January 16, 2017

No One Can Agree On Comey’s Place In The Trump Administration

FBI Director James Comey is grappling with an uncertain future as President-elect Donald Trump prepares to assume office.

As the perception that Comey’s handling of the Clinton email investigation swung the election in Trump’s favor calcifies into conventional wisdom, no one inside the Beltway can agree about the embattled director’s future.

Vice President-elect Mike Pence and Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, both declined to express support for the FBI chief during Sunday show appearances this week, while incoming White House chief of staff Reince Preibus told ABC Comey should expect to keep his job.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, appearing shortly before Preibus on ABC, said he believes Comey should step aside.

Pence, appearing on Fox News Sunday, wouldn’t offer a definitive assessment of Comey’s future. “You’ll have to ask [Trump] about that,” he said. “I know it’s been a subject of some commentary this last week, but at the end of the day, I know that, whether it’s our security at home or abroad, that the president-elect is going to put the safety and security of the American people first.”

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January 13, 2017

DOJ Watchdog Investigating How The FBI Handled Clinton Emails Before Election

Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Inspector General (IG) officials are investigating whether senior executives of DOJ and FBI broke the law or established procedures during the probe of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a home-brew private email server to conduct official diplomatic business.

The IG’s investigation, prompted by numerous requests from Congress and the public, will pay special attention to FBI Director James Comey’s decisions to issue public statements and write letters about the investigation’s findings days before the election, according to an IG news release.

Comey came under fire, particularly from Democrats, for his 11th-hour letter to Congress about the discovery of more emails related to the investigation on former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s laptop. Some Democrats suggested the announcement cost Clinton the election.

The DOJ’s IG, Michael Horowitz, will investigate the following:

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January 12, 2017

BuzzFeed Could Be In Legal Trouble For Publishing Trump Doc

While BuzzFeed weathers criticism for publishing a document cache containing unsubstantiated and scandalous allegations about President-elect Donald Trump and his confidantes, they also could face legal consequences.

The organization elected to publish a 35-page dossier claiming Russian operatives had compromising personal and financial information about the president-elect and others in his orbit. The documents were compiled by a former British intelligence officer working for a private intelligence firm in London at the behest of Trump’s political opponents. They were later shared with Democratic political operatives and members of Congress.

If the salacious allegations in the document cache prove false, an individual named in the documents may have cause to bring a libel lawsuit against BuzzFeed.

Though the prospect of a sitting president bringing a civil suit against a media organization seems far-fetched, Trump aides outside the administration who are implicated in the documents could move forward with their own actions. Michael Cohen, counsel for the Trump Organization and an individual named in the documents, is a likely candidate in this regard.

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January 11, 2017

Peak ‘Fake News’: BuzzFeed, CNN Target Trump with Admittedly Unverifiable Russia ‘Memos’

On Tuesday, CNN reported that President-elect Donald Trump and President Barack Obama had been briefed by the intelligence community on memos alleging there was communication between Trump’s campaign and Russian officials.

CNN suggested the existence of highly-compromising material targeting Trump which was compiled by a former British intelligence officer.

CNN, which was referred to as the Clinton News Network during the 2016 election, wrote (emphasis ours):

CNN has reviewed a 35-page compilation of the memos, from which the two-page synopsis was drawn. The memos originated as opposition research, first commissioned by anti-Trump Republicans, and later by Democrats. At this point, CNN is not reporting on details of the memos, as it has not independently corroborated the specific allegations. But, in preparing this story, CNN has spoken to multiple high ranking intelligence, administration, congressional and law enforcement officials, as well as foreign officials and others in the private sector with direct knowledge of the memos

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January 10, 2017

FBI Warned Clinton Emails Were Vulnerable To ‘Foreign Government Espionage’ In 2015

FBI counter-terrorism officials warned in the summer of 2015 that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton doing official business on her home email system potentially compromised national security, according to new 300 pages of new evidence released late Sunday.

The warnings came even as Clinton — by then heavily favored to win the Democratic presidential nomination — casually dismissed any problems with the private email system in her New York mansion.

Dramatic behind-the-scenes alarms were triggered by the Clinton’s emails, a fact which is vividly depicted throughout the newly released documents.

Randall C. Coleman, assistant director of the Bureau’s counterintelligence division, approved a memo circulated throughout FBI headquarters that claiming “an activity constituting a federal crime or a threat to national security has or may have occurred,” July 10, 2015, for example.

