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theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer
Trump's an honest-to-God builder and he will rebuild the Navy. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
I spent Friday's radio show explaining to incredulous guests that of course I'd support Donald Trump if he is the GOP nominee.
"But after he just insulted you and your radio show in front of 15 million people?" came the question.
When I reminded Trump at Thursday's debate that it was the first anniversary of his promise — made on my radio show — to release his tax returns, Donald told the world "very few people listen to your show, it is a very low rated show," which is neither true nor responsive. It was indeed entertaining, momentarily effective, and made for my third "Trump tattoo" in 12 months. He had delivered another on MSNBC, and the third in his book.
I'm either jaded or used to it. Doesn't matter. "This is the business we have chosen" said Hyman Roth in "The Godfather Part II."
Trump can insult me three times or thirty times in front of 30 million people. (I'll be back on stage for the final CNN-Salem Media Group debate in Miami on March 10, so who knows?) Bottom line: Insults of journalists don't matter. Short of insulting my family, it simply doesn't matter what Donald says to me or any reporters and pundits.
What matters is what he would do vis-a-vis Hillary Clinton in a November showdown. To get to that answer, journalists have to be willing to take some flack while asking pointed questions, from all sides, even when the journalist is an avowed conservative of long standing.
Would that some MSMer allowed within 15 feet of Clinton would ask her about hostile foreign intelligence services hacking her "home brew" server.
I'm not endorsing Trump and I'm not endorsing any of his rivals. My show remains Switzerland for all five of the remaining would-be GOP nominees — all are welcome there and none are endorsed by being there.
Those who accept get tough questions in a respectful, even amiable, environment. We will know soon enough who is the standard bearer, so I think cries of foul or doom are premature. If Trump wins Texas, he knocks out Sen. Ted Cruz. If Trump wins Florida or Ohio, he knocks out Sen. Marco Rubio or Gov. John Kasich respectively. If Trump doesn't win all three, we go to an open convention as no one will have the necessary 1,237 delegates to win the nomination. That isn't punditry. It is math.
It is possible that Mitt Romney, the only party "elder" with enough swing and cash, could bring the three non-Trumps to Deer Valley or some undisclosed location and hammer out an anti-Trump deal. Romney is the only one who could pull that off. But it is unlikely. Time is very short. March 1 and March 15 will tell.
And if Trump is the nominee I will support him for six reasons.
The first three are the existing and probable two additional Supreme Court nominations he will get to make. Judges Diane Sykes and Bill Pryor are two fine judges that Trump has mentioned as possible nominees and he made the right commitment on religious liberty to me on stage Thursday night. He won't screw these up. More precisely, it is a lock that Clinton would screw them up and at least a fighting chance he wouldn't.
Fourth, Trump's an honest-to-God builder and he will rebuild the Navy, which must be done. Soon.
Fifth, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping will at least think twice before crossing him.
And, finally, sixth: Donald's daughter and Svengali Ivanka is a smart, smart, smart lady with an extraordinary intellect and influence on her father. We get the GOP's own Valerie Jarrett, only this one with a sense of America's role in the world and the same resolve to succeed as Jarrett possesses.
If and when Donald takes the stage in Cleveland in July — and assuming he has repudiated the various racists trying to capture his flag — the anti-Donalds will have gotten over it, just as the anti-Cruz, anti-Kasich, or anti-Rubio folk will have gotten over it if one those three beats their guy. This year's election is about much bigger issues than the nominee. It is about beating Clinton and saving the country.
Donald had the worst week of his campaign, just as Super Tuesday arrives. Was Thursday "Peak Donald?" If you think so you haven't been following the bouncing ball. He could use the March 10 debate to repudiate the crazies attaching themselves to him, to recalibrate, or to reassure SCOTUS watchers that he will stand by his pledges to keep the Court from Hillary's Critical Legal Studies appointees.
