshuffle that deck. We want to get back to having more opportunities for more people so that they can make more out of their own lives. And I think that’s exactly what America’s looking for.”

FOURTH QUESTION: Can you explain your relationship as secretary of state with Sidney Blumenthal? There’s a report out this morning that you exchanged several emails. Should Americans expect that if elected president that you would have that same type of relationship with these old friends that you’ve had for so long?

CLINTON: “I have many, many old friends, and I always think that it’s important when you get into politics to have friends that you had before you were in politics and to understand what’s on their minds. He’s been a friend of mine for a long time. He sent me unsolicited emails, which I passed on in some instances, and I see that that’s just part of the give-and-take. When you’re in the public eye, when you’re in an official position, I think you do have to work to make sure you’re not caught in the bubble and you only hear from a certain small group of people, and I’m going to keep talking to my old friends, who ever they are.”

FIFTH QUESTION: We learned today that the State Department might not release your emails until January 2016. A federal judge says they should be released sooner. Will you demand that they are released sooner, and to follow up on the question about the speeches, was there a conflict of interest in your giving paid speeches into the run-up of your announcing that you’re running for president?

CLINTON: “The answer to the first is: No. And the answer to the second is: I have said repeatedly, I want those emails out. Nobody has a bigger interest in getting them released than I do. I respect the State Department. They have their process, as they do for everybody, not just for me, but anything that they might do to expedite that process, I heartily support. You know, I want the American people to learn as much as we can about the work that I did with our diplomats and our development experts. Because I think that it will show how hard we worked, and the work we did for our country during the time that I was secretary of state, where I worked extremely hard on behalf of our values, and our interests and our security. And the emails are part of that. So I have said publicly — I’m repeating it here in front of all of you today — I want them out as soon as they can get out.”

SIXTH QUESTION: But will you demand their release?

CLINTON: “Well, they’re not mine. They belong to the State Department. So the State Department has to go through its process and as much as they can expedite that process, that’s what I’m asking them to do. Please move as quickly as they possibly can.”

“Thank you all very much”

 

Political Musings September 15, 2013: Secretary of State John Kerry seals deal with Russia over Syria chemical weapons disarmament

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Kerry seals deal with Russia over Syria chemical weapons disarmament (Video)

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Video
On the third day of talks between the United States and Russia in Geneva, Switzerland about Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal, the two countries came to an agreement on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013 to destroy Syria’s chemical….READ MORE

Political Headlines September 12, 2013: John Kerry Rejects Syria’s Demand to Drop Threat

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

John Kerry Rejects Syria’s Demand to Drop Threat

Harold Cunningham/Getty Images

Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday rejected a call from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for the U.S. to drop its threat of force before Syria gives up its chemical weapons.

“President Obama has made clear that should diplomacy fail, force might be necessary to deter and degrade Assad’s capacity to deliver these weapon,” Kerry told reporters at the start of a multi-day negotiation with the Russians over how such a disarmament might take place….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency September 3, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech / Remarks Before Meeting with Leaders of Congress to Gain Support for a Military Strike on Syria — Transcript

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President Before Meeting with Members of Congress on the Situation in Syria

Cabinet Room

9:51 A.M. EDT

Source: WH, 9-3-13

THE PRESIDENT:  I want to thank the leaders of both parties for being here today to discuss what is a very serious issue facing the United States.  And the fact that I’ve had a chance to speak to many of you, and Congress as a whole is taking this issue with the soberness and seriousness that it deserves, is greatly appreciated and I think vindicates the decision for us to present this issue to Congress.

As I’ve said last week, as Secretary Kerry made clear in his presentation last week, we have high confidence that Syria used, in an indiscriminate fashion, chemical weapons that killed thousands of people, including over 400 children, and in direct violation of the international norm against using chemical weapons.  That poses a serious national security threat to the United States and to the region, and as a consequence, Assad and Syria needs to be held accountable.

I’ve made a decision that America should take action.  But I also believe that we will be much more effective, we will be stronger, if we take action together as one nation.  And so this gives us an opportunity not only to present the evidence to all of the leading members of Congress and their various foreign policy committees as to why we have high confidence that chemical weapons were used and that Assad used them, but it also gives us an opportunity to discuss why it’s so important that he be held to account.

