Guest Contribution: “Economists Sign Letter Opposing Trump”

Today, we present a guest post written by Jeffrey Frankel, Harpel Professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and formerly a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.



At the end of October, several hundred of us economists signed a strongly-worded letter opposing Donald Trump. The Wall Street Journal reported on it Tuesday, 11/1/16 (“Prominent Economists, Including Eight Nobel Laureates: ‘Do Not Vote for Donald Trump’”). Then MSN, NBC, Time, Fortune, CNBC, CNN, NPR and the Washington Post, among others.

The list of signatories is still open, with the count passing 700 Friday afternoon. (Interested economists can sign by sending their names to [email protected].)

Meanwhile, 19 Nobel Laureates signed another letter endorsing Hillary Clinton.That one really should have gotten more attention than it did.

The WSJ earlier surveyed all previous members of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, spanning eight presidential administrations, Republican and Democrat. Not a single one supported Trump, including the Republicans!


This post written by Jeffrey Frankel.

54 thoughts on “Guest Contribution: “Economists Sign Letter Opposing Trump”

  1. rtd

    I can’t believe the uber-liberals Krugman & Summers weren’t first on the list.
    Kudos to Mario Rizzo for signing both the anti-Trump & ant-Clinton letters.

  2. Rick Stryker

    Did the Clinton campaign write this “strongly worded” letter and present it to these Democratic economists to sign? I wouldn’t be surprised. The hypocrisy is breathtaking, especially when you consider that the Democrats these economists support are guilty of what they accuse Trump of. Let’s take a few examples:

    The letter says that

    “He has misled voters in states like Ohio and Michigan by asserting that the renegotiation
    of NAFTA or the imposition of tariffs on China would substantially increase employment
    in manufacturing. In fact, manufacturing’s share of employment has been declining since
    the 1970s and is mostly related to automation, not trade.”

    And Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama haven’t done that? Here’s a video of candidate Obama in Lorain, OH in 2008 viciously attacking NAFTA and Hillary Clinton’s support for it. Obama said that NAFTA cost 1 million jobs, with 50,000 of those jobs lost in OH. The implication is that we can get 1 million jobs back just by renegotiating NAFTA, which both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have at various times promised to do. In 2008, candidate Obama also said during various debates that if you travel through Youngstown, OH or his own state of Illinois, you’ll see “entire cities devastated” by unfair trade agreements. Or consider Clinton’s recent 2016 speech in Warren, MI in which she said:

    “What I hear all over the country, Germany, Japan, Italy. I want to bring that precision manufacturing back to the United States. There is no reason we can’t begin to make those machines ourselves and supply the rest of the world instead of buying from somewhere else.”

    “Well, let’s start with this: It’s true that too often, past trade deals have been sold to the American people with rosy scenarios that did not pan out. Those promises now ring hollow in many communities across Michigan and our country that have seen factories close and jobs disappear.

    “So as President, I will stand up to China and anyone else who tries to take advantage of American workers and companies. And I’m going to ramp up enforcement by appointing, for the first time, a chief trade prosecutor, I will triple the number of enforcement officers, and when countries break the rules, we won’t hesitate to impose targeted tariffs.”

    That’s tough rhetoric from candidate Clinton. Is Clinton threatening a trade war?

    The partisan letter signed by these Democratic economists also said:

    “He repeats fake and misleading economic statistics, and pushes fallacies about
    the VAT and trade competitiveness.” Oh really? Where was the same condemnation when Bill Clinton in 2010 argued to Maria Bartiromo in an interview on CNBC that countries that have a VAT have a competitive advantage and that the US should institute a VAT to get a competitive advantage for itself.

    The most stunning hypocrisy in this letter comes at the end:

    “If elected, he poses a unique danger to the functioning of democratic and economic institutions, and to the prosperity of the country.”

    These partisan signatories seem to worry about Trump’s alleged threat to the functioning of democratic institutions and yet they support a candidate who has a long history of corruption, starting with the cattle futures affair, then the firing and persecution of travel office employees, the mysterious appearance of subpoenaed documents in the White House years after they were demanded, the intimidation of Bill Clinton’s many accusers, and on and on.

    It’s shocking that these economists claim that it is Donald Trump who poses a unique threat to democratic institutions when the candidate they support has been undermining these institutions for years and continues to do so to this day. During this campaign, we know from wikileaks that the candidate they support conspired with the DNC to make sure that the voters could not nominate Sanders. Campaign operatives helped candidate Clinton cheat at debates by giving the Clinton campaign the questions in advance.

    We also know from hidden camera videos that Democratic organizations, working with and in the service of the Clinton campaign incited violence at Trump rallies and then blamed it on Trump voters. Videos also document Democratic plans to commit voter fraud as well as to illegally coordinate the Clinton campaign with the DNC and other organizations.

    Most distressing of all, these economists support a candidate who recklessly set up an email server to conduct official government business, violating federal statutes. In a shocking coverup, she was not indicted for these misdeeds, undermining both respect for the rule of law and equal treatment before the law.

    It’s Donald Trump who poses a unique danger to the functioning of democratic institutions you say? Give me a break. This letter reeks of partisan hypocrisy.

  3. Rick Stryker

    Following up on my previous comment that Clinton benefited from a coverup of her illegal email server activities, I’ll expand on it to clear up the confusion of those who think that the FBI exonerated her of a crime. There was a coverup, but it didn’t come from the FBI or Director Comey. The coverup came from the Obama Justice Department.

    What crime you ask? Clinton violated Title 18 793(f)(1) which states:

    “Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed”

    Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.”

    Note that it does not matter whether items are improperly classified or overclassified. It does not matter whether there was any intent to harm the United States. People who negligently cause harm usually don’t intend to do so. This statute criminalizes gross negligence to incentivize people to treat classified material with care.

