Trey Gowdy Demands Answers On Use of Private Email By Trump Administration

Rep. Trey Gowdy’s (R-S.C.) House committee is calling for a review of White House email practices in the wake of a New York Times report that at least six members of the Trump Administration used personal email accounts to conduct official government business. Members of the House Oversight Committee asked for more information and instructed White House officials to “preserve all official records and copies of records in your custody or control.”

On Monday, the New York Times reported that Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and advisor, had sent about 100 work emails using a private email account. Former White House strategist Steve Bannon, former chief of staff Reince Priebus and advisors Gary Cohn and Stephen Miller also occasionally used private email accounts per the report. Ivanka Trump, the wife of Mr. Kushner, was reported to have used a private email account for government business while she was an unpaid White House advisor in the first months of the Trump Administration. The use of the private emails began in the transition period and continued as late as August.

The Times points out that government officials are supposed to use government email accounts for their official duties to preserve a record for oversight and later access for the public, but that it is not necessarily illegal to use a private account. If a private account is used, the work-related emails must be forwarded their work accounts for preservation.

A major issue in the 2016 campaign was Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server in her position as Secretary of State under President Obama. Clinton sent classified information using her unsecure private email system, which is illegal. 33,000 Clinton emails were never accounted for.

Gowdy and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) sent letters to Kushner and the other White House officials named in the report. The Associated Press reports that Kushner was specifically asked for a list all of the private email addresses used, a list of all official emails sent using the private accounts and for security information about the “home-brew” private email system used by Kushner and Ivanka Trump.

White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “All White House personnel have been instructed to use official email to conduct all government-related work. They are further instructed that if they receive work-related communication on personal accounts, they should be forwarded to official email accounts.” Sanders said that use of private email accounts was “to my knowledge, very limited.”

Abbe Lowell, Kushner’s lawyer, told the AP that Kushner’s use of personal emails primarily involved the forwarding of news articles and political commentary in the first months of the Administration. Lowell said that all work-related emails had been forwarded to the official account and “all have been preserved in any event.”

There was no indication from the White House or Mr. Lowell as to whether Kushner’s emails would be released to the public.

Shame On Huckabee, WH Cowards; Praise For Ivanka

We can already see the fracture lines forming, and how President Trump thinks he’ll sail through his non-condemnation of white supremacists in Charlottesville.

Trump’s daughter Ivanka wasted no time and minced no words in her tweets against the evil Citronella dork gangsters in Charlotteville.

If her father had tweeted her first message, things might not be where they are. But Trump must do more than he’s done, and in fact, his non-condemnation and failure to repudiate these diseased rats will only encourage them and lead to more violence.

Everyone knows that white nationalists felt empowered by Trump’s rise. Everyone knows that he used his Twitter account to dog whistle them and retweet their garbage. Everyone knows that Steve Bannon destroyed Andrew Breitbart’s life’s work by turning it into an “alt-right” apologist rag and shameless propaganda outlet for Trump.

These are unquestionable facts.

And now the shameful parade of moral equivalence preachers has begun, starting with Mike Huckabee. He should be ashamed before man and God–a preacher of the Gospel defending murder.

“If Donald Trump has suddenly jumped on Marine One … down to Charlottesville, walked into the jail where the young man was being held, shot him between the eyes, I guarantee you people said he didn’t use the right caliber bullet,” Huckabee said.

Okay, so what? Some people are against everything Trump says or does, even if they agree with it. Huckabee’s implication is despicable.

Trump was “explicitly clear in condemning what happened and the fact was he will never satisfy those who hate his every word,” Huckabee said.

No, in fact Trump was not explicit, nor was he clear. Nothing highlights this fact more than the White House–where Huckabee’s own daughter serves as press secretary–refused to go on record with Trump’s explicit condemnation.

“The president said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry, and hatred,” the White House spokesperson stated. “Of course that includes white supremacists, [Ku Klux Klan], neo-nazi and all extremist groups. He called for national unity and bringing all Americans together.”