This norm against using chemical weapons that 98 percent of the world agrees to is there for a reason:  Because we recognize that there are certain weapons that, when used, can not only end up resulting in grotesque deaths, but also can end up being transmitted to non-state actors; can pose a risk to allies and friends of ours like Israel, like Jordan, like Turkey; and unless we hold them into account, also sends a message that international norms around issues like nuclear proliferation don’t mean much.

And so I’m going to be working with Congress.  We have set up a draft authorization.  We’re going to be asking for hearings and a prompt vote.  And I’m very appreciative that everybody here has already begun to schedule hearings and intends to take a vote as soon as all of Congress comes back early next week.

So the key point that I want to emphasize to the American people:  The military plan that has been developed by the joint chiefs and that I believe is appropriate is proportional.  It is limited.  It does not involve boots on the ground.  This is not Iraq and this is not Afghanistan.

This is a limited, proportional step that will send a clear message not only to the Assad regime, but also to other countries that may be interested in testing some of these international norms, that there are consequences.  It gives us the ability to degrade Assad’s capabilities when it comes to chemical weapons.  It also fits into a broader strategy that we have to make sure that we can bring about over time the kind of strengthening of the opposition and the diplomatic and economic and political pressure required so that ultimately we have a transition that can bring peace and stability not only to Syria but to the region.

But I want to emphasize once again:  What we are envisioning is something limited.  It is something proportional.  It will degrade Assad’s capabilities.  At the same time, we have a broader strategy that will allow us to upgrade the capabilities of the opposition, allow Syria ultimately to free itself from the kinds of terrible civil wars and death and activity that we’ve been seeing on the ground.

So I look forward to listening to the various concerns of the members who are here today.  I am confident that those concerns can be addressed.  I think it is appropriate that we act deliberately, but I also think everybody recognizes the urgency here and that we’re going to have to move relatively quickly.

So with that, to all of you here today, I look forward to an excellent discussion.

Q    Mr. President, are you prepared to rewrite the authorization, and does that undercut any of your authority, sir?

THE PRESIDENT:  I would not be going to Congress if I wasn’t serious about consultations, and believing that by shaping the authorization to make sure we accomplish the mission we will be more effective.  And so long as we are accomplishing what needs to be accomplished, which is to send a clear message to Assad degrading his capabilities to use chemical weapons, not just now but also in the future as long as the authorization allows us to do that, I’m confident that we’re going to be able to come up with something that hits that mark.

Q    Are you confident that you’ll get a vote in favor of action?

THE PRESIDENT:  I am.  Thank you, guys.

END
9:56 A.M. EDT

Full Text Obama Presidency August 31, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech Announcing Syria Military Action with Congressional Approval Vote – Rose Garden Press Conference Transcript

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

President Obama’s Decision on Syria

Source: WH, 8-31-13

President Barack Obama announces his decision to take military action against Syria, but with Congressional support, Aug. 31, 2013; Obama delivered a statement during a Rose Garden press conference with Vice President Joe Biden by his side.

Charles Dharapak/Associated Press

President Obama laid out the case for a targeted military action against Syrian regime targets as a result of their use of chemical weapons that killed over one thousand people–including hundreds of children. The President also made clear that this would not be an open-ended intervention, and there will be no American troops on the ground.

While the President was clear on the need for action, he announced he would seek Congressional authorization for the use of force.

Watch the President’s statement now in his own words or read a transcript of his remarks:

Watch on YouTube.


Statement by the President on Syria

Rose Garden

Source: WH, 8-31-13

1:52 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everybody.  Ten days ago, the world watched in horror as men, women and children were massacred in Syria in the worst chemical weapons attack of the 21st century.  Yesterday the United States presented a powerful case that the Syrian government was responsible for this attack on its own people.

Our intelligence shows the Assad regime and its forces preparing to use chemical weapons, launching rockets in the highly populated suburbs of Damascus, and acknowledging that a chemical weapons attack took place.  And all of this corroborates what the world can plainly see — hospitals overflowing with victims; terrible images of the dead.  All told, well over 1,000 people were murdered.  Several hundred of them were children — young girls and boys gassed to death by their own government.

This attack is an assault on human dignity.  It also presents a serious danger to our national security.  It risks making a mockery of the global prohibition on the use of chemical weapons.  It endangers our friends and our partners along Syria’s borders, including Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq.  It could lead to escalating use of chemical weapons, or their proliferation to terrorist groups who would do our people harm.

In a world with many dangers, this menace must be confronted.