    Now let’s go to Comey’s highly unusual actions. As everyone knows, Comey made a statement in which he laid out the facts as uncovered by the FBI but then declared that no reasonable prosecutor would prosecute Clinton because there was no intent to harm the US. Anyone even mildly familiar with the law will realize how bizarre this is. First, prosecutors don’t decide to indict. In the American system of justice, grand juries decide whether or not to indict, based on evidence provided to them by prosecutors, not the FBI. The FBI is a law enforcement organization. It doesn’t indict either. Nor does it give its legal opinion on the merits of any particular case. Comey, a former prosecutor, knows this. He also knows that intent is not required in the statute that Clinton violated. And no lawyer would ever make such a categorical statement that “no reasonable prosecutor would decide to indict.” Former prosecutors know the cliche that a prosecutor can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich. Why then did Comey do this?

    Comey took this unusual action because he knew from the beginning that the Justice Department had already decided never to indict Clinton no matter what the evidence and would in fact bury the facts until safely after the election, when no one cared. We now know that Justice never empaneled a grand jury, implying that there never was any intention to bring an indictment. Comey understood that. Comey knew that there could never be an indictment but he wanted to get the facts out.

    There were a number of reasons that the Justice department would never indict. The most obvious is that any indictment would have guaranteed a Republican presidential victory. But there is also an interesting legal reason they could never indict Clinton. If she were indicted, Clinton had some technical defenses on the meaning of “national defense” that she could have employed. It’s possible these might have succeeded. But Clinton had something much better.

    Clinton’s much more powerful defense was that everybody knew what she was doing. People inside and outside the government were communicating with her by emailing to what was obviously not a government email address. More perilously, Obama himself, despite his prevarications to the contrary, knew. We know from the FBI documents that Clinton changed her email address occasionally and that Huma Abedin would have to communicate the new email addresses to the white house. As Abedin told the FBI,

    “Every time Mrs. Clinton changed her address, I had to tell the White House to make sure his devises would accept it.”

    Abedin had to update the White House when Clinton’s email address changed since the President had a secure blackberry that could only email to pre-approved email addresses. We also know from the FBI files that the President used a pseudonym when he sent email to Clinton’s private server email address. And we know from wikileaks that Cheryl Mills, in an email to John Podesta, freaked out over this situation, saying:

    “we need to clean this up – he has emails from her – they do not say state.gov”

    Clinton’s nuclear defense was that everyone knew, including the President himself. If the President was OK, with it, how could she be guilty? And if the President was not ok with it, then he and the probably hundreds of other people in the government who also knew what was going on were guilty of violation of 18 793(f)(2) which states:

    “having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer—

    Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.”

    Thus, Justice couldn’t indict even if they had wanted to, because it would have produced a terrible scandal for the Administration, going right into the Oval Office.

    When we understand this context, we can see why Comey did what he did. Comey and many in the FBI were no doubt outraged by the evidence and didn’t want it buried. At the same time, Comey knew that he would be eviscerated if he said anything. So he decided to lay out all the evidence for the voters and then protect himself from attack with the “blah blah” that no reasonable prosecutor would indict. The facts he laid out of course were devastating. Clinton was obviously guilty of violating 18 793(f)(1). Moreover, the evidence that Comey laid out showed that Clinton had lied consistently about every aspect of the case.

    Comey’s tactic worked well. The Democrat’s were happy enough because he took the political heat off of Justice by making his highly unusual statement that seemed to exonerate Clinton. In Comey’s mind, he didn’t give up anything by doing that since she was never going to be indicted anyway.

    Republicans on the other hand were outraged, not understanding why Comey, a respected former prosecutor, would so transparently give Hillary a pass. They put a lot of pressure on Comey as a result. When thousands of emails were found on Anthony Wiener’s computer, of all places, that pressure forced Comey had to act, since he testified under oath before Congress and did not want to be accused of a coverup. His letter to Congress produced the predicted attacks from the Democrats, who were praising him just weeks before.

    What a situation. Hillary Clinton, in order to aid the Presidential campaign she was running from the State Department, arrogantly decided to flout rules and laws for her own convenience. Everybody knew but no one did anything about it, including the President. When it blew up, they were forced to cover it up. And then it came back again, with emails–potentially classified–showing up on Anthony Wiener’s computer during an investigation into illegal conduct with a minor.

    This is why we have laws like 18 793(f)(1). When proper care is not taken of classified material, it can be lost, stolen, hacked, or end up on computers that it shouldn’t be on, even if accidentally.

    I find it appalling that the economists who signed that letter have the gall to say that Trump represents some kind of unique threat to democratic institutions. Look at the candidate they support!! She is not even in office, and yet she is already shrouded by a cloud of investigation and suspicion.

    This is just the beginning, if history is any guide.

    1. baffling

      trump is the one who has threatened to jail his political opponent. that is most definitely a threat to democracy.

      rick, you sound like a child who is a sore loser. but i will bet, if trump wins, that cloud of investigation will become a thunderstorm after about a year in office, aimed at trump. the silver lining, is at least you would end up with a conservative in the white house.

      but i suppose from your ramblings, rick stryker is voting for donald trump? correct?

      1. Rick Stryker

        No, Baffles, the threat to democratic institutions was the coverup by the Obama justice department, which was what Trump was criticizing. Trump was merely saying that under him the FBI and Justice would do their jobs without any political coverups. Given what we know from the FBI investigation, an objective Justice Department would have presented the evidence to a grand jury and gotten an indictment and most likely a conviction eventually. That’s all Trump meant. Trump was not threatening democratic institutions but rather promising to strengthen them by insuring that there are not two standards of justice: one for the little guy and another for the liberal elites.

        1. baffling

          “No, Baffles, the threat to democratic institutions was the coverup by the Obama justice department, which was what Trump was criticizing.”
          rick, that is a pretty strong accusation, of course with absolutely no evidence to back up such a statement. simply innuendo. but that is the mode of operation for most on the alt right, like yourself. the fbi did investigate, you simply do not like the outcome, so you cry foul. juvenile.

          however, we do have evidence to suggest the republican candidate may have evaded his federal taxes for years. would you support an investigation of such candidate starting tomorrow? would you permit an elected trump to exert pressure on the DoJ to drop such an investigation? why are you not angry that such an investigation by the fbi has not already been started?

