FL Senate: Yes, Democrat Bill Nelson Could Be in Deep, DEEP Trouble

In the Sunshine State, Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, is banking on incumbency and gun control to get him over the top. He’s been lucky throughout his Senate career in facing opponents who haven’t been the best, especially during his 2000 re-election campaign. This year is different—and he knew it. Last year, Politico reported that Nelson met with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and other Democrats ahead what will be a true contest. He’ll be fighting for his political life and he needs money. Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who is term-limited, has tossed his hat into the ring. Despite his recent betrayal of Second Amendment rights by signing an appalling law that increased the age of gun purchases to 21, he’s a solid candidate. Independently wealthy, he can fund his own race. He’s also proving himself to be an adept campaigner, hitting Hispanic outreach hard, which is making Democratic activists very nervous. Another startling sign: only 49 percent know who the hell Nelson is in the state. Not a good sign for a three-term incumbent (via Politico):

Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s Senate campaign has a Spanish-language web page. Sen. Bill Nelson’s doesn’t.

Scott is advertising in Spanish. Nelson isn’t. . .

For Democrats who recognize protecting Nelson’s seat is essential to their hopes of winning a Senate majority this fall, the veteran senator’s lackluster outreach to one of the fastest-growing voting blocs in the nation’s largest swing state is causing alarm.

The depth of Nelson’s troubles — and Scott’s advantage — came into sharp focus last month in four focus groups conducted in Central Florida’s influential Puerto Rican community, where few knew who Nelson was, despite his three Senate terms and holding elected Florida office for 41 years.

(Read more from “FL Senate: Yes, Democrat Bill Nelson Could Be in Deep, Deep Trouble” HERE)

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Democrats’ Border Separation Bill Would Let Nearly All Parents Who Commit Federal Crimes Get off Scot-Free

Democrats’ proposed legislation to prohibit so-called border separations would actually prevent federal law enforcement agencies almost anywhere inside the United States from arresting and detaining criminals who are parents having nothing to do with unlawfully crossing the border and seeking asylum.

Every Senate Democrat has now signed on to cosponsor a bill written so carelessly that it does not distinguish between migrant children at the border and U.S. citizen children already within the United States. The bill further does not distinguish between federal officers handling the border crisis and federal law enforcement pursuing the ordinary course of their duties.

Let’s break down Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s proposed “Keep Families Together Act” to see where Democrats went wrong. The bill provides that “[a]n agent or officer of a designated agency shall be prohibited from removing a child from his or her parent or legal guardian at or near the port of entry or within 100 miles of the border of the United States” (with three exceptions to be discussed later). Four immediate warning signs in this provision should put the reader on notice that this bill is not what Democrats claim.

First, “designated agency” here is defined as the entirety of the federal departments of Homeland Security, Justice, and Health and Human Services. The scope of the bill is not limited to those portions of these departments involved with the border crisis, and there is no other limiting factor in the bill that would cabin the prohibition on family separation to immigration-related matters. In other words, this bill is going to regulate conduct across a great many federal offices that have nothing to do with separating children from families arriving unlawfully in the United States.

Second, “agent or officer” is not defined by the legislation, except to say that it includes contractors. Federal law, however, already defines “officer” to include (with exceptions not relevant here) every federal employee appointed to the civil service by the head of an executive agency and ultimately overseen by the head of an executive agency. (Read more from “Democrats’ Border Separation Bill Would Let Nearly All Parents Who Commit Federal Crimes Get off Scot-Free” HERE)

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The IG Report on FBI’s Clinton Probe Reveals This Saga May Be Just Getting Started

The media has focused almost exclusively on the conclusion of the Justice Department inspector general’s report on the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email probe, which found bias did not impact the probe, as well as the lack of any newly announced indictments or criminal referrals. The goal of course being to downplay the negative findings of the report.

At the same time, the press gave, at most, passing mention to the statement Attorney General Jeff Sessions simultaneously released. But his statement and the findings of the report make one thing clear: This isn’t over.

Here’s why. Throughout the 568-page report, the IG highlighted several areas meriting additional investigation. And Sessions said the report “reveals a number of significant errors by the senior leadership of the Department of Justice and the FBI during the previous administration,” and stressed “this is not the end of the process.”

