Posted tagged ‘Clinton Foundation’

Weekly Update: It’s amateur hour at State

September 16, 2017

Weekly Update: It’s amateur hour at State, Judicial Watch, September 15, 2017

(The second part of the article deals with the failure of the Department of Justice to prosecute former IRS head Lois Lerner. I have not corrected typos in the article because my internet keeps going down and I want to get this posted promptly.– DM)

Clinton Emails Reveal Additional Mishandling of Classified Information

We continue to accumulate details of the communications abuses in the Hillary Clinton State Department, but after you read the following report pause and consider the big picture. For four years the inner workings of her department were porous to prying eyes. Is it just a coincidence that Hillary Clinton’s diplomatic efforts so often failed?

This week we released 1,617 new pages of documents revealing numerous additional examples of classified information being transmitted through the unsecure, non-state.gov account of Huma Abedin, Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, as well as many instances of Hillary Clinton donors receiving special favors from the State Department.

The documents included 97 email exchanges with Clinton not previously turned over to the State Department, bringing the known total to date to at least 627emails that were not part of the 55,000 pages of emails that Clinton turned over, and further contradicting a statement by Clinton that, “as far as she knew,” all of her government emails had been turned over to department.

The emails are the 20th production of documents obtained in response to a court order in a May 5, 2015, lawsuit we filed against the State Department (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:15-cv-00684)). We sued after State failed to respond to a March 18, 2015, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking: “All emails of official State Department business received or sent by former Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin from January 1, 2009 through February 1, 2013 using a non-‘state.gov’ email address.”

On September 11, 2009, the highly sensitive name and email address of the person giving the classified Presidential Daily Brief was included in an email forwarded to Abedin’s unsecure email account by State Department official Dan Fogerty. The State Department produced many more Clinton and Abedin unsecured emails that were classified:

  • On April 16, 2009, Deputy Assistant Secretary Jeffrey Feltman sent to Abedin’s unsecure email account classified informationabout an unknown subject.
  • On June 18, 2009, Abedin sent classified informationsummarizing a June 18, 2009, “Middle East Breakfast” meeting between various senators, representatives and State Department officials, at which Deputy Secretary Jack Lew and George Mitchell briefed the congressmen with “an update on our discussions with the [Middle East] parties.”
  • On June 23, 2009, U.S. diplomat Martin Indyk, who had his security clearance suspendedin 2000 for “possible sloppiness” in the handling of classified information, sent a memo containing classified information to Abedin’s unsecure email account. The memo, written for Clinton, pertained to Indyk’s discussions with top Israeli officials:

Could I ask you to review the memo below that I wrote yesterday on my return from Israel?  If you think it worthwhile, I’d be very grateful if you showed it to HRC (I have already shared it with Mitchell and Feltman). A confrontation with Bibi appears imminent.  I’ve never been one to shy away from that, as she may know.  But it has to be done carefully, and that doesn’t appear to be happening.  And I’m concerned that she will be tarred with the same brush if this leads to a bad end.  So I think she needs to make sure that the friction is productive.  I’ve made some suggestions at the end of the memo

  • On August 1, 2009, Abedin forwarded classified informationfrom State Department official Richard Verma to her unsecure email account. The email from Senator Russ Feingold was sent to Hillary Clinton regarding her upcoming Africa trip.
  • On August 4, 2009, Assistant Secretary Jeffrey Feltman sent classified informationabout discussions with Kuwaiti officials to Abedin’s unsecure email account. Feltman noted that the Kuwaitis felt a lunch they had with Obama was “chilly.” The discussions concerned Guantanamo as well as Kuwait’s treatment of detainees.
  • On Sept 20, 2009, Abedin forwarded classified informationto her unsecure email account. The email was from State Department official Esther Brimmer and concerned foreign leaders’ discussions regarding a UNESCO leadership appointment.
  • On November 1, 2009, U.S. Ambassador to the UAE Rick Olson sent classified informationto Abedin’s unsecure email account. The email shows that Olsen was traveling with Hillary in the Middle East, and Abedin asked him to “work on a list of everything covered in the mbz [presumably Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi] meeting for Hillary.” Olson asks: “do you want it on this system (I can sanitize), or on the other system.” She replies: “This system easier. We are staying without class[ified] computers. Thx.”
  • On December 1, 2009, Abedin sent classified informationabout foreign military contributions to the Afghanistan war effort to her unsecure email account. The email originated with State official Sean Misko who wrote to Deputy Chief of Staff Jake Sullivan that he first “accidentally” sent it on the “high side” (secure) but was resending.
  • On December 25, 2009, Abedin sent to her unsecure email account classified informationprepared by Deputy U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Francis Ricciardone concerning the Afghan elections.
  • On December 26, 2009, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Carlos Pascual sent a memo to Clinton, which was found on Abedin’s unsecure email account. It contained extensive classified information involving U.S. and Mexican counter-drug operations in Mexico.
  • On March 22, 2010, Abedin forwarded to her unsecure email account classified informationabout a telephone conversation between President Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon.
  • On April 13, 2010, Abedin forwarded to her unsecure email account classified informationfrom Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman regarding diplomatic discussions with the foreign ministers of Algeria and Morocco.
  • On May 24, 2010, Abedin forwarded to her unsecure email account classified informationabout the minutes of a State Department senior staff meeting regarding State Department officials’ meetings in Uganda.
  • Among Abedin’s unsecure email records is a document that is simply titled “NOTE” with the date September 12, 2010. The contents are entirely redacted as classified.
  • On January 28, 2011, Abedin sent Clinton an unsecure email containing classified informationrelating to a briefing White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs gave.
  • On March 21, 2012, Clinton received a memo from State Department officials Joseph Yun and Derek Mitchell marked “Sensitive But Unclassified” and sent to Abedin’s unsecure email account. It contained classified informationabout elections in Burma.
  • Jake Sullivan emailed to Hillary’s unsecure email account classified informationin which Sullivan discussed the content of conversations with UK Prime Minister Gordon regarding “the situation” in Northern Ireland. The date of this email is not included on the document.
  • On April 8, 2012, Abedin sent classified informationto her unsecure email regarding a call sheet and an “Action Memo” for Clinton relating to a call with Malawi President Joyce Banda. On April 9, 2012, confidential assistant Monica Hanley again forwarded the classified information to Clinton’s unsecure email account.

