Food For Thought and this is Very Crucial: The Supreme Court
If you are a Republican that won’t vote for Trump, think about this:
If Trump wins and he turns out to be a jerk as President, he’ll be tossed out in 4 years. Do you think he’ll be as bad a President as Obama? The guy has done pretty well managing a very large business so at least he’s got some credentials and is not a community organizer like Obama.
If Hillary wins, because ‘you’ didn’t feeldignified enough to vote for Trump, you, your children, and grand children will live under Hillary’s designated Supreme Court justices and their liberal rulings for many years to come(even if she’s a terrible President).
Even after Hillary is gone AND even if she is followed by a Republican President after 4 years that you do like, its most likely SHE will have CONTROL over future Supreme Court decisions.
Food For Thought and this is Very Crucial: The Supreme Court
Some people have brought up the fact that they won’t vote for Trump for whatever reason. I just want to put something in perspective:
Justice Scalia’s seat is vacant, and Ginsberg is 82 years old, Kennedy is 79, Breyer is 77, Thomas is 67.
Nowadays, the data shows that the average age of a Supreme Court retirement or death occurs after 75.
These are 5 vacancies that will likely come up over the next 4-8 years. The next President will have the power to potentially create a 7-2 Supreme Court skewed in their ideology.
Think about that… 7-2 rulings…for LIBERAL policies!!
If the next President appoints the next 5 justices, it will guarantee control of the Supreme Court for an entire generation … and 7-2 decisions will hold up much more over time than any 5-4 decisions which are viewed as lacking in mandate.
Hillary to go after Second Amendment!
Hillary has made it clear she will use the Supreme Court to go after the 2nd Amendment. She has literally said that the Supreme Court was wrong in its Heller decision stating that the Court should overturn and remove the individual right to keep and bear arms. Period.
A “No” vote for Trump ‘is’ a vote for Hillary !
Hear this! If Hillary Clinton wins and gets to make these appointments, you likely will never see another conservative victory at the Supreme Court level for the rest of your life. Ever.
Remember Romney? Three million conservatives who had voted for McCain did not cast a vote for Romney (for whatever reason) and the result was four an additional 4 years of B.H.O.
If you are not convinced yet, I’ll leave with one final thought:
Hillary is already on the record as saying that her buddy, B.H.O. (Yep, that’s Barack Obama) “would make a great Supreme Court Justice.”
DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT THIS MEANS?
If elected President, Hillary will make Obama a Supreme Court Justice! He and she will continue to destroy our country taking away all of our rights including the Second Amendment!
America Is On The Same Glide Path As The Fatal Germanwings Flight
The pilot was locked out of the cockpit. That phrase finally revealed the full horror of the crash of Germanwings flight 9525.
Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz waited for the pilot to leave the cockpit then locked the door to prevent his re-entry. After which Lubitz, for reasons unknown and perhaps unknowable, deliberately steered the jet into a harrowing 8-minute plunge, ending in an explosive 434 mph impact with a rocky mountainside. One hundred fifty men, women and children met an immediate, unthinkably violent death.
Lubitz, in his single-minded madness, couldn’t be stopped because anyone who could change the jet’s disastrous course was locked out.
It’s hard to imagine the growing feelings of fear and helplessness that the passengers felt as the unforgiving landscape rushed up to meet them. Hard, but not impossible.
America is in very deep trouble and we feel the descent in the pits of our stomachs. We hear the shake and rattle of structures stressed beyond their limits. We don’t know where we’re going anymore, but do know it isn’t good. And above all, we feel helpless because Barack Obama has locked us out.
He locked the American people out of his decision to seize the national healthcare system.
He locked us out when we wanted to know why the IRS was attacking conservatives.
He locked us out of having a say in his decision to tear up our immigration laws and to give over a trillion dollars in benefits to those who broke those laws.
Obama locked out those who advised against premature troop withdrawals. He locked out the intelligence agencies who issued warnings about the growing threat of ISIS.
He locked out anyone who could have interfered with his release of five Taliban terror chiefs in return for one U.S. Military deserter.
And, of course, Barack Obama has now locked out Congress, the American people, and our allies as he strikes a secret deal with Iran to determine the timeline (not prevention) of their acquisition of nuclear weapons.
Was Andreas Lubitz depressed, insane, or abysmally evil when he decided to lock that cockpit door and listen to no voices other than those in his head? Did he somehow believe himself to be doing the right thing? The voice recordings from the doomed aircraft reveal that as the jet began its rapid descent, the passengers were quiet. There was probably some nervous laughter, confusion, a bit of comforting chatter with seat mates, followed by a brief period in which anxiety had not yet metastasized into terror. It was only near the end of the 8-minute plunge that everyone finally understood what was really happening. Only near the end when they began to scream.
Like those passengers, a growing number of Americans feel a helpless dread as they come to the inescapable conclusion that our nation’s decline is an act of choice rather than of chance.
The choice of one man who is in full control of our 8-year plunge. I wonder when America will begin to scream.
