New email, ethics revelations damage Clinton claims


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Buzz Cut:
• New email, ethics revelations damage Clinton claims
• Hillary’s litmus test is all about her
• Walker courts conservatives on D.C. visit
• Kelly File: Christie drops his support for special status for illegals
• Obviously not a Cards fan…

One line from the NYT piece about Hillary Clinton’s unofficial adviser from her time in office pretty much says it all: “While advising Mrs. Clinton on Libya, [longtime Clinton retainer Sidney Blumenthal], who had been barred from a State Department job by aides to President Obama…”

She defied the White House to keep an ethically compromised associate as a senior adviser paid at times through her family foundation – which was, in turn, funded by some of those whose interests were entangled in the issues on which he was advising Clinton.

An off-the-books aide, an off-the-books server, off-the-books foreign contributions… Seems kind of like a trend.

The Clintons tell us that their foundation and personal finances don’t and won’t interfere with official business – that they can keep the foundation going and that Bill Clinton can keep hauling in tens of millions of dollars a year to give speeches around the world as his wife runs and even serves as president. But here is proof that the lines were more than blurry in the past. Clinton knew she was defying the rules designed to protect the country from official misconduct. She did it anyway. The rules, she believed, did not apply to her.

Add to this the evidence that Clinton’s lawyer was wrong when he said that the email address used in the exchanges with Blumenthal came online only after her official duties. Did his client mislead him or simply forget? At worst she was concealing evidence. At best, she made a poor decision. Her campaign says the 30,000 destroyed emails were personal in nature, and went through a supposedly rigorous filter process. Otherwise, her defense team would have known just what email accounts she really used and when.

So close and yet so far – Chief White House Correspondent Ed Henry is on the trail covering Hillary Clinton’s bubble-wrapped campaign. But a hotel clerk unwittingly put the man with the questions in close proximity to the woman who doesn’t want to give the answers. Read his dispatch from the, um, corridor of power.

[28 days later – The last question Hillary Clinton answered from a reporter was 28 days ago on April 21 about the trade deal making its way through Congress.]

Judge rules State can’t wait to release Hillary emails – Reuters: “A federal judge on Tuesday ordered the U.S. State Department by next week to produce schedule for the rolling release of emails that Hillary Clinton generated while serving as secretary of state, a lawyer in the case said. Lawyer Jeffrey Light told Reuters that U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras also ordered the State Department by next week to come up with a specific timetable for releasing 300Clinton emails related to U.S. operations in Benghazi, Libya. Clinton, a leading candidate for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, has come under scrutiny for the emails, which were stored and sent via a private server. She has now turned over the messages to the State Department.”

Hillary Clinton told Iowa supporters on Monday that she would only select judges who would reverse a Supreme Court decision in favor of her political opponents. Presidential candidates usually avoid offering litmus tests for Supreme Court appointments because it sounds icky to say that you want a jurist who is supposed to be impartial to be, well, partial. That’s why liberals and conservatives use conceptual language and code words – e.g. “equality” or “fidelity to the Constitution” – to signal to political supporters what kind of judges they would appoint. It’s also why the court is, to some degree, less of a predictable partisan organ than the other two branches of government.

But Clinton showed no such restraint in her promise that she would pick only judges who agreed with her that the high court “made a grave error with Citizens United.” She was referring to a conservative group that won a 2010 decision that ruled the federal government did not have the constitutional authority to block the release of a film the group produced attacking Clinton ahead of her first run for president.

It’s good primary politics for Clinton. Liberals, who overwhelmingly favor restoring and increasing federal regulations of elections, deplore the decision. The ruling had the effect of removing blackout dates on spending by outside groups like Citizens United as well as the political action committees that Clinton and other politicians designate as their preferred vehicles for unlimited fundraising and spending.

But this is an unsavory space all the same. A presidential candidate unabashedly calling for a litmus test for potential justices is unorthodox. A presidential candidate imposing a litmus test on a case in which she is involved is almost certainly unprecedented. The name of the film at issue in the case was “Hillary: The Movie.”

Consider: If a Republican candidate said he or she would only appoint justices who believed ObamaCare to be unconstitutional it would be rightly seen as undercutting the independence of the judiciary and advocating executive overreach. If that Republican candidate had been part of the unsuccessful lawsuit to overturn ObamaCare and had been personally harmed by the decision it would rightly be seen as a banana republic move to reverse the decision by blatantly packing the court.

Clinton may be getting a free pass from Democrats in the primaries, but an Argentine campaign promise like this may not sit well with general election voters already suspicious of Clinton’s dynastic intentions.

Arguing that President Obama’s promises to protect workers are mostly talk, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., fired the latest salvo in the Democrats’ civil war over the president’s quest for fast track trade authority. The Hill: “The liberal lawmaker issued a staff report on Monday morning contending that while policymakers frequently argue that trade agreements come packed with robust worker protections, the reality does not live up to the rhetoric… ‘Again and again, proponents of free trade agreements claim that this time, a new trade agreement has strong and meaningful protections,’ the Warren report states. ‘Again and again, those protections prove unable to stop the worst abuses.’” Warren’s new jab in her feud with Obama comes as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed to keep the Senate at work on the measure. “Let me be clear,” McConnell said, “The Senate will finish its work on trade this week, and we will remain in session as long as it takes to do so.”

