Kevin Drum: FBI Report "Almost Complete Exoneration" of Clinton

In this morning's Mother Jones Kevin Drum posts his analysis of the FBI report on Hillary Clinton's email and concludes "There's remarkably little here."

... [T]his report is pretty much an almost complete exoneration of Hillary Clinton. She wasn't prohibited from using a personal device or a personal email account, and others at state did it routinely. She's told the truth all along about why she did it. Colin Powell did indeed advise her about using personal email shortly after she took office, but she chose to follow the rules rather than skirt them, as Powell did. She didn't take her BlackBerry into her office. She communicated with only a very select group of 13 people. She took no part in deciding which emails were personal before handing them over to State. She had nothing to do with erasing information on the PRN server. That was a screw-up on PRN's end. She and her staff all believed at the time that they were careful not to conduct sensitive conversations over unclassified email systems. And there's no evidence that her server was ever hacked.

Flash: When Clinton Was Secretary of State People Wanted to Meet With Her

In a rare moment of clarity, recently at least, for the Washington Post, Paul Waldman writes in today's "Plum Line" that a raft of emails released in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request reveal that donors to the Clinton Foundation wanted some kind of access but didn't get it. Waldman highlights three communications between Clinton Foundation executive and Clinton aide Huma Abedin:

  • A sports executive who had donated to the foundation wanted to arrange for a visa for a British soccer player to visit the United States; he was having trouble getting one because of a criminal conviction. Abedin said she’d look into it, but there’s no evidence she did anything and the player didn’t get his visa.
  • Bono, who had donated to the foundation, wanted to have some kind of arrangement whereby upcoming U2 concerts would be broadcast to the International Space Station. Abedin was puzzled by this request, and nothing was ever done about it.
  • The Crown Prince of Bahrain, who had donated to the foundation, wanted to meet with Clinton on a visit to Washington. Abedin responded to Band that the Bahrainis had already made that request through normal diplomatic channels. The two did end up meeting.

That, apparently, is it. As Waldman notes, if there were more, Judicial Watch, who brought the FOIA request, would certainly have shared. Read the full article here.

It's Official. Russia Trying to Influence US Election, Favoring Trump

Talking Points Memo's Josh Marshall sent up early warnings of the "seeming bromance between Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin." In his most recent examination of Trump's various dependencies on Russian connections Marshall observes that as Trump's debt load has nearly doubled over the last year, and no major US banks but one will do business with him, Trump has increasingly relied on Russian oligarchs " many with ties to Putin — for cash. In addition Marshall cites Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort's history defending ousted pro-Russian former Ukrainian President Yanukovych, and Trump foreign policy advisor Carter Page's ties to Russian energy conglomerate Gazprom.

More Democrats Want Clinton to Be Their Nominee (Duh)

Responding to a Sanders supporter's tweet that Clinton campaign "strategy" would be to declare victory after the New Jersey primary on June 7, FiveThiryEight.com's Nate Silver tweeted:

Clinton "strategy" is to persuade more "people" to "vote" for her, hence producing a "majority" of "delegates."

Uncle Bernie's Terrible Horrible No-Good Very Bad Month

To some it may have seemed at first like an April Fool's joke. Bernie Sanders, who traveled from relative obscurity to mount an attention-grabbing challenge to Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton based largely on the issue of "breaking up" large financial institutions seemed not to have an actual plan to do so when questioned by the editorial board of the New York Daily News.

Sanders Campaign Bogus Momentum Claims

Despite the Sanders campaign's desperate claims of momentum, as former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe blogged recently, "Hillary Clinton has strengthened her hold on the nomination in the most recent contests. Because for every state that holds a contest, more delegates come off the board, and the percentage of remaining delegates Sanders has to win grows larger."

Clinton Adds More Delegates Despite Sanders Narrow Michigan Win

As the USA Today headline correctly stated, For the Record: Sanders wins headlines, Clinton wins delegates. Pre-vote polling in Michigan had Clinton winning by between 5 and 20 percentage points, so Sanders' win, even though it was by less than 2 percentage points, has to be considered an upset. However, Clinton's massive 66 point win in Mississippi means that overall on March 9 she picked up more delegates than Sanders.

The Sanders Campaign

Although the PredictWise betting aggregator gives him a 16% chance of receiving the Democratic presidential nomination, grumpy grandpa Bernie Sanders ran away with the New Hampshire primary and finished a close second to Clinton in Iowa.

Mainstream media did not choose to pursue the question of whether the Sanders campaign's breach of Clinton data in December played any role in these contests.

Not to be outdone by the data wonks on the campaign, Sanders ground teams apparently got into the act. With the Nevada caucus coming up later this month, in late January Sanders operatives disguised themselves as union members so as to gain access to employee areas in Las Vegas hotels while trying to gather votes. (The union has been very particular about not endorsing Clinton or Sanders.)

Hillary Maintains Lead By Almost Any Measure

As Eric Boehlert of Media Matters noted recently, as of January 22, Hillary Clinton has led in the last ten polls taken in Iowa. Although some media has focused on polls showing Sanders leading, Clinton leads the average of Iowa polls by more than 7 percentage points.

Polls aside, as of this writing the NY Times Upshot shows Clinton leading in every non-poll measure.


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