Obama’s Brother Speaks Out Against Obama And His Deception
There’s no arguing that there is a shroud of mystery surrounding Barack Obama, as countless statements released by the president have been proven to be lies. However, Obama’s brother recently dropped a bombshell so extreme, that it may just be enough to topple the man for good.
The remarks were made during an interview between Joel Gilbert – the man who produced the film, “Dreams From My Real Father: A Story of Reds and Deception” – and Obama’s brother, Malik Obama. During a 12-minute clip that was made from the Q&A session, Malik informs the public of many truths – or mistruths – relevant to Obama.
As pointed out by Gilbert, the American people feel a bit more than deceived when it comes to the current president on account of several promises he’s broken in order to pursue personal agendas. After being asked about Obama failing to cut the deficit, support Israel, and when he lied saying “Obamacare is not a tax,” Malik’s response said it all:
“Well, the way that he’s turned and become a different person with the family is the same way that I see him behaving politically. He says one thing and then he does another. He’s not been an honest man, as far as I’m concerned, in who he is and what he says and how he treats people.”
After being asked how it felt being the eldest brother of the leader of the free world, Malik simply replied, “Disappointed… disappointed, used, used and also betrayed. In the beginning, I didn’t think that he was a schemer. His real character, his real personality, the real him, is coming out now.”
However, Malik then noted that Obama’s own family can’t stand him as they too have turned their backs on him in disgust. “I don’t understand how somebody who claims to be a relative or a brother can behave the way that he’s behaving, be so cold and ruthless, and just turn his back on the people. He said were his family,” said Malik.
Perhaps the most critical accusation comes as Malik claims that Obama has lied about everything since being in the public spotlight, including who his father was. Alleging that his father was actually his Communist mentor, Frank Marshall Davis, many think it a plausible reality.
In fact, even Obama explained in his memoir how much time he spent with “Frank,” and how much he learned – specifically about racial issues (no surprise there).
It’s unfortunate that the sheep of this nation continue to leave their blindfolds on, but the real question stands; how many lies can you tell before all trust is lost? Beyond Malik’s claims – some of which cannot be verified – Obama has been exposed enough times with his pants down for common sense folk to see right through his deceit.
As the liberal lapdog media continues to praise him and give off the idea that the man can literally do no wrong on account of his skin tone, feeble minds continue to support all things Obama.
In a closed-door meeting with Jewish Donors Saturday night, former President George W. Bush delivered his harshest public criticisms to date against his successor on foreign policy, saying that President Barack Obama is being naïve about Iran and the pending nuclear deal and losing the war against the Islamic State.
One attendee at the Republican Jewish Coalition session, held at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas with owner Sheldon Adelson in attendance, transcribed large portions of Bush’s remarks. The former president, who rarely ever criticizes Obama in public, at first remarked that the idea of re-entering the political arena was something he didn’t want to do. He then proceeded to explain why Obama, in his view, was placing the U.S. in “retreat” around the world. He also said Obama was misreading Iran’s intentions while relaxing sanctions on Tehran too easily.
According to the attendee’s transcription, Bush noted that Iran has a new president, Hassan Rouhani. “He’s smooth,” Bush said. “And you’ve got to ask yourself, is there a new policy or did they just change the spokesman?”
Bush said that Obama’s plan to lift sanctions on Iran with a promise that they could snap back in place at any time was not plausible. He also said the deal would be bad for American national security in the long term: “You think the Middle East is chaotic now? Imagine what it looks like for our grandchildren. That’s how Americans should view the deal.”
Bush then went into a detailed criticism of Obama’s policies in fighting the Islamic State and dealing with the chaos in Iraq. On Obama’s decision to withdraw all U.S. troops in Iraq at the end of 2011, he quoted Senator Lindsey Graham calling it a “strategic blunder.” Bush signed an agreement with the Iraqi government to withdraw those troops, but the idea had been to negotiate a new status of forces agreement to keep U.S. forces there past 2011. The Obama administration tried and failed to negotiate such an agreement.
Bush said he views the rise of the Islamic State as al-Qaeda’s “second act” and that they may have changed the name but that murdering innocents is still the favored tactic. He defended his own administration’s handling of terrorism, noting that the terrorist Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who confessed to killing Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, was captured on his watch: “Just remember the guy who slit Danny Pearl’s throat is in Gitmo, and now they’re doing it on TV.”
Obama promised to degrade and destroy Islamic State’s forces but then didn’t develop a strategy to complete the mission, Bush said. He said that if you have a military goal and you mean it, “you call in your military and say ‘What’s your plan?’ ” He indirectly touted his own decision to surge troops to Iraq in 2007, by saying, “When the plan wasn’t working in Iraq, we changed.”
“In order to be an effective president … when you say something you have to mean it,” he said. “You gotta kill em.”
Bush told several anecdotes about his old friend and rival Russian President Vladimir Putin. Bush recalled that Putin met his dog Barney at the White House and then later, when Bush went to Moscow, Putin showed him his dog and remarked that he was “bigger stronger and faster than Barney.” For Bush, that behavior showed him that Putin didn’t think in “win-win” terms.
