Author Topic: Abuses of Power  (Read 2690 times)

Seriati

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Re: Abuses of Power
« Reply #50 on: December 19, 2018, 11:56:24 AM »
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Show me where the Constitutional authority is provided to record the conversations between a member of the US government and a foreign diplomat?

Flynn wasn't a member of the US government in December of 2016, was he?

His salary was being paid by the US government, his clearances and office provided by the US government.  The meeting took place in the transition offices (which are provided by the federal budget).  Yes, he was a member of the US government.

However, let's assume he he was not.  In that event the argument for having recorded his conversation is mostly worse as it's criminal to have recorded a private citizen's conversation without a warrant.  Even where we've "legalized" spying on foreigners (which is a gross oversimplification that ignores that it's still unConstitutional), the conversation between a private citizen and a foreign ambassador should not have been recorded without a reason.  It's absolutely clear from their statements that they recorded every conversation they could - what is the basis?

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As for people in the orbit, I think it is standard practice when you find somebody involved in shadiness to investigate their close associates within the bounds of what is allowable. You wouldn't be able to get a wiretap on them, but you could follow them around and ask questions.

The AG's involved have not remotely indicated they are branching out from a crime to those linked.  They flat out stated they are going after people based on their relationship to Trump.  Again, the constitution requires evidence of a crime that you pursue, not disliking a person and looking for evidence.

Walk through the argument in a non-Trump context.  If your son gets caught with weed "ie involved in shadiness" should  that permit the government to obtain your financial records and those of your employer to "see" if they've committed crimes as well, since that was the "source" of the money to buy the weed?  Can they do a dawn raid and seize all your electronics and paper files for months?  Take the computers and phones of friends of the family who were visiting at the same time?  Clone them before they give them back and then execute future warrants in secret as they continue to comb through the files until they find something?

TheDrake

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Re: Abuses of Power
« Reply #51 on: December 19, 2018, 12:19:46 PM »
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Walk through the argument in a non-Trump context.  If your son gets caught with weed "ie involved in shadiness" should  that permit the government to obtain your financial records and those of your employer to "see" if they've committed crimes as well, since that was the "source" of the money to buy the weed?

You better believe that if he bought oxy online and used your credit card, you have no right to privacy and would expect to get your credit card records examined. Even if you declared your card lost and a stranger used it, your records are going to get pulled. If it were a corporate card, they're not going to wander off and see what's going on there, but they might find that once they tell the company, they volunteer that they have three more employees who lost credit cards recently who work in your department...

We agree on principles, I would wager. You just have the perception that everyone in this case is running around with illegitimate warrants, even though they are gated by judicial oversight, even though they are not being challenged on constitutional grounds, and even though people are pleading guilty. I just don't jump into the deep state swimming hole quite so readily.

Seriati

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Re: Abuses of Power
« Reply #52 on: December 19, 2018, 12:50:37 PM »
TheDrake, if it was limited to my credit card account you'd have a point.  It's not.  This is a deep dive, they are using tenuous connections - that's all an association is - to demand excessive records that have no relation to any identified crime.  My version of the example is far more apt, they want all your financial records, even those that have nothing to do with any possible movement of cash, they want all your employers records as well, and they've already staffed up on 15 attorney's who specialize in pay discrimination to go over them (what does that have do with what they are looking for?). 

Knowing Trump is not a crime it does not entitle the government to investigate you.

Subpeona's on Trump companies are almost literal fishing expeditions and you can find the AG comments that make that clear.

i give up.  If people won't defend their rights, they are not going to exist long term.

Fenring

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Re: Abuses of Power
« Reply #53 on: December 19, 2018, 01:05:37 PM »
If people won't defend their rights, they are not going to exist long term.

It's not that they won't defend their rights, per se; I think there are two issues.

First is that the notion of what a right is seems to have eroded. If the common conception of it is that it's things granted by the government, then this is more a statement about worldview and sense of reality than about civic responsibility. You literally can't fight to defend a thing that doesn't exist in your conception of life. I think people *would* fight for things that seem real to them, so long as they occupy a clearly-defined position in their lives. But in our age of extreme materialism I think many people find it difficult to identify non-physical things that have intrinsic value, and to believe in their reality to the extent that they believe their smartphone is real.