  4. Jeffrey J. Brown

    And so it goes with what I have called the “Hitler Vs. Stalin” election.

    Methinks we will miss Obama.

    1. Erik Poole

      No kidding.

      In a world where head of state and head of government are combined, Obama was (still is) a very classy guy. The best since Bush Sr.

      Michelle Obama is also an incredibly classy act whose influence will still be felt in the USA decades from now.

  5. 2slugbaits

    Rick Stryker Calm down and take a deep breath. I’m not surprised that presidential candidates are ignorant of economics. But most presidential candidates recognize that they aren’t really economists. Are they guilty of hypocrisy? Most definitely. Also, dog bites man. But most of them also realize that they don’t know squat about economics and once in office they seek out people who really are competent economists. I don’t think anyone expects a President Trump to select competent economists. Look at who are his economic advisers right now. Basically a bunch of hedge fund wheeler dealer types and three flakey “economists” who haven’t written anything of substance in 30 years. And do you really believe Trump would sit and listen to advice? He certainly hasn’t listened to his business advisers, which might explain why he keeps running his companies into the ground. And he certainly didn’t listen to his lawyers and accountants who advised him that his false claims of suffering losses were illegal. Trump’s ego tells him that he knows more than the generals about military operations, that he knows more than economists about economics, that’s he’s an incredibly virile 70 year old man, and that he was the greatest athlete in NYC during the 1960s.

    As to Clinton’s supposed “crimes”, here you’re simply way out of your league. In the real world the handling of classified information is a lot messier than you seem to believe. Some classified information is intentionally leaked because it’s in the national interest to make sure certain information gets passed along to specific targets. For example, during the 1970s the Nixon Administration deliberately “leaked” the details of US nuclear launch controls. We leaked it precisely because we didn’t trust the reliability of the Soviet system and the intent was to give them a better one in order to lessen the chances of an inadvertent launch. Oftentimes false information is classified in order to make the information more credible. It’s also very common for classified information to accidently get sent to unclassified systems. This is called “spillage.” It happens all the time. This appears to have happened in Clinton’s case. Basically, it’s just another day at the office. Just as the FBI and NSA illegally gathering data on American citizens is just another day at the office.

    People are almost never prosecuted for inadvertent spillage; and if they are the punishment is never more than a few days of unpaid leave. Sometimes the information is incorrectly marked as unclassified and only later is reclassified to confidential. That just happens and it’s hard to blame the person who receives it. Sometimes people just receive classified information without their knowledge or control. Kind of hard to prosecute someone for that. And if you’ve ever read classified messages, then you’d know that they are not always clearly marked. That’s what Clinton claimed, and I believe her. You have to actually experience the typeset that’s typically used in official message traffic to appreciate how difficult it is. The message might be 10 paragraphs long, with paragraphs 4, 6 and 9 marked [S] paragraph 3 marked [C] and the remaining paragraphs marked [U]. Except the typeset isn’t nearly as clear as it appears in this post. Sometimes two messages are both marked unclassified when sent separately but marked as classified when on the same server. Just as presidential candidates don’t always know what they’re talking about when it comes to economics, so it is with John Q. Public when it comes to the handling of classified information.

    BTW, care to explain the suspicious spike in activity between Trump’s server and the Russian bank used to launder plutocrats’ money? Personally, if Trump is elected President I half expect him to hand over a treasure trove of classified information to his boss Vladimir Putin. The Russians own him, lock, stock and barrel.

      1. 2slugbaits

        No, you’ve lost your mind in Clinton Derangement Syndrome. There is no evidence that Clinton willfully did anything wrong. The law requires mens reaand the FBI has already said that she did not willfully mishandle classified information. They said she was “careless,” which implies exactly the opposite of “willful.” Again, you seem to have problems with the English language. And of course, you’re not at all responsible for being on the receiving end of classified emails. The person who sent them might be, but not the person who received it.

        The latest “revelations” about the Weiner server aren’t revelations at all. In fact, the FBI has said that they don’t know what’s on Weiner’s laptop because they didn’t have a search warrant…unless Comey is admitting that the FBI illegally searched Weiner’s laptop. The FBI is just spinning a potential theory.

        I was also pointing out that in the real world the laws regarding classified information are hardly as clear cut as you imagine. I think you’re trying to compare Clinton’s possible venial sins with Trump’s undeniable mortal sins.

      2. baffling

        rick, under the definition of gross negligence, clinton would not be found guilty by any impartial jury or judge. and that is why comey dropped the case. your arguments only work when you use your own definition of gross negligence. once again, the alt right basically trying to redefine reality in order to suit their means.

  6. Joseph

    Rick Stryker: “Most distressing of all, these economists support a candidate who recklessly set up an email server to conduct official government business, violating federal statutes … Clinton benefited from a coverup of her illegal email server activities”

    Whoa, calm down there, Rick. Wouldn’t want you to pull a Breitbart and keel over from your blood pressure spiking.

    Precisely what federal statue did Clinton violate by using a private server? Please be specific.

    There has never been and still is not any federal law prohibiting the use of personal email for government work. In fact the law actually states how one should do so. If you read the latest amendment to the Federal Records Act, it now specifies that, starting in 2017, people using private email for government business should turn over copies to the archives within 20 days. Previous to this there was no specific time limit to do so. But note that it has always been and still is specifically allowed.

    According to your claim, Colin Powell and over 100 officials in the Bush administration should be in jail for using private servers for government business. The reason they are not in jail is because there is no law saying that they should be. The same goes for Clinton.

    1. Rick Stryker

      Joseph,

      No one is claiming that using a private email server violates the law. The use of a private email server per se is not the issue. The issue is mishandling of classified information. I am claiming that Clinton should have been indicted for violation of 18 793(f)(1) as well as Title 18 93:1924.

      Any ordinary person would have been indicted. But a member of the Democratic elite gets special privileges.