Whoever said this refused to go on record, would not give his or her name, and would not give reporters in New Jersey a reason why the statement was unattributed, according to the Washington Examiner.

Why? It’s such a simple thing.

The KKK, neo-Nazis, and purveyors of evil, hateful ideologies, who would kill others because of the color of their skin, or ram their car into a crowd because of a political disagreement, must be specifically, unequivocally, condemned.

But here we are, with the Daily Stormer and KKK claiming victory.

Knowing Trump, we can expect some kind of bombshell to get the media to change the subject. But we must not change the subject here. Homegrown evil is a show stopper.

All the moral equivalence in the world, all the “but Obama…” whataboutisms, all the “Trump could never say enough” defense of the indefensible can’t and won’t get us beyond this open festering wound.

I don’t care if Antifa and BLM killed 10,000 times more people than white supremacists (they haven’t, but I used an extreme example on purpose). That would be like saying that Venezuelan strongman Nicolás Maduro is okay because Pol Pot killed a million of his own countrymen.

Evil ideologies and those who espouse them, even if they voted to put someone into office, must be condemned. The fact that Trump has not done so indicates that he values their support more than he opposes their benighted ideals.

The fact that the White House staff is unwilling to attach a name to a statement of condemnation gives us the answer here. Shame on Mike Huckabee, and his daughter with him. Praise to Ivanka Trump for showing a modicum of courage. But I guess the president can’t fire his own daughter like he can fire Mike Huckabee’s.

MSNBC’s Joan Walsh Doesn’t Understand the Power of Femininity…or High Fashion

In a recent appearance on MSNBC, Joan Walsh took Trump Derangement Syndrome to new heights when she complained to the host of MSNBC is Dying Live about Ivanka Trump momentarily sitting in for her father at the G20 Summit. Walsh- a feminist who who doesn’t think women should be judged or rated on their looks – was more offended by Ivanka Trump’s outfit than her seat-warming abilities, saying her “ornamental” dress represented “patriarchal, authoritarian societies” in which daughters are property.

 

“Right. With big bows on her sleeve. I mean, I don’t mean to sound sexist — it can be dangerous to comment on what women wear — but the fact that she sat in for her father in a dress that was so incredibly ornamental was such a contradiction in terms”, Walsh said. “And I think that what we see is that in patriarchal, authoritarian societies, daughters have great value — they are property. And the message that she is sending about her own value, about her place in the White House, and about the place of women in this administration, I think, are really frightening.”

One of Joan’s key concerns is bows.

Bows.

An educated, accomplished, free American woman sat in for the President of the United States at one of the most important conferences in the world and she’s nothing more than decoration because she has bows on her dress?

Please imagine for one moment that it was Michelle Obama who momentarily sat in for her husband while conservatives pitched hissy fits of Election Night 2016 proportions. Would Walsh be talking at all about what Mrs. Obama was wearing? Walsh’s hatred for Trump runs so deep that she can’t even see the ridiculousness of her complaints.

One might legitimately take issue with an unelected, unofficial “aid” temporarily taking the seat of the President at a meeting of world leaders, but that anyone would think the bows on the sleeve of a dress would indicate anything about that decision or that person’s fitness as a human being is beyond stunning. Walsh was sure to preface her comments with “I don’t mean to sound sexist…” before going on to denigrate a woman for how she looked.

Is it not empowering to see a woman so valued as a member of the White House that she is trusted above her own brothers to represent her father’s affairs? Would Walsh feel differently if she knew Ivanka was actually a Democrat and only switched parties to vote for her father in the primaries?

Her entire statement is tragically ridiculous, but above all it is indicative of the real problem with the entire modern feminist movement in America. Walsh and modern feminists think “women’s equality” is about being able to do all the same things men do, to act the way men act without judgment or being accused of “penis-envy”. She misses the advantage of womanhood entirely.