United States Attorney John Huber continues his work in cooperation with the IG to review certain prosecutorial and investigative determinations made by the Justice Department in 2016 and 2017. Based on his review of the report and his own investigation, Huber will provide recommendations as to whether any matter not currently under investigation should be opened, whether any matters currently under investigation required further resources, or whether any matters merit the appointment of Special Counsel.”

Put simply: There is still much to be done and much to come. What is likely over is the possibility the Justice Department will re-investigate Clinton for mishandling of classified information, or prosecute her. That’s a good thing. Clinton is done. While she may never face justice in a court of law, perhaps losing the presidency is a more prescient and proper punishment. (Read more from “The IG Report on FBI’s Clinton Probe Reveals This Saga May Be Just Getting Started” HERE)

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Mike Pence Slams Schumer for What He Just Said About GOP Solutions for Family Separation

By The Blaze. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday that Democrats would reject Congressional efforts to ban the policy separating migrant children from their families in order to keep the focus on President Donald Trump. . .

Schumer addressed the crisis of families being separated at the border on Tuesday, but rejected two bills that Republicans had offered as solution to the policy some called “cruel.”

“There are so many obstacles to legislation and when the president can do it with his own pen, it makes no sense,” Schumer said to reporters Tuesday. “Legislation is not the way to go here when it’s so easy for the president to sign it.”

Democrats have accused the administration of purposely changing immigration policy in order to separate families as a deterrent against illegal immigration, but the Trump administration has argued that the law was enacted prior to his term.

“Again, the president can change it with his pen,” the Democratic leader continued after being asked if Democrats would support a Republican bill to keep families together at the border while seeking asylum.

(Read more from “Mike Pence Slams Schumer for What He Just Said About GOP Solutions for Family Separation” HERE)

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Obama Security Chief Napolitano Saw Separating Families at Border as ‘Bad Idea,’ She Says

By Fox News. Janet Napolitano, who served as Homeland Security secretary under President Barack Obama, said in an interview Tuesday that she once considered the option of separating families at the border but decided “pretty quickly that it would be a bad idea.”

Napolitano, now president of the University of California system, told the Los Angeles Times that the idea was considered while the Obama administration worked to create a safe area at the border.

“As you work through and you realize the difference between handling these as civil deportation matters as opposed to criminal prosecution matters, it was pretty clear off the bat that this would not be a good idea,” she said. She also said the plan was inconsistent with American values.

Nearly 2,300 children have been separated from their families over a six-week period in April and May after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a new “zero-tolerance” policy that refers all cases of illegal entry for criminal prosecution. U.S. protocol prohibits detaining children with their parents because the children are not charged with a crime and the parents are.

The Trump administration has been sending babies and other young children to at least three “tender age” shelters in South Texas, the Associated Press reported late Tuesday. (Read more from “Obama Security Chief Napolitano Saw Separating Families at Border as ‘Bad Idea,’ She Says” HERE)

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Largest in History: Ex-CIA Engineer Charged With Massive Leak to Wikileaks

By Politico. A former CIA computer engineer has been indicted on charges he masterminded what appears to be the largest leak of classified information in the spy agency’s history.

Joshua Schulte, 29, was charged in a new grand jury indictment with providing WikiLeaks with a massive trove of U.S. government hacking tools that the online publisher posted in March 2017, the Justice Department announced on Monday.

Schulte was previously facing child pornography charges in federal court in New York, but the indictment broadens the case to accuse him of illegally gathering classified information, damaging CIA computers, lying to investigators and numerous other offenses.

In January, attorneys involved in the child porn case revealed in court that Schulte was the target of a major investigation into WikiLeaks’ release of a CIA collection known as “Vault 7.” (Read more from “Largest in History: Ex-CIA Engineer Charged With Massive Leak to Wikileaks” HERE)

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Ex-CIA Worker Charged for Massive Leak of ‘Vault 7’ Hacking Tools to Wikileaks

By South China Morning Post. A former employee in the CIA’s cyber-spying operation was indicted Monday on charges of leaking hacking tools to WikiLeaks in one of the most damaging of the agency’s breaches in recent years.

Joshua Schulte, 29, was charged with leaking unspecified information on the Central Intelligence Agency’s intelligence-gathering capabilities to a group identified only as “Organisation-1”, which then released the information on the internet.