The other point is that I think people increasingly feel the lack of means to do anything about anything. There's just a 'system' in operation that for the most part they have nothing to do with, little affect on, and no tangible way to influence. This has been exacerbated of late where many people even feel that elections don't offer a relevant way to alter policy or improve things. Faced with a situation where, for instance, the government will conduct unconstitutional mass surveillance on the entire population, your choices are to (1) Try to mount a probably irrelevant protest, (2) write op-eds that will change little, (3) become a domestic terrorist, (4) pray, or (5) realize you can do nothing but stew about it. Most people won't bother engaging in activities they feel are a waste of time, especially if they work; and most won't become violent; and most also won't tolerate (5) where they have to sit there being discontent and powerless. So (5) leads them to (6), which is to refuse to accept the reality that something bad is happening. You fix the reality by ignoring or pretending things about it. I think this is the most common option. It's like that scene in They Live where people will fight to the death to avoid putting on the sunglasses. I've conveniently omitted (4), which might well be the most viable and effectual option, but in this day and age it doesn't seem to generally be considered to be 'a real course of action.' I think that represents another major shift in worldview.

Pete at Home

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Re: Abuses of Power
« Reply #54 on: December 19, 2018, 01:12:26 PM »

Walk through the argument in a non-Trump context.  If your son gets caught with weed "ie involved in shadiness" should  that permit the government to obtain your financial records and those of your employer to "see" if they've committed crimes as well, since that was the "source" of the money to buy the weed?  Can they do a dawn raid and seize all your electronics and paper files for months?  Take the computers and phones of friends of the family who were visiting at the same time?  Clone them before they give them back and then execute future warrants in secret as they continue to comb through the files until they find something?

It's a good analogy, but I hope you realize that just a few years ago, that wasn't an uncommon scenario.

rightleft22

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Re: Abuses of Power
« Reply #55 on: December 19, 2018, 02:05:43 PM »
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If your son gets caught with weed…
And if during the investigation information was obtained that pointed to someone higher up the food chain, enough information for a warrant… and so on and so on. I pretty sure that’s how it works. 

Anyone looking into Trump business practices before he became a politician would have found plenty of smoke to investigate. Society just doesn’t care that much about white crime so as long as he was a businessman he was safe. However, any politician with a past like his… the crap is going to come to the surface. No one should be surprised that Trump questionable past or methods would leave a trail crap to sniff out. Frankly I’m not sure why his defenders spend so much energy defending it.

rightleft22

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Re: Abuses of Power
« Reply #56 on: December 19, 2018, 02:07:17 PM »
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If your son gets caught with weed…
And if during the investigation information was obtained that pointed to someone higher up the food chain, enough information for a warrant… and so on and so on. I pretty sure that’s how it works. 

Anyone looking into Trump business practices before he became a politician would have found plenty of smoke to investigate. Society just doesn’t care that much about white crime so as long as he was a businessman he was safe. However, any politician with a past like his… the crap is going to come to the surface. No one should be surprised that Trump questionable past or methods would leave a trail crap to sniff out. Frankly I’m not sure why his defenders spend so much energy defending it. Its not like any findings of quilt, no matter how well proven, will change anything for them.

TheDrake

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Re: Abuses of Power
« Reply #57 on: December 19, 2018, 02:18:56 PM »
Let me take it back to Manafort, in the early days of the investigation.

He was a campaign chairman for Trump. He had ties to Ukraine and Russia. That seems like enough for investigation of the matter at hand. Later on, evidence was gathered that supported a search warrant. That search warrant led to banking records, which were investigated, and then we all know how it turned out.

Would you argue that the search warrant was bad, and the courts shouldn't have issued it or upheld it?

Would you argue that his status as campaign chairman shouldn't matter, and that he's just an "orbiting person"?