Other emails contain sensitive information that was sent via Hillary Clinton’s unsecure email servers.

  • On August 18, 2009, Hanley provided Abedin with laptop and fob (a physical device that provides a login code) logins and passwordsto log onto a laptop, as well as a secure State Department website at https://one.state.gov. Included were a PIN number and instructions on how to access her email from the secure State Department website. Abedin forwarded this information to her unsecure account.

(The FBI interviewed Hanley in its probe of Clinton’s email practices, and State’s Diplomatic Security staff reprimanded her after she left classified material behind in a Moscow hotel room. Hanley was the staffer tasked with finding BlackBerry phones for Clinton to use.)

  • On August 19, 2009, Hanley asked Abedin to call her and provide Abedin’s computer passwordso that she could download a UN document for Cheryl Mills from Abedin’s computer. Instead of calling Hanley, Abedin apparently provided the computer password in her unsecure reply email, saying, “Its [redacted].”
  • On April 17, 2009, Clinton aide Lona Valmoro emailed Clinton’s sensitive daily schedulefor April 18 to various Clinton Foundation officials, including Doug Band, Terry Krinvic and Justin Cooper. She also forwarded Clinton’s daily schedule for July 16 to numerous Clinton Foundation officials. She did the same thing on September 8, 2009. She did so again on January 10, January 14 and April 11, 2010.
  • The details of Hillary’s arrivalon November 18, 2009, in war-torn Kabul, Afghanistan, for the inauguration of President Karzai, were found on Abedin’s unsecure email account. Included were precise times of landing at Kabul Airport, the occupants of her vehicle, arrival and departure times at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, and meeting times with U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

The new documents show that Clinton donors frequently requested and received special favors from the State Department that were connected to the Clinton Foundation.

  • On July 14, 2009, Gordon Griffin, a XL Keystone lobbyist,sent an email to Clinton Foundation executive Doug Band, asking if Band could get him into a Council on Foreign Relations dinner at which Clinton was speaking. Band forwarded the email to Abedin, saying, “Can u get him in?” Abedin replied: “Yes will get him in.” Band was a top aide to President Bill Clinton and co-founder of Teneo. Griffin was a major donor to Hillary Clinton’s Senate and presidential
  • On July 16, 2009, Zachary Schwartz asked Band for help getting visas to travel to Cuba for a film production crew from Shangri La Entertainment. Band forwarded the requestto Abedin, telling her, “Please call zach asap on this. [Redacted.] Important.” Abedin responded, “I’ll call zach when we land in India.” Abedin concludes with “Enjoy. Cuba is complicated. Am sure you aren’t surprised to hear that.” Schwartz worked for Steve Bing, a mega-donor to the Clintons and owner of Shangri La Entertainment. Bing has reportedly donated $10-25 million to the Clinton Foundation and paid Bill Clinton personally $2.5 million a year to be an adviser to a green construction company Bing owned.
  • On September 11, 2009, Terrence Duffy, chairman of futures brokerage firm CME Group, a donor to the Clinton Foundation, asked Clinton to arrange “government appointments” for him in Singapore and Hong Kong. Clinton, using her HDR22@clintonmail.comaddress, forwarded the request to Abedin, “fyi.” Abedin responded to Duffy’s email, saying she would “follow up” with Duffy’s secretary, Joyce. Duffy gave $4,600 to Hillary’s 2008 presidential campaign; CME Group paid Hillary $225,000 for a speaking fee and has donated between $5,001 and 10,000 to the Clinton Foundation.Abedin, using her huma@clintonmail.com address, later told Joyce, “Would like to get some more information and details so we can try to help.” Further along in the exchange, Joyce responds “We would also like some help in arranging meetings with some key govt officials in both locations, such as the Prime Minister of Singapore, and would appreciate any help you may be able to provide.”

On September 29, 2009, Abedin followed up with Duffy, telling him that “we are happy to assist with any and all meetings” and that she had “discussed you and your trip with our assistant secretary of state for east asia and pacific affairs,” suggesting that Duffy write the assistant secretary, Kurt Campbell. Duffy replied, “Thank you very much. I did connect with Kurt Campbell today.”

  • On May 5, 2010, major Clinton Global Initiative member, Clinton Foundation donor and real estate developer Eddie Trump forwarded to “Dougie” Band a request for assistancefrom Russian American Foundation Vice President Rina Kirshner to get the Russian American Foundation involved in a State Department program. Band forwarded the request to Abedin, saying, “Can we get this done/mtg set.” As Judicial Watch previously reported, the State Department doled out more than $260,000 to the Russian American Foundation for “public diplomacy.”
  • Major Clinton donor Bal Das, a New York financier who reportedly raised $300,000for Hillary’s 2008 presidential campaign, asked Abedin on November 11, 2009 if Hillary Clinton could address the Japan Society at its annual conference in 2010. Clinton did speak to the Japan Society’s annual conference in 2011.

The emails also provide insight on the inner workings of the Clinton State Department, in particular her engagement with her staff.

