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Court Rules State Department Must Release Clinton Emails Detailing Obama Response to Benghazi

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May 5,2017
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Washinton DC, Judicial Watch today announced that U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson has ordered the U.S. Department of State to turn over to Judicial Watch “eight identical paragraphs” of previously redact material in two September 13, 2012, Hillary Clinton emails regarding phone calls made by President Barack Obama to Egyptian and Libyan leaders immediately following the terrorist attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi. Both emails had the subject line “Quick Summary of POTUS Calls to Presidents of Libya and Egypt” and were among the emails stored on Clinton’s unofficial email server. Judge Jackson reviewed the documents directly and rejected the government’s contention that the records had been properly withheld under the FOIA B(5) “deliberative process” exemption.

Judge Jackson ruled: “the two records, even if just barely predecisional, are not deliberative. [The State Department] has pointed to very little to support its characterization of these two records as deliberative, and the Court’s in camera review of the documents reveals that they do not fall within that category.”

The full emails may reveal what former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama knew about the September 11, 2012, terror attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi.

Following Judge Jackson’s March 20 ruling, the State Department asked the court to reconsider. The State Department argued that, due to an internal “mistake,” it failed to claim that the emails were classified and, therefore, exempt from production under FOIA Exemption B(1).

In response, Judicial Watch argues that the failure was not a mistake, but instead was part of a deliberate effort by the State Department to protect Clinton and the agency by avoiding identifying emails on Clinton’s unofficial, non-secure email server as classified.

Judicial Watch’s filing cites an interview of an FBI employee who told federal investigators that top State Department official Patrick Kennedy pressured the FBI to keep Clinton’s emails unclassified. The employee told the FBI he “believes STATE ha[d] an agenda which involves minimizing the classified nature of the CLINTON emails in order to protect STATE interests and those of CLINTON.” [Emphasis in original]

Judicial Watch’s filing also cites an interview of a State Department employee who told the FBI that the State Department’s Office of Legal Counsel interfered with the FOIA processing of email from Secretary Clinton’s server, instructing reviewers to use Exemption B(5) (deliberative process exemption) instead of Exemption B(1) (classified information exemption). According to the FBI interview:

STATE’s Near East Affairs Bureau upgraded several of CLINTON’s emails to a classified level with a B(1) release exemption . [Redacted], along with [Redacted] attorney, Office of Legal Counsel, called STATE’s Near East Affairs Bureau and told them they could use a B(5) exemption on a upgraded email to protect it instead of the B(1) exemption. However, the use of the B(5) exemption, which is usually used for executive privilege-related information, was incorrect as the information actually was classified and related to national security, which would be a B(1) exemption.

Judicial Watch argues:

An agency’s deliberate withholding of a FOIA claim, either to gain a tactical advantage or, as appears to be the case here, to protect the agency’s interests and those of its former head, is “a motive undoubtedly inconsistent with FOIA’s broad remedial purpose …” It “counsels denying the Government’s request.”

The emails in question were sent to then-top administration officials, including Clinton, Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, Clinton Deputy Chief of Staff Jacob Sullivan, Special Assistant Robert Russo, and Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough.

“Does President Trump know his State and Justice Departments are still trying to provide cover for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama?” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “An extraordinary court ruling that could result in key answers about the Benghazi outrage is being opposed by the Trump administration. This may well be an example of the ‘deep state’ trying to get away with a cover up – if so then the Trump administration must put a stop to it.”

Judicial Watch obtained the original documents in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:14-cv-01511)). The lawsuit was filed on September 4, 2014, after the State Department failed to respond to a June 13, 2014, FOIA request seeking:

All records related to notes, updates, or reports created in response to the September 11, 2012 attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. This request includes, but is not limited to notes taken by then Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton or employees of the Office of the Secretary of State during the attack and its immediate aftermath.
The timeframe for this request is September 11-15, 2012.

Judicial Watch’s numerous FOIA lawsuits have forced the State Department to release hundreds of Benghazi-related documents.

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Donald Trump furious over alleged ‘wire-tapping’ by Barack Obama as Congress agrees to investigate claim of Watergate-style dirty tricks

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Nick Allen, washington

6 MARCH 2017 • 9:31AM

Donald Trump escalated his war with Barack Obama as a committee in Congress agreed to look into his claims that the former president and his administration abused executive powers in last year’s election.

In his latest high-stakes salvo, and as he prepared to roll out a revised travel ban on Muslim-majority countries, Mr Trump had called for a congressional investigation after alleging that he was the victim of a dirty tricks campaign akin to Watergate.

