PowerLine – Today’s Clinton Scandal

PowerLine – Today’s Clinton Scandal

PowerLine Daily digest - Old Guard Audio.com

PowerLine Daily digest – Old Guard Audio.com

A Dinner Invitation to Our Readers

Posted: 12 May 2016 02:56 PM PDT

(John Hinderaker)If you live within driving distance of the Twin Cities, you should come: a week from Saturday, May 21, Center of the American Experiment will hold its 27th Annual Dinner. I have been master of ceremonies for the last 11 or so annual dinners, but my role will change this year as I became President of the Center in January. You can go here to read about my assuming leadership of the organization.

This year’s dinner will be a fun event, as always. Dana Perino will be the featured speaker, and we expect a crowd of around 900. We are changing the format a bit this year, and I will talk for a while, describing the Center’s programs and the remarkable impact we are having on Minnesota. To cite just one example, a great paper by the Center’s Peter Nelson on income migration, based on an IRS database, found that in 2014 Minnesota suffered a net outmigration of thousands of families, with a net combined income of nearly $1 billion. Almost all of this out-migration went to lower-tax states. Peter’s paper has ignited a debate over Minnesota’s high taxes, as liberals have desperately, and unsuccessfully, tried to find flaws in Peter’s analysis.

The Annual Dinner will be at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Minneapolis, 1001 South Marquette Avenue. The event begins with a cocktail reception at 5:30 and will end promptly at 9:00. Individual tickets are $200, but if you are a student we probably can comp you. For tickets, call Kristen Sheehan at (612) 325-3597 or Samantha Peterson at 612-584-4559. Hope to see you there!


Today’s Clinton Scandal

Posted: 12 May 2016 02:47 PM PDT

(Steven Hayward)The Wall Street Journal has an article out in the last hour about the latest Clinton scandal:

Clinton Charity Aided Clinton Friends

By James V. Grimaldi

HASTINGS, Neb.—The Clinton Global Initiative, which arranges donations to help solve the world’s problems, . . .

Oh just stop right there. “[W]hich arranges donations to help solve the world’s problems” is the best bit of droll comedy writing I’ve seen in a long time in a straight new story. Who needs to be president when you can solve the world’s problems by “arranging donations”?

Anyway, it seems the Clintons arranged a $2 million commitment from the Clinton Foundation to benefit a private company run by friends of the Clintons, and it involves that problem-solving industry—clean energy!

Energy Pioneer Solutions was founded in 2009 by Scott Kleeb, a Democrat who twice ran for Congress from Nebraska. An internal document from that year showed it as owned 29% by Mr. Kleeb; 29% by Jane Eckert, the owner of an art gallery in Pine Plains, N.Y.; and 29% by Julie Tauber McMahon of Chappaqua, N.Y., a close friend of Mr. Clinton, who also lives in Chappaqua.

And here is Ms. McMahon, who looks very much like the kind of problem solver that Bill Clinton especially likes to help out:

Julie McMahon copyMeanwhile, like so many green energy “investments,” this one didn’t work out so well:

Energy Pioneer Solutions has struggled to operate profitably. It lost more than $300,000 in 2010 and another $300,000 in the first half of 2011, said records submitted for an Energy Department audit. Mr. Kleeb noted that losses are common at startups.

“Losses are common at startups” especially if they’re “green” energy startups. When are we going to start calling such projects by a more accurate name: red energy?

And if Hillary is elected president, my early bid says that the Clinton Foundation and its friends will see their “donations to solve the world’s problems” balloon to over $1 billion by the end of Madam President’s first year in office is over.


Coming Attractions

Posted: 12 May 2016 07:45 AM PDT

(Steven Hayward)Three-quarters of the Power Line team met in person last night at a disclosed location (John’s kitchen) in Apple Valley, Minnesota, which happens about as often as a Halley’s Comet flyby. (Paul is still in seclusion over in Eastern Europe hoping the whole Trump thing is just some kind of practical joke.) Here you can see the team hard at work in our makeshift newsroom, getting ready to have some incredible, amazing Trump steaks:


After a dinner where we naturally came up with multiple brilliant ideas (though that might have been the really fine red wine talking), we fired up the newsroom again to discover a massive Charter internet outage had taken down most of the midwest. So we did the only sensible thing at that point. We all went to bed.

