Sanders Campaign: DNC Chair Is Making This ‘Personal’

The closer we get to the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, the more the hostility between Bernie Sanders and Debbie Wasserman Schultz surfaces. Last week, Sanders told CNN he was rooting for the Democratic National Committee chair’s primary challenger Tim Canova, noting his policies better align with his. Sanders didn’t just talk the talk – he is even raising money for Canova in his primary effort.

While the Vermont senator says he’s supporting Canova because he is a more convincing progressive, another reason he’s refusing to support Schultz’s reelection efforts could be how she has treated his presidential campaign. As head of the DNC, Schultz made decisions that obviously favored Hillary Clinton, such as scheduling few debates, some of which were scheduled for weekend nights when few would be watching. After the chaos that ensued in Nevada earlier this month, Schultz frustratingly urged Sanders to denounce his supporters’ behavior. Sanders’ team insisted their candidate condemns any kind of threats and accused the DNC chair of “throwing shade” at his campaign.

His team is doubling down this week. On “Fox and Friends” Wednesday morning, Sanders’ campaign manager Jeff Weaver concluded that the situation has become personal for Schultz.

“I think it became very personal for her,” Mr. Weaver said. “She has lashed out at the campaign…on a number of occasions - these joint fundraising agreements which took money from state parties and gave it to the DNC.”

Weaver also sounded off on Clinton supporter Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) this week, rejecting her claims that Sanders supporters threatened her in Nevada.

Sanders’ contrast to Hillary Clinton and the Democratic establishment is evident in a new ad that asks voters to pick a “new direction” for the Democratic Party.

Sanders says in the ad that voters should push to "break the back of a corrupt" campaign finance system, "stand up to Wall Street" and "fight for tuition-free public colleges and universities."

“What choice do Californians have in this election? The biggest one of all," Sanders says in the 30-second ad released Tuesday. "California, it's a long way to Washington, but you can send them a message they can't ignore."

In a year of the outsiders, messages like these threaten to jeopardize Clinton’s White House chances.

Will the internal struggle within the Democratic Party hurt the Democrats’ chances this November? After all, Republicans are beginning to unite behind Donald Trump one-by-one – even some people who were his most vocal critics last fall.

Apparently Paul Ryan Is Not Ready to Endorse Trump

An aide to House Speaker Paul Ryan has quashed reports that the congressman is on the verge of endorsing Donald Trump.

"We've not told the Trump campaign to expect an endorsement. He's also not told anyone he regrets anything," a Ryan aide said, reports The Washington Examiner.

Multiple reports had cited aides within the Trump campaign saying an endorsement from Ryan could come as soon as this week.

Ryan noted after his meeting with the presumptive GOP nominee earlier this month that he was “encouraged with what [he] heard from Donald Trump” but added that unification is a “process” that “takes time.”

“I don't want us to have a fake unification process here," he continued.

Clearly, when--or if--the time comes that Ryan backs Trump, we'll know it's authentic. 

Sanders: Yeah, Things Could Get 'Messy' At The Democratic National Convention

The Democratic civil war over the presidential nomination continues, with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders warning that things could get “messy” in Philadelphia. Democrats, like the Republicans, are having their nominating conventions in July, but the party unity building exercises look as if it will be more arduous for the Democratic nominee, which is most likely going to be Hillary Clinton. She’s less than 100 delegates away from clinching the nomination, which many thought would be a cakewalk. Instead, the former secretary of state has suffered numerous defeats at the hands of a self-described Democratic socialist.

Yet, even with Sanders’ string of wins, especially when the primary shifted towards the West and Pacific Northwest, Clinton still maintained her delegate lead. As expected, Sanders was not able to win by margins that would have allowed him to overtake the former first lady, as the entire Democratic primary process is based off of proportional allocation of delegates. Clinton’s dominance during the I-95 Corridor primaries also pretty much sealed the deal. Still, even with those facts, Sanders supporters feel cheated, and their anger is reaching critical levels. They feel that the system is rigged. Those feelings boiled over during the chaotic Nevada Democratic Convention in Las Vegas last week, where outgoing Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) said she felt her safety was in danger.

This is what national Democrats fear is going to happen in front of every major news network in the country: a devoted cohort of Sanders supporters wreaking havoc on the convention floor. Then again, Sanders told the Associated Press that life and democracy is messy—and that our political order isn’t always so gentle.

The Democratic presidential candidate said in an interview with The Associated Press that his supporters hoped to see a platform at the July convention that reflects the needs of working families, the poor and young people as opposed to one that represents Wall Street and corporate America.

The Vermont senator said he will "condemn any and all forms of violence" but his campaign was bringing in newcomers to the process and first-time attendees of political conventions. He said the Democratic Party could choose to be more inclusive.

"I think if they make the right choice and open the doors to working-class people and young people and create the kind of dynamism that the Democratic Party needs, it's going to be messy," Sanders said. "Democracy is not always nice and quiet and gentle but that is where the Democratic Party should go."

Asked if the convention could be messy, Sanders said: "So what? Democracy is messy. Everyday my life is messy. But if you want everything to be quiet and orderly and allow, you know, just things to proceed without vigorous debate, that is not what democracy is about."

Democrats already seem to be considering options to appease the Sanders crowd. There’s talk on the Hill that Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), who is also the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, could be dumped before the convention. Schultz has been the source of ire from the Sanders army for her perceived bias in this primary contest. Sanders had said if he were to be elected president, Schultz would be shown the exit. Still, Sanders will get one-third of the seats on the Democratic Party platform committee. Dr. Cornel West and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, have been named by Sanders to participate in the drafting of what could be a decidedly left wing platform. James Zogby, a Palestinian rights activist, is also included in the mix.

