The current uproar over Russian influence in the election process has reached a crescendo with the furor over Jeff Sessions’ testimony. Which is odd, given the Left’s silence on so many similar – and larger – issues.
Attorney General Jeff Session has been accused by Democrats of lying under oath and perjury. Here is the pertinent portion of the transcript containing the question posed by Franken and the answer by Sessions.
Franken: Okay. CNN has just published a story, and I’m telling you this about a news story that’s just been published. I’m not expecting you to know whether or not it’s true or not. But CNN just published a story alleging that the intelligence community provided documents to the president-elect last week that included information that, quote, “Russian operatives claimed to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump.” These documents also allegedly say, quote, “There was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump’s surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government.” Now, again, I’m telling you this as it’s coming out, so you know. But if it’s true, it’s obviously extremely serious, and if there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do?
Sessions: Senator Franken, I’m not aware of any of those activities. I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I didn’t have — did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it.
Franken: Very well.
Sessions’ response is not one of perjury. Andrew McCarthy goes through this meticulously in a recent National Review article. Senator Sessions was answering the line of questioning presented by Franken – and the responses are truthful in the sense of the question being asked – the “course of the campaign” – read the first paragraph with Franken’s questioning again for context.
But they are also not complete. Sessions met the Russian Ambassador twice – once at a group podium greet at a Heritage Foundation reception. The second meeting – the one that Sessions should have disclosed – took place in his office back in September and was attended by two of his senior staff. The meeting occurred with Sessions acting as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Sessions met about 25 ambassadors in 2016 and of note, met with the Ukrainian ambassador the day before the meeting with the Russian ambassador.
Nevertheless, Senator Sessions’ answer was incomplete and therefore flawed. He should have disclosed this meeting immediately. The entire ensuing uproar could have been avoided.
As a result of this omission – intentional or unintentional – Sessions has recused himself from all DOJ investigations of Russian links to the Trump campaign. Calls for his resignation as Attorney General continue.
Fair enough. I disagree on there being any need for resignation. I do agree with his decision on recusal.
Now for some context.
Back in October I commented on then Candidate-Trump’s charges of corruption within the Justice Department. Trump had some valid points. There was the foot-dragging and sometimes outright refusals by the DOJ to release Hillary’s emails in the face of not only Freedom of Information requests but actual court orders. Then there was the meeting between then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton aboard a private plane in Phoenix – just days before the FBI announced its decision on the Hillary investigation. The head of the DOJ meets privately aboard a jet on the tarmac with the husband of the party being investigated (and the man who gave her the start in federal politics) just days before the FBI releases its decision and we are supposed to accept that they talked – for thirty minutes – about grandchildren? Bill Clinton steadfastly refused to make any comment on the meeting. AG Loretta Lynch said she would accept whatever ruling the FBI made – in effect recusing herself. The media – for the most part – said she should not have had that meeting. Almost none called for her resignation. Lead-Sessions critic Nancy Pelosi recently termed the Lynch-Clinton meeting a “Social Encounter” and a “Serendipitous [meeting] to discuss their grandchildren” when asked to compare it with the Sessions situation.
And of course we have the email scandal itself. The FBI found well over 2,000 classified emails on Hillary’s server – after Clinton had deleted over 30,000 other emails. The FBI found Clinton guilty of essentially every act they investigated. Despite these findings, Director Comey cleared Clinton by making a statement that “no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case”. This allowed Loretta Lynch at DOJ to announce the matter closed. It allowed Clinton to pronounce herself cleared of all wrongdoing. And it allowed the media to proclaim Clinton’s innocence just as they had been doing all along. Despite the National Security risk she exposed the nation to. And the outright lies that were so blatantly exposed.
Then we have the almost endless list of ethical and illegal issues raised by the Wikileaks email releases. If you really want to re-infuriate yourself give my article Wiki(d) Leaks a read for a quick synopsis. Yes, I know many of these issues were hidden and did not come out until after Hillary’s time as Secretary of State ended in 2013. But I guarantee you some of these issues would have come to light if the press had been remotely interested in them – offenses that are far more serious than anything Sessions is being accused of. And many of these issues were known – they were just not pursued – neither by the media or the Department of Justice.
Try this thought out. What if it was Jeff Sessions who headed the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative instead of Hillary and Bill? Can you imagine the outcries of protest from the media? And remember, these entities were up and running the entire time Hillary was the Secretary of State. Further recall that there were numerous – and detailed – “pay-to-play” allegations that the majority of the press either ignored or dismissed.
