FBI’s Hillary Clinton email investigation not letting up




Chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi Trey Gowdy wasted no words while explaining clearly and convincingly the purpose of the committee’s investigation and the reason former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was called to testify.

“Madame Secretary, I understand some people — frankly in both parties — have suggested this investigation is about you,” Gowdy said in his opening statement. “Let me assure you it is not. And let me assure you why it is not. This work is about something much more important than any single person. It is about four U.S. government workers, including our Ambassador, murdered by terrorists on foreign soil. It is about what happened before, during, and after the attacks that killed these four men.”

Six months after it began, the federal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server shows no signs of slowing down.

Former FBI officials said the length of the probe is not unusual and speculated that a decision on whether to file charges against Clinton or her top aides could come later this year, during the heat of the general election campaign.

“I don’t know that there’s any magical cutoff date,” said Ron Hosko, the FBI’s former assistant director of the criminal investigative division and a 30-year veteran of the bureau.

For Democrats, the extended investigation has become a source of some anxiety, with Republicans gleefully raising the prospect of the Democratic presidential front-runner being indicted.

“It does give pause to Democrats who are concerned that there may be another shoe to drop down the road,” said Andrew Smith, a political science professor at the University of New Hampshire.

The government has been examining the former secretary of State’s private email server since last July, when the inspector general for the intelligence community issued a security referral noting that classified information could have been mishandled.

That referral came months after Clinton acknowledged that she had exclusively used a personal email address housed on a private server during her tenure as secretary.

The scrutiny of her email practices has mounted since then, with more than 1,300 emails that passed through her server found to contain information that has since been classified, some at the highest levels.

The State Department and Clinton’s campaign contend that none of the information in the emails was classified when it was originally sent, and they have portrayed the matter as an interagency dispute.

The FBI and Justice Department have refused to discuss the details of their investigation and declined to comment to The Hill.

Officials have indicated that the bureau is not targeting Clinton specifically, however, but is investigating whether any information on her account was mishandled. Earlier this month, Fox News reported that the FBI had expanded its inquiry to examine how the State Department’s work intersected with the Clinton family foundation.

In December, FBI Director James Comey pledged that the probe would be “competent,” “honest” and “independent.”

“We don’t give a rip about politics,” he told a Senate committee.

Yet the FBI is well aware of the high political stakes surrounding the investigation.

“I think the clock ticks louder every day,” said Hosko, who is the president of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund. “I’m sure they’re all incredibly sensitive to it.”

President Obama has downplayed Clinton’s email setup, claiming that it was “not a situation in which America’s national security was endangered.”

Multiple former officials, lawmakers and lawyers have said they are confident that Comey, who is a Republican, will not let the presidential campaign influence the FBI’s investigation.

Yet many conservatives worry that even if the bureau comes up with sufficient evidence that Clinton broke the law, the Justice Department will decline to press charges. In response, some have pressed for a special prosecutor to be appointed, or for the FBI to pledge to release whatever evidence it digs up.

So far, Democrats have publicly shrugged of the threat of criminal action by painting it as a partisan attack from Republicans.

Clinton’s top rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), channeled the feelings of Democrats in October when he told Clinton during a debate that “the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails.”

But Clinton will have to confront the issue more forcefully if charges are filed.

And should Clinton win the nomination, the topic is sure to be an issue in the general election campaign — even if no indictment is handed down.

A fight over the emails then could weaken Democratic enthusiasm and turn off swing voters, some analysts predicted.

“More likely, it’s going to sour some of those folks in the middle,” said Doug Roscoe, a political science professor at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

“Having to be in the news talking about this investigation takes her off message,” he added.

It might not be Clinton herself who faces the music for any potential crime, however.

The former secretary of State did not appear to send most of the emails now marked classified. Instead, they were largely sent or forwarded to her by aides.

“It’d be a lot harder to make a criminal charge for having received [classified] information,” said Bradley Moss, a lawyer who specializes in national security and protection of classified information.


Brock warns of ‘slippery slope’ on Clinton disclosures – Politico


Asking for Hillary Clinton’s transcripts from her paid speeches to Goldman Sachs “could be a slippery slope” for even more requests, one of the candidate’s top surrogates insisted Thursday.
“I think there’s nothing to hide, but I think that could be a slippery slope and we could end up asking for all sorts of things,” David Brock, the founder of the pro-Clinton Correct the Record PAC, said in an interview with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

In defending Clinton’s paid speeches to Goldman Sachs, in particular, Brock cited former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who embarked on his own speaking tour prior to running for the Republican nomination in 2008.

“She got fair market value for her speeches. She made that decision,” he said, remarking that it is up to Clinton and her campaign to decide whether to release the transcripts.

Pressed on the issue for his own recommendation, Brock demurred.

“It’s not for me to say,” he remarked at the end of the interview.

Clinton has in the past said she would “look into” releasing the contents of her speeches, though she has not yet done so. POLITICO has reported that she “spoke glowingly of the work the bank was doing raising capital and helping create jobs,” citing people who heard her remarks.

When former President Bill Clinton took center stage at Univision’s upfront presentation for advertisers and the media on Tuesday, it marked more than just one of his many paid appearances.

The relationship between the Clintons and Univision is deep — from owner Haim Saban’s unabashed support for Hillary Clinton’s election effort to a partnership between Univision and the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, to the network’s newscasts that have bashed Republicans and, most recently, praised Hillary’s new position on immigration — putting her squarely in line with the network’s stance on the issue.

“When you have the ownership of a network aggressively backing a presidential candidate — combined with advocacy journalism on some issues — it threatens the journalistic integrity of a news organization,” he added.