Now, after careful deliberation, I have decided that the United States should take military action against Syrian regime targets.  This would not be an open-ended intervention.  We would not put boots on the ground.  Instead, our action would be designed to be limited in duration and scope.  But I’m confident we can hold the Assad regime accountable for their use of chemical weapons, deter this kind of behavior, and degrade their capacity to carry it out.

Our military has positioned assets in the region.  The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs has informed me that we are prepared to strike whenever we choose.  Moreover, the Chairman has indicated to me that our capacity to execute this mission is not time-sensitive; it will be effective tomorrow, or next week, or one month from now.  And I’m prepared to give that order.

But having made my decision as Commander-in-Chief based on what I am convinced is our national security interests, I’m also mindful that I’m the President of the world’s oldest constitutional democracy.  I’ve long believed that our power is rooted not just in our military might, but in our example as a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.  And that’s why I’ve made a second decision:  I will seek authorization for the use of force from the American people’s representatives in Congress. 

Over the last several days, we’ve heard from members of Congress who want their voices to be heard.  I absolutely agree. So this morning, I spoke with all four congressional leaders, and they’ve agreed to schedule a debate and then a vote as soon as Congress comes back into session. 

In the coming days, my administration stands ready to provide every member with the information they need to understand what happened in Syria and why it has such profound implications for America’s national security.  And all of us should be accountable as we move forward, and that can only be accomplished with a vote. 

I’m confident in the case our government has made without waiting for U.N. inspectors.  I’m comfortable going forward without the approval of a United Nations Security Council that, so far, has been completely paralyzed and unwilling to hold Assad accountable.  As a consequence, many people have advised against taking this decision to Congress, and undoubtedly, they were impacted by what we saw happen in the United Kingdom this week when the Parliament of our closest ally failed to pass a resolution with a similar goal, even as the Prime Minister supported taking action.

Yet, while I believe I have the authority to carry out this military action without specific congressional authorization, I know that the country will be stronger if we take this course, and our actions will be even more effective.  We should have this debate, because the issues are too big for business as usual.  And this morning, John Boehner, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell agreed that this is the right thing to do for our democracy. 

A country faces few decisions as grave as using military force, even when that force is limited.  I respect the views of those who call for caution, particularly as our country emerges from a time of war that I was elected in part to end.  But if we really do want to turn away from taking appropriate action in the face of such an unspeakable outrage, then we must acknowledge the costs of doing nothing.

Here’s my question for every member of Congress and every member of the global community:  What message will we send if a dictator can gas hundreds of children to death in plain sight and pay no price?  What’s the purpose of the international system that we’ve built if a prohibition on the use of chemical weapons that has been agreed to by the governments of 98 percent of the world’s people and approved overwhelmingly by the Congress of the United States is not enforced? 

Make no mistake — this has implications beyond chemical warfare.  If we won’t enforce accountability in the face of this heinous act, what does it say about our resolve to stand up to others who flout fundamental international rules?  To governments who would choose to build nuclear arms?  To terrorist who would spread biological weapons?  To armies who carry out genocide? 

We cannot raise our children in a world where we will not follow through on the things we say, the accords we sign, the values that define us. 

So just as I will take this case to Congress, I will also deliver this message to the world.  While the U.N. investigation has some time to report on its findings, we will insist that an atrocity committed with chemical weapons is not simply investigated, it must be confronted.

I don’t expect every nation to agree with the decision we have made.  Privately we’ve heard many expressions of support from our friends.  But I will ask those who care about the writ of the international community to stand publicly behind our action.

And finally, let me say this to the American people:  I know well that we are weary of war.  We’ve ended one war in Iraq.  We’re ending another in Afghanistan.  And the American people have the good sense to know we cannot resolve the underlying conflict in Syria with our military.  In that part of the world, there are ancient sectarian differences, and the hopes of the Arab Spring have unleashed forces of change that are going to take many years to resolve.  And that’s why we’re not contemplating putting our troops in the middle of someone else’s war. 

Instead, we’ll continue to support the Syrian people through our pressure on the Assad regime, our commitment to the opposition, our care for the displaced, and our pursuit of a political resolution that achieves a government that respects the dignity of its people.

But we are the United States of America, and we cannot and must not turn a blind eye to what happened in Damascus.  Out of the ashes of world war, we built an international order and enforced the rules that gave it meaning.  And we did so because we believe that the rights of individuals to live in peace and dignity depends on the responsibilities of nations.  We aren’t perfect, but this nation more than any other has been willing to meet those responsibilities.

