Podesta Blasts Trump’s Distortion of Reality in Op-Ed

WASHINGTON, DC -- NOVEMBER 9: Former Clinton White House Chief of Staff, John Podesta, being interviewed for Discovery Channel's, "The President's Gatekeepers," November 9, 2012, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images)

John Podesta, the former chairman of Hillary for America, published an op-ed in The Washington Post attacking President Donald Trump for his continued distortion of the facts and attacks on the media. In the piece, Podesta calls out Trump for calling anything that does not portray him in the best light “fake news.” He has said this about poll numbers, his businesses, his connections to Russia, and any of his nominees. Podesta calls Trump’s attacks on the media “dangerous” as he is trying to turn people against the media and the political system. “He’s not just trying to spin the bad news of the day; all politicians do that. He seeks nothing less than to undermine the public’s belief that any news can be trusted, that any news is true, that there is any fixed reality,” he says. Read the full op-ed HERE.

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News Source: The Washington Post

Podesta Speaks Out About Email Hack

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 04:  John Podesta, campaign chairman for Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, looks on during a campaign rally at The Great Hall at Heinz Field on November 4, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. With less than a week to go until election day, Hillary Clinton is campaigning in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA – NOVEMBER 04: John Podesta, campaign chairman for Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, looks on during a campaign rally at The Great Hall at Heinz Field on November 4, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

John Podesta, the former chairman for Hillary for America, was interviewed by Tech Crunch about the election, and specifically the hacking of his Gmail account and the emails of the Democratic National Committee shortly before the election in November. The emails from the DNC and Podesta were then posted on WikiLeaks. US intelligence agencies traced the hacking back to Russia, and the hack was one of the issues that plagued the Clinton campaign in the weeks leading up to the election.

In the interview, Podesta spoke about the hacking and the failure of the FBI to properly investigate. “I think to this day it’s inexplicable that they were so casual about the investigation of the Russian penetration of the DNC emails. They didn’t even bother to send an agent to the DNC; they left a couple of messages at the IT help desk saying, ‘You might want to be careful.’ There are at least forces within the FBI that wanted her to lose,” he said. Podesta also discusses the failures of the campaign and the rise of fake news. Read the full interview HERE. Follow Podesta on Twitter @johnpodesta.

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News Source: Tech Crunch

Hillary Clinton to Release New Book, Speak at Alma Mater

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Hillary Clinton is returning to public spotlight. She has attended a few events since she lost the presidential race in November, but today several upcoming events were announced. The biggest announcement was from publisher Simon & Schuster who will publish a collection of personal essays by Clinton this fall. The book is described to include a number of her favorite quotes to “tell stories from her life, up to and including her experiences in the 2016 presidential campaign.” Simon & Schuster also announced a children’s book version of Clinton’s book, It Takes a Village, will be released in September. The new edition will feature illustrations by Marla Frazee and all proceeds will be donated to charity.

It was also announced that she will be returning to the speech circuit with several events planned in the coming months. The most notable will be a commencement address at Wellesley College, her alma mater. Clinton gained notoriety for becoming the first student speaker at her own commencement in 1969. Other speeches on tap for Clinton include an event at the United States Postal Service honoring fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, a speech organized by Vital Voices on International Women’s Day, and a speech at a New York LGBT Community Center. Clinton will also resume her paid speeches through the Harry Walker Agency. For a list of Clinton’s upcoming events, see our Scheduled Events page.

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News Source: NBC News, Time, The Hill

Chelsea Clinton Interviewed by Refinery29

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Earlier this month, Chelsea Clinton was interviewed by Refinery29. It is her first interview since her mother, Hillary Clinton, lost the presidential election to Donald Trump in November. In the interview, Chelsea talks about the work the Clinton Foundation continues to do, but the main discussion was about how her mother’s supporters should move forward after the election. Chelsea said, “Everything we believed before the election, we still believe. Everything we worked so hard for, we have to continue to work hard for. It requires engagement in our own communities.”

Chelsea recommended that everyone step up by subscribing to reliable news organizations, taking part in peaceful demonstrations such as the Women’s March, and that everyone donate to organizations that are likely to suffer during the Trump administration such as Planned Parenthood. She said that no matter how we are feeling, whether we are hopeful or angry, we should turn those feelings into actions. “Use those emotions to engage and organize and advocate to protect and advance what you think matters most. Whether that’s combatting climate change, or protecting women’s rights, fighting against gun violence, or advocating for LGBTQ equality,” she said. Read the full article HERE.

