Quick Morning News

Morning Jumpstart

  • FBI rips Clinton on emails: No charges
  • Clinton emails: 4 revelations
  • Petraeus plea deal loomed over Clinton case
  • Obama declares war on Trump
  • Trump rips, rambles, rants
  • Ryan: No gun vote for Dems
  • British Iraq War inquiry report out today
FBI Rips Clinton on Emails: No Charges (Reuters, Hill, NYT, TMN, TMN, TMN, me)
• The FBI recommended on Tuesday that no criminal charges be filed over Hillary Clinton’s use of private email servers kept in her New York home while she was SecState, but (strongly) rebuked the Democratic presidential candidate for “extremely careless” handling of classified info (attack ads ad nauseam for the Trump campaign – they write themselves)
• House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis) said on Fox News, “People have been convicted for far less,” (see below – not sure about that) saying he thought FBI Director James Comey “was going to recommend prosecution.” “We’re going to have hearings,” Ryan said (but of course), mentioning House Oversight chair Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) (who needs something to do)
• In a lengthy statement on the FBI’s conclusions from its yearlong investigation, Comey directly contradicted statements Clinton has made. He said, for example, that the FBI found 110 emails that contained classified info when they were sent, although Clinton has repeatedly said she never sent or received classified info (that’s bad – and was foolish – unless she was sure)
• “Although we did not find clear evidence thet Sec Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of the classified info, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified info,” Comey said. But he said the FBI concluded “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring charges

• Comey’s recommendation to the Justice Dept will likely stand. AG Loretta Lynch said Friday she would accept the recommendations of career prosecutors and the FBI director on whether to charge Clinton for mishandling emails. As the investigation wound up, Clinton underwent a voluntary 3 1/2 hour interview with the FBI on Saturday in DC

• Cases prosecuted involved some combination of “clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified info; or vast quantities of materials exposed in such a way as to support an inference of intentional misconduct; or indications of disloyalty to the U.S.; or efforts to obstruct justice”
Clinton Camp: Glad It’s Resolved
• Clinton’s spox Brian Fallon said, “As the secretary has long said, it was a mistake to use her personal email, and she would not do it again. We are glad that this matter is now resolved.” He didn’t respond to questions about Comey’s rebuttal of Clinton’s main arguments (and it isn’t over – I bet GOP intends to drag this out all during the summer into November – even beyond…)
• Comey said there was no evidence anyone had hacked Clinton’s communications. He said, however, that “hostile actors” gained access to email accounts of people with whom Clinton corresponded regularly. He also said she used email extensively while traveling “in territory of sophisticated adversaries” and it was “possible” (that’s bad)
• Experts routinely advise govt officials not to bring important digital info to countries with a track record of aggressive cyber activity. Clinton traveled to more than 100 countries during her four years as SecState, including trips to China and Russia, considered among the most sophisticated U.S. cyber adversaries (friendlies like to have a good hack, too)
• The FBI found 110 emails in 52 email chains that contained info that was classified at the time the messages were sent, Comey said. Eight of those chains contained “top-secret” info, the highest level of govt classification for material that could harm national security
• Republican criticism of the process heated up after Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, met privately with Lynch in Phoenix last week. Lynch, who was appointed by Obama, said alter she regretted the meeting and that she and the former president didn’t discuss the investigation (nevertheless, things hotted up a bit)

• Want to check out Where in the World Hillary Clinton Might Have Been Hacked? Here’s the complete list of her travels as SecStates (grab a looong drink – it could take you a while…)

Clinton Emails: 4 New Findings (NYT, Politico, TMN, me)
• Of 30,000 emails Hillary Clinton handed over to State Dept, 110 contained info that was classified at the time she sent or received them. Of those, FBI Director James Comey said, “a small number” bore markings that identified them as classified – Clinton has repeatedly said none of the emails were classified at the time she sent or received them
• Clinton used multiple private servers and numerous mobile devices for her personal and govt business, not just a single server at her home that’s been the focus of media reporting for over a year. Clinton has said she used a personal server because she didn’t want to deal with the hassle of having two devices, one for work, the other for personal use, ie “convenience” (not so much)
• The FBI discovered “several thousand” work-related emails that weren’t in the original trove of 30,000 turned over by Clinton to State. Three of those contained info that agencies have concluded was classified, though Comey said he didn’t believe Clinton deliberately deleted or withheld them from investigators (read the statement – lots more in there)
• In saying it was “possible” that hostile foreign govts had gained access to Clinton’s personal account, Comey noted that she used her mobile device extensively while traveling outside the U.S., including trips “in the territory of sophisticated adversaries.” She has said there was “no evidence” her server was hacked (and never forget that she’s a lawyer, too….)
So, how long before Clinton holds a freewheeling presser on the campaign trail? Hmmm – I’m thinking she’s going be Bubble Girl – or else she has to find ways to viciously counterattack Trump – and she hasn’t been very effective at that so far

