March 27, 2015

DHS secretary says Mayorkas will keep his job amid immigration flap

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Thursday that he won’t fire his deputy for showing favoritism to high-profile Democrats in key immigration cases, insisting that the problem lay not with Alejandro Mayorkas but rather with a broken visa program.

Mr. Johnson’s refusal comes even as John Roth, the inspector general who investigated Mr. Mayorkas, said the former chief of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services broke the rules that he himself issued when he took control of the agency in 2009.

Republicans on Capitol Hill said they are stunned that Mr. Johnson hasn’t done more to discipline Mr. Mayorkas in light of the findings, which called the deputy’s involvement in three cases “unprecedented” and raised questions about whether Mr. Mayorkas was forthcoming with investigators.

“I just don’t get it,” said Rep. David Young, an Iowa Republican who prodded Mr. Johnson to levy a stiffer penalty against Mr. Mayorkas than the talking-to Mr. Johnson said he delivered after the report was released Tuesday.

Even as Mr. Johnson was defending Mr. Mayorkas in one committee room, Mr. Roth was telling another committee that Mr. Mayorkas “violated an ethical standard” with his behavior, which set off alarms for a striking number of employees who became whistleblowers.

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March 26, 2015

Did you know Obama just took new executive action on immigration?

This week President Obama took unilateral executive action — again — to change the nation's immigration laws. Almost no one noticed.

Obama intends to make it easier to bring more foreign guest workers to the United States — likely at significant cost to workers already here — by loosening the rules governing something known as the L-1B visa program. Under the program, a multinational company with offices in the United States can move workers from abroad to live and work in the U.S. for as long as five years in what is known as an intra-company transfer. There are almost no rules concerning what those workers can be paid, so there is no barrier to a company firing American employees and bringing in workers from foreign facilities to replace them at much lower pay.

Companies who transfer workers to the U.S. through an L-1B visa have to show that those workers bring some sort of "specialized knowledge" to the job — that is, they have particular knowledge that would be hard, if not impossible, to find elsewhere in the United States. Obama plans to broaden the definition of "specialized knowledge" so much that it could conceivably used to cover just about any foreign worker a company wants to bring here.

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March 25, 2015

Homeland Security exec used 'improper influence' to favor Reid, McAuliffe

Department of Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas exerted "improper influence" on behalf of three applicants for a federal program that grants residency to foreign investors in U.S. projects, including one with links to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and another to Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

Mayorkas was then director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency with Homeland Security and made multiple changes in the Employment-Based Fifth Preference program even though it represented a tiny slice of his overall responsibilities in the position, according to the Homeland Security inspector general in a report made public Tuesday.

The government received more than 700 EB-5 applications during his tenure at USCIS, but Mayorkas devoted an unusual amount of attention to applicants in three of the agency's regional centers where decisions were made on applications. The three included the LA Films Regional Center, the Las Vegas Regional Center and the Gulf Coast Funds Management Center.

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March 24, 2015

Utility Company Lobbying Against Protection of 2nd Amendment Rights

NorthWestern Energy, Montana’s largest gas and electric company, is lobbying against a Republican bill that protects 2nd Amendment rights by making it legal for residents to sue cities and municipalities that infringe on those rights.

The 2nd Amendment protections are contained in legislation put forth by state representative Matthew Monforton (R-69th Dist.), who is worried that Michael Bloomberg and other gun control advocates could work successfully in some municipalities to limit the exercise of 2nd Amendment rights unless further precautions are taken.

According to Fox News, Northwestern Energy opposes the legislation because it fears that it could face lawsuits for barring its employees from being armed.

Yet representative Monforton made sure the language only applies to “government entities.”

Montana Shooting Sports Association’s Gary Marbut thinks Northwestern Energy’s lobbying efforts against the bill run “contrary to the interests of its 542,000 gas and electric customers in Montana, most of whom are avid gun owners and hunters.” Moreover, Marbut said the fact that they are a “large corporation and have been given a monopoly by the Public Service Commission” should be enough to prevent them from lobbying against the interest of pro-gun Montanans.

