The chairman of the House Oversight Committee has asserted that two sets of notes that they received from the FBI regarding their interview with Hillary Clinton over her private email server don’t match up.
The committee is scheduled to hold a hearing in September to look at the possibility of charging the former Secretary of State with perjury for making misleading statements to Congress — and in the meantime, the FBI has provided them with two sets of notes from the interview they conducted with her.
“Hillary Clinton is out there saying there’s not very much sensitive information in there, that she didn’t trade in sensitive classified information. It’s so sensitive and so classified that even I as the chairman of the Oversight Committee don’t have the high level of clearance to see what’s in those materials,” Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz stated on MSNBC Monday morning. “I think the documents are overly classified. We’re going to call on the FBI this week to give us a version where there’s non-classified, the unclassified material and the classified material redacted so that that could be out there in the public. I think that’s the right thing to do.”
Beyond the issue of not being allowed to see the full materials, Chairman Jason Chaffetz has asserted that they were provided with two completely inconsistent sets of documents.
The notes the FBI originally handed over to the committee were so “highly redacted” that Chaffetz asked to be provided with a second, classified, set — which they did. There are several problems with the documents, however, Chaffetz has asserted. First of all, was the fact that the two sets don’t match.
“The … thing that is stunning to me, which I found out last night, is the FBI gave us one set of documents. Then we asked them, and they … gave us a second copy in a classified setting. But they’re different,” Chaffetz continued.
Chaffetz could not provide an explanation for the differences, but stated that he will be seeking one from the FBI.
“We have a second set of documents that’s now different. You turn them page by page, and they’re different. I don’t know why that happens,” Chaffetz added. “So we’re going back to square one. We’ve only had them for days, but still, the second copy is different from the first copy. Why is that?”
Chaffetz also demanded that the second set of documents are “embarrassing” and should not be labeled classified.
“A lot of this that they claim is classified is just flat-out embarrassing. There’s nothing classified about it, it’s just embarrassing. It’s a lot of immature name-calling, stuff like that,” Chaffetz said.
Chaffetz did add that he was not accusing the FBI of protecting Clinton, though he criticized the agency for not looking at her underoath testimony.
“I’m stunned the FBI director came before Congress and testified that during their year-long investigation, they never looked at the under oath testimony from Hillary Clinton,” Chaffetz asserted.
“You’re kidding me? You’re doing an investigation about the email scandal, and you never look at what she said under oath? Politicians lie, but when you’re under oath, you can’t do that.”
Tim Canova, the Sanders-endorsed primary challenger to former Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, has filed a Federal Election Commission (FEC) complaint against her over details found in the Wikileaks DNC email dump.
Tim Canova and Debbie Wasserman Schultz
“It is now clear that our opponent, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, improperly and illegally abused her position at the Democratic National Committee to coordinate against our campaign,” Canova wrote in an email to supporters on Monday.
The complaint alleges that “the DNC paid a team of national, senior communications and political professionals significant sums of money for their consulting services and the Wasserman Schultz for Congress Campaign utilized these services free of charge.”
In his email to supporters, Canova asserts that he learned of his opponent’s abuse of her position through Wikileaks.
“Emails exposed by Wikileaks show that the DNC, under the direction of our opponent, used its considerable resources — which are supposed to help elect Democrats — to track me, interfere with our events, and to assist the Wasserman Schultz campaign in communications strategy,” the email states.
“There are numerous instances revealed in these emails, including an extensive series of messages between Wasserman Schultz, her staff at the DNC, and her campaign staff coordinating their response to Bernie Sanders’ endorsement of our campaign.”
Canova, a law professor, has faced significant hurdles in attempting to challenge Wasserman-Schultz in the Florida primary.
In March, Wasserman Schultz barred her Congressional challenger from using the party’s voter data files — citing a rule implemented in 2010 banning candidates running against incumbents from using the information.
“This policy has been applied uniformly across the board since 2010. We stand with our incumbent members of Congress, and we’re proud of the job they do representing the people of Florida. The Voter File is proprietary software created and owned by the Democratic National Committee that is maintained and operated by the Florida Democratic Party here in state,” party spokesperson Max Steele said of the denial.
Canova did not back down however, and argued that the rules are unfair.
“I said, ‘I completely understand the need to protect incumbents from Republicans,'” Canova said. “But from other Democrats in a primary? Why would the party take a side in that contest?”
A week later, following massive outrage, the decision was overturned by the Florida Democratic Party.
In addition to the attempts to squash his campaign, Wasserman-Schultz has also refused to debate him.
Last week, the disgraced Congresswoman finally agreed to the challenge — yet Canova claims that he still has not heard from her to begin planning the event ahead of the August 30 primary contest.