While the indictment gave no other details, in earlier filings Schulte’s lawyer indicated the investigation involved the leak to WikiLeaks of the “Vault 7” collection of hacking tools, malware, viruses, trojans, and “zero day” exploits which comprised the CIA’s most valuable tools for tapping into adversaries’ computers.

WikiLeaks began releasing the 8,761 documents from Vault 7 in March 2017, embarrassing the agency and providing professional and amateur hackers around the world with the same tools that US spies used. (Read more from “Ex-CIA Worker Charged for Massive Leak of ‘Vault 7’ Hacking Tools to Wikileaks” HERE)

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Here’s How ‘Challenging’ It Was to Find Strzok’s ‘We’ll Stop’ Trump Text Message

The Department of Justice’s inspector general said Monday that his investigators went to extensive lengths to obtain a text message in which former FBI official Peter Strzok suggested that he planned to help prevent President Donald Trump from becoming president.

Michael Horowitz, the head of the DOJ’s office of inspector general (OIG), said that his cyber forensics team took four separate investigative steps before discovering a controversial Aug. 8, 2016 text message that Strzok sent to former FBI attorney Lisa Page.

The forensic team went as far as contacting the Pentagon for help in extracting text messages that were missing from Strzok and Page’s FBI-issued cell phones. . .

Republicans have pointed to the text message as evidence of political bias on the part of Strzok, who worked for several months on the special counsel’s Russia investigation. The OIG report said that the text message showed that Strzok “of a biased state of mind” and implied “a willingness to take official action to impact the presidential candidate’s electoral prospects.” . . .

Horowitz said that while the initial process of obtaining Strzok-Page messages from the FBI was “easy,” recovering the “We’ll stop it” text proved “challenging.” He also said that the painstaking process used to recover the message and others raises concerns about the FBI’s text message retention system. (Read more from “Here’s How ‘Challenging’ It Was to Find Strzok’s ‘We’ll Stop’ Trump Text Message” HERE)

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Wonder Why Strzok Agreed to Testify? He Never Said ‘Under Oath’

The long-awaited Department of Justice Office of Inspector General’s report on the FBI’s mishandling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation was finally released last week, and anti-Trump FBI agent Peter Strzok figured heavily in the many examples of political bias among bureau officials.

Strzok had been a lead agent on the Clinton email investigation as well as the FBI’s investigation of alleged collusion between Russia and candidate Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. He also served briefly on special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, until his aggressively anti-Trump text messages with former FBI lawyer Lisa Page were initially revealed in 2017.

Given Strzok’s apparent and quite obvious animus against Trump, certain congressional committees had discussed issuing a subpoena to compel his testimony, such as the House Judiciary Committee chaired by Virginia Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte, according to Politico.

But it would seem that a subpoena will prove unnecessary to compel Strzok’s testimony before the committee, as a Politico reporter shared via Twitter a letter from Strzok’s attorney to Goodlatte stating that the FBI agent would voluntarily testify before the Judiciary or any other committee that wanted to speak with him. . .

On the other hand, it has also been noted that Strzok’s offer to appear before Congress lacked the words “under oath.” If he were to appear of his own volition, rather than under a subpoena, it’s possible he could avoid being sworn in before he testified, meaning he’d have a bit more wiggle room to speak without fear of potentially committing perjury. (Read more from “Wonder Why Strzok Agreed to Testify? He Never Said ‘Under Oath’” HERE)

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Comey Under Investigation for Handling of Classified Information

By The Daily Caller. Former FBI director James Comey is under investigation for mishandling classified information, DOJ inspector general Michael Horowitz revealed Monday.

He is specifically under investigation for his handling of memos he wrote about interactions with President Trump while FBI director.

“Comey said he did not expect a report on his handling of classified information because, ‘That’s frivolous.’ I don’t happen to think that it is frivolous,” Sen. Chuck Grassley said during a Senate hearing Monday.

(Read more from “Comey Under Investigation for Handling of Classified Information” HERE)

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Senate Judiciary Chair Grassley Calls for Probe of James Comey’s ‘Disturbing’ Email Practices

By Fox News. Investigators should probe whether former FBI Director James Comey discussed classified information using a personal email account, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said Monday at a hearing on the Justice Department watchdog’s bombshell report on the handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe.

FBI Director Christopher Wray and Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz were testifying before the panel.