Would you argue that Mueller exceeded his authority to look into tax matters that came up during the investigation, and that it should have been referred somewhere else to be pursued?

Or something I haven't thought of?

Pete at Home

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Re: Abuses of Power
« Reply #58 on: December 19, 2018, 02:31:34 PM »
Like his friend Bill Clinton, Trump is less of a thinking breathing human being, and more of a karmic embodiment of America's grossest sins in that generation.

Seriati

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Re: Abuses of Power
« Reply #59 on: December 19, 2018, 04:32:42 PM »
Manafort was campaign chairman for 2 months, and was forced to resign 2 days after Trump's first security briefing, which is exactly when Trump would have been first informed about Manafort's Russian connections and other issues.  Prior to that Manafort would have appeared to be very qualified - as far as I can tell he worked on every Republican presidential campaign other that Bush II's.

Having ties is not enough to investigate.  Hillary Clinton has ties to Russia and Ukraine, so does a big chunk of Congress.  I don't where this idea that knowing foreign people, or even having dealt with their governments, is some kind of evidence of wrong doing.

The evidence that "supported" a search warrant was almost certainly the result of the financial crimes from 2014 (which is a pretext with respect to Trump or the campaign) or from the wire taps, which as we have not seen the basis for them, appear to be unConstitutional to me (you'd have to show a reasonable belief of wrong doing related to national security even to spy on a foreign national, let alone on the US persons to whom they are speaking).  We don't have a foreign person exception for wire tapping for criminal investigations.

I can't argue about the search warrant, we don't have the info, other than the financial crimes seem real.  I can say that using them as a pretext to try and manufacture a case on unrelated matters is wrong to me, notwithstanding that we let prosecutors do it all the time.

His status as campaign head for two months, who was fired after the first security briefing?  No that doesn't justify imputing it to the campaign.  If he was investigated just because he came into the orbit of the campaign that would even be worse, though the evidence seems to be his financial crimes were being investigated in advance of that point.  You may want to look at how they handled Feinstein's driver who was a spy for context on how a situation like this should be handled - why on Earth would you let one of the two major party candidates unknowingly retain some you believe could be a foreign agent?

Mueller's authority is suspect to me.  I fail to see any reason Sessions should have been recused from Manafort's financial crimes.  They had nothing to do with the campaign, accordingly Rosenstein could not assign them to Trump.

You have not thought of one additional issue.  When are we going to see the legal basis for these wire taps?  Why doesn't any care that they may have been politically motivated?  If ever single connection of Trumps is to be analyzed against the possibility it could be a crime, why would you let the major conflict of interest on this go?  Would you let it go if Trump authorized such a program to investigate "dangerous agents" connected to the Beto campaign?

rightleft22

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Re: Abuses of Power
« Reply #60 on: December 19, 2018, 05:20:00 PM »
Hillary and Bill Clinton have to be pretty high on the list of the most investigated politician, and often an very little evidence, so not sure if the Whataboutism arguments are going to work here

rightleft22

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Re: Abuses of Power
« Reply #61 on: December 19, 2018, 05:44:43 PM »
Its not like you have to root around in the back of the closet to find Trumps skeletons. You just have to open the door.

I can understand why someone might not choose to open the door ans or get angry when anyone tries. Get over it. The GOP knowingly elected a crooked businessman with the excuse that the crooked politician was worse. (We don't deserve any better then those choices).  These investigations should not be surprise, just as any investigations that would surly be going on against Hillary had she won would not be a surprise.

It doesn’t’ matter if Trump is crooked or even a traitor because his base doesn’t care about those things because they like what he’s doing and represents. Don’t worry about the investigations, the die has be cast.

Seriati

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Re: Abuses of Power
« Reply #62 on: December 19, 2018, 10:35:57 PM »
Hillary and Bill Clinton have to be pretty high on the list of the most investigated politician, and often an very little evidence, so not sure if the Whataboutism arguments are going to work here

Really?  Call me when all their files are seized in a dawn raid, when Perkins Coie's files are seized.  The whole point of this thread is comparative justice experiences.  "Whataboutism" is a meme that people use to avoid having to explain that their philosophy has a giant hole in it, specifically that it only applies the the other side.

