Thursday, February 25, 2016

As former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's email scandal and ongoing pressure from the FBI continue, her closest aides are also coming under heavy scrutiny.

Two weeks ago a series of reports and email documentation were released, showing as many as 30 of Clinton's aides at the State Department also used private email accounts on Clinton's private server to send and receive top secret, classified information.

Now, a federal judge has ruled Clinton aides Huma Abedine, who worked for the State Department while also working for the Clinton Foundation, Cheryl Mills and other aides should be questioned under oath about their practices. Specifically, they should be questioned about whether they purposely evaded Freedom of Information Act laws through the use of private email. More from POLITICO:
U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan granted a motion for discovery filed by Judicial Watch, which sued the State Department for Clinton-related documents and is now arguing there is “reasonable suspicion” that Clinton or State staff tried to thwart the Freedom of Information Act. That law requires all work emails to be archived in a government systems for public view.

Discovery in FOIA cases is relatively rare and presents political risk for Clinton: While the group has not yet called for Clinton to answer question personally, it said it may in the future as part of discovery. The process will likely entail attorneys asking questions of her top staff via deposition or written Q&A about why Clinton used a private email server in the first place and how they eventually determined what was an “official” record to be preserved.
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry scored a tremendous legal victory today. The state’s highest criminal court dismissed the final charge against him, which was part of a ludicrous abuse of power case. The legal fiasco erupted in August of 2014, when a grand jury indicted Perry on coercing a public servant and abuse in office for vetoing funds to a local Public Integrity Unit in Travis County since their district attorney, Rosemary Lehmberg, refused to resign after a drunk driving arrest. The New York Times described the charges as “overzealous.”

See video 'Jailers had to restrain Lehmberg' here:

In July of 2015, the coercion of a public servant charge was dropped by an appeals court, but the abuse in office portion of the indictment was allowed to move forward until this morning. Yet, the former governor noted that the political damage was done, especially during his short-lived presidential bid (Dallas Morning News):
Texas’ highest criminal court on Wednesday dismissed the remaining felony charge against former Gov. Rick Perry in the abuse-of-power case that he blamed for his early exit from the Republican presidential race. 
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals tossed a charge of misuse of office that stemmed from Perry’s 2013 effort to force out the Travis County district attorney. And it upheld the decision of a lower court to dismiss a charge of coercion of a public official.
The 6-2 decision appears to mark the end of Perry’s 18-month legal saga — one that outlasted the end of his record-setting, 14-year tenure as governor and his short-lived second bid for the White House.
Perry had already signaled that resolution in the case would be, in some ways, too little, too late. He said in September that the indictment — which he blamed on the “drunk DA” — had a “corrosive” effect on his presidential campaign’s fundraising.
“The political opponents, they did their damage,” he said
Romney: 'Bombshell' in Trump's Tax Returns

Mitt Romney, the GOP's 2012 nominee for president, has called on all candidates to release their past taxes, but said Wednesday he thinks there's a "bombshell" in front-runner Donald Trump's returns. Trump has yet to release his returns. He has promised to do so, but has declined to give a date.

"Either he's not as anywhere near as wealthy as he says he is or he hasn't been paying the kind of taxes we would expect him to pay, or perhaps he hasn't been giving money to the vets or to the disabled like he's been telling us he's been doing," Romney said on Fox News Channel's "Your World with Neil Cavuto."

"The reason that I think there's a bombshell in there is because every time he's asked about his taxes he dodges and delays and says, 'well, we're working on it,'" said Romney, who was criticized for the low tax rate he paid when he released his own tax returns during the 2012 race.

Trump likes to talk about how wealthy he is, so he should be willing to show his tax returns, Romney said.

"When people decide they don't want to give you their taxes, it's usually because there's something they don't want you to see," he said. Earlier this month, Trump told John Dickerson on CBS' "Face the Nation" that he plans on releasing his tax returns "over the next three, four months."

"We're working on them very hard, and they will be very good," Trump said. Some conservative and liberal bloggers have criticized the billionaire for not quickly releasing his tax records, which have already been filed with the IRS, before the nomination process is wrapped up. This would allow voters to know if there is any embarrassing information that could surface in the returns. Former Fla. Gov. Jeb Bush released 33 years of his personal tax returns soon after entering the presidential race.