Donna Brazile, former interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, said Hillary Clinton gained control of the political party before she won the presidential nomination in an effort to squeeze out Bernie Sanders.
She began investigating whether Clinton ?rigged the nomination process? as emails hacked from the DNC and published by WikiLeaks last year had suggested, she said in an except of her new book coming out next week that appeared Thursday in Politico.
Brazile said she eventually discovered that Clinton had entered into a secret agreement with the Hillary Victory Fund, Hillary for America and the cash-strapped DNC that in exchange for raising funds, Clinton ?would control the party?s finances, strategy, and all the money raised.?
Potential 2020 White House contender Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said Thursday she agrees with Donna Brazile's bombshell assertion the Democratic Party's 2016 primary was "rigged" in favor of Hillary Clinton.
In excerpts from Brazile's upcoming book, "Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House," the former interim chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee described an "unethical" agreement between Clinton and the DNC in which the candidate's campaign traded funding for increased control of the platform, Politico reported Thursday.
"The funding arrangement with [Hillary For America] and the victory fund agreement was not illegal, but it sure looked unethical," Brazile wrote, referring to Clinton's presidential campaign committee, Politico reported.
"If the fight had been fair, one campaign would not have control of the party before the voters had decided which one they wanted to lead," she added. "This was not a criminal act, but as I saw it, it compromised the party's integrity."
In remarks Thursday to CNN?s "The Lead" with Jake Tapper, Warren called Brazile's revelation "a real problem."
Then pressed on whether she believed the Democratic primary had been "rigged" in Clinton's favor, Warren replied: "Yes."
"What we've got to do as Democrats now is, we've got to hold this party accountable," she added.
Silly, silly Donna Brazile. She’s publishing a book detailing turmoil in the Democratic Party during the 2016 campaign, highlighted by her concern that Hillary Clinton was seriously ill and might need to be replaced by Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders.
What’s the big deal? There’s no news here because all this was well-known and covered at the time by the big national newspapers and networks, right?
Wrong. If Brazile were rehashing things we knew, there would be no book and no bombshell headlines now.
Instead, she has thrown open a new and very big window on 2016 — and exposed yet again the consequences of the political biases of the Democratic media.
The missed stories are not merely the result of mistakes or sloppy reporting. Brazile’s book is a revelation in that it shows that many left-leaning journalists didn’t so much cover Clinton as cover up for her.
Put it this way: How is it possible that the leader of the Democratic Party was talking to colleagues about trying to replace its nominee during the general election because of health concerns, and none of the thousands of journalists covering the campaign got wind of it?
It’s not possible — if the media had been playing it down the middle and holding both candidates to the same standard of scrutiny. But big media missed a big story because so much campaign “news” coverage was tilted toward defeating Donald Trump and electing Clinton.
Anything that could possibly suggest Trump was unfit for the Oval Office — bingo, front page, top of the broadcast.
On the other hand, anything that could hurt Clinton was downplayed or ignored. Nothing to see here, move along.
In the longstanding liberal narrative about Bill Clinton and his scandals, the one pushed by Clinton courtiers and ratified in media coverage of his post-presidency, our 42nd president was only guilty of being a horndog, his affairs were nobody?s business but his family?s, and oral sex with Monica Lewinsky was a small thing that should never have put his presidency in peril.
That narrative could not survive the current wave of outrage over male sexual misconduct.
So now a new one may be forming for the age of Harvey Weinstein and Donald Trump. In this story, Kenneth Starr and the Republicans are still dismissed as partisan witch hunters. But liberals might be willing to concede that the Lewinsky affair was a pretty big deal morally, a clear abuse of sexual power, for which Clinton probably should have been pressured to resign.
This new narrative lines up with what?s often been my own assessment of the Clinton scandals. I have never been a Clinton hater; indeed, I?ve always been a little mystified by the scale of Republican dislike for the most centrist of recent Democratic leaders. So I?ve generally held what I?ve considered a sensible middle-ground position on his sins ? that he should have stepped down when the Lewinsky affair came to light, but that the Republican effort to impeach him was a hopeless attempt to legislate against dishonor.
