Bombshell Hillary Email Explains Why Thousands of Classified Emails Were Unmarked

Hillary’s June 17, 2011 email message to advisor Jake Sullivan already is being called a “smoking gun” by her critics.  A better way to describe it is like a puzzle piece:  while it is by no means a final piece, it is a single piece that immediately shows you what the overall picture really looks like as soon as it snaps into place.

Just released by the State Department, the message is part of an  email string between Hillary and adviser Jake Sullivan dated June 16-17, 2011.  The emails involve a set of talking points that Hillary was waiting on from her staff (the actual talking points were redacted).  The talking points had been drafted in hard copy, on a document that was labeled as “classified”.  Because of its classified status, Hillary’s staff had tried to send it to her by secure fax, but there was a delay encountered with the attempts to transmit the document to her by those means.  In response, Hillary gave the following soon-to-be-infamous instructions in reference to this “classified” hard copy document:

“…turn into nonpaper w no identifying heading and send nonsecure”

On its surface, this email appears to be a self-contained, one-stop-shopping kind of admission that should result in an indictment against Hillary. After all, she gives explicit instructions to remove a classified designation from a document and then to send the document over what she admits is a non-secure transmission.

But under further scrutiny, the email by itself is not the kind of iron clad admission that results in a prosecution, especially once the Clinton camp begins its creative attempts to explain it.  Hillary defenders already have been pointing out that although Hillary gave instructions to alter the document and then send it non-secure, there is no evidence that actually happened.  Also, it is certainly possible that Hillary had made a judgment that the talking points were not classified, such that her instructions to remove the “classified” designation were consistent with her judgment as to the status of that information.  This explanation would be consistent with Hillary’s general strategy of “plausible deniability”, i.e., Hillary’s strategy to deny actually knowing that any particular email contained classified information so long as it was not marked “classified”.   While this document was marked “classified”, Hillary will argue that the content of the talking points did not qualify as “classified” information, and therefore her instructions to remove the designation were appropriate.

In fact the bumbling GOP and other Clinton critics should not be debating whether Hillary could plausibly deny knowing that particular emails were classified.  Rather, they should focus on the practical question of  how Hillary possibly could have executed the job of Secretary of State without accessing classified information by a personal email device; that is, without immediate and convenient access to classified information on a 24/7 basis, no matter the time or location?

A related question: what are the odds, with the demands of this position and the volume of emails involved, there was not even a single situation that was so urgent that it required Hillary to review a document marked “classified” on her personal email device?  If one were to ask an experienced auditor, she would likely express serious concerns of fraud if she did not find at least a couple of instances where a document marked classified was sent to Hillary by mistake, or in an emergency when there was no other option.  A small number of deviations in a process like this are in fact expected, whereas zero deviations raises the possibility of fraud.

Even before the Sullivan email, all indications were that Team Hillary had developed a work-around process to enable Hillary to review classified information on her email device when absolutely necessary, while still being able to argue that Hillary never knowingly sent or received anything classified.  The answer of what work-around process they were using became clear as more Hillary emails have been released by the government.

It turns out that thousands of emails — NONE OF THEM MARK CLASSIFIED —  had been sent to Hillary and are now designated as classified based on the government’s retrospective review.  The most likely explanation is that some or even most of this classified content originated from a document that in fact was marked “classified.”  At the point when there was a need to transmit such information to Hillary by email, the sender would extract the necessary information, omit the designation, and hit “send.” Of course this was being done systematically, likely as an unwritten rule that you only send Hillary classified information by email if you first protect the future President of the United States by removing any “classified” designation.

It may have been the obvious explanation, but it was still going to be difficult to prove.  This is why the Jake Sullivan email is so important.  It the first hard evidence that Team Hillary had a work-around for what seemed to be an impossibly-difficult situation of a Secretary of State that cannot do classified  business by email. The email shows Hillary’s willingness to follow this process in one instance, and it serves as the only reasonable explanation in what is now thousands of other instances.

When viewed as a key piece of the larger puzzle, the Sullivan email  suggests a scheme to circumvent government email protections that is so plainly deceptive, so obviously criminal, that it will be hard for most people to accept.  Yet if one puts aside the shock and dismay about having this level of corruption present in the U.S. government, and the reluctance to believe our public officials have sunk this low, then the picture of Hilary’s mindset about following the rules for classified information becomes extremely clear.