His move came a day after he claimed his predecessor ordered a wiretap of the phones at Trump Tower in New York, Mr Trump’s campaign headquarters.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/03/05/trump-renews-attack-obama/

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How the World Fell Out of Love with Obama

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In countries key to the president’s legacy, people express profound disappointment in a man from whom they expected great things.

By NAHAL TOOSI

Back in 2008, the same qualities in the 47-year-old senator from Illinois that excited U.S. voters enthralled people around the globe. He was a fresh face and a compelling orator. He had spent his childhood in the Asia-Pacific, and his skin color alone made billions of people feel a connection with him. Perhaps most importantly, he was not George W. Bush, the president who invaded Iraq. Obama promised “hope” and “change” and people believed he could deliver—that he would end wars in Muslim countries, improve America’s standing on human rights, even alleviate global poverty. “Yes we can!” shouted The Age, an Australian newspaper, when he won office. Just months later, the rookie president was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, a nod more to his promise than to anything he had accomplished.

Obama’s overseas poll numbers were stratospheric in those early days. In countries like France and Germany, more than 90 percent of people surveyed by the Pew Research Center expressed confidence that Obama would “do the right thing regarding world affairs.” Even in some Middle Eastern countries, where U.S. presidents are rarely liked, nearly half of the populace had high expectations for Obama.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/07/barack-obama-world-popularity-cuba-egypt-ukraine-bbc-documentary-214032#ixzz4E0hrfmBh

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BET feels the Bern : How Bernie Sanders Can Win the Black Vote in South Carolina and Beyond

Bernie Sanders

He has the platform, but it’s all about communicating it.

By Paul Meara
Posted: 02/16/2016 11:00 AM EST

If we know anything about Bernie Sanders’ campaigning prowess it’s that he can make up ground quickly. And there’s no better candidate to do that against than Hillary Clinton, whose approval or favorability numbers have never strengthened after announcing a candidacy bid for any public office. That said, the Clintons have generally high popularity numbers with African Americans and it’s going to be an uphill climb once again for Sanders to capture a large swath of that support.

With the Nevada Caucuses just eight days away and South Carolina Primaries only 15, Bernie has his work cut out for him. Luckily for him it seems like more and more black support, especially young, seems to be turning more and more in his favor. At the same time, Clinton just picked up an endorsement from theCongressional Black Caucus PAC, and it’s likely she’ll pick up the support of President Obamaeventually, whose accomplishments she heavily touted in the Friday’s (February 11) Democratic debate.

While it may be a little outdated, a December poll by YouGov of South Carolina Democrats showed that African Americans heavily favored Clinton at almost 4 to 1. Nationally, a recent Fox News poll showed a 71 percent support figure among non-whites for Clinton compared to just 20 for Sanders. Barack Obama carried South Carolina in 2008 with 80 percent of the black vote and while that number may not be entirely necessary to hit in order to win the state, Bernie can’t have Hillary attaining a statistic near that, especially as they’re mostly split among whites in the state.

No turn around in presidential politics so far would be as big as if Bernie Sanders were able to cut 20 to 30 percent off of Clinton’s lead among African Americans in the state. That effort has already begun and for it to be even more effective, here are a few ways he can better gain the black vote in South Carolina and beyond.

http://www.bet.com/news/national/2016/02/11/how-bernie-sanders-can-win-the-black-vote-in-south-carolina-and-.html

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“God damn America “anti Semite Jeremiah Wright: ‘Jesus was a Palestinian’

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October 10, 2015, 02:37 pm
By Bradford Richardson

The controversial religious leader Jeremiah Wright compared Native Americans to Palestinians at the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March on the National Mall on Saturday, going so far as to assert that “Jesus was a Palestinian.”

Wright, who once served as pastor to President Obama, was one of several hours’ worth of speakers in Washington, D.C., for an event called “Justice or Else!” that sought to channel the energy of the Black Lives Matter movement. Wright placed the event in historical context.

“The same issue is being fought today and has been fought since 1948, and historians are carried back to the 19th century… when the original people, the Palestinians — and please remember, Jesus was a Palestinian — the Palestinian people had the Europeans come and take their country,” Wright said.

He said African-Americans in the United States have much in common with Palestinians in Israel.

“The youth in Ferguson and the youth in Palestine have united together to remind us that the dots need to be connected,” Wright said. “And what Dr. King said, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, has implications for us as we stand beside our Palestinian brothers and sisters, who have been done one of the most egregious injustices in the 20th and 21st centuries.”