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March 23, 2015

Five questions for the Secret Service

Revelations of continuing disarray at the U.S. Secret Service, a fight over the agency pitting President Obama against Republicans, and a growing sense that the organization tasked with protecting the president is out of control have raised some serious questions. Here are the five biggest:

1. Will President Obama stick by Director Joseph Clancy?

2. Why does the FBI have higher disciplinary standards than the agency and what, if anything, is the agency doing about it?

3. Does the agency have the money it needs to hire and train more officers and agents?

4. What is the agency doing to fix the White House fence-jumping problem?

5. Can the agency ever get its reputation back?

If Congress' harsh reaction to Clancy's similar comments at this week's House hearing are any indication, Clancy stills needs to do far more to improve agency standards and instill discipline.

March 20, 2015

Who at the Export-Import Bank warned Boeing about a Delta FOIA?

Delta Airlines used federal transparency laws to demonstrate how cozy the federal Export-Import Bank is with aircraft maker Boeing — and it appears officials at Ex-Im then tipped off Boeing about Delta's open-records request.

Delta is suing the Export-Import Bank, arguing that the agency is ignoring its mandate to consider how it harms U.S. companies. When Ex-Im subsidizes Air India's purchase of a Boeing jet, for instance, this helps Boeing, but it also helps Air India — thus harming Delta.

Congress requires Ex-Im to study the economic impact of its export subsidies. Delta charges that Ex-Im's economic impact policy doesn't meet Congress's mandate and doesn't actually take into account the harm to U.S. airlines of subsidizing foreign airlines.

Ex-Im, over email and in private meetings, gave Boeing a central role in crafting the economic impact procedure. This is a bit perverse when you think about it: to study how jumbo jet subsidies might hurt airlines, why do you ask the jetmakers instead of the airlines?

We know about Boeing's intimate role in the rulemaking process only because lawyers for Delta, at the firm Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evens & Figel, filed a Freedom of Information Act request in October 2012, asking for "all communications between" Boeing and Ex-Im "regarding the Bank's proposed Economic Impact Procedures …"

More than two years later, Ex-Im delivered these documents to Delta's lawyers, who have since petitioned the court to include the relevant emails in the case's administrative record — in effect, the evidence that a judge should consider.

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March 19, 2015

OBAMA FLOATS MANDATORY VOTING: ‘IT WOULD COMPLETELY CHANGE THE POLITICAL MAP’

They say the only two things that are certain in life are death and taxes. President Barack Obama wants to add one more: voting.
Obama floated the idea of mandatory voting in the U.S. while speaking to a civic group in Cleveland on Wednesday. Asked about the corrosive influence of money in U.S. elections, Obama digressed into the related topic of voting rights and said the U.S. should be making it easier — not harder— for people to vote.
Just ask Australia, where citizens have no choice but to vote, the president said.
“If everybody voted, then it would completely change the political map in this country,” Obama said, calling it potentially transformative. Not only that, Obama said, but universal voting would “counteract money more than anything.”
Disproportionately, Americans who skip the polls on Election Day are younger, lower-income and more likely to be immigrants or minorities, Obama said. “There’s a reason why some folks try to keep them away from the polls,” he said in a veiled reference to efforts in a number of Republican-led states to make it harder for people to vote.
Statistically speaking, Obama is correct. Less than 37 percent of eligible voters cast ballots in the 2014 midterms, according to the United States Election Project. And a Pew Research Center study found that those avoiding the polls in 2014 tended to be younger, poorer, less educated and more racially diverse.

March 18, 2015

White House defends move to curb records requests

Obama administration officials said Tuesday there was no ulterior motive in the administration’s move that makes the White House Office of Administration no longer subject to the Freedom of Information Act.
The rule change, which came Monday on National Freedom of Information Day, was required by a federal judge’s ruling six years ago, said White House press secretary Josh Earnest.
“The regulations were merely updated to reflect that court’s decision,” Mr. Earnest said. “It has no impact on the policy that we have maintained from the beginning to comply with the Freedom of information act requests when it’s appropriate.”
The policy will allow the Obama White House to reject records requests for that office, just as the last Bush White House did. But the move was an awkward one for an administration that bills itself as the “most transparent in history.”
The change also comes as former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is embroiled in questions about her decision to use personal email in her job instead of the government’s email system.
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March 17, 2015

Clinton Foundation got $2 million from firm linked to Chinese intelligence

A Chinese firm with extremely close ties to China's internal security department is among the largest donors to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, a revelation that recalls the former president's multiple campaign finance scandals involving illegal Asian money.

