Links for 9-26-2016

Links for 9-25-2016

  • John Schindler relates the history between Hillary Clinton aide Cheryl Mills and FBI Director James Comey:

    Not to mention that Mills has a longstanding and well-deserved reputation in Washington for helping the Clintons dodge investigation after investigation. When Bill and Hillary need a fixer to help them bury the bodies – as they say inside the Beltway – trusty Cheryl Mills has been on call for the last quarter-century.

    She played a key role in the Whitewater scandal of the 1990s – and so did James Comey. Fully two decades ago, when Comey was a Senate investigator, he tried to get Mills, then deputy counsel to Bill Clinton’s White House, to hand over relevant documents. Mills went full dog-ate-my-homework, claiming that a burglar had taken the files, leading Comey to unavoidably conclude that she was obstructing his investigation. Mills’ cover-up, the Senate investigators assessed, encompassed “destruction of documents” and “highly improper” behavior.

    On the Department of Justice granting Cheryl Mills immunity from prosecution:

    How exactly Cheryl Mills got immunity, and what its terms were, is the long-awaited “smoking gun” in EmailGate, the clear indication that, despite countless man-hours expended on the year-long investigation, James Comey and his FBI never had any intention of prosecuting Hillary Clinton – or anyone – for her mishandling of classified information as secretary of state.

    Why Comey decided to give Mills a get-out-of-jail-free card is something that needs proper investigation. This is raw, naked politics in all its ugly and cynical glory. Corruption is the tamest word to describe this sort of dirty backroom deal which makes average Americans despise politics and politicians altogether.

  • Ilya Somin writes that Donald Trump’s expanded list of potential Supreme Court nominees changes nothing, even though Ted Cruz has cited Mike Lee’s inclusion on that list as a reason his for voting for Trump:

    But the problem goes far beyond Trump’s dishonesty. It is also far worse than mere ignorance about constitutional issues. Though Trump is indeed ignorant about the Constitution, ignorance does not imply indifference. To the contrary, he has a wide-ranging repressive agenda that would undermine the Constitution at many points. And much of that agenda is an outgrowth of views he has consistently held since long before the 2016 campaign. Unlike the Supreme Court list, it is probably not just a campaign ploy.

  • The Trump campaign claims it cut its ties with Carter Page, an advisor who’s being investigated for discussing “deals” with the Russian government.

  • Police arrested a suspect in the Washington mall shooting, a Turkish immigrant named Arcan Cetin who has a criminal record.

  • The suspect in the New Jersey and Manhattan bombings, Ahmad Khan Rahami, spent three weeks at a madrassa in Pakistan that’s closely tied to the Afghan Taliban. The Department of Homeland Security’s dragnet appears to have completely missed this guy’s suspicious activities, and eventually granted him American citizenship. People’s skepticism about the Department of State and Department of Homeland Security’s ability to vet refugees would appear to be well founded.

  • The Food and Drug Administration and other government agencies are controlling the science media by promising them exclusive access in return for surrendering their ability to ask questions or seek comments from third parties:

    Documents obtained by Scientific American through Freedom of Information Act requests now paint a disturbing picture of the tactics that are used to control the science press. For example, the FDA assures the public that it is committed to transparency, but the documents show that, privately, the agency denies many reporters access—including ones from major outlets such as Fox News—and even deceives them with half-truths to handicap them in their pursuit of a story. At the same time, the FDA cultivates a coterie of journalists whom it keeps in line with threats. And the agency has made it a practice to demand total control over whom reporters can and can’t talk to until after the news has broken, deaf to protests by journalistic associations and media ethicists and in violation of its own written policies.

    Note that Scientific American agrees to these embargoes, so there’s some self-serving here despite the article’s complaints about the FDA.

  • The Department of Health and Human Services proposed a regulation that would prevent states from denying Title X grants to Planned Parenthood. Thirteen states have blocked Planned Parenthood’s access to Title X grants, and if this regulation goes into effect those states would lose all of their federal Title X funding. Texas is one of those states, but DHS has already cut off its Title X funding.