“I was initially pleased to receive the news that you would debate me. However, it has been four days since you made your “Yes, I will debate my opponent” statement to Anthony Man and Rosemary O’Hara of the Sun Sentinel newspaper and I have still not heard from you or anyone on your campaign about setting a schedule for debates. I understand that at least one local TV reporter called your office last week about scheduling a debate, and that he has still received no response,” Canova wrote in an open letter on Medium.
Tens of thousands of voters have signed petitions calling for the debate.
“Unfortunately, in the eyes of so many, your decision to continue dodging debates reflects contempt for fair and open elections and for democracy itself,” Canova concluded his letter.
Wasserman-Schultz resigned from her position at the DNC last month, following Wikileaks proving that party officials actively worked to undermine the Sanders campaign. She was immediately hired by Clinton to take over the top role in her campaign, as the honorary chair to all 50 states.
“There’s simply no one better at taking the fight to the Republicans than Debbie,” Clinton said in a statement immediately following Wasserman Schultz’ resignation, “which is why I am glad that she has agreed to serve as honorary chair of my campaign’s 50-state program to gain ground and elect Democrats in every part of the country, and will continue to serve as a surrogate for my campaign nationally, in Florida, and in other key states.”
Despite strong bipartisan votes in both the House and Senate to allow military veterans to receive medical marijuana recommendations through the Department of Veterans Affairs (V.A.), Congressional leadership is blocking the change from becoming law.
Last month, the House approved an amendment to let veterans get medical marijuana recommendations from V.A. doctors by a vote of 233 – 189. On the same day, the Senate passed its version of legislation to fund the V.A. through 2017, which included a medical marijuana provision that had already been attached to the bill by the body’s Appropriations Committee in a vote of 20 – 10.
After bills pass both the House and Senate, leadership appoints a conference committee made up of members from either chamber who then meet to reconcile the differences into a final package to be sent to the president for enactment.
Marijuana policy observers expected that the conference committee would include protections for veterans who need medical cannabis since the measures passed so handily through bipartisan votes in both chambers.
But the final V.A. spending package released late Wednesday night is totally silent on the issue, forcing veterans who want medical marijuana to continue to seek recommendations from doctors outside the V.A., which can be costly and time-consuming.
The news comes just one day after Congressional Republicans blocked amendments that would allow state-legal cannabis businesses to access banking services and let Washington, D.C. spend its own money to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana sales from being considered on the House floor.
The veterans medical cannabis language approved by the House and Senate differed somewhat.
The Senate bill read:
None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available to the Department of Veterans Affairs in this Act may be used in a manner that would—
(1) interfere with the ability of a veteran to participate in a medicinal marijuana program approved by a State;
(2) deny any services from the Department to a veteran who is participating in such a program; or
(3) limit or interfere with the ability of a health care provider of the Department to make appropriate recommendations, fill out forms, or take steps to comply with such a program.
Whereas the House bill said:
None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to implement, administer, or enforce Veterans Health Administration directive 2011-004 (or directive of the same substance) with respect to the prohibition on “VA providers from completing forms seeking recommendations or opinions regarding a Veteran’s participation in a State marijuana program”.
Neither version made it into the conference committee’s report, which the House passed at 3:10 AM Thursday morning by a vote of 239 – 171.
The V.A. policy disallowing its doctors from recommending medical marijuana in states where it is legal actually expired on January 31 but, under the department’s procedures, the ban technically remains in effect until a new policy is enacted.
Advocates expect a new policy soon, but aren’t sure what it will say. In February 2015, a top V.A. official testified before a House committee that the department is undertaking “active discussions” about how to address the growing number of veterans who are seeking cannabis treatments.
The final V.A. bill now heads back to the Senate for an up-or-down vote and, if passed, to President Obama for his signature
Read more http://www.marijuana.com/blog/news/2016/06/congress-blocks-medical-marijuana-for-military-veterans/
An amendment added to Congress’ annual intelligence spending bill may help the public gain a better idea of the U.S. government’s relationship with Hollywood.
According to VICE News, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC), included an amendment to S. 3017 that would require the Director of National Intelligence to submit reports detailing the relationship between the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agencies and Hollywood. It would also require 15 other agencies to disclose the nature of their relationships with the film industry. These reports would have to be presented annually to congressional oversight committees.
Between 2006 and 2011, VICE reported, the CIA’s Office of Public Affairs (OPA) had a role in at least 22 of the U.S. entertainment industry’s projects. Some of the productions listed by VICE included the films Argo and Zero Dark Thirty, television shows like Top Chef and Covert Affairs, and documentaries such as the History channel’s Air Americaand the BBC’s The Secret War on Terror. The book, The Devil’s Light, also had the help of the CIA.