Bush also remarked that Putin was rich, divorced his wife and loves power. Putin’s domestic popularity comes from his control of Russian media, according to Bush. “Hell, I’d be popular, too, if I owned NBC news,” he said.
Regarding his brother Jeb’s potential run for the presidency, Bush acknowledged that he was a political liability for Jeb, that the Bush name can be used against him, and that American’s don’t like dynasties. He also said that foreign policy is going to be especially important in the presidential campaign and that the test for Republicans running will be who has got the “courage” to resist isolationist tendencies.
Regarding Hillary Clinton, Bush said it will be crucial how she plays her relationship with the president. She will eventually have to choose between running on the Obama administration’s policies or running against them. If she defends them, she’s admitting failure, he said, but if she doesn’t she’s blaming the president.
For George W. Bush, the remarks in Vegas showed he has little respect for how the current president is running the world. He also revealed that he takes little responsibility for the policies that he put in place that contributed to the current state of affairs.
President Obama never used the words “executive action” until nearly three years into his presidency. Now announcements of executive actions have become a routine, almost daily occurrence.
(Photo: Joe Raedle, Getty Images)
WASHINGTON — As President Obama stood in an Everglades swamp to speak on climate change Wednesday, the White House rolled out a package of eight executive actions, implemented by seven government agencies, to “protect the people and places that climate change puts at risk.”
The announcement contained no executive orders, sweeping directives, legislative proposals or bill signings.
Instead, the actions include smaller-bore staples of a “pen-and-phone” strategy that shows no sign of letting up: a report on the value of parks to the environment, a proclamation declaring National Parks Week, and conservation efforts in Florida, Hawaii, Puget Sound and the Great Lakes.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the actions were an effort to deal with the impacts of climate change “even in the face of pretty significant opposition from Republicans in Congress.”
Indeed, the actions have a political component, part of a White House strategy to work around Congress and force Republicans to respond to the president’s agenda.
“Since the election, the president has had a pretty explicit strategy,” said Brian Deese, a senior Obama adviser. “And it has consisted of trying to stay on offense, trying to push where he can to move the agenda through executive action. You’re going to keep seeing the president in that posture going forward.”
“Executive action” — a phrase Obama never uttered publicly in the first two and a half years of his presidency — has now become so routine that new announcements come several times a week.
The actions can take many forms, from formal executive orders and presidential memoranda to more routine reports, meetings and internal bureaucratic changes. That makes any definitive count of lower-level executive actions difficult.
But by one measure, such policy rollouts are actually increasing in pace. The White House often announces executive actions with a fact sheet from the press office, and those spiked last year during what Obama called the “Year of Action.” The White House issued 228 fact sheets in 2014, more than the first three years of his presidency combined.
This year, the White House has already issued three more fact sheets than last year at the same time.
The Obama strategy on executive actions closely parallels that of the Clinton White House. In Bill Clinton’s last two years in office, chief of staff John Podesta launched what would become known as “Project Podesta.” In an effort to flex presidential authority, Podesta canvassed executive agencies for actions Clinton could take without going to Congress.
Podesta came back to the Obama White House last year, and when he departed forHillary Clinton’s presidential campaign his responsibility for climate policy fell to Deese.
“One of the ways that the White House plays a role is to think forward and challenge the agencies to be proactive in saying, ‘What more can we do? And what more can we do that’s consistent with certain themes?’ ” Deese said.
This year, the major theme is “middle-class economics.” The Obama White House has also used executive action to lower mortgage insurance premiums and regulate retirement accounts. And coming soon: new overtime regulations from the Department of Labor, which Obama ordered in a presidential memorandum last year.
The actions often don’t originate in the White House. “Sometimes an agency has a particular initiative that they want to push that would benefit from getting a higher profile, or the president making a very concrete call to action,” Deese said.
Executive action wasn’t part of Obama’s strategy when he first came into office.
“I sort of see it as flowing from the failure of the grand bargain negotiations in 2011,” said Andrew Rudalevige, a presidency scholar at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. That’s when Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, tried to reach a permanent budget agreement but instead came up with a “Supercommittee” that failed to reach agreement, triggering across-the-board budget cuts.
“He gets shellacked in the midterm, and then sets up a position where he could actually cooperate — a triangulation strategy, channeling Bill Clinton,” Rudalevige said. “Instead of channeling Bill Clinton, he started channeling Harry Truman taking on the ‘Do Nothing’ Congress.”
In the fall of 2011, Obama went on a “We Can’t Wait” road tour, meant to put pressure on Congress leading up to the 2012 elections. It was during that tour that Obama used the words “executive action” in public for the first time as president.
“I’ve told my administration to keep looking every single day for actions we can take without Congress, steps that can save consumers money, make government more efficient and responsive, and help heal the economy,” Obama said in an October 2011 speech in Las Vegas. “And we’re going to be announcing these executive actions on a regular basis.”
In the 2014 congressional election cycle, that strategy was called the “Year of Action.” It brought often controversial executive actions on climate, immigration and Cuba.