Outspoken Trump Offers Conservatives Hope of Defeating The Speech Police

Having already turned traditional political wisdom upside down, Donald Trump’s standing atop the Republican primary field has been the subject of enormous speculation. The “experts” have offered a variety of theories to explain Trump’s appeal to conservatives, as recently outlined by the Daily Caller:

  1. Trump embodies the anger that is boiling among conservatives;
  2. Trump is a Washington outsider; and
  3. Trump is a plain talker, with no topic being a taboo.

Among high-profile conservatives, the views of Trump range from defending his right to bash the GOP establishment on one hand, to outright opposing him on the other.


Not included above is the view of the moderate and big business factions of the GOP (e.g., Jeb Bush) and Democrats that Trump has an emotional appeal, without substance, that taps into voter anger and unhealthy cynicism on topics ranging from the economy and trade issues to immigration.

This all amounts to a credible list of reasons to explain Trump-mania, but these reasons are on the surface.  My message to the experts is this:  talk to as many conservatives as you can to understand what is it that threatens their way of life and causes them to fear for their children’s well-being.  When you have done this, as I have, you should find that Trump appeals to conservatives for one unifying reason: Trump has mounted a direct and relentless challenge to the speech police, the same ones who have been persecuting individuals who profess conservative political views.

The term “persecution”obviously goes well beyond disagreement or criticism.  It is a term used intentionally but carefully because it best describes the past 5 or so years, during which time liberal politicians and media have succeeded in creating an environment where conservatives are at risk of being punished for their political beliefs.  This means conservatives are legitimately scared, with fear of retribution, to openly voice their policy views on issues of family, faith, marriage, law enforcement, terrorism, immigration, guns, abortion, economics, deficits, the environment, and other core values that make conservatives who we are.  Conservatives are scared because their views have been labeled as socially unacceptable by liberals who have successfully conflated conservatism with racism and intolerance.

Let me stress, no conservative should fear voicing their views because they will face disagreement, debate or public criticism as a result.  But it is crucial to understand that when the criticism is based not on differences in policy but rather on accusations of intolerance, the conservative voice is effectively shut out.

Again, take the time to talk with everyday conservatives and you will find a growing, common experience among this group of “hiding” their political views in the workplace, on academic campuses, in social media and other places where they legitimately fear that they or their family could face retribution based on accusations of “intolerance” or worse.

The impact of this growing fear among everyday conservatives cannot be overstated.  Enter Trump.

From the first days of his campaign, Trump has defended no right more forcefully than his right to express any legitimate political view that he pleases, and to do so in any manner that pleases him.  Within weeks of starting his campaign, Trump had withstood an initial barrage of attacks, boycotts, calls to withdraw and other retribution based on his political vi.e. was. By withstanding that barrage of retribution and refusing to back down, Trump has accomplished more to defend the most basic right of conservatives to express their views than GOP leadership had done in the last 7 years.

For conservatives who have been “hiding” their beliefs while no one in their party had the ability or will to come to the rescue, Trump is a savior. Personally, I think most conservatives who support Trump could do without many of the antics and crass language in Trump’s speeches.  I also believe there are major and potentially problematic differences between Trump’s views on government and the conservatives currently supporting him.  But it is not policy alignment or personal admiration that has Trump polling high among conservatives. Most fundamentally it is the belief that without someone to directly and relentlessly confront the speech police, this country may reach a tipping point where conservatism itself is generally viewed as “intolerant.”  At that point, the substance of conservative policies will matter little.

I fully expect that the next time Donald Trump uses inflammatory language in a stump speech, the media will marvel at his jump in the polls and then attribute his growing popularity to “tapping into voter anger.” Spend some time talking with conservatives, and you will know better.


Why Are Conservatives Leaving the GOP?

The explanation for the exodus of conservative Americans from the Republican party is not complicated.  The party is controlled by big business and moderates, plain and simple.  The most that everyday conservatives can expect from the GOP are the scraps left over after these controlling factions are fed, as happened with the omnibus tax and spending package passed in December of 2015.

The  problem goes far  beyond just a failure by the GOP to secure legislative wins for conservatives.  In major policy battles, conservatives have been on the verge of major victories, only to fail because GOP leadership refused to simply reach out and grab the prize.  GOP leadership seem to be auditioning for Hollywood roles as some of the most disloyal villains of all time.

boehner-bruce picture

‘Betraying the commoners gives me a headache, but at least I will get some land grants out of this.’

Fans of Braveheart (1995) can envision the GOP nobles sitting on their armored cavalry far up on the hill, watching as conservatives down in the valley get bloodied in hand-to-hand policy combat, but refusing to ride in to inflict the decisive blow.