The top “advocacy” issue: immigration. Last week (on Cinco de Mayo, no less) Clinton went beyond Obama on immigration, promising that as president she would use executive action to allow more undocumented immigrants to get legal protection and work permits, a position her husband Bill echoed on stage at Univision on Tuesday. Jorge Ramos, Univision’s star anchor and correspondent who is open about his feelings toward immigration reform, tweeted a day later that the debate over immigration might be over.

“I wonder how Republicans are going to respond to the immigration proposals by @HillaryClinton Maybe the debate is over already,” he tweeted.

Ramos has also drawn criticism from some in the mainstream media, who say he strays from objectivity into advocacy. But Univision News President Isaac Lee — who has equated speaking truth in today’s politics to speaking out against the Nazis during World War II — vigorously defends Ramos’ journalist-activist role. [Ramos’ daughter works for Hillary Clinton]

“He’s entitled to his opinion. I don’t think Jorge wants to be impartial, I think Jorge wants to be a responsible journalist,” Lee said in April during the International Symposium on Online Journalism conference in Austin. “Univision’s audience knows that Jorge is representing them. That he is not asking the questions to be celebrated as a fair and balanced journalist. He’s asking the questions to represent them. He’s going to ask the person whatever is necessary to push the agenda for a more fair society, for a more inclusive society and for the Hispanic community to be better.”


Hillary’s State Dept. aides consulted on Bill’s speeches

For Hillary, things with Univision are looking good.

“Hillary’s Cinco de Mayo Promise: path to citizenship for [undocumented], DACA and extended executive action. Of course we’ll remember @HillaryClinton,” Ramos tweeted last week.



The War of Western Failures: Hopes for Syria Fall with Aleppo

epa04741424 German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) meet for a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow, Russia, 10 May 2015. Russia continues to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Soviet Union and its Allies over Nazi Germany in WWII, with Angela Merkel arriving in Moscow to commemorate the victims of the war, even as other world leaders chose to stay away for the massive victory parade 09 May. EPA/SERGEI CHIRIKOV +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++

epa04741424 German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) meet for a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow, Russia, 10 May 2015. Russia continues to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Soviet Union and its Allies over Nazi Germany in WWII, with Angela Merkel arriving in Moscow to commemorate the victims of the war, even as other world leaders chose to stay away for the massive victory parade 09 May. EPA/SERGEI CHIRIKOV +++(c) dpa – Bildfunk+++

The Hybrid War: Russia’s Propaganda WAR Against Germany

Russia gives the West a taste of their own medicine:  Propaganda against Russia

The siege of Aleppo is a humanitarian catastrophe on a dramatic scale — and a victory for Russian President Vladimir Putin. He has seized on the Syrian civil war to expose an impotent West and show his own geopolitical muscle.

The brief disappearance of a girl in Germany recently become an international political issue. Russia is exploiting the case for propaganda purposes as part of its strategy of a hybrid war aimed at destabilizing the West and dividing Europe.

Svetlana F. is sitting at the kitchen table in her duplex home in the Berlin district of Marzahn-Hellersdorf. A slim, 39-year-old woman, she wrings her hands as she relates what happened to her daughter more than three weeks ago. The conversation stops each time she is unable to hold back her tears. This will be her only interview with the media.

“My daughter,” says the mother, “is not doing well.” When SPIEGEL and SPIEGEL TV met the family a week ago last Thursday, the girl was in the hospital. “She has been in the psychiatric ward since Monday.”Nothing has been the same for the family since the 13-year-old girl disappeared one morning on her way to school. The case has become an international political issue since it was picked up by Russian media and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov attacked the German authorities investigating it.

As the saying goes, truth is the first casualty of war. This is especially true of the propaganda war Moscow has been waging against the West and its open societies since the crisis in Ukraine began. The 13-year-old girl and her disappearance have become a weapon in this war. According to the Russian version of the story, the case has all the necessary ingredients: the rape of a teenage girl, violent refugees, police that use political correctness as an excuse not to investigate and politicians who are afraid of the truth. This is the story Moscow is telling, regardless of the facts.

Russia Accuses Germany of ‘Cover-Up’  –  Russia gives the West a taste of his own medicine

The Kremlin is now portraying itself as an advocate for the girl. The Russian Embassy in Berlin sent a verbal note to the German Foreign Ministry at the beginning of last week. The letter, with one page written in Russian, contains the usual pleasantries, but the overall tone is aggressive. The Russian diplomats demanded that the case be fully investigated, adding that they did not understand why the matter was being kept quiet.

On Tuesday, Lavrov publicly accused the German authorities of a “cover-up,” saying they were “whitewashing reality to make it politically correct.” German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier reacted sharply, calling Moscow’s reaction “political propaganda.” On Wednesday, Russian Ambassador Vladimir Grinin was summoned and lectured on the status of the investigation.

Nevertheless, as the propaganda battle continued, the version in which the girl was allegedly raped still circulated on the Internet. Security experts believe that Russia has greatly expanded its propaganda campaigns against the West, including Germany, in recent years. They represent the Kremlin’s attempt to manipulate public opinion in the West, stir up conflict and destabilize Western societies. President Vladimir Putin, a former KGB agent, and his team are using tricks from the intelligence agency’s playbook to conduct foreign policy. The “old methods” of the KGB — disinformation and destabilization — are blatantly on display once again, says Hans-Georg Maassen, president of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), Germany’s domestic intelligence service.

These methods were already evident in the Ukraine crisis, as Russia deployed television stations and so-called trolls to spread propaganda on the Internet and cast aspersions on Western media for being kept on a tight leash. Russian propaganda falls on fertile ground in the West, where distrust of politicians and the media is widespread. Many believe that the established media, disparaged as the Lügenpresse, or “lying press,” are withholding the truth. In Germany, 44 percent of the population harbors such reservations, according to a survey by the polling company Forsa.