Based On What?

Yesterday Mollie Hemingway posted an article at The Federalist about some recent statements by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.).

The article reports:

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) recently suggested the FBI did nothing wrong when it used at least one government informant to secretly collect information on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Public reports indicate, however, that Gowdy never even reviewed the relevant documents on the matter subpoenaed by Congress. In fact, a spokeswoman for Gowdy told The Federalist that the congressman doesn’t even know what documents and records were subpoenaed by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI).

So why did he make the statement he made? If he didn’t know what documents were subpoenaed and hadn’t seen them, what was he talking about?

The article continues:

According to government sources who leaked information to The New York Times and Washington Post, the subpoena dealt with an individual who was secretly gathering information on the Trump campaign on behalf of the federal government. Media outlets had reported government officials’ claims they couldn’t comply with the subpoena because revealing any details about the individual would cause loss of life and grave threats to national security. The same media outlets then used leaks from government officials to report the individual’s personally identifying information — up to and including his name.

Along with Gowdy, HPSCI Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) received a classified briefing on the subpoenaed information. Seven other members of Congress did as well. However, multiple press reports indicate the classified briefings reportedly did not satisfy the subpoena.

The story about the spy in the Trump campaign gets stranger by the day. If the FBI was not investigating the campaign, but was investigating attempts to infiltrate the campaign, why didn’t they tell Donald Trump what they were doing? What did they do with any information they gathered? It is particularly odd that they were the ones infiltrating the campaign. Were they also watching Hillary Clinton’s campaign for attempts to infiltrate the campaign?

The article concludes:

During the CBS News interview, co-host Gayle King asked Gowdy if he had received any blowback from GOP lawmakers for his comments about the FBI’s behavior regarding the informant. Gowdy responded oddly, invoking Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), neither of whom were invited to last week’s DOJ briefing.

“The folks who have seen the information I think have the same perspective I have,” Gowdy said, referring to Rubio and Cotton. “Those who have not seen the information, I don’t know what informs their perspective.”

Just as with Gowdy, there is no evidence either Rubio or Cotton has seen all the records HPSCI subpoenaed or even the subpoena HPSCI issued.

We don’t yet know the full story, but this looks like a giant cover-up of seriously illegal political activity by law enforcement agencies that are supposed to be politically neutral.

Irony?

Last Tuesday I wrote an article about the New York Times interview by Ben Rhodes. The Sunday New York Times Magazine featured a rather lengthy interview with Mr. Rhodes. In the interview, Ben Rhodes essentially brags about taking advantage of the ignorance of young White House reporters in spinning the Iran nuclear deal.

The New York Times article quotes Ben Rhodes:

Rhodes singled out a key example to me one day, laced with the brutal contempt that is a hallmark of his private utterances. “All these newspapers used to have foreign bureaus,” he said. “Now they don’t. They call us to explain to them what’s happening in Moscow and Cairo. Most of the outlets are reporting on world events from Washington. The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.”

Well, Congress asked Mr. Rhodes to testify about the Iran nuclear deal and his actions in selling it. Mr. Rhodes (and President Obama) were not interested in talking to an audience that might be less than friendly and that might actually be seeking the truth.

Fox News posted a story today about Mr. Rhodes’ refusal to testify.

The article states:

Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, wanted the deputy national security adviser to testify at a hearing set for Tuesday titled, “White House narratives on the Iran Nuclear Deal.”

“We’re planning as if he is attending, and he’ll have a comfortable seat awaiting his arrival,” Chaffetz said Monday afternoon of Rhodes.

But W. Neil Eggleston, White House counsel, sent a letter to Chaffetz late Monday saying Rhodes would not attend.

He cited what appeared to be an executive privilege-related claim, asserting that such a senior presidential adviser’s appearance “threatens the independence and autonomy of the President, as well as his ability to receive candid advice and counsel.” For those reasons, he said, “we will not make Mr. Rhodes available to testify.”