“I’ve got a pen, and I’ve got a phone. And that’s all I need,” he said in 2014. “Because with a pen, I can take executive actions.”
Not all Obama’s executive actions get congressional attention, and many involve “soft” powers — like convening meetings, issuing reports or writing internal rules — that are clearly within the president’s authority. But for Republicans in Congress, executive action become synonymous with presidential overreach.
“One of the important roles of Congress is to serve as a check and a balance against the administration, and we’ve seen from this Obama administration many, many times where they’ve overstepped their legal authority,” House Republican Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., said Wednesday. “In fact, 20 different times the Obama administration has had the Supreme Court rule unanimously against executive actions that they’ve taken, that they’ve actually gone before the Court on.”
As the Obama presidency heads into its final furlong, White House officials say their focus is increasingly on getting all those executive actions implemented.
“We will continue to announce more executive actions, but the president is also holding us to account to execute on the executive orders we’ve already announced,” said White House economic adviser Jeff Zients.
The House Armed Services Committee approved legislation last week that would require the Pentagon to deploy new weapons in two years to counter Russia’s violation of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty.
The fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill considered by the committee last week contains language that directs the president, secretary of defense, and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to evaluate and develop new U.S. and allied weapons in response to Russia’s failure to explain its new intermediate-range cruise missile.
The legislation, contained in the $604.2 billion authorization bill, states that the U.S. government has been negotiating with Russia since 2013 on the violation and to date “the Russian Federation has failed to respond to these efforts in any meaningful way.”
“For years, we’ve been urging the Obama administration to get serious about Russia’s violation of the INF treaty,” said Rep. Mike Rogers (R., Ala.), chairman of the subcommittee on strategic forces.
“Its response: we’re talking to Russia,” said Rogers, who sponsored the provision. “While Obama talks, Putin cheats on treaties and invades his neighbors. We must take Russia’s actions seriously, and this authorization of DOD funding does just that. The United States will not be unilaterally bound by any treaty.”
Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, commander of the U.S. European Command and NATO commander, said the Russian INF violation “can’t go unanswered.”
“We need to first and foremost signal that we cannot accept this change and that, if this change is continued, that we will have to change the cost calculus for Russia in order to help them to find their way to a less bellicose position,” Breedlove said. His remarks, made in April 2014, were quoted in the bill.
Additionally, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last month that the United States must make clear to Russia that there will be political, diplomatic, and “potentially military costs” for the treaty violation. “It concerns me greatly,” Dempsey has said.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter stated during his Senate nomination hearing in February that options were being studied. He warned Russia that treaty limits were a “two-way street” and suggested the U.S. military could build missiles that it agreed not to build under the 1987 accord.
The bill would require the president to submit formal notification to Congress within 30 days on Russia’s testing and deployment of missiles that violate the treaty and on whether Moscow has begun to take steps for full compliance and verification to correct any violations.
If Russia fails to return to full compliance, with inspections and verification, the Pentagon should begin preparing “military response options,” the legislation states.
The options include “counterforce” capabilities that could prevent intermediate-range ground-launched ballistic and cruise missile attacks, including weapons acquired from allies.
Additionally, Congress wants the Pentagon to begin developing unspecified “counterforce capabilities” and “countervailing strike capabilities”—presumably similar or asymmetric nuclear strike capabilities “to enhance the armed forces of the United States or allies of the United States.”
The legislation authorizes using funds for research, development, testing, and evaluation, noting that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs can prioritize those weapons that will be fielded within two years.
The INF treaty bans ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of between 310 miles and 3,417 miles. The United States eliminated all its Pershing II and ground-launched cruise missiles in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Russian officials have said the INF treaty has constrained their defenses and noted concerns about the large buildup of Chinese INF-range ballistic and cruise missiles as one reason for Moscow apparently jettisoning the INF accord.
The Obama administration has sought to play down the INF violation, first disclosed formally last year in a State Department arms compliance report.
Russia’s INF missile banned under the accord has been identified in published reports as the Iskander M ground-launched cruise missile. The missile, also known as the R-500, is a cruise missile variant of the Iskander short-range ballistic missile.
Moscow has denied violating the treaty and countered U.S. charges by claiming the United States has violated the treaty through a target missile and drone – both of which are not covered by the treaty. The U.S. has denied Moscow’s counter charges.
Critics on Capitol Hill, however, said State Department arms control officials, led by Undersecretary of State Rose Gottemoeller, have sought to play down or ignore the INF violation in order to try to preserve the arms control agenda with Moscow.
Gottemoeller, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, told the congressional hearing in December that there were no plans to withdraw from the INF and that efforts were being undertaken to bring Russia back into compliance.
The House bill will need to be reconciled with a Senate version in the coming months. Senate Armed Services Committee John McCain (R., Ariz.) said during a hearing March 19 that the new INF weapon is a “a nuclear ground-launched cruise missile.”
In March, Brian McKeon, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that one option for the United States would be to deploy a ground-launched cruise missile in Europe and that such a deployment would require withdrawing from INF.
