Hillary Clinton

Impeach Hillary Clinton Immediately If She’s Elected, North Carolina Republicans Say



Two-thirds of North Carolina Republican voters would support immediately impeaching Hillary Clinton if she’s elected president, according to a poll released Tuesday.

Conducted by Public Policy Polling, the survey drew from the responses of 425 self-identified Republicans likely to vote in the 2016 presidential primary. Along with various questions about the Republican candidates, it asked voters if they would either “support or oppose impeaching [Clinton] the day she takes office.”

Sixty-six percent of respondents said they would support immediate impeachment for Clinton, while only 24 percent said they would oppose it. Ten percent said they were not sure, according to the poll.

Impeachment is not the removal of a president from office — rather, it’s the formal process of accusing a public official of unlawful activity, which may or may not lead to removal from office.

Tuesday’s poll did not ask its Republican respondents why they would support impeachment for Clinton, though it likely has something to do her use of a private email server while Secretary of State.

Though the Justice Department has not found evidence of wrongdoing on Clinton’s part, prominent Republican politicians have been frequently accusing her of criminality. Presidential candidate Donald Trump called her actions “criminal”; presidential candidate and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said Clinton was “literally one email away from going to jail.”

Republicans in Congress have also been using Clinton’s emails to try and prove that she mishandled the events leading up to and following the 2012 terror attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Those Republicans have undertaken eight separate Congressional investigationsinto Clinton for that purpose. None have found substantive evidence to warrant an official accusation of wrongdoing by the Department of Justice.

The idea that Clinton should be impeached on her first day of office is not new. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) recently suggested Clinton should be impeached for her use of a private email server while secretary of state.

Unfortunately for Brooks and the majority of North Carolina Republicans, however, impeachment does not seem likely. Even if Clinton was found to have broken the law, sitting presidents can not be impeached for alleged crimes that occurred before they were elected.


Maddow Shreds Republicans Critical of Clinton for Following Law Signed by Reagan (Video)


With Hillary Clinton’s over nine hours of Benghazi testimony now in the books, it’s time for the experts and pundits to dissect everything that went down during the Republican-led sideshow they’re calling an “investigation.” And being that this sham of a “hearing” went on from morning well into the evening on Thursday, there’s plenty to go over.

Well, Rachel Maddow took exception to fact that Republicans have taken a process which has really never been partisan in the past, and turned it into a ridiculous spectacle that is nothing more than political theater meant to harm Clinton’s chances next year. In particular, Maddow emphasized that the Republican-led committee went after Clinton for the formation of an Accountability Review Board (ARB – an acronym that was used constantly on Thursday), even though a law signed by Ronald Reagan required her to do so.

The MSNBC host pointed out that the law passed during the Reagan administration was a direct result of several security flaws in Beirut that led to terrorist attacks against Americans, including the deaths of 241 service members when a Marine barracks was bombed. These ARB’s were never meant to be partisan or used as political tools to attack politicians. Nor have we ever seen an instance in this country where a tragedy has been exploited like Republicans have done with Benghazi.

“We have never had a congressional partisan carnival like this over an attack on a US outpost overseas, never,” Maddow said. “In the history of Beirut, in the history of Khobar Towers, of the East Africa embassy bombings, of the 9/11 commission, even, of the attack on the USS Cole, on even the intelligence leading up to the Iraq war.” And it’s an extremely dangerous precedent to set.

These sorts of committees aren’t meant to be used to wage character assassinations for political gain. Not only that, but it’s deplorable for anyone – Democrat or Republican – to exploit any tragedy to wage petty partisan attacks against their opponent. Now I know what many Republicans will say: But we want to know what happened! Clinton has clearly been covering up and hiding the truth!  No, she hasn’t.

This is the eighth  congressional investigation into Benghazi. Of those eight, six have been led by Republicans. Even after over nine hours of testimony, the general consensus by most was that there was nothing new said today that hadn’t already been established by the previous seven  investigations.

Then again, this wasn’t about finding out “the truth.” This was nothing but a spectacle meant to try to trap Clinton into a “gotcha” moment. It was clear they intended the proceedings to drag on for a ridiculous amount of time (11 hours in total, including breaks) hoping through sheer exhaustion the former Secretary of State would give them something they could turn into an attack on her later.