"Rilin Enterprises pledged $2 million in 2013 to the Clinton Foundation's endowment. The company is a privately-held Chinese construction and trade conglomerate and run by billionaire Wang Wenliang, who is also a delegate to the Chinese parliament," CBS News reported Monday.

"Public records show the firm has spent $1.4 million since 2012, lobbying Congress and the State Department. The firm owns a strategic port along the border with North Korea and was also one of the contractors that built the Chinese embassy in Washington."

Foreign nations typically rely only on firms with extremely close ties to government intelligence elements to build overseas embassies.

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March 16, 2015

Let This Sink In: James Carville Goes From Fox News To Media Matters

Here’s a feat that’s rarely possible: You go straight from Fox News to Media Matters.

Try that on for size, because Democratic strategist and longtime Clinton loyalist James Carville has achieved what seems like it should be the impossible.

Media Matters, a lefty watchdog group, an arm of the Democratic Party and perpetual hater of Fox News, proudly announced the news this week in a statement.

Carville will be a “reoccurring guest contributor,” according to the lefty site HuffPost.

In his first column, “Chin Scratchers Take a Breath,” he critiqued the Washington Press Corps covering Hillary Clinton‘s email fiasco. He wrote about the unfairness of how the media covers the Clintons — one standard for them and another for everyone else. The former consultant to Bill Clinton strongly rebuffed all the criticisms of the Clintons of the past week, saying there was “nothing in the law” that was wrong with how she handled things. He called it “another made-up scandal.”

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March 13, 2015

Secret North Korea talks?

A U.S. government source tells Inside the Ring there are signs the Obama administration is quietly working to open secret talks with North Korea as part of a plan to eventually normalize relations with the communist regime in Pyongyang. The discussions or plans for them are said to be similar to the secret diplomacy that led to the December 2014 announced initiative to normalize relations with Cuba.

Those talks were carried out in secret during meetings in Canada and Vatican City over several months before the December rollout. Pope Francis was said to be a key player on the Cuba thaw in relations.

Back-channel North Korea talks would be more complicated because of South Korea. South Korean President Park Geun-hye has taken a hard line on Chinese and North Korean appeals to resume nuclear talks that broke down several years ago. Mrs. Park is said to view the resumption of nuclear talks as a waste of time since the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un does not appear interested in holding sincere talks on giving up his nuclear arms.

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March 12, 2015

White House: Senators Have No Role In Iran Agreement

The nation’s 100 senators won’t have any role in approving President Barack Obama’s pending nuclear agreement with Iran’s theocracy because the deal wouldn’t be a treaty, according to White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

Earnest told reporters at a midday press conference that it would be a “impactful forceful commitment.”

The negotiations with Iran “seek very serious and firm commitments,” he said.

They would be “specific commitments … a forceful commitment,” he said.

But 47 of 54 Republican senators disagree with President Barack Obama’s definition of the potential deal, and say it would likely be considered a treaty. They released a letter March 10 warning Iranian officials and Obama that the Senate has the constitutional duty to provide advice and consent to treaties negotiated by the administration.

The president “shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur,” says the U.S. Constitution, which Obama swore to protect and serve in 2009 and 2013.

When the GOP senators claimed their constitutional power over treaties, senior Democrats — including Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — immediately tried to portray the 47 GOP signatories as traitors, Iranian agents and saboteurs.

Obama has kept the details of his negotiations secret from the senators. But the potential deal is regarded by critics as evidence that the United States is giving Iran’s agitating Shia theocracy too much leeway.