EXCLUSIVE: A senior Hillary Clinton aide has maintained her top secret security clearance despite sending information now deemed classified to the Clinton Foundation and to then-Secretary of State Clinton's private unsecured email account, according to congressional letters obtained by Fox News.
Current and former intelligence officials say it is standard practice to suspend a clearance pending the outcome of an investigation. Yet in the case of Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s former chief of staff at the State Department, two letters indicate this practice is not being followed -- even as the Clinton email system remains the subject of an FBI investigation.
In an Oct. 30, 2015, letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa -- who has been aggressively investigating the Clinton email case -- Mills' lawyer Beth A. Wilkinson confirmed that her client “has an active Top Secret clearance." The letter said previous reporting from the State Department that the clearance was no longer active was wrong and due to "an administrative error."
A second letter dated Feb. 18, 2016, from the State Department's assistant secretary for legislative affairs, Julia Frifield, provided additional details toGrassley about the "administrative error." It, too, confirmed Mills maintained the top secret clearance.
The letters come amid multiple congressional investigations, as well as an FBI probe focused on the possible gross mishandling of classified information and Clinton's use of an unsecured personal account exclusively for government business. The State Department is conducting its own administrative review.
Under normal circumstances, Mills would have had her clearance terminated when she left the department. But in January 2014, according to the State Department letter, Clinton designated Mills “to assist in her research.” Mills was the one who reviewed Clinton’s emails before select documents were handed over to the State Department, and others were deleted.
Dan Maguire, a former strategic planner with Africom who has 46 years combined service, told Fox News his current and former colleagues are deeply concerned a double standard is at play.
"Had this happened to someone serving in the government, their clearance would have already been pulled, and certainly they would be under investigation. And depending on the level of disclosure, it's entirely possible they would be under pretrial confinement for that matter," Maguire explained. "There is a feeling the administration may want to sweep this under the rug.”
On Monday, the State Department was scheduled to release the final batch of Clinton emails as part of a federal court-mandated timetable.
So far, more than 1,800 have been deemed to contain classified information, and another 22 “top secret” emails have been considered too damaging to national security to release even with heavy redactions.
As Clinton's chief of staff, Mills was a gatekeeper and routinely forwarded emails to Clinton's personal account. As one example, a Jan. 23, 2011 email forwarded from Mills to Clinton, called "Update on DR meeting," contained classified information, as well as foreign government information which is "born classified."
The 2011 email can be declassified 15 years after it was sent -- indicating it contained classified information when it was sent.
Fox News was first to report that sworn declarations from the CIA notified the intelligence community inspector general and Congress there were "several dozen emails" containing classified information up to the most closely guarded government programs known as “Special Access Programs.”
Clinton has maintained all along that she did not knowingly transmit information considered classified at the time.
The U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual lays out the penalties for taking classified information out of secure government channels – such as an unsecured email system. While the incidents are handled on a "case by case" basis, the manual suggests the suspension of a clearance is routine while "derogatory information" is reviewed.
The manual says the director of the Diplomatic Security Service, "based on a recommendation from the Senior Coordinator for Security Infrastructure (DS/SI), will determine whether, considering all facts available upon receipt of the initial information, it is in the interests of the national security to suspend the employee’s access to classified information on an interim basis. A suspension is an independent administrative procedure that does not represent a final determination …”
Fox News has asked the State Department to explain why Mills maintains her clearance while multiple federal and congressional investigations are ongoing. Fox News also asked whether the department was instructed by the FBI or another entity to keep the clearance in place. Fox News has not yet received a response.
Warns White Voters of the Consequences of Electing Trump
FORT WORTH, Texas — Speaking outside a Donald Trump rally in Fort Worth, Texas on Friday, a Hispanic demonstrator warned the GOP candidate’s white supporters that there would be consequences if Trump manages to make it all the way to the White House.
“If these people get what they want, Trump in there, I guarantee you — you think the Mexicans are going to lay down that easily? We don’t ever say nothing,” Ronald Gonzales, of Dallas, said.