• Break it down into bits: What we know about Hillary Clinton’s email server (NYT)

Petraeus Plea Deal Loomed Over Clinton Case (NYT, me)
• As FBI lawyers weighed whether to recommend criminal charges over Hillary Clinton’s private email server, looming over their decision was the plea deal reached last year by David Petraeus, retired four-star general and CIA director, for giving highly classified info to a woman with whom he had an affair (GOPers were bleating Tuesday that Clinton was worse than him)
• FBI director James Comey said Tuesday that in assessing Clinton’s case and looking at past cases on the handling of classified info, “we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts.” Comey and other FBI officials were known to be deeply upset by the Justice Dept’s willingness to let Petraeus plead to a misdemeanor charge in the case
• That decision complicated the Clinton investigation enormously for the FBI because the case against Clinton appeared much weaker to them than the case against Petraeus
• In the Petraeus case, he acknowledged in a taped interview that he knew that some of the “black book” journals he gave to lover Paula Broadwell for a book she was writing were “highly classified,” according to court docs. He then lied to FBI investigators, denying that he gave her any classified info (see reasons to prosecute – above)
• In contrast, Comey said in the Clinton case that “we did not find clear evidence that Sec Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified info.” (they must be fuming – he got off lightly, so how could they punish her for something more minor? And, BTW, if you punish her, what about all the people who emailed her? You gotta punish them too)
• Comey and the FBI had pushed for felony charges against Petraeus for mishandling classified info and then lying about it. But then AG Eric Holder overruled Comey and reduced the charge to a misdemeanor, sparing Petraeus any jail time. Prosecutors and FBI agents said that Petraeus’s sentence made it harder to argue that Clinton should face charges – barring a new revelation
• NIH announced Tuesday that researchers will study as many as 1,000 U.S. athletes, coaches and staff for Zika during the summer Olympics and Paralympics in Brazil, to better understands how the virus infects


Obama Declares War on Trump (Politico, Reuters, TMN, TMN, me)
• President Obama, in Charlotte, NC, campaigned for the first time in 2016 with presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. He was “fired up” and “ready to go.” For 40 minutes, in shirtsleeves, he hammered Donald Trump, while heartily endorsing his former SecState and vanquished 2008 opponent (he was having fun)
• Clinton praised the president. “I feel very privileged because I’ve known the president in many roles. As a colleague in the Senate, as an opponent in a hard-fought primary, and the president I was so proud to serve as SecState,” Clinton said. Neither Clinton nor Obama mentioned her emails – and the WH said they didn’t discuss them on Air Force One…

• Obama mocked Trump favored mode of political communication – Twitter. “Everybody can tweet, but nobody actually knows what it takes to do the job until you’ve sat behind the desk,” he said with a chuckle. Obama said that even his younger daughter, Sasha, tweets. “She doesn’t think that she, thereby, should be sitting behind the desk.” Sasha? Trump? Qualified? Toss-up?)


• Obama stomped on Trump’s campaign slogan to “make America great again” – a phrase that irks black voters who have less fond recollections of segregation and income inequality. “Just the other day, somebody was writing about wow, when you look at the surveys in the world, turns out that when Obama came into office, the world didn’t think we were that great.”
• “We were in a hole before I came into office, but right now, the world – the rest of the world think we’re pretty darn good. And, by the way, you can look that up. That’s a fact. That’s not, like something I just made up and tweeted,” Obama continued to hammer Trump – without naming him (this is pretty visceral, is the impression you get – between these two)

• “When a crisis hits, you can’t just walk off the set. You can’t fire the script writer,” Obama said. “You can’t be reckless. You don’t have the luxury of just saying whatever pops into your head. You’ve actually gotta know what you’re talking about. You’ve gotta actually do your homework. You can’t just kick out reporters.” (yes you can, for now, anyway)