The tension, however, doesn’t seem to be dissipating. Jeff Weaver, Sanders’ campaign manager, said that Sen. Boxer’s claims about fearing for her safety were inaccurate, describing her recollection of events as “incongruous.”

Clinton Campaign Responds to IG Report By Again Claiming She Did Nothing Wrong

The Clinton campaign has issued a statement in response to a State Department Inspector General report released today showing former Secretary Hillary Clinton violated the Federal Records Act and put security at risk through the use of a private email server.

"While political opponents of Hillary Clinton are sure to misrepresent this report for their own partisan purposes, in reality, the Inspector General documents [show] just how consistent her email practices were with those of other Secretaries and senior officials at the State Department who also used personal email. The report shows that problems with the State Department's electronic record keeping systems were longstanding and that there was no precedent of someone in her position having a State Department email account until after the arrival of her successor. Contrary to the false theories advanced for some time now, the report notes that her use of personal email was known to officials within the Department during her tenure, and that there is no evidence of any successful breach of the Secretary's server. We agree that steps ought to be taken to ensure the government can better maintain official records, and if she were still at the State Department, Secretary Clinton would embrace and implement any recommendations, including those in this report, to help do that. But as this report makes clear, Hillary's use of personal email was not unique, and she took steps that went much further than others to appropriately preserve and release her records," the Clinton campaign released Wednesday. 

This statement discounts these facts:

a) Hillary Clinton maintained a personal server in addition to a number of personal email addresses. This is unique. Other Secretaries of State who used private email from time to time weren't using private servers set up inside their homes. 

b) The inspector general found Hillary Clinton violated the Federal Records Act by deleting tens-of-thousands of emails from her personal email server before turning over what she deemed to be government business emails to the State Department prior to her departure in 2013. Other Secretaries of State did not engage in mass deletion as Clinton did. The State Department can't keep or properly preserve records Clinton deleted before they were turned over, despite what this statement tries to imply.

c) Thousands of pieces of top secret, classified information have been found on Clinton's private server. At this point, this is not the case with previous Secretaries of State. 

d) Good hackers cover their trackers, making it impossible to tell if a server has been breached. UPDATE: The IG report, as Guy notes, includes emails from IT saying the Clinton server had been hacked...again

f) The statement that Clinton "took steps that went much further than others to appropriately preserve and release her records" is a lie. Again, she set up a private server in her home to avoid transparency, Congressional oversight and federal records law and again, she deleted 30,000 emails before turning the rest over for preservation.

I'll leave you with this: 

Busted: How a Scathing New IG Report Exposes Four Hillary Email Lies

Hillary Clinton and her presidential campaign have habitually derided and dismissed serious developments pertaining to her national security-compromising email scandal, preposterously seeking to cast the entire imbroglio as witch hunt-style machinations of partisan Republicans. Thus far, this "vast right-wing conspiracy" has entailed several left-leaning media outlets, the Obama-appointed intelligence community Inspector General, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. As Katie wrote earlier, Team Hillary must now add another highly unlikely source to its roster of ignominy: The Inspector General serving as a nonpartisan watchdog at...the very government agency she led for four years. The new, damning report directly refutes a number of insistent statements Mrs. Clinton and her allies have issued over the last 15 months. Many of her assertions at an initial press conference in March 2015 have been demonstrably proven to be inaccurate and deceitful. The list of falsehoods has now expanded:

(1) "Everything I did was permitted," Clinton has said on multiple occasions, averring that her email scheme did not violate any rules or laws. This statement has been swatted down by federal records-keeping experts, and by a federal judge who was elevated by Clinton's husband. Now her own State Department's IG drives the final nail into this mendacious talking point's coffin: "The report concluded that Clinton violated the agency’s email rules when she chose to exclusively use a private email server during her four years at State Department and did not promptly turn over records after she departed the agency," Politico writes. More:

(2) "I've been more transparent than anybody I can think of in public life," she told CBS News in March, adding that she's 'fully cooperated' with probes into the email affair. Here's an important quote from Politico's story, based on the State Department IG's findings.  Well then:

(3) I used one email [and one mobile device] "for convenience," not to avoid public records requests.  The first half of that claim has been disproven many times over.  The Clinton campaign's denials that she was trying to shield her correspondence from Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) actions have never passed the smell test -- avoiding scrutiny seemed like the entire purpose of setting up a rogue, private email server in the first place -- but now we have an admission in Hillary's own words.  Keep in mind that this passage also re-proves that she deliberately eschewed the creation of an official email account, which she was required to have. As you read this, don't forget that Hillary went on to withhold and attempt to delete "personal" emails that were unequivocally work-related.  And kindly recall this New York Times headline:

(4) Currently live on Hillary's campaign website, in addition to this flaming lie:

Was the server ever hacked?

No, there is no evidence there was ever a breach.

Was there ever an unauthorized intrusion into her email or did anyone else have access to it?

No.

