Friday, October 2, 2015

Former Senior Advisor to Obama calls Clinton email scandal 'gobbledygook'

Yesterday's Washington Times included a commentary I wrote called "A liberal take on the Clinton email scandal: Why the Huma Abedin controversy matters". It doesn't contain links to my sources, so here's the opening, as I originally wrote it:
After promising "change" in America, President Barack Obama officially shut the revolving door on January 21, 2009, in his very first Executive Order (

"Every appointee in every executive agency" was asked to sign this "Ethics Pledge" which would make them "contractually committed...[a]s a condition, and in consideration, of [their] employment in the United States Government in a position invested with the public trust." Commitment to the "obligations" was "binding" and "enforceable under law."

While most of President Obama's Executive Order was devoted to curbing lobbying, there was also a "Revolving Door Ban" which affected "All Appointees Entering Government."

"I will not for a period of 2 years from the date of my appointment participate in any particular matter involving specific parties that is directly and substantially related to my former employer or former clients, including regulations and contracts," all appointees entering government were asked to vow.

After serving as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's Deputy Chief of Staff, longtime aide Huma Abedin was quietly appointed as a "special government employee" on June 3, 2012. However, according to an email that conservative watchdog Judicial Watch recently obtained through a Freedom of Information Action lawsuit against the State Department, the very next day Abedin claimed that her "new position" would be "identical to [her] old position," even though that appears to be in violation of S.G.E. requirements (
Longtime Hillary Clinton aide Cheryl Mills was on the board of the Clinton Foundation from 2004 to 2009, and it doesn't make sense to me why I seem to be the only journalist asking this next question. But didn't she essentially break President Obama's ethics pledge every single time she exchanged an email mentioning the Clinton Foundation while she worked at the State Department?

Since Hillary Clinton has apologized for her use of a private email account, and turned over her server, from which the FBI reportedly has already been able to extract emails not turned over to the State Department to fulfill media FOIA and Congressional investigators' requests, it's probably a bad idea for her campaign - or anyone who supports it - to spin everything into a "vast right wing conspiracy". The Associated Press, VICE and Gawker all had unfulfilled FOIA requests, so it's not just Republicans who are on the hunt for emails. At the same time, much of the scandal really involves the White House and State Department, after Clinton left it, since there were plenty of emails on government accounts that should have been turned over before the former State Secretary sent her 30,000 emails late last year.

In today's Washington Post, former Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama Dan Pfeiffer - who is now a CNN contributor - pretty much insults all US voters, by referring to the email scandal as "gobbledygook". Clinton's polling numbers have taken a dive, mostly due to the emails, so this is a terrible attempt at spin.

"The [U.S. House Select Committee on Benghazi] chairman, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), has maintained that its work was a neutral examination of the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks," Philip Rucker and Robert Costa report. "But ['likely next House speaker, Majority Leader Kevin' McCarthy (R-Calif.)'] told Fox News host Sean Hannity: 'Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s un-trustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened had we not fought.'"
With Clinton struggling to gain momentum in the Democratic nominating fight, McCarthy’s comments amount to a unifying force for the party to rally to her defense, as well as give her an opening to do what she is most comfortable doing: fighting back against Republicans.

“I think it will pull people together,” said Dan Pfeiffer, a former senior adviser to President Obama. “The e-mail situation is a complicated one. . . . All of that is gobbledygook to the American people, but political motivation is easily understood.”
Wackadoo is one of my favorite words, since it's from a hilarious line in one of my favorite films, "The Pope of Greenwich Village", but "gobbledygook" is a pretty cool word, too, even when it's insultingly used.

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