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

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

The Choice is Clear: Trump is Unfit to be President and Commander-In-Chief

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Americans deserve a president who’s ready on Day One to keep us safe. As a former Secretary of State and senator, Hillary Clinton brings vast experience to the Oval Office, having dealt with the key issues facing Americans around the world for decades. Traveling nearly a million miles as America’s top diplomat, Hillary has handled issues ranging from nuclear proliferation to military readiness, from women’s rights  to climate change, and is ready to lead from day one.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, has proven himself again and again to be temperamentally unfit and totally unqualified to be President and Commander-in-Chief.

Beyond his lack of understanding of foreign policy and unwillingness to learn, Donald Trump is a loose cannon with dangerous views on major global issues. Trump would encourage the spread of nuclear weapons around the world, has insulted our allies and praised several authoritarian dictators.  He even encouraged a foreign government to hack Americans, and since then has refused to acknowledge the U.S. Intelligence community’s conclusion that the Russian government has done just that.

Americans deserve a president who understands the challenging world in which we live, not one who is too erratic and uninformed to have control of nuclear weapons.

Throughout his career, and throughout this campaign, on subject after subject, Trump has proven he is unfit to be commander-in-chief. As we begin the final week of the presidential campaign, here is a look back at Trump’s dangerous record on matters of defense and foreign policy:

NUCLEAR WEAPONS

On nuclear weapons, Donald Trump has displayed a reckless disregard for fact and fails to understand the dangers of nuclear proliferation. Simply put, he doesn’t have the temperament to be trusted with the nuclear codes.

U.S. MILITARY AND VETERANS

Trump has repeatedly insulted our military, our veterans and their families. He has been disrespecting our veterans for decades, continually proving he’s unqualified and temperamentally unfit to be commander-in-chief.

U.S. INTELLIGENCE

Trump has disparaged the U.S. intelligence community – not only rejecting their conclusions, but questioning their motives.

  • When asked whether he trusts intelligence, Trump said “not so much.”
  • Trump invited a foreign government to commit cyber espionage in the U.S.
  • Trump maintains that we don’t know if Russia is behind recent hacks, despite being personally briefed by Republican Representative Michael McCaul, Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security.
  • Trump called the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia was behind that hack was “public relations, frankly” and repeatedly denied their conclusion.
  • Trump has been accused by a former acting CIA director of being “an unwitting agent of Putin.”

AMERICA’S ALLIES

For decades, America has held strong alliances across the world – including those with NATO countries. NATO has stood with the United States, for example, invoking Article 5 after 9/11 and collaborating to fight the war on terror today. But on the campaign trail, Donald Trump has outlined plans to cut off America’s allies.

  • Trump said he would be fine if NATO broke up.
  • Trump accused NATO countries of ripping off the United States, saying “either they have to pay up… or they have to get out. And if it breaks up NATO, it breaks up NATO.”
  • Trump said NATO “may be obsolete” and “doesn’t really help us.”
  • Trump said he might not defend NATO allies against Russian aggression.
  • Trump has extended his threats past NATO to countries like Japan and South Korea.

FOREIGN DICTATORS

Donald Trump seems to have an admiration for dictators from across the world. From Vladimir Putin to Saddam Hussein and beyond, Trump has repeatedly complimented foreign leaders known for their records of oppression and abuse..

  • Trump said North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un deserves “credit” for taking out his rivals and has “got to be pretty smart.”
  • Trump gave Saddam Hussein unduecredit, saying “he did one thing well, he killed terrorists.”
  • Trump believes that, during the Tiananmen Square massacre, the Chinese government showed “strength.”
  • Trump thinks Vladimir Putin is a better leader than President Obama, “saying in terms of leadership, he’s getting an A and our president is not doing so well.” (But of course, his praise for Putin doesn’t stop there.)

FOREIGN BUSINESS ENTANGLEMENTS

Trump’s extensive foreign dealings would present significant conflicts of interest and endanger our national security. Trump refuses to disclose the full extent of his foreign business entanglements – but without knowing the details of them, how will Americans know whose interests Trump is putting first? What we do know is concerning.

  • Trump has extensive global financial dealings.
  • Trump admitted that if his business interests were threatened by another country’s government, he would retaliate with the power of the US government.
  • Trump has a record of business dealings with foreign governments – including Iran and China that we don’t know the extent of.
  • Trump has also had numerous foreign business partners we don’t know much about – including one that is allegedly linked to an international money laundering network.
  • Trump is in debt to foreign institutions for hundreds of millions of dollars.
  • Trump’s foreign entanglements would pose unprecedented challenges for U.S. foreign policy and national security.

ISIS

Despite Trump’s claims that he has a “secret” plan to defeat ISIS, he has no real plan at all. And his rhetoric is dangerously playing into terrorists’ hands.

  • Trump would “ask [his] generals” – the very same generals he believes he knows more than – for a plan to defeat ISIS, since he doesn’t currently have any plan at all.
  • Trump would continue to promote Russia’s brutal bombing campaign in Syria that is targeting civilians instead of ISIS.
  • Trump has suggested he would allow Syria to become a “free zone for ISIS.”
  • Trump would ban Muslims from entering the U.S., a policy that feeds radical jihadist propaganda.
  • Trump would engage in torture in the fight against ISIS and kill the families of terrorists.

IRAN

Donald Trump’s approach to Iran is devoid of any substance. He has prefered to denigrate American leaders and spew lies when it comes to Iran — though he was willing to deal with Iran when it made him money.

NORTH KOREA

Trump doesn’t understand the threat North Korea poses. On the campaign trail, Trump has taken positions that would endanger the security of the  United States and our allies and embolden North Korea.