The deal is aimed at preventing Iran from being able to build a nuclear weapon in exchange for loosened sanctions, but its framework has yet to address the future of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges and enriched uranium, or the country’s development of long-range missiles. It would likely last 10 years and would likely not prevent funding for jihadi groups or protect Iranians’ human or democratic rights.

Obama has said he would continue to push for those priorities after securing the arms deal. He has described the draft deal a way for Iran to gain power and legitimacy in the region.

The Iran deal is similar to the simple troop-basing agreements signed with allied nations of Japan and South Korea, Earnest insisted.

The Iranian deal will have “commitments with the same amount of weight that are struck by the United States and our allies, like Korea and Japan, when it comes to basing agreements about keeping U.S. troops on their soil,” Earnest claimed.

Those basing deals “are forceful because they relate to the ability of our men and women in uniform to do their jobs,” he added.

The Iran deal “is an agreement that is similarly structured” to international agreements that allow multinational seizure of weapons that are being smuggled via international waters, he said.

Obama’s dismissive attitude follows his practice of sidelining the Senate’s role in changing his Obamacare system, in reviewing appointments and in setting immigration law.

In the Iran deal, the 100 senators may have a subsidiary role in future years, Obama’s press secretary granted.

“The administration … does acknowledge that Congress at some point, will, by law, have to vote to remove the statutory sanctions that Congress put in place against Iran,” he said.

But that role won’t begin until years after the “commitments” are put in place, Earnest declared.

“The president does not believe that those statutory sanctions should be removed unless and until Iran has demonstrated, over the course of a number of years, that they are actually living up to the commitments they’ve made with the United States,” Earnest said.

Earnest then argued the president was being tougher on Iran that Republican senators.

“Congress is suggesting that they should take a vote on these sanctions far earlier in the process, and the president doesn’t think that’s wise,” he said, adding “the president thinks, frankly, that we should be tougher on Iran.”

Source

March 11, 2015

Fannie Mae recklessness risks future financial crises and taxpayer losses, watchdog warns

Nearly seven years after it was bailed out from the housing market crash, mortgage giant Fannie Mae is still engaging in behavior that could precipitate future financial crises and taxpayer losses, a government watchdog warns in a report to be released Wednesday.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency inspector general said its latest concerns involve Fannie Mae’s “haphazard” decision to fill a critical auditor position with an employee who lacked proper qualifications and suffered from a conflict of interest.

Unless Fannie Mae’s leaders and the audit committee that allowed the hiring do their jobs better, there is a “substantial risk” the mortgage company “will operate in an unsafe and unsound manner, suffer losses and expose U.S. taxpayers to further financial risks,” the inspector general said.

The watchdog also had harsh words for the FHFA, the federal agency that oversees Fannie Mae, saying its own leadership failed to act on concerns about the hiring of the auditor position, choosing instead to stay silent.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are two federally insured mortgage giants that were taken over by the U.S. government in fall 2008 during the height of the U.S. financial crisis, which was caused in part by risky subprime mortgages.

Taxpayers bailed out the two entities in one of the most dramatic government interventions in U.S. market history. FHFA was created as a federal agency to provide better oversight to the two mortgage giants.

