One of the least pursued stories in the mainstream media has been the denial of Donna Brazile that she sent the controversial email leaking a question to Hillary Clinton that would be asked at the CNN presidential downhill. Of course the easiest way to confirm that story is to ask the recipient campaign adviser Jennifer Palmieri who is readily available to the media. However, reporters have not pressed Palmieri. In the meantime, Brazile gave a rambling denial of the story that would normally trigger a feeding frenzy. In addition, some techies have posted a research that they say strongly support claims of authenticity, but the response of the media has been crickets.
While a curious 28 percent are happy with the current meltdown of our political system, most Americans are disgusted by the choices and tenor of this election. With the two most unpopular nominees to ever run for president for the main parties, both campaigns long ago abandoned the hope of getting voters to actually vote for their candidates. Instead, they are focusing on simply getting voters to hate the other candidate more than their own. In the midst of this race to the bottom, Wikileaks has given the public a new insight into the communications of political operatives, media, and activists. While stolen (and allegedly the product of Russian hacking), the public has been fascinated — and disgusted — by the contents of the emails. The emails have exposed a cesspool of hypocrisy, betrayal, and dishonesty in Washington. The more one reads, the harder it is to understand how this country could fallen into such absolute control of so few with so little integrity. While the Wikileaks emails recently have focused on the Clinton campaign, there is little in Washington that resembles any notion of civil virtue on either side. Strangely, the longer the campaign goes on, the more this election looks like a season of Game of Thrones. Below is my column in USA Today for those seeking insights from the “Seven Kingdoms.”
Wikileaks has issued new and troubling emails from its hacking of Democratic accounts. Top Clinton aide Doug Band sent emails that raised objections to the use of the Foundation by Bill Clinton over alleged conflicts of interest. He specifically mentions the giving of “expensive gifts” and other conduct from sponsors. At the same time, top Hillary Clinton aide, Huma Abedin, is found complaining about a “mess” created by Hillary Clinton in securing a massive contribution from the King of Morocco of $12 million allegedly in exchange (or with the expectation) for a meeting with her as part of an event for the Clinton Global Initiative May 2015.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump called this week for term limits for congressional members as part of his pledge “to drain the swamp.” He would limit members of the House of Representatives to a maximum of six years and limit Senators to 12 years in office. I have long opposed such term limits as curtailing the power of voters to choose their own leaders while undermining the effectiveness of Congress, particularly in the House.
I have previously written that recent disclosures over immunity deals with Clinton aides has seriously undermined the credibility of the FBI investigation into the email scandal and raises legitimate questions over the role of top ranking Justice Department officials in the closing of the investigation without criminal charges. Now a far more serious allegation has surfaced with the release of a FBI “302” that states that State Department Undersecretary for Management Patrick Kennedy proposed a “quid pro quo” to convince the FBI to strip the classification on an email from Hillary Clinton’s server. The FBI agent reported the encounter as an effort to “influence” the FBI in return to giving the Bureau long-sought agent placements overseas. Such an offer is more than a standard inter-agency “horse trade.” If the agent’s account is accurate, it was an effort to influence a criminal investigation to protect a high ranking politician and, additionally, an effort to alter a key piece of evidence. The fact that such an effort would be simply brushed aside by the FBI is shocking in itself and again raises questions over Director James Comey’s pledge to pursue any possible charges with independence and vigor. The FBI and State Department, as discussed below, have insisted that there was nothing untoward in the discussions and there is a difference in factual accounts. That is all the more reason for congressional oversight and investigation in my opinion.
We have been discussing the growing limitations and litigation over copyright and trademark claims in this country. U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison granted a temporary injunction in a trademark infringement suit filed by the University of Houston Law Center against the Houston College of Law (formerly known as the South Texas College of Law). Judge Ellison found that there was a sufficient showing that the new name and the school’s red-and-white colors infringed the trademark of the University of Houston Law Center. The Houston College of Law dominantly features a warning that it is not affiliated with the Houston Law Center on its website and material. The opinion is linked below.
The Wikileaks disclosures have confirmed what many voters believe about Washington as insiders craft dishonest accounts, betray friends, and coordinate with the media to engineer elections. It is the Game of Thrones without the redeeming characters. However, one of the most raw passages of alleged double-dealing comes from an email sent by Vice President Joe Biden’s closest aide to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. In the email, Klain pledges fealty to Clinton and seems to remind Podesta that he paid dearly to show his allegiance . . . by helping guarantee “the Biden demise.” While not reported in the mainstream media, the Washington Times and conservative sites have been reporting a surprise email exchange. I cannot find a response from Klain as to whether this is an authentic email or what he allegedly meant by the exchange.