Unfortunately for them, she didn’t. In fact, when it was all said and done, she looked more presidential than ever before. But Maddow finished the segment in a rather somber note, issuing a slight warning for the nation. “Republicans have turned it all into one big hilarious partisan joke,” Maddow stated. “If God loves America, we will find out soon that somewhere there is a reset button that we can hit after this is over to erase this as a potential precedent for our country moving forward.”

The next time something like this happens (which will eventually happen) it’s likely we’ll never know the actual truth. Because Republicans have established that it’s now fair game to use these types of hearings not to legitimately investigate what happened based on facts, but to wage political attacks against people they want to try to take down. And in a process that was never meant to be partisan, Republicans have turned it into one of the most partisan issues of the last three years.

Watch the segment via MSNBC

Proof That The Benghazi Investigation Is Totally Unlike Any Other, In Two Charts

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham as she testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya | CREDIT: AP PHOTO/PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAIS


On Thursday, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will testify in front of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, where Republicans will try to prove that the former secretary of state mishandled the events leading up to and following the 2012 terror attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Lately, however, those same Republicans have found themselves trying to prove something different: That their intense focus on Benghazi is not primarily driven by a political desire to undermine Clinton. Recently, a number of Republicans have said that targeting Clinton is part of the investigation’s purpose. But others, like House Benghazi Chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC),suggest they’re treating Benghazi like they would any other terrorist attack.

But are they?

An analysis of Congressional attention to previous high-profile terror incidents suggests that significantly more emphasis has been placed on Benghazi than other terrorism acts. The 2013Boston Marathon bombing, the 2000 attack on the USS Cole, the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, the 1996 Khobar Tower bombing, the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, and even the attacks of September 11, 2001 — all received less Congressional attention than Benghazi in the form of formal hearings and investigations into their respective causes.

The chart below shows the number of congressional committees dedicated to investigating facts about each respective attack. For the purposes of this analysis, committee investigations are defined as efforts that produce written reports.



Benghazi: For the Benghazi attack, there have been eight separate committees investigating the incident and producing reports, including the ongoing investigation of the House Select Committee on Benghazi. These eight include six House and two Senate committees. There was also one non-partisan agency investigation into Benghazi by the State Department’s Accountability Review Board.

A significantly smaller number of congressional committees investigated each of the other six terrorist attacks.

Boston Marathon: Only the House Homeland Security Committee investigated the 2013 bombing of the Boston Marathon in 2013, producing two written reports. A number of other committees held hearings, but none of those wrote reports. A non-partisan investigation into the Boston bombing was also conducted by the Inspectors General of the Intelligence Community and the Central Intelligence Agency, which produced a report.

USS Cole Bombing: Two separate congressional committees investigated and wrote reports on the USS Cole bombing, a 2000 incident in Yemen that saw 17 soldiers killed. The House Armed Services Committee issued a public document, while the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s report was classified. Aside from congressional inquiries, the Navy, the FBI, the Department of Defense, and the independent Crouch-Gehman Commission conducted investigations into the bombing.

Khobar Tower Bombing: Two congressional committees investigated on the 1996 Khobar Tower bombing, an attack on a housing complex in Saudi Arabia which killed 19 U.S. servicemen. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the House National Security Committee each issuedreports. In addition, the Department of Defense-appointed independent Downing Assessment Task Force conducted an investigation.

September 11 Attacks: For the September 11 terrorist attacks, the government mounted only two fact-finding investigations resulting in written reports. One of those investigations was from a joint congressional investigation, while the other came from an independent investigation conducted by the 9/11 Commission. Many, many other hearings were held by a bevy of other committees regarding policy issues surrounding the attacks, and many of those produced written reports as well — but none were formal investigations of the attack itself.

There were no formal congressional investigations leading to committee reports on either the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings which killed 224 people, nor the 1996 Oklahoma City bombingwhich killed 168 people and injured 680 others. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) released his own findings about the Oklahoma bombing, but they were not approved by the committee he sat on.



When it comes to the actual number of hearings held, there is also a disparity between Congress’ attention to Benghazi and other high-profile terrorist attacks.

Benghazi: To investigate the Benghazi attack, congressional committees have so far held 32 public or private hearings. They are all listed here.