    2. CoRev

      Joseph, Rick clearly defined it in his 2nd comment:
      “What crime you ask? Clinton violated Title 18 793(f)(1) which states:

      “Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed”

      Furthermore, as an old GSA/NARA employee, I believe HRC e.t al. violated The Federal Records Act, specifically,
      18 U.S. Code § 2071 – Concealment, removal, or mutilation generally
      which says:
      “(a) Whoever willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, or destroys, or attempts to do so, or, with intent to do so takes and carries away any record, proceeding, map, book, paper, document, or other thing, filed or deposited with any clerk or officer of any court of the United States, or in any public office, or with any judicial or public officer of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.
      (b) Whoever, having the custody of any such record, proceeding, map, book, document, paper, or other thing, willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies, or destroys the same, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both; and shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States. As used in this subsection, the term “office” does not include the office held by any person as a retired officer of the Armed Forces of the United States.”

      1. Rick Stryker

        Corev,

        Yes, there is a violation of the act you cite as well. I guess that was partly the point of setting up the email server in the first place–to avoid having to comply with those requirements.

    3. 2slugbaits

      There has never been and still is not any federal law prohibiting the use of personal email for government work.

      Exactly. In fact, the government has an arrangement with Microsoft to provide government workers with a license for Microsoft products for home use at a ~95% discount off the regular price. You have to de-activate the license when you leave government service. The government also has an arrangement with Norton/Symantec and McAfee to provide free virus protection for home computers of government workers. The rationale for providing these products is precisely because government workers are expected to use home computers for working at home. And specifically, back when Hillary was Secretary of State most State Dept. workers were encouraged to get personal smart phones because the government didn’t have enough. A lot has changed in the last few years, but the rules were definitely different 4 years ago.

  7. genauer

    The last name on that “Nobel” letter is Stiglitz. Befitting

    Adviser of leftist Greek governments,

    who said in February 2010:

    “Economist Joe Stiglitz, who is advising the Greek government, last night denied that the country would require a bail-out, and urged national authorities to intervene in markets to “teach the speculators a lesson”.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/7191113/Greek-crisis-intensifies-as-Joe-Stiglitz-calls-for-Europe-to-teach-the-speculators-a-lesson.html

    Just 2 months before Greek had to apply for a gigantic IMF program, about which now many say, it should have gone straight to bankruptcy

    Incompetence, ideology, and dishonesty

  8. Paul Mathis

    What Would J.M. Keynes Do?

    “[I]t is a complete mistake to believe that there is a dilemma between schemes for increasing employment and schemes for balancing the Budget,—that we must go slowly and cautiously with the former for fear of injuring the latter. Quite the contrary. There is no possibility of balancing the Budget except by increasing the national income, which is much the same thing as increasing employment.” The Means to Prosperity, p. 14.

    Keynes strongly advocated government borrowing to increase spending and reduce taxes in order to grow the economy. Clinton has said she would not add “one penny” to the deficit, while Trump has advocated increasing it substantially.

    Why have Democrats become the Republicans of the Great Depression? Have economists learned nothing over the past 90 years?

  9. Joseph

    Rick Stryker: “No one is claiming that using a private email server violates the law.”

    Yet here is what you said “Most distressing of all, these economists support a candidate who recklessly set up an email server to conduct official government business, violating federal statutes … Clinton benefited from a coverup of her illegal email server activities.”

    I am capable of understanding plain English. You demonstrate your ignorance and/or dishonesty by claiming that using a private server is somehow reckless or illegal, “violating federal statues”.

    The fact of the matter is that there is no difference between using a private server or using a standard .GOV email account. Both are considered unsecure regarding classified information. It makes no difference, it is irrelevant, whether someone uses their personal account or their official .GOV account.

    So why all the emphasis on the private server angle? Because you are a dishonest hack who thinks you can buffalo people by implying something sinister about a private server. You clearly said so in your quotes above, so why should anybody listen to you since you have demonstrated your basic dishonesty. It was careless of you. Some might even say you were “extremely careless.”

    Comey has testified that Clinton did not send or receive one piece of email that was marked as classified. All of the dispute is about conversations that people had in their emails about sensitive subjects. These weren’t secret documents. These weren’t the nuclear codes. Nothing was marked classified at the time. They were marked classified years later, long after Clinton left office.

    This is the State Department. They talk about sensitive information all the time. It’s part of the job. They cannot do their jobs without talking about sensitive information. The FBI interviewed both Clinton and the people she corresponded with. Everyone testified that they were quite mindful of security issues and took careful effort to word their emails to protect sensitive information. But as part of their job they had to discuss these issues.

    What you have is a dispute in which people years later are second guessing, Monday quarterbacking, the decisions about classification that government workers made in good faith in order to do their jobs. Was the information classified or not. The people sending and receiving claim not. Others say it is. But the FBI has provided no information suggesting that the security of U.S. was threatened at all because the people sending and receiving did not think they were worthy of classification.

    This is typical of the way things work at the State Department. Just people doing their jobs. Why aren’t they going through Colin Powell’s emails at the State Department and putting him in jail. Oh, that’s right, they can’t because he illegally deleted his email.

    1. Rick Stryker

      Joseph,

      It is you who are the dishonest hack, since you willfully misconstrue what I said. I was very clear that setting up a private email server per se is not the issue. The issue is mishandling classified information. It’s how she set up the private server that was the problem. The record shows that she never asked permission from the State Department to set up the server. I can understand why she didn’t ask because permission would have been surely denied, given the need to protect classified information. However, if she had asked permission and was given permission to set up the server as long as she followed pre-agreed protocols to protect classified info, I would not have any problem with that. Also, if she had set up the private server without asking but had unilaterally put in procedures to protect classified info, then I would not be saying she should have been indicted under the statutes I linked to.

      You need to get your facts straight too, which I know from experience is hard for you. Comey explicitly said Clinton received emails that were classified at the source.

      1. 2slugbaits

        Also, if she had set up the private server without asking but had unilaterally put in procedures to protect classified info, then I would not be saying she should have been indicted under the statutes I linked to.

        Ugh. This statement tells me that you don’t have a clue about handling classified information.