From the IG report:

The highlighted quote actually reads "we were attacked again," which Clinton defenders will note could be different than admitting to a successful hack.  Then again, a low-tech Romanian hacker nicknamed "Guccifer" who claims to have penetrated her emails multiple times (he successfully hacked the emails of her confidante Sidney Blumenthal, about whom she's also lied) has been extradited to the US by the feds and is reportedly in the process of striking a plea deal.  An official at the Defense Intelligence Agency, the former acting director of the CIA, and the former Secretary of Defense have all said that it's a virtual certainty that hostile foreign governments were able to access Clinton's unsecure server.  And here we have her server manager temporarily shutting the thing down after a flurry of known cyber attacks.  I'll leave you with a few refreshers: Hillary Clinton claimed none of the emails on her bootleg server were classified, and that she personally didn't send any classified materials.  There were, in fact, more than 2,000 classified emails on that server, including top secret and above top secret information -- with dozens that were classified at the time (she signed a sworn agreement to protect all secret data, regardless of whether it was marked as such).  She personally sent more than 100 of them. Hillary Clinton was explicitly warned, and acknowledged the warning, that her improper and vulnerable email arrangement endangered sensitive material in 2011.  Undeterred by the clear threat her behavior posed, she carried on with her reckless system through the end of her tenure.  Hillary Clinton has lied about nearly every facet of this story, from start to finish.  Soon, the Obama Justice Department will have to determine whether her conduct was grossly negligent, and therefore criminal.  Today's Inspector General report appears to do significant damage to her on the 'intent' front.


UPDATE
The spin begins:

Aside from "others did it, too" being legally irrelevant, it is also wrong.  We've dealt with a variant of this excuse in the past, but let's make things very simple:

Freedom Is Slavery: Hawaii Could Be First State To Enter Its Gun Owners Into Federal Database

It’s as if we’re getting a preview of what Second Amendment rights would look like in Hillary Clinton’s America. Recently, California all but banned rifles and imposed background checks for ammunition. Now, Hawaii may become the first state that enters its gun-owning residents into a federal database (via AP):

Hawaii could become the first state in the United States to enter gun owners into an FBI database that will automatically notify police if an island resident is arrested anywhere else in the country.

Most people entered in the "Rap Back" database elsewhere in the U.S. are those in "positions of trust," such as school teachers and bus drivers, said Stephen Fischer of the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services Division. Hawaii could be the first state to add gun owners.

"I don't like the idea of us being entered into a database. It basically tells us that they know where the guns are, they can go grab them" said Jerry Ilo, a firearm and hunting instructor for the state. "We get the feeling that Big Brother is watching us."

[…]

Sen. Will Espero, who introduced the bill, and the Honolulu Police Department said Hawaii could serve as a model for other states if it becomes the first to enact the law.

Yet others say gun owners shouldn't have to be entered in a database to practice a constitutional right.

"You're curtailing that right by requiring that a name be entered into a database without doing anything wrong," said Kenneth Lawson, faculty at the University of Hawaii's William S. Richardson School of Law.

[…]

"This is an extremely dangerous bill. Exercising a constitutional right is not inherently suspicious," said Amy Hunter for the National Rifle Association. "Hawaii will now be treating firearms as suspect and subject to constant monitoring."

We can look forward to this if Clinton and the Democrats retain control of the White House and possibly take back Congress. In Hawaii, it’s possible that in the future, your name would be added into a federal database because you’ve exercised a constitutionally protected right to own a firearm. That’s ridiculous. Moreover, it does set up an avenue for government to confiscate your guns. Clinton has said that Australia’s gun control laws serve as a “good example,” though we all know that the Land Down Under implemented a draconian system of gun registration, bans, and, yes, confiscation. Oh, and it created a rather violent black market for firearms. This isn’t crazy talk. Government will always overstep its bounds. Wayne LaPierre said at CPAC in 2013 that the only reason anti-gunners want a gun registry is to either tax our firearms or to take them.

Former Red Sox Player To Run For Governor of Vermont

Former Red Sox pitcher Bill "The Spaceman" Lee is making a run for governor of Vermont as a member of the Liberty Union party. His platform includes legalizing marijuana, instituting a paid family leave, single-payer healthcare, and bringing the Expos back to Montreal.

While he certainly draws similarities to current presidential candidate (and fellow Vermonter) Sen. Bernie Sanders, Lee rejects the comparison, calling himself "Bernie-heavy," not "Bernie-lite." He also describes himself as a "pragmatic, conservative, forward thinker."

"You get what you pay for, if you want change, you vote for Sanders or me. I'm Bernie-heavy, I'm not Bernie-lite. My ideas were before Bernie," Lee told WCAX. "If you want to see money come down from the 2 percent, we're going to need umbrellas when I'm elected, because it's going to be raining dollars,"

During his time in the majors, Lee was known for eccentrically entertaining interviews and his "Leephus" pitch, a slow, arching junkball. He feuded with Sox manager Don Zimmer, and famously declared that he sprinkled marijuana on his pancakes to battle Boston's bus fumes.

Lee also promised that if he were elected and Donald Trump were elected, he will remove Vermont from the United States.

Lee was inducted into the Red Sox Ball of Fame in 2008. This is his second run-in with politics; in 1988, he ran for president on the Canadian Rhinoceros Party ticket.

Japanese Prime Minister Will Not Visit Pearl Harbor

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe does not plan on visiting Hawaii's Pearl Harbor after Barack Obama's upcoming visit to Hiroshima.

Abe said he visited the United States last year, marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and the war in Japan.  His trip included a speech to Congress and a visit to the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. where he laid a wreath.

The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor took the lives of over 2,000 American service members and civilians.  The atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima killed over 150,000 Japanese civilians and military personnel.  However, the two events should not be paralleled as one was preemptive and the other was retaliatory.  

Vast Majority of Americans: Presidential Candidates Should Release Tax Returns, Trump Included

As things between GOP presumptive nominee Donald Trump and Democrat frontrunner Hillary Clinton continue to get heated on the campaign trail, the issue of Trump's hidden tax returns isn't going away. 