But a moment of reassessment is a good time to reassess things for yourself, so I spent this week reading about the lost world of the 1990s. I skimmed the Starr Report. I leafed through books by George Stephanopoulos and Joe Klein and Michael Isikoff. I dug into Troopergate and Whitewater and other first-term scandals. I reacquainted myself with Gennifer Flowers and Webb Hubbell, James Riady and Marc Rich.
After doing all this reading, I?m not sure my reasonable middle ground is actually reasonable. It may be that the conservatives of the 1990s were simply right about Clinton, that once he failed to resign he really deserved to be impeached.
Every weekday, get thought-provoking commentary from Op-Ed columnists, the Times editorial board and contributing writers from around the world.
But the Clinton operation was also extraordinarily sordid, in ways that should be thrown into particular relief by the absence of similar scandals in the Obama administration, which had perfervid enemies and circling investigators as well.
The sexual misconduct was the heart of things, but everything connected to Clinton?s priapism was bad: the use of the perks of office to procure women, willing and unwilling; the frequent use of that same power to buy silence and bully victims; and yes, the brazen public lies and perjury.
Something like Troopergate, for instance, in which Arkansas state troopers claimed to have served as Clinton?s panderers and been offered jobs to buy their silence, is often recalled as just a right-wing hit job. But if you read The Los Angeles Times?s reporting on the allegations (which included phone records confirming the troopers? account of a mistress Clinton was seeing during his presidential transition) and Stephanopoulos?s portrayal of Clinton?s behavior in the White House when the story broke, the story seems like it was probably mostly true.
I have less confidence about what was real in the miasma of Whitewater. But with Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky, we know what happened: A president being sued for sexual harassment tried to buy off a mistress-turned-potential-witness with White House favors, and then committed perjury serious enough to merit disbarment. Which also brought forward a compelling allegation from Juanita Broaddrick that the president had raped her.
The longer I spent with these old stories, the more I came back to a question: If exploiting a willing intern is a serious enough abuse of power to warrant resignation, why is obstructing justice in a sexual harassment case not serious enough to warrant impeachment? Especially when the behavior is part of a longstanding pattern that also may extend to rape? Would any feminist today hesitate to take a similar opportunity to remove a predatory studio head or C.E.O.?
There is a common liberal argument that our present polarization is the result of constant partisan escalations on the right ? the rise of Newt Gingrich, the steady Hannitization of right-wing media.
Some of this is true. But returning to the impeachment imbroglio made me think that in that case the most important escalators were the Democrats. They had an opportunity, with Al Gore waiting in the wings, to show a predator the door and establish some moral common ground for a polarizing country.
And what they did instead ? turning their party into an accessory to Clinton?s appetites, shamelessly abandoning feminist principle, smearing victims and blithely ignoring his most credible accuser, all because Republicans funded the investigations and they?re prudes and it?s all just Sexual McCarthyism ? feels in the cold clarity of hindsight like a great act of partisan deformation.
For which, it?s safe to say, we have all been amply punished since.
'Blowback': Clinton campaign planned to fire me over email probe, Obama intel watchdog says
A government watchdog who played a central role in the Hillary Clinton email investigation during the Obama administration told Fox News that he, his family and his staffers faced an intense backlash at the time from Clinton allies ? and that the campaign even put out word that it planned to fire him if the Democratic presidential nominee won the 2016 election.
?There was personal blowback. Personal blowback to me, to my family, to my office,? former Intelligence Community Inspector General Charles McCullough III said.
The Obama appointee discussed his role in the Clinton email probe for the first time on television, during an exclusive interview with Fox News. McCullough ? who came to the inspector general position with more than two decades of experience at the FBI, Treasury and intelligence community ? shed light on how quickly the probe was politicized and his office was marginalized by Democrats.
In January 2016, after McCullough told the Republican leadership on the Senate intelligence and foreign affairs committees that emails beyond the ?Top Secret? level passed through the former secretary of state's unsecured personal server, the backlash intensified.
?All of a sudden I became a shill of the right,? McCullough recalled. ?And I was told by members of Congress, ?Be careful. You're losing your credibility. You need to be careful. There are people out to get you.??
But the former inspector general, with responsibility for the 17 intelligence agencies, said the executive who recommended him to the Obama administration for the job ? then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper ? was also disturbed by the independent Clinton email findings.