So to all members of Congress of both parties, I ask you to take this vote for our national security.  I am looking forward to the debate.  And in doing so, I ask you, members of Congress, to consider that some things are more important than partisan differences or the politics of the moment. 

Ultimately, this is not about who occupies this office at any given time; it’s about who we are as a country.  I believe that the people’s representatives must be invested in what America does abroad, and now is the time to show the world that America keeps our commitments.  We do what we say.  And we lead with the belief that right makes might — not the other way around.

We all know there are no easy options.  But I wasn’t elected to avoid hard decisions.  And neither were the members of the House and the Senate.  I’ve told you what I believe, that our security and our values demand that we cannot turn away from the massacre of countless civilians with chemical weapons.  And our democracy is stronger when the President and the people’s representatives stand together.

I’m ready to act in the face of this outrage.  Today I’m asking Congress to send a message to the world that we are ready to move forward together as one nation.

Thanks very much.

                        END                2:02 P.M. EDT

Political Headlines August 30, 2013: President Barack Obama and John Kerry Press Case for US Military Action in Syria

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama and Kerry Press Case for U.S. Action in Syria

Source: NYT, 8-30-13

President Obama said that he had not made a final decision about Syria, but that he was not considering any military action that would require a long-term campaign or troops on the ground.
Christopher Gregory/The New York Times

President Obama said that he had not made a final decision about Syria, but that he was not considering any military action that would require a long-term campaign or troops on the ground.

President Obama said he was weighing a “limited” attack and Secretary of State John Kerry said there was “clear” evidence that Syria had used poison gas against its citizens….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency August 30, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech on the Syria Crisis Considering ‘Limited, Narrow’ Military Act

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Barack Obama’s remarks on Syria crisis

Source:  Politico, 8-30-13


Obama met with his national security team Friday in the White House Situation Room. White House Photo.

By WHITE HOUSE TRANSCRIPT

REMARKS BY PRESIDENT OBAMA,

PRESIDENT ILVES OF ESTONIA,

PRESIDENT GRYBAUSKAITÈ OF LITHUANIA,

PRESIDENT B?RZI?Š OF LATVIA

BEFORE MEETING

Cabinet Room

2:22 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, obviously, I’m very grateful to have my fellow Presidents here, as well as the Vice President.  Before I begin, I want to say a few words about the situation in Syria.

As you’ve seen, today we’ve released our unclassified assessment detailing with high confidence that the Syrian regime carried out a chemical weapons attack that killed well over 1,000 people, including hundreds of children.  This follows the horrific images that shocked us all.

This kind of attack is a challenge to the world.  We cannot accept a world where women and children and innocent civilians are gassed on a terrible scale.  This kind of attack threatens our national security interests by violating well-established international norms against the use of chemical weapons by further threatening friends and allies of ours in the region, like Israel and Turkey and Jordan.  And it increases the risk that chemical weapons will be used in the future and fall into the hands of terrorists who might use them against us.

So I have said before and I meant what I said, that the world has an obligation to make sure that we maintain the norm against the use of chemical weapons.  Now, I have not made a final decision about various actions that might be taken to help enforce that norm.  But as I’ve already said, I have had my military and our team look at a wide range of options.  We have consulted with allies.  We’ve consulted with Congress.  We’ve been in conversations with all the interested parties.

And in no event are we considering any kind of military action that would involve boots on the ground; that would involve a long-term campaign.  But we are looking at the possibility of a limited, narrow act that would help make sure that not only Syria, but others around the world, understand that the international community cares about maintaining this chemical weapons ban and norm.

Again, I repeat, we’re not considering any open-ended commitment.  We’re not considering any boots-on-the-ground approach.  What we will do is consider options that meet the narrow concern around chemical weapons, understanding that there’s not going to be a solely military solution to the underlying conflict and tragedy that’s taking place in Syria.  And I will continue to consult closely with Congress.

In addition to the release of the unclassified document, we are providing a classified briefing to congressional staff today, and we’ll offer that same classified briefing to members of Congress as well as our international partners.  And I will continue to provide updates to the American people as we get more information.

With that, I want to welcome President Ilves, President Grybauskait?, and President B?rzi?š to the White House.  These countries that they represent all share very deep ties to the United States, both as allies and because of the extraordinary people-to-people relations that we have with these countries.

