Republicans Block Effort to Revoke Jared Kushner’s Security Clearance

 

It has become increasingly obvious that Republicans are about as interested in national security as they are raising taxes 90 percent on their wealthy donors. Oh sure they feigned interest in security when a Democrat was Secretary of State and used a private email server, but they pretended to be interested in a rash of issues because they weren’t in power. However, when a most senior advisor to a Republican in the White House deliberately lied and omitted over 100 contacts with foreign agents on a national security clearance form, including agents that waged cyber warfare against America, even questioning the perjury is a “political stunt.

By now most Americans have at least heard that Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, lied on the first two Standard Form 86 (SF-86) security clearance documents he submitted to earn a high-level security clearance to work in a place he doesn’t belong – the White House.

Kushner was even “inclined” to “revise” a third SF-86 to add over a hundred additional contacts with foreign agents he “forgot” to mention the second time he “revised” his SF-86 clearance. Of course just meeting with foreigners isn’t an issue, but Kushner met with Russian agents actively waging “cyber warfare” against an American institution, and he lied about those meetings at least twice and still has a high security clearance; something House Republicans do not have a problem with.

However, Democrats in the House do take a dim view of committing perjury on a security clearance document and although they are virtually impotent to do anything about it, they made an effort to get a risk to national security out of the Trump administration’s decision making chain.

One amendment introduced by Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) was to the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Bill that banned any funds from being used “to issue, renew, or maintain a security clearance for any individual in a position in the Executive Office of the President who is under a criminal investigation by a Federal law enforcement agency for aiding a foreign government.”  Jared Kushner meets that standard of “being under criminal investigation” by a Federal law enforcement agency but Republicans don’t care; that Amendment failed along a party line vote 22-30.

The second amendment sought to revoke the security clearance of any White House staffers who deliberately fail to disclose (lie about) meetings with foreign nationals (agents) or foreign nations (Russia) on the SF-86 questionnaire for national security positions. That amendment, like the first one, was defeated along a party line vote and it is telling that all Republicans are protecting yet another Trump administration actor regardless the threat they pose to national security.

Ms. Wasserman Schulz argued that both amendments were crucial to “safeguard the country’s most sensitive national security information.” Most Americans would agree and likely add that it is just as crucial to safeguard the nation from an administration that knowingly employs several national security risks; and it is a security risk by Trump Sr. to bring in corrupt actors who lie to conceal their contacts with foreign agents.

While the Democrats were attempting to protect national security, Republicans said the amendments were political maneuvers and unnecessary. Texas Republican John Culbertson said both amendments were just political stunts because national security decisions should be left up to the security professionals appointed by Donald Trump. Culbertson said:

The use of funding prohibitions to deny or remove security clearances is just simply a political stunt and unnecessary, because security clearances can already be denied or revoked because criminal conduct.”

No matter what Culbertson says, the national security “professionals” Trump appointed have already revealed they definitely are not “denying or revoking” security clearances for anyone in Trump’s administration despite that there is powerful evidence that there was “criminal conduct.”

According to SF-86 under the heading Penalties for Inaccurate or False Statements, it plainly states:

The U.S. Criminal Code (title 18, section 1001) provides that knowingly falsifying or concealing a material fact is a felony which may result in fines and/or up to five (5) years imprisonment. In addition, Federal agencies generally fire, do not grant a security clearance, or disqualify individuals who have materially and deliberately falsified these forms, and this remains a part of the permanent record for future placements. Your prospects of placement or security clearance are better if you answer all questions truthfully and completely. You will have adequate opportunity to explain any information you provide on this form and to make your comment.” (author bold)

It is noteworthy that under 18 U.S.C. § 1001 a fair number of “notable Americans” have been convicted for “making false statements” including Martha Stewart, Rod Blagojevich, Scooter Libby, Bernie Madoff, and Jeffrey Skilling to name a few.  Republicans or anyone in the Trump administration can never claim that the law is archaic or obscure, or has never been enforced. It has, and it probably would be enforced today if the entire Trump administration wasn’t run by criminals like Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions is not going to prosecute Kushner or make any attempt to deny his security clearance because he also “knowingly falsified and concealed a material fact” on his SF 86 and during sworn testimony before the United States Senate.

These amendments by Democrats are a continuing effort to clear out known national security risks, and felonious “advisors” from the Trump White House and it is crystal clear Republicans are now, and have been, obstructing efforts to protect critical national security secrets. No small number of Democrats have been calling for Kushner’s security clearance to be revoked, or at least suspended. This is particularly true since the revelation that he was in attendance with Trump Jr. and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort when they met with the Russian lawyer in a clandestine meeting at Trump Tower that Kushner failed to report on his security clearance form.

That latest “revelation” is in addition to Kushner’s meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and the CEO of a Russian state-run bank during the transition.  If, as Republicans claim, criminal conduct is justification for denying or revoking security clearances, and Trump’s national security team or his attorney general refuse to do their jobs, then it is left to Congress to step in – something Democrats did attempt with the two separate amendments that only failed because like Trump, Sessions, Kushner, Trump Jr., and likely the majority of the Trump administration, Republicans are criminals for covering up a federal crime. It makes them co-conspirators in criminal conduct that should send the entire lot of them to a federal penitentiary for up to five (5) years.