?[Clapper] said, ?This is extremely reckless.? And he mentioned something about -- the campaign ? will have heartburn about that,? McCullough said.
He said Clapper's Clinton email comments came during an in-person meeting about a year before the presidential election ? in late December 2015 or early 2016. ?[Clapper] was as off-put as the rest of us were.?
After the Clapper meeting, McCullough said his team was marginalized. ?I was told by senior officials to keep [Clapper] out of it,? he said, while acknowledging he tried to keep his boss in the loop.
As one of the few people who viewed the 22 top secret Clinton emails deemed too classified to release under any circumstances, the former IG said, ?There was a very good reason to withhold those emails ... there would have been harm to national security.? McCullough went further, telling Fox News that ?sources and methods, lives and operations? could be put at risk.
Some of those email exchanges contained Special Access Program (SAP) information characterized by intel experts as ?above top secret.?
?I was told by members of Congress, ?Be careful. You're losing your credibility. You need to be careful. There are people out to get you.??
- Former Intelligence Community Inspector General Charles McCullough III
WikiLeaks documents show the campaign was formulating talking points as the review of 30,000 Clinton emails was ongoing.
The campaign team wrote in August 2015 that ?Clinton only used her account for unclassified email. When information is reviewed for public release, it is common for information previously unclassified to be upgraded to classified.?
McCullough was critical of the campaign?s response, as the classified review had barely begun. ?There was an effort ? certainly on the part of the campaign, to mislead people into thinking that there was nothing to see here,? McCullough said.
In March 2016, seven senior Democrats sent a letter to McCullough and his State Department counterpart, saying they had serious questions about the impartiality of the Clinton email review. However, McCullough was not making the decisions on what material in Clinton?s emails was classified -- he was passing along the findings of the individual agencies who got the intelligence and have final say on classification.
?I think there was certainly a coordinated strategy,? McCullough said.
McCullough described one confrontation with Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein's office just six weeks before the election, amid pressure to respond to the letter ? which Feinstein had co-signed.
?I thought that any response to that letter would just hyper-politicize the situation,? McCullough said. ?I recall even offering to resign, to the staff director. I said, ?Tell [Feinstein] I'll resign tonight. I'd be happy to go. I'm not going to respond to that letter. It's just that simple.?
As Election Day approached, McCullough said the threats went further, singling out him and another senior government investigator on the email case.
New allegations of sexual misconduct sending shock waves through the liberal media and Democratic establishment; reaction on 'Hannity.'
Day of reckoning for the Clinton scandals
?It was told in no uncertain terms, by a source directly from the campaign, that we would be the first two to be fired -- with [Clinton?s] administration. That that was definitely going to happen,? he said.
McCullough said he was just trying to do his job, which requires independence. "I was, in this context, a whistleblower. I was explaining to Congress -- I was doing exactly what they had expected me to do. Exactly what I promised them I would do during my confirmation hearing,? he said. ?... This was a political matter, and all of a sudden I was the enemy."
He said pressures also increased early on from Clinton?s former team at the State Department, especially top official Patrick Kennedy.
"State Department management didn't want us there,? McCullough said. ?We knew we had had a security problem at this point. We had a possible compromise."
Speaking about the case more than a year after the FBI probe concluded, McCullough in his interview also addressed the possibility that a more cooperative State Department and Clinton campaign might have precluded the FBI?s involvement from the start.
?Had they come in with the server willingly, without having us to refer this to the bureau ? maybe we could have worked with the State Department,? he said.
More than 2,100 classified emails passed through Clinton's personal server, which was used exclusively for government business. No one has been charged.
Asked what would have happened to him if he had done such a thing, McCullough said: ?I'd be sitting in Leavenworth right now.?
Hillary Clinton favorable down five points since June, to 36%
Prior low was 38%
Bill Clinton favorable also down five points, to 45%
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Hillary Clinton's image has declined since June and is now the worst Gallup has measured for her to date. Her favorable rating has fallen five percentage points since June to a new low of 36%, while her unfavorable rating has hit a new high of 61%.
