Selasa, 06 Oktober 2015

State Department pressing Clinton lawyer over email gap

State Department officials are pressing Hillary Clinton's personal lawyer David Kendall to confirm -- again -- whether the former secretary of state really did turn over all official emails, according to Justice Department documents filed as part of a watchdog group's lawsuit against the State Department. 
State Department official Patrick Kennedy raised this question with Kendall in an Oct. 2 letter -- obtained by Fox News -- demanding to know why there appears to be a gap of at least two months during which Clinton may not have turned over official emails to the department. 
The details emerged in a FOIA lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch. And the question over a gap in the records follows recent reports that Clinton was emailing with Gen. David Petraeus in January and February 2009 from her personal email account about Obama administration personnel matters -- though she has claimed she only started using that personal account for official business in March 2009. 
In the wake of the Petraeus reports, the State Department's Kennedy wrote the letter to Kendall to determine if she really turned over all official documents since "the Department has become aware of emails that were sent to or received from former Secretary Clinton between January and March 2009." 
"As a result, I ask that you confirm that, with regard to her tenure as Secretary of State, former Secretary Clinton has provided the Department with all federal records in her possession, regardless of their format or the domain on which they were stored or created, that may not otherwise be preserved in the Department's recordkeeping system," Kennedy wrote to Kendall. "To the extent her emails might be found on any internet service and email providers, we encourage you to contact them." 
The inquiry stands as an example of the Obama administration pressing Clinton on her federal record transparency, even as Clinton suggests Republicans are playing politics with probes into the 2012 Benghazi attack and her email practices. The campaign has escalated those charges after House GOP Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy was accused by Democrats of linking the Benghazi panel's work to her declining poll numbers. 

Senin, 05 Oktober 2015

Ukraine parallels seen in Russia's Syria push, Obama under pressure to do more

Russia's continuing military buildup and ongoing airstrikes in Syria are raising concerns that President Obama is "flummoxed" by an intervention reminiscent, analysts say, of the incursion into eastern Ukraine. 
“They are almost sibling interventions,” Joerg Forbrig, Transatlantic Fellow for Central and Eastern Europe at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, told 
A senior Kremlin defense official told Russian media outlets this week that military veterans that had served in eastern Ukraine were likely to start fighting next in Syria as “volunteer” ground forces, according to The New York Times
The announcement comes amid Russia’s escalating presence in the region, with the U.S. and NATO expressing concern over Russia’s fresh incursions into Turkish airspace.
Russia has said that its airstrikes are aimed against Islamic State forces, as well as Al Qaeda’s affiliates in Syria. However, U.S. officials have said that at least some of the strikes have hit Western-backed rebel factions fighting government troops, with the intention of protecting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Speaking to reporters during a stop at Moron Air Base in Spain, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said he couldn't confirm reports there may be Russian volunteer soldiers in Syria, but warned against it.

Minggu, 04 Oktober 2015

Hillary hopes to beat the rap on a technicality

Have you ever watched a courtroom drama in which the judge dramatically declares that a whole swath of evidence is inadmissible because its origins were tainted?

That’s what Hillary Clinton is hoping Democrats do for her today with her first television ad.

The new spot no doubt will add further anguish to Republicans contemplating the speakership of Kevin McCarthy. And it will, no doubt, certainly help frame the former secretary of state’s testimony later this month about the deadly raid of 2012 in Benghazi, Libya.

But the point here is primarily about locking up a primary which has proved remarkably difficult for Clinton. She should not be trailing the 74-year-old socialist senator from Vermont anywhere, not even New Hampshire.

And Vice President Joe Biden’s bubble should’ve popped a long time ago. While the two of them have certainly had their disagreements, she and Biden represent essentially the same part of the Democratic Party. Remember: that’s why Barack Obama picked Biden as his running mate in 2008.

Her problems certainly stem from her acknowledged struggle to interact with human beings. A manful effort by her media partners at NBC for the past week notwithstanding, Clinton still struggles with empathy.

But Clinton’s biggest problem is the same one that her establishment counterpart on the Republican side has: electability. Usually the domain of underdogs and outsiders, it is the runners in the inside lanes who have the electability woes in this topsy cycle.

For Jeb Bush, his electability problems don’t relate to him as much as they relate to his last name (though he certainly is making an effort to be his own man in that regard, too).

For Clinton, the reason she is faring so poorly against her would-be general election rivals is that Americans broadly mistrust her and there is baggage still to unpack. Given her misleading, obfuscatory and facile answers to the persistent scandals that have dogged her candidacy, Democrats have good reason to believe that there is more to come.