We actually taped a rogue podcast (and shot some video!), which we hope to have up later today or tomorrow. And now that I’ve finished writing my long suffering book (not half as much long suffering as readers next spring—heh), I’ll get back to producing more custom video content for the site, and special reports for our VIP members.

(DHS) Magical Mystery Tour: Too much of nothing

Posted: 12 May 2016 06:28 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson)In “Prosecutors say member of alleged ISIL recruit’s defense team preached jihad,” Star Tribune reporter Stephen Montemayor noted in passing that local imams and Muslim “community leaders” had received a “behind-the-scenes security tour” in February at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Montemayor mentioned the tour when he noted that Hassan Mohamud — “Sheikh Hassan” — had been “uninvited” from the tour.

What??? What tour?

That’s where Montemayor left matters, so I asked airport spokesman Patrick Hogan about it. Hogan gave me the courtesy of a prompt response, though he denied any knowledge of the tour. He also referred me to the Transportation Security Administration and to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. A TSA spokesman denied knowledge (wrongly, as it turned out). Several calls to CBP resulted in a bingo with midwest CBP spokesman Kristoffer Grogan in Michigan. Grogan called in response to my inquiries at the airport and emailed me the following explanation:

Per our conversation U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) conducted a community engagement tour at the St. Paul International Airport on February 18th. The tour included roughly 20 community members from the greater Minneapolis area and was facilitated through the DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. The tour showed the participants the process that all arriving passengers go through when arriving at the Federal Inspection Services (FIS) area at Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport. CBP conducts these types of tours regularly as part of our outreach efforts to improve ties between CBP and our community members.

The tour was conducted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection leadership assigned to the Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport. I currently do not have a list of those who attended the tour. You would need to reach out to the DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties for that information.

So I called the DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at the number provided by Grogan. DHS instructed me to email my inquiry to their public affairs address. I wrote with the subject “Request for information regarding security tour of MSP International Airport given to imams by CBP on February 18.” This was my request:

[The March 29] Star Tribune refers in passing to a behind the scenes security tour given to local imams and Muslim community leaders at the Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport [in February]. They report that Imam Hassan Muhamad was “disinvited” from the tour. I have confirmed the date/location/purpose of the tour with CBP midwest spokesman Kristoffer Grogan. He tells me that the tour was “facilitated” by the DHS Office of Civil Rights and has referred me to you for additional information regarding invitees and details regarding the tour.

I am following up on Mr. Grogan’s referral. I am seeking the information regarding the tour including: invitees, participants, tour guides, areas toured, and the nature of any security checks conducted before extending the invitations.

I received this ludicrously unilluminating response from DHS press secretary Marsha Catron:


We cannot comment on individual cases due to privacy concerns. However, the Department of Homeland Security does not at any time nor for any reason bar a participant from an event based on protected First Amendment activity.

If an event takes place at a secure facility, a security or background check may be run on an individual before he or she is allowed to enter a secure location.

She added an equally uninformative sentence for my “BACKGROUND use.” I wrote her back:

Marsha: I understand. This is to request the other information: invitees, attendees, areas of the airport that were toured, who conducted the tour and so on.

Thank you.

And again:

I am writing to make one more request for the additional information I sought earlier this week. Please give me the courtesy of a response.

No response.

In response to my inquiry, Ms. Catron advised me of the department’s procedure for submitting a Freedom of Information Act Request. I submitted my request under FOIA. Why this should be necessary for the basic information sought is beyond me.

Yesterday I received the following response by email attachment:

Re: 2016-CRFO-00069

May 11, 2016

Dear Mr. Johnson:

This is the final response to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL), dated April 03, 2016, and received by this office on April 05, 2016. You are seeking information and documents regarding the tour given to local imams and Muslim community leaders at MSP Airport on February 18, 2016 including invitees, participants, tour guides, areas toured, and the nature of any security checks conducted before extending the invitations.

CRCL has considered your request under the FOIA, 5 U.S.C. § 552 [i.e., the Freedom of Information Act].

A search of CRCL for records responsive to your request produced 9 pages that are responsive to your request. After review of those documents, I have determined that 0 pages will be released in their entirety. Portions of 9 pages will be withheld pursuant to exemptions of the FOIA as described below.

