A highly irritated federal judge expressed his discontent over the State Department’s “pattern of delayed document releases that has turned a possible bureaucratic logjam into a major problem for the leading Democratic presidential contender.” Politico,
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon, known for his blunt manner, said he simply did not understand why the State Department has dragged its feet on responses for emails in requests to the Freedom of Information Act.
“Now, any person should be able to review that in one day — one day,” the judge said, examining a request for just over 60 emails. “Even the least ambitious bureaucrat could do this.”
Leon articulated what has been a major concern of State Department critics who contend that the agency is dragging out responses to FOIA requests to protect Clinton, who served as Secretary of State during Obama’s first term. The judge’s complaints echoed those of Hill Republicans, who have accused the agency of slow-walking document requests in its Benghazi investigation to protect Clinton.
More Clinton emails are expected to be released Friday under a court-ordered process that has underscored Leon’s unhappiness.
After news broke of a multi-count fraud indictment against Pennsylvania U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, the Democrat agreed to step down from his leadership position on the House Appropriations Committee. Democratic California U.S. Rep. Mike Honda, who is himself facing an ethics probe, will replace Fattah. The Daily Caller,
Fattah, 58, and four others were indicted on Wednesday on 29 counts of racketeering, fraud and conspiracy in an investigation that was sparked by a tip to the FBI in March 2013.
Fattah’s alleged duplicitous acts stretch back to 2007.
In one alleged scheme, Fattah received a $1 million contribution from a wealthy donor. The lawmaker returned $400,000 of that donation but funneled the rest to himself through an education nonprofit organization he runs…
Politico reported last week that the House Committee on Ethics is looking into allegations that Honda’s campaign staff coordinated with his congressional staff to organize a fundraising event. If true, that would be a violation of ethics rules which requires a demarcation between a lawmaker’s campaign and congressional staffs.
According to Politico, emails revealed that Honda’s congressional chief of staff coordinated with his re-election staff to set up a roundtable discussion at the State Department.
The State Department released approximately 2,000 emails from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private account. But, there is a conspicuous two-month gap during the “period of escalating violence in Libya leading up to the September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that left four Americans dead.” The Daily Beast,
A State Department spokesman told The Daily Beast that for the year 2012, only those emails related to the security of the consulate or to the U.S. diplomatic presence in Libya were made public and turned over to a House committee investigating the fatal Benghazi assault. But if that’s true, then neither Clinton nor her staff communicated via email about the escalating dangers in Libya during those two crucial months. There were three attacks during that two-month period, including one that targeted the consulate. (Of course, email isn’t the only or even the preferred way State Department officials communicate about sensitive issues—especially if one of those officials is using a private server ill equipped to handle classified information.)
That two-month period also coincides with a senior Clinton aide obtaining a special exemption that allowed her to work both as a staff member to the secretary and in a private capacity for Clinton and her husband’s foundation. The Associated Press has sued to obtain emails from Clinton’s account about the aide, Huma Abedin. So far, the State Department has rebuffed those efforts. Nor, understandibly, did Foggy Bottom turn over any emails about Abedin’s employment status to the Benghazi Committee, which asked only for Libya-related material.
According to Quinnipiac University’s latest polling results, Clinton’s presidential outlook has diminished. Clinton, for the first time, is “trailing her top GOP rivals in the critical swing states of Colorado, Iowa and Virginia.” Additionally, Clinton’s “honesty and trustworthy ratings are in free fall.” Forbes,
Clinton is now lagging behind Senator Marco Rubio, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush in head-to-head match-ups by widening margins of two percentage points up to nine points. More specifically, the Republican front runners lead Clinton by the widest margins in Colorado and Iowa, by five to nine points, and are slightly ahead in closer races in Virginia by two to three points…
In all three states, Clinton’s rating a strong leader has dropped by between four and ten points compared to earlier data. Clinton is barely above 50 percent in this key category in Colorado, Iowa, and Virginia, underscoring voters’ perception of her questionable leadership abilities.
Brutally negative favorability ratings in each critical state, 35% favorable to 56% unfavorable in Colorado, 33% to 56% in Iowa, and 41% to 50% in Virginia, reflect poorly on her candidacy thus far.