Hillary Clinton agreed to a brief interview on the stinging rebuke found in the Inspector General Report that we discussed yesterday. The interview lacks questions on most of the contradictions that we discussed and Clinton insists that the report actually vindicates her — a truly breathtaking spin. Unfortunately, the reporter seemed to move as quickly as possible away from the report to turn to Donald Trump — with no follow up questions. However, there is a far more intriguing issue raised by the emails discussed in the report. Some of the emails revealed that Clinton believed that her personal, unsecure server had been hacked and she stated her desire to use a separate system to protect her personal emails from review — both serious contradictions to prior statements. Yet, the November 2010 reportedly was not among those turned over to the State Department. Indeed, at least three emails had not been seen before. Clinton previously insisted that all work related emails were turned over while her staff deleted personal emails.
We have been discussing the meltdown at our nation’s airports as people wait for hours due to continued incompetence of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). While the media reported that TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger was “fired”, it turns out that he was placed on paid administrative leave. No other terminations or discipline has been announced despite the utter chaos and huge costs associated with the TSA’s inability to function at minimal standards. Now, a new report states that caused more than 70,000 American Airlines (AAL.O) customers and 40,000 checked bags missed their flights this year.
While the New York Times has reported that the “State Department’s inspector general sharply criticized Hillary Clinton’s exclusive use of a private email server” and “undermined some of Mrs. Clinton’s previous statements”, the report did far more than criticize and undermine. It directly contradicted Clinton’s assertions on a number of key points. It further indicated not only clear violations of the State Department rules, but rules that were made clear to Clinton and her staff. (The Washington Post took a more critical view of Clinton’s statements in light of the report). Moreover, while this report deals with State regulations and rules (as well as the Federal Records Act), it does have bearing on the ongoing criminal investigation to the degree that it shows knowledge or reckless disregard of the security protocols and rules. It does show precisely that.
I have been critical of the continuing refusal of the D.C. city council to adhere to the rulings of the United States Supreme Court on the Second Amendment. Nevertheless, the city continues to fund unsuccessful litigation that seems entirely detached from the controlling constitutional standard in cases like Heller. We previously discussed the prior defeat of the D.C. law curtailing guns rights. Now for the second time in two years, a federal court has enjoined the enforcement of the city’s concealed-carry law. In this case, the city imposes a standard that applicants must state “good reason” to carry a weapon in order to obtain a permit from police. In a 46-page ruling by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon, the court declared the District’s gun-permitting system is likely unconstitutional. This law was the response to the court striking down the prior law in 2014.
We have been discussing the meltdown at airports due to the latest gross negligence by the Transportation Security Administration. At O’Hare, passengers are facing three hour delays with thousands missing flights and even having to rent hotel rooms when unable to make it to their gates in time. What is incredible is that Homeland Security Secretary not only denied that there was any crisis in grinding airports to a standstill but also seemed to blame passengers for failing to yield to the pressure to accept the expedited screening program called PreCheck. Many people object to the program as yielding privacy under coercion from TSA: share personal data or face hours of waiting as punishment. TSA admits that it assumed more passengers would yield to the pressure. They did not. It also admits to failing to properly staff security in a ten percent cut of screeners — a colossal blunder of under-estimating travel numbers. Yet, again, no one appears to be accountable for this massive failure that has left thousands stranded and airlines struggling to reschedule flights, including a separate TSA failure that resulted in the loss of thousands of bags.
We previously discussed how the government has kept 28 pages classified in the 9-11 Report to protect Saudi Arabia from a public backlash of its alleged involvement (or at least the involvement of Saudi officials) in the attacks. Now, a report on the treatment of U.S. sailors by Iran in seizure of Navy boats earlier this year will reportedly remain classified for some time. That is rather curious since Iran already knows how it treated the sailors. Again, there is a suspicion that the Administration simply does not want the public to know the full details of the mistreatment, which Rep. Randy Forbes (R., Va.), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, says are far worse than has been made public. Recently, the Navy fired the commander in the incident.
This afternoon, Judge Rosemary Collyer issued a final ruling in United States House of Representatives v. Burwell, the challenge to unilateral actions taken by the Administration under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Judge Collyer ruled in favor of the House of Representatives and found that the Administration violated the Constitution in committing billions of dollars from the United States Treasury without the approval of Congress. The historic ruling reaffirms the foundational “power of the purse” that was given to the legislative branch by the Framers.