For months Trump has maintained he cannot release his tax returns because he's being audited by the IRS. He said he will release them once the audits are over. A timeline for when that will be hasn't been specified. The IRS has publicly stated there are no rules or regulations preventing Trump from releasing his tax returns while under audit. In fact, former President Richard Nixon released his tax returns int he middle of the Watergate scandal and while under audit. Hillary Clinton has years of tax returns posted on her campaign website. 

But a new Morning Consult poll shows Americans aren't buying Trump's excuses and believe all presidential candidates should release their returns. 

Donald Trump’s campaign claims his federal tax returns are not of interest to American voters, but that’s actually not true, according to a new Morning Consult poll.

“This is an issue the media is interested in. This isn’t an issue that middle America is interested in,” Trump aide Paul Manafort said on CNN’s “State of the Union” earlier this month.

But a new national survey by Morning Consult of 2,001 registered voters found that 67 percent – and 60 percent of Republicans – think presidential candidates should have to disclose their returns. Just one in five voters (21 percent) said they don’t think the financial documents should have to be released.  

Last week Trump was on ABC explaining why he's waiting to release his returns:

Matthews on New Mexico Riots: "I Don't Think They're that Violent... Trump Ignites These Kinds of Things"

There seems to be confusion between liberal media and the facts behind protesters at Donald Trump rallies.  On Wednesday, Republican presumptive nominee held a rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico and was met by an angry crowd of thousands outside the public arena.  MSNBC host Chris Matthews made it clear to his viewers that he did not "see any violence yet." 

"I did see that police car with the windshield smashed. I’ve heard about other incidents of violence, low-key violence so far," he went on to say.  

As the protestors continued to throw rocks, light fires, and throw shirts that had been lit on fire, Matthews was still not impressed.  “Well, I don’t see anybody with a face bloodied yet, or I don’t see any danger to anybody yet," he said.  

But, Matthews and his guest made sure not to put too much blame on the protesters.  “This is Trump. It’s intentional and it’s from the candidate himself,”  said Washington Post National Political Reporter Robert Costa.

Matthews went on to question why Trump "is igniting these kinds of things."

Inspector General Finds Hillary Clinton Violated Federal Records Act By Deleting Emails

The State Department Inspector General released a new report Wednesday detailing how former Secretary Hillary Clinton violated the Federal Records Act by deleting thousands of emails, stored on her private server, that she demeaned personal before turning remaining emails over the the Department for review and preservation. Details from POLITICO

The State Department inspector general concluded that Hillary Clinton did not comply with the agency’s policies on records, according to a report released to lawmakers on Wednesday that also revealed that Clinton and her top aides chose not to cooperate with the review.

While the report concludes that the agency suffers from "longstanding, systemic weaknesses" with records that "go well beyond the tenure of any one Secretary of State,” it specifically dings Clinton for her exclusive use of private email.

“Therefore, Secretary Clinton should have preserved any Federal records she created and received on her personal account by printing and filing those records with the related files in the Office of the Secretary,” the report states. “At a minimum, Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with Department business before leaving government service and, because she did not do so, she did not comply with the Department’s policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act."

Clinton maintains that she did nothing wrong. 

This report comes as the FBI is reportedly wrapping up its criminal investigation of Clinton, which is centered around her mishandling and storing of top secret, classified information on her personal, unsecured email server.

"Long-standing weaknesses with the preservation of federal email records clearly exist within the Office of the Secretary of State. Over time, those weaknesses may have been exploited by Department officials for self-serving purposes," Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz said in response to the report. "The State Department should immediately undertake the IG's recommendations to ensure both proper compliance with the Federal Records Act and adoption of a far more robust cybersecurity protocol."

This post has been updated with additional information. 

Hillary Picks “Scandal” Actor Over Sanders as Potential VP Pick

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was a guest on Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show for the umpteenth time this week. In past appearances, she has attempted (and failed) to relate to millennials by doing the “Nae Nae.” This time, she was tasked with making some tough decisions on her 2016 running mate.

In a game called "Who Would You Rather," DeGeneres presented Clinton with several sets of pictures – some actors, some politicians, some musicians – and she had to choose between sets of two. A few of her choices were Vice President Joe Biden, “Shark Tank” businessman Mark Cuban, George Clooney and Beyoncé. One of her most interesting choices, however, was between “Scandal” actor Tony Goldwyn, who has campaigned for her, and her primary opponent Bernie Sanders.

“Gotta go with Tony!” Clinton said, before breaking into laughter.

This segment may have been presented as all fun and games, but Clinton’s pick underscores the bad blood between her campaign and Sanders.’ For weeks now, Clinton has bullied the Vermont senator to exit the race so she can focus on the general election. Sanders, however, has proven his presence in the primary, winning several contests and drawing thousands of passionate supporters to his rallies, eager to hear his progressive message.

Sanders has not been afraid to call out Clinton's Wall Street hypocrisy and her waffling on issues important to liberal voters, suggesting he too would be more apt to choose a television star over her as VP.

Considering Clinton's own long list of scandals, it's perhaps not surprising she chose a star from the ABC show.

Clinton’s pre-recorded “Ellen” interview will air Wednesday at 3 p.m.