“What we are looking at in terms of options, countermeasures, some of which are compliant with the treaty, some of which would not be,” he said.
The options ranged from bolstering defenses of NATO and U.S. sites in Europe, preventive measures and then “countervailing strike capabilities to go after other Russian targets.”
Mark Schneider, a former Pentagon arms control official, said the legislation is very useful.
“There must be a congressional push for a response to Russian violation of the INF Treaty or there won’t be any,” he said.
“While I believe that Secretary of Defense Ash Carter is sincere when he talked about the need for a U.S. response, I do not believe that this is the case within the Department of State arms control bureau.”
Schneider stated that in addition to the illegal cruise missile, Russia cheating is much broader.
“In particular, there has been a recent development on the issue of whether Russian ABM systems and surface-to-air missiles have the prohibited capability to attack ground targets with nuclear warheads at INF range,” he said.
For example, Russian military analysts have reported that Russia’s S-300 anti-missile system has a ground attack capability close to INF range.
“With the Russian sale of the S-300 to Iran, this issue takes on greater significance,” Schneider said.
David S. Sullivan, a former Senate arms control specialist and former CIA analyst who first exposed Moscow’s cheating on the SALT arms treaty in the 1970s, said effective arms control treaties require effective verification and compliance.
“Violators must pay a price,” Sullivan said. “The Reagan defense build-up was the price the U.S. paid to deal with Soviet arms control cheating, and it ultimately caused the Soviets to bankrupt themselves in response.”
The U.S. response today to several confirmed INF treaty violations should also be programmatic, Sullivan said, including deployment of “offsetting cruise missile deployment to NATO and more strategic missile defenses.”
“Neither would cost very much, but they would be effective bolsters to deterrence,” he said.
A State Department spokeswoman declined to comment on the legislation. A spokesman for the Russian Embassy did not respond to emailed requests for comment.
According to the bill, other treaties that Russia appears to be violating include the Open Skies Treaty, the Biological Weapons Convention, the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Vienna Document, the Budapest Memorandum, the Istanbul Commitments, the Presidential Nuclear Initiatives, and the Missile Technology Control Regime. Moscow also recently withdrew from the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, raising new doubts about its arms control commitments.
Other Russia-related provisions of the bill call on the Pentagon to notify Congress of Russian transfers or sales of Club-K cruise missiles, weapons disguised in launchers that appear to be shipping containers. The military also would be required to develop a strategy to defeat the Club-K.
Another measure calls for the Pentagon to provide quarterly notifications to Congress of Russian preparations for deploying nuclear weapons in militarily occupied Crimea.
Congressional notification of any U.S. approval of Russia’s plan to upgrade intelligence-gathering aircraft under the Open Skies Treaty is included in the bill.
A House panel Tuesday formally requested Hillary Clinton to testify about the private server and email account she used while serving as secretary of state.
Rep. Trey Gowdy, chairman of the Select Committee on Benghazi, sent a request to Clinton’s personal attorney, David E. Kendall, requesting that Clinton appear before the committee no later than May 1 for a transcribed interview about the server and email.
Clinton said she only deleted personal emails and turned over every work-related message to the State Department, which is reviewing the data to filter out classified information.
“Because of the Secretary’s unique arrangement with herself as it relates to public records during and after her tenure as Secretary of State.” Gowdy wrote, “this Committee is left with no alternative but to request Secretary Clinton appear before this Committee for a transcribed interview to better understand decisions the Secretary made relevant to the creation, maintenance, retention, and ultimately deletion of public records.”
In Tuesday’s letter, Gowdy warned that Clinton’s decision not to turn over the server, “the House of Representatives as a whole will need to consider its next steps.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, of Maryland, who serves as the top Democrat on the Benghazi panel, said in a statement to the Washington Examiner that Gowdy’s depiction of Clinton is inaccurate because Clinton has always been willing to talk to the panel under oath.
“Secretary Clinton agreed to testify months ago — in public and under oath — so the Select Committee’s claim that it has no choice but to subject her to a private staff interview is inaccurate,” Cummings said. “Rather than drag out this political charade into 2016 and selectively leak portions of a closed-door interview, the Committee should schedule the public hearing, make her records public and re-focus its efforts on the attacks in Benghazi.”
The House has the power to subpoena the server, but neither Gowdy nor House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, will say whether it will use that authority. Boehner has demanded Clinton turn over the server.
Gowdy said he wants a neutral party to examine the deleted emails to find out of there is any information related to the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya, that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. The House panel wants to examine the State Department’s role before, during and after the attack.
Gowdy noted in the letter that even though Clinton said she deleted the emails, it is “technically possible,” to retrieve them.
No Copies of Clinton Emails on Server, Lawyer Says
WASHINGTON — An examination of the server that housed the personal email account that Hillary Rodham Clinton used exclusively when she was secretary of state showed that there are no copies of any emails she sent during her time in office, her lawyer told a congressional committee on Friday.