Clinton's prior low favorable rating was 38% in late August/early September 2016 during the presidential campaign. She also registered a 38% favorable rating (with a 40% unfavorable rating) in April 1992, when she was much less well-known.
The current results are based on a Dec. 4-11 Gallup poll. Clinton's favorable rating has varied significantly in the 25 years Gallup has measured opinions about her. Her personal best was a 67% favorable rating taken in a December 1998 poll just after the House of Representatives voted to impeach her husband, then President Bill Clinton. She also had favorable ratings in the mid-60s during her time as secretary of state between 2009 and 2013.
At times when she assumed a more overtly political role -- during attempts to reform healthcare in 1994, in her years as a U.S. senator, and during her 2007-2008 and 2015-2016 campaigns for president, her ratings suffered. Her favorable ratings were near 50% when she announced her second bid for the presidency in the spring of 2015, but fell in the summer of 2015 amid controversy over her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. Throughout 2016, her favorable ratings were generally around 40%, among the worst ever measured for presidential candidates but more positive than Donald Trump's ratings.
Since losing to Trump, Clinton's favorable ratings have not improved, in contrast to what has happened for other recent losing presidential candidates. In fact, her image has gotten worse in recent months as Democratic leaders, political observers and Clinton herself have attempted to explain how she lost an election that she was expected to win. Meanwhile, controversy continues to swirl around Clinton given continuing questions about the fairness of the 2016 Democratic nomination process and her dealings with Russia while secretary of state. There has also been renewed discussion of Bill and Hillary Clinton's handling of past sexual harassment charges made against Bill Clinton in light of heightened public concern about workplace behavior.
Hillary Clinton backer paid $500G to fund women accusing Trump of sexual misconduct before Election Day, report says
One of Hillary Clinton?s wealthy pals paid $500,000 in an unsuccessful effort to fund women willing to accuse President Trump of sexual misconduct before the 2016 election, The New York Times reported Sunday.
Susie Tompkins Buell, the founder of Esprit Clothing and a major Clinton campaign donor for many years, gave the money to celebrity lawyer Lisa Bloom who was working with a number of Trump accusers at the time, according to the paper?s bombshell report.
Bloom solicited donors by saying she was working with women who might ?find the courage to speak out? against Trump if the donors would provide funds for security, relocation and possibly a ?safe house,? the paper reported.
Former Clinton nemesis turned Clinton operative David Brock also donated $200,000 to the effort through a nonprofit group he founded, the paper reported in an article entitled, ?Partisans, Wielding Money, Begin Seeking to Exploit Harassment Claims.?
Bloom told the Times that the effort was unproductive. One woman requested $2 million then decided not to come forward. Nor did any other women.
Bloom said she refunded most of the cash, keeping only some funds for out-of-pocket expenses accrued while working to vet and prepare cases.
The lawyer told the paper she did not communicate with Clinton or her campaign ?on any of this.?
Uranium One informant says Moscow paid millions in bid to influence Clinton
An FBI informant involved in the controversial Uranium One deal has told congressional committees that Moscow paid millions to a U.S. lobbying firm in a bid to influence then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by helping former President Bill Clinton?s charities during the Obama administration.
The Hill first reported late Wednesday that informant Douglas Campbell gave a 10-page statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee, House Intelligence Committee and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and was interviewed for several hours behind closed doors by committee staff.
In the statement, obtained by Fox News, Campbell said Russian executives told him that Moscow was hiring APCO Worldwide in an effort to influence the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton.
Michael Goodwin: Did Hillary Clinton pull off the dirtiest dirty trick in US presidential history?
For law enforcement, Congress and even journalists, exposing misdeeds is like peeling an onion. Each layer you remove gets you closer to the truth.
So it is with the scandalous behavior of the FBI during its probe into whether President Trump?s campaign conspired with Russia in 2016. One layer at a time, we?re learning how flawed and dirty that probe was.
A top layer involves the texts between FBI lawyer Lisa Page and her married lover, Peter Strzok, the lead agent on the Hillary Clinton e-mail probe. They casually mention an ?insurance policy? in the event Trump won the election and a plan for Strzok to go easy on Clinton because she probably would be their next boss.
Those exchanges, seen in the light of subsequent events, lead to a reasonable conclusion that the fix was in among then-Director James Comey?s team to hurt Trump and help Clinton.