September 11 Attacks: The terrorist attack that got closest number of hearings to Benghazi was the September 11 attacks. The joint congressional committee that released the report held 22 hearings — nine that were public, and 13 that were closed. The House Armed Services Committee also held a hearing to discuss the findings of the joint committee’s report.

There were certainly more congressional hearings regarding 9/11 aside from that, but like the committees investigating it, they do not appear to be about investigating the attack itself. Other 9/11-related hearings instead appear to be about policy issues, like how to improve airport security.

Khobar Tower Bombing: The Khobar Tower bombing garnered 14 hearings from various House and Senate committees, some of which focused on general security challenges in the region. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence held seven. The House National Security Committee, the Senate Armed Services Committee, and the House Government Reform Committee each held two. In addition, the House Judiciary Committee held one, focusing on the FBI’s response to the incident.

1998 Embassy Bombings: 12 congressional hearings were held regarding the 1998 embassy bombings. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House International Relations Committee each held five; the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Government Reform Committee each held one.

USS Cole Bombing: At least eight congressional hearings were held for the the USS Cole bombing, six of which happened in the Senate Armed Services Committee. Three of those hearings were closed to the public. The other two hearings took place in the House Armed Services Committee.

Oklahoma City Bombing: Congressional committees held a total of nine hearings regarding various aspects of the Oklahoma City bombing in 1996. Only two were specifically about the attacks, and those were done by the House Government Reform Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, respectively. The House Judiciary Committee also held three hearings related to domestic terror, among other related hearings.

Boston Marathon Bombing: Five hearings by the House and Senate Homeland Security Committees were held on the Boston Marathon bombing of 2013. There were reportedly other,private hearings on the attack as well, but those have not been disclosed.


A spokesperson from the House Select Committee on Benghazi did not return ThinkProgress’ request for comment.


Get ready for a Benghazi show trial: John Bolton admits Hillary Clinton’s testimony is about her “ability to lead”/t:

Get ready for a Benghazi show trial: John Bolton admits Hillary Clinton's testimony is about her "ability to lead"

(Credit: AP/Charlie Neibergall)


Leading neocon and influential Republican owns up to tomorrow’s real purpose

Tomorrow, Hillary Clinton is set to testify before the House Select Committee on Benghazi to answer a series of questions chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) has taken great pains to insist are not political in nature, despite members of his own party saying otherwise. Now, on the eve of his biggest prosecutorial moment, Gowdy is again being undermined, this time by none other than George W. Bush’s former ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton.

In a new Wall Street Journal op-ed, Bolton argues that “Benghazi still makes a difference” because he believes Clinton’s “Thursday testimony may tell us much about her ability to lead,” thereby admitting to the political nature of the investigation.

Despite insisting that “the hearing’s focus must be on the key policy and leadership implications of the mistakes made before, during and after the” attack, Bolton writes that the Republican-led Select Committee should grill Clinton about her ability to lead the nation as commander-in-chief based upon her performance handling the Benghazi attack.

“Politics has no place in the committee hearing on Thursday,” Bolton argues, “save for a question that many Americans may be asking: Is this how we want our country led?”:

If earlier secretaries of state have been perfectly prepared to get their fingernails dirty in operational details when those under their responsibility were threatened, why wasn’t Mrs. Clinton?

Bolton faults Clinton for not “staying at her desk” while reports of attacks in Benghazi, Cairo and Tunis came into the State Department. “Imagine the effect on morale when, with colleagues in Libya in mortal peril, State Department personnel learned that their leader had gone home for the evening,” Bolton asks.

And who did concoct the Muhammad video explanation? State Department and CIA personnel on the ground in Tripoli and Benghazi all knew in real time that a terrorist attack was under way. There was no fog of war in Libya, as Mrs. Clinton has contended. The fog was all in Washington, an ideological and political fog protecting the last two months of President Obama’s re-election campaign, and reflecting his unworldly view that the global terrorist threat was receding.

Bolton then instructs Gowdy’s committee to ask the former secretary of state about her “role in formulating the U.S. response to the Benghazi attack” and whether “she ever advocate[d] retaliation for the coldblooded killing of four Americans.”

“Policy, leadership and management failures at the administration’s highest levels,” Bolton concludes, lead to the attacks in Benghazi and it’s clear he wants House Republicans to hold Hillary Clinton responsible.