  • In a May 19, 2009, “Global Press Conference” memo, Clinton was given in advance the “proposed questions” of four of the seven foreign reporters. Examples include: “What is the Obama administration’s view of Australian PM Rudd’s proposal to form an Asia-Pacific Community” and “Why can’t American drones not find, detect and destroy the insurgency supply line?”
  • In a document entitled “HRC Pakistan Notes” prepared for Clinton by her staff, Clinton apparently had to be reminded about all her trips to Pakistan and of “stories that you have told/remember.” Her reminder instructions include: “You loved Faisal mosque, and it was especially meaningful to have CVC [Chelsea] with you.” And: “Your first Pakistani friend was in College. She introduced you to Pakistani food and clothes.” And: “You have had lots of Pakistani and Pakistani American friends over the years. From Chicago to California to Washington, DC, you have friends all over the country. They know how much you love Pakistani food …”
  • On February 12, 2010, Case Button, a Clinton speechwriter, asked Abedin if her mother, a professor at Dar Al Hekma, a women’s university in Saudi Arabia where Clinton held a town hall meeting,would be willing to give him advice on talking points he was preparing for Clinton. Abedin responded, “Talk to my mom for sure. She will have good points for you.” After reviewing Hillary’s draft remarks, Huma’s mother, Saleha Abedin, (a controversial Islamist activist), offered some advice: “Do not use the political terms such as ‘democracy/elections/freedom.’ Do not use the term ‘empowerment of women’ instead say ‘enabling women’ Do not even mention driving for women! Don’t sound sympathetic to ‘women’s plight’ or be ‘patronizing’ as other visitors have done and made the students extremely annoyed. They rightly consider these as in-house issues …” No references to these issues appear in Clinton’s speech.

Abedin’s involvement in a major appointment at the State Department is controversial given that Abedin’s mother was an Islamist activist.

  • On July 24, 2009, Cheryl Mills forwarded to Abedin a CV for someone being considered for the position of Special Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. It had been sent to Mills from State Department recruiter Margaret Carpenter. Rather than forwarding the resume on to Clinton for her approval, Abedin simply responds to Mills: “I’m a hundred percent fine with him.”

Abedin also offered her opinion to Clinton on administration leaders: On January 21, 2011, while on a trip to Mexico, Abedin emailed Hillary that, “Biden is a disaster here.”

  • On February 20, 2012, Clinton expresses outrage over an apparent wardrobe miscommunication for a meeting in Mexico and sent an emailto Abedin with the subject line “I’m venting.” Clinton admonished:

So, here I sit in the meeting surrounded by ever other person dressed in a white shirt provided by the Mexicans. Patricia is not wearing the exact style that all others are but her own white shirt. But, since no one ever told me about this, and instead assumed I didn’t need to know, I had no idea about any of this until I just walked into the large meeting in front of the entire press corps and I’m wearing a green top. So, what’s my answer when asked why I think I’m different than all my colleagues and why I’m dissing our hosts? I am sick of people deciding what I should know rather than giving me the info so I can make a decision. This really annoys me and I told Monica [Hanley] I just didn’t understand.

These emails show ‘what happened’ was that Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin obviously violated laws about the handling of classified information and turned the State Department into a pay for play tool for the corrupt Clinton Foundation. The clear and mounting evidence of pay for play and mishandling of classified information warrant a serious criminal investigation by an independent Trump Justice Department.
To read more about Huma Abedin’s emails, click here.

 

 

The IRS Scandal Is Still a Scandal

In a baffling move, President Trump’s Justice Department has decided not to prosecute Lois Lerner, former director of the Exempt Organizations Unit of the IRS, whose own emails place her at the heart of the politicization of the IRS for the targeting of conservative groups:

When we learned of this, I issued this statement:

I have zero confidence that the Justice Department did an adequate review of the IRS scandal. In fact, we’re still fighting the Justice Department and the IRS for records about this very scandal. Today’s decision comes as no surprise considering that the FBI collaborated with the IRS and is unlikely to investigate or prosecute itself. President Trump should order a complete review of the whole issue. Meanwhile, we await accountability for IRS Commissioner Koskinen, who still serves and should be drummed out of office.

Let’s review the history.

Judicial Watch released 294 pages of FBI “302” documents revealing top Washington IRS officials, including Lois Lerner and Holly Paz, knew the agency was specifically targeting “Tea Party” and other conservative organizations two full years before disclosing it to Congress and the public. An FBI 302 document contains detailed narratives of FBI agent investigations. The Obama Justice Department and FBI investigations into the Obama IRS scandal resulted in no criminal charges.

The FBI 302 documents confirm the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) 2013 report, which said, “Senior IRS officials knew that agents were targeting conservative groups for special scrutiny as early as 2011.” Lerner did not reveal the targeting until May 2013, in response to a planted question at an American Bar Association conference. The documents revealed that then-acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller actually wrote Lerner’s response: “They used names like Tea Party or Patriots and they selected cases simply because the applications had those names in the title. That was wrong, that was absolutely incorrect, insensitive, and inappropriate.”

Our litigation forced the IRS first to say that emails belonging to Lerner were supposedly missing and later declare to the court that the emails were on IRS back-up systems. Lerner was one of the top officials responsible for the IRS’ targeting of President Obama’s political opponents.  Judicial Watch exposed various IRS record keeping problems:

  • In June 2014the IRS claimed to have “lost” responsive emails belonging to Lerner and other IRS officials.
  • In July 2014Judge Emmett Sullivan ordered the IRS to submit to the court a written declaration under oath about what happened to Lerner’s “lost” emails. The sworn declarations proved to be less than forthcoming.
  • In August 2014, Department of Justice attorneys for the IRS finally admitted Judicial Watch that Lerner’s emails, indeed all government computer records, are backed up by the federal government in case of a government-wide catastrophe. The IRS’ attorneys also disclosed that Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) was looking at several of these backup tapes.
  • In November 2014, the IRS told the court it had failed to search any of the IRS standard computer systems for the “missing” emails of Lerner and other IRS officials.
  • On February 26, 2015, TIGTA officials testifiedto the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that it had received 744 backup tapes containing emails sent and received by Lerner.  This testimony showed that the IRS had falsely represented to both Congress, Judge Sullivan, and Judicial Watch that Lerner’s emails were irretrievably lost. The testimony also revealed that IRS officials responsible for responding to the document requests never asked for the backup tapes and that 424 backup tapes containing Lerner’s emails had been destroyed during the pendency of Judicial Watch’s lawsuit and Congressional investigations.
  • In June 2015, Judicial Watch forced the IRS to admitin a court filing that it was in possession of 6,400 “newly discovered” Lerner emails. Judge Emmet Sullivan ordered the IRS to provide answers on the status of the Lerner emails the IRS had previously declared lost. Judicial Watch raised questions about the IRS’ handling of the missing emails issue in a court filing, demanding answers about Lerner’s emails that had been recovered from the backup tapes.
  • In July 2015, U.S District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan threatened to hold John Koskinen, the commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, and Justice Department attorneys in contemptof court after the IRS failed to produce status reports and recovered Lerner emails, as he had ordered on July 1, 2015.