Pay for Play: NPR Under Fire Over Iran Deal 'Echo Chamber' Revelation

The revelation is quite serious: National Public Radio, a supposedly neutral broadcast entity funded by taxpayers, was paid six figures by an advocacy group with an obvious agenda to assist in efforts by the Obama administration and its allies to market the dangerous and unpopular Iran nuclear agreement to the American public.  Details, via the Associated Press' Friday report:

A group the White House recently identified as a key surrogate in selling the Iran nuclear deal gave National Public Radio $100,000 last year to help it report on the pact and related issues, according to the group's annual report. It also funded reporters and partnerships with other news outlets. The Ploughshares Fund's mission is to "build a safe, secure world by developing and investing in initiatives to reduce and ultimately eliminate the world's nuclear stockpiles," one that dovetails with President Barack Obama's arms control efforts. But its behind-the-scenes role advocating for the Iran agreement got more attention this month after a candid profile of Ben Rhodes, one of the president's top foreign policy aides. In The New York Times Magazine article, Rhodes explained how the administration worked with nongovernmental organizations, proliferation experts and even friendly reporters to build support for the seven-nation accord that curtailed Iran's nuclear activity and softened international financial penalties on Tehran. "We created an echo chamber," said Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser, adding that "outside groups like Ploughshares" helped carry out the administration's message effectively...Ploughshares has funded NPR's coverage of national security since 2005, the radio network said. Ploughshares reports show at least $700,000 in funding over that time. All grant descriptions since 2010 specifically mention Iran.

This arrangement begs all sorts of questions pertaining to journalistic ethics and the proper relationship between "independent" media outlets and government interests -- some of which may even trouble NPR's notoriously liberal listenership.  Meanwhile, Bloomberg's Eli Lake has been leaked internal documents and emails that reveal key elements and tactics of Ploughshares' spin campaign on Iran, which dates back to at least 2011:

The messaging work from Ploughshares on Iran began long before there was any Iran deal and long before Rhodes convened his regular meetings with progressive groups on shaping the Iran narrative. Beginning in August 2011, Ploughshares and its grantees formed the Iran Strategy Group. Over time this group created a sophisticated campaign to reshape the national narrative on Iran. That campaign sought to portray skeptics of diplomacy as "pro-war," and to play down the dangers of the Iranian nuclear program before formal negotiations started in 2013 only to emphasize those dangers after there was an agreement in 2015.

That demagogic messaging and demonization of critics also emanated directly from the Oval Office. Read Lake's important report in its entirety here. Meanwhile, back on the NPR front, it appears the public radio network may have gone above and beyond the call of duty when it came to shilling for the Iran deal. NPR declined to interview Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), a veteran and leading critic of the controversial accord -- and when they were confronted with this editorial decision, for which there could be any number of explanations, they lied:

The publicly funded National Public Radio declined interviews with Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.), a leading critic of the Iran nuclear deal. NPR had received funding from the liberal Ploughshares Fund, which has been exposed as being a core part of a White House-backed campaign to push lobbyists, policy analysts, and journalists in favor of the deal. When asked by reporters last week about refusing the interviews, NPR suggested that Pompeo’s office had never reached out to the station. However, multiple emails viewed by the Free Beacon demonstrate that Pompeo’s office had been in two separate talks with NPR producers about scheduling an interview.

When the Washington Free Beacon's Adam Kredo pressed the radio giant "to explain the initial statement to the Associated Press, denying it had been in contact with Rep. Pompeo, NPR stopped responding," writes John Sexton.  NPR appears to be taking its honesty and transparency cues from Ben Rhodes and friends, in addition to its foreign affairs agenda.  Before you go, be sure to read the Congressional testimony of AEI's Michael Rubin, who spells out how the Obama administration misled the American people and misrepresented the facts in its zeal to seal the accord (which was heavily opposed by voters, and a hefty bipartisan majority in Congress).  He shared this analysis at the hearing at which Ben Rhodes refused to appear to defend himself, as the White House gave their lackey cover by lashing out at their domestic political opponents. For what it's worth, National Public Radio's ombudsman says she's actively digging into the matter of her network's financial relationship with Ploughshares, and its subsequent Iran deal reportage.  They were, after all, a key player in the White House-created and Obama ally-funded "echo chamber:"

Parting thought: What isn't for sale in Obama's Washington?  Alas, both major party nominees are enthusiastic and promiscuous participants in the slimy business of transactional power politics. 

House Oversight Committee Refers Failed Oregon Obamacare Exchange to DOJ For Criminal Investigation

The House Oversight Committee released a report Wednesday detailing extreme misconduct surrounding Oregon's failed $305 million taxpayer funded Obamacare exchange and is calling on the Department of Justice to open a criminal investigation. 

“The documents and testimony show Oregon State officials misused $305 million of federal funds and improperly coordinated with former Governor John Kitzhaber’s campaign advisers.  Official decisions were made primarily for political purposes.  Cover Oregon was established as an independent organization by the legislature, and was not intended to be a wholly controlled subsidiary of the Governor’s political apparatus," House Oversight Committee Chairman wrote in a letter sent to Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum. "Evidence obtained by the Committee shows, however, close coordination between Governor Kitzhaber, his official staff, his campaign advisers, and the supposedly independent Cover Oregon.  The evidence we have uncovered implicates violations of state laws that restrict political activity by public employees.”

The report shows that despite multiple warnings the Oregon Obamacare exchange wasn't ready to launch on October 1, 2013, Democrat Governor Kitzhaber and his staff pushed through the launch (and $305 million in funding), anyway for political and ideological reasons, resulting in failure and an ultimate change over to the federal exchange. 

"The Governor’s office mixed campaign business and official business.  Kitzhaber’s Chief of Staff, Michael Bonetto, coordinated his re-election campaign team and the Governor’s official work on behalf of the state.  The Governor’s office used campaign funds to support the Governor in his official capacity," the report found. "Kitzhaber’s re-election campaign was concerned about the media coverage surrounding Cover Oregon and wanted to change the narrative in the media.  Kitzhaber’s political advisers made decisions about Cover Oregon with the Governor’s reelection campaign in mind."