Sophia Tesfaye

H/t: DB

Emails show Hillary’s political sleuthing


AP photo


A new batch of Hillary Clinton’s emails made public by the State Department Monday night show her expressing interest in the presidential aspirations of Gen. David Petraeus, who ultimately took a job as CIA director in the Obama administration instead of running for president in 2012 and was then driven out of government by scandal.

Clinton–who’s now the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination next year–sounded intrigued when her longtime friend Sidney Blumenthal reported to her on a Saturday morning in February 2010 that prominent Washington foreign policy blogger Steve Clemons said Petraeus was talking frankly about the possibility of running for the White House.

“Clemons had dinner this week with Petraeus, who freely talked about running for president,” Blumenthal wrote to Clinton.

“Will he write about Petraeus?” Clinton wrote back five minutes later.

Moments later, Blumenthal sent Clinton Clemons’ post mentioning the off-the-record dinner and discussing the relative political merits of Petraeus, Vice President Joe Biden and Clinton herself.

“Clemons… told me more detail about [Petraeus’] attitude and interest,” Blumenthal said, adding a couple of nuggets.

Four months later, Petraeus was abruptly named the U.S. commander in Afghanistan after President Barack Obama essentially fired Gen. Stanley McCrystal over disrespectful comments his aides made about Biden. Clinton’s top communications adviser, Philippe Reines, opined that the new assignment would be seen as a way to take Petraeus, said to describe himself as a Rockefeller Republican, out of contention as a potential presidential candidate in 2012.

“My bet on the direction this now takes is two fronts 1) does Petreaus make any big changes; can he do in Afghanistan what he did in Iraq; his health; political benefits of locking him up like Huntsman,” Reines wrote to top Clinton advisers, referring to perceptions that Huntsman was out of the running for 2012 because he accepted an appointment from Obama to be U.S. Ambassador to China. The email was later forwarded to Clinton by her chief of staff, Cheryl Mills.

Huntsman did run for the GOP nomination in 2012 but did poorly and dropped out. Petraeus was named CIA director in 2011 but resigned after the 2012 elections when a federal investigation of alleged cyberstalking exposed an extramarital affair he had with his biographer.

In addition to keeping tabs on Petraeus, Clinton also expressed interest in reports that former Clinton White House Chief of Staff John Podesta was expressing criticism of Obama White House management. “Send me the next article about Podesta,” she asked Blumenthal. Previously released emails show Clinton chafing at perceived snubs from Obama’s national security team and her team in some apparent friction with then National Security Adviser Jim Jones.

In the same month as the exchanges about Petraeus, Clinton also sent Mills an article by Les Gelb arguing for a shake-up of Obama’s White House team, including the removal of Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. In the email forwarding the column, Clinton doesn’t say if she agrees or disagrees with the diagnosis or the prescription. She simply writes:”FYI.”

The new insights into Clinton’s political intelligence-gathering come from messages that are among a batch of more than 7,000 pages of emails the State Department put online Monday night, complying with a judge’s order to make monthly releases in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. The order followed the revelation in March that Clinton exclusively used a private email account and server during her four years as secretary of state, jeopardizing earlier responses to FOIA requests and triggering Republican claims that she endangered national security by allowing sensitive messages to be stored on an unofficial system.

While dozens of senior officials and Clinton friends were in the loop about her email setup, the newly-disclosed messages show some on State’s tech support team were clearly in the dark.

“I work as a Help Desk Analyst and it has come to my attention that one of our customers has been receiving permanent fatal errors from this address, can you please confirm if you receive this message,” State Department IT specialist Christopher Butzgy wrote in a message that Clinton forwarded to top aide Huma Abedin inquiring about its contents.

“What happened is judith sent.you an email. It bounced back. She called the email help desk at state (I guess assuming u had state email) and told them that. They had no idea it was YOU, just some random address so they emailed. Sorry about that. But regardless, means ur email must be back! R u getting other messages?” Abedin emailed Clinton.

The debate over the wisdom of Clinton’s use of the private account got new fodder Monday when State declared another 125 of the former secretary’s emails classified on national security grounds. The new classifications roughly triple the number of messages on Clinton’s account now considered classified, bringing the total to 188 from 63.