The power in being women is precisely that we are not men. Our equality is an equality of purpose, not circumstance. Yes, our lives and thoughts and deeds are and should be every bit as valuable as a man’s. This is why the Bible so clearly states that God created “them, male and female together”. Neither one could function properly without the other…each one unique in their provisions to each other, but each one equally as important in creation.

When a woman goes into the boardroom (or takes a seat at the G20 summit) her advantages don’t lie in matching manly quality for manly quality. It is the “girlie stuff” that not only sets a woman apart from her male counterparts, but elevates her. Ask any man what he finds most intimidating about a woman and nine times out of ten he will say a confidence and beauty.

*By the way, a beautiful woman doesn’t have to look like a Victoria’s Secret model. Beauty is in how a woman cares for and presents herself, not the actual physical qualities. Beauty is a package, not a dress size.

I can only assume that Walsh’s comments mean she thinks that the opposite of “girlie” is the only legitimate look for a powerful woman. So…masculine? Non-girlie? Frumpy? Ironically, Walsh doesn’t see at all how her point of view sets back women and feminism. In her view, a woman shouldn’t dress to attract attention when dealing with men in professional settings (I’m sure she could find a few Imams who share her views in this case). However, eschewing the physical aspect of our interactions with men puts us at a distinct disadvantage. We can never “out-man” a man. If we try to relate to men using the standards of masculine interaction we will lose that game every time.

Indeed, this is a man’s world but God’s gift to us to navigate that world is our feminine instinct (often called women’s intuition) and our physicality.  These are things men don’t have. Instead of muting those qualities we should be leveraging them. The “feminine mystique” has confounded and subdued men since the beginning of time. Why wouldn’t an ambitious woman want to take full advantage of the confusion their confident presence can create in men?

Instead, Joan thinks we should all just be the Muszak version of our male counterparts.

There is also a special irony in the fact that Walsh has criticism for Ivanka’s killer fashion sense but then expresses shock and outrage at the discover that the House of Representatives has “no-sleeves” rule for women.

Were we dealing with anyone but Trump, Walsh would be singing the praises of a president who trusted his daughter to run his affairs above anyone else around him. She would be hailing the President as a champion of women’s empowerment.

But this is 2017 and this is MSNBC and this is Joan Walsh and why let common sense get in the way of a good rage boner?

Ivanka Has a Point

Ivanka Trump has a point. The level of aggressive nastiness from both the left and mainstream media is off the charts compared even to rightwing angst over Barack Obama.

The left’s best response is “well, he started it” and then engaging in whataboutisms over things done to Barack Obama. But I do not recall widespread support for plays showing the assassination of Barack Obama. What had been largely fringe during the Obama years is now widespread on the left. Their best defense is that Donald Trump started it, which is a child like response from people behaving like children engaged in temper tantrums.

There is not, however, anything that can be done about it. The President needs to stop his self-inflicted injuries and just keep beating the left. That will keep his own base fired up. Sending more judicial nominees to Congress, undoing more regulations, and pushing the congressional GOP to actually get things done will be the best defense against offensive actions by the left.

If the President would go radio silent, he would minimize the talking points and news of the day by the left. Their reactions would have to be about his policies, not him. But the President’s policies are actually pretty popular on the right, even with guys like me who are not necessarily fans of the President himself.

Marco Rubio Used to Believe in Small Government – What Changed?

An effort to guarantee paid leave for new parents is gaining steam among the right. Ivanka Trump, who has made the issue her pet project within her father’s administration, expressed her support on Twitter for a study by the AEI-Brookings Project on Paid Family Leave. The study was conducted by a working group of academics representing both ends of the political spectrum.

Paid family leave has become one of the common causes of the nanny-state government crowd in recent years. Along with the $15 dollar minimum wage, free college, and single-payer healthcare, it is often cited as yet another essential measure to create the ideal cradle to grave welfare state of Bernie Sanders’ dreams.