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January 9, 2017

Fake News Plus Fascism: New York Times Urges Boycott of Breitbart

In two op-ed articles for the New York Times‘ Sunday Review, the Gray Lady attacks Breitbart News and its founder, Andrew Breitbart, and encourages an effort to “destroy” the company by appealing directly to advertisers not to support the website.

One article, “How to Destroy the Business Model of Breitbart and Fake News,” written by someone actually called “Pagan Kennedy” (was “Antichrist Roosevelt” not available?) celebrates the flagging effort of anonymous Twitter trolls who have tried to target and intimidate companies whose ads appear alongside Breitbart News articles, via third party platforms.

These would-be censors of the totalitarian left have decided that since they cannot defeat conservative views and arguments on the merits, they would prefer to eliminate them.

The Times, which prides itself as a guardian of free speech and press freedom, gives its backing to this (unsuccessful) campaign with nearly 2,000 words of space. The article includes instructions on how to join the anti-Breitbart effort, copied verbatim — “Step 1… Step 2…” — from the anonymous activists’ Twitter page.

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January 6, 2017

FBI Claims DNC ‘Inhibited’ Its Investigation Of Stolen Emails

The Democratic National Committee “inhibited” the FBI’s investigation of email hacks by refusing to grant investigators access to the party’s computer servers, the bureau is claiming.

“The FBI repeatedly stressed to DNC officials the necessity of obtaining direct access to servers and data, only to be rebuffed until well after the initial compromise had been mitigated,” an FBI official said Thursday, according to BuzzFeed News.

“This left the FBI no choice but to rely upon a third party for information. These actions caused significant delays and inhibited the FBI from addressing the intrusion earlier.”

The FBI’s response comes a day after a DNC official told BuzzFeed that the FBI has not inspected the party’s computer servers at any point in its months-long hacking probe.

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January 5, 2017

Trump To Slim Down ‘Politicized’ Intelligence Agencies, Report Says

President-elect Donald Trump plans on cutting down and restructuring the U.S. intelligence community, The Wall Street Journal reports.

A key intent of plan is to pare back headquarters staff at the Virginia based Central Intelligence Agency, and to possibly cut the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The Director of National Intelligence’s office was established after 9/11 to better coordinate intelligence sharing among the 17 different U.S. intelligence agencies. Trump’s team is concerned both organizations have become bloated in headquarters staff and are no longer mission effective.

“The view from the Trump team is the intelligence world [is] becoming completely politicized,” an anonymous official with alleged knowledge of Trump’s plans told TheWSJ. He continued, “They all need to be slimmed down. The focus will be on restructuring the agencies and how they interact.”

Trump’s pick for National Security advisor, Retired Army Lt. Gen Michael Flynn, is reportedly one of the main drivers behind the restructuring effort. Flynn is a proponent of sending senior intelligence officers into foreign outposts, and continually rotating intelligence analysts to gain them more exposure. Trump’s team reportedly plans on implementing this effort at the CIA.

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January 4, 2017

Supreme Court Weighs Petition To Rein In Obama’s Most Powerful Agency

The Supreme Court is weighing a petition which could significantly curtail the authority of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the most powerful agency established under President Barack Obama.
A petition filed before the end of the year asks the justices to strike down a wide range of actions taken by CFPB before its director was officially installed. Federal law requires all agency actions be approved and carried out by an agency’s executive officer, the individual to whom Congress makes an explicit grant of power.
The case was occasioned when CFPB levied a number of fines and penalties against Chance Gordon, a California lawyer accused of violating several provisions in the Consumer Financial Protection Act. The agency ultimately assessed an $11 million fine against Gordon and his law practice for charging fees for legal services he allegedly did not provide.
Gordon’s penalties were initiated when CFPB did not have a director, and was not empowered to take such punitive steps. When the current director of CFPB, Richard Cordray, assumed office, he issued an order retroactively sanctioning a number of actions taken by the agency before his confirmation, including the penalties assessed against Gordon.
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January 3, 2017

Liberals Are Begging Obama To Ram Garland Through This One-Minute Window On Tuesday

The prospect of multiple Supreme Court appointments looms large over the incoming Trump administration, and liberal stalwarts are urging President Barack Obama to appoint Judge Merrick Garland to the high court by an aggressive, and dubious, parliamentary maneuver.

The Constitution’s recess appointment power allows the president to make appointments to federal offices without congressional consent while Congress is in recess. The appointment is only temporary, and expires at the conclusion of the ensuing Senate session — in this case, December 2017.

