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Posts Tagged ‘U.S. House of Representatives’

Monday I posted this: #WatchThis Space: Arctic Activity.  Well you really have to watch! Things are moving fast, and there are a lot of moving parts. This, from Michael Grunwald in Politico.

Rex Tillerson Tried to Get This Rule Killed. Now Congress Is About To Do It For Him

Should oil companies disclose payments to foreign governments? The GOP, and former Exxon CEO, think not.

February 01, 2017

… back in 2010, ExxonMobil’s then-CEO, Rex Tillerson, was deeply worried about Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reforms, a bipartisan amendment that required drilling and mining companies to disclose any payments they make to foreign governments. So Tillerson and one of his lobbyists paid a half-hour visit to the amendment’s Republican co-author, then-Senator Richard Lugar, to try to get it killed.

Tillerson argued that forcing U.S. oil firms to reveal corporate secrets—such as paying foreign governments—would put them at a competitive disadvantage. He also explained that the provision would make it especially difficult for Exxon to do business in Russia, where, as he did not need to explain, the government takes a rather active interest in the oil industry.

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Today, seven years later, Republicans confirmed Tillerson as President Trump’s Secretary of State, despite allegations that he’s too cozy with Russia. At the same time, the GOP is preparing to try to kill the disclosure rule created under Section 1504, despite warnings from international aid groups that the move would provide a wink-and-nod blessing to hidden corporate payments to petro-thugs. The House is expected to act this afternoon, and since the move relies on a special mechanism for reversing rules enacted late in a presidential term, Senate Republicans will need a mere majority rather than a filibuster-proof 60 votes to follow suit.

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As you probably could have guessed …

U.S. House Passes Resolution to Kill Extractive Anti-Graft Rule

Four years to the day since Hillary Clinton exited the State Department, Tillerson will occupy Foggy Bottom, and Congressional Republicans have blown smoke and fog over corporate payments to foreign governments. This in conjunction with the Arctic activity slips past much of the MSM while they occupy themselves with Trump thinking Frederick Douglass is still alive.

Just a reminder: The Benghazi-cum-server-cum emails Oversight Committee railed and wailed a lot in the course of their hearings about Hillary’s State Department initiatives promoting American businesses overseas.  That is part of the Secretary of State’s job, and all of those initiatives were transparent.

John Kerry’s successor enters with a cloak of invisibility ready made.

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Keep watching this space!  The war in Urkraine is escalating.  Remember that plank in the Republican platform that Trump had removed?

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Hillary Clinton Statement on the Passing of Rep. Mark Takai

Hillary Clinton released the following statement after learning about the passing of Congressman Mark Takai:

“The loss of Congressman Mark Takai will be felt keenly from Washington to Honolulu. Mark was everything a public servant should be. He spent his entire life in service of his state and his country–from the Hawaii Army National Guard to the Hawaii State House to the House of Representatives–fighting to make sure veterans and their families are supported, supporting ambitious steps to protect his state and our planet from the perils of climate change, and championing the rights of Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Native Hawaiian communities. I am grateful to Mark for his friendship and deeply honored to have earned his support. My thoughts and prayers are with Mark’s family and friends, and especially with his wife Sami and his children Matthew and Kaila.”

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Hillary’s campaign released a statement regarding FBI Director James Comey’s testimony before the House Oversight Committee today.

Hillary for America Statement on FBI Director Comey’s Testimony Before House Committee

Hillary for America National Press Secretary Brian Fallon released the following statement Thursday following FBI Director James Comey’s appearance before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee: “Despite the partisan motivations of this hearing, we are glad it took place and that Director Comey had the opportunity to expand upon his remarks from earlier this week. Director Comey’s testimony clearly knocked down a number of false Republican talking points and reconciled apparent contradictions between his previous remarks and Hillary Clinton’s public statements. The Director’s explanations shut the door on any remaining conspiracy theories once and for all. While Republicans may try to keep this issue alive, this hearing proved those efforts will only backfire.”

15 Facts From Comey

FBI Director’s Testimony Backs Up Clinton, Debunks Republican Conspiracy Theories

Today, House Republicans brought FBI Director James Comey in to testify – after the conclusion of a year-long investigation – in hopes of uncovering new details to damage Hillary Clinton. Instead, Comey’s testimony only debunked GOP talking points and further substantiated Clinton’s case.