Indeed, Sanders has introduced his own plan. As did Hillary Clinton. And Kristen Gillebrand

It’s not hard to see why liberals love the idea. It is a centrally planned, top-down entitlement in the same mold as the Great Society or New Deal. Most proposals, including the AEI-Brookings plan, would assess a new payroll tax. This would work like Social Security and Medicare, which impose taxes on employers and employees alike. The tax would be mandated for all Americans, so even men and women well past their parenting years would pay into a system from which they would never benefit.

While precise costs are impossible to determine at this point, federal entitlements always miss projections and add to the deficit. For example, a 2013 report from the Social Security and Medicare Trustees found those programs are facing long-term deficits in the trillions of dollars. Anyone with concerns for the annual deficit or national debt should not be excited at the idea of a new entitlement. 

Liberals, of course, tend to dismiss history and fiscal realities. This time, they argue, we will get it right. And Trump, who referenced his support for paid family leave during his address to Congress earlier this year, is not governed by any particular ideology. It’s not surprising that he or his daughter would support such a big government effort.

But we should expect more from Marco Rubio, which is why his tweet on Wednesday supporting Ivanka Trump’s family leave initiative is so disappointing.

In America, no family should be forced to put off having children due to economic insecurity. @IvankaTrump is doing important work.”

Marco Rubio is one of the good guys. I supported him in 2016, and still think he would make a great president. 

But when a politician begins a sentence with the phrase, in America, no family should, you can bet we are about to hear an emotional plea for the progressive cause du jour.

Of course, we all wish that no family should be homeless, or live below the poverty line, or lack health coverage, or suffer from illiteracy, or struggle with the consequences of drug addiction. Those are all bad things, and no one wants their fellow citizens suffering through them. And yes, we all want new moms and dads to have the freedom to focus on their new child during the first weeks of his or her life.

Where conservatives differ from liberals, however, is in our skepticism that the federal government can effectively alleviate any of these burdens. Where liberals wish to implement one-size-fits-all solutions to diverse and difficult problems, conservatives emphasize mediating institutions like local government, the church, and family. Where liberals want to throw trillions of dollars at federal programs, conservatives point to decades of experience and trillions of spent tax dollars to show that previous efforts made problems worse.

Senator Rubio used to understand this.

To be fair, Rubio’ s soft spot for this issue dates back to at least 2015 when he announced his own plan for family medical leave. Instead of a new payroll tax, Rubio called for tax incentives to encourage businesses to offer paid parental leave to employees. While this framework is probably better than the one laid out by AEI-Brookings and endorsed by Ivanka Trump, it still embraces the idea that parental paid leave is a responsibility of, and could be successfully implemented by, the federal government.

I would remind Senator Rubio of the words uttered by a young, articulate conservative explaining why big government solutions never work:

Because more government breeds complicated rules and laws that a small business can’t afford to follow. Because more government raises taxes on employers who then pass the costs on to their employees through fewer hours, lower pay and even layoffs. And because many government programs that claim to help the middle class, often end up hurting them instead.”

That was Senator Rubio in 2013. What’s changed?

Chris Matthews: Ivanka & Jared Kinda Sorta Like Uday & Qusay

In a way, I feel sorry for Chris Matthews.  From that brief, shining moment on election night when he was all but certain Hillary Clinton would win, he’s tumbled all the way down to crooning “The Thrill (Up My Leg) Is Gone” with the house band down at the Blue Note.  Still, you have to admire him for trying to keep spirits up over at MSNBC, where on Monday he bantered with POLITICO’s Annie Karni over the new power couple at the White House:

“You know, we kid,” he said, “I kid about everything, but Uday and Qusay working for Saddam Hussein – you couldn’t go to a restaurant and have eye contact with those guys without getting killed.”

 

“These people are really powerful,” he explained, “imagine getting into a fight in the office with Jared [Kushner] or Ivanka [Trump], they have enormous power, and they’re always gonna be there.”

 

“This is what I worry about for other people in the White House,” Karni responded. “Ivanka Trump has been described as her father’s eyes and ears on the ground. That’s a little scary if you’re just a regular White House staffer.”

