Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review are pleased to see Donald Trump select Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate. They also shudder at the horrors of the latest terrorist attack and the growing resignation that this is the new normal. And they blast the media for blaming the attack on the truck instead of the terrorist driving it.
Archives for July 2016
House conservatives are forcing a vote on the fate of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen after GOP leaders refused to pursue the issue.
On Thursday, Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kansas, and Rep. John Fleming, R-Louisiana, offered a privileged resolution demanding a vote to impeach Koskinen for multiple crimes he allegedly committed while covering up the IRS abuse of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Huelskamp says he and other members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus had no other choice.
“This has been sitting out there for months and months. Leadership has refused to act, but it’s very clear. Mr. Koskinen engaged in a pattern of conduct incompatible with his office. He deceived Congress. He lied. He perjured himself. He deleted records. He covered it all up. At the end of the day, those are all impeachable offenses. We need to have a vote on that in the U.S. House,” said Huelskamp.
The congressman also explained the significance of the “privileged resolution.”
“Most resolutions the speaker can see fit to send them to committee, table them and do nothing. But with a privileged resolution, it forces the House to take some vote on this action. We have two days to take a vote on that. We could do it later today, but more likely after the long recess. We would vote on that the first day back,” said Huelskamp.
Huelskamp actually prefers waiting so lawmakers, including leaders, can hear from their constituents on this.
“I’d like to see a vote the first day back. Let members of Congress go home and ask their constituents, ‘What do you think about the IRS? Should they be above the law? Do you think anybody should be held accountable in the Obama administration?’ I think most Americans say, enough is enough. After all these years, it’s time to hold at least one person responsible,” said Huelskamp.
While Koskinen was not at the IRS at the time the harassment of conservative organizations was uncovered, Huelskamp says the commissioner’s actions since taking office are deplorable, particularly the destruction of some 50,000 emails that he was ordered to preserve.
“There were protective orders in the IRS not to delete emails. He knew that. He actually lied to Congress saying he protected all those emails. We found out they literally deleted thousands of emails and didn’t disclose those to Congress. They impeded a congressional investigation. So he came in to supposedly clean it up and make it whole. But he continued with the cover-up,” said Huelskamp.
Huelskamp says lawmakers would be derelict not to pursue impeachment.
“It is so distressing that we have a Republican majority in the House and we can’t actually use our constitutional authority to hold someone accountable. So we’re going to start with the IRS commissioner. If there’s an agency that Americans fear the most, maybe after the EPA or close to it, that’s the IRS,” said Huelskamp.
“They can make or break a business. They can destroy lives. They can harass you. They can threaten you. They can intimidate you,” added Huelskamp.
So why has leadership refused to pursue impeachment of Koskinen under regular order?
“Far too often, what I’ve seen in my five years in Washington is our leadership shying away from a real battle,” said Huelskamp.
He says the case of former Attorney General Eric Holder is the most glaring example.
“They censured him. He covered up the Fast & Furious investigation, covered up the fact of dozens and dozens of American deaths because of their failed policy and refused to come clean to Congress, so we censured him. I thought we should have impeached him. (Former House Speaker) John Boehner says no, he’s not going to let us vote on that,” said Huelskamp.
He says the same goes for Hillary Clinton.
“We let her ride for far too long and then the administration shockingly had a non-indictment of her after the the FBI director says clearly she committed criminal offenses,” said Huelskamp.
Huelskamp says if the public give their representatives an earful, he knows how the vote will go on the privileged resolution in a few weeks.
“We’re giving them a chance to actually go home and talk with their constituents and see what they think. At the end of the day, if they vote the way Americans want to vote, we will impeach John Koskinen,” said Huelskamp.
Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review are glad to see Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg admit she was badly mistaken to publicly criticize a presidential candidate. As reports flow in that Indiana Gov. Mike Pence will be Donald Trump’s running mate, we examine newly released comments from Newt Gingrich that show he admitted Trump wasn’t a conservative months ago. And we rip Hillary Clinton for being horrified at the idea that a president might use the IRS to target political opponents.
Rich McFadden of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review are thrilled Hillary’s email scandal may be affecting her image as new polls show Clinton down by two in Iowa and viewed as less honest than Trump in several swing states. They are concerned about the ever-growing security risks at the GOP Convention amid the current political climate. And they are shocked an editorial article from the New York Times agrees with Trump that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg should not make public statements attacking a presidential candidate.
Rich McFadden of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review celebrate two good martinis in capitalism’s gift to children’s health in the form of Pokemon Go and Hillary Clinton’s polling numbers dropping due to her email scandal. They are appalled that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper denied Paul Ryan’s request to block Hillary from receiving classified intelligence as a presidential candidate. They are dumbfounded with Rep. Corrine Brown’s claim that the FBI could have prevented the Orlando shooting had they not been investigating her for fraud.