During the hearing, Horowitz revealed that the DOJ watchdog is already investigating Comey concerning his leaked memos documenting his interactions with President Trump, which critics charged may have contained classified information.

“We’ve received a referral on that from the FBI … and we will issue a report when the matter is complete,” Horowitz said.

Under questioning from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-TX, Wray pointedly refused to discuss specifics over whether Comey had lied in his previous testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, citing “pending” investigative matters at the FBI. (Read more from “Senate Judiciary Chair Grassley Calls for Probe of James Comey’s ‘Disturbing’ Email Practices” HERE)

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In Devastating Blow to Credibility, Southern Poverty Law Center Pays Millions for Labeling Activist an Extremist

By Washington Times. The Southern Poverty Law Center took a devastating hit to its credibility and reinforced its reputation for unfairly wielding the “hate” label Monday by agreeing to pay millions of dollars to an organization previously included on a list of “extremists.”

In a stunning settlement, SPLC President Richard Cohen issued an apology and agreed to pay $3.375 million to the British-based Quilliam Foundation and founder Maajid Nawaz after they appeared in a since-deleted 2016 journalists’ guide to “anti-Muslim extremists.”

The agreement, reached after Mr. Nawaz threatened to sue, prompted the center’s many critics on the right to reissue calls for media outlets and companies, which include Google and Amazon, to stop relying on the center for neutral “hate group” assessments.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, one of 954 groups listed on the SPLC’s “hate map,” argued that the settlement terms “leave the media and big business with no excuse in continuing to use the SPLC as an objective, independent source.”

“The Southern Poverty has long been the Left’s pit bull — resorting to smears and a hate map to advance its liberal political agenda,” Mr. Perkins said in a statement. “But its falsehoods and dangerous tactics have finally caught up with them — with the group doling out millions in a defamatory settlement.” (Read more from “In Devastating Blow to Credibility, Southern Poverty Law Center Pays Millions for Labeling Activist an Extremist” HERE)

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SPLC Apologizes, Pays Settlement to Islamic Reformer It Wrongly Labeled ‘Anti-Muslim Extremist’

By National Review. The Southern Poverty Law Center has reached a settlement with liberal Islamic reformer Maajid Nawaz and his organization, the Quilliam Foundation, for wrongly including them on its now-defunct list of “anti-Muslim extremists.”

The SPLC announced Monday that it has agreed to pay Nawaz and Quilliam $3.375 million “to fund their work to fight anti-Muslim bigotry and extremism.” The settlement was the result of a lawsuit Nawaz filed in April over his inclusion on the SPLC’s “Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists.”

The list, which was published in 2016 and was intended to serve as a resource for journalists, was deleted shortly after Nawaz filed the suit. The deletion came roughly two years after Nawaz first demanded a retraction. (Read more from “SPLC Apologizes, Pays Settlement to Islamic Reformer It Wrongly Labeled ‘Anti-Muslim Extremist’” HERE)

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Today’s Internet Not ‘Sustainable,’ Experts Warn

The digital world has been flooded with concerns in recent months over the power of the giant tech companies, particularly Google and Facebook, to control the flow of information. . .

Now Congress has been told that the “digital ecosystem” that exists today is unworkable.

“Two companies dominate the market. The privacy of internet users is under assault. The revenue model that sustained journalism is broken. The ad platforms are manipulated by foreign adversaries. Secrecy and complexity are increasing as accountability is diminished,” said the Electronic Privacy Information Center in a statement delivered to members of Congress. . .

The letter explained: “Today’s digital advertising techniques are very different from traditional advertising models. In the analog world, consumers could readily identify the placement of an ad, the source and its purpose. There was little need for advertisers to gather personal data from users. Perhaps most critically, advertising supported editorial content. Advertising made possible the publication of daily news. Traditional advertising sustained a healthy ecosystem that also made possible the production of news without government subsidy. Much of that has changed,” the letter said.

“There are many problems today with the Digital Advertising Ecosystems – profiling and tracking of internet users, increasing concentration of providers (Google and Facebook), the loss of support for editorial content, discriminatory practices and redlining, preferencing the advertiser’s products over competitor’s, and political ads purchased by foreign advertisers intended [to] undermine democratic elections. (Read more from “Today’s Internet Not ‘Sustainable,’ Experts Warn” HERE)

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