The current controversy centers on the Chief Audit Executive (CAE), a critical role at Fannie Mae “tasked with providing independent, objective assurance of the enterprise’s governance, risk management and control processes,” the inspector general reported.
But despite the CAE’s role in determining the financial safety of Fannie Mae’s actions, including what loans to hand out, the company internally hired a manager who didn’t have enough experience to meet the role, falling below the “preferable” level of qualifications for the job.
Though looking for at least 15 years’ experience as an auditor, the manager hired had only seven years’ experience and hadn’t worked as an auditor since 1992, the report said.
Furthermore, before becoming the CAE, the manager had served as the chief credit officer for Fannie Mae’s largest business unit. That presented a major conflict of interest, investigators said, since he was strongly invested in the financial success of the company, which could have clouded his judgment on whether a loan was sound.
The report did not name the manager.
Spokespeople for Fannie Mae did not return reporters’ requests for comment Tuesday.
Peter Morici, an economist and professor at the R.H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, said it was “absolutely ridiculous” for Fannie Mae to be hiring its own managers as auditors “when there’s such a large pool [of] talent out there available for this.”
It is “good old-fashioned Latin American corruption,” said Mr. Morici, who also is a frequent columnist for The Washington Times and other publications. “They’re going to inspect their own work, their friends and supervisors. It’s just not what you do. It’s like having the students write and grade their own exams.”
In their report, investigators described the hiring process as “haphazard” and “far from diligent.”
Fannie Mae who were “ready now” to become the CAE.
But the Audit Committee that assembled to hire a new CAE ignored the senior management’s conclusions and decided to only consider internal candidates. The audit committee members then hastily assembled a list of potential choices, producing nine names within six days.
Of those nine names, members of the Audit Committee only interviewed three before selecting their hire. The decision seems to have been a largely arbitrary one, as investigators noted “no corporate record that the Audit Committee formally met, either in person or by phone, to discuss the qualifications of the different candidates and to make its selection.”
Federal investigators slammed the Audit Committee, stating there were “significant lapses in corporate governance” and questioning whether the committee “appreciates its governance obligations in this environment.”
The FHFA said it agreed with the inspector general’s report and would ensure that the Audit Committee records and documents all meetings and decisions.
The federal agency also said they would direct Fannie Mae to hire an independent third party to conduct an evaluation of the Audit Committee itself and its effectiveness.
Fannie Mae has been under strict federal control ever since the financial collapse of 2008. The Treasury Department committed an estimated $200 billion to try to fix Fannie Mae — and fellow mortgage company Freddie Mac — under the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP.
In addition to buying up toxic loans and assets handed out by the companies, the FHFA was charged with righting the ship and trying to get the company back on its feet while ensuring it doesn’t engage in risky loan behavior again.
FHFA officials have been slowly trying to wean both companies off government control by gradually restoring to them greater independence.
But Wednesday’s audit represents a sharp rebuke from federal investigators, who questioned whether some of Fannie Mae’s managers are taking their jobs seriously, and whether FHFA was providing adequate oversight in the face of concerns.
FHFA’s oversight of Fannie Mae’s appointment of a new CAE was ineffective,” the inspector general concluded. “Several senior FHFA officials questioned the robustness of the hiring process among themselves but elected not to discuss those deficiencies with the Audit Committee after being informed of its selection or with the Fannie Mae Board before it approved the selection.”
Source

March 10, 2015

More Evidence Of Climate Data Tampering By NOAA?

When Dr. Roy Spencer looked up summer temperature data for the U.S. Corn Belt, it showed no warming trend for over a century. But that was before temperatures were “adjusted” by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration climate scientists — now the same data shows a significant warming trend.

Spencer, a climate scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, said that the National Climatic Data Center made large adjustments to past summer temperatures for the U.S. Corn Belt, lowering past temperatures to make them cooler. Adjusting past temperatures downward creates a significant warming trend in the data that didn’t exist before.

“I was updating a U.S. Corn Belt summer temperature and precipitation dataset from the NCDC website, and all of a sudden the no-warming-trend-since-1900 turned into a significant warming trend,” Spencer wrote on his blog, adding that NCDC’s “adjustments” made the warming trend for the region increase from just 0.2 degrees fahrenheit per century to 0.6 degrees per century.

NCDC temperature data downloaded by Spencer in March 2014 looked quite different from data he downloaded this month. That’s because NCDC constantly adjusts its data to correct for errors, but critics have said these adjustments seem to always increase the warming trend for the U.S. or globally.


“Being the co-developer of a climate dataset (UAH satellite temperatures) I understand the need to make adjustments for known errors in the data…when you can quantitatively demonstrate an error exists,” Spencer wrote.

“But a variety of errors in data measurement and collection would typically have both positive and negative signs,” Spencer noted, adding that he corrects for such errors when calculating satellite temperature data even if they tend to cancel each other out.

“In contrast, the thermometer data apparently need to be adjusted in such a way that almost always leads to greater and greater warming trends,” he added.
Source: NCDC climate data presented by Roy Spencer on www.drroyspencer.com.
Source: NCDC climate data presented by Roy Spencer on www.drroyspencer.com.