  • Now both Russian and Syrian government planes are bombing rebel-held areas of Aleppo. Secretary of State John Kerry is still arguing for his ceasefire, but it’s over.

Links for 9-24-2016

  • Andrew McCarthy asks why the Department of Justice granted immunity to Hillary Clinton aide Cheryl Mills:

    The FBI had abundant reason to suspect that there was classified information improperly stored – i.e., potentially illegally stored – on Mills and Samuelson’s computers. These devices had been used in 2014 (i.e., about two years after Mills and Clinton had left the State Department) in the process of reviewing the 62,000 emails stored on Clinton’s homebrew server. It was by this process that Clinton determined which emails related to government business and would be surrendered to the State Department, and which were (purportedly) private and would be retained by Clinton. (We now know that thousands of what Clinton claimed were “private” emails were actually government-related, that some even contained classified information, and that Clinton and her minions attempted to destroy all of them – notwithstanding that destroying even one government file is a felony.)

    Because thousands of emails containing classified information were included among the 62,000 reviewed on the Mills and Samuelson computers, and because data usually remain stored in the memory of a computer even if a deletion attempt has been made, it was a good bet that the Mills and ­­Samuelson computers contained classified information.

    It can be a felony to mishandle classified information by transmitting it to, or storing it on, an unclassified system. Moreover, it constitutes a threat to national security (and to informants who risk their lives to acquire intelligence for the United States) to leave classified information on a non-secure private computer that can easily be hacked or otherwise infiltrated. Consequently, the Justice Department had the power and the duty to take custody of the Mills and Samuelson computers.

    It does not matter whether Mills and Samuelson were concerned that their computers might contain incriminating information. The Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination only protects a person from being forced to provide the government with self-incriminating information of a testimonial nature; it does not cover physical evidence.

  • David French writes on Ted Cruz’s decision to endorse Donald Trump:

    Let’s be clear, between the Republican convention and this weekend, absolutely nothing changed about either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Trump and Clinton are the same politicians with the same towering self-regard and same unfitness for the presidency. Trump is the exact same person who Cruz once said could “plunge” this nation “into the abyss.” Clinton is the exact same person we’ve seen throughout a quarter-century of dreary, corrupt years in national public life. What changed is all this “pressure” I keep hearing about. “The pressure is building,” people say. It’s time to get in line behind Trump.

    What pressure? You might get primaried? The terrifying Reince Priebus might get angry? You might – gasp – lose your Senate seat? Good heavens – the nation just can’t survive without Cruz in the Senate!

    Later:

    Similarly, while there are substitutes for any senator, there is no substitute for respect for the values and constitutional principles that made this nation great. And if a politician has to expose himself to Reince’s public relations peashooter to — quoting Cruz himself at the convention – “defend our freedom” and be “faithful to the Constitution,” then by God you do it. Too bad Ted couldn’t. Perhaps someone else will.

  • President Obama used a pseudonym when he communicated with Hillary Clinton via email, which suggests he knew she was using an insecure private server.

  • An internal U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services email says the agency is offering overtime to process naturalization applications before the election. The agency claims it receives more naturalization applications during election years, and that it’s trying to maintain its usual five to seven month processing time despite the increased number of applications. Critics say it’s trying to manufacture Democrat voters.

  • A U.S. Air Force F–35 caught via during engine startup. The plane was participating in exercises at Mountain Home Air Force Base at the time. The pilot got out OK and the ground crew extinguished the fire.

  • A man used a rifle to kill five people at a mall in Burlington, Washington. Law enforcement is still searching for a suspect.

  • An American drone strike killed a local al Qaeda commander in Yemen; three other al Qaeda members were killed in the strike, too. This is the second such drone strike in as many days.

  • Two terrorist attacks in Germany for which ISIS claimed responsibility were actually tightly controlled by ISIS operatives via phone messaging applications — law enforcement describes the attackers as operating under remote control.

Links for 9-23-2016

Links for 9-22-2016

Links for 9-21-2016

Links for 9-20-2016