What warning label would you leave for folks in the year 22015 who happen upon long-buried nuclear waste? Would “This stuff will kill you” translate? JSTOR Daily describes just such a challenge for two teams charged by the Department of Energy with the task of communicating the danger of tampering with highly radioactive containers should they be uncovered many millennia in the future. “Both teams recognized that the chief difficulty was the inescapable cultural specificity of symbols. Many of our ordinary modes of communicating danger today might fail to signify across nearby borders, let alone across great distances of time. But each team used a different strategy to overcome this challenge. Team A proposed an archetypal solution—a maximally unappealing work of architecture that would appeal to the affective powers of future humans. Team B proposed a narrative solution—a series of pictographs or comic strips that would appeal instead to their cognitive powers.”

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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval
: Approve – 45.6 percent//Disapprove – 49.8 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 29.6 percent//Wrong Track – 62.0 percent

Lexington Herald-Leader: “As his fellow Republican Kentucky senator, Mitch McConnell, pushes this week to reauthorize the Patriot Act, Rand Paul took his presidential campaign to Independence Mall on Monday and said he’d do whatever he could to kill the law and the bulk collection of Americans’ phone records…Paul’s vow to fight the Patriot Act sets up a showdown with McConnell, and it’s an important moment for his campaign. Polls show Paul mired in the middle of a crowded field of Republican contenders, and he’s hoping his threat to filibuster over the mass collection of phone records will bring back the excitement of the 13-hour anti-drone talkathon on the Senate floor two years ago that launched him into national prominence.”

“I will do a formal filibuster. Whether or not that means I can go to the floor, some of that depends on what happens because you’re not always allowed…but I plan on doing everything humanly possible to try to stop the Patriot Act” – Sen. Rand Paul in an interview with CNN this morning.

Versus – More from the Herald-Leader: “[Paul’s] position on the Patriot Act puts him at sharp odds with his rivals for the Republican nomination. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush called the National Security Agency’s data collection program important for protecting the nation’s security…Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., also has defended the program, as has South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, wants changes to the program but doesn’t go as far as Paul.”

[Expiration date – “Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr is working on a ‘backup’ plan to extend the Patriot Act’s surveillance authorities before they expire at the end of the month,” National Journal has the details.]

Jeb likes home cooking – Miami Herald: “Jeb Bush felt the welcoming embrace of Miami on Monday as he tried to put behind him a difficult week of campaigning without yet being a presidential candidate. His political action committee, Right to Rise, held a political fund-raiser in the overwhelmingly Hispanic, working-class suburb of Sweetwater, where the former Florida Republican governor was greeted as [an] old friend in need of a little TLC.”

Walker courts conservatives on D.C. visit – Roll Call: “In addition to meeting with a group of top social conservatives, the [Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker] has a full schedule of closed-door events with senior congressional aides and lawmakers, including a couple of senators, according to sources familiar with Walker’s plans. In addition to meeting with 70 to 80 House members, sources familiar with the schedule say Walker’s due to have one-on-one meetings with at least two senators: freshman Thom Tillis of North Carolina and former National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Jerry Moran of Kansas, CQ Roll Call has learned. … Ways and Means Chairman Paul D. Ryan, a fellow Wisconsinite who knows a thing or two about running for national office, will be introducing Walker to a gathering of House colleagues, though an aide to Ryan said the 2012 vice presidential nominee is remaining on the sidelines of the race.”

[Walker was a hit with school choice advocates at their convention in New Orleans.]

Scrutiny grows for Rubio’s patron – Tampa Bay Times: “In a profile of Jeanette Rubio we reported how the charity she works for paid her at least $54,000 in 2013. But another figure stands out: $250. That’s how much the Braman Family 2011 Charitable Foundation gave out that year… In an interview last week, Debi Wechsler, who is Norman Braman’s daughter and works on the charity, said that was a time when her parents were doing more philanthropy on their own and that Mrs. Rubio was involved. …[T]he foundation still reported $149,237 in “misc airplane trips for charitable purposes. … Braman’s relationship with the Rubios has gotten attention recently, in the pages of the Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times and the New York Times, which revealed Braman gave Florida International University $100,000 to fund a teaching job Rubio took here after leaving the state House in 2008.”

[Rubio attends a fundraiser in Pompano Beach, Fla. at Allegiance Crane & Equipment.]

Kelly File: Christie drops his support for special status for illegals – Bloomberg: “By his own admission, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has changed his tune. On Monday, Christie said that he now opposes providing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, something he supported as recently as 2010. ‘I think that’s an extreme way to go,’ Christie said in an interview on Fox News’ The Kelly File [that aired] Monday night. ‘And I think that, quite frankly, what Hillary Clinton’s doing right now is pandering. That’s pandering. We need to have an intelligent conversation about this and bring the American people along to where we can find consensus.’”