Wright, who was the reverend of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, which the president attended intermittently from 1988 to 2008, also accused Israel of being an apartheid state.

“As we sit here, there is an apartheid wall being built twice the size of the Berlin Wall in height, keeping Palestinians off of illegally occupied territories, where the Europeans have claimed that land as their own,” Wright said.

 

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/256592-jeremiah-wright-jesus-was-a-palestinian

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Barack Obama’s love bomb offensive

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Barack Obama’s love bomb offensive

By Wesley Pruden – The Washington Times – Thursday, March 26, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

President Obama says Rudy Giuliani was wrong. He does, too, love America. That’s good enough for me. He says he’s a Christian, despite his constant love bombs for Islam, and if that’s good enough for God it’s good enough for me, too. Conversations between believers and the Almighty are confidential, and have yet to be cracked by the National Security Agency (but we can be sure they’re working on it).

The president loves our allies, too. He sent the bust of Winston Churchill back to London, whence it came, only because it was cluttering up the Oval Office and getting rid of it had nothing to do with memories of snubs and affronts his Kenyan father passed down to him (though Churchill was an unrepentant colonialist). The president dearly loves Old Blighty.

He loves la belle France, too, and if it hadn’t interfered with a golf date — a good tee time on a good course on a sunny day must not be wasted — he would have hurried to France to march in step with other heads of the states of the West to pay honor to the slain of the radical Islamic shootouts in Paris.

The president even loves Israel, but in his way. It’s tough love to bring the Jews to heel. Just as Secretary of State John Kerry is topping up a deal to satisfy the mullahs in Iran, comes the news that the United States has declassified a 386-page report that reveals in minute detail Israel’s super-discreet nuclear program. Everybody knows Israel has one, but until now Israel, with American support, has never acknowledged it. To do so, all mature hands have agreed, could set off a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

The American declassification, first reported by the Israeli news site Arutz Sheva, was made public in the wake of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress, when he warned that the deal envisioned by Mr. Obama would leave Iran with “nuclear breakout capabilities.”

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/mar/26/wesley-pruden-obama-reveals-israels-nuclear-progra/#ixzz3ViXytdPX

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Barack Obama has already checked out of his job

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Barack Obama has already checked out of his job

The degree to which Barack Obama is now phoning it in – sleepwalking perfunctorily through his second term, amid golf rounds and dinner parties – is astonishing

By Matt K Lewis

12:04PM BST 26 Jul 2014

President Obama has emotionally checked out of his job a couple of years early, it seems. How can one tell?

Candidates for president who brazenly assume they are the inevitable victor are sometimes accused of “measuring the drapes” for the White House.

Obama, conversely, seems to be prematurely packing his bags in hopes for an early departure.

Just last week, for example, the Los Angeles Times reported that “The First Family is believed to be in escrow on a contemporary home in a gated community where entertainers Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby once maintained estates”.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/barackobama/10992654/Barack-Obama-has-already-checked-out-of-his-job.html

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Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton alliance under strain

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Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton alliance under strain
Hillary Clinton’s “Hard Choices” caused barely a ripple when her aides sent an early copy to the White House. Privately, President Barack Obama’s aides shrugged when asked what they thought about the book. Some didn’t even crack it open. But one anecdote showed the strains just below the surface. (Haberman, Brown/Politico)

http://www.politico.com/story/2014/06/barack-obama-hillary-clinton-hard-choices-sarah-palin-108046.html?hp=t1_s

 

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Ukraine latest – The invasion begins: armed Russian-speaking gunmen with Crimea in their grip as Barack Obama warns Moscow

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Ukraine latest – The invasion begins: armed Russian-speaking gunmen with Crimea in their grip as Barack Obama warns Moscow

Russian troops were on the move inside Ukrainian territory on Friday, prompting US President Barack Obama to warn Moscow that “there will be costs for any military intervention”.

It was unclear exactly what the Russian forces were doing but two airports in Crimea was taken over by armed men in combat fatigues, barricades shut off road links to the region, military helicopters were seen flying in across the border and armoured personnel carriers were on the roads. The Crimean peninsula’s main port, Sevastopol, where Russia’s Black Sea fleet is based, was also blocked off.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry confirmed in a statement that armoured units were operating inside Ukraine, but insisted they were acting in accordance with an agreement with Kiev. Their mission was to protect its naval base, the ministry said in a statement.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/ukraine-latest–the-invasion-begins-armed-russianspeaking-gunmen-with-crimea-in-their-grip-as-barack-obama-warns-moscow-9161476.html