CRCL has applied FOIA exemptions to protect from disclosure

CRCL has applied Exemption 5 to protect from disclosure intra-agency documents that contain the recommendations, opinions, and conclusions of agency employees. The disclosure of these communications would discourage the expression of candid opinions and inhibit the free and frank exchange of information and opinions among agency personnel on important agency decision-making by having a chilling effect on the agency’s deliberative process.

FOIA Exemption 5 protects from disclosure those inter- or intra-agency documents that are normally privileged in the civil discovery context. The three most frequently invoked privileges are the deliberative process privilege, the attorney work-product privilege, and the attorney-client privilege. After carefully reviewing the responsive documents, I have determined that portions of the responsive documents qualify for protection under the deliberative process privilege, the attorney-client privilege, and the attorney work-product privilege. The deliberative process privilege protects the integrity of the deliberative or decision-making processes within the agency by exempting from mandatory disclosure opinions, conclusions, and recommendations included within inter-agency or intra-agency memoranda or letters. The release of this internal information would discourage the expression of candid opinions and inhibit the free and frank exchange of information among agency personnel. The attorney work-product privilege protects documents and other memoranda prepared by an attorney in contemplation of litigation. The attorney-client privilege protects confidential communications between an attorney and his client relating to a legal matter for which the client has sought professional advice. It applies to facts divulged by a client to his attorney, and encompasses any opinions given by an attorney to his client based upon, and thus reflecting, those facts, as well as communications between attorneys that reflect client-supplied information. The attorney-client privilege is not limited to the context of litigation.

CRCL has applied FOIA Exemption 6 and to protect from disclosure the names, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers of DHS employees contained within the documents.

FOIA Exemption 6 exempts from disclosure personnel or medical files and similar files the release of which would cause a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. This requires a balancing of the public’s right to disclosure against the individual’s right to privacy. The privacy interests of the individuals in the records you have requested outweigh any minimal public interest in disclosure of the information. Any private interest you may have in that information does not factor into the aforementioned balancing test.

You have a right to appeal the above withholding determination. Should you wish to do so, you must send your appeal and a copy of this letter, within 60 days of the date of this letter, to: Associate General Counsel (General Law), U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C. 20528, following the procedures outlined in the DHS regulations at 6 C.F.R. § 5.9. Your envelope and letter should be marked “FOIA Appeal.” Copies of the FOIA and DHS regulations are available at www.dhs.gov/foia.

If you need to contact our office again about this matter, please refer to 2016-CRFO-00069. This office can be reached at 202-357-1218.


Enclosure(s): 9 pages

The nine pages are mostly redacted. Two pages listing the tour participants and their nationality are blacked out completely. The only possibly applicable FOIA exemption is 6, although I don’t think it applies. There is no legitimate privacy interest supporting the names of the tour participants. The text of the invitation, however, is provided:

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would like to invite you to participate in a tour of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport as part of our ongoing efforts to engage with community leaders and members. During the event, participants will be provided with a step-by-step tour of our operations, designed to offer a greater understanding of airport processes and procedures. Throughout the event, we will discuss traveler expectations, rights, and procedures. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions of representatives from DHS, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Transportation Security Administration….Participants will be met by airport officials and led into the secure area of the airport….

Please note that this event will be closed to the press and participants will not be allowed to take pictures or video recordings during the event.

The situation at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport has its comic elements, but this is comedy raised to the level of Kafkaesque performance art.

Mr. Rhodes regrets

Posted: 12 May 2016 06:24 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson)In David Samuels’s valuable New York Times Magazine profile of Obama administration national security adviser Ben Rhodes, Rhodes presents with a mind that is said to have “melded” with that of President Obama. I think that Rhodes proves this to be untrue in one relevant respect.

Rhodes and Obama have rightly sized up their media interlocutors as young ignoramuses and/or valued tools disseminating the administration’s line. Samuels shows Rhodes crowing how he has used both the young ignoramuses and their more senior colleagues such as the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg. I think Goldberg falls into the category of valued tool.

The media have a hard time reporting on Samuels’s profile or Samuels’s profile or Rhodes’s reflections. As Lee Smith shows,. Rhodes has deeply wounded them. He has damaged their pride and self-love. He shouldn’t oughta have done it. He is an arrogant punk.

If there is a first rule of politics, it must be not to expose your friends as fools. Rhodes has violated the rule in an almost shocking manner. It serves neither him nor, more importantly, his master. It is a mistake of the kind that Obama himself would never make and you can be sure that Obama has let him know it in one way or another.

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