        In any event, your wet dream is over. Comey concluded that there was nothing new on Weiner’s laptop. All of the emails were duplicates of what was already known. All sound and fury signifying nothing. Well, not quite nothing. The whole episode demonstrated once again that Donald Trump is unhinged. It looks like Trump disease is contagious as well, since a lot of folks who only recently lamented his winning the nomination have now come around to be his biggest apologists.

  10. Joseph

    CoRev: “Furthermore, as an old GSA/NARA employee, I believe HRC e.t al. violated The Federal Records Act.”

    Here you are demonstrating your ignorance of the law, same as Rick Stryker. The Federal Records Act does not prohibit the use of private servers or personal email for government work. If you read the Act, it even describes the manner in which you should use personal email or private servers for government work.

    As with all records, paper or electronic, the Act simply requires that copies be made and sent to the archives. In fact, the Act was recently amended in 2014. Previously there was no specific time in which copies of work-related personal email had to be turned over, but starting in 2017, four years after Clinton left office, copies of personal email must be sent to the archives within 20 days.

    So contrary to your claim, instead the Federal Records Act explicitly describes exactly how to use personal email for government work.

    As to who complied with the Federal Records Act, it should be noted that Hillary Clinton is the only Secretary of State in history to be completely compliant with the law by providing copies of her work-related emails to the government archives. Colin Powell didn’t. Condi Rice didn’t. Over 100 officials in the Bush administration didn’t.

    Yet somehow it is Clinton that you are attacking. And that is because she has complied with the law, allowing you to nitpick over her email. You can’t do that with previous officials because no other ranking government official in history has turned over all of their email for you to peruse.

    1. Corev

      Joseph, HRC did not comply with the Federal Records Act by: ” completely compliant with the law by providing copies of her work-related emails to the government archives. ” AFAIK NARA has not yet received her records, only the FBI has and that was under duress.

      If elected HRC will be the most flawed president and probably the most investigated. I can not see how she would survive her first term. What I expect to see is the First Family of presidents to be impeached.

          1. CoRev

            Menzie, do you know the recent history of both the technological land aws and regulations shifts for archives? Only archivists and historians really care about these periods of shift. I don’t remember, but do you know of any Govt official who created their own personal server for doing ALL of their official business? Were any of them in the administration you referenced?

            BTW, why all the smoke and mirrors over such irresponsible behavior concerning classified materials and national security?

          2. baffling

            corev, i find it striking that you have no problem with an entire administration (bush) operating on their own private email server, owned by the RNC. and large periods of time were erased from such server. this server included correspondence from the president and vice president, during the time periods they argued for and ultimately launched two wars in the middle east. we lost thousands of service members lives, killed hundreds of thousands of civilians in the middle east, spent over a trillion dollars on war, and you have no interest in the millions of emails that were erased from this server, in violation of federal rules?

            you want to throw the book at hillary for her violations, which were deemed insufficient for further prosecution by the fbi. then you should want to throw the bus at the republican party-a vast number of high ranking officials-who were involved in this case. why the silence?

  11. Corev

    Here is an example of how those who believe in the importance classified material is to national security act, https://www.facebook.com/TheRebelPatriot/videos/1759425134326917/

    Notice this is a CSPAN video of the hearings. The subject was just ONE of the HRC emails. Remember her approach to handling these materials was to have her maid who has NO CLEARANCE/TRAINING/EXPERIENCE print them off from the classified FAX machine in the secured room in their house.

    How many security infractions does that make? To those who care enough serious infractions to send her to jail. For those desperate to protect HRC and win at any expense only multiple deaths would suffice. Oh, wait, Multiple deaths are still not enough — Benghazi.

  12. Joseph

    CoRev: “AFAIK NARA has not yet received her records, only the FBI has and that was under duress.

    AFAIK you are an idiot or just ignorant. Perhaps both.

    Clinton gave copies of her email to the State Department in 2014. The State Department reviewed them before publishing them on line between July 2015 and February 2016. All 55,000 pages are out there for you to putter through with your little paws.

    Everyone except you, it seems, has known about this forever. Do you make even the slightest effort at checking the facts before posting nonsense that makes you look like a fool?

  13. Joseph

    Rick Stryker: ” you willfully misconstrue what I said.”

    Here is what you said: “Most distressing of all, these economists support a candidate who recklessly set up an email server to conduct official government business, violating federal statutes … Clinton benefited from a coverup of her illegal email server activities.”

    I will let the readers decide what plain English means. It is a lie to say that setting up an email server violates federal statues. It is a lie to say that her email server was illegal.

    Once you were caught in your lie, you swiftly backtracked to cover up, but too late. You think you are clever, but we have your number.

    Oh, and by the way. Today, less than two days before the election, Comey says that you can just forget the stupid letter he wrote last week to appease angry Republicans. Nothing new. Nothing changed. Sorry for the inconvenience.

    1. Rick Stryker

      Joseph,

      “I will let the readers decide what plain English means. It is a lie to say that setting up an email server violates federal statues. It is a lie to say that her email server was illegal.

      Once you were caught in your lie, you swiftly backtracked to cover up, but too late. You think you are clever, but we have your number.”

      Before you made any comment, I followed up on my first comment with my second comment explaining further what Clinton did wrong, and quoting the statute that Clinton violated. If you would bother to look at that statute, it has nothing to do with a private email server. Thus, I did not backtrack from the claim that setting up a private server was illegal. I never alleged that setting up a private server was illegal per se. If she had used a private server but never sent or received classified info on it she would have violated State Department policy but she would not have violated 18 793(f)(1).

      Again, it is you who are being dishonest. You are trying to refute something I never said rather than what I did say.

      I’m not a bit surprised that Comey would announce that the new emails don’t change their view. They decided to cover this up a long time ago. Why should they change their minds now?

      1. baffling

        “I’m not a bit surprised that Comey would announce that the new emails don’t change their view. They decided to cover this up a long time ago. ”

        again, lies and innuendo without any support whatsoever. this is why you are called a hack rick.

        just to be clear, anything that does not go rick’s way becomes a conspiracy in which he rants like a teenage juvenile. what a lonely world you must live in rick, that echo chamber and all.

