The Morning Jolt

The Clintons, Forever Demanding Their Party Defend the Indefensible

Happy Halloween!

Ah, now I remember that feeling — the combination of incredulity, disgust and embarrassment for another person that comes watching seemingly bright people tie themselves into knots in order to defend the indefensible and justify the unjustifiable in order to defend the Clintons.

This was a fine vintage of that feeling, from 1998:

Some Clinton defenders have stopped pretending he was truthful in favor of portraying dishonesty as not just a forgivable flaw but a positive virtue: a mark, in fact, of his noble character. Historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr., who knows something about presidential sex from working in the Kennedy White House, wrote in The New York Times this week, “Gentlemen always lie about their sex lives. Only a cad will tell the truth about his sexual affairs.”

Oh, really? I didn’t remember that part in the federal perjury statute. Wait, let me double check . . . “any written testimony, declaration, deposition, or certificate by him subscribed, is true, willfully and contrary to such oath states or subscribes any material matter which he does not believe to be true . . .” Yeah, I don’t see any footnotes declaring that lying under oath is okay as long as it’s a “gentleman” discussing sex. The oath is traditionally, “Do you solemnly (swear/affirm) that you will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, (so help you God/under pains and penalties of perjury)?” Have you ever heard any “as long as the topic isn’t sex”? I must have missed that episode of Law & Order.

We’re talking about perjury, as in the sort of charge a person faces usually faces when she signs an official U.S. State Department document saying she has been briefed on the rules and laws for classified material and then tells the FBI that she cannot recall “any briefing or training by State related to the retention of federal records of handling of classified information.” Either she lied on the form or lied to the FBI, pick one.

We don’t know what’s in the 650,000 emails on a laptop used by former representative Anthony Weiner and his estranged wife Huma Abedin, It could be not much beyond the standard e-mails one would expect to find. Or one or some of the messages could contain classified information. The Wall Street Journal reports “underlying metadata suggests thousands of those messages could have been sent to or from the private server that Mrs. Clinton used while she was secretary of state, according to people familiar with the matter.”

As usual, almost every Democrat who hailed FBI Director James Comey as fair-minded paragon of integrity back in the summer now insists he’s a crazed partisan trying to throw the election to Trump. (If he really wanted to do that, wouldn’t it have been easier to recommend charges to the Department of Justice? Even if Attorney General Loretta Lynch refused to press the charges, the political damage would be done.) The New York Daily News is literally calling him a mad bomber.

What, exactly, did these furious critics want Comey to do? He finds out that there’s a new avenue of investigation, a giant trove of e-mails that were not turned over as required, and he’s supposed to just . . . avert his eyes and pretend his agents didn’t find it? He’s supposed to just not tell Congress, even though he pledged to them, under oath, he would keep them updated? Right now, the vast majority of Democrats are furiously angry that Comey did not withhold information from Congress, because it would be politically embarrassing to Hillary Clinton. That’s not supposed to be a priority of the FBI director.

When Comey does what Democrats want him to do, they praise him as Eliot Ness, King Solomon, Frank Serpico, and Jesus all rolled into one. But the moment he follows procedure and brings up topics the Clinton campaign doesn’t want in the news, he’s Torquemada, Captain Queeg, Javert, and Ahab rolled into one. Look, we get it, Democrats, you have absolute faith in Comey’s judgment as long as he’s ruling in your favor. If you guys were less invested in an emotionally convienient narrative where all wisdom and virtue aligns with your political interests of the moment, you would have praised Comey’s summer decision but not put him up on a pedestal.

Instead, they had to insist that no reasonable person could question his summer decision. I mean, it was just in July that Hillary Clinton’s campaign was telling us how independent, thorough, respected, and honest Comey was.

Throughout his long career in law enforcement, the independence of FBI chief James Comey has rarely been questioned. Comey is a well-respected Republican who served as George W. Bush’s Deputy Attorney General. And when President Obama tapped him to serve as Director of the FBI, he was confirmed by a 93-1 vote.