I want to thank all the Presidents who are here, and their nations, for all that they do to promote democracy not only in their own countries but around the world.  The Baltics are among our most reliable allies in NATO, and our commitment to their security is rock-solid.  Our soldiers sacrifice together in Afghanistan, and the Baltics, of course, continue to help support our troops as we transition the NATO mission.

Today we’re going to spend some time talking about shared commitments to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations, which will add jobs in the Baltics and the United States.  We’re working on development assistance projects, including building institutions and strengthening civil society in the emerging democracies of Eastern Europe and Central Asia.  We will obviously have discussions about our NATO relationship and the security concerns that we share together.

So, again, I’ve had occasions to meet with all three Presidents in a wide variety of settings and wide variety of summits.  They have been outstanding friends to the United States of America.  We are very proud of them.  And I want to thank each of them for their leadership.  We know how far Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have come in just the past two decades, and I know that we’ll accomplish even more in the decades to come.

So with that, I want to give each of these leaders a chance to say a few words.  We’re going to start with President Ilves.

PRESIDENT ILVES:  Thank you.  I’d actually like to begin by thanking President Obama for inviting us here, and we are quite grateful to the United States and to you personally for your leadership, commitment and support.

The main issue on our agenda today is global and regional security, and the question, of course, on everyone’s mind is the situation in Syria.  For Estonia, the use of chemical weapons is deplorable.  The attack demands a response.  Those responsible must be held accountable.  Violations cannot be overlooked.

When it comes to our security, we appreciate the commitment that the United States has shown to our region and Europe as a whole, and we attach great importance to continued U.S. engagement in European security.

The transatlantic security link is unique and enduring as are the common values that underpin it.  As a NATO ally, Estonia takes its responsibility for our common defense seriously.  We are currently and will maintain committed to NATO’s mission in Afghanistan.  We spend 2 percent of our GDP on defense.

We also believe in maintaining a strong transatlantic link in other areas, such as trade, cyber and energy security.  I look forward to exchanging views on all of these issues, as I also look forward to discussing what we can do together internationally to promote our common values:  democracy, human rights, rule of law.

We already cooperate in countries that lie to the east and the south of us — Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia, and Tunisia, as well, just to name a few.  I am sure that this global cooperation aimed at helping countries transition from authoritarian to democratic rule will be expanded in the future.

Recently, we’ve heard a lot of talk about pivots.  Today we are on the verge of a new rebalancing of the U.S. focus, this time to the Nordic-Baltic region.  Our region is one of the most secure, stable, and prosperous in Europe.  We are proud to be part of it.  We are proud of the partnership we have with the United States here, just as we are proud of our alliance and the enduring friendship of the American people.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Madam President.

PRESIDENT GRYBAUSKAITÈ:  So adding in line, I would like to emphasize that to go with the matter of security in the region, we are talking about economic security in the region.  And here, especially on energy security, the United States plays a very serious role.

We opened in our region already, in Vilnius, the NATO Center of Excellence for Energy Security, and bilaterally with the United States, the Center for Nuclear Security.  And this is important because we are on the borders of NATO with some other not-so-secure regions, and why this involvement of the United States is so important for all of our region.

And of course, as a country which presides today the European Union’s Council, we are engaged very much in starting negotiations on the free trade agreement between the United States and European Union.  And I’m very happy that we got one meeting, and now we were thinking October for a second one.  And I think that it is a generational challenge and opportunity for all of us — for United States and Europe — to move fast these kinds of relations and to have very efficient and resultative outcome.  And I hope that we will be able to do it fast.

So together with the military new challenges, we are trying to battle new economic challenges together with the cyber challenges, which our region all the time receives and receives.  And I want to say that every day, every day practically we see this aggressiveness and new forms of challenges our region is facing, so why I just can also confirm that Baltic and Nordic cooperation is a new phenomena — I would say unique phenomena in Europe, which is very much reliable and you can find from us as being — we are strategic partners for the United States.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Mr. President.

PRESIDENT B?RZINŠ:  This week is important for American people, 50th anniversary of March on Washington.  As I say, for us, this is 15 years over when Baltic-American Charter was signed.  This is the right moment to review and to move forward.

For us, we are thankful to you giving your presidential time to the determined goals of the Baltic nation — U.S.-led military exercise in Baltics strengthen Nordic — the distribution network to Afghanistan.  British-American Freedom Fund, which helps Baltic students to study in American universities.