  14. Corev

    Joseph, let me repeat Rick’s observation: you are a dishonest hack, since you willfully misconstrue what I said. I asserted that the HRC emails had not yet been delivered to NARA. NARA is not State. Moreover, HRC was delivering those emails only after State already being questioned for them.

    From Wiki “In response to the attention, Clinton said she had in December 2014 turned over 55,000 pages of e-mails to the State Department following their request and that she now wanted them made public.[331] These 55,000 printed pages accounted for 30,490, or slightly less than half, of the 62,320 emails that Clinton had sent or received on her private email account during her time as secretary.”

    Reading is fundamental to avoiding making oneself a fool. It is already too late for you.

  15. Joseph

    CoRev, again with the accusations of misconstrual. But here is what you said “AFAIK NARA has not yet received her records, only the FBI has.”

    CoRev, the emails are in the public domain on the internet. The State Department has published them. You claimed only the FBI had seem them. Well, I have seen them. Millions of other people have seen them. You are an idiot. When you are in a hole, stop digging.

    They are archived on the internet forever. Clinton is not responsible for turning over emails to NARA. The State Department is. The State Department has publicly published them. Presumably NARA has them too.

    A federal employee is required to turn over work-related emails from personal email accounts. They are not required to turn over non-work-related emails from their accounts. Those other 30,000 you refer to are personal. Neither you, me or anyone else has any right to look at them. As much as authoritarians like you would wish otherwise, there is still the Fourth Amendment and a right to privacy.

    Clinton turned over her emails in compliance with the Federal Records Act and the FBI verified that is true. They recovered at least half of her other emails and found it that indeed was in compliance with the rules. They verified that those other emails were not work related.

    No other major federal official in history has been as transparent as Clinton in producing all of her work-related email in compliance with the Federal Records Act. Certainly no one did in the Bush administration.

    1. CoRev

      Joseph, and there you go off on the path of deception, again: “They verified that those other emails were not work related.” Really!? I thought at least 33K of them had been permanently erased. Perhaps you missed that minor point. Perhaps you missed all HRC’s untruths about those work related emails she did release? Perhaps after citing the records act you confused public domain/internet with compliance with the act requirements.

      I am amazed at how lib/Dems can ignore/spin facts when it is their candidates.

  16. Rick Stryker

    We should probably spend a little time on how the Obama Justice Dept has undermined democratic institutions by whitewashing Clinton’s behavior. It will be instructive to expose the hypocrisy of those who claim that Donald Trump is some kind of unique threat.

    Despite the plain meaning of Title 18 793(f)(1), Comey re-wrote the statute to claim that it also required “intent” even though intent is not required, only “gross negligence.” If you look at the statute, intent is explicitly required in sections (a) -(d), but not in (e) and (f). Comey claimed that prosecutors don’t bring charges under (f), because gross negligence isn’t enough–you need bad intent.

    Of course, the truth is that people in the military have been tried and convicted for misuse of classified evidence under both sections (e) and (f). This 2000 Washington Post article reports a number of successful prosecutions under both sections (e) and (f) of the statute. Moreover, in the 1992 case U.S. v. McGuinness, 35 M.J. 149, the defendent tested Comey’s assertion by claiming to the court that he couldn’t be convicted under section (e) since he had no malintent when he misused classified info. The court agreed he had no malintent, but rejected this claim, noting that neither section (e) nor section (f) require intent.

    What are the implications?

    1) People can and do get prosecuted under sections (e) and (f) of Title 18 793. That is the little people get prosecuted. The elites get a free pass for committing the same crime.

    2) Going forward, it will be very difficult to enforce sections (e) and (f) of Title 793. Every defense lawyer will point to the Director of the FBI’s statement along with the tacit acceptance of the Obama Justice Department that those sections are not enforceable unless there is bad intent. Thus, the rule of law is undermined and national security threatened.

    3) If the the law had been enforced impartially, Bernie Sanders, not Hillary Clinton would have been the nominee. The Democratic elites did not want Sanders to be the nominee, and so they protected the candidate they wanted to succeed. It’s hard to imagine a more serious undermining of democratic institutions. The millions of people who voted for Sanders were cheated by a corrupt, rigged process.

    Despite all that, Democrats will continue to defend this indefensible conduct, while claiming that it is Trump who threatens democratic institutions. 2slugs, Joseph, Baffles Menzie and countless others will keep trying to obfuscate. None of those economists will remove their names from that letter. But that just shows you that they are not acting on principle. This is politics pure and simple. No one should be fooled. This is about advancing the welfare state and they don’t care how they do it as long as it gets done.

  17. Joseph

    Rick Stryker: “I never alleged that setting up a private server was illegal per se.”

    We can all read plain English. Here are your actual words: “Most distressing of all, these economists support a candidate who recklessly set up an email server to conduct official government business, violating federal statutes … Clinton benefited from a coverup of her illegal email server activities.”

    If you weren’t trying to dishonestly convey the idea that there is something illegal about having a private server for work-related email, why did you say so — twice.

    Having a private email server is irrelevant to the security issues. If Clinton had used her official .GOV email account, it wouldn’t change anything. A .GOV email account is not a secured account approved for classified information any more than a private server account, so why are you obsessing about it.

    The answer is simple. You were just blowing smoke, right out of an Alex Jones conspiracy theory. “Illegal email server” just sounds so nice.

    Whether you are an actual conspiracy theorist or you just pretend to be one for rhetorical effect doesn’t matter. We know that when you open your mouth, lies come out.

    1. CoRev

      Joseph, you are blowing more smoke! “Having a private email server is irrelevant to the security issues. If Clinton had used her official .GOV email account, it wouldn’t change anything. A .GOV email account is not a secured account approved for classified information any more than a private server account, so why are you obsessing about it.” Those “classified” systems have their own classified email systems. They do not interconnect with non-classified systems or many times even other classified systems. It takes special action to move an item from one system to another.

      It takes special irresponsibility to have your uncleared maid print them off in your specially constructed SECURED facility for which the maid should not even have had access.

      Security folks are paranoid. These actions feed that paranoia and confirm their worse suspicions about trusting politicians.

