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.