While Washington spins in circles trying to find election rigging on the part of Donald Trump, it closes its eyes to genuine election skullduggery.

House Judiciary Committee Officially Approves Effort to Launch Investigation of Comey, Lynch

July 27, 2017

House Judiciary Committee Officially Approves Effort to Launch Investigation of Comey, Lynch, BreitbartMatthew Boyle, July 26, 2017

Getty Images

The House Judiciary Committee has officially approved an effort to launch an investigation into former FBI director James Comey’s leaking activities and apparent mishandling of a federal investigation by former Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

The new investigative effort, authorized by the passage of the amendment in the Judiciary Committee, 16-13 along partisan lines, digs deep requesting documents and information related to Comey’s leaks of conversations he had with President Donald Trump before Trump fired him. According to the Washington Post, Democrats on the committee were infuriated Republicans pressed forward with the probe.

“This is the most astonishing moment I’ve ever experienced in the Judiciary Committee,” one Democrat, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), said. “To take a question about the firing of James B. Comey and turn it into a question about Hillary Clinton? The chairman has left the room. Justice has left this room. Common sense has left this room. A lot of stuff has left this room, and maybe never entered it.”

The amendment was offered by Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Jim Jordan (R-OH), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), and Mike Johnson (R-LA). It passed Wednesday evening, authorizing the opening of the Judiciary Committee probe. It remains to be seen if subjects of the investigation will cooperate, and if they do not cooperate it remains to be seen if the Committee will use its broad subpoena power to compel document production and testimony.

It also remains to be seen if House Speaker Paul Ryan will support the probe, or intervene and use his power to block it. Ryan’s spokesman has not responded to Breitbart News’s requests for comment on this matter.

“There is little question that members of Obama’s administration repeatedly broke protocol throughout their investigations into Hillary Clinton,” Johnson told Breitbart News in an emailed statement. “What is unclear, however, is why we have received few answers over the past twelve months to our questions about their actions, especially concerning the former attorney general and FBI director. The House Judiciary Committee has continued to seek answers on various issues of interest stemming from their hearings and oversight responsibilities. This is simply an effort to finally get some of those important questions answered.”

The effort was first reported by Breitbart News on Tuesday, when a draft copy of the amendment was circulated demonstrating these conservatives’ efforts to probe deep into the left’s network of leaks and corruption.

The probe is wide-ranging and includes a mandate for the House Judiciary Committee to dig deep into Lynch’s order to Comey that he should refer to the criminal investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s illicit email server as a “matter,” not an “investigation.” Clinton was the failed 2016 Democratic presidential nominee.

The probe also will press for document production regarding Comey’s communication with Columbia University Law Professor Daniel Richman, Comey’s friend, of conversations Comey had with President Trump. Richman was the vessel through which Comey leaked to the media details of those conversations with the president after his firing, with an apparent intent of using the media pressure from said leaks to spark the launching of the special counsel investigation of the Russia scandal. That special counsel investigation is being led by Comey’s longtime friend Robert Mueller, another former FBI director.

The investigation will also, per the amendment passed by the House Judiciary Committee, dig into Comey’s decision to “usurp the authority” of Lynch by making his “unusual announcement” that Hillary Clinton would not face criminal charges over the email scandal. It will inspect Comey’s knowledge of the firm Fusion GPS, the firm that made the fake news anti-Trump dossier that Comey brought to Trump’s attention when he was president-elect, and look at any “collusion” between Comey and Mueller—the special counsel leading the Russia probe now—especially regarding Comey’s leak through Richman to the media.

The probe, too, will look into Comey’s potential knowledge of “unmasking” of intelligence and surveillance collected on Donald Trump’s campaign or transition teams—and specifically any role that former National Security Adviser Susan Rice played in that.

But that’s not all: The probe will dig into potential immunity deals given to “co-conspirators” in Hillary Clinton’s email server scandal, including specifically Cheryl Mills, Heather Samuelson, and John Bentel.

It will also look into matters related to the Clinton Foundation’s influence from foreign governments and specifically the Uranium One deal exposed by Clinton Cash—whereby Russians obtained ownership in U.S. uranium assets. And it will investigate the infamous tarmac meeting between Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch in Phoenix at Sky Harbor International Airport.

Biggs, one of the sponsors of the now approved amendment to officially launch the committee probe, told Breitbart News in an interview before the measure was introduced that the American people want answers to these questions.

“My constituents ask the same questions that so many people want to know the answer to, and that is why have all these investigations stopped?” Biggs said. “There was a whole lot of fire there and they just seemed to end when the new administration came in and I think there’s two or three reasons,” Biggs said in a brief phone interview on Tuesday afternoon. “Number one, I think you want justice and that leads to number two—if you don’t have justice and you’re not following the rule of law then government and lawmakers and those who enforce the law are held in derision by the public. They lose faith and confidence in those they elect and so I think this is really important to get back to those basics and find out what happened and so that’s why I think it’s important.”

Gaetz, another original sponsor, said in an emailed statement that this is a step in the right direction. “It’s time for Republicans in Congress to start playing offense,” Gaetz said.

And Jordan, the fourth original sponsor, added that Democrats have for years “obstructed justice,” but they will no longer succeed.