Trump Rips, Rambles, Rants (Politico, NYT, al Jazeera, Hill, me)
• During a rally Tuesday night in Raleigh, NC, Donald Trump  falsely claimed that Hillary Clinton “said today that we may consider the AG to go forward,” noting that AG Loretta Lynch headed the investigation into Clinton’s private email server. “That’s like a bribe, isn’t it?” NYT has cited unidentified Dems who said Clinton would consider retaining Lynch, but Clinton hasn’t confirmed it
• Trump said Clinton “went to extraordinary lengths to carry out an Enron-style purge of her emails.” (not what Comey said) Trump claimed Clinton’s rival, Bernie Sanders, must have been stung by the news because he’d just lost the “FBI primary.” Trump claimed – without any evidence – that President Obama knew in advance that Clinton would be cleared and when – WH says not true
• On a different subject (there were many), he contradicted himself: “We need real unity and the
[GOP] leaders have to get supportive and if they don’t get supportive, we’re going to win anyway. Don’t worry about it. In fact, probably I do better without the kind of support that I’m talking about because that’s why I’m here in the first place.” (head spinning like in Exorcist – arrant nonsense)
• Trump praised former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, first calling him a “really bad guy,” then: “But you know what he did well? He killed terrorists. He did that so good. He didn’t read them their rights. They didn’t talk. They were terrorists. It was over.” (didn’t read rights to Kurdish babies and children, political opponents or anyone else he didn’t like, either)
• “Today, Iraq is Harvard for terrorism,” Trump continued. Hussein wasn’t a fan of jihadists, but Iraq was listed as a state sponsor of terrorism by State before the 2003 invasion. In the 1980s, Hussein fired scud missiles at Israel and used chemical weapons on tens of thousands of Iraqis (as a reminder – this is the result of the genocidal work of Trump’s pet guy – graphic)
TMN’s Ellen Ratner remembers Holocaust survivor author Elie Wiesel’s wisdom, and writes about the importance of remembering the genocide in South Sudan – the largest ethnic genocide since World War II

Ryan Won’t Allow Votes on Dems’ Gun Proposals (Roll Call, Politico, NYT, me)

• House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis) on Tuesday rejected Democratic demands for votes on their proposals to reduce gun violence. Ryan met with Reps John Lewis (D-Ga) and John Larson (D-Conn), leaders of last month’s sit-in, in a bid to defuse the partisan tension between the two parties over guns
• Lewis said after the meeting that although Ryan “heard us,” he didn’t give them assurances their bills would be brought up. When asked whether they would renew their protest on the floor, neither Lewis nor Larson would reveal their plans. Privately, some more senior members worry another sit-in would set a dangerous precedent for when they’re in the majority (horse – barn door)
• Democrats are pushing for a vote that would bar anyone placed on the federal “no fly” list from purchasing a gun. Democrats also want to vote on expanding background checks to all gun sales. Both measures failed to pass the GOP-controlled Senate recently
• Republicans have countered the Democratic initiative by offering a package that includes a version of an NRA-supported bill offered by Sen John Cornyn (R-Texas). would allow the Justice Dept to prevent a gun sale to a terror suspect if it obtains a court order within three days proving “probable cause” – also failed in the Senate

• House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif) said Tuesday that Democrats who protested the lack of votes on gun legislation by essentially seizing the House floor for nearly 26 hours recently may be punished for possibly breaking House rules, including “knocking things out of the hands of professional staff” and damaging congressional furniture (horrors – not the furniture…)

• Video: Killing of Alton Sterling, a black man shot by Baton Rouge police officers (graphic). Protesters demanded justice for Sterling, who was tackled to the ground, pinned down by police. An officer yelled “gun.” Witness Abdullah Muflahi said Sterling wasn’t holding a gun. An officer shot Sterling 4-6 times. Police found a gun in Sterling’s pocket. Officers on admin leave (Advocate)


British Iraq War Inquiry Report Out Today: Blair on Hot Seat (Guardian, AP, me)

• Sir John Chilcot insisted Tuesday he was not afraid to criticize those who were in charge at the time of the Iraq War in his long-delayed report into the role of the UK in the buildup, handling and aftermath of the 2003 conflict. The report, highly anticipated by families of soldiers and civilians killed and dreaded by some politicians and military leaders, is out today
• Chilcot’s report runs 12 volumes totaling 2.6 million words. The Iraq Body Count, which maintains a database of deaths in Iraq, puts the death toll of combatants and civilians from the invasion to the present day at 251,000. ISIS may have sprung from the early days of Sunni-Shia conflict post-invasion, for which there was little U.S. planning by the G.W. Bush admin
• The report’s main focus is on what (secret) commitments Tony Blair gave to President George W. Bush and whether the former PM misled the British public over the threat posed by WMD, which turned out to be non-existent. Mi6 could be slammed for providing inaccurate intel and allowing facts to be messed with for politics, and military commanders for not standing up to Blair
• Sir John said relatives of soldiers and civilians killed had been “very much in our minds” throughout the process. Blair is planning to hold a presser to deliver a robust response to the findings. The report is out shortly before Prime Minister’s Questions at midday and will dominate – David Cameron, Conservative, voted for the war – Jeremy Corbyn, Labour, voted against
• Alan West, who was head of the Royal Navy in March 2003, said, “I think there had been a decision that we were going to invade Iraq, that that was going to happen, but they were looking for a reason to actually do it.” “They’d bloody decided, that’s the reality,” he told political magazine The House

• South African Paralympic Gold medalist Oscar Pistorius was taken to jail immediately today after being sentenced to serve six years for the 2013 murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp (Reuters)

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Victoria Jones – Editor

Victoria Jones created and edits Quick Morning News. She is chief White House correspondent with Washington DC-based Talk Media News, where her insight and analysis are made available to over 400 news talk radio stations around the country and internationally.