Rich McFadden of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review are thrilled that a Washington Post and ABC News poll released Monday morning reveals 56 percent of Americans believe Hillary Clinton should be indicted. They agonize over the information that Bernie Sanders will unite the Democratic Party by endorsing Hillary Clinton. And they are shocked that Donald Trump spoke with Caitlyn Jenner and consider the possible implications for the Republican National Convention.
Rich McFadden of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review grieve over the blatant targeting and murdering of police officers by a team of snipers in Dallas. They give thanks to the protesters at the Black Lives Matter demonstration in Dallas for helping police locate the snipers. And they wrestle with the question of whether rhetoric spurs violence.
Rich McFadden of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review give kudos to Comey for saying Hillary could’ve been fired had she worked for the FBI and mishandled classified intel. They are weary of people rushing to judgement in shootings involving police officers and minorities such as in Baton Rouge on Tuesday. They disparage Trump defending his six-pointed-star tweet instead of attacking Hillary.
Rich McFadden of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review are elated that the FBI made the argument against electing Hillary. They are aggravated Trump won’t focus on attacking Hillary. And they are surprised Gary Johnson will be running as an independent in Ohio.
FBI Director James Comey excoriated Hillary Clinton’s use of private email servers to send and receive messages with extremely sensitive classified information and methodically refuted each of Clinton’s subsequent excuses, but Comey ultimately refused to recommend criminal charges against the presumptive Democratic nominee, leaving many legal experts stunned.
Tuesday morning, Comey stepped before cameras and microphones to announce the conclusion of the FBI investigation into Clinton and her handling of classified information. He said the probe clearly showed scores of emails containing classified information, including many that were marked classified from the start.
“From the group of 30,000 e-mails returned to the State Department, 110 e-mails in 52 e-mail chains have been determined by the owning agency to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received. Eight of those chains contained information that was Top Secret at the time they were sent; 36 chains contained Secret information at the time; and eight contained Confidential information, which is the lowest level of classification,” said Comey.
Comey also revealed that Clinton did in fact delete many emails that were work-related.
“The FBI also discovered several thousand work-related e-mails that were not in the group of 30,000 that were returned by Secretary Clinton to State in 2014,” he said, while noting that only a handful of those were deemed classified.
When it came to the findings, Comey also slammed Clinton and her team for their slipshod handling of national security information.
“Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information,” said Comey.
But despite all that, Comey said he and the FBI were not recommending criminal prosecution of Clinton.
“Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case,” said Comey.
That conclusion shocked many legal experts, especially after Comey’s lengthy explanation of Clinton’s conduct.
“I was flabbergasted,” said former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Victoria Toensing. “I heard him use the words ‘extremely careless.’ To any lawyer, that’s grossly negligent. I did not understand how he could get up there and say the words ‘extremely careless’ and not call that gross negligence.”
“If anything, ‘extremely careless” sounds even worse than gross negligence,” said Toensing.
She says the idea that no one is going to face legal consequences for Clinton’s actions is jaw-dropping.
“Somebody purposely established a private server to escape [Freedom of Information] requests, which is a violation of the government’s document law and having carelessly – ‘extremely carelessly’ in the words of the director – worked on this classified information and then was not held accountable for it is just shameful,” said Toensing.
In addition to shaking her head at Comey’s logic, Toensing says the FBI boss is dead wrong when it comes to the significance of intent. While Comey seemed to place a great deal of import on believing Clinton was not trying to break the law, Toensing says it simply doesn’t matter. She says 18 U.S. Code § 793 (f) is clear that the only consideration is whether classified information is stored in an unacceptable place.
In addition to believing Clinton did not intend to circumvent the law, he also cited a lack of precedent.
“In looking back at our investigations into mishandling or removal of classified information, we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts,” said Comey.
Critics immediately point to the case of Gen. David Petraeus, the former CIA director who faced a misdemeanor charge after showing classified information to his biographer mistress.
Toensing says the government is not being consistent at all.
“The Petraeus case is an example of somebody in a high position mishandling classified information. He gave it to just one other person who also had a clearance. Comey said it outright that they were so extremely careless that people could have hacked into this information,” said Toensing.
“He also pointed out that it didn’t matter whether the documents were marked classified, something that she’s always said cleared her. But he cleared her anyway,” said Toensing.
Toensing sees two additional major consequences from Comey’s decision. The first is the precedent it sets on these sorts of cases.
“I don’t know how the U.S. government can ever again go after somebody on any kind of level for the mishandling of classified information,” said Toensing.
She says the bigger picture is even more bleak.
“It’s a very sad day for the rule of law because this tells millions of people that there are two standards. If you’re really, really high in the government, you get to do things that the low people would be indicted for and have their clearances taken away for,” said Toensing.