A weekly outreach to our friends and colleagues in Canada
Weekly Washington Wrap
Surprise! Not! With just a few more days (blessedly!) to go before the end of this bitter – and close – race for the White House, the only surprise would be if there were no more surprises. From secret servers and WikiLeaks, to charges of sexism, media bias, and all-things rigged, this election will be one not soon forgotten (though most Americans are sure ready to get going on trying!)
But with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on the ballot – we figure there are at least a few more figurative bombs getting ready to explode between now and the hours left to go before Election Day this Tuesday, November 8. So we’re hanging on and we know all our faithful Carolina-Canada Connections readers are doing likewise. We’ll have lots to talk about next issue! Until then, here’s to messy democracy! And may the best (read: least worst?) candidate win!
Wiki Woes We’re thinking there are a number of folks about now who must be dreaming about simpler times – back when we used rotary phones and typewriters and no one ever heard of servers, email and WikiLeaks.
Alas, a trip back to the future is not possible and the present reality (at least this news cycle) is hitting the Clinton campaign hard. Owed to Hillary Clinton’s use of a home rigged server and private email for the four years she worked as Obama’s top diplomat, press reports are that the FBI has some five separate investigations open related to Clinton’s orbit. These include the sexting case of former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of Clinton’s top aide Huma Abedin; questions of influence peddling in the Clinton Foundation that the most recent breaking news suggests seem to be a very key focus of investigators; whether close Clinton confidante and Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe broke the law with foreign donations, and on-going reviews regarding the handling of classified material by Clinton and her staff. The FBI announced last Friday it was re-opening the investigation into Clinton’s emails when hundreds of thousands of new emails “pertinent” to the Clinton case were found on Anthony Weiner’s laptop.
Meanwhile, WikiLeaks continues to reveal the inner workings of the Clinton campaign and its close ties to mainstream news reporters as well as the federal agencies investigating the Clinton email case.
The current interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, Donna Brazile, was forced to resign last month as a CNN commentator after WikiLeaks revealed that on at least two occasions Brazile provided debate questions to the Clinton campaign in advance of CNN-hosted primary debates. CNN says it is “completely uncomfortable” with the situation but is not conducting an investigation into the incidents.
We also learned that Clinton campaign chair John Podesta enjoys a close, personal friendship with Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik who appears to have given the Clinton campaign chief a “heads up” that Hillary Clinton’s State Department emails would be discussed at a House Judiciary Committee (HJC) meeting. The email, from Kadzik on his private email to Podesta, warns Podesta about an FBI official testifying to the “HJC,” and of developments in a Freedom of Information Act request for Clinton’s emails. The warning came just two weeks after Kadzik’s son had written to Podesta asking for a job on Clinton’s presidential campaign. Kadzik represented Podesta in 1998 when independent counsel Kenneth Starr was investigating Podesta for his possible role in helping ex-Bill Clinton intern and mistress Monica Lewinsky land a job at the United Nations. “Fantastic lawyer. Kept me out of jail,” Podesta wrote of Kadzik in an email to an Obama staffer hacked by WikiLeaks.
Critics are crying foul at this latest appearance of conflict of interest regarding what is supposed to be the independent investigation of the Clinton email situation by federal officials. The Kadzik connection comes after the Wall Street Journal reported that the wife of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who was involved in the Clinton email probe, had received $467,500 for a failed Senate campaign from Clinton ally and prolific Democrat fundraiser Terry McAuliffe, the current governor of Virginia. Attorney General Loretta Lynch raised deep concerns about the integrity of the investigation when she met secretly with Bill Clinton on a tarmac in Arizona this summer. She said the meeting was about grandkids and golf. Only days later the FBI director said Clinton and her staff had mishandled classified information but did not press a case against her. Obama campaigned with Clinton the very day she was cleared and the case was closed.
Dump or Daylight? Another Podesta WikiLeak email would seem to backup critics’ claims that Clinton’s team was getting rid of emails before they could be reviewed publicly. In a March 2, 2015 email from Podesta to a Clinton staffer Podesta writes,“…we are going to have to dump all those emails so better to do so sooner than later.” A Congressional subpoena was issued for Clinton’s emails two days later on March 4.
But Democrats on the House Oversight Committee say the dump line is all about transparency and point to a March 4 tweet by Hillary Clinton calling on the State Department to release 55,000 emails related to her time as President Obama’s top diplomat.
On March 10, Clinton announced she had deleted 30,000 emails she said were personal in nature.