Image: Credo

 

Petulant Bernie-Brats Determined To Hand Republicans the White House

It is likely that most people have had the uncomfortable experience of being in the vicinity of petulant children at some time in their lives. One can almost excuse badly-parented brats who become angry and annoyed when they do not get what they want, but when allegedly well-educated adults do it, it is inexcusable. Americans are accustomed to petulant Republicans, or they should be after seven straight years of grown adults refusing to do their jobs because they failed to get what they want. But now it looks as if, like many things in this political environment, many pretend progressives, socialists, and “Democrats” are mimicking petulant Republicans and their teabagger cohorts.

Apparently, because they are angry and annoyed that they have not gotten exactly what they want, “as a protest thousands and thousands of Senator Bernie Sanders’ supporters are making plans and preparations to exit the Democratic Party.” Their complaint is that as a result of Sanders joining the Party, Democrats have moved so far to the right and away from the people who actually vote they are left with no option but to “stage a revolt within the Democratic party itself.”

Likely, it is may not be what Senator Sanders had in mind when he told his supporters America needs “a political revolution,” and hopefully not what he wants his supporters to do; at least one hopes that’s not his plan.  In fact, this screed is not really about Bernie Sanders, or Hillary Clinton for that matter. It is certainly not any kind of endorsement of a candidate. Liberal opinion columnists are not allowed to have opinions about any Democrat or a preference about which candidate wins the nomination; all Democrats are perfect. It is just too bad, and it could turn out to be too sad, that all progressives, socialists, and Democrats do not hew to that mindset; especially the petulant “bernieorbust” movement.

This self-titled “bernieorbustmovement claims that ever since Senator Bernie Sanders called for a political revolution, “the Democratic establishment started conspiring against them at every turn.” Never mind that Senator Sanders is a career politician that fits anyone’s definition of  “the establishment,” the idea that “the establishment” is out to get Senator Sanders’ supporters is sheer madness. Frankly, it reeks of the religious right’s paranoia and fanaticism; and a healthy dose of gross political ignorance.

The “bernieorbust” crew also strangely asserts that former president Bill Clinton committed election fraud in Massachusetts even though he is not running for office. They also claim that Democrats “fixed coin flips” in Iowa, and they rigged the Democratic debates to stop the Bern’s “storied” political revolution. A revolution they claim the Democratic National Committee will not allow to transpire any more than it will allow “their race to run fair and square to ‘let’ the best candidate win.” Seriously, if anyone is curious about what exactly constitutes a conspiracy theory, just re-read the last two sentences a couple of times. It is madness that threatens Democrats up and down the ballot in November.

The “bernieorbust” movement says, “If we the people of the Democratic party can get 5 million or 10 million Democrats to leave to leave the party enmasse (sic), and go to or form a NEW and better party, the DNC would be a LOT more hesitant to go up against us.” The grand plan is to “show the Democratic National Committee that Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz single-handedly caused a mass exodus from the party. And that she and Hillary Clinton are working to divide the party, not unite it, then we truly get the change inside the Democratic Party we demand.”

According to the “bernieorbust” movement, if their revolt to transform the Democratic Party into something more palatable to politically ignorant American “socialists” and petulant “progressive” brats, they will start up “in a brand new party, who’s (sic) main platforms are all what Bernie has been fighting for without a single establishment candidate running.”

This is exactly what no small number of liberal pundits have warned the left about for a couple of months to no avail. Now a new Wall Street Journal poll shows the pundits are not remotely off base with their warnings. According to the WSJ poll, 33 percent of Senator Sanders’ supporters claim that if their candidate is not the nominee, they will stay home in November and let the devastation of 2010 and 2014 put a Republican in the White House. Their goal is to teach the DNC the same lesson the EmoProgs thought they were teaching Barack Obama in 2010 when he annoyed them by not letting them have everything little thing they wanted. The resulting teabagger takeover and damage to the nation needs no comment.

This opposition attitude is not entirely unprecedented on the left. In 2008 some Hillary Clinton supporters embraced the “PUMA” (party unity my ass) moniker and refused to vote for eventual nominee and brilliant President Barack Obama. However, this time it is different because the bernieorbust folks believe if their candidate is the nominee and does win the White House, they will get all the “free stuff” Senator Sanders has never really promised them would be “free stuff.”

They want their “free healthcare, free college, and free union membership” even though Sanders has told them “that nothing is free” and that everyone, including the poor, will pay higher taxes for all that alleged “free” stuff. In fact, every ‘bernieorbust’ acolyte can see right here that the Sanders’ tax plan is a three-tiered rate system in which everyone will have to pay higher taxes for all that “free stuff.” It is how socialism works and if the bernieorbust folks were not politically ignorant they would know it and stop being brats.

These petulant brats’ actions and threats are not necessarily down to Senator Sanders by any means. In fact, one seriously doubts that many of the Bern Brats are even Democrats who will “leave the DNC en masse;” it is certain they are not progressives. Democrats and progressives are, for the most part, pragmatic voters who comprehend that in this or any other political environment one group or one socialist man does not and cannot enact anything without cooperation from Republicans. It is sheer political ignorance to believe otherwise.

It is one thing to be passionate about a candidate, but to plan and prepare to take down the only party serving as a firewall against a corporate theocracy Hell-bent and duty bound to eviscerate America is evil and vindictive. One would like to believe that this new bernieorbust faction is just emoting passion, but they have been so programmed by Karl Rove and the Koch brothers to literally hate Bernie’s opponent that as an increasing number of pundits warn, their petulance may put a Republican in the White House; something that is beginning to look like their real intent.