      Trust of HRC is and always has been the issue.

  18. Joseph

    Now we know that Rick Stryker is trolling. He tries to compare the case of McGuinness to Clinton’s case. First off, McGuinness was a Navy Petty Officer in the intelligence division. He was tried in a military court martial, not a civilian court.

    McGuinness had been given strict orders to never take classified material from his office space. In defiance of those orders he took 311 clearly marked classified paper documents to his home. His defense was that he had no malicious intent. The court ruled that malice was not required. He had clear intent to violate his orders and did willfully violate his orders for the handling of classified documents. At his court-martial, McGuinness told the military judge that he knew he was not authorized to retain the classified materials at home, admitting, “There was no doubt as to my responsibility.”

    In Clinton’s case, none of her emails contained documents marked classified. None of the information in the emails was marked classified. She had no intent to mishandle classified documents and she did not willfully mishandle classified documents. She said there was nothing identifiable as classified in her emails. She had no reason to believe that anything classified was in her email.

    This is nothing at all like the McGuinness case, starting with the fact that McGuinness was a military court martial.

    1. Rick Stryker

      Joseph,

      You don’t know what you are talking about. This case is right on point.

      Again, your facts are all wrong. Comey said that all the elements of 18 793(f) were met. Clinton was “extremely careless” in the way she handled classifed information. As Secretary of State she should have known and expected that she would receive classified info by email. And in fact, she did receive info that was classified at the source, not after the fact. Comey does not dispute any of these points. You don’t seem to be aware of them.

      Comey’s argument is that that’s not enough to prosecute under the statute. He also used the legal term “mens rea,” i.e., guilty mind: Hillary would have to understand that what she did was wrong and have intended to do it. Comey sees no evidence of that and so does not believe Clinton should be indicted. This issue turns on what mens rea means in the context of the statute.

      In U.S. v McGuinness, McGuinness argued that the word “willfullness” doesn’t merely mean that you intended to do it, which is the plain meaning of the word, but read in context also implies bad intent. The court rejected this claim, saying

      “The statute in question is part of the Espionage Act of 1917, as amended by the Internal Security Act of 1950. When a statute is a part of a larger Act . . . the starting point for ascertaining legislative intent is to look to other sections of the Act in pari materia with the statute under review. Sections 793(a) and 794(a) require that the act be done, with intent or reason to believe that the information is to be used to the injury of the United States, or to the
      advantage of any foreign nation. Sections 793(d) and (e), however, require only that the accused act “willfully.” The current version of § 793(e), as amended in 1950, criminalizes willful retention of classified materials by someone not authorized to retain them. Section 793(f) has an even lower threshold, punishing loss of classified materials through “gross negligence” and punishing failing to promptly report a loss of classified materials. While § 794 covers “classic spying,” § 793(e) covers a much lesser offense than that of “spying.”

      Based on our analysis of the statute in question and a review of its legislative history, we conclude that there is no basis in the legislative record for finding that Congress intended to limit prosecutions for violation of § 793(e) to classic spying. To the contrary, it is clear that Congress intended to create a hierarchy of offenses against national security, ranging from “classic spying” to mere losing classified materials through gross negligence.

      I’ve bolded the sections in the opinion that apply to Clinton. The court is saying that “mens rea” just means gross negligence, which is contrary to Comey’s assertion that more is required. Comey says that no reasonable prosecutor would have brought a case. Really? Prosecutors and judges in the military don’t agree.

      The little people in the military are prosecuted and imprisoned for what Clinton did. But Comey says no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case. This is an obvious coverup.

      Comey is doing nothing more than taking a potential defense that Clinton would have had and pretending that it is so decisive so that conviction would have been effectively impossible. If that were true, then no reasonable prosecutor would have brought such a case. But Comey’s suggested legal defense is not decisive at all. Comey’s defense doesn’t work if you are charged under this statute if you are in the military.

      Clinton knew perfectly well that she was going to receive classified emails. She also knew that setting up a private email server violated state department policies, which were put into place to protect against loss of classified info. Even under Comey’s BS mens rea requirement, Clinton still should have been indicted since she knew she was doing something she shouldn’t have. For example, take a look at this Inspector General Report which details the misdeeds of the Ambassador to Kenya, who was forced to resign by Hillary Clinton’s State Department in 2012. Among other things, the Ambassador was chastised in the report for his violation of State Department policy when he used private email for official State Department business.

      Here are some relevant excerpts:

      “He has willfully disregarded Department regulations on the use of commercial email for official government business, including a front channel instruction from the Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security against such practice, which he asserted to the OIG team that
      he had not seen., is widely known and a source of confusion and discouragement within the embassy community.”

      “He ordered a commercial Internet connection installed in his embassy office bathroom so he could work there on a laptop not connected to the Department email system. He drafted and distributed a mission policy authorizing himself and other mission personnel to use commercial email for daily communication of official government business. During the inspection, the Ambassador continued to use commercial email for official government business. The Department email system provides automatic security, record-keeping, and backup functions as required. The Ambassador’s requirements for use of commercial email in the office and his flouting of direct instructions to adhere to Department policy have placed the information management staff in a conundrum: balancing the desire to be responsive to their mission leader and the need to adhere to Department regulations and government information security standards”

      “The Ambassador uses a government-owned laptop that is not physically or electronically connected to the Department’s OpenNet network. Authorized Department OpenNet emailsystems are available on the Ambassador’s office desktop. According to 12 FAM 544.3 and 11 State 73417 (from the Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security to the Ambassador), it is the Department’s general policy that normal day-to-day operations be conducted on an authorized information system, which has the proper level of security controls. The use of unauthorized information systems increases the risk for data loss, phishing, and spoofing of email accounts, as well as inadequate protections for personally identifiable information. The use of unauthorized information systems can also result in the loss of official public records as these systems do not have approved record preservation or backup functions. Conducting official business on non-Department automated information systems must be limited to only maintaining communications during emergencies”

      That last quote shows the clear policy the State Department had on the use of private email when Clinton headed that Department. That quote also explains the reasons why they have that policy.