Between 2006 and 2011, VICE reported, the CIA’s Office of Public Affairs (OPA) had a role in at least 22 of the U.S. entertainment industry’s projects
Some of the most controversial findings regarding the relationship between OPA officials and Hollywood insiders were tied to the blockbuster, Zero Dark Thirty.
According to the redacted and previously classified December 2012 CIA report released byJudicial Watch, the CIA granted “‘secret level’ access to the makers of the movie Zero Dark Thirty.” According to VICE, “filmmakers Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal showered CIA officers involved in the operation with gifts and received unprecedented access, which included the disclosure of classified information to Bigelow and Boal by CIA director Leon Panetta.”
While these revealing facts shocked the world at the time of their release, the relationship between the CIA and the entertainment industry actually dates back to the 1950s.
According to an interview with Public Radio International, Tricia Jenkins, author of The CIA in Hollywood, says that the CIA “developed a think tank to fight communist ideology, which negotiated the rights to George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ – getting a talking pig on the screen 20 years before ‘Charlotte’s Web.’” The agency pressed for “line changes in 1950s scripts to make black characters more dignified, and white characters more tolerant” in order to promote “an attractive image of America to a world picking sides in the Cold War.”
In 1996, PRI reports, the CIA employed a Hollywood liaison. Chase Brandon was the cousin of actor Tommy Lee Jones, a relationship that lent the agency a great number of valuable Hollywood connections. After Brandon was brought on, Jenkins explains, the portrayal of the CIA changed:
Before the 1990s, in films like ‘Three Days of the Condor’, the CIA was portrayed as evil, amoral assassins, or sometimes buffoons, like Max on the TV show ‘Get Smart’.
“Now,” Jenkins told PRI, “it’s a much more favorable presentation. Frequently being depicted as a moral organization that is highly efficient. It rarely makes mistakes, it’s needed more than ever.”
PRI reports that some of the productions that had received support from the CIA since the 1990s included The Sum of All Fears. Television productions such as 24, Homeland, and Alias, which ran in the 2000s, also received CIA guidance and input. Uglier Hollywood portraits have also been produced without the CIA consent, such as Syriana, which was developed with the help of former agents.
Once Feinstein’s and Burr’s amendment, along the Intelligence Authorization bill, is voted on by the Senate, we may know more about the relationship between Hollywood and the CIA. However, a review date is yet to be scheduled
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The tap water in a congressional office building has been found to be contaminated with levels of lead above the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) action level.
Cannon House Office Building
On Tuesday, a letter was sent from the Architect of the Capitol, who oversees maintenance of the offices, warning of alarming lead levels in the Cannon House Office Building — one of the oldest congressional buildings in the District.
Canon was built in 1908, long before the world was aware of the dangers of lead pipes.
While there is no “safe” level of lead that humans can ingest, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the EPA urges immediate action be taken when it reaches 15 parts of lead per billion — a marker which the Canon Building’s water has surpassed.
“Although the cause of the increase remains under investigation, in an abundance of caution all drinking water sources and office-provided water filtration units in the building will be turned off beginning at 10 p.m. Tuesday, June 28, 2016,” the letter stated.
Bottled water will be provided for staff and visitors instead.
It seems the far spread issue of toxic drinking water has finally hit Congress close to home — ironically, as they appear to have slowed on their actions to rectify the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.
The city of Flint made global headlines after it was determined that their water had lead levels so high that it was considered “toxic waste” by the EPA.
The poisoning of the water began in April 2014, when the city stopped receiving its supply from Detroit, instead shifting to water taken directly from the Flint River — a source known to have a high corrosive salt content. Corrosive salts in the water damaged the lead pipes, causing that material to be released into resident’s water.
In October of 2015, one full year later, the state changed the city’s drinking water source back from the polluted Flint River to the Detroit water system, but warned that the water was still not fully safe.
Earlier on Tuesday, a new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) reported that Flint is not an isolated incident, and that there are many other cities facing extreme lead contamination in their drinking water.
The NRDC examined the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) violation and enforcement records from 2013-2015 and found that over 3.9 million people are receiving water that exceeds the agency’s action level.
Incredibly, Flint –the poisoned city that has become a rallying cry for safe water –was not included in the statistics, due to the fact that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality still has not officially reported that the city was in violation of the Lead and Copper Rule.
“If Flint’s extraordinary lead contamination problems are not included in the EPA’s official compliance data, how many other municipalities’ serious lead problems are being swept under the rug by officials responsible for protecting public health?” Erik Olson, director of the NRDC’s health program, asked the press during a telephone conference on Tuesday.
Lead is extremely harmful to young children who may face delayed growth, developmental issues, as well as other mental and physical problems as a result of exposure. Exposure also can cause a host of physical issues in adults including headaches, memory loss, decreased mental function, systemic pain, high blood pressure, and infertility.