Here are 15 key takeaways:

  1.  Emails reported as “marked classified” were improperly marked.

MATT CARTWRIGHT:  I don’t think you were given a full chance to talk about those three documents with the little ‘C’s’ on them. Were they properly documented? Were they properly marked according to the manual? COMEY: No.

  1. And those emails could be reasonably judged as not classified.

MATT CARTWRIGHT: If Secretary Clinton were an expert about what’s classified and not classified and we’re following the manual, the absence of a header would tell her immediately that those three documents were not classified. Am I correct in that?  |  COMEY: That would be a reasonable inference.

  1. There’s no evidence Clinton ever knew she had received classified information or intended to retain it on her server.

COMEY: There is in my view not evidence beyond certainly probable cause, not evidence beyond a reasonable doubt she knew she was receiving classified information or she intended to retain it on her server.

  1. Guccifer admitted his claim he had hacked Clinton’s server was a lie.

BLAKE FARENTHOLD: And [Guccifer] claimed he gained access to Sid Blumenthal’s e-mail account and traced him back to Secretary Clinton’s private server. Can you confirm that Guccifer never gained access to her server.  |  COMEY: He admitted that was a lie.

  1. And there is no evidence that Clinton’s server has ever been successfully hacked.

COMEY: We were not able to conclude [any hacking attempts] were successful.

  1. The FBI’s investigation was not influenced by outside officials.

COMEY: “They didn’t influence it in any way.”

  1. Clinton’s case is nothing like the case of General David Petraeus.

COMEY: The Petraeus case to my mind illustrates perfectly the kind of cases the Department of Justice is willing to prosecute. Even there, they prosecuted him for a misdemeanor. In that case, you had vast quantities of highly classified information, including special sensitive compartmented information, that’s the reference to code words. Vast quantity of it not only shared with someone without authority to have it but we found it in a search warrant hidden under the insulation in his attic and then he lied to us about it during the investigation. So you have obstruction of justice, you have intentional misconduct, and a vast quantity of information. He admitted he knew that was the wrong thing to do. That is a perfect illustration of the kind of cases that get prosecuted. In my mind, it illustrates importantly the distinction to this case.

  1. Clinton’s case is nothing like the case of CIA Director John Deutch.

COMEY: The Deutch case illustrates [the difference between Clinton’s case and others who were prosecuted] perfectly. I mean he took huge amount of documents. Almost all at the TSSC I level. Had them in hard copy in his house, had them on an unclassified system connected to the internet, attempted to destroy some when he got caught. Admitted I knew I wasn’t supposed to be doing this. You have clear intent, huge amounts of documents, obstruction of justice. Those are the kinds of cases that get prosecuted. That’s what I said. I meant it when I said it. In my experience which is three decades no reasonable prosecutor would bring this case. I know that frustrates people but that’s the way the law is and that’s the way the practice is at the Department of Justice.

9. Clinton’s case is nothing like the case of Navy Commander Bryan Nishimura

COMEY: Nishimura was prosecuted under the misdemeanor statute 1924 on facts that are very different. If you want me to go through them, I’ll go through them but they are very different.

  1. The FBI’s conclusion that there was no case against Clinton was unanimous.

WILL HURD: Was this unanimous opinion within the FBI on your decision?  |  COMEY: Well the whole F.B.I. wasn’t involved but the team of agents, investigators, analysts, technologists — yes.

  1. Clinton’s email setup was, as she has always said, a matter of convenience.

COMEY: Our best information is she set it up as a matter of convenience. It was an already existing system that her husband had and she decided to have a domain on that system.

  1. Clinton did not instruct lawyers who performed the sorting of her emails.

JIM JORDAN: Did Secretary Clinton know her legal team deleted those emails they kept from us?  |  COMEY: I don’t believe so. | JORDAN: Did Secretary Clinton approve those emails being deleted?  |  COMEY: I don’t think there was any specific instruction or conversation between the Secretary and her lawyers about that.  |  JORDAN: Did you ask that question?  |  COMEY: Yes.  |  JORDAN: Did Secretary Clinton know her lawyers cleaned devices in such a way as to preclude forensic discovery?  |  COMEY: I don’t think she did.  |  JORDAN: Did you ask that question?  |  COMEY: Yes.