Chelsea is also still very active on Twitter, and you can follow her @ChelseaClinton.

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News Source: Refinery29

Judge Unseals Hillary Clinton FBI Search Warrant

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On Tuesday, a federal judge ordered that the search warrant that many have faulted for Hillary Clinton’s loss be unsealed. The warrant called for the investigation of emails between Clinton and aide Huma Abedin that were found on a laptop belonging to Abedin’s ex-husband, former Congressman Anthony Weiner. The document does not provide in detail what the FBI hoped to find, and the investigation ultimately turned up nothing. The warrant was approved by U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin Nathaniel Fox.

Many people have criticized the timing of the investigation by the FBI and the manner in which FBI director James Comey handled the investigation. He sent a letter to Congress two weeks before the election saying that the email investigation had been reopened. A few days later they concluded that no new evidence was found, but the damage to Clinton had been done. Despite winning the popular vote, Clinton lost the electoral college and the presidency. Clinton and her former campaign staffers blame Comey and the Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary for America chair John Podesta for their loss.

Read a copy of the warrant below or download a PDF copy HERE.

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News Source: The Washington Post, USA Today, Fortune, ABC News, Newsweek

Podesta Pens Op-Ed about the FBI

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The chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, John Podesta, published an op-ed in The Washington Post criticizing the FBI for its handling of Clinton’s email investigation and the hacking of his emails as well as the emails of the Democratic National Committee. Read Podesta’s full op-ed below:

Something is deeply broken at the FBI
By: John Podesta
December 15, 2016

The more we learn about the Russian plot to sabotage Hillary Clinton’s campaign and elect Donald Trump, and the failure of the FBI to adequately respond, the more shocking it gets. The former acting director of the CIA has called the Russian cyberattack “the political equivalent of 9/11.” Just as after the real 9/11, we need a robust, independent investigation into what went wrong inside the government and how to better protect our country in the future.

As the former chair of the Clinton campaign and a direct target of Russian hacking, I understand just how serious this is. So I was surprised to read in the New York Times that when the FBI discovered the Russian attack in September 2015, it failed to send even a single agent to warn senior Democratic National Committee officials. Instead, messages were left with the DNC IT “help desk.” As a former head of the FBI cyber division told the Times, this is a baffling decision: “We are not talking about an office that is in the middle of the woods of Montana.”

What takes this from baffling to downright infuriating is that at nearly the exact same time that no one at the FBI could be bothered to drive 10 minutes to raise the alarm at DNC headquarters, two agents accompanied by attorneys from the Justice Department were in Denver visiting a tech firm that had helped maintain Clinton’s email server.

This trip was part of what FBI Director James B. Comey described as a “painstaking” investigation of Clinton’s emails, “requiring thousands of hours of effort” from dozens of agents who conducted at least 80 interviews and reviewed thousands of pages of documents. Of course, as Comey himself concluded, in the end, there was no case; it was not even a close call.

Comparing the FBI’s massive response to the overblown email scandal with the seemingly lackadaisical response to the very real Russian plot to subvert a national election shows that something is deeply broken at the FBI.

Comey justified his handling of the email case by citing “intense public interest.” He felt so strongly that he broke long-established precedent and disregarded strong guidance from the Justice Department with his infamous letter just 11 days before the election. Yet he refused to join the rest of the intelligence community in a statement about the Russian cyberattack because he reportedly didn’t want to appear “political.” And both before and after the election, the FBI has refused to say whether it is investigating Trump’s ties to Russia.

There are now reports that Vladimir Putin personally directed the covert campaign to elect Trump. So are teams of FBI agents busy looking into the reported meeting in Moscow this summer between Carter Page, a Trump foreign policy adviser, and the Putin aide in charge of Russian intelligence on the U.S. election? What about evidence that Roger Stone was in contact with WikiLeaks and knew in advance that my hacked emails were about to be leaked? Are thousands of FBI person-hours being devoted to uncovering Trump’s tangled web of debts and business deals with foreign entities in Russia and elsewhere?

Meanwhile, House Republicans who had an insatiable appetite for investigating Clinton have been resistant to probing deeply into Russia’s efforts to swing the election to Trump. The media, by gleefully publishing the gossipy fruits of Russian hacks, became what the Times itself calls “a de facto instrument of Russian intelligence.”

But the FBI’s role is particularly troubling because of its power and responsibility — and because this is part of a trend. The Justice Department’s Inspector General issued a damning report this summer about the FBI’s failure to prioritize cyberthreats more broadly.

