A wide variety of challenges are circling around Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the 2016 Democratic Nomination and ultimately the White House. For the first time Bernie Sanders is being seen as a viable competitor, and may very well upend Clinton’s candidacy, which started out with the feeling of inevitable certainty:
Sanders’s emerging strength has exposed continued misgivings among the party’s progressive base about Clinton, whose team is treading carefully in its public statements. Supporters have acknowledged privately the potential for Sanders to damage her — perhaps winning an early state or two — even if he can’t win the nomination.
“He’s connecting in a way that Hillary Clinton is not,” said Burt Cohen, a former New Hampshire state senator and Sanders supporter who attended Sunday morning’s event, where a nasty rain didn’t seem to deter many people from coming. “He’s talking about things people want to hear. People are used to candidates who are calculated, produced and measured, and they see through that. Bernie’s different.”
Even former Vice-President Al Gore “cleverly dodged” endorsing his fellow White House Alum.
One of the classic Clinton criticisms–ethically challenging behavior and financial relationships–have been at the forefront during this campaign, and highlighted again by the role Clinton’s chief of staff at the State Department enjoyed with outside organizations. Echoing similar abuses under investigation of Clinton aide Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills was paid $198,000 by NYU and remained on the Clinton Foundation board of directors for a period of time following her employment at State.
Mills’ outside roles could have opened her up to potential criminal conflict of interest violations, according to ethics experts.
“A key element of those laws is whether the executive branch employee is making decisions or playing an important role in a particular matter which involves their other interest,” said Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, a government watchdog group. “At the minimum the whole thing is fraught with danger.”
Following long-time ClintonWorld loyalist Sidney Blumenthal’s testimony to the House Benghazi investigation, Clinton has been accused of withholding certain emails from her mass release to the State Department. 15 emails that Blumenthal admitted as evidence were not part of Clinton’s original document dump of her supposedly complete record of all “work-related” emails that existed on her private server. Completely unsuspiciously, all other emails–which Clinton claims were “personal in nature”–were erased. The State Department has placed the fault with Clinton.
Trey Gowdy, the Republican congressman in charge of the select committee investigating the Benghazi attack, said Clinton’s incomplete email record “raises serious questions”.
“This has implications far beyond Libya, Benghazi and our committee’s work,” Gowdy said in a statement. “This conclusively shows her email arrangement with herself, which was then vetted by her own lawyers, has resulted in an incomplete public record.”
In March, Clinton said in an impromptu news conference at the United Nations headquarters that she gave the State Department all emails she sent and received that “could possibly be work-related”.
She said the 30,490 emails she handed over in December after the State Department asked for her records included all that referred to Libya or Benghazi, as well as all work-related correspondence from what her office described as “long-time friends”.
She said that once those copies were made, all her emails, including another 30,000 or so that were deemed personal, were deleted from the server.
One of the notable consistencies among the newly discovered emails are the repeated attempts Clinton made to circulate intel provided by Blumenthal but to hide its source from anyone outside her inner circle. This coincides with my previous analysis that Clinton circulated Blumenthal’s September 12, 2012 intel report on the Benghazi attack after completely removing source attribution. Blumenthal was persona non grata with the Obama Administration and was barred from accepting a job in Clinton’s State Department.
Further questions have arisen due to documents uncovered by Judicial Watch which shed new light on communications between President Obama and Clinton on the night of the Benghazi attack. Among the revelations, despite an entire phone call transcript between Obama and Clinton being redacted, are that the determination that the attack was the result of a spontaneous reaction to an internet video originated from the State Department, rather than the White House.
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Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement: “It is little wonder that Mrs. Clinton and the entire Obama administration have fought so hard to keep these documents from the American people — they shine a spotlight on the administration’s incompetence and indifference. All evidence now points to Hillary Clinton, with the approval of the White House, as being the source the Internet video lie.”