Articulate how these investigations fit into our standards.  Explain in simple words how the FBI agents who interviewed Flynn wrote they didn't believe he lied into the reports and he's charged with lying to those FBI agents, when Comey told us that Clinton's email related conduct wasn't criminal because he didn't think she meant to do anything illegal (which is expressly not the standard in the law).  It sounds an awful lot like a completely different standard being applied to the two of them.

rightleft22

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Re: Abuses of Power
« Reply #63 on: December 20, 2018, 09:45:43 AM »
I don't know.. I don't care about Clinton shes not in power just as I didn't care about Trumps questionable business practices and opinions when he was just a business man.
The only thing that is clear to me is that all the spin and counter spin make it really difficult to know the truth about those investigations.

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FBI agents who interviewed Flynn wrote they didn't believe he lied into the reports and he's charged with lying to those FBI agent

That's the thing with lie's you don't tend to know there lies when they are being told to you. Which is why you investigate.

Sometimes I think that your arguing that criminals that are good a covering their tracks shouldn't be investigated. And if a lose string is found that you should never pull it as the whole sweater might come undone. I wonder if your afraid of something here that isn't about justice 

As for whataboutism I hope you remember that when the pendulum swings and its not a Republican in office.

TheDrake

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Re: Abuses of Power
« Reply #64 on: December 20, 2018, 10:35:20 AM »
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Explain in simple words how the FBI agents who interviewed Flynn wrote they didn't believe he lied into the reports and he's charged with lying to those FBI agents

Perhaps you've never had the experience when somebody was lying to you, but you thought they were telling the truth at the time.

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Call me when all their files are seized in a dawn raid

Such deliberately inflammatory language. Are you familiar with any raids where they sort out files on the premises? Would an afternoon raid have been less objectionable? I'm surprised you didn't describe the agents as jack-booted thugs.

Seriati

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Re: Abuses of Power
« Reply #65 on: December 20, 2018, 12:14:13 PM »
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Explain in simple words how the FBI agents who interviewed Flynn wrote they didn't believe he lied into the reports and he's charged with lying to those FBI agents

Perhaps you've never had the experience when somebody was lying to you, but you thought they were telling the truth at the time.

FBI agents are interrogators that are trained to spot lies.  The standard for the offense requires intent to lie, not just being in error.  How do you establish an "intent" to lie if the interrogators concluded he didn't intend to lie?

The only thing that saved that claim is the plea deal whereby he agreed to admit to lying. 

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Call me when all their files are seized in a dawn raid

Such deliberately inflammatory language. Are you familiar with any raids where they sort out files on the premises? Would an afternoon raid have been less objectionable? I'm surprised you didn't describe the agents as jack-booted thugs.

What's inflammatory?  It's become a routine tactic to use dawn raids.  Manafort was hit with one in connection with this very matter.  Clinton was allowed to turn over her hard drive to her lawyers who destroyed it after they were done with it (and it doesn't appear they had the security clearances to even have access to those materials, which makes turning it over to them a separate and intentional violation).  The raid on Cohen was at his office first thing Monday morning, dawn raids seem to be used for the person's home where you can catch their spouse, kids and pets in the drama.

I don't know.. I don't care about Clinton shes not in power just as I didn't care about Trumps questionable business practices and opinions when he was just a business man.

That's the point, you don't care about Clinton, or apparently about balance or fairness.  The idea that you can judge fairness by only looking at how those you want to believe are guilty is treated is bizarre.

These are your rights.  They are Clinton's rights.  They are Trump's rights.  But we only have justice if they are the same rights.

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As for whataboutism I hope you remember that when the pendulum swings and its not a Republican in office.