“For the past several years, Democrats have obstructed justice and blocked every Congressional investigation imaginable,” Jordan said in an emailed statement to Breitbart News. “Now they want to investigate? Ok, let’s investigate! Both parties have criticized James Comey over the past year for his performance as FBI director. Even Sen. Feinstein says there should be an investigation into Loretta Lynch and James Comey’s handling of the Clinton investigation. Let’s have a special counsel for that and see how serious Congressional Democrats are about getting to the truth.”

Report: Obama Holdovers Slow-Roll Release of Clinton Emails, Officials Cite ‘Diminished Public Interest

July 24, 2017

Report: Obama Holdovers Slow-Roll Release of Clinton Emails, Officials Cite ‘Diminished Public Interest, BreitbartKristina Wong, July 24, 2017

AP/Cliff Owen

Officials from the State and Justice Departments argue a hiring freeze and lack of public interest are responsible for its inability to process and release the 100,000 Hillary Clinton emails as ordered under a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, according to a report.

A U.S. official familiar with the case told Circa “there are still holdovers” within the State and Justice Departments who don’t want to see the emails released, and are slow-rolling the process. But the report also said the president’s own Justice Department attorneys are citing “diminished public interest” in the emails, and that the president should demand the agencies abide.

According to Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton, the FBI turned over to the State Department a new disk of emails belonging to Clinton aide Huma Abedin that were discovered on a laptop owned by her husband, Anthony Weiner.

State and Justice Department lawyers say they can’t release them until they judge whether they are personal or government, and can be shared publicly. Fitton said there are apparently 7,000 emails on the laptop.

State Department spokeswoman Pooja Jhunjhunwala told Circa that the Department “takes its records management responsibilities seriously and is working diligently to process FOIA requests and to balance the demands of the many requests we have received.”

“We are devoting significant resources to meeting our litigation obligations,” she said.

Fitton argued they are moving too slowly. The State Department was ordered in November to process 500 pages per month, but he said it would take until 2020 for the bulk to be made public.

“President Trump needs to direct his agencies to follow the the law but right now they are making a mockery of it by saying they won’t finish releasing it until 2020,” he said.

Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, released 448 pages of documents the State Department did turn over from Abedin last week. The group said the emails describe preferential treatment “to major donors to the Clinton Foundation and political campaigns.”

“The documents included six Clinton email exchanges not previously turned over to the State Department, bringing the known total to date to at least 439 emails that were not part of the 55,000 pages of emails that Clinton turned over to the State Department, and further contradicting a statement by Clinton that, ‘as far as she knew,’ all of her government emails had been turned over to the State Department,” the group said in a July 14 press release.

Is it time for the DOJ to reopen the probe into Clinton?

July 19, 2017

Is it time for the DOJ to reopen the probe into Clinton? Judicial Watch via YouTube, July 19, 2017

(But that would be misogynistic and besides, it’s just old news.  Let’s just keep trying to impeach President Trump. That gets lots of headlines.– DM)

 

The Russian Collusion Story: The Acme of Fake News

July 16, 2017

The Russian Collusion Story: The Acme of Fake News, American ThinkerClarice Feldman, July 16, 2017

Richard Fernandez is one of the most brilliant authors on the Internet. This week he wrote:

Conventional wisdom posits the chief challenges facing the post-Cold War World are Global Warming and the decline of international institutions. But maybe that assurance is a species of Fake News. Suppose the most pressing problems in the next decade is finding new energy supplies to 1) keep the price of oil low enough to contain Russia (and Islamism); and 2) adapting to a disruptive information revolution no one can seem to control. Who will hand you that unconventional wisdom unless you come to it yourself.

He’s right, as I explain, but the significance of his observation is this: which of the two candidates — Hillary or Trump — was more likely to tap into America’s huge energy resources to contain both Russia and the Islamists? And when you answer that as you must — Trump — you can dismiss all the folderol about Donald J. Trump Jr’s, 15 minute meeting in Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer as evidence of “collusion” with Russia.  As I further explain, the non-stop media promotion of some nefarious scheme between Russia and Trump does not pass even the most cursory forensic examination, proving once again in the age of fake news, you cannot remain a passive consumer of news. You have to bring to each story the good sense and diligence with which you handle your most important personal affairs.

A. Russia and Environmental Groups

As Fernandez explained:

The oil crash collapsed the ruble and forced a 27% reduction in the Kremlin’s military budget in 2016.  With oil prices set to stay flat the Russians have to keep drilling and investing simply to stay level as the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies notes.  The Kremlin doesn’t make any real spending money until world oil price gets above levels before the great oil crash of 2014, which may not happen any time soon.[snip] You would think this a Eureka moment: to contain oil prices is to contain Russia (and Islamism). But cheap fossil fuels are not everyone’s cup of tea.  “Drill, baby, drill” is not popular on the left.  Even though liberals understand the power of cheap energy — one of Hillary’s supposedly hacked emails even alleged anti-fracking and environmental causes were a Russian plot to depress oil production — to advocate it is bad progressive politics. This probably led the Saudis to Hillary’s camp in 2016. “According to Bob McNally, president of consulting firm Rapidan Group, countries in the oil-producing Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, are hoping for Hillary Clinton to become president.”

If you’re looking for collusion with Russia, it is not to be found in the Trump Tower meeting.  Paul Mirengoff of Powerline details the Russian efforts through environmental groups — at best Stalin’s “useful idiots” — to tamp down US energy production.

 Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Science Committee, tells James Freeman of the Wall Street Journal:

If you connect the dots, it is clear that Russia is funding U.S. environmental groups in an effort to suppress our domestic oil and gas industry, specifically hydraulic fracking. They have established an elaborate scheme that funnels money through shell companies in Bermuda. This scheme may violate federal law and certainly distorts the U.S. energy market. The American people deserve to know the truth and I am confident Secretary Mnuchin will investigate the allegations.