After explaining that he isn’t an advocate for open borders, he argued that many of the illegal immigrants living in the U.S. “already got families and kids that are here” — and they wouldn’t allow a Trump administration to break up their families.
“It ain’t gonna happen,” Gonzales said. “You really want the Mexicans to really, really stir, really get mad? Y’all don’t understand — we aren’t the minority anymore. We own Texas. Texas is Mexican-made. I’m five generations deep right here.”
When pressed by TheBlaze on his warning about Trump’s rhetoric on deporting illegal immigrants, he doubled down on his comments.
“What do you think?” Gonzales asked incredulously. “You think the Hispanics are going to sit back and let these people come and take our parents away? … I’ve never called y’all crackers or nothing like that until this time,” he said. “Y’all call us Mexicans, spics and all that.”
He added, “I fought all my life just for my kids wouldn’t be growing up to that. And now that Trump’s coming into the situation, he’s making it worse.”
Gonzales was one of the most outspoken of the small group of anti-Trump protesters outside of Friday’s rally in Fort Worth. He engaged in several heated — and profane — debates with Trump supporters.
He told one Trump supporter, “All it is takes is one of y’all to speak for all of y’all — and Trump is doing the speaking for y’all. So don’t come and try to speak for yourself when Trump is speaking for y’all.”
Interspersed between the impassioned, but mostly respectful, debates between the competing factions, there were some ugly moments that seem to underscore the racial tensions surrounding the 2016 presidential election.
“Where are you going, b***h?” one anti-Trump protester barked at a Trump supporter.
In another ugly moment, an apparent Trump supporter told Hispanic demonstrators to “go back to Mexico.”
Watch some of the tense moments from the rally below (Warning: strong language):
MADISON, Ala.—Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, a leading critic of illegal immigration, endorsed Donald Trump for president at a rally here Sunday where the border issue figured prominently.
The pledge of support from Mr. Sessions, a popular figure among Alabama Republicans, gives Mr. Trump another boost in the state, one of 11 voting this Tuesday, when 595 delegates are at stake.
“You have asked for 30 years, and politicians have promised for 30 years, to fix illegal immigration,” said Mr. Sessions at the rally, held at an outdoor stadium filled with thousands of Trump supporters. “We have an opportunity Tuesday—it may be the last opportunity we have—for the people’s voice to be heard.” He concluded, “I am pleased to endorse Donald Trump for the presidency of the United States.”
Mr. Trump appeared to relish the backing of Mr. Sessions, who strongly opposed the failed immigration-reform measure that Florida Sen. Marco Rubio helped craft in 2013. The endorsement came only days after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Republicans in Congress came out in support of the businessman.
“We want strong borders!” Mr. Trump yelled to the crowd. “We want the wall!”
The businessman repeatedly mocked Mr. Rubio, with whom he has been trading insults for days. Calling him “little Marco” and “this little Rubio guy,” he cast the Florida senator as a lightweight who would shrink in confrontations with foreign leaders.
“We don’t need a fainter to negotiate with China,” Mr. Trump said. “He’s not cool, he sweats too much and I don’t want him negotiating for us.”
Several speakers who preceded Mr. Trump also stressed immigration and assailed Mr. Rubio. Chris Crane, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer and union leader, criticized Mr. Rubio’s work on the 2013 immigration bill with Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer of New York and other members of the so-called Gang of Eight. If Mr. Rubio were to become president, he said the bill would surely resurface.
“This bill is a public-safety and national-security nightmare,” Mr. Crane said. “It’s as if the criminals wrote it themselves.” He finished by saying, “I am here to urge every one of you: … Do not vote for Sen. Marco Rubio for president of the United States.”
Immigration topped the list of concerns for some in the crowd as well. Among them was Robert Brewster, a 38-year-old home-improvement worker wearing a Trump T-shirt who said he drove up from Birmingham for the event. He said he supported Mr. Trump for his unwavering opposition to illegal immigration. “I’m in construction,” he said. “Sections of it have been taken away completely by illegal immigrants.”