However, State Department spokesman Mark Toner stressed that the information was not marked classified at the time it was sent several years ago. He also said the decision to classify the information did not represent a determination that it should have been marked or handled that way back then.

“That certainly does not speak to whether it was classified at the time it was sent, or forwarded, or received,” Toner said during the daily State Department briefing Monday afternoon, before the release. “We stand by our contention that the information we’ve upgraded was not marked classified at the time it was sent.”

At the briefing, Toner had said he expected the number of classified messages in the lastest set to be “somewhere around 150.” Asked about the final tally for this batch being about 25 fewer, State officials said Toner’s number was simply a rough estimate. They also said some of the information classified in Monday’s release was identical to information withheld in earlier batches.

The Republican National Committee called the latest release another reason to doubt Clinton can be trusted with the presidency.

“These new emails show Hillary Clinton exposed even more classified information on her secret server than previously known,” said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus in a statement. “On hundreds of occasions, Hillary Clinton’s reckless attempt to skirt transparency laws put sensitive information and our national security at risk. With the FBI continuing to investigate, Hillary Clinton’s growing email scandal shows she cannot be trusted with the White House.”

After first saying there was no classified information in her account, Clinton has said more recently that nothing was marked classified. She has said she used the private account for convenience, but that in retrospect it was a bad choice. Clinton has also described the classification system as arcane, while her aides have described it as dysfunctional.

As Clinton faces questions about whether she mishandled classified information, the emails released Monday show how she and her staff responded in late 2010 to the largest breach of classified information in U.S. history: WikiLeaks’ disclosure of 250,000 diplomatic cables. An Army intelligence analyst, Pvt. Chelsea Manning, was eventually court martialed for the leaks and sentenced to 35 years in prison.

The emails about the response to WikiLeaks–some of them classified–show U.S. officials reaching out to foreign governments to assuage them after the publication of U.S. cables calling foreign leaders corrupt.

One message forwarded to Clinton reports that Near East Affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman reached out to leaders in Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to try to mitigate the damage done by the WikiLeaks disclosures. Much of the message was withheld from Monday’s release after being classified “CONFIDENTIAL,” although it was originally marked as “sensitive but unclassified.”

Another email forwarded to Clinton said the president of Kenya had called in the U.S. ambassador to dress him down after WikiLeaks disclosed cables saying the government was steeped in corruption.

After State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley forwarded Clinton a Swedish cartoon showing Clinton using a wrench trying to shut down the flow of information to WikiLeaks, she wrote back: “It certainly hits the mark. Can you hand me a wrench?”

“I can think of several folks for you to toss that wrench at!” Crowley replied.

While Clinton took a hard line against the WikiLeaks disclosures, the messages show that during her time as secretary she was sometimes frustrated by the mechanics of the State Department’s systems for dealing with classified and unclassified information.

When Deputy Chief of Staff Jake Sullivan told her in February 2010 he couldn’t send her a Mideast peace-related statement former British Prime Minister Tony Blair had issued, Clinton seemed irritated. “It’s a public statement! Just email it,” she wrote. Sullivan replied that it was impossible to do that because the only information was in State’s classified system. “Trust me, I share your exasperation. But until ops converts it to the unclassified email system, there is no physical way for me to email it. I can’t even access it,” Sullivan wrote.

Nearly all the information officially classified by the State Department in prior and the latest email releases involved diplomatic strategy or information provided by foreign governments. All the new classifications were at the “CONFIDENTIAL” level, the lowest tier in the U.S. classification system. So far only one message has been officially classified at a higher level, “SECRET,” although intelligence agency officials say some of the messages from Clinton’s account contain even more highly classified information.

Toner batted away questions Monday about whether State Department policy dictated that Clinton and other agency employees treat as classified information obtained in confidence from foreign officials or diplomats.

“Classification — we’ve said this many times — is not an exact science. It’s not, often, a black-and-white process,” Toner said. “There’s many strong opinions. … It’s not up to me to litigate these kinds of questions from the State Department podium.”

When releasing the messages, the State Department deletes any content deemed classified, notes the reason for the deletion, the classification level and who made the decision to classify. The agency then releases the remainder of the message unless it is subject to another Freedom of Information Act exemption.