  1. Hillary Clinton did not lie to the FBI.

COMEY: We have no basis to conclude she lied to the FBI.

  1. Clinton was not even evasive with the FBI.

COMEY: I don’t think the [FBI] agents assessed she was evasive [in their 3.5 hour interview with Hillary Clinton.]

  1. There is no truth to the idea that others are prosecuted for what Clinton did.

COMEY: There’s all kinds of folks watching this at home who are being told, ‘well, lots of other cases were prosecuted and she wasn’t.’ I want them to know, that’s not true!

The Republicans on that committee have been gunning for Hillary Clinton for years.  Time and again they have proven themselves to be the gang that couldn’t shoot straight.

Flashback: Chaffetz and Gowdy Disclosed Sensitive Information, Outed a CIA Source

Chaffetz Flagrantly Used Personal Email

  • ABC News: Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s Business Card Lists His Gmail Address: “Hillary Clinton isn’t the only official who uses a non-government email address. A business card obtained by ABC News shows that Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, lists his Gmail address on his official House card.”

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On Multiple Occasions, Chaffetz Inappropriately Disclosed Sensitive Information

  • Washington Post, 7/15/11: Homeland Security to Chaffetz: Stop the leaks of sensitive information “The Department of Homeland Security has complained to Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) about what it says was an inappropriate disclosure of sensitive security information to the press by the House transportation panel that he chairs….a clearly miffed Department of Homeland Security Deputy Counsel Joseph B. Maher told Chaffetz that “sensitive security information” provided to his subcommittee by the Transportation Security Administration was illegally disclosed to the press.”

  • Washington Post’s Dana Milbank, 10/10/12: Chaffetz Revealed CIA Information During A Televised Congressional Hearing: “When House Republicans called a hearing in the middle of their long recess, you knew it would be something big, and indeed it was: They accidentally blew the CIA’s cover. […] Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) was the first to unmask the spooks.

    “Now that Chaffetz had alerted potential bad guys that something valuable was in the photo, the chairman, Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), attempted to lock the barn door through which the horse had just bolted. ‘I would direct that that chart be taken down,’ he said, although it already had been on C-SPAN. ‘In this hearing room, we’re not going to point out details of what may still in fact be a facility of the United States government or more facilities.’ May still be a facility? The plot thickened — and Chaffetz gave more hints. ‘I believe that the markings on that map were terribly inappropriate,” he said, adding that “the activities there could cost lives.'”

Similarly, Trey Gowdy Released The Name Of A CIA Source During The Benghazi Committee

  • POLITICO, 10/19/15: Gowdy appears to accidentally release CIA source’s name: “House Benghazi Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy appears to have accidentally released the name of a CIA source in the midst of a back-and-forth with Democrats about how sensitive the information was and whether its presence in former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email account constituted a security breach.”

  • New Republic’s Brian Beutler, 10/9/15: Rep. Gowdy engaged in “flagrant misconduct” when he “fabricated a redaction in Clinton’s emails to make it look like she’d endangered a spy.”

  • Washington Post’s Dana Milbank, 10/20/15: Rep. Gowdy “made the sensational allegation” that Hillary Clinton burned a CIA Source, then completed the “comedy of errors” by publicly releasing the person’s name.

I remember that October 10, 2012 session so well. Chaffetz and the Republicans were lording it over the Dems on the committee because they had gone on a junket to Libya that they not only did not invite the Dems to, they didn’t even tell them they were going.  Showing off for having been there,  Chaffetz made a big scene when an aerial photo of “the annex” was shown.  He started saying that when he was there he was told never, never to discuss that building, and, in his flash of hubris, the world knew that “the annex” was actually a CIA operations base.  In exposing that information, Chaffetz clumsily shot himself and his party in the foot.  Their incessant cry asking why the Benghazi consulate remained open when other consulates had closed was answered with three letters.  There was also an active CIA operation in Benghazi.

Perusing the #ComeyHearing on Twitter, I saw Watergate come up in a few tweets.  To be clear, the only commonality between Watergate and this Benghazi come emails come server expedition is this: both the break-in at the DNC Watergate headquarters and the Republican Oversight Committee fishing expedition were Republican efforts to influence a presidential election.