As long as we have fair application I couldn't care less about the risk of the pendulum swinging.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2018, 12:16:21 PM by Seriati »

rightleft22

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Re: Abuses of Power
« Reply #66 on: December 20, 2018, 12:37:31 PM »
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FBI agents are interrogators that are trained to spot lies

I’m trained to spot defects in code, I don’t always catch everything and even when I think things look ok and trust the developer. I take a second and even third look. I expect no less from any legal investigation
I don’t think this argument for why the when the FBI should stop investigating is a very good one. You usually do better.

I fully expected that if Hillary won that the GOP would not at nothing to keep a steady stream of investigations going. Really how many investigations were there concerning Hillary emails, Begaze, White water, charity…?

Are you arguing that those investigations were badly handled based on facts or opinion because you didn’t like the outcome? It didn’t matter what the outcome was as it didn’t stop re-opening the investigations and investigations of the investigations…  Just as it won’t matter what the outcome of Trump investigations are. The System is broken.
 
I expect the justice system to do its job and follow the law. If they are failing to do that we have big problems. 

With regards to Trump I don’t think you should not be surprise that these investigations are taking place.  Anyone looking into him is finding things requiring further investigation. I get why you might not like it Had Hillary won I would not be surprise by any investigations or type of investigations. She pretty much would have been a lame duck president from day one.

TheDrake

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Re: Abuses of Power
« Reply #67 on: December 20, 2018, 02:17:23 PM »
I'll stipulate now that Clinton should have been hit hard with a "dawn raid" - is that better now?

I think any public official under investigation should not have the opportunity to destroy evidence. The only exception would be for executive privilege, unfortunately.

Do you really think that the Clinton email scandal wasn't a fishing expedition set up by Republican members of Congress? The Benghazi witch hunt led to their discovery of her private email server, which wasn't even the point of their investigation. They turned it into mishandling of classified documents when they couldn't get her on anything else.

Fenring

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Re: Abuses of Power
« Reply #68 on: December 20, 2018, 02:30:11 PM »
Do you really think that the Clinton email scandal wasn't a fishing expedition set up by Republican members of Congress? The Benghazi witch hunt led to their discovery of her private email server, which wasn't even the point of their investigation. They turned it into mishandling of classified documents when they couldn't get her on anything else.

This might have been what it was *to them*, but amazingly I think it showed much more. A silly little documentation scandal might have been all they thought they could get her on by that point, and it's telling that in their desperation to catch her on something they probably wasted their credibility on the one thing that was worse than the others. Insider trading is certainly a real crime, but not of major proportion in terms of the nation. Benghazi, too, might have represented really bad stuff on her part, but most likely her involvement would have been something involving what I would call 'business as usual' in the darker side of government, at best. The email scandal, however, could actually have revealed selling out a high office, which if true (and I'm not saying it was) would have been orders of magnitude worse than anything she had been accused of before. So yeah, they came off as crying wolf on all the other stuff, leaving many people (including you, I guess) to conclude that this was just their last-ditch effort to catch her on anything at all. To me this was the only major issue out of the rest of those that were investigated.

TheDeamon

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Re: Abuses of Power
« Reply #69 on: December 20, 2018, 06:55:14 PM »
Do you really think that the Clinton email scandal wasn't a fishing expedition set up by Republican members of Congress? The Benghazi witch hunt led to their discovery of her private email server, which wasn't even the point of their investigation. They turned it into mishandling of classified documents when they couldn't get her on anything else.

Oh right, when they requested e-mails related to the investigation, and discovered that State didn't have them, Hillary did, on her private server. Convenient that.

Seriati

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Re: Abuses of Power
« Reply #70 on: December 20, 2018, 07:22:31 PM »
Do you really think that the Clinton email scandal wasn't a fishing expedition set up by Republican members of Congress? The Benghazi witch hunt led to their discovery of her private email server, which wasn't even the point of their investigation. They turned it into mishandling of classified documents when they couldn't get her on anything else.

I think I've repeatedly criticized the Benghazi investigation.  The President's executive judgment should not have been questioned.  Of course there was no reason to obfuscate about it to the extent the Obama WhiteHouse did.  He should have been criticized far more for using official government channels to spread a lie with the intention of influencing the election between himself and Mitt Romney (which he did, and it did).