The State Department posted the 7,121 additional pages of Clinton’s emails on the agency’s website at about 9 p.m. Monday, revealing more details from Clinton’s time as secretary of state from 2009 to 2010.

Toner did not elaborate on the nighttime posting but stressed that the volume of messages being made public Monday exceeded the approximately 6,000 pages released thus far.

“We’re producing more documents this month than we have in the previous three releases in May, June and July combined,” he told reporters. “Meeting this goal is really a testament to our commitment to releasing these emails to the public as expeditiously as possible.”

The last nighttime release of Clinton’s emails, in June, prompted questions of whether the State Department was trying to minimize the impact of bad news. State spokesman John Kirby on Monday denied that, saying that the timing was the product of the volume of emails to be processed and posted, and a monthly deadline set by a federal judge. However, Kirby apologized for the inconvenience the nighttime posting caused for journalists and said his agency would seek to avoid such off-hours activity in the future.

The Intelligence Community inspector general has said at least two emails on Clinton’s account contained “top secret” information subject to special protection because it was derived from electronic or aerial surveillance. The State Department has disputed that conclusion. The FBI is also conducting an investigation of how the arguably classified material made it onto Clinton’s server.

Clinton has portrayed the furor over classification of her emails as unrelated to her decision to use a private email account, since classified information is not supposed to be sent on any system not approved for that purpose, whether private or government-owned.

“If I had had a separate government account … we would be going through the same process,” Clinton told reporters earlier this month at a news conference in Las Vegas. “It has nothing to do with me and it has nothing to do with the fact that my account was personal.”

While Clinton has repeatedly described the email controversy as one dwelled upon by journalists and her political opponents, she changed her tone somewhat last week, allowing that some members of the public do have legitimate questions about the issue. “I know people have raised questions about my email use as secretary of state, and I understand why,” she said at a campaign stop in Iowa. “My use of personal email was allowed by the State Department. It clearly wasn’t the best choice. … I take responsibility for that decision.”

The emails come from a set of about 54,000 pages of messages Clinton turned over to her former agency in December after a request from a top official there.

In May, the State Department released 847 pages from the emails relating to Benghazi and Libya more broadly that had been provided to the House Select Committee on Benghazi earlier in the year.

State initially proposed holding back the rest of Clinton’s emails until next January and releasing them in one large batch in response to pending Freedom of Information Act requests. However, U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras rejected that approach and ordered monthly releases from June through early next year.

In June, State released 3,095 pages, many of which highlighted the influence of outside Clinton adviser Sidney Blumenthal. but the pace of disclosures slowed with a July release of just 2,206 pages. State officials said the slowdown, which caused the agency to fall short of a goal set by Contreras, was the result of new procedures to make sure intelligence agencies were fully consulted about the content of emails planned for release.

Officials had said in court filings that they planned to make up some of the deficit this month and to be back on track by next month. However, the new release of more than 7,000 pages put the agency back in line with the judge’s order.

Clinton and her aides have suggested that as more of her emails are released, people will get a better sense of how she’s doing her job and the controversy will diminish. That may turn out to be true as the monthly releases continue into next year. However, for now, each round of disclosures provides new fodder for Republicans and other critics questioning the wisdom, propriety and even the legality of the arrangement.

Iowa Poll: Bernie Sanders Is Closing In On Hillary Clinton



A new Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa Poll shows Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) only 7 points behind Hillary Clinton in the race for the Iowa caucus, a worrying sign for the Democratic frontrunner. Clinton leads with 37 percent of likely Democratic caucusgoers, with Sanders following at 30 percent.

As Clinton’s campaign struggles to counter negative press from her ongoing email controversy, Sanders has energized liberal Democrats with impassioned talk of political revolution. According to the poll, 96 percent of Sanders supporters said they support him for his ideas, while two percent said their support lies mostly in the fact that they do not support Clinton.

The poll also includes Vice President Joe Biden, who captured 14 percent. He has yet to announce a presidential bid.

Clinton has lost a third of her support since May, the poll found. This is also the first time Clinton has fallen below the 50 percent mark in a Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa Poll this year. “It looks like what people call the era of inevitability is over,” said J. Ann Selzer, president of Selzer & Co., which conducted the poll.