Mr. Brewster said he trusted the businessman to stand up to establishment Republicans who talk tough on immigration and other issues, only to compromise their principles later. “They always cave,” he said.
Charles Howe, a 58-year-old construction worker from Birmingham, said an influx of undocumented workers in Alabama made a home-interiors business he used to own unsustainable because the arrivals drove down prices for work. “We couldn’t compete with them,” he said. “I lost a business because of immigration.”
Who’s Winning the Delegate Race?
Number of delegates each candidate has received in the 2016 Democratic and Republican presidential races Read more »
Number of delegates (with superdelegates) awarded
544 total delegates (453)
02,383needed to win
Number of delegates awarded
01,237needed to win
Note: Chart excludes candidates who have dropped out. Totals are estimates.
The final batch of Hillary Clinton’s emails that the State Department has in its custody — 2,000 of them — is due to be released Monday. (Associated Press) Stephen Dinan
Hundreds of people — from White House officials and titans of the mainstream media to senators, Supreme Court justices and many of her top colleagues at the State Department — could have known aboutHillary Clinton’s secret email account, if only they’d cared to look closely enough.
Listed on some of the more than 28,000 messages Mrs. Clinton released so far are several White House chiefs of staff and a former director of the Office of Management and Budget, much of the rest of official Washington, and a number of people who had oversight of the State Department’s key operations and open-records obligations. President Obama was also on a series of messages, though the government is withholding those.
But just how widely disseminated Mrs. Clinton’s address was became clear in a single 2011 message from Anne-Marie Slaughter, who appeared to include Mrs. Clinton on a message alongside Supreme CourtJustices Stephen G. Breyer and Elena Kagan, reporters Jeffrey Toobin, David Brooks, Fred Hiatt and Evan Thomas, CIA Director David H. Petraeus, top Obama aide Benjamin Rhodes and former White House counsel Gregory Craig.
Computer specialists said they would have had to know what they were looking for to spot Mrs. Clinton’s address, but it was there for anyone who did look — raising questions about how her unique arrangement remained secret for so long. It came to the public’s attention when news broke in March 2015 in The New York Times — after it was uncovered by a congressional investigation into the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack.
“We’re talking about a Cabinet-level official who was accommodated by the government for reasons unknown to the public. And I think that’s a fair statement — for reasons unknown to the public,” the judge said at a hearing last week, where he decided to approve conservative legal group Judicial Watch’s request for discovery to pry loose more details about who approved the odd email setup and how it ducked the rules.
“All the public can do is speculate,” Judge Sullivan told the government lawyers who have been fighting to drag out the release of the messagesMrs. Clinton has turned over, and to prevent her from having to relinquish thousands of others. “You want me to say it’s done, but I can’t do that right now.”
The final batch of messages the State Department has in its custody — 2,000 of them — is due to be released Monday.
The facts have changed dramatically since the emails were first revealed and Mrs. Clinton insisted that she set up her unique arrangement out of “convenience” for herself and insisted no classified material was sent on the account.
Already, 1,782 messages have been deemed to contain classified material, and 22 of those messages contain “secret” information. Another 22 messages contain “top secret” material so sensitive that the government won’t even release any part of them, meaning they will remain completely hidden from the public.
Mrs. Clinton’s arrangement set off public policy and security debates. Analysts said her server was likely unprotected against any moderately sophisticated attack.
Although details remain sketchy as to what protection Mrs. Clinton used, analysts said having one person maintaining her server is no way to protect sensitive information from a hack. Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union, said there is no evidence that Mrs. Clinton was having her server tested by independent specialists — a major oversight.
“You cannot secure your server with one guy working part time,” Mr. Soghoian said.
That one person, Bryan Pagliano, who reportedly worked for Mrs. Clintonat the State Department and on the side as her server technician, asserted his Fifth Amendment right against incriminating himself in testimony to Congress last year.