After her representatives determined which emails were government-related and which were private, a setting on the account was changed to retain only emails sent in the previous 60 days, her lawyer, David Kendall, said. He said the setting was altered after she gave the records to the government.
“Thus, there are no email@example.com emails from Secretary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state on the server for any review, even if such review were appropriate or legally authorized,” Mr. Kendall said in a letter to the House select committee investigating the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya.
The committee subpoenaed the server this month, asking Mrs. Clinton to hand it over to a third party so it could determine which emails were personal and which were government records.
At a news conference this month, Mrs. Clinton appeared to provide two answers about whether she still had copies of her emails. First, she said that she “chose not to keep” her private personal emails after her lawyers had examined the account and determined on their own which ones were personal and which were State Department records.
But later, she said that the server, which contained personal communication by her and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, “will remain private.” The server was kept at their home in Chappaqua, N.Y., which is protected around the clock by the Secret Service.
Mrs. Clinton’s disclosure on Friday only heightened suspicions by the committee’s chairman, Representative Trey Gowdy, Republican of South Carolina, about how she handled her emails, and it is likely to lead to more tension between her and the committee.
Mr. Gowdy said in a written statement that it appeared that Mrs. Clinton deleted the emails after Oct. 28, when the State Department first asked her to turn over emails that were government records.
“Not only was the secretary the sole arbiter of what was a public record, she also summarily decided to delete all emails from her server, ensuring no one could check behind her analysis in the public interest,” Mr. Gowdy said.
Mrs. Clinton’s “unprecedented email arrangement with herself and her decision nearly two years after she left office to permanently delete all emails” had deprived Americans of a full record of her time in office, he added.
Mr. Gowdy said that Mrs. Clinton would have to answer questions from Congress about her decision, but he did not say whether that would be at a hearing or a private interview.
A spokesman for Mrs. Clinton said in a statement, “She’s ready and willing to come and appear herself for a hearing open to the American public.”
The spokesman, Nick Merrill, added that Mrs. Clinton’s representatives “have been in touch with the committee and the State Department to make clear that she would like her emails made public as soon as possible.”
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The ranking Democrat on the committee, Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, defended Mrs. Clinton’s disclosure.
“This confirms what we all knew — that Secretary Clinton already produced her official records to the State Department, that she did not keep her personal emails, and that the select committee has already obtained her emails relating to the attacks in Benghazi,” Mr. Cummings said.
In the letter, Mr. Kendall offered a defense for the process Mrs. Clinton had used to differentiate between personal messages and government records. He said that those procedures were consistent with guidelines from the National Archives and the State Department, which say that an individual can make the decision about what should be preserved as a federal record.
So, Mr. Kendall contended, the process Mrs. Clinton used was “not an ‘arrangement’ that is ‘unprecedented’ or ‘unique,’ but instead the normal procedure carried out by tens of thousands of agency officials and employees in the ordinary course.”
Mrs. Clinton’s review of her emails, however, did not occur when she was secretary of state or shortly after she left office. Last October, nearly two years after she left office, the State Department sent her a letter requesting all government records, like emails, she may have possessed.
In response, she provided the State Department in December with about 30,000 printed emails that she said were government records. She has said that an additional 30,000 emails were personal.
It appears that Mrs. Clinton still has copies of the emails she deemed public records. Attached to Mr. Kendall’s letter was one sent to him by the State Department this week. A letter from the under secretary of state for management, Patrick F. Kennedy, said that the department understood that she wanted to keep copies of those documents. Mr. Kennedy said that the agency had consulted with the National Archives, and that allowing her “access to the documents is in the public interest as it will promote informed discussion” as she responds to congressional and other inquiries.
Mrs. Clinton cannot make the emails public without the State Department’s approval. Mr. Kennedy said that if the State Department determined that any of the documents were classified, “additional steps will be required to safeguard and protect the information.” Mrs. Clinton has said she had no classified information in her emails.
Starting weeks before Islamic militants attacked the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, longtime Clinton family confidante Sidney Blumenthal supplied intelligence to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gathered by a secret network that included a former CIA clandestine service officer, according to hacked emails from Blumenthal’s account.
The emails, which were posted on the internet in 2013, also show that Blumenthal and another close Clinton associate discussed contracting with a retired Army special operations commander to put operatives on the ground near the Libya-Tunisia border while Libya’s civil war raged in 2011.
Blumenthal’s emails to Clinton, which were directed to her private email account, include at least a dozen detailed reports on events on the deteriorating political and security climate in Libya as well as events in other nations. They came to light after a hacker broke into Blumenthal’s account and have taken on new significance in light of the disclosure that she conducted State Department and personal business exclusively over an email server that she controlled and kept secret from State Department officials and which only recently was discovered by congressional investigators.
The contents of that account are now being sought by a congressional inquiry into the Benghazi attacks. Clinton has handed over more than 30,000 pages of her emails to the State Department, after unilaterally deciding which ones involved government business; the State Department has so far handed almost 900 pages of those over to the committee. A Clinton spokesman told Gawker and ProPublica (which are collaborating on this story) that she has turned over all the emails Blumenthal sent to Clinton.