      Let’s face it. Hillary Clinton knew what she was doing was wrong and she intended to do it. The little people in the State Department have to follow the policy but not Hillary Clinton. The little people in the military go to prison if they misuse classified info through gross negligence. But not Hillary Clinton.

      She gets special treatment in a rigged system.

      1. baffling

        rick, quit your whining. you are imposing your own definition of gross negligence, not the legal definition, in order to create your desired conclusion. that is exactly how a political hack operates. talk about making mountains out of mole hills! why no comment about the millions of emails on private RNC servers erased by bush, cheney et al?

        1. Rick Stryker

          Baffles,

          You are being deliberately obtuse. I was very clear that Comey conceded that gross negligence was present. That’s not the legal issue. The legal issue is the mens rea requirement that Comey added, which I went into in some detail in my comment.

          1. baffling

            “I was very clear that Comey conceded that gross negligence was present. ”
            i suspect a typo, but gross negligence was NOT present.

            regarding your mens rea argument, the professionals in the area of law apparently disagree with your conclusion.

  19. Joseph

    Ha, ha, ha. Once again Rick Stryker dishonestly tries to imply that the Ambassador to Kenya as fired for using commercial email.

    Here are the actual findings of Inspector General:

    1. The Ambassador has lost the respect and confidence of the staff to lead the mission. Of
    more than 80 chiefs of mission inspected in recent cycles, the Ambassador ranked last for
    interpersonal relations, next to last on both managerial skill and attention to morale, and
    third from last in his overall scores from surveys of mission members.

    2. The Ambassador has damaged the cohesion of Embassy Nairobi’s country team by
    underscoring differences between offices working directly with Kenya and those with regional responsibilities. Country team members, particularly those from other agencies, relied on the recently departed deputy chief of mission to maintain a sense of common purpose at Embassy Nairobi. Unless corrected there is a risk that the country team will become dysfunctional.

    3. The Ambassador’s efforts to develop and focus the mission’s work around what he calls “mission essential tasks” have consumed considerable staff time and produced documents of unclear status and almost no value to the Department in approving priorities and assigning resources

    4. The Ambassador’s greatest weakness is his reluctance to accept clear-cut U.S. Government decisions. He made clear his disagreement with Washington policy decisions and directives concerning the safe-havening in Nairobi of families of Department employees who volunteered to serve in extreme hardship posts; the creation of a freestanding Somalia Unit; and the nonuse of commercial email for official government business, including Sensitive But Unclassified information.

    5. The Ambassador does not read classified front channel messages and has not established a system to have his staff screen incoming cables relevant to Kenya and U.S. interests in the region.

    Look. The guy was fired because we was a terrible manager. The email thing is just administrative piling on.

    No administration official has ever been fired for using for using personal email for official business. While a preferred policy, it is not a law, regulation or legal rule. Use of personal email is not a crime. Never has been and still is not.

    You complain about special treatment. According to you Colin Powell and over 100 officials of the Bush administration should be in jail. Clinton was treated no more specially than anyone in the Bush administration. She was following precedent set by the Bush administration. She was not doing anything wrong.

    1. Rick Stryker

      Joseph,

      You are being deliberately obtuse. I was not implying nor was it my point that the ambassador was fired for use of private email. This is what I said:

      Even under Comey’s BS mens rea requirement, Clinton still should have been indicted since she knew she was doing something she shouldn’t have. For example, take a look at this Inspector General Report which details the misdeeds of the Ambassador to Kenya, who was forced to resign by Hillary Clinton’s State Department in 2012. Among other things, the Ambassador was chastised in the report for his violation of State Department policy when he used private email for official State Department business.”

      Since you have problem with reading comprehension, I’ve bolded the relevant sections for you. The point I was making is that even if you grant Comey’s BS mens rea requirement, Clinton knew that she was doing something wrong. I cited that report as an example, not to say he was fired merely for using private email (look what I’ve bolded), but rather to establish that the State Department did have rules prohibiting its use at the time she headed the Department. A prosecutor would have introduced that evidence and much more to establish Comey’s mens rea, if a judge had decided that was necessary. Even if Comey is right about mens rea, she still should have been indicted.

  20. Joseph

    Rick Stryker: “As Secretary of State she should have known and expected that she would receive classified info by email.”

    This incorrect statement really gets to the heart of the misunderstanding by Rick Stryker, CoRev and their fellow conspiracy traffickers. No one in the State department should ever expect to receive classified information in the ordinary email system. That includes everyone with a STATE.GOV email account.

    STATE.GOV, as are other ordinary government mail systems, unsecured networks, unauthorized for classified information. Any information that Clinton received by ordinary email, whether at her personal email account or an official STATE.GOV email account is presumed to be unclassified. STATE.GOV connects and uses the very same internet as you use for Netflix and gmail. It is not secure.

    It is irrelevant whether she used a personal email account or an official STATE.GOV email account. Both are unclassified networks. If she had instead used an official STATE.GOV email account, it would make no difference because it is no more secure than any other non-classified network.

    (There are other classified networks isolated from all other networks used for transmission of classified information, but that is not what we are discussing here. We are talking here about the ordinary, everyday business email system which is unclassified.)

    And in fact, she did receive info that was classified at the source, not after the fact.

    If someone did send classified information to Clinton via email, then they are at fault, not Clinton. She would not expect to receive classified information by email. If a source owner of classified information sent that classified information to Clinton by email, either they are making a mistake (which is not Clinton’s fault) or else they are de facto de-classifying the information by transmitting it on an unclassified network.

    In any case, Clinton testified to the FBI that she assumed that her staff and the staff of other agencies were careful in their handling of classified information and would not intentionally transmit classified information over unclassified email networks. If she received an unclassified email over an unclassified network, it was reasonable for her to assume the information in the email was unclassified. That is not a crime. That is being reasonable.

  21. Joseph

    CoRev: “your unsupported personal has been refuted by the voters.”

    Elections are about power, not about truth.

    By the way, although it makes no difference to the presidential outcome, more voters preferred Clinton than Trump. Seems to be a pattern with Republican presidents.

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