  • Trump would meet with Kim Jong-Un, despite his continued violations of  international obligations to abandon his nuclear and missile programs.
  • Trump would consider cutting off defense support to Japan and South Korea.
  • Trump would open to door to nuclear proliferation in the region. When asked whether it’s “fine” for Japan and South Korea to get nuclear weapons, Trump said, “Can I be honest with you? It’s going to happen anyway.”
  • Trump joked about the prospect of nuclear war between Japan and North Korea, saying “good luck, enjoy yourself folks.”

RUSSIA

While Clinton has stood up to Russia, Trump panders to Putin. He has voiced support for policies and positions that align exactly with the Kremlin’s interests.

SYRIA

To date, Donald Trump has not laid out any real plans with respect to Syria or offered any indication that he takes the conflict and humanitarian disaster seriously.

  • Trump suggested Syria should be a “free zone for ISIS.”
  • Trump raised the possibility of sending 20,000 – 30,000 U.S. ground troops to Syria and Iraq.
  • Trump praised and encouraged Russia’s brutal bombing campaign in Syria, despite the climbing total civilian casualties and attacks on U.S.-backed forces.

Trump peddled lies about Syrian refugees.

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HFA Statement on Report Exposing Trump’s Secret Line of Communication to Russia

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In response to a new report from Slate showing that the Trump Organization has a secret server registered to Trump Tower that has been covertly communicating with Russia, Hillary for America Senior Policy Adviser Jake Sullivan released the following statement Monday:

“This could be the most direct link yet between Donald Trump and Moscow. Computer scientists have apparently uncovered a covert server linking the Trump Organization to a Russian-based bank.

This secret hotline may be the key to unlocking the mystery of Trump’s ties to Russia. It certainly seems the Trump Organization felt it had something to hide, given that it apparently took steps to conceal the link when it was discovered by journalists.

This line of communication may help explain Trump’s bizarre adoration of Vladimir Putin and endorsement of so many pro-Kremlin positions throughout this campaign. It raises even more troubling questions in light of Russia’s masterminding of hacking efforts that are clearly intended to hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign. We can only assume that federal authorities will now explore this direct connection between Trump and Russia as part of their existing probe into Russia’s meddling in our elections.”

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News Source: Slate

Hillary Clinton Campaigns in Ohio

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Hillary Clinton returned to Ohio on Monday where she began the day at an event on the campus of Kent State University. During her speech, Clinton briefly addressed the FBI’s investigation into her email, and she urged the bureau to release the findings to the American voters. She said that she is confident that nothing will be found. Clinton then spoke about a number of her platform points including her plans to create jobs, build an economy that works for everyone, and make college more affordable. Clinton also attacked Donald Trump for his temperament and divisive rhetoric saying, “Imagine him in the Oval Office facing a real crisis. Imagine him plunging us into a war because someone got under his very thin skin.” She then asked everyone to get out and vote on November 8th or to take advantage of early voting. A video of Clinton’s speech is below.

Clinton then spoke at a rally in Cincinnati where she was introduced by Mark Kelly and former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Clinton, again, opened her speech by addressing the FBI’s investigation into her emails saying, “Go ahead: Look at them.” She then spoke about the importance of the election and far reaching effects the next four years will have on this country. She presented her plans to continue the economic growth started by the administration of President Barack Obama and said that she wanted to make even more progress. She also attacked Trump for his relationship with Russia and his famously short temper. Clinton concluded by asking voters to support her because she wants to win Ohio. Watch a video from the event below.

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News Source: Cleveland.com, WKBN, Cincinnati.com, Fox 19

Hillary Clinton Endorsed by More National and Local Publications

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This weekend, Hillary Clinton picked up the endorsement of local and national newspapers and magazines. First, Clinton was endorsed by The Philadelphia Inquirer, the paper’s editorial board concluded, “The erratic behavior Trump has displayed isn’t what one wants to see in a commander-in-chief, and his praise for Russia’s Vladimir Putin is dangerous. Clinton has been careful not to antagonize President Obama’s supporters by criticizing his Middle East policy, but she has hinted at taking a more vigorous approach. She has exhibited the tough demeanor needed to deal with recalcitrant foreign powers. But she hasn’t lost the compassion for families and children that has long been a guiding force in her life. Despite our reservations, HILLARY CLINTON is far better than Trump or anyone else running. She should be president.”

On Sunday, Clinton was endorsed by the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the editorial board for the paper made it clear that they prefer Clinton over Trump despite her shortcomings. In the op-ed, the board points out that through Clinton’s controversies and career, she has remained strong saying, “While many have pointed out Clinton’s shortcomings as a candidate, it must be said that she has displayed a continued grace and courage under rhetorical fire, with Trump attacking her health and her looks, and even dredging up her spouse’s decades-old infidelities. Through it all, she has maintained her composure and stayed on task. Those are the qualities needed in a president, not the boorish behavior and explosive temperament repeatedly shown by Trump.”

The New Yorker endorsed Clinton on Sunday as well. The magazine’s board concludes that Clinton is the far better choice, but they warn that this election may have far reaching effects given the seeds of hatred and divisiveness that have been planted by Trump during the campaign cycle. They said, “On every issue of consequence, including economic policy, the environment, and foreign affairs, Hillary Clinton is a distinctly capable candidate: experienced, serious, schooled, resilient. When the race began, Clinton, who has always been a better office-holder than a campaigner, might have anticipated a clash of ideas and personalities on the conventional scale, against, say, Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio. Instead, the Democratic nominee has ended up playing a sometimes secondary role in a squalid American epic. If she is elected, she will have weathered a prolonged battle against a trash-talking, burn-it-to-the-ground demagogue. Unfortunately, the drama is not likely to end soon. The aftereffects of this campaign may befoul our civic life for some time to come.”

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News Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer, Minneapolis Star Tribune, The New Yorker