While the poll results show a notable departure from Clinton’s presumptive lead, they don’t necessarily predict what’s to come. In June 2011, former Rep. Michele Bachmann was polling just one point behind eventual Republican nominee Mitt Romney in Iowa. Bachmann finished in sixth place, with a dismal 5 percent of the vote at the caucuses.

The poll, conducted August 23-26, is based on telephone interviews with 404 likely Democratic caucusgoers. The findings have a margin of error of 4.9 percentage points.

Sanders is currently polling at a hair under 30 percent in the HuffPost Pollster chart, which aggregates all publicly available polls.

See interactive chart here…

Did Hillary Clinton support a “white supremacist” crime bill?

attribution: NONE


My colleague Andrew Prokop has an absolute must-read analysis of Hillary Clinton’s meeting with Black Lives Matter activists in New Hampshire last week (a video of which was published online yesterday). But to my mind, the heart of the conflict between the activists and Clinton in the video — and their less than enthusiastic reaction afterward — wasn’t about approaches to politics in the present. It was about the 1994 crime bill that Clinton enthusiastically supported and her husband signed — and how Clinton views that bill now.

The crux of the conflict is this: The activists see the 1994 crime bill, and the “tough-on-crime” agenda more generally, as “extensions of white supremacist violence against communities of color.” Clinton agrees with them that the criminal justice system needs to be reformed, but refuses to accept that characterization of the bill.

At first, she characterizes it as something that made sense at the time but might not make sense anymore — a position her husband has also taken in offering a partial apology for signing the bill.

Clinton denies any racist intent in her crime policies

But when one activist associates the bill with a project of “white supremacist violence,” Clinton buckles. She takes it as a statement about intent: that laws like the 1994 crime bill were deliberately passed out of malice toward black communities. And so she counters that she and her husband were deeply concerned about black victims of crime, and were simply acting out of a desire to protect them:

there was a very serious crime wave that was impacting primarily communities of color and poor people. And part of it was that there was just not enough attention paid. So you know, you could argue that people who were trying to address that—including my husband, when he was President—were responding to the very real concerns of people in the communities themselves.

This is an important point: Many black Americans, including black leaders, welcomed “tough-on-crime” policies as a way to protect their communities. A majority of the Congressional Black Caucus voted for the 1986 law that created the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine. And in 1994, it was the CBC that saved President Clinton’s crime bill after an unexpected loss on a procedural vote.

This is a history that’s been largely forgotten, partly because many of these leaders regret their positions now or — like former Rep. Kweisi Mfume — deny that they supported the bill at all. And in fairness, there was plenty of black opposition to tough-on-crime policies. There are probably good questions to ask about who is trusted to speak for black communities, and whether black leaders felt politically pressured to denounce the crime in their midst as a condition of being taken seriously.

But they certainly weren’t white supremacists. Clinton was correct. Yet it’s not clear that she was answering the right question.

Consequences matter more than feelings

The problem is that the conversation isn’t clear whether “extension of white supremacist violence” is about the intent of these policies or their consequences. This is a common problem with discussion of racism: Structural racism isn’t about feelings in individuals’ hearts, it’s about systems and outcomes. But it’s easy to slip from talking about systems to talking about people, and that’s what happened here.

Personally, I think the intent simply doesn’t matter. Clinton herself said, “You don’t change hearts. You change laws.” What matters is the external reality, not the feelings of the people who create it; caring about people will not save you from making policy choices that will hurt them. And — especially with hindsight — it’s possible to see that theconsequences of the 1994 crime bill, as well as the tough-on-crime laws it encouraged states to pass or keep, were part of a system that has created widespread immiseration in black America.

Those consequences may have been intended or unintended. But people often confuse “unintended consequences” and “collateral damage,” and the damage done by the bill wasn’t collateral. By 1994, the crime wave had already peaked; the crime rate was starting a quarter-century of decline. Increased incarceration is responsible for a small fraction of that — but by 1994, the people being put in prison, on the margin, had long since stopped being the people who posed a serious threat. The suffering caused by the bill wasn’t a caveat, it was the primary consequence of its passage.

The question: What has Clinton learned?

When Clinton asked the activists to put forward policies of their own that they could demand she and other politicians get on board with, they refused. Because they want Clinton (as well as Bernie Sanders, who voted for the 1994 crime bill, and Martin O’Malley, who built a tough-on-crime regime as mayor of Baltimore) to show that she has educated herself about the problem. Dismantling mass incarceration won’t just take reforms (not all of which make for politically appealing talking points); it will need a resistance tomaking the same sort of mistakes over again in the future.