To help Sec. Mnuchin conduct such an investigation, Rep. Smith, along with Energy Subcommittee Chairman Randy Weber, sent him a letter. They noted:

According to the former Secretary General of NATO, “Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engaged actively with so-called nongovernmental organizations – environmental organizations working against shale gas – to maintain dependence on imported Russian gas.” Other officials have indicated the same scheme is unfolding in the U.S.

Reps. Smith and Weber add that, according to public sources including a 2014 report from Republican staff on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, “entities connected to the Russian government are using a shell company registered in Bermuda, Klein Ltd. (Klein), to funnel tens of millions of dollars to a U.S.-based 501(c)(3) private foundation,” which supports various environmental groups. Klein denies this allegation.

Regardless of the conduit for the money, the allegation of funneling appears to be substantial. Indeed, says Freeman, it appears to have been noted by none other than Hillary Clinton:

If a document posted last year on WikiLeaks is to be believed, Clinton campaign staff summarized in an email attachment Hillary Clinton’s remarks on the subject during a private speech:

Clinton Talked About “Phony Environmental Groups” Funded By The Russians To Stand Against Pipelines And Fracking. “We were up against Russia pushing oligarchs and others to buy media. We were even up against phony environmental groups, and I’m a big environmentalist, but these were funded by the Russians to stand against any effort, oh that pipeline, that fracking, that whatever will be a problem for you, and a lot of the money supporting that message was coming from Russia.” [Remarks at tinePublic, 6/18/14]

Freeman suggests that Mnuchin commence his investigation by speaking with Mrs. Clinton, who “obviously knows the terrain.” He also thinks John Podesta would be a useful source.

Podesta is invested in and acts for a “green energy company backed by the Russian government.”

B. The Media Has lost all Credibility, Serving as the semi-official newsroom for the Democratic Party

Just as Fernandez detailed the rise of Samizdat in Russia as the official press was uniformly distrusted, the growth on alternate media in the U.S. is disrupting the old news models .

Our trust hierarchies have collapsed. As with Soviet Russia, the “official” media sources are now distrusted as purveyors “fake news”.  To fill the gap a peer-to-peer grapevine, similar to the “friends and family”, a samizdat is emerging to pick up the slack. Sonya Mann at Inc uses a startup to illustrate the growing division of society into trust groups. “Pax Dickinson wants to fund the revolution. Not a blood-in-the-streets revolution, but one where hardcore right-wingers can economically secede from the parts of society they vehemently dislike. “We need parallel everything. I do not want to ever have to spend a single dollar at a non-movement business.

Nothing so illustrates why the media has  deservedly lost all credibility than it’s unending, overdone effort to fit any action on the part of the President or those around him into a narrative of Russia somehow colluding with him to defeat Hillary. This week’s take was the short meeting his son held with a Russian lawyer in Trump Tower last summer.

The clearest summary of the facts surrounding the meeting with Trump’s son last summer is to be found in The American Spectator.  Scott McKay writes:

[Natalia] Veselnitskaya’s  [The Russian lawyer’s] presence in the United States alone ought to be the source of suspicion that not only is the Trump-Russian collusion narrative suspect in this case but that the real inquiry ought to be into whether the encounter was a small part of a larger attempt to trap the Trump campaign.

The Russian lawyer wasn’t even supposed to be here. She had been denied a visa for entry into the United States in late 2015, but given a rather extraordinary “parole” by the federal government to assist preparation for a client subject to asset forfeiture by the Justice Department. That was in January. The client was Prevezon Holdings, a Russian company suspected of having been paid some portion of $230 million stolen by Russian mobsters. When Sergey Magnitsky a Russian lawyer representing a company that had been the victim of the theft, reported it to authorities in Moscow he was promptly jailed and beaten to death. The American response to this atrocity was the 2012 Magnitsky Act, which sanctioned several individuals connected to human rights abuses. The Russian government retaliated by preventing American adoptions of Russian children.

But in June, she was permitted to fly back to the U.S., have the meeting with Trump Junior  —  at Trump Tower, no less  —  and then end up in the front row for a congressional hearing involving testimony from a former U.S. ambassador to Russia, then turning up at a D.C. showing of a documentary film on the negative effects of the Magnitsky Act, and later appearing at a dinner involving Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and former Rep. Ron Dellums (D-CA) who is now a lobbyist for the Russians. The repeal of that legislation is a priority item for the Russians and a personal project of Veselnitskaya’s; it, rather than any Clinton dirt, was reportedly the primary subject brought forth at the meeting with Donald Trump Jr.

All of this without a visa! Not to mention Veselnitskaya didn’t file a FARA (Foreign Agents Registration Act) document before acting as a lobbyist for a foreign entity, as required by law. Neither, apparently, did Dellums. Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) wrote a fascinating letterTuesday to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson asking them to please find out what in the hell Veselnitskaya was doing in this country last June.

And further, it turns out Veselnitskaya was connected to Fusion GPS, the Democrat opposition research firm which employed a former British spy who used Russian contacts to produce the infamous and debunked Pee Pee Dossier smearing Trump. Veselnitskaya hired Fusion GPS head Glenn Simpson to work on behalf of Prevezon, the company she was allowed into the country to represent, in its efforts to repeal the Magnitsky Act. Fusion then hired Christopher Steele, the British spy who drew on Russian sources to produce that dossier, and made him available for private briefings on the dossier with left-leaning media sources such as Mother Jones, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Yahoo! News, the New Yorkerand CNN in September.

Naturally, John McCain is involved  —  if that fact should produce his resignation, all of this will have been worth it.

By the way, there is Veselnitskaya’s social media account, which is decidedly more aligned with the Fusion GPS side of this equation than the Trump side.

And the meeting came about largely due to hyped-up promises made by a publicist for a Russian pop star who was connected to the Trump family from the Miss Universe pageant having been held in Moscow in 2013  —  promises which don’t appear to have been fulfilled. If this whole thing doesn’t look like an old-fashioned dangle to you, then you haven’t watched enough spy movies.