“As far as Marco goes, as I’ve said before, I like Marco a lot, I think he’s a very good guy, a very bright guy, but I really believe the next President of the United States has to be a governor. You need to have the experience governing. We’ve had the experience of a one-term U.S. Senator going to the White House and I don’t think it works well.” – Gov. Chris Christie on “The Kelly File”

Big bucks for Carson – WashEx:Ben Carson has raised $5.9 million from 113,000 separate donations since March 3, his campaign confirmed to the Washington Examiner on Monday.”

Graham wants 7,000 more troops in Iraq – CNN: “[Sen. Lindsey Graham] criticized Obama for not keeping a residual security presence in Iraq after troops left the country in 2011. If he was elected president, Graham said he would increase the number of boots on the ground from 3,000 to about 10,000 in order to stymie the growing threat posed by the Islamic militant group, ISIS. ‘I think 10,000 troops would allow us to train the Iraqi army at a faster pace, give them capability that they don’t have,’ he said.”

* Former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark., has four meet and greet stops across central Iowa, ending up in Johnston, IA.

* Day two in Iowa for former Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas, includes a meet and greet in DeWitt and a Town Hall in Dubuque, IA.

[Senior Political Correspondent Mike Emanuel followed Carly Fiorina as she was winning rave reviews from Iowa Republicans. Watch here to see how she did.]

“I think you have the 1,2,3 candidates correct. And very glad to see Carson and Fiorina doing well. They bring a lot to the GOP. As for the rest of them, it is only a matter of time before they wake up and smell the coffee.” – Cindy Katz

“I think you are way off base. Bush is not at the top! Where are you running your polls? Cruz, Walker and Rand Paul are the top of the base republican people. Only the old guard like Bush and they are as progressive as the democrats and need to get out of the way. They have failed the American grassroots people in this country. Do your polls with the everyday people not the idiots on the east coast?” – Sharon Day

“With foreign policy now a dominant voter concern, Marco Rubio impresses with his solid command of these issues–and makes a great political contrast to Hillary Clinton. On the stump, Carly Fiorina continues to demonstrate top-rated skills. Very early in the process, but Rubio– Fiorina look like a winning ticket.” – Jim Hartman

“As I view your current power index, it looks right at this point. In my opinion the options available on the Republican side seem very interesting; on the Democrat side they really only have one choice who will not answer questions, won’t interview with anyone, her only theme is I’m a Grandma and I’m entitled! With the low information crowd that she caters too and the media’s protection that might be all she needs.” – Russell Milicia

USA Today: “A new non-profit group will launch radio ads Tuesday touting the work of three vulnerable Republican senators in New Hampshire, Ohio and Pennsylvania — the latest indication that allies of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will invest heavily to keep the chamber in GOP hands. The ads, which praise Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Rob Portman of Ohio and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania for backing trade-promotion authority, are part of a $2 million ad buy from One Nation, an advocacy group tied to American Crossroads, a super PAC co-founded by Republican strategist Karl Rove.”

WMUR: “Calls are growing from state Republican leaders for U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta to resign from the seat he won in the November election. The fallout comes in the wake of a deal with the Federal Election Commission in which Guinta admitted accepting campaign contributions in 2010 in excess of the legal limit from an account held in his parents’ names. U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte and other-high ranking Republicans in the state said Monday it’s time for Guinta to step down. ‘This is a decision he needs to make, but if I were in his position, that’s what I would do,’ Ayotte said.”

Lexington Herald-Leader: “With the race too close to call in the final hours before polls open for the primary election Tuesday, the four candidates for the GOP nomination mostly spent their last day on the campaign trail close to home, thanking supporters for their efforts and focusing on turning out the vote.”

A St. Louis man named “West” came up with a novel approach when confronted by a wannabe thief in Seattle last week: He used his hometown’s reputation to ward off his attacker. St. Louis Magazine: “West…turned around to see the man pull a black handgun, possibly a Glock, out of a paper bag and point it at West, according to the [police] report. That’s when West broke it down St. Louis style…. [According to the report] West stated that he is from St. Louis and was not going to be robbed…. West said, ‘So what are you going to do with that big ass pistol? If you wanna rob me I ain’t got nothing. If you decide to do this we’re gunna go heads up!’ In case you’re not sure what ‘heads up’ means, the Seattle Police define it in the report: ‘Heads up’ means fighting each other fist to fist.’ After West’s verbal beatdown, the gunman put his weapon back into a paper bag…”

Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News. Want FOX News First in your inbox every day? Sign up here.

Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as digital politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he authors the daily “Fox News First” political news note and hosts “Power Play,” a feature video series, on Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on the network, including “The Kelly File,” “Special Report with Bret Baier,” and “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.” He also provides expert political analysis for Fox News coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.