For the conservatives who have not yet left the GOP, but rather are continuing to implore their party to engage in the conservative fight, recent examples show that the Republican nobles have no intention to do so.

In the middle of 2015, the country’s anger at Planned Parenthood for the manner in which they performed abortions and sold body parts had reached historical peaks.  Again, conservatives such as the Center for Medical Progress had worked passionately to convey its message and build the foundation for legislative victory.  If the GOP could not capitalize on this political environment to begin to impose limitations on abortion, conservatives can never, ever, expect a victory on this issue to be driven by the GOP.

Perhaps an even more stark example came in 2014, shortly after the mid-term elections.  I believe the GOP’s refusal to draw a red line on immigration immediately following the 2014 mid-terms was the final nail in the coffin that buried the party’s relationship with conservatives.  As I believe this was the most clear single message from the party elite that they will never fight along side of conservatives, this seminal event is worth exploring a bit further.

Post-election posturing is one of the most effective political tools available.  Americans agree with President Obama that elections should indeed have consequences, that those who win fair and square are expected to do the will of their constituents.  Immediately after an election, especially one with a clear winner, politicians are eager to frame the public discourse with their interpretation of who won, why, and what impact it has on the policy issues of the day.

After the 2014 midterm election, a Republican wave election, all sides were expecting new battle lines to be drawn by the winner. According to Gallup, voters sent a strong majority of Republicans to Washington to do their will on

  1. Immigration (17%)
  2. Broken Washington System (16%)
  3. Economy (15%)

Perhaps knowing just how weak the Republican leadership had become, after the election the President announced that he would push ahead with executive actions on immigration. This of course defied the will of Americans as expressed in the midterms and so became a gift-wrapped opportunity for Republican leadership.  The President had made a rare political misstep, taking arrogance to a level that made even Democrats and their media friends uncomfortable.  How could Republicans miss this opportunity to declare in the clearest possible terms that a policy rider would be attached to the very next piece of must-pass legislation that will stop the administration from easing immigration requirements?  It was the perfect time to re-draw battle lines in a way that would have a majority blaming the President if the result was a government shutdown.  After all, the people had spoken, elections have consequences, and the election results showed disagreement with the President’s position.

Carroll O'Connor  Kelly's Heroes (1970)

“You’re the guys who are supposed to be fighting this battle, and you don’t even know where in the hell it is! Well I’ll tell you where it is! It’s 30 miles beyond where you thought it was.” Carroll O’Connor, from Kelly’s Heroes (1970).

Conservatives woke up every morning waiting to hear the warning issued to the administration:  pull back on immigration or prepare for a shutdown.  It was a no-brainer, a chance to chastise the President for administrative over-reaches and pick a shutdown fight they could win.

Sadly, there was nothing close to an ultimatum issued by Republicans.  It is possible that GOP leaders are so out of touch that they have no idea what it looks like to have good cards in the political game of poker.  In fact, this election itself had redrawn the battle lines on immigration overnight, to a place that was miles and miles further into enemy territory than the previous day.  Carroll O’Connor captured the feelings of conservatives perfectly in Kelly’s Heroes, going into a tirade against his pencil-pushing staff, who were happy to fight the same battles in the same places day after day, even when there had been news of a squadron that pushed the battle well past that point almost overnight.

To make matters worse, GOP leadership delivered a metaphor-riddled response to the President that was so weak and inept it could only be understood as a concession that they will not make serious efforts to stop the President.  Jonathan Karl of ABC News captured the GOP response to the President as follows:

REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R) OHIO: When you play with matches, you take the risk of burning yourself. And he’s going to burn himself if he continues to go down this path.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) KENTUCKY: It’s like waving a red flag in front of a bull to say if you guys don’t do what I want, I’m going to do it on my own

Playing with matches and waiving flags in front of bulls?  Are you kidding?  This is how our leadership strikes fear and bends our opponents’ will to achieve victory?  After Obama so badly overplayed his hand on immigration, a softball reaction like this from Republicans in reality conveys only one message loud and clear:  “You win Mr. President, because we and our fellow GOP nobles didn’t really want this battle anyway.”

The reasons for these types of Republican betrayals of its conservative constituents will be the subject of further blog posts, as will the political options for conservatives going forward.  But we should first spend some time to recognize an event that is likely to reshape U.S. political history, and perhaps begin to shake up what has traditionally been a two-party system of government.

Conservatives are leaving the GOP, period.