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Seven days late and seven million dollars short, the Republicans of the Select Committee on Benghazi released their report today.  No Democrats on the Committee were involved in crafting the 800-page Republican report.  They released a report of their own yesterday.

To the surprise of no one, the Republican report contains no new evidence that Hillary Clinton did anything wrong, slept through the 3 a.m. phone call, gave any stand-down command, or that she blamed the attack on a video – which did exist – but she never cited that video as the motivation behind the attack.  Neither did any “Clinton administration” have anything to do with these attacks. One ended in 2001 and the other doesn’t begin until 2017.  Trey Gowdy’s slips of the tongue really say it all.

Nothing has been so wasteful in time and tax dollars as this so-called investigation.

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Hillary’s defense team was quick to respond to the Republican move.

“New Revelations” From Benghazi Report Notably Old

Republican efforts to exploit the Benghazi tragedy to score political points against Hillary Clinton has been both disturbing and fruitless.

Two years and $7 million after its inception, the taxpayer-funded partisan witch hunt known as the Benghazi Committee concluded quite fittingly: Republican members, who insisted in breaking precedent and releasing their own report rather than a bipartisan one from the committee, selectively leaked out portions of their report in the middle of the night.

As objective viewers quickly determined, the report offers no new evidence of wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton. So, having once again failed in their efforts to uncover a smoking gun, committee Republicans have opted to repackage previously known information and present it as new. Here are a few examples:

“NEW REVELATION” – A team of Marines was delayed on a runway in Spain as there were deliberations over what uniforms they should wear.

Benghazi Republicans Report Summary: “The following facts are among the many new revelations in Part I… A Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) sat on a plane in Rota, Spain, for three hours, and changed in and out of their uniforms four times.”

FACT – The uniform issue was revealed in 2013. It was again confirmed by Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee in 2014. Moreover, it had zero impact on the mission, and safety was the driving concern.

Fox News, 1/22/2013: “Fox News has learned that U.S. Marines who were part of a FAST (Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team) responding to Libya were told by the State Department to deplane, change out of their U.S. military uniforms and put on civilian clothes before flying to Tripoli… Defense Department spokesman George Little says that the FAST team would not have been in Libya in time to save any lives, and any delays to change out of military uniforms likely did not make a difference since all surviving State Department personnel left the consulate for the CIA Annex about an hour and 45 minutes after the attack began”

GOP Armed Services Committee Report on Benghazi, 2/2014: “Presumably, warfighters changed out of uniform because of concerns that the arrival of combat-ready troops might unduly alarm or inflame Libyan observers.  Although General Dempsey acknowledged to the Senate that this action delayed the platoon’s arrival in Libya, he said it was not enough to prevent it from getting to Benghazi before attack survivors departed.”

Select Committee on Benghazi Interview of Marine FAST Commander, 9/2/2015: QUESTION: And you mentioned that, even had you had aircraft collocated and loaded up within an hour, you could not have made it to Benghazi prior to the second attack. Is that right?

FAST COMMANDER: That is correct, ma’am. And as per FAST mission, we are not designed as a hostage rescue force. We are not—what was happening on the deck on the evening of the 11th to the morning of the 12th is not within the parameters of FAST mission. […]

QUESTION: And you mentioned in the last hour even the confusion you had over the uniforms did not make a difference in your ability to complete your mission. Is that right?

FAST COMMANDER: Absolutely not.

Pentagon Joint Staff Director For Operations Admiral Kurt Tidd, Interview with Select Committee on Benghazi, 4/4/2016: “It was from a security perspective that, I think, they were thinking of not moving uniformed marines at night in buses through the—you know—or, actually, in the early hours of the morning through downtown Tripoli to the embassy.”

“NEW REVELATION” – Clinton had planned to visit Libya at the end of 2012, and witness testimony asserted that she wanted the Benghazi post made permanent.

Benghazi Republicans Report Summary: “The following facts are among the many new revelations in Part III… Emails indicate senior State Department officials, including Cheryl Mills, Jake Sullivan, and Huma Abedin were preparing for a trip by the Secretary of State to Libya in October 2012. According to testimony, Chris Stevens wanted to have a “deliverable” for the Secretary for her trip to Libya, and that “deliverable” would be making the Mission in Benghazi a permanent Consulate.”