Of course, we see — together, at the same time being very active in Europe — we will become members of eurozone on the 1st of January.  We are actually working at the same time to become members of OECD.  And of course, our focus is to look for new possibilities in Europe using our past experience.  We are focusing to Central Asia countries and also to Eastern Partnership countries.  And this is particularly important in relations to Afghanistan and to develop this country in a peaceful manner.

Latvia has past crisis, but at the same time, we have to do much, much more.  And having this really good NATO support and such partners as U.S., we can move forward.  And it’s clear that today’s meeting is a reason and demonstration of the stable, long-term interest of the United States and Baltics.  And we are proud, free, and at peace.

Thank you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you so much.

Q: Mr. President, is your decision on Syria imminent?  And why did you feel like it’s appropriate to move forward without formal authorization from either the United Nations or Congress, particularly given that the British Parliament had an opportunity to vote?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  We are still in the planning process.  And obviously, consultations with Congress as well as the international community are very important.  And my preference obviously would have been that the international community already acted forcefully.  But what we have seen, so far at least, is a incapacity at this point for the Security Council to move forward in the face of a clear violation of international norms.

And I recognize that all of us — here in the United States, in Great Britain, in many parts of the world there is a certain weariness given Afghanistan; there’s a certain suspicion of any military action post-Iraq.  And I very much appreciate that.  On the other hand, it’s important for us to recognize that when over a thousand people are killed, including hundreds of innocent children, through the use of a weapon that 98 or 99 percent of humanity says should not be used even in war, and there is no action, then we’re sending a signal that that international norm doesn’t mean much.  And that is a danger to our national security.

And, obviously, if and when we make a decision to respond, there are a whole host of considerations that I have to take into account, too, in terms of how effective it is.  And given the kind of options that we’re looking at, they would be very limited and would not involve a long-term commitment or a major operation.

We are confident that we can provide Congress all the information and get all the input that they need, and we’re very mindful of that.  And we can have serious conversations with our allies and our friends around the world about this.  But, ultimately, we don’t want the world to be paralyzed.

And, frankly, part of the challenge that we end up with here is that a lot of people think something should be done, but nobody wants to do it.  And that’s not an unusual situation.  And that’s part of what allows over time the erosion of these kinds of international prohibitions, unless somebody says:  No, when the world says we’re not going to use chemical weapons, we mean it.

And it would be tempting to leave it to others to do it.  And I think I’ve shown consistently and said consistently my strong preference for multilateral action whenever possible.  But it is not in the national security interests of the United States to ignore clear violations of these kinds of international norms.

And the reason is because there are a whole host of international norms out there that are very important to us.  We have currently rules in place dealing with the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  We have international norms that have been violated by certain countries, and the United Nations has put sanctions in place.  But if there’s a sense that over time nobody is willing to actually enforce them, then people won’t take them seriously.

So I’m very clear that the world generally is war-weary.  Certainly, the United States has gone through over a decade of war.  The American people, understandably, want us to be focused on the business of rebuilding our economy here and putting people back to work.  And I assure you, nobody ends up being more war-weary than me.

But what I also believe is that part of our obligation as a leader in the world is making sure that when you have a regime that is willing to use weapons that are prohibited by international norms on their own people, including children, that they are held to account.

Political Headlines August 30, 2013: Secretary of State John Kerry Says Syria Must Be Punished as Warning to Others

POLITICAL HEADLINES

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Syria Must Be Punished as Warning to Others, Kerry Says

ABC News

Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday made an impassioned case for punishing Syria, stating that a chemical attack by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad killed 1,429 people, a toll that he said included 426 children.

“Instead of being tucked safely in their beds,” there were “rows and rows” of dead children, Kerry said….READ MORE

Political Headlines August 30, 2013: Still Undecided, President Barack Obama Favors ‘Limited, Narrow’ Act in Syria

POLITICAL HEADLINES

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Still Undecided, Obama Favors ‘Limited, Narrow’ Act in Syria

 

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

President Obama Friday said he has “not made any decisions” on whether to launch a military strike on Syria, but sought to assure the American public and the international community that if he does, it will be a “limited, narrow act.”

“We’re not considering any open-ended commitment. We’re not considering any boots-on-the-ground approach,” Obama said, adding, “We have consulted with allies. We have consulted with Congress.”…READ MORE

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