If timelines are interesting to you, there is this  —  reportedly, the Obama administration sought permission to electronically monitor Trump Tower in early June, and the FISA court would not grant it. But in October, that warrant was given. [snip]

And once that meeting  —  which on its surface was a waste of everyone’s time  —  was had, the Obama administration now had something to sell to the FISA court to get that warrant  —  from which they snagged Mike Flynn and gave the Democrat party and the media a mechanism to shroud the Trump administration in what can best be described as a rather dubious scandal. Remember how Hillary Clinton was accusing Trump of being a Putin’s puppet at the October 19 debate?

C. Donald J Trump’s son had every reason to believe that there was evidence of Hillary’s collusion with Russia

If this seems farfetched, consider this Veselnitskaya  was barred from entry to the US until Loretta Lynch granted her an excedptional “immigration parole” to appear in a judicial proceeding; a federal judge considered — but we can find no ruling — her motion  on January 6, 2016,to extend her stay by a week, and then  with no explanation of how this occurred, she was back in the US on June of that year  where she met with Donald J Trump Jr and attended as a front row guest a Congressional hearing on the Magnitsky act which imposed sanctions on Russia.

To add a dash of extra color to the story the media reported that with the lawyer was a “former Russian counter intelligence officer”, Rinat Akhmetshin.  He denies this.

“I am an American citizen since 2009 who pays taxes, earned his citizenship after living here since 1994, and swore an oath of loyalty to the United States of America,”

Kayleigh McEnany in The Hill characterized this as a “conspiracy theory desperately in earch of evidence”.

Bill Clinton had given a $500,000 speech in Russia.  Clinton had given her approval in handing one-fifth of U.S. uranium to Russia, after which her foundation received $2.35 million from the Russian-controlled company.  Suspiciously, Clinton did not disclose the transaction.

Likewise, Clinton campaign chief John Podesta sat on the board of a company that received $35 million from the Russian government alongside fellow board members Anatoly Chubais, a senior Russian official, and Ruben Vardanyan, an oligarch.

Given this context, why wouldn’t Trump Jr. be open to taking a meeting that offered evidence of incriminating Clinton dealings with Russia, particularly when most of the media refused to look into Clinton’s question-raising actions?[snip] We likewise know that several foreign countries known for their human rights violations  —  like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Brunei, and Algeria  —  donated millions to the Clinton foundation, and yet few publications construed their “support” in a negative way.

Taken together, the micro story of Donald Trump Jr. seeking opposition research  —  much like Clinton allies did in their dealings with the Ukrainian government  —  does nothing in the way of proving the macro allegation that the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia in hacking the DNC and releasing Clinton’s illegally obtained emails.

The American people see through this leftist-purveyed Russia conspiracy theory.  That’s why a full 56 percent want Congress and the media to focus on real issues, not Russia.  If the left continues to concoct Russian collusion evidence, they can fully expect for the 2018 congressional elections to look a lot like the special elections in Kansas, Montana, South Carolina, and Georgia  —  Republican victory.  Voters dismiss the salacious in favor of solutions, and as of now, the left have nothing besides an evidence-free smear campaign.

In any event, isn’t it curious that those who claim to consider a meeting to listen to opposition research, bought hook line and sinker the ridiculous-on-its-face Dossier concted by GPS against Trump, a far more likely piece of Russian intel disinformation? Or why they ignore DNC officials meeting with Ukrainian government officials for dirt on then Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Politico detailed the many ways the Ukrainians worked to help Hillary beat Trump.  As you might guess, they indicated these efforts were “far less concerted or centrally directed than Russia’s alleged hacking and dissemination of Democratic emails.” Covering with the word “alleged” a smear without any evidence but for the mutterings of Crowdstrike, a private outfit which was the only investigation the DNC allowed , a misstep by the Comey FBI which let this pass.

In any event, Legal commentators on both sides of the aisle have confirmed there was nothing illegal about the meeting.   I suppose we can’t expect much more of a press corps so stupid it mistakes the Star Spangled Banner for France’s La Marseillaise, and Bastille Day for the 100th Anniversary of the U.S. entry in WW I.

You’ll just have to work harder in the face of such ignorance and bias to find out what you need to know.

Today in Collusion

July 1, 2017

Today in Collusion, Power LineScott Johnson, July 1, 2017

(Huh? “If you’re confused, I’d ordinarily suggest that you go back and read the report a time or two. But life is short and rereading would not much clarify this spaghetti bowl hurled against the wall, in the hope that some of the Flynn sauce might stick.” — DM)

Lee Smith notes in his Tablet column “The strange tale of Jay Solomon” that the news side of the Wall Street Journal is straining to join the opposition to the Trump administration led by the Washington Post and the New York Times. “As one senior D.C. reporter told me recently,” Lee writes, “‘lots of Journal reporters want to join the anti-Trump resistance but they can’t do that because the editorial board thinks the Trump Russia narrative is absurd, as does the readership.’”

In yesterday’s paper, the Journal made a downpayment on membership dues in the Resistance with Shane Harris’s story “GOP operative sought Clinton emails from hackers, implied a connection to Flynn.” Harris’s story is behind the Journal’s subscription paywall, but the New York Post has an accessible summary by Todd Venezia here.

Andy McCarthy breaks down Harris’s story in his weekly NRO column here. Here is his summary and first pass at it:

About ten days before he died in mid-May, an 81-year-old man who did not work for the Trump campaign told the Journal he had speculated that, but did not know whether, 33,000 of Hillary Clinton’s e-mails had been hacked from her homebrew server. The now-deceased man, “a longtime Republican opposition researcher” named Peter W. Smith, had theorized that the e-mails must have been stolen, “likely by Russian hackers.” But he had no idea if this was actually so, and he himself certainly had nothing to do with stealing them.