WaPo: House Benghazi report: Clinton was planning a trip to Libya before the attacks

The Hill: “Among the report’s new revelations is the notion that Ambassador Chris Stevens, one of the Americans killed, was in Benghazi with the aim of erecting a permanent diplomatic post, to replace the temporary one that came under fire.”

FACT – In 2013, Gregory Hicks, the Deputy Chief of Mission to Libya, publicly testified that Clinton had wanted the Benghazi post made permanent and had planned to visit Tripoli.

House Oversight Committee Hearing, 5/8/2013: REP. THOMAS MASSIE [R-KY]: Did you tell the Accountability Review Board about Secretary Clinton’s interest in establishing a permanent presence in Benghazi? […]

GREGORY HICKS: Yes, I did tell the Accountability Review Board that Secretary Clinton wanted the post made permanent. Ambassador Pickering looked surprised. He looked both ways on the — to the members of the board, saying, “Does the 7th floor know about this?” And another factor was our understanding that Secretary Clinton intended to visit Tripoli in December.

 

“NEW REVELATION” – Hillary Clinton attended a video conference that was held on the night of the attacks.

NBC News: “In a newly revealed two-hour secure video conference on the night of the attacks led by White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and attended by Clinton and others…”

FACT – The video conference was previously known about; Hillary Clinton even wrote about it in her own book, ‘Hard Choices’.

Hillary Clinton, Hard Choices, pg. 327: “I headed to the Operations Center for a secure videoconference between various government agencies and the White House Situation Room, officials from the National Security Council, the CIA, the Department of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other agencies. This was a Deputies meeting that did not include Principals, but protocol was the last thing on my mind. I downloaded to the group my discussions with Greg and President Magariaf, and I stressed how critical it was to get our people out of Benghazi as quickly and safely as possible.”

Hillary chimed in briefly from the campaign trail in Denver where she unveiled a technology and innovation agenda.

Time to move on and worry about the almost 33,000 gun-related deaths a year in the United States.
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Last week, the Republicans on the House Select Committee on Benghazi failed to meet their own self-imposed deadline for issuing a report. Democrats on that committee, mindful of their accountability to the American people who employ them, have proactively issued a report of their own with recommendations for better security at diplomatic missions.

The committee, established pursuant to H. Res. 567 passed on May 8, 2014, has spent two years chasing its own tail in efforts to bring down the then potential candidacy of Hillary Clinton who testified before the committee in an astounding 11-hour marathon on October 22, 2015 and essentially wore the adversarial Republicans down and out.

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No committee has been more transparently and abusively political except the House UnAmerican Actitives Committee (HUAC) which functioned from 1938 to 1975 and investigated alleged disloyalty and subversive activities of private citizens for the stated purpose of combating communism in government, education, entertainment and other aspects of American life.  Many innocent lives were scarred.

The Democratic report, just under 340 pages, heavy with documented testimony, and broad in scope, takes explicit and direct aim at the Republican political agenda and misuse of the committee and the information sought and gathered.  It is not Janet Evanovich,  Mary Higgins Clark or Dan Brown, but it is recommended summer reading that is sure to figure in the debates.

Read the report here >>>>

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At around yesterday morning, Representative John Lewis started a sit-in on the floor of the House to demand a vote on gun violence prevention legislation.

He’s been joined by Democrats from across the House and Senate. They intend to hold their positions until they shame their Republican colleagues into taking up legislation to expand background checks and prohibit suspected terrorists from buying guns. We need both to keep guns out of the hands of terrorists.

It’s been more than 24 hours, and they’re not giving up. Neither can we.

Let them know you’ve got their back — add your name to show you’re with them:

Add My Name

Thank you,

Hillary

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Hillary paid a visit to Capitol Hill this morning before leaving for Raleigh to deliver a speech on the economy.

APTOPIX DEM 2016 Clinton

APTOPIX DEM 2016 Clinton

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton walks with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif. as they arrive for a meeting with the House Democratic Caucus, Wednesday, June 22, 2016, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

After she left, House Democrats commenced a sit-in in the House chamber that is ongoing.  The purpose is to force a vote on gun legislation.  House cameras and mics have been turned off, but C-SPAN is streaming Periscope video from Scott Peters.

You can locate your representative here >>>>

Call 1-202-224-3121  #NoBillNoBreak on Twitter

Demand Congressional Republicans Pass Common-Sense Gun Laws!

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