The dispatches from Blumenthal to Clinton’s private email address were posted online after Blumenthal’s account was hacked in 2013 by Romanian hacker Marcel-Lehel Lazar, who went by the name Guccifer. Lazar also broke into accounts belonging to George W. Bush’s sister, Colin Powell, and others. He’s now serving a seven-year sentence in his home country and was charged in a U.S. indictment last year.
The contents of the memos, which have recently become the subject of speculation in the right-wing media, raise new questions about how Clinton used her private email account and whether she tapped into an undisclosed back channel for information on Libya’s crisis and other foreign policy matters.
Blumenthal, a New Yorker staff writer in the 1990s, became a top aide to President Bill Clinton and worked closely with Hillary Clinton during the fallout from the Whitewater investigation into the Clinton family. She tried to hire him when she joined President Obama’s cabinet in 2009, but White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel reportedly nixed the idea on the grounds Blumenthal was a divisive figure whose attacks on Obama during the Democratic primary had poisoned his relationship with the new administration.
It’s unclear who tasked Blumenthal, known for his fierce loyalty to the Clintons, with preparing detailed intelligence briefs. It’s also not known who was paying him, or where the operation got its money. The memos were marked “confidential” and relied in many cases on “sensitive” sources in the Libyan opposition and Western intelligence and security services. Other reports focused on Egypt, Germany, and Turkey.
Indeed, though they were sent under Blumenthal’s name, the reports appear to have been gathered and prepared by Tyler Drumheller, a former chief of the CIA’s clandestine service in Europe who left the agency in 2005. Since then, he has established a consulting firm called Tyler Drumheller, LLC.
He has also been affiliated with a firm called DMC Worldwide, which he co-founded with Washington, D.C., attorney Danny Murray and former general counsel to the U.S. Capitol Police John Caulfield. DMC Worldwide’s now-defunct website describes it at as offering “innovative security and intelligence solutions to global risks in a changing world.”
In one exchange in March 2013, Blumenthal emailed Drumheller, “Thanks. Can you send Libya report.” Drumheller replied, “Here it is, pls do not share it with Cody. I don’t want moin speculating on sources. It is on the Maghreb and Libya.”
Cody is Cody Shearer, a longtime Clinton family operative—his brother was an ambassador under Bill Clinton and his now-deceased sister is married to Clinton State Department official Strobe Talbott—who was in close contact with Blumenthal. While it’s not entirely clear from the documents, “Moin” may refer to the nickname of Mohamed Mansour El Kikhia, a member of the Kikhia family, a prominent Libyan clan with ties to the Libyan National Transition Council. (An email address in Blumenthal’s address book, which was also leaked, wasassociated with his Facebook page.)
There’s no indication in Blumenthal’s emails whether Clinton read or replied to them before she left State on February 1, 2013, but he was clearly part of a select group with knowledge of the private clintonemail.com address, which was unknown to the public until
Gawker published it this year. They do suggest that she interacted with Blumenthal using the account after she stepped down. “H: got your message a few days ago,” reads the subject line of one email from Blumenthal to Clinton on February 8, 2013; “H: fyi, will continue to send relevant intel,” reads another.
The memos cover a wide array of subjects in extreme detail, from German Prime Minister Angela Merkel’s conversations with her finance minister about French president Francois Hollande–marked “THIS INFORMATION COMES FROM AN EXTREMELY SENSITIVE SOURCE”—to the composition of the newly elected South Korean president’s transition team.
At least 10 of the memos deal in whole or in part with internal Libyan politics and the government’s fight against militants, including the status of the Libyan oil industry and the prospects for Western companies to participate.
One memo was sent on August 23, 2012, less than three weeks before Islamic militants stormed the diplomatic outpost in Benghazi. It cites “an extremely sensitive source” who highlighted a string of bombings and kidnappings of foreign diplomats and aid workers in Tripoli, Benghazi and Misrata, suggesting they were the work of people loyal to late Libyan Prime Minister Muammar Gaddafi.
While the memo doesn’t rise to the level of a warning about the safety of U.S. diplomats, it portrays a deteriorating security climate. Clinton noted a few days after the Benghazi attack, which left four dead and 10 people injured, that U.S. intelligence officials didn’t have advance knowledge of the threat.
On September 12, 2012, the day after the Benghazi attack, Blumenthal sent a memo that cited a “sensitive source” saying that the interim Libyan president, Mohammed Yussef el Magariaf, was told by a senior security officer that the assault was inspired by an anti-Muslim video made in the U.S., as well as by allegations from Magariaf’s political opponents that he had CIA ties.
Blumenthal followed up the next day with an email titled “Re: More Magariaf private reax.” It said Libyan security officials believed an Islamist radical group called the Ansa al Sharia brigade had prepared the attack a month in advance and “took advantage of the cover” provided by the demonstrations against the video.
An October 25, 2012 memo says that Magariaf and the Libyan army chief of staff agree that the “situation in the country is becoming increasingly dangerous and unmanageable” and “far worse” than Western leaders realize.