As I note in the Clinton Global Initiative’s Closing Confirmation, The Clinton Foundation was about financial access to power represented by the Clintons. The Clinton Global Initiative was the primary doorway connecting the Clintons to corporate and foreign donors interested in gaining political entry to Washington. And the Clinton Foundation had been very good at collecting donations. Note that I used the past tense. Since Hillary’s presidential loss, foreign donations have plummeted.
Now we turn to the article I wrote yesterday, The Department of Justice’s Slush Fund, which details the highly unusual, unethical – but apparently legal – method of funneling almost $1 billion in settlement funds meant for homeowners harmed in the 2008 financial crisis to activists groups chosen by the DOJ. As Congressman Bob Goodlatte noted in a protest letter to then-Attorney General Lynch “A Judiciary Committee investigation has revealed that, in just the last two years, DOJ has directed nearly $1 billion to activist groups, entirely outside of Congress’s spending and oversight authority”. This issue has been publically known about for at least two years but generated no interest from the press outside of the Wall Street Journal. A Congressional Committee has been fighting the Justice Department for information since at least 2014 but until recently has been consistently stymied and stonewalled by Lynch’s Justice Department. Still no press outcry in the matter.
The DOJ Slush Fund leads us back to Lynch’s predecessor, Eric Holder. Holder was appointed Attorney General by Obama – after serving years before as Deputy Attorney General under Bill Clinton. In 2012, Eric Holder became the first – and only – Attorney General to be held in Contempt of Congress on both civil and criminal grounds. The vote was 255-67 with 17 Democrats breaking rank to side with the contempt vote. Despite overwhelming evidence against Holder, Nancy Pelosi and 16 other Democrats walked out in protest and refused to even vote. Holder was held in Contempt as a result of the cover-up of the gun-running sting operation Fast and Furious – but this was simply the last in a long line of offenses. Holder ultimately resigned but was not prosecuted by the Department of Justice – unsurprising since it had been his department. It was Holder who came up with the process for doling out settlements from the financial crisis to activist groups. Holder also presided over the unlawful investigation of certain members of the media. Under Holder’s command, the Department of Justice secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for the Associated Press. The DOJ also monitored the personal email and phone of Fox News reporter James Rosen, as well as the Fox News phones in New York and Washington. And it was Holder who refused to prosecute anyone in the IRS targeting of 426 conservative groups during the Obama Administration. It literally took an act of congress – being held in Contempt of Congress – and almost certainly guilty of perjury – to cause Holder to resign. Not fired mind you – Holder resigned “for personal reasons”. And he was never prosecuted. Again, overlay this situation’s seriousness with that of Sessions.
Since much of the issue with Jeff Sessions has to do with Russia, I thought I would save the Clinton’s involvement with the Russians for last. Here are some highlights from a report by the conservative non-profit Government Accountability Institute:
- A major technology transfer component of the Russian reset overseen by Hillary Clinton substantially enhanced the Russian military’s technological capabilities, according to both the FBI and the U.S. Army.
- Russian government officials and American corporations participated in the technology transfer project overseen by Hillary Clinton’s State Department that funneled tens of millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation.
- A Putin-connected Russian government fund transferred $35 million to a small company with Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta on its executive board, which included senior Russian officials.
- John Podesta failed to reveal, as required by law on his federal financial disclosures, his membership on the board of this offshore company.
- Podesta also headed up a think tank which wrote favorably about the Russian reset while apparently receiving millions from Kremlin-linked Russian oligarchs via an offshore LLC.
The report contains 13 pages of sourcing footnotes. It all makes for interesting reading if you are not already familiar with the storyline.
For me, the most egregious violation was the Uranium One transaction. Clinton’s approval of the Uranium One deal while Secretary of State, transferred more than 20% of the U.S. uranium supply to the Russians. The Clinton Foundation received $31 million with a pledge for $100 million more as a result. Ultimately, the Clinton Foundation received $145 million in “donations” related to this transaction.
The Uranium One story was first unearthed by Peter Schweizer and detailed later in his book Clinton Cash. The New York Times did a lengthy story on the situation based on information from Schweizer – they also did their own parallel investigation. It makes for a fascinating, damning and chilling read. You can find the Times article here. Peter Schweizer himself runs through a litany of Clinton-Russian involvement in a recent article you can find here.
Now – consider all the items I have laid out. In only one case was there any impact on the individual involved – Eric Holder. And in that case the only repercussion was a forced resignation with no prosecution – the resignation coming only after being held in Contempt of Congress.
The double standard being employed by the media and the Democrats is ripe with hypocrisy. The Left’s silence on these earlier matters contrasts sharply with the near hysteria currently on display.
I am not saying we shouldn’t investigate the current claims. I’m saying we should investigate it all.
And bring some level of perspective to the table when we do so.
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