Donna Brazile — now the Democratic National Committee chair — said that attacking James Comey’s decision was attacking the rule of law itself.

Since Donna Brazile blocked me last night when I pointed out her former words, here’s a screenshot of her Tweet.

Evan McMullin, the Man of Amazing Stories That Cannot Be Told

How did Evan McMullin spend the Bush years? Working clandestine missions for the CIA.

After graduating in 2001, McMullin joined the CIA’s directorate of operations, which runs clandestine missions abroad. He was in a computer training class at Langley headquarters when the 9/11 attacks occurred. After that, McMullin’s 18-month training to be an undercover operative was sped up, and he soon found himself in a southwest Asian country where the U.S. military was deeply engaged in the new war on terror. The specific country remains classified to protect his contacts there.

A “southwest Asian country where the U.S. military was deeply engaged in the new war on terror”? No offense to the fine people running our intelligence community, but just how many countries fit that description? I can think of one starting with an ‘A’ and another starting with a ‘P.’

The CIA station chief who supervised McMullin in his first overseas assignment told me that McMullin stood out among all the new case officers because of his insistence on going outside the safe confines of the embassy to meet and develop human- intelligence assets. As a Mormon, McMullin could not indulge in the vices that often help to build such bonds, so he used his piousness and his experience before college as a missionary in Brazil to his advantage.

McMullin served his later years as an undercover officer in Iraq while the U.S. military was battling a brutal Sunni insurgency and collecting intelligence on what was then called al-Qaeda in Iraq but is now the Islamic State. McMullin worked in Iraq until 2010, when the country achieved a degree of stability and the terrorist threat was temporarily minimized.

Indisputably, McMullin is one tough cookie, the sort of American you can point to and wish your kids grow up to emulate. And his on-the-ground experience in the War on Terror will give him perspective and understanding that no briefing book or foreign congressional delegation trip can equal.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the perfect experience for being president. The job of commander-in-chief involves a lot that’s far removed from the world of spies. And not everyone who’s shown courage under fire is cut out to be the leader of the free world. Having said that, it’s pretty fascinating to imagine some turncoat former jihadist sitting somewhere in Iraq, watching CNN international on some television in the corner of a café, and the news of McMullin winning Utah comes on. He looks up and thinks to himself, “Man, that guy looks just like my old handler!”

Maybe Florida Doesn’t Look So Bad for the GOP This Year

As of this morning, 1,427,314 registered Democrats have voted in Florida, 40.1 percent of the total. But 1,450,760 registered Republicans have voted, or 40.7 percent. About 17 percent of the voters are with no party, and another 2.5 percent are with other parties.

In the Siena poll of Florida, Donald Trump’s leading among independents 45 percent to 33 percent and Marco Rubio is leading among them 54 percent to 35 percent.

Our Tim Alberta, with a key point for everyone who argues that America’s changing demographics mean the Republican party and political conservatism are doomed:

Texas became majority-minority in 2004, and whites today are just 43 percent of its population. Yet Democrats haven’t carried the state since 1976. This speaks not only to the conservative worldview of the state’s white electorate but also to the relative independence of its Hispanics. Romney won 27 percent of Hispanics nationally in 2012; there was no exit poll of Texas, but multiple private surveys showed him taking nearly 40 percent of Hispanics there. It’s a similar story in Florida, the nation’s biggest battleground. After it spent 60 years teetering between parties, Democrats hoped its bulging Hispanic population would tip the scales. But it hasn’t, thanks to the conservative Cuban vote. Romney won 39 percent of Florida Hispanics, exit polls showed.

Imagine if the Republicans had nominated someone like Texas governor Greg Abbott this year . . .

ADDENDA: No, there isn’t going to be a violent insurrection after Election Day.

I’m tentatively scheduled to appear on CNN’s Berman and Bolduan tomorrow morning, and CNN International’s State of the Race tomorrow afternoon.


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