Spencer is not the first to criticize NCDC’s adjustments to temperature data. Science blogger Steven Goddard (his pen name) has been arguing for years that government climate agencies have been tampering with temperature data to create a significant warming trend where none actually exists.

“NCDC pulls every trick in the book to turn the US cooling trend into warming. The raw data shows cooling since the 1920s,” Goddard told The Daily Caller News Foundation in a previous interview.
Goddard says that NCDC has been cooling past temperatures in the data to make the present look much warmer by comparison, bolstering the case that global warming is being caused by human activity and is rapidly getting worse.

“NCDC does a hockey stick of adjustments to reverse the trend,” Goddard said. “This includes cooling the past for ‘time of observation bias’ infilling missing rural data with urban temperatures, and doing almost nothing to compensate for urban heat island effects.”

Meteorologist Anthony Watts has also caught NOAA changing the temperature record. For two years, NOAA claimed that July 2012 was the hottest month on record — that is, until it quietly adjusted the data so that July 1936 was the hottest month on record.

“Two years ago during the scorching summer of 2012, July 1936 lost its place on the leaderboard and July 2012 became the hottest month on record in the United States,” Watts wrote. “Now, as if by magic, and according to NOAA’s own data, July 1936 is now the hottest month on record again. The past, present, and future all seems to be ‘adjustable’ in NOAA’s world.”

“You can’t get any clearer proof of NOAA adjusting past temperatures,” Watts wrote. “This isn’t just some issue with gridding, or anomalies, or method, it is about NOAA not being able to present historical climate information of the United States accurately.”

But what does NOAA have to say about its temperature adjustments?

NOAA says it makes these adjustments to eliminate “artificial biases” in surface temperature data. For example, a major adjustment made by scientists to climate data was to take into account the big shift from taking temperature readings in the afternoon to the morning.


Changing the time temperatures were taken from the afternoon, when temperatures are warmer, to the morning, when temperatures are cooler, created a cooling bias in the record. NCDC also takes temperature from nearby stations to help create a baseline temperature for the region.

There are legitimate concerns with land and ocean temperature data. For example, surface temperature readings rely on a few thousand weather stations, boats and buoys spread throughout the planet.

Outside the U.S., weather stations are less reliable, according to NCDC climate scientists, especially stations that are located in the middle of nowhere — like the station on St. Helena Island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

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March 9, 2015

Clinton email scandal intensifies as Benghazi investigators find ‘huge gaps’

The Hillary Rodham Clinton email scandal picked up steam Sunday as the lead Republican investigator on Benghazi said there are “huge gaps” between emails received so far from her private server, and even a top Senate Democrat urged Mrs. Clinton to be more forthcoming.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, said that Mrs. Clinton, the former secretary of state and early favorite for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, needs to speak out because, “from this point on, the silence is going to hurt her.”

“Actually, what I would like is for her to come forward and say just what the situation is, because she is the pre-eminent political figure right now,” Mrs. Feinstein said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “She is the leading candidate, whether it be Republican or Democrat, to be the next president, and I think that she needs to step up and come out and state exactly what the situation is.”

Rep. Trey Gowdy, the South Carolina Republican who heads the House Select Committee on Benghazi, said the panel received 800 pages containing 300 of Mrs. Clinton’s emails from the State Department in December, but that there are “huge gaps” between some of the emails.

“There are gaps of months and months and months,” Mr. Gowdy said on “Face the Nation” on CBS. “If you think [back] to that iconic picture of her on a C-17 flying to Libya — she has sunglasses on, and she has her hand-held device in her hand — we have no emails from that day. And we have no emails from that trip.”

Given that the panel has issued multiple subpoenas for records related to Libya and the attack on the Benghazi diplomatic post in 2012, “it strains credibility to believe that if you’re on your way to Libya to discuss Libyan policy that there’s not a single document that’s been turned over to Congress,” he said.

Mr. Gowdy issued subpoenas last week to Mrs. Clinton for her communications regarding Libya as well as letters to Internet companies informing them that they are obligated, under the subpoenas, to preserve the emails.