The election is over and the damage is done, but the threat from Russia and other potential aggressors remains urgent and demands a serious and sustained response.

First, the Obama administration should quickly declassify as much as possible concerning what is known about the Russian hack, as requested by seven Democratic members of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Second, the administration should brief members of the electoral college on the extent and manner of Russia’s interference in our election before they vote on Dec. 19, as requested by a bipartisan group of electors.

Third, Congress should authorize a far-reaching, bipartisan independent investigation modeled on the 9/11 Commission. The public deserves to know exactly what happened, why and what can be done to prevent future attacks. Reps. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) and Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) have introduced legislation to authorize such an investigation.

Finally, Congress should more vigorously exercise its oversight to determine why the FBI responded overzealously in the Clinton case and insufficiently in the Russian case. The FBI should also clarify whether there is an ongoing investigation into Trump, his associates and their ties to Russia. If ever there were a case of “intense public interest,” this is it. What’s broken in the FBI must be fixed and quickly.

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News Source: The Washington Post

Electors Ask for Intelligence Briefing Before Vote

A bipartisan group of electors from the Electoral College have asked for an intelligence briefing following revelations from the CIA that Russia may have influenced the election. In a letter to James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, the electors expressed their concern and asked that all of the electors be briefed by the intelligence community before they cast their ballots later this month. The chairman of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, John Podesta, said that he and the campaign supports the electors being briefed. In a statement, he said, “The bipartisan electors’ letter raises very grave issues involving our national security. Electors have a solemn responsibility under the Constitution and we support their efforts to have their questions addressed. Each day that month, our campaign decried the interference of Russia in our campaign and its evident goal of hurting our campaign to aid Donald Trump. Despite our protestations, this matter did not receive the attention it deserved by the media in the campaign. We now know that the CIA has determined Russia’s interference in our elections was for the purpose of electing Donald Trump. This should distress every American.”

This post will be updated as we learn more.

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News Source: The Washington Post, Politico

State Department Releases Emails from FBI Investigation

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Earlier this week, the State Department released 362 of the 15,000 emails that were turned over to the department by the FBI. The total document dump totaled over 1,000 pages and are “near duplicates” of the documents turned over by Clinton’s team in 2014. The State Department has been reviewing the emails turned over by the FBI since late summer and has reported that about 60% of the emails were personal in nature and not related to business. Of the emails that relate to Clinton’s time as Secretary of State, the department reports that a “substantial number” of them are duplicates of those that have been previously reviewed. The State Department will continue to review and release the emails until all 15,000 have been examined. You can access the latest batch of emails by following the steps below:

  1. Go to http://foia.state.gov/Search
  2. Type “F-2016-07895” in the Case Number field
  3. Click on the arrow next to the “Posted Date” column header and select “Sort Descending” so that the recently released documents show first
  4. Click the title of the document in the “Subject” field to open a PDF copy

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News Source: The Hill

Hillary Clinton Presents UNICEF Award to Katy Perry

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 29:  (L-R) Pamela Fiori, Hillary Clinton, Katy Perry, and Caryl Stern speak on stage during the 12th annual UNICEF Snowflake Ball at Cipriani Wall Street on November 29, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for UNICEF)
NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 29: (L-R) Pamela Fiori, Hillary Clinton, Katy Perry, and Caryl Stern speak on stage during the 12th annual UNICEF Snowflake Ball at Cipriani Wall Street on November 29, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for UNICEF)

On Tuesday evening, Hillary Clinton spoke at the annual UNICEF Snowflake Ball in New York City. She highlighted the work that UNICEF has done to help children before presenting the Audrey Hepburn Humanitarian Award to singer Katy Perry. Clinton said of Perry, “She is serious about understanding the complex problems we face and pulling people together to solve them. We need champions like Katy now more than ever, her passion, her energy and, yes, her voice, louder than a lion.” Perry, a Clinton supporter during the campaign, was surprised by Clinton’s appearance, and in her acceptance speech, Perry said, “I’ve always had a voice – a singing voice – but I’ve never had a voice like I’ve had before. Hillary has lit that voice inside of me, and that light will never go out, it will continue to get brighter and brighter and brighter.” A clip from the event is below, and a full video from the event will be added when/if available.

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News Source: Chicago Tribune, Time

Clinton Campaign to Participate in Wisconsin Vote Recount

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On Saturday, Hillary Clinton’s campaign announced that it will take part in a vote recount in Wisconsin. The recount was initiated on by Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein. The recount comes in light of fears that voting technology may have been tampered with in the state. In a post on Medium, Clinton lawyer Marc Elias wrote that, while their internal investigations did not reveal an evidence of vote tampering, the campaign will take part in the recount.