The Oregon exchange isn't the only one that failed. Massachusetts, Maryland and Nevada were also epic failures in addition to Oregon, costing taxpayers nearly $500 million on top of the billions spent on Healthcare.gov. According to Americans for Tax Reform, the remaining 8 of 11 co-op exchanges are likely to collapse within the year. In total, more than $5.5 billion in federal tax dollars has been spent on failed, state-based exchanges.

You can read the entire report about the Oregon exchange and the need for a criminal investigation, here.  

Revealed: Planned Parenthood, Houston DA Did ‘End-run’ Around Attorney General During Investigation

David Daleiden, the man behind the pro-life Center for Medical Progress, has been the target of pro-abortion activists and lawmakers ever since his organization released an undercover video investigation last summer capturing Planned Parenthood employees negotiating the sale of aborted baby parts. The exposé shocked Americans and moved Congress to launch investigations into Planned Parenthood and demand we cancel its federal funding.

In January, however, a Houston grand jury excused Planned Parenthood from wrongdoing and instead chose to indict Daleiden for violating the state's “prohibition of the purchase and sale of human organs."  Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson gladly accepted their decision.

As the case got underway, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton forbid Anderson from sharing evidential material with Planned Parenthood. Yet, new reports reveal he blatantly ignored those rules. Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast attorney Josh Schaffer admitted such in a sworn declaration. 

Under oath, Schaffer admitted that he and Assistant District Attorney Sunni Mitchell attempted to do an end-run around the Texas Attorney General’s directive to Mitchell to not share raw video footage with Planned Parenthood: “I was told that the Attorney General’s office agreed to give it to the Harris County District Attorney’s office on the condition that they not give it to Planned Parenthood. Mitchell told me that she would try to obtain the footage by other means.” 

Since reporting on Planned Parenthood’s sale of aborted baby parts, Daleiden has faced threats from just about every leading abortion activist. Liberal lawmakers dismissed his group’s videos, calling them misleading and “highly edited.” Then, California Attorney General Kamala Harris ordered the raid of his home to find the Planned Parenthood tapes. Protesters demanded she resign as a result of her breach of authority.

These groups can collude against the right to life all they want, but nothing can erase the content of those stomach-churning videos. Hopefully the Houston DA and Planned Parenthood face justice for their illegal action.

Report: Ryan Ready to Endorse Trump?

Even after his much-anticipated meeting with the presumptive Republican nominee earlier this month, Paul Ryan still wasn’t ready to jump on the Trump bandwagon. The most we got from the Speaker of the House was that the meeting was encouraging, but unification is a process that takes time.

According to reports, however, it seems Ryan may now be on the verge of ending his standoff with the businessman. 

House Speaker Paul Ryan has begun telling confidants that he wants to end his standoff with Donald Trump in part because he’s worried the split has sharpened divisions in the Republican Party, according to two people close to the lawmaker.

Ryan aides say nothing has been decided about a possible Trump endorsement. But Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, told a small group of Republican lawmakers Thursday that he expects Ryan to endorse the party’s nominee as early as this week, according to two people in the meeting.

If Ryan were to endorse Trump, the move would end a nearly unprecedented standoff between the House speaker and his party’s presumptive presidential nominee, and remove the biggest remaining obstacle to Trump’s efforts to unite Republicans around his campaign.

In fact, Manafort told the gathering of Republican lawmakers that Ryan’s endorsement would put more pressure on the party’s remaining Trump holdouts to fall in line. […]

It’s not clear how Ryan, who said that he wasn’t interested in a "fake unification" of his party, would choreograph an endorsement after his initial public reluctance.

Ryan told Politico in an interview on Monday that he believes he can help play a role in unifying the GOP. “I don't want to see our party divided,” he said. “The people in the primaries are speaking.”

Dems Want Debbie Out

It’s not just her primary challenger Debbie Wasserman Schultz has to worry about—it’s now some Democrats on Capitol Hill, too, who fear the DNC chair has become too divisive a figure to unify the party ahead of the convention.

These Democrats point to her contentious relationship with the Sanders campaign throughout the primary process as reason for her to step down.

 “There have been a lot of meetings over the past 48 hours about what color plate do we deliver Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s head on,” a pro-Clinton Democratic senator said, reports The Hill.

"I don’t see how she can continue to the election," the lawmaker added. "How can she open the convention? Sanders supporters would go nuts."

The lawmaker said senators huddled on the chamber floor last week to talk about Wasserman Schultz’s future and estimated that about a dozen have weighed in during private conversations. […]

There is no indication Wasserman Schultz, who is also a Florida congresswoman, has any plans to leave her post. And Senate sources stress that a final decision won’t be made until Clinton and Sanders negotiate some type of deal aimed at healing the party. President Obama, who selected Wasserman ­Schultz as chairwoman in 2011, is expected to play a major role in any such talks.

The Clinton and Sanders campaigns have already struck a deal with Wasserman Schultz to limit her role in the convention’s platform committee.

Under DNC rules, she could have appointed all 15 members of the platform committee but instead picked only four. Clinton got to fill six positions, and Sanders chose five.

The concession, however, may not be enough to keep her in the job through the Democratic National Convention.

"There’s a strong sentiment that the current situation is untenable and can only be fixed by her leaving," a senior Senate Democratic aide said. "There’s too much water under the bridge for her to be a neutral arbiter."

But a number of other congressional Democrats went on the record with The Hill to express their support for the DNC chairwoman.

Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson assured the paper that replacing Wasserman Schultz ahead of the convention is “not going to happen.”

Sanders may be right about one thing: the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia could get “messy.” 

SAS Boss: EU Laws ‘Seriously Undermine’ British Military

LONDON, United Kingdom - Laws handed down from Brussels “seriously undermine” the UK’s ability to defend itself, according to a former SAS chief. General Sir Micheal Rose made the warning as a group of veterans launched a major new initiative to encourage former military personnel to vote to leave the European Union.

Sir Michael said: "Sovereignty and defense are indivisible. European law, in my view, has already seriously undermined UK's combat effectiveness as a result of the intrusion of European law into national law. And today, our servicemen and women are in danger of becoming no more than civilians in uniform."

He continued: "I believe that the UK's contribution to European defense can manifestly be better made solely through NATO than by trying to spread our limited resources too thinly in order to include European defense and security policy initiatives into UK's defense programme.”

Both Major General Julian Thompson OBE and Lieutenant General Jonathon Riley joined Sir Michael in the new ‘Veterans for Britain’ group. Riley, served as deputy commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan from 2007 to 2009. Thompson fought in the 1982 Falklands War, when Britain saw off an invasion of British territory 3500 miles from the UK.

Riley warned NATO would be undermined by moves towards an EU army. In 2007 the then Prime Minister signed a treaty that made provision for a European Army. Despite this the government claims the army will not be created, leading to suspicions the EU is keeping quiet about the plans until after the referendum.

On the Veterans for Britain website, the group issued the following warning: “The UK Armed Forces perform a distinctive role in underpinning the relationship between the people and UK Head of State and elected government and we are concerned that this role and this relationship would be muddied by the increasing role of the EU of UK life, including its powers in areas of defense.

“The loyalty of serving forces, new recruits and former personnel is towards the Monarch and, via the Monarch, the Nation and the British People."

It continued: “The UK and its Armed Forces would be freer, more effective, more democratic and more able to retain their distinctive capabilities and ethos if they were without the impositions being applied by the EU in defense command, defense structures, operations, procurement, intelligence and the development of new technology.”

Veterans for Britain was denounced by Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol, the EU’s Police Force. He said: "If you put at risk any part of the framework for international police cooperation and intelligence sharing, that Britain currently relies on then there clearly is potential for consequences.”

The referendum is scheduled for June 23rd with the polls too close to call. So far the ‘Remain’ campaign has been confident about winning and has issued dire warnings that leaving the EU might lead to war and financial meltdown.

As previously reported on Townhall, last month President Obama visited the UK to warn Brits the USA would not do a trade deal with the UK if it gains independence. Other politicians including Donald Trump claimed the US would be willing to do a deal.

The tactics of the ‘Remain’ campaign have been branded ‘project fear’.

Former McDonald's CEO: Robots Are Cheaper Than People at $15/Hour

A former McDonald's CEO had some harsh words for proponents of the #FightFor15: Robots are a heck of a lot cheaper and accurate than you are.

Speaking on Fox Business Network, former CEO Ed Rensi said that the fight for a $15/hour wage was "nonsense" and was going to come at the cost of jobs around the country. According to Rensi, robots exist that are able to do the same jobs as a human, for a much lower cost.

“I was at the National Restaurant Show yesterday and if you look at the robotic devices that are coming into the restaurant industry -- it’s cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than it is to hire an employee who’s inefficient making $15 an hour bagging French fries -- it’s nonsense and it’s very destructive and it’s inflationary and it’s going to cause a job loss across this country like you’re not going to believe,” said former McDonald’s (MCD) USA CEO Ed Rensi during an interview on the FOX Business Network’s Mornings with Maria.

Here's an example of a robot that can build a hamburger:

Rensi did, however, argue for a staggered minimum wage--one for high school-age students and one for other entry-level workers.

He's completely right. Kiosks are cheaper and more accurate than humans, and they're starting to creep their way into the food industry. Setting a wage at $15/hour (or any other arbitrarily high figure) will not help low-skilled workers--it will just shut them out of a job.

India Signs $500 Million Port Deal With Iran

India and Iran signed a series of agreements Monday that will increase trade between the two countries and pour billions of dollars into Iran’s economy. This comes less than five months after the U.S. and European Union lifted its economic sanctions on the state sponsor of terrorism.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met in Tehran, signing a deal that will enable the development of Iran’s Chabahar port. India has a vested interest in building the port, as it gives India access to Russian and Central Asian markets.

Quartz interviewed a former diplomat who served as the Indian high commissioner to Pakistan, G Parthasarathy, who said India’s access to nearby Chabahar is essential because exports currently must travel on an out-of-the-way path around Pakistan.

“It (Pakistan) deliberately delays transit of our goods through Karachi, which is not a reliable or efficient port of transit,” Parthasarathy said. “This is more so when it comes to sensitive items like defense supplies. We, therefore, have to transit through the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, which is some distance away, making exports more expensive and slow.”

Modi pledged that India will spend $500 million building the port and invest another $16 billion in the Chabahar free trade zone. Experts say this deluge of cash will affect the economies of both India and Iran.

For India, this access to new markets allows the country to expand trade to countries such as Afghanistan, Russia, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan. Partnerships and new resources await India when they reach these countries, according to Christine Fair, an associate professor at Georgetown University.

“Iran is the only way for India to conduct trade with Central Asia and Russia,” Fair said. “Thus, this port is critical to Indian power projection in to Central Asia and elsewhere. Also, India has significant hydrocarbon needs and Iran will remain an important source.”