Blumenthal’s email warnings, of course, followed a year of Libyan hawkishness on the part of Clinton. In February of 2011, she told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that “it is time for Gaddafi to go.” The next month, after having described Russian reluctance over military intervention as “despicable,” Clinton met with rebel leaders in Paris and drummed up support for a no-fly zone while in Cairo. On March 17, 2011, the UN Security Council voted to back Libyan rebels against Gaddafi.
It’s this buildup, which Clinton still proudly recalled in her 2014 memoir, that Blumenthal appears to join in on 2011. In addition to the intel memos, his emails also disclose that he and his associates worked to help the Libyan opposition, and even plotted to insert operatives on the ground using a private contractor.
A May 14, 2011 email exchange between Blumenthal and Shearer shows that they were negotiating with Drumheller to contract with someone referred to as “Grange” and “the general” to place send four operatives on a week-long mission to Tunis, Tunisia, and “to the border and back.” Tunisia borders Libya and Algeria.
“Sid, you are doing great work on this,” Drumheller wrote to Blumenthal. “It is going to be around $60,000, coverting r/t business class airfare to Tunis, travel in country to the border and back, and other expenses for 7–10 days for 4 guys.”
After Blumenthal forwarded that note to Shearer, he wrote back questioning the cost of the operation. “Sid, do you think the general has to send four guys. He told us three guys yesterday, a translator and two other guys. I understand the difficulty of the mission and realize that K will be repaid but I am going to need an itemized budget for these guys.”
“The general” and “Grange” appear to refer to David L. Grange, a major general in the Army who ran a secret Pentagon special operations unit before retiring in 1999. Grange subsequently founded Osprey Global Solutions, a consulting firm and government contractor that offers logistics, intelligence, security training, armament sales, and other services. The Osprey Foundation, which is a nonprofit arm of Osprey Global Solutions, is listed as one of the State Department’s “global partners” in a 2014 report from the Office of Global Partnerships.’
Among the documents in the cache released by Lazar is an August 24, 2011, memorandum of understanding between Osprey Global Solutions and the Libyan National Transition Council—the entity that took control in the wake of Qadaffi’s execution—agreeing that Osprey will contract with the NTC to “assist in the resumption of access to its assets and operations in country” and train Libyan forces in intelligence, weaponry, and “rule-of-land warfare.” The document refers to meetings held in Amman, Jordan between representatives of Osprey and a Mohammad Kikhia, who represented the National Transition Council.
Five months later, according to a document in the leak, Grange wrote on Osprey Global letterhead to Assistant Secretary of State Andrew Shapiro, introducing Osprey as a contractor eager to provide humanitarian and other assistance in Libya. “We are keen to support the people of Libya under the sponsorship of the Ministry of Finance and the Libyan Stock Exchange,” Grange wrote. Shapiro is a longtime Clinton loyalist; he served on her Senate staff as foreign policy advisor.
Another document in the cache, titled “Letter_for_Moin,” is an appeal from Drumheller to then-Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan offering the services of Tyler Drumheller LLC, “to develop a program that will provide discreet confidential information allowing the appropriate entities in Libya to address any regional and international challenges.”
The “K” who was, according to Shearer’s email, to be “repaid” for his role in the Tunisia operation appears to be someone named Khalifa al Sherif, who sent Blumenthal several emails containing up-to-the-minute information on the civil war in Libya, and appears to have been cited as a source in several of the reports.
Contacted by ProPublica and Gawker, Drumheller’s attorney and business partner Danny Murray confirmed that Drumheller “worked” with Blumenthal and was aware of the hacked emails, but declined to comment further.
Shearer said only that “the FBI is involved and told me not to talk. There is a massive investigation of the hack and all the resulting information.” The FBI declined to comment.
Blumenthal, Grange, and Kikhia all did not respond to repeated attempts to reach them. Nick Merrill, a spokesman for Clinton had no comment on Blumenthal’s activities with Drumheller.
Whatever Blumenthal, Shearer, Drumheller, and Grange were up to in 2011, 2012, and 2013 on Clinton’s behalf, it appears that she could have used the help: According to State Department personnel directories, in 2011 and 2012—the height of the Libya crisis—State didn’t have a Libyan desk officer, and the entire Near Eastern Magreb Bureau, which which covers Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco and Libya, had just two staffers. Today, State has three Libyan desk officers and 11 people in the Near Eastern Magreb Bureau. A State Department official wouldn’t say how many officers were on the desk in 2011, but said there was always “at least one” officer and “sometimes many more, working on Libya.”
Reached for comment, a State Department public affairs official who would only speak on background declined to address questions about Blumenthal’s relationship to Clinton, whether she was aware of the intelligence network, and who if anyone was paying Blumenthal. Asked about the Tunisia-Libya mission, the official replied, “There was a trip with the secretary in October of 2011, but there was also a congressional delegation in April, 2011. There were media reports about both of these at the time.” Neither trip involved travelling via Tunis.