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 Speaks at the Opening of State Department Pavilion

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Hillary Clinton returned to Washington, DC on Tuesday for the opening of a new exhibition area in the State Department’s museum. Named in her honor, The Hillary Clinton Pavilion marks the completion of another section of the U.S. Diplomacy Center. Clinton was joined at the event by Secretary of State John Kerry and former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell. Clinton spoke briefly about the important work of the museum and its exciting future saying, “I’m excited about the historic artifacts and the cutting-edge exhibits that will be here to teach and inspire future generations about the work of our country’s diplomats. Students and visitors alike will be able to simulate high-stakes diplomatic negotiation, learn more about resolving disputes in our increasingly interconnected and interdependent world.” Watch a video of Clinton’s speech below.

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News Source: The Washington Post, Politico

Intelligence Community Releases Declassified Report on Russia’s Influence of the Election

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Late last week, the intelligence community released their report following an investigation into the alleged influence of the 2016 election by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Intelligence agencies. The report is a declassified version of a much more detailed report which concluded that Putin “ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election.” It went on to say that Putin’s motives were to “denigrate” Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and that he had “a clear preference for President-elect Trump.” The report details the reasons Putin does not like Clinton and outlines the ways the Russian government influenced the election including the hacking of John Podesta and the DNC, leaks to WikiLeaks, and hacking the RNC. Read the full report below or download a PDF copy HERE.

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News Source: The New York Times

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

Sunday Morning Talk Show Roundup: Kaine, Podesta, Benenson

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On Sunday morning, representatives for Hillary for America made the talk show rounds and spoke about the final strategies before Tuesday’s election. Tim Kaine was on CBS’s Face the Nation and John Dickerson and Kaine discussed the affect the FBI investigation has had on the campaign. “We’ve seen it add to the energy on our side. People on our side view this campaign as so important, the ‘Stronger Together’ message as so important and people don’t want it to be distracted. So there has been a great uptick in energy on our side in the early vote,” Kaine said. Watch a video of the full interview below.

John Podesta was interviewed on ABC’s This Week and NBC’s Meet the Press. During each interview, Podesta explained that while he is optimistic, the Clinton campaign is leaving nothing to chance before election. Podesta was also asked about the leaks of information coming out of the FBI and Podesta responded saying, “I think the men and women of the FBI are doing a tremendous job out here across the country. But the leakers should shut up.” Watch videos of Podesta’s interviews below.

HFA representative Joel Benenson was interviewed on this morning’s episode of Fox News Sunday. Benenson was asked about the FBI investigation into Clinton’s email and the campaign’s strategy for the final days of the campaign. Benenson said that they are “playing offense in every state” and will continue to do so through Monday. Watch a video of the interview below.

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News Source: CBS News, ABC News, WTVQ, CNN, Fox News

Hillary Clinton on Space and STEM

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While a lot has been published about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s platform plans for foreign and domestic policies, most outlets have ignored thier stance on science, STEM, and space exploration. Clinton has outlined proposals to combat climate change and increase research for certain diseases, but a number of prominent science and space publications have asked the candidates for their thoughts on science and space exploration. If you consider STEM education, science, and space exploration to be important factors in your decision for whom to vote, which you should, check out the publications below for a better understanding of the positions of Clinton and Trump.

  • The Planetary Society – The Planetary Society is a non-profit group that specializes in space policy. They help fund missions and inform members of Congress on issues related to space. The group has assembled the key positions on space offered by Clinton and Trump.
  • Planetary Radio – Part of The Planetary Society, Planetary Radio’s most recent episode of its Space Policy Edition outlines the stances of Clinton and Trump. Listen to the episode on iTunes or click HERE to download the MP3.
  • Science News – As the official magazine for the Society for Science & the Public, the editorial board released a breakdown of where the candidates stand on specific science policies including space exploration, genetic research, climate change, health, vaccines, gun violence, and STEM education. The articles uses quotes and policy proposals from each candidate and the full break down can be read HERE.
  • Scientific American – As one of the most popular science magazines in the country, Scientific American is a great resource for the latest in the realm of scientific research. Readers of the magazines voted on the 20 top questions they wanted to ask each presidential candidate, and all four candidates responded. A number of topics are covered including innovation, research, climate change, the internet and technology, education, nuclear power, and access to clean water. Read the full answers from each candidate HERE.
  • Ars Technica – As a site about science and technology, Ars Technica writer John Timmer offered his point-of-view on the proposals of Clinton and Trump. Read his full article HERE.
  • ReCode – The tech site run by tech journalists Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher, ReCode is an advocate for STEM education. In an article published on November 5, Luther Lowe outlined Clinton’s dedication to STEM and education from her time as First Lady of Arkansas, First Lady of the United States, Senator from New York, and Secretary of State. Read Lowe’s full article HERE.

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News Source: Recode, Planetary Radio, The Planetary Society, Science News, Ars Technica, Hillary for America, Scientific American

Hillary Clinton Campaigns in Florida One Week Before Election

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One week out from the election, Hillary Clinton made her case to voters in Florida today. Her first two events were in Dade City and Sanford where she spoke about a number of platform points including her plans to create jobs, make college more affordable, and ensure equal pay for women. But she went after Donald Trump with fervor. Clinton attacked Trump for his comments about Senator John McCain and our military, women, immigrants, and the list goes on. She focused on Trump’s comments about in women in particular as she appeared with former Miss Universe Alicia Machado in Dade City. “If we look at what Trump has been doing for 30 years, he sure has spent a lot of time demeaning and degrading women. He calls women ugly. Disgusting. Calls women pigs. Rates bodies on a scale of 1 to 10,” she said. Clinton concluded each event asking everyone to vote next Tuesday or to take advantage of early voting. Watch videos of Clinton’s events below.

Clinton wrapped up the day at an event in Fort Lauderdale. Clinton spoke to an enthusiastic crowd about her vision for America. A country that is inclusive and offers opportunities for everyone and not just a select few. She said, “It is time for us to say no, we are not going backward. We are going forward. How do we do that? For the next seven days focus on what is important. Don’t get distracted. Don’t get diverted.” Clinton also had strong criticisms of Trump saying, “Donald Trump has proven himself temperamentally unfit and unqualified to be president of the United States. He has proven himself unfit. And what he is doing with his conspiracy theories, with his insulting and with his demeaning and degrading millions of Americans proves he should not be allowed anywhere near the White House.” She concluded by asking everyone to take advantage of early voting. A video of the event is below.

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News Source: Tampa Bay Times, WFLA, Florida Today, Sun Sentinel