To mitigate against recess appointments during adjournments, Congress typically holds “pro forma” sessions on a regular basis — the chamber is, quite literally, gaveled into and out of session in a matter of seconds, making recess appointments impossible. However, some liberal commentators argue the president has authority to make a recess appointment in a matter of seconds on Tuesday.

The 114th Congress will hold its final session on Tuesday, during which the speaker of the house will officially conclude the term’s business. At the strike of the speaker’s gavel, Congress will technically be in, if only for a moment, before the 115th Congress is called to session one minute later. It’s that brief moment, called an “inter-session recess,” that some believe presents Obama the opportunity to exercise his recess appointment power.

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January 2, 2017

McCain, Graham Call for ‘Stronger Sanctions’ on Russia for ‘Attack’ on US

During a tour of the Baltic states, Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called for tougher sanctions against Russia Sunday over hacking allegations.

“We will be working for much tougher sanctions against Russia,” McCain said. “They attacked the United States of America. The hacking was an attack and it should be treated as such.”

“We strongly urge our colleagues to enact more meaningful and stronger sanctions against Russia because of their attack,” he added.

Graham said he hopes to “make 2017 a year of offense.”

He said in front of reporters, “We believe that [Vladimir] Putin has hacked into our elections in America, that he’s trying to undermine democracy all over the world, and it’s time for new sanctions to hit him hard.”

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December 30, 2016

Trump to Meet With Intelligence Leaders About Claims of Russian Hacking

President-elect Donald Trump pledged Thursday to meet with members of the intelligence community in response to President Barack Obama’s new sanctions against the Russia, which Obama says are a punishment for Russian tampering with the American political process.

“It’s time for our country to move on to bigger and better things,” said the incoming president from his estate Mar-a-Largo, where he is on a working vacation with his family.

“Nevertheless, in the interest of our country and its great people, I will meet with leaders of the intelligence community next week in order to be updated on the facts of this situation,” Trump said in a statement.

Obama said his actions were prompted by a Joint Analysis Report from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, which said that Russian civilian and military intelligence services’ conducted malicious cyber activity, as well as harassment of American diplomats in Russia.

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December 29, 2016

Kerry Tells Israel To Pick Being Democratic Or Jewish — ‘It Cannot Be Both’

John Kerry stated Wednesday that if Israel chooses to remain a singular state with Palestine, “it cannot be both” Jewish and democratic.

“There are a similar number of Jews and Palestinians living between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea,” Kerry explained. “They have a choice.”

“They can choose to live together in one state or they can separate into two states.”

“Here is a fundamental reality,” the outgoing Secretary of State added. “If the choice is one state, Israel can either be Jewish or democratic, but it cannot be both.”

“It won’t ever really be at peace.”

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December 28, 2016

John Kerry To Deliver Obama’s Plan To Solve The Israel-Palestinian Conflict

Secretary of State John Kerry will deliver a speech outlining the Obama administration’s plan to solve the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians Wednesday, said Department of State spokesman Mark Toner Tuesday.

While it remains unclear what exactly Kerry will say, it is believed that the speech will center on four core issues regarding a potential two-state solution: borders, the partition of Jerusalem, security and the refugee problem.

Kerry’s speech may be based on a “framework document” released in March 2014 which outlined a potential solution to the conflict. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu supported the framework, but Kerry was unable to secure the support of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who never provided a response to the plan.

Kerry attempted to revive direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians in 2014, but they ultimately collapsed in April of the same year. Both Kerry and U.S. Special Envoy Martin Indyk would later blame Israel for the failed talks. The State Department attempted to walk back those accusations.

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December 27, 2016

Miller’s Alleged Affair Led To White House Rejection

Campaign staffer Jason Miller for Donald Trump recently turned down a job working as Director of Communications, but new information has surfaced that could explain Miller’s decision, according to a Politico report Monday.

Miller allegedly had an affair during the course of the campaign, according to Politico’s report. The allegations come from transition aide A.J. Delgado, who tweeted congratulations to the “baby-daddy” for his promotion, calling Miller the “2016 version of John Edwards.”

“When you try to put a brave face and tweet about nonsense to distract, your feed looks like @JasonMillerDC’s,” Delgado wrote Twitter. “When people need to resign graciously and refuse to, it’s a bit … spooky.” Delgado then clarified who she was talking about, “Jason Miller, who needed to resign … yesterday.”