Obama Weighs In But President Barack Obama has nothing but praise for his former secretary of state and is campaigning for her across the country in battleground states. He seemed to imply in an interview yesterday that he was displeased with the FBI director’s decision to reopen the case into Clinton. “When this was investigated thoroughly the last time, the conclusion of the FBI, the conclusion of the Justice Department, the conclusion of repeated congressional investigations was that she had made some mistakes but that there wasn’t anything there that was prosecutable,” Obama said. The president has made it no secret that he finds Donald Trump an unacceptable choice to replace him in the White House next year.
He may not be on the campaign trail, but your former US ambassador has sure been traveling like he’s on a last minute campaign blitz!
Last week found him up in cool Calgary where he got to see the likes of former Team Wilkins’ Justin Meyers who’s back in his native digs. It was also wonderful to catch up with old friends like CAPP’s Tim McMillan and Imperial Oil’s Tom Huffaker. The highlight of the trip was the Fraser Institute’s dinner in honor of one of Canada’s most beloved statesmen, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall.
Rest in Peace
And while we are talking about beloved Canadian statesmen, it is with much love and respect Team Wilkins salutes the life and career of former federal minister and Alberta Premier Jim Prentice. We send our heartfelt condolences to Karen and the Prentice family.
Monday in Montreal
The start of this week found Wilkins back up in Canada, this time in Montreal, for meetings of the Resolute Forest Products board. From there he jetted on down to Atlanta to catch up with the board of the United Community Bank, Inc.
No Easy Win!
No, we’re not talking about this exhausting US election and the polls that show the race for the White House all tied up. We’re talking about Wilkins’ dang Clemson Tigers football team and their migraine-inducing, fourth-quarter, come-from-behind wins that seems to have become the norm this season!
This was certainly the case last Saturday as Clemson – playing bigtime rival Florida State down in Tallahassee, a place where Clemson hadn’t won since 2006 – jumped to an early 14-0 lead and then went into defense as the Seminoles caught up and jumped ahead. It was a hard fought, bitter battle, which the Tigers ultimately won in the last few seconds, 37-34.
But that down to the wire win is becoming a little too typical for this team! For those of you keeping score at home, that makes four Clemson games clenched in the last 30 seconds of play. As one devoted pundit (read: David Wilkins) observed, “Pulling for the Tigers this season is not for sissies.”
The good news? It does mean bragging rights. In a case of déjà vu, the Tigers are 8-0 and ranked #2 in the country right behind Alabama – the very team that dashed Clemson’s hope for a national championship last season.
They Said What?
- “As secretary of state she kept classified documents on the home-brew server in her basement, which is against the law. She lied about it to the American people. She couldn't remember details dozens of times when questioned by the FBI. Her aides destroyed evidence by BleachBit and hammers. Her husband, Bill, met secretly on an airport tarmac with Attorney General Loretta Lynch for about a half-hour, and all they said they talked about was golf and the grandkids. And there was no prosecution of Hillary. That isn't merely wrong and unethical. It is poisonous,” – Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass making the case that Democrats ought to ask their candidate Hillary Clinton to step down in light of the current FBI investigation.
- "I am writing to inform you that my office has determined that these actions may violate the Hatch Act, which bars FBI officials from using their official authority to influence an election. Through your partisan actions, you may have broken the law,” – Democratic Senator Harry Reid’s letter to FBI Director Jim Comey regarding Comey’s reopening of the Clinton email investigation.
- “Thank God he's leaving, is my initial reaction. My second reaction is: I did not know Mormons used drugs. And anyone who is capable of sending out that press release has to be under the influence of something,” – Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC), a former prosecutor and chairman of the House Benghazi committee, regarding retiring Senator Reid’s allegations that FBI Director Comey “broke the law” by reopening the Clinton investigation.
- “This is in effect an attempt to hijack an election. It’s unprecedented! The House Republicans and the KGB are trying to influence our democracy!” – Longtime Clinton surrogate James Carville regarding the renewed FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails on MSNBC Monday.
- “Law enforcement officials say that none of the investigations so far have found any conclusive or direct link between Mr. Trump and the Russian government. And even the hacking into Democratic emails, FBI and intelligence officials now believe, was aimed at disrupting the presidential election rather than electing Mr. Trump,” – New York Times report Tuesday that the FBI sees no link between Russia and the Republican presidential nominee.
If you are interested in the possibility of having Ambassador Wilkins speak at an event, please contact Christy Cox at Christy.Cox@nelsonmullins.com or call 803.255.9470.
The articles published in this newsletter are intended only to provide general information on the subjects covered. The contents should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Readers should consult with legal counsel to obtain specific legal advice based on particular situations.