As far as I’m concerned — and the activists who confronted Clinton might disagree — Clinton doesn’t need to show she’s changed her heart. But she does need to show that she has learned, and changed her mind.

Hillary Clinton And Black Lives Matter Get Into A Heated Conversation (VIDEO)

You Tube screen grab

One can analyze this ad infinitum but the fact remains, Hillary is showing her supporters that she will not be intimidated/educated by the #BLM groups.  Her goal is to display her strengths against adversity as opposed to her Democratic opponent’s (Bernie Sanders) perceived “weakness”.

But my question is, while she’s playing for the cameras and her base, has she even tried to read up on the #BLM organization and it’s goals?  Or does it even matter to a “conservative/moderate” Dem?


Two representatives of Black Lives Matter confronted Hillary Clinton after a town hall meeting in New Hampshire and it was quite enlightening, at least if you’re a liberal.

The two activists, Julius Jones and Daunasia Yancey, came to the town hall meeting but the room was full, so they waited in an overflow room. After the event, Clinton came back and had a 15 minute conversation with the two BLM representatives. That’s quite a long time for a busy politico.

They asked Clinton about her husband’s policies, which helped bring about today’s mass incarceration of African-Americans. She spent about the first three plus minutes of the video listening to the issues brought up by the BLM representatives.

Clinton responded that she’s spent most of her career focusing on giving kids the opportunity to meet their potential. She went on to say that the country has still not recovered from its “original sin,” (slavery) and that their movement is critical. She also suggested that the movement become more pragmatic and come up with some agendas to fight for along with fighting against general racism.

The BLM reps weren’t exactly happy with that answer. “If you don’t tell black people what we need to do,” Jones said to the candidate, “we won’t tell you what you need to do.”

Before giving a substantive answer, Clinton turned sarcastic and said “then I will talk only to white people about the very real problems.” She did finish that with:

Look I don’t believe you change hearts. I believe you change laws, you change allocation of resources, you change the way systems operate. You’re not going to change every heart. You’re not. But at the end of the day, we could do a whole lot to change some hearts and change some systems and create more opportunities for people who deserve to have them, to live up to their own God-given potential, to live safely without fear of violence in their own communities, to have a decent school, to have a decent house, to have a decent future. So we can do it one of many ways. You can keep the movement going, which you have started, and through it you may actually change some hearts. But if that’s all that happens, we’ll be back here in 10 years having the same conversation. We will not have all of the changes that you deserve to see happen in your lifetime because of your willingness to get out there and talk about this.

Source: MSNBC

Here are the videos:

Clinton may not have looked at the Black Lives Matter website, but they do have a list of policy demands, including justice for Michael Brown, that the federal government stop arming police with military weaponry, that the Attorney General release the names of the officers killing black people and for a decrease in police spending and an increase in spending for black communities.

Judging by their Twitter account, it seems that Black Lives Matter wasn’t happy with her answers:




While the interaction was certainly clumsy on Clinton’s part, she is right in that if she becomes president, she can help affect change through policy and some policy demands would potentially go a long way, but BLM has put out policy demands. Unfortunately, no one in the room seemed to know them.

Wendy Gittleson

Hillary Clinton: Trump Is ‘Offensive’ But Other 2016 GOP Men Are Just As Bad


AP Photo | Jim Cole


Trump has been facing criticism even from members of the most conservative wings of the Republican Party for suggesting that Kelly had “blood coming out of her wherever.” (Trump later backtracked that he was referring to Kelly’s nose.)

The backlash hasn’t seemed to hurt Trump much at the polls, with a survey released Mondayfinding he was still leading the GOP 2016 pack in Iowa.

In her remarks Monday, Clinton however pivoted to the stances taken by other 2016 Republicans during Thursday’s debate. Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) expressed opposition to exemptions in abortion bans for mothers whose lives are in jeopardy or for victims of rape or incest.

“What a lot of the men on that stage and that debate said was offensive,” Clinton said Monday. “The Republicans are putting forth some very radical and offensive positions when it comes to women’s lives, women’s reproductive health, women’s employment.”