Even if the server itself wasn’t compromised, Mr. Soghoian said, Mrs. Clinton was sending email over the broader Internet, where an enterprising opponent could have intercepted messages. If she had been using a State.gov account to email others within the government, that wouldn’t have been possible, he said.
There is no evidence that Mrs. Clinton was hacked, but analysts said that’s of little comfort. Even if the FBI doesn’t find evidence, it is not conclusive.
“Clinton’s use of unencrypted email left her vulnerable to nation states. There’s no amount of investigation the FBI can do to prove that didn’t happen,” Mr. Soghoian said.
Bob Gourley, co-founder of cybersecurity consultancy Cognitio, said the government has to assume Mrs. Clinton’s server was compromised, and he said it begs the question of why she declined to use a State.gov account and instead set up her own off-site server.
“All indications are this was not just a matter of convenience,” he said. “There’s no reason why she should have used her own server and go to all the trouble to do that unless she wanted to hide something.”
That something, Mr. Gourley believes, is the negotiating she did on behalf of the Clinton Foundation, founded by her husband, former President Bill Clinton. She helped lead the foundation as soon as she stepped down from the secretary’s job.
The security analyst said he suspects details of those negotiations are part of the 30,000 messages Mrs. Clinton indicated she sent during her time in office but that she declined to turn back to the State Department. The former secretary said those messages were personal business, such as scheduling yoga classes or arranging her daughter Chelsea’s wedding.
“The big story on Monday is, wow, now we have reviewed about half ofMrs. Clinton’s reported records. Where’s the other half?” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “That’s what our discovery is about. Where’s the other half, and how can we find out so they can be retrieved and reviewed and released to the public?”
Mrs. Clinton says the Obama administration is overclassifying her messages. She says she would like all of the messages she returned to the government released, including presumably the 22 the government deems so “top secret” that they can’t be shared even in part.
She and her campaign have questioned the political motivations or conclusions of the inspectors general who have pushed for classification, to Judge Sullivan, whose order of discovery could force her aides to answer tough questions and could eventually lead to her having to return the rest of her emails.
Mr. Fitton said the questions Judicial Watch will ask during discovery include how the government supported her email server, why the folks who handled Freedom of Information Act open-records requests weren’t made aware of it, who else used it, what security precautions were taken and who approved it.
A Washington Times analysis of the more than 28,000 messages that have been released show dozens of State Department employees, from the lowest to the highest levels, were aware that Mrs. Clinton was using her unique arrangement to conduct government business.
“How on earth can the court conclude that there’s not, at a minimum, a reasonable suspicion of bad faith regarding the State Department’s response to this FOIA request?” he said at a hearing last week.
Mrs. Clinton’s successor, current Secretary of State John F. Kerry, was one of those who emailed with Mrs. Clinton on her secret account during his time in the Senate. He was one of a handful of senators The Times found who were pen pals with Mrs. Clinton.
Last week, Mr. Kerry tried to explain how he missed Mrs. Clinton’s behavior and told Congress he simply mailed the address he was given.
“I didn’t think about it. I didn’t know if she had an account, or what thedepartment gave her at that point in time, or what she was operating with. I had no knowledge,” he told Rep. Darrell E. Issa, a California Republican who prodded him on the matter.
Stories about odd email practices have continued to dog Mr. Obama’s tenure. His former administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa P. Jackson, used a secret agency email address to conduct government business, but the EPA says those messages were searched in open-records requests.
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter used a private address to conduct some government business in the first months after taking office. He said the practice was wrong and apologized for it.
Mr. Gourley, the cybersecurity specialist, said Mrs. Clinton’s practice went beyond that. He compared it to a phone, saying everyone has a home phone or personal cellphone, and even top government officials occasionally use it for official business. But in Mrs. Clinton’s case, she rejected an official government email account and used only her secret account.
“Those kinds of rules were just totally flouted by Clinton,” he said.