Yep, he just compared Donald Trump’s daughter and son-in-law to the Hussein brothers.  You know, Uday–who once beat a bodyguard to death at a party with a baseball bat–and Qusay, who instigated the genocide of the Marsh Arabs after the first Gulf War.  With that kind of gift of metaphor, it’s easy to see how Matthews once landed a job as a speechwriter for Jimmy Carter.

Ivanka, meanwhile, recently posted this on Instagram:

Yeah, that really must have the White House staffers quaking in their boots.

Ham-handed comparisons aside, the concern that President Trump is handing too much influence over to family members is actually a legitimate one.  The problem is that Matthews and Karni have buried that point in a heapin’ helpin’ of partisanship with a side of hypocrisy.  Whatever fears White House staffers might have of crossing Jared or Ivanka pale in comparison to the kind of terror Hillary Clinton inflicted as she prowled the halls of the West Wing as First Lady–and yet we don’t hear anything about that, even though Hillary for all intents and purposes served as an unelected co-president.  And if nepotism is such a concern, why didn’t Matthews raise an objection when NBC hired Chelsea Clinton as a part-time fluff reporter for $600 grand a year?  Or are patronage jobs are just the norm at his network?

From the looks of things, Donald Trump is running his White House the same way he ran his private business–and that includes giving jobs to the people closest to him, some of whom are members of his family.  He wouldn’t be the first person in politics to do this, nor will he be the last, so Matthews and his ilk can stop pretending that this is anything unusual (unless they’d like to start beating up on Jack Kennedy for hiring brother Bobby as his attorney general).  Instead, might I suggest they concentrate on making sure that all of those hires are above board and keeping tabs on the work they’re doing?  Not only would this be a public service, it would be incentive for the administration to keep everything on the up-and-up.

That sounds an awful lot like what reporters are supposed to do.

SNL vs. Ivanka: It’s a Saturday Night Dive

Okay, I get it.  Saturday Night Live’ thinks of itself as edgy–and in all honesty, the Trump administration (like every administration that came before it) provides more than its fair share of fodder for comedy.  So it really isn’t a shock that SNL would take a jab at Ivanka Trump.  After all, she is an adviser to her father and she spent a lot of time campaigning for him, which makes her fair game for satire.  At least she would have been, if the writing staff hadn’t caught a binding case of creative constipation and run back to yet another tired spoof of perfume commercials:

On the plus side, at least they didn’t go the feminine hygiene or erectile dysfunction route–but given the dearth of imagination on display here, I wouldn’t be surprised if either of those popped up in the future.  Seriously guys, if a lack of laughs continues for longer than ninety minutes, please consult a script doctor immediately.

For those of you who don’t want to add another hit to the YouTube counter, WaPo has a decent enough summary:

“She’s Ivanka,” the narrator says. “And a woman like her deserves a fragrance all her own. A scent made just for her. Because she’s beautiful. She’s powerful. She’s … Complicit.”

 

More: “She’s a woman who knows what she wants, and knows what she’s doing. Complicit.”

 

And: “She doesn’t crave the spotlight, but we see her. Oh, how we see her,” as she looks in a mirror and sees Baldwin-as-Trump looking back at her.

Spoiler Alert:  The bit finishes with some business about Ivanka thinking she’s Rose when she watches Titanic, but she’s really. . .Billy Zane?  Apparently the writers missed the memo that Titanic gags have been banned since Leslie Nielsen killed the subject dead at the end of Wrongfully Accused.

I suppose I could really get mean and say that Scarlett Johansson is no Ivanka Trump (which, let’s get real here, she’s not)–but even leaving that aside, the clip fails for the simple reason that it’s not that funny.  Also, when your target viewers are mostly millennials who are probably texting while watching, it might not be such a hot idea to throw a word like complicit–which they’ll probably have to look up–at them.  I know that comedy is hard, guys, but try not to make the audience work that much.  This is late night TV, after all.