Miller mentioned family time when he officially turned down the position in the White House Saturday, “After spending this past week with my family, the most amount of time I have been able to spend with them since March 2015, it is clear they need to be my top priority right now,” Miller said in the prepared statement. “I need to put them in front of my career.”

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December 26, 2016

New Book Exposes How EPA Distorts Science To Fit Its Political Goals

The Environmental Protection Agency has based its most onerous air pollution regulations on junk science meant to further political goals, says the author of a new book.

Lawyer-statistician Steve Milloy’s new book, “Scare Pollution,” shows readers how EPA has distorted the science behind air pollution regulations to hamper politically incorrect industries, from coal to logging to manufacturing.

“I have worked on EPA science controversies for 25 years,” Milloy told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “EPA doesn’t use science so much as it abuses it for its political ends.”

Milloy is referring to EPA regulations that rely on the shaky claim that fine particulate matter, or PM2.5, kills people. That claim alone has allowed EPA to claim billions of dollar worth of supposed benefits from regulating coal plants, factories and automobiles.

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December 23, 2016

EPA Employees Not ‘Intentionally’ Breaking Law By Deleting Official Texts, IG Claims

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials only archived 86 text messages out of 3.1 million agency employees sent and received in 2015, according to a federal watchdog’s report made public Wednesday by House Committee on Science, Space and Technology Chairman Lamar Smith.

The EPA Office of Inspector General (IG) released the report requested by the Texas Republican, which described enormous text message retention problems within the EPA. One unnamed senior official configured his phone to automatically delete texts after 30 days.

The IG claimed EPA officials never “intentionally” violated the Federal Records Act and did not include the low number of archived texts in the body of its report, relaying it instead to congressional staff.

Multiple federal laws and regulations require that officials preserve all documents — including email and text messages — created in the course of conducting official business of the U.S. government.

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December 22, 2016

EPA Employees Not ‘Intentionally’ Breaking Law By Deleting Official Texts, IG Claims

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials only archived 86 text messages out of 3.1 million agency employees sent and received in 2015, according to a federal watchdog’s report made public Wednesday by House Committee on Science, Space and Technology Chairman Lamar Smith.

The EPA Office of Inspector General (IG) released the report requested by the Texas Republican, which described enormous text message retention problems within the EPA. One unnamed senior official configured his phone to automatically delete texts after 30 days.

The IG claimed EPA officials never “intentionally” violated the Federal Records Act and did not include the low number of archived texts in the body of its report, relaying it instead to congressional staff.

Multiple federal laws and regulations require that officials preserve all documents — including email and text messages — created in the course of conducting official business of the U.S. government.

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December 21, 2016

EPA REFUSES To Explain Why It Let Pollution Sit For DECADES

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials refuse to explain why they let pollution fester at up to 302 highly-contaminated sites under their authority for years or even decades. They also won’t explain what they’re doing to protect people’s health.

The EPA doesn’t know what dangers exist at 191 sites, and humans face health risks at another 111, an investigation from The Daily Caller News Foundation revealed Monday. Pollution has threatened human health at up to 117 Superfund sites for more than 30 years.

EPA officials refused to explain why cleaning or even just assessing pollution risks has taken so long.

“I don’t think we will be providing anything further,” Associate Administrator Frank Benenati told TheDCNF after he was emailed the link to the investigation Monday. Benenati is also the EPA’s chief spokesman. The EPA ignored multiple DCNF requests regarding the Superfund investigation over a three-day period before Benenati ultimately responded just hours before deadline.

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December 20, 2016

Hillary Loses Electoral College Vote 18 Years To Day After Bill’s Impeachment

Hillary Clinton lost the Electoral College vote to Donald Trump on Dec. 19, 2016, 18 years to the day after the U.S. House of Representatives impeached President Bill Clinton on two charges of perjury and one of obstruction of justice.

Trump and his running mate Mike Pence won 304 electoral votes, surpassing the needed 270 to beat Clinton. Of the six electors that did not vote for Trump or Clinton, four were were originally slated for Hillary.

In 1998, the Republican-controlled House voted 228 to 206 to approve the first article of impeachment which accused President Clinton of perjury before a grand jury. One hour later, lawmakers passed another article claiming he tampered with witnesses and helped hide evidence.

Two other impeachment articles, a second perjury charge and a charge of abuse of power failed to pass the House. The Senate later acquitted Bill Clinton of both charges on Feb. 12, 1999.

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