Sabtu, 03 Oktober 2015

Biden reportedly shared details on dying son’s wish he run for president

Vice President Joe Biden reportedly was the one who during an interview shared details about his son Beau's dying wish that he take one more run at the White House, telling his father "that the country would be better off with Biden values." 
Politico, citing "multiple sources," reported Tuesday that the vice president was in fact the source of the intimate details in an Aug. 1 New York Times column by Maureen Dowd that effectively kicked off the now-frenzied speculation about Biden's 2016 plans. 
In the column, Dowd described an emotional scene where a dying Beau Biden spoke to his father for one of the last times. 
"He tried to make his father promise to run, arguing that the White House should not revert to the Clintons and that the country would be better off with Biden values," the article said. 
According to Politico, the scene was relayed by Biden himself. 
The vice president's office, though, pushed back strongly on the report. 

Jumat, 02 Oktober 2015

The Bernie boom: Why Sanders is shattering the media’s expectations

Has the Bernie Sanders phenomenon reached the point where the media have to take it more seriously?
It’s not that Bernie-mentum has exactly gone unnoticed. The man has landed on the cover of Time magazine. The huge crowds he is drawing—20,000 in Boston the other day—continue to amaze the political world. And with Hillary Clinton still on the defensive over the email mess (NBC’s Savannah Guthrie told her yesterday, “Do you get how bad it looks?…If you’re blaming the Republicans, some might wonder how genuine is that apology?”), the contrast in coverage could hardly be starker.
But every positive Sanders development is followed by a media qualifier:
“Yes but, he can’t beat Hillary after Iowa and New Hampshire.”
“Yes but, the Democratic Party is not going to nominate an avowed socialist.”
“Yes but, he’d get clobbered in a general election.”
Now two developments are giving the pundits pause. One is Sanders’ fundraising haul--$26 million in the third quarter, just a couple of million behind Clinton. And virtually all of that money from 650,000 small donors, giving his campaign the feel of a grass-roots rebellion, and the fuel to compete in big states once the first two contests are over.
Nothing gets the media’s attention more than money.
The second development came yesterday with some hypothetical general election matchups by NBC and the Wall Street Journal.

Kamis, 01 Oktober 2015

13-year-old YouTube star Caleb Logan Bratayley died of undetected medical condition

The Bratayley family, known for their extremely popular YouTube channel, has revealed 13-year-old Caleb Logan died of an undetected medical condition.
The YouTube world was shocked to learn of the young Bratayley family member’s death late last week, and though they revealed at the time Caleb died of natural causes, fans still had many questions.
In an Instagram post shared late Monday, the family wrote: “Caleb's death has raised many questions about how and why this could happen to a seemingly healthy boy. Sadly, tests have confirmed today that Caleb passed away from an undetected medical condition. We'll have more definitive answers in the coming weeks but ask that you help us celebrate his life instead of focus on his death.”
The family went on to explain they will be streaming a memorial service for Caleb so his fan base can mourn him along with the family.
“Due to an outpouring of support and people's hope to be part of his memorial, we have decided to live-stream the ceremony [Tuesday] at 8pm EDT... Thank you for all your kindness during this difficult time.”

White House: US airstrike on Afghan hospital 'profound tragedy'

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Tuesday that the U.S. airstrike on an Afghanistan hospital where aid workers were operating was a "profound tragedy" and President Obama wants a "full accounting of what transpired" -- but clarified that the Justice Department is not involved in any investigation after earlier saying it was. 
"I misspoke," Earnest said. 
Earnest initially said during Tuesday's press briefing that the Justice Department was conducting an investigation. 
Later in the briefing, Earnest corrected himself, saying there are still only the three probes announced in the aftermath of the attack, to be conducted by: the Defense Department, NATO, and a joint U.S.-Afghan group. 
The weekend strike in Kunduz killed at least 22 at a medical clinic run by Doctors Without Borders. U.S. officials say Afghan forces called in the strike after taking fire from Taliban fighters. 
Earnest said Tuesday "there still is more that needs to be learned" about how the attack happened.
Shortly beforehand, Gen. John F. Campbell told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill that the attack was a mistake. 
"The hospital was mistakenly struck," he said. "We would never intentionally target a protected medical facility."
Campbell, the top commander of American and coalition forces in Afghanistan, also said the decision to execute the airstrike in Kunduz was made by top U.S. commanders. He said Monday that Afghan forces, not U.S. forces, called in the strike after taking fire. 
Campbell’s characterization that the airstrike was an accident comes after sources told Fox News that Taliban fighters were inside the Doctors Without Borders-run hospital. Campbell said he could not provide more details about what happened, including who may have failed to follow procedures for avoiding attacks on hospitals. He said he must await the outcome of multiple investigations.