Another layer involves the declassified House memo, which indicates the FBI and Justice Department depended heavily on the unverified Russian dossier about Trump to get a warrant to spy on Carter Page, an American citizen and briefly a Trump adviser.
The House memo also reveals that Comey and others withheld from the secret surveillance court key partisan facts that would have cast doubt on the dossier. Officials never revealed to the judges that the document was paid for by Clinton?s campaign and the Democratic National Committee or that Christopher Steele, the former British spy who compiled the dossier, said he was ?desperate that Donald Trump not get elected.?
For Clinton, creating a cloud over Trump?s presidency and helping to put the nation through continuing turmoil is a victory of sorts. America is fortunate it?s her only victory.
A third layer of the onion involves the revelations in the letter GOP Sens. Charles Grassley and Lindsey Graham wrote to the Justice Department. They urge a criminal investigation into whether Steele lied to the FBI about how much and when he fed the dossier to the anti-Trump media.
The letter is compelling in showing that Steele said one thing under oath to a British court and something different to the FBI. The contradictions matter because the agency relied on Steele?s credibility in both the FISA applications and its actual investigation. Strangely, even after it fired him for breaking its rule forbidding media contact, the FBI continued to praise his credibility in court.
If that were all the senators? letter accomplished, it would be enough. But it does much more.
It also reveals that two former journalists linked to Clinton, separately identified as the odious Sidney Blumenthal and a man named Cody Shearer, created and gave a State Department official additional unverified allegations against Trump.
The official passed those documents to Steele, who passed them to the FBI, which reportedly saw them as further evidence that Trump worked with Russians. But as Grassley, head of the Judiciary Committee, and Graham write, ?It is troubling enough that the Clinton Campaign funded Mr. Steele?s work, but that these Clinton associates were contemporaneously feeding Mr. Steele allegations raises additional concerns about his credibility.?
The State Department official involved in the episode, Jonathan Winer, wrote an Op-Ed in the Washington Post Friday in which he confessed to the senators? chronology while offering a benign description of his motives. Winer also admitted he shared all the unverified allegations from the Clinton hitmen with other State Department officials.
There are many more layers of the onion to peel, but here?s where we are now: It increasingly appears that the Clinton machine was the secret, original source of virtually all the allegations about Trump and Russia that led to the FBI investigation.
In addition, the campaign and its associates, including Steele, were behind the explosion of anonymously sourced media reports during the fall of 2016 about that investigation.
Thus, the Democratic nominee paid for and created allegations against her Republican opponent, gave them to law enforcement, then tipped friendly media to the investigation. And it is almost certain FBI agents supporting Clinton were among the anonymous sources.
In fact, the Clinton connections are so fundamental that there probably would not have been an FBI investigation without her involvement.
That makes hers a brazen work of political genius ? and perhaps the dirtiest dirty trick ever played in presidential history. Following her manipulation of the party operation to thwart Bernie Sanders in the primary, Clinton is revealed as relentlessly ruthless in her quest to be president.
The only thing that went wrong is that she lost the election. And based on what we know now, her claims about Trump were false.
Of the charges against four men brought by special counsel Robert Mueller, none involves helping Russia interfere with the election.
And neither the FBI nor Mueller has vouched for the truthfulness of the Blumenthal and Shearer claims or the Steele dossier. XInstead, the dossier faces defamation lawsuits in the US and England from several people named in it.
In fairness, one person besides Steele has been cited as justification for the FBI probe. George Papadopoulos, a bit but ambitious player in the Trump orbit, met with a professor in Europe early in 2016 who told him the Kremlin had Clinton?s private e-mails.
In May 2016, Papadopoulos told the story to an Australian diplomat and two months later, in July, the Australian government alerted the FBI.
However, a full timeline convincingly points to Steele as the initial spark. He was hired by a Clinton contractor in June of 2016, and filed his first allegations against Trump on June 20. Two weeks later, on July 5, he met with an FBI agent in London, The Washington Post reported, and filed three more allegations that month, including one about Carter Page.
At any rate, it is certain that Steele and other Clinton operators provided all the allegations about Trump himself that the FBI started with and that Mueller inherited.