The uproar surrounding her email account could not come at a worse time for Mrs. Clinton, who is expected to announce a presidential candidacy in the next month or so. The controversy, which was discussed on every major Sunday news show, has also resuscitated the Benghazi issue, seen as the low point of her tenure at the State Department.

Democrats have characterized the subpoenas as a politically motivated effort to damage Mrs. Clinton’s image as she prepared for a presidential run, noting that she has already turned over 55,000 pages of emails from her commercial account to the State Department for vetting.

“[W]hat’s not appropriate is for a taxpayer-funded investigative committee, which is what we are, to be using our power, our subpoena or tax dollars to become an arm of the Republican National Committee, and that’s what happened this week, and that is deeply disturbing,” said Adam B. Schiff, California Democrat, who sits on the Benghazi committee, on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Democrats also stressed that Mrs. Clinton broke no laws in using her personal server for official business, and that she turned over the emails late last year at the request of the State Department, which made the same request to other former secretaries.

Mr. Schiff said the committee already has the relevant emails. “They [Republicans] issued a subpoena for records we already have,” he said.

Republicans have repeatedly cited a lack of transparency in the process. They emphasized that nobody knows whether Mrs. Clinton has turned in all business-related emails from her private account, nor does anyone know who on her staff was in charge of screening the emails and deciding which to forward.

Rep. Darrell E. Issa, California Republican, said the latest subpoena was necessary because “voluntary cooperation does not guarantee that it’s a crime not to deliver all.”

“A subpoena, which Trey Gowdy issued, is so that in fact it will be a crime if she knowingly withholds documents pursuant to [the] subpoena,” Mr. Issa said. “He needed to do that because she wasn’t forthcoming 21/2 years ago. She in fact hid the very existence of this until she was caught.”

Mr. Issa also noted that her private emails would not have been produced under the numerous Freedom of Information Act requests filed in the years since the Benghazi attack.

“[T]here is a big difference between being open, transparent, honest and having public integrity, and only when you get caught do you turn in documents,” Mr. Issa said. “We only have the documents she gave us. That’s not the basis. Normally an inspector general searches through all documents to find which ones are appropriate. You don’t necessarily ask the person to self-disclose.”

The email controversy has also opened up the State Department to charges of a double standard regarding former U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Scott Gration, who was fired by Department of State Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills after a scathing inspector general’s report listed numerous problems, including his use of a private email.

“Secretary Clinton and Cheryl Mills were in very close dialogue on all issues, and I know that, in my view she would have known that Secretary Clinton was not using the open net,” Mr. Gration said on CNN’s State of the Union. “So I do find it sort of unusual that she stated that this was one of the reasons why I had to move on, and, as I look back, it seems a bit unfair.”

Mr. Gowdy added that he has “lost confidence” in the State Department’s ability to decide which emails to release.

“They’re the ones who allowed this arrangement, they’re the ones who did nothing about this arrangement until they had a request from our committee,” Mr. Gowdy said, adding, “We’re not entitled to everything. I don’t want everything. I just want everything related to Libya and Benghazi.”

President Obama said in an interview Saturday with CBS that he learned of the private email server in news accounts, and that, “I’m glad that Hillary’s instructed that those emails about official business need to be disclosed.”

Mr. Gowdy responded that, “with respect to the president, it’s not up to Secretary Clinton to decide what’s a public record and what’s not.”

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, said Sunday that Mrs. Clinton has complied with the law by preserving the emails and that “no one has alleged that any have been deleted.”

“The fact that she had so many of them, the fact that she turned them over, by the way, before any of this became public — I think in October the State Department asked all secretaries of state to send their emails over, and she’s the only one who has done it — I think gainsays any of that,” Mr. Schumer said on “Face the Nation” on CBS.

Mrs. Clinton said Wednesday in a post on Twitter, “I want the public to see my email. I asked State to release them. They said they will review them for release as soon as possible.”

Perhaps the most astonishing disclosure Sunday came from Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, who said he has never used email.

“I don’t email,” Mr. Graham said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “No, you can have every email I’ve ever sent. I’ve never sent one.”

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