Chaffetz earlier had made a last-ditch attempt to pressure Rhodes into appearing. After White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest initially said he should invite GOP Sen. Tom Cotton, whom he accuses of spreading false information about the deal, Chaffetz did exactly that — inviting Cotton to testify, on condition that Rhodes appeared as well.

“[Earnest] suggested that you should be invited to appear at the hearing as well, because you have some ‘interesting insight’ into the JCPOA [the Iran deal]. Therefore your appearance before the Committee would be contingent on Mr. Rhodes’ appearance at that hearing,” Chaffetz said in a letter Friday.

It seems very ironic to me that Mr. Rhodes is willing to tell all to The New York Times but not willing to talk to Congress.

The article at Fox News explains why Congress requested Mr. Rhodes to appear:

Sources tell Fox News that the committee was keen for Rhodes to appear voluntarily so they avoid the territory of a possible subpoena.

The magazine article that touched off the controversy outlined how Rhodes created a narrative of the deal coming out of the 2013 election of “moderate” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Iran’s subsequent “openness” and willingness to negotiate.

In fact, the story stated, the majority of the deal was hammered out in 2012, well before Rouhani’s election. However, the Rhodes narrative was politically useful to the administration as it presented them as reaching out to the moderates who wanted peace.

Congress needs to hold the President (and his ‘truth-spinner’) accountable for the lies that were told to gain acceptance of a treaty that will eventually be a threat to America‘s national security. It is very telling to me that Ben Rhodes was willing to spend as many hours as it took to get his interview in The New York Times but is not willing to talk to Congress.

Is This Even Legal?

The National Review posted a story today about the nuclear deal with Iran. In the story, Fred Fleitz, the author, reports on two aspects of the deal with Iran that were not going to be made public (or available to Congress or other nations).

The article reports:

Senator Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) and Congressmen Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.) issued a press release yesterday on a startling discovery they made during a July 17 meeting with International Atomic Energy Agency officials in Vienna: There are two secret side deals to the nuclear agreement with Iran that will not be shared with other nations, with Congress, or with the U.S. public. One of these side deals concerns inspection of the Parchin military base, where Iran reportedly has conducted explosive testing related to nuclear-warhead development. The Iranian government has refused to allow the IAEA to visit this site. Over the last several years, Iran has taken steps to clean up evidence of weapons-related activity at Parchin. 

The other side deal relates to the possible military dimensions (PMDs) of Iran’s nuclear program. Evidently the PMD issue is not resolved. In 2013, Iran agreed to answer International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) questions about work in weapons-related areas, but has not actually answered the questions.

This is a copy of part of the press release issued by Senator Cotton and Congressman Pompeo:

According to the IAEA, the Iran agreement negotiators, including the Obama administration, agreed that the IAEA and Iran would forge separate arrangements to govern the inspection of the Parchin military complex — one of the most secretive military facilities in Iran — and how Iran would satisfy the IAEA’s outstanding questions regarding past weaponization work. Both arrangements will not be vetted by any organization other than Iran and the IAEA, and will not be released even to the nations that negotiated the JCPOA [Iran nuclear agreement]. This means that the secret arrangements have not been released for public scrutiny and have not been submitted to Congress as part of its legislatively mandated review of the Iran deal. 

Do we need any more reasons to reject this treaty?

 

 

How To Effectively Combat A Smear Campaign

The prisoner exchange involving Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was controversial to say the least. When members of his platoon spoke out about the circumstances of his disappearance, some White House supporters began a whisper campaign about these men–questioning the veracity of their observations.

Rep. Tom Cotton is a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. His comments during a Joint Subcommittee of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs held yesterday are an example of how you correctly handle a smear campaign.

The comments are posted on YouTube (and below):

A Vote That Needs To Happen

On Friday, the Military Times reported that this week the Senate will consider the repeal of the annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) reductions included in the recent omnibus budget bill.

The article reports:

Majority leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., has fast-tracked a bill drafted by Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., setting a procedural vote for Monday that paves the way for a vote by mid-week.