Smith’s desire to obtain the hacked emails, if there were any, peaked around Labor Day 2016 — i.e., during the last weeks of the campaign. This was many months after the FBI had taken physical custody of Clinton’s homebrew server and other devices containing her e-mails. It was also two months after the Bureau’s then-director, James Comey, had told the country that the FBI had found no evidence that Clinton had been hacked . . . but that her carelessness about communications security, coupled with the proficiency of hackers in avoiding detection, meant her e-mails could well have been compromised throughout her years as secretary of state.

In other words, Peter W. Smith was one of about 320 million people in the United States who figured that Clinton’s e-mails had been hacked — by Russia, China, Iran, ISIS, the NSA, the latest iteration of “Guccifer,” and maybe even that nerdy kid down at Starbucks with “Feel the Bern” stickers on his laptop.

Besides having no relationship with Trump, Smith also had no relationship with the Russian regime. Besides not knowing whether the Clinton e-mails were actually hacked, he also had no idea whether the Kremlin or anyone close to Vladimir Putin had obtained the e-mails. In short, he wouldn’t have been able to tell you whether Trump and Putin were colluding with each other because he wasn’t colluding with either one of them.

But — here comes the blockbuster info — Smith was colluding with Michael Flynn. Or at least he kinda, sorta was . . . except for, you know, the Journal’s grudging acknowledgement that, well, okay, Smith never actually told the paper that Flynn was involved in what the report calls “Smith’s operation.”

It’s a long column. As ancient history is involved, Andy helpfully fills in the backstory to Harris’s article:

The Journal does not see fit to remind readers that the 33,000 e-mails Smith was trying to dig up were the ones Clinton had tried to destroy, even though they contained records of government business (which it is a felony to destroy), contained at least some classified information (which it is a felony to mishandle), and had been requested by congressional committees (whose proceedings it is a felony to obstruct by destroying evidence).

These penal inconveniences aside, there were also explosive political implications. Clinton had insisted that the e-mails in question were strictly of a personal nature, involving yoga routines, daughter Chelsea’s wedding, and the like. She maintained that she had turned over any and all government-related e-mails to the State Department. She had also laughably claimed that her homebrew server system was adequately secure. And there is every reason to believe many of these destroyed e-mails related to Clinton Foundation business — the Bill and Hill scheme to monetize their “public service” — which was liberally commingled with government business during Mrs. Clinton’s State Department tenure. Public disclosure of these e-mails, then, would have been very damaging, concretely demonstrating her dishonesty and unfitness.

There is every reason to believe the destroyed e-mails related to Clinton Foundation business — the Bill and Hill scheme to monetize their ‘public service’ — which was liberally commingled with government business during Mrs. Clinton’s State Department tenure. Understand: None of that is Russia’s fault, or Trump’s, or Flynn’s, or Flynn Jr.’s, or Smith’s. It was solely the fault of Hillary Clinton. She was a five-alarm disaster of a candidate. That’s why she lost.

Harris has the goods on crimes committed in connection with his story, but Harris won’t be revealing the perpetrators:

All this sound and fury turns out to be throat-clearing. The juicy news in the Journal’s report is not about Smith; it stems from yet another leak of classified information. According to “U.S. investigators” involved in the Russia probe (i.e., the Mueller investigation), there are intelligence reports that “describe Russian hackers discussing how to obtain e-mails from Mrs. Clinton’s server and then transmit them to Mr. Flynn via an intermediary.”

Who are these investigators? The Journal doesn’t tell us — the actual crime of leaking classified intelligence being of less interest than the non-crime of “collusion.” The purported Russian hackers are not identified either. Nor is Flynn’s “intermediary” — the Journal cannot say whether the leak is accurate, whether there really was an intermediary, or whether Smith could have been the intermediary. There is, moreover, no indication that any supposed Russian hacker actually made any effort to obtain the Clinton e-mails, much less that Flynn — let alone Trump — had any knowledge of or involvement in such an effort.

Quick: somebody start writing up the articles of impeachment!

Well, Harris is still on the case. The Journal has his follow-up story today (with Michael Bender and Peter Nicholas).

At the same time, Lawfare has posted the first-person account of Matt Tait, Harris’s source. “I was involved in the events that reporter Shane Harris described, and I was an unnamed source for the initial story,” Tait writes. “What’s more, I was named in, and provided the documents to Harris that formed the basis of, th[e] follow-up story…” Tait’s account is full of smoke, including the assumption that Smith had obtained the deleted Clinton emails from an unnamed person representing the “dark web.”

Tait puts it this way: “[Smith] said that his team had been contacted by someone on the ‘dark web’; that this person had the emails from Hillary Clinton’s private email server (which she had subsequently deleted), and that Smith wanted to establish if the emails were genuine.” Tait thereafter assumes that Smith had obtained the deleted emails.

“In the end,” Tait concedes, “I never saw the actual materials they’d been given, and to this day, I don’t know whether there were genuine emails, or whether Smith and his associates were deluding themselves.” Tait to the contrary notwithstanding, I can find nothing in Tait’s column to suggest he knows whether Smith had in fact obtained the deleted Clinton emails. Tait adds that it’s possible, after all, that “Smith” only “talked a very good game.”

The Brookings Institute is promoting Tait’s first-hand mystifications as some kind of a contribution this morning. That’s how I was alerted to it. Andy McCarthy hasn’t gotten to Harris’s follow-up story or to Tait’s account yet, but I think his comment in the NRO column applies generally to Harris’s follow-up Journal article and Tait’s account: “If you’re confused, I’d ordinarily suggest that you go back and read the report a time or two. But life is short and rereading would not much clarify this spaghetti bowl hurled against the wall, in the hope that some of the Flynn sauce might stick.”

Tom Fitton discusses Shocking, New Clinton Emails, Soros Lawsuit, Clean Elections, & Immigration

June 2, 2017

Tom Fitton discusses Shocking, New Clinton Emails, Soros Lawsuit, Clean Elections, & Immigration, Judicial Watch via YouTube, June 2, 2017