If you want to see something about Ivanka that will actually make you laugh, I’d suggest you check out the Fox series New Girl instead.  There’s an episode called “Hubbedy Bubby” from a few months back in which the main character Jess and her friend Cece party with a bunch of sorority sisters so they’ll get registered to vote for Hillary–until Jess mentions Donald Trump, and the girls stampede off to vote for him because they just love Ivanka.  It’s absolutely hilarious because it rings so true.

Which is maybe why SNL has the long knives out for her.  The Left has a history of going after women who have tremendous appeal, if those women have the potential to draw voters to the Republican Party.  If that’s the case, we’ll probably see a lot more of this stuff staggering out of the writers’ room at SNL, and other shows too.  Perhaps we can hope that maybe, one day, like a crotchety David Letterman missing the old days of leering at starlets on his interview couch, they’ll figure out that being mean and angry doesn’t make for the best comedy.

But by then, Ivanka will probably be in her second term as president.

Why Hate On Ivanka?

When Senator Edward Kennedy, patron saint of Chappaquiddick, was done savaging Robert Bork during his Supreme Court nomination hearings back in 1987, he happened to run into Bork’s wife in a Capitol Hill hallway.  Undoubtedly hoping to defuse an awkward moment, Kennedy said to her, “Mrs. Bork, you must be so tired.  It’s a very difficult time, I know.  I hope you understand it’s nothing personal.”

Demonizing Mrs. Bork’s husband, holding him up to the country as a man who would set civil rights back a generation, and deliberately making him an object to be despised:  this, in Kennedy’s view, was nothing personal.  I imagine that having been on the receiving end, Mrs. Bork felt a bit differently–but with that, Kennedy excused character assassination as just another political tactic, an effective one as it turned out.

Ironically, it may have also been a rare moment of honesty on Kennedy’s part.  Buried deep within his non-apology apology to Mrs. Bork was the implication that the campaign against her husband was a carefully crafted ploy, meant to stir up hatred against a man who could not otherwise be stopped on the merits.  But Kennedy wasn’t ginning up hatred for Bork amongst his Senate colleagues–they were far too cynical and sophisticated for that.  The hate was meant for the activists, who then turned it loose on the rubes in the Democrat base.  After all, nothing rallies the troops like giving them a common enemy.

Fast forward to 2017.  That Donald Trump is the object of the left’s scorn is no surprise–he is, after all, the single greatest threat to Obama the Light Giver’s legacy of America Last-ism.  But what’s with all the hate focused on Ivanka Trump?  By all accounts, she’s been a lifelong Democrat, and spent a lot of time on the campaign trail talking about child care, equal pay for women and other issues that the feminist left purports to care about.  She has been a businesswoman and an entrepreneur, a person who would otherwise be held up as a feminist icon.  So what’s with the boycotts of Ivanka’s clothing line, or the nasty responses to a cute Instagram picture of her taking a phone call at the White House while holding her cute-as-a-button baby boy?  Sure, the left hates Donald Trump–but why should Ivanka be held responsible for her father’s actions?

A lot of conservative publications have held this up as yet another example of feminist hypocrisy–and while this is true, it’s important not to treat the hypocrisy as incidental.  Like Teddy Kennedy’s attack on Robert Bork, the Ivanka hate is being cultivated very carefully by activists who are attempting to block her father at every turn.  The line of thinking is really quite simple:  Ivanka is beautiful, personable, and aligns with feminists on a lot of issues–and that makes her a threat.  If people who are left-of-center were allowed to like her, they might dislike her father less.  After all, if he raised a daughter like Ivanka, he couldn’t be all bad, could he?

The hardcore left can’t have that, obviously, because the abject hate is the one thing that keeps the whole house of cards from tumbling down.  If wounding Ivanka–or her husband, or even her kids–keeps it propped up, the left is fully prepared to do just that.  That’s why arguments about hypocrisy won’t change a thing:  these people know full well they’re hypocrites, they just don’t care.  To them, politics is war.  And in war, there are casualties.

But, like Teddy said, it’s nothing personal.