A number of prominent politicians and Clinton supporters have called upon the Clinton campaign to challenge the results in battleground states such as Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. There is a building frustration among Clinton’s supporters for a lack of comment from the former presidential candidate’s campaign, especially as Clinton’s lead in the popular vote count remains close to 2 million. Elias says that the campaign appreciates the support, but they have not felt the need to push for expensive recounts. He wrote, “The campaign is grateful to all those who have expended time and effort to investigate various claims of abnormalities and irregularities. While that effort has not, in our view, resulted in evidence of manipulation of results, now that a recount is underway, we believe we have an obligation to the more than 64 million Americans who cast ballots for Hillary Clinton to participate in ongoing proceedings to ensure that an accurate vote count will be reported.” Read Elias’s full post below:

Listening and Responding To Calls for an Audit and Recount

Over the last few days, officials in the Clinton campaign have received hundreds of messages, emails, and calls urging us to do something, anything, to investigate claims that the election results were hacked and altered in a way to disadvantage Secretary Clinton. The concerns have arisen, in particular, with respect to Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — three states that together proved decisive in this presidential election and where the combined margin of victory for Donald Trump was merely 107,000 votes.

It should go without saying that we take these concerns extremely seriously. We certainly understand the heartbreak felt by so many who worked so hard to elect Hillary Clinton, and it is a fundamental principle of our democracy to ensure that every vote is properly counted.

Moreover, this election cycle was unique in the degree of foreign interference witnessed throughout the campaign: the U.S. government concluded that Russian state actors were behind the hacks of the Democratic National Committee and the personal email accounts of Hillary for America campaign officials, and just yesterday, the Washington Post reported that the Russian government was behind much of the “fake news” propaganda that circulated online in the closing weeks of the election.

For all these reasons, we have quietly taken a number of steps in the last two weeks to rule in or out any possibility of outside interference in the vote tally in these critical battleground states.

First, since the day after the election we have had lawyers and data scientists and analysts combing over the results to spot anomalies that would suggest a hacked result. These have included analysts both from within the campaign and outside, with backgrounds in politics, technology and academia.

Second, we have had numerous meetings and calls with various outside experts to hear their concerns and to discuss and review their data and findings. As a part of this, we have also shared out data and findings with them. Most of those discussions have remained private, while at least one has unfortunately been the subject of leaks.

Third, we have attempted to systematically catalogue and investigate every theory that has been presented to us within our ability to do so.

Fourth, we have examined the laws and practices as they pertain to recounts, contests and audits.

Fifth, and most importantly, we have monitored and staffed the post-election canvasses — where voting machine tapes are compared to poll-books, provisional ballots are resolved, and all of the math is double checked from election night. During that process, we have seen Secretary Clinton’s vote total grow, so that, today, her national popular vote lead now exceeds more than 2 million votes.

In the coming days, we will continue to perform our due diligence and actively follow all further activities that are to occur prior to the certification of any election results. For instance, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania conduct post-election audits using a sampling of precincts. Michigan and many other states still do not. This is unfortunate; it is our strong belief that, in addition to an election canvass, every state should do this basic audit to ensure accuracy and public confidence in the election.

Beyond the post-election audit, Green Party candidate Jill Stein announced Friday that she will exercise her right as a candidate to pursue a recount in the state of Wisconsin. She has indicated plans to also seek recounts in Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Because we had not uncovered any actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology, we had not planned to exercise this option ourselves, but now that a recount has been initiated in Wisconsin, we intend to participate in order to ensure the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides. If Jill Stein follows through as she has promised and pursues recounts in Pennsylvania and Michigan, we will take the same approach in those states as well. We do so fully aware that the number of votes separating Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the closest of these states — Michigan — well exceeds the largest margin ever overcome in a recount. But regardless of the potential to change the outcome in any of the states, we feel it is important, on principle, to ensure our campaign is legally represented in any court proceedings and represented on the ground in order to monitor the recount process itself.

The campaign is grateful to all those who have expended time and effort to investigate various claims of abnormalities and irregularities. While that effort has not, in our view, resulted in evidence of manipulation of results, now that a recount is underway, we believe we have an obligation to the more than 64 million Americans who cast ballots for Hillary Clinton to participate in ongoing proceedings to ensure that an accurate vote count will be reported.

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News Source: The Washington Post, CNN, Medium