India Today reported Monday that Indian firms want to use the crude oil resources in Iran to build an aluminum smelter plant.

Iran has been eager to involve itself in the world’s economy since the U.S. and EU lifted their sanctions in January. Soon after, its government signed a deal with China to increase trade there to $600 billion in the next ten years. Now India has solidified its ties to the state as well.

India, a rising power in Asia, has relationships with states in the Middle East—Israel, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates. Some experts are concerned that it will be difficult to maintain partnerships with states that have such opposing interests, but Sanjaya Baru of the International Institute for Strategic Studies is not worried.

“India now maintains a balanced West Asian policy of maintaining good relations with Saudi Sunnis, Iranian Shias and Israel’s Jews,” Baru said. “It is a policy all three have come to understand, perhaps even appreciate.”

The nuclear deal between the U.S., five other world powers, and Iran was widely criticized when it was signed in 2015. Many worried the country would not comply with the weak nuclear disarmament provisions in the deal. Despite this, the U.S. went forward with it; in January sanctions were lifted. It remains to be seen if Iran, who has made progress in constructing a nuclear weapon and funds terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah, will make good on its promises and implement India’s desired free-trade policies.

Donald Trump Wins Washington; Inches Closer to Officially Clinching Nomination

Presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump has won the Washington Republican primary. He garnered over three-fourths of the total vote.

Ted Cruz and John Kasich were virtually tied for second place, with about ten percent each.

Washington has 44 delegates at stake. Trump currently has 1,193. A candidate needs 1,237 delegates to officially clinch the nomination ahead of the convention.

Anti-Trump Protesters Break Down Barrier, Light Fires, Throw Rocks at Police

The scene outside of a Donald Trump rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico descended into chaos as anti-Trump protesters first broke through a barrier, lit things on fire, and threw rocks at police officers.

Some form of smoke bomb or pepper spray was used by the police to break up the protesters. The protesters were primarily opposed to Trump's proposals on immigration.

There were also protests inside the rally, and Trump's speech was interrupted several times.

Mea Culpa: Hamburgers Are Not $170 In Venezuela, But Socialism Has Still Destroyed The Country

So, my apologies folks—the story about hyperinflation being so out of control that burgers cost $170 turned out to be a misfire. The Agence France-Presse killed the story due to errors in the exchange rate:

This story has been killed due to an error in the exchange rate used in the original. A new version will follow.

Still, the nation is so broke that it can’t print its own currency. They still have rolling blackouts due to energy shortages. There’s still hunger to the point where people are killing dogs, cats, and pigeons for food. There’s still rampant looting since supermarkets are not regularly stocked. Toilet paper is now a luxury item. And hospitals are still in need of soap and basic medical supplies. Also, babies are still dying in hospitals due to energy shortages and inadequate care. Yes, Coca-Cola and Bridgestone are halting production of its products due to the declining economic conditions, the lack of supplies, the heavy regulations, or a combination of the three. Oh, and let's not forget the complete breakdown of law and order.

Venezuela is a total disaster—socialism is to blame. But hey, burgers might be somewhat affordable. 

House GOP Women Up For Reelection Lukewarm On Trump

As Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s incendiary comments about women have dominated headlines, his poll numbers among the demographic have stayed low; only 33% of women have a favorable view of Trump, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

For the five GOP women in the House of Representatives up for reelection in November, support of Trump is, as Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., put it, “awkward.”

If the representatives back their party’s nominee, they must defend the rhetoric that many view as anti-woman. On the other hand, if they denounce him, Trump supporters may not vote for the women in the upcoming election.

The Associated Press interviewed the five representatives, who shared mixed reactions to the nominee. Some, like Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash, and Martha McSally, R-Ariz., expressed concern about Trump’s tone.

McMorris Rodgers, House's top-ranking GOP woman, said she will vote for Trump though "not exactly" with enthusiasm and "vehemently" opposes his remarks about women, those with disabilities and others, according to AP.

McSally’s campaign released a statement she will spend time "determining what kind of man he is." She said she respects "the will of voters" but had "concerns" about Trump's statements on women.

Others dodged the question or gave tepid endorsements. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-NY, said she would support the Republican Party’s nominee but did not comment any further.

Rep. Mia Love represents Utah, a state in which Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, won 69% of the vote in its March primary. Trump won only 14%. Love said she has not endorsed Trump and, according to AP, “wouldn’t want him campaigning with her.”

Trump’s history with women has come under fire in recent months. Critics cite a long list of women who have been the subject of Trump’s disparaging comments, Megyn Kelly, Heidi Cruz, Carly Fiorina, and Michelle Fields among them.

These female representatives’ struggles with the presumptive Republican nominee reflect the view of many in GOP who find themselves stuck between embracing party unity in hopes of winning the general election and defending the conservative values they say Trump does not have.

One representative, Renee Ellmers, R-NC, explicitly endorsed Trump and said women “don’t care what’s happened in the past. They see him as a leader, as a problem solver.”

Follow Up: Filmmaker Discusses Video Showing Students Donating Money For Hamas to Blow Up Israeli Civilians

In case you missed it, filmmaker Ami Horowitz recently visited Portland State University to raise money for the fake organization "American Friends of Hamas." Horowitz openly told students he was raising money for Hamas, a terrorist organization, in order to suicide bomb soft targets like schools, hospitals and cafes in Israel. He raised nearly $300 within an hour of being on campus. 

During an interview with Fox and Friends Tuesday, Horowitz detailed his experience and noted not a single person  told him what he was doing was wrong.

Here's the original video:

Sadly, anti-Israel and anti-semitic movements on college campuses are thriving.