The legislation, S 1963, would repeal the portion of the Bipartisan Budget Act that will reduce annual COLA increases by 1 percentage point for “working age” retirees, starting in late 2015.

The Senate Armed Services Committee had scheduled a hearing to consider Pryor’s bill the same evening; that markup has been canceled and the full Senate instead will vote on whether to debate the bill.

Previous attempts at repeal have been unsuccessful–blocked by Senator Harry Reid. It is interesting to me that Senator Mark Pryor is sponsoring the bill that Senator Reid is finally willing to consider. Senator Pryor is considered one of the most vulnerable incumbents facing re-election in 2014. He voted for  ObamaCare and has generally supported President Obama’s policies. Recently he has attempted to distance himself from those policies.  He is being challenged for his seat by freshman Republican Representative Tom Cotton. The Democrats do not want to lose that seat, and having Senator Pryor sponsor this bill is one way to make him look good.

The article reports:

Numerous lawmakers have offered other proposals to offset the loss of savings. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., has proposed closing a tax loophole that allows undocumented workers to receive tax credits for their children.

As part of a broad, $30 billion veterans’ bill, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., proposed to pay for repealing the COLA caps by using wartime contingency funding.

Other legislators, both in the House and Senate, have introduced bills that would offset the cost of repeal by tightening regulations on U.S. companies that shelter funds in foreign tax havens; cutting Saturday postal service; blocking foreign aid to Egypt or Pakistan; and consolidating the Veterans Affairs and Defense departments’ prescription drug purchasing programs.

It will be interesting to see if the COLA caps are repealed and how that repeal is paid for. The COLA caps were the only cut in the omnibus spending bill. If they go away, Congress will have again succeeded in passing a budget without any actual budget cuts. This is what Democrats and establishment Republicans do. We need to vote all of them out of office.

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When The Government Controls Healthcare Bad Things Happen

When the government is allowed to decide what treatment is appropriate for medical problems, bad things happen. Yesterday Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted a story about one particular incident and a possible solution.

TRICARE is the military’s healthcare program. It covers military personnel, retirees, and military families for all branches of the military. Rep. Tom Cotton is co-sponsoring legislation to make sure our military and their families get the care they need.

The article reports:

H.R. 1705, also known as “Kaitlyn’s Law,” would make sure that Tricare covers doctor-prescribed therapeutic exercises or therapeutic activities. When the doctors and therapists treating a patient covered by TRICARE agree that a particular form of therapy is needed, and can justify their decision on medical grounds, the patient would receive reimbursement for that therapy.

Kaitlyn is the child of a military family. She has numerous physical problems that cause her to be incapable of speaking or walking by herself. One of these problems is severe scoliosis. Without effective treatment, the curvature of her spine is so severe that as it increases her bones will pop out of joint and she will eventually be crushed; The challenge for her family was finding effective therapy.  When conventional therapy failed, they eventually found something called “hippotherapy.” This involved riding a horse in circles to stretch her back muscles and force her to sit upright. The Pentagon decided that this was not a ‘proven’ therapy (despite the fact that it worked) and stopped paying for it.

The article continues:

In essence, then, the government takes the position that it will pay for physical therapy that wasn’t working for Kaitlyn, but won’t pay for the type of physical therapy that does work for her. And it took that position even as it admitted that there is reliable evidence supporting the value of “horse therapy.” In addition, Kaitlyn’s doctors presented sworn testimony as to its effectiveness on her.

Kaitlyn’s law would reverse this injustice, not just for her but for the many military families in need of need of hippotherapy, as well as other non-traditional modalities, such as a ball, balance board, barrel or bench. This tweak would not impose a new mandate on private insurance carriers. It would simply precludes military insurers from second-guessing the treatment choices made by doctors and therapists in the context of rehabilitative therapy.

Please follow the link to the article and read the letter submitted to Congress about this bill. We ask a lot of our military families–we need to take care of them.

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