Clinton's use of an personal email server is so egregious that I think people can't really comprehend the scale of how egregious it was.  First of all, it was almost certainly done intentionally and expressly to avoid compliance with the Freedom of Information Act - which is literally how it came to light.  Second, there's not even a plausible case or argument for diverting government records to a personal server and then giving them back to the government.  Third, it was a gross risk that any competent person would have known was unacceptable. 

Couple that off, with my opinion, that the conduct in the public record clearly discloses several crimes and the idea that this was trivial is nonsense. 

The idea that we are seeing equal justice, where people write daily about "crimes" of the Trump admin where the conduct was legal (like paying off a porn star with your own money), is baffling to me.  Put Trump in Clinton's shoes and you'd declare the "smoking gun" for impeachment, put Clinton in Trump's shoes and you'd declare it to be a personal matter and nothing to see.  Or heck, one could just compare how we've had two years of investigation about whether Trump "received something of value" from nameless Russians (people seem to want this to be a crime, without evidence), based on a report Hillary's campaing paid a British spy to produce based on information from the Russians (which seems to actually be a case of the crime they want to see in the first instance).

Pete at Home

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Re: Abuses of Power
« Reply #71 on: December 20, 2018, 09:44:04 PM »
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First of all, it was almost certainly done intentionally and expressly to avoid compliance with the Freedom of Information Act - which is literally how it came to light.

That's the first time I've heard that particular allegation. Please elaborate.

Pete at Home

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Re: Abuses of Power
« Reply #72 on: December 20, 2018, 09:54:43 PM »
I'm surprised you didn't describe the agents as jack-booted thugs.

That term originated in response to the Ruby Ridge raid, where to investigate a 2 inch illegal cut down on a "sawed off" shotgun, FBI raided a civillian home, and killed:

First a dog
Then a 14 year old boy that went in search of a dog
then a pregnant woman holding a baby (good shot that one, three deaths at the price of a single bullet. Rock on, Garth.)

It seems nazissifying to get all upset about thuggish behavior when the thugs wear police uniform.  Those that don't remember the past are doomed to repeat it.

Fenring

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Re: Abuses of Power
« Reply #73 on: December 20, 2018, 10:31:49 PM »
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First of all, it was almost certainly done intentionally and expressly to avoid compliance with the Freedom of Information Act - which is literally how it came to light.

That's the first time I've heard that particular allegation. Please elaborate.

So that she could do whatever she wanted with her office without oversight? Seems pretty simple to me. Any number of actual motives could lead to someone wanting to do this, which may include large-scale things like pay-to-play or using her office to benefit her private business (and vice versa), but could also include smaller-scale things such as simply thumbing her nose at the plebs, using her account for multiple purposes at once to avoid having to consider conflicts of interest, or even just the general idea of not wanting anyone to be able to tune in on her moves.

Seriati

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Re: Abuses of Power
« Reply #74 on: December 21, 2018, 09:43:15 AM »
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First of all, it was almost certainly done intentionally and expressly to avoid compliance with the Freedom of Information Act - which is literally how it came to light.

That's the first time I've heard that particular allegation. Please elaborate.

The wiki on this under initial awareness,  flags the FOIA requests issue.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillary_Clinton_email_controversy.  Here's also a couple of practical right ups on the frustration of FOIA by state.  https://www.politico.com/blogs/under-the-radar/2016/08/cheryl-mills-clinton-email-226864  https://www.charismanews.com/politics/elections/59177-did-the-state-department-help-hillary-clinton-avoid-a-foia-request

It's my conclusion, given that there are no legitimate grounds for the server, any number of red flags raised by the government and multiple work arounds put in place to force it through, that Clinton's primary purpose was to prevent any disclosure of her emails, including specifically legally required ones with respect to FOIA, the Records Act and even routine investigations.  Responding to a FOIA request by stating there are no responsive records to a request for the email account Hillary was using, pretty much proves that the system she set up was effective in doing just that.