In January 2016, the Obama administration released seven Iranian-born prisoners in what President Barack Obama called a “one-time” “humanitarian gesture” intended to sweeten the nuclear deal hammered out between Washington, D.C., and Tehran. The prisoners — who Josh Earnest insisted were guilty only of “sanctions violations or violations of the trade embargo” — were exchanged for five Americans, unjustly held by Iran since as early as 2011. In fact, some of the Iranian prisoners were national-security threats, and it wasn’t a straight prisoner swap: The Wall Street Journal revealed that on the day of the exchange the U.S. flew $400 million in cash on an unmarked cargo plane to Iran.
When it came to its negotiations with Iran, duplicity was the hallmark of the previous administration’s public statements. (Sanctimonious preening was a close second.) But supporters assured skeptics that the administration was acting in the country’s best national-security interests. Now comes a new bombshell investigation that shows the lengths to which the previous administration went to secure Iranian cooperation, even when it meant putting American security at risk. Continue reading
By Adam Kredo • Washington Free Beacon
Iran is using the billions in cash resources provided under the landmark nuclear deal to engage in an unprecedented military buildup meant to transform the Islamic Republic’s fighting force into an “offensive” juggernaut, according to a largely unreported announcement by Iranian military leaders that has sparked concern among U.S. national security insiders and sources on Capitol Hill.
Iranian officials announced late last month that Iran’s defense budget had increased by 145 percent under President Hassan Rouhani and that the military is moving forward with a massive restructuring effort aimed at making it “a forward moving force,” according to regional reports.
Iranian leaders have stated since the Iran deal was enacted that they are using the massive amounts of cash released under the agreement to fund the purchase of new military equipment and other armaments. Iran also has pursued multi-million dollar arms deals with Russia since economic sanctions were nixed as part of the deal. Continue reading
By Jeremy Carl • National Review
As one would expect from a president who is a master of political theater, the backdrop for this week’s announcement of his executive order “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth” was dramatic: President Trump, with twelve all-American-looking coal-miners flanking him, announced that he was undoing a number of President Obama’s climate policies, while announcing a number of pro-energy-development ones. As is typical with this president, though, the media were so wrapped up in the theater that the substance of the order was almost entirely buried in many stories.
But while the green lobby was rending its garments and proclaiming the end of the world, more astute observers noticed what Trump’s executive order didn’t do — which was arguably more important than what it did.
Notably, the president did not (1) withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement or (2) start a process to repeal the EPA’s endangerment finding on carbon emissions, which underlies the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan. Continue reading
by Andrew C McCarthy • National Review
On Tuesday, in a National Review Online column, I contended that the reported involvement of former national-security adviser Susan Rice in the unmasking of Trump officials appears to be a major scandal — it suggests that the Obama White House, of which she was a high-ranking staffer, abused the power to collect intelligence on foreign targets, by using it to spy on the opposition party and its presidential candidate.
It should come as no surprise that the defense Ms. Rice and Obama apologists are mounting is heavily reliant on a fact that is not in dispute: viz., that the intelligence collection at issue was legal.
I anticipated that line of argument a week ago. The issue is not technical legality, it is monumental abuse of power. Continue reading
By Cristina Laila • The Gateway Pundit
Former National Security Advisor to Obama, Susan Rice has recently pivoted from saying she knew nothing about the unmasking of Trump and his associates to saying it’s all part of her job and normal routine.
Ex-officials who have experience in Intelligence operations at this level are saying quite the opposite. A National Security Advisor is in a managerial position and should not have time to be unmasking individuals having conversations. ‘It’s insane. It’s never done.’ Continue reading
By Andrew C McCarthy • National Review
The thing to bear in mind is that the White House does not do investigations. Not criminal investigations, not intelligence investigations.
Why is that so important in the context of explosive revelations that Susan Rice, President Obama’s national-security adviser, confidant, and chief dissembler, called for the “unmasking” of Trump campaign and transition officials whose identities and communications were captured in the collection of U.S. intelligence on foreign targets? Continue reading
President Trump is expected as soon as next week to order the Environmental Protection Agency to rescind its Clean Power rule that is blocked by the courts. But the President faces another test of political fortitude on whether to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord.
That’s suddenly uncertain. Mr. Trump promised to withdraw during the presidential campaign, correctly arguing that the accord gave “foreign bureaucrats control over how much energy we use.” His transition team even explored strategies for short-cutting the cumbersome, four-year process of getting out of the deal.
But the President’s is now getting resistance from his daughter, Ivanka, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who are fretting about the diplomatic ramifications. No doubt many countries would object, and loudly, but this risk pales compared to the potential damage from staying in the accord. Continue reading
Most Americans are worried about our domestic crises. Obama left office after doubling the debt to $20 trillion. Near-zero interest rates over eight years have impoverished an entire generation of seniors — and yet remain key to servicing the costs of such reckless borrowing.
Over the last eight years, GDP never grew at 3 percent annually, the first time we’ve seen such low growth since the Hoover administration. Obamacare spiked health-care premiums and deductibles while restricting access and reducing patient choices. Racial politics are at a nadir and make one nostalgic for the environment before 2009.
Red-blue tensions are at an all-time high, and suddenly there is talk of 1860s-like Confederate nullification of federal laws. It’s now the norm for prominent commentators to call for the murder, forced removal, or resignation of the current president. A New York Times columnist asked the IRS to commit a felony by sending him Trump’s tax returns, and then he boasts by providing his own address. Continue reading
By Andrew C. McCarthy • National Review
In March 1993, Janet Reno began her tenure as President Bill Clinton’s attorney general by summarily firing United States attorneys for 93 of the 94 federal districts (one, Michael Chertoff, was retained in New Jersey, at the request of Democratic Senator Bill Bradley). That is more than twice as many as Trump attorney general Jeff Sessions fired on Friday.
Indeed, there were only 46 Obama-appointed U.S. attorneys left for Sessions to relieve because Obama appointees fully understood that this is the way things work. Many of them had already moved on, in the expectation that the president elected in November would replace them — an expectation that became a virtual certainty once it was clear that this change of administrations would be a change of parties, and visions.
It is frequently observed that, to be legitimate, law enforcement must operate independently of politics. It is an oversimplification, coupled with a misunderstanding of politics in its non-pejorative sense. Continue reading
By David French • New York Post
Lost in most of the coverage of President Trump’s decision to rescind the Obama administration’s transgender mandates is a fundamental legal reality: The Trump administration just relinquished authority over gender-identity policy in the nation’s federally funded schools and colleges.
In other words, Trump was less authoritarian than Obama. And that’s not the only case.
by Adam Kredo • Washington Free Beacon
Agencies across the federal government reported at least 37 leaks of classified information in 2016, more than double the number of criminal leaks reported in 2015, according to new information from the Department of Justice that highlights the government’s inability to crack down on this illegal behavior.
The unauthorized disclosure of highly classified information has received renewed attention in recent weeks following what the Washington Free Beacon first described as a targeted campaign against Trump administration officials by Obama administration loyalists still operating inside the government. Sources in and out of the White House said this campaign began in late 2016, before Obama left office.
The ouster of former national security adviser Michael Flynn—who saw transcripts of his private phone conversations intercepted by the U.S. intelligence community leaked to newspapers—is believed to have been a central part of this campaign. Continue reading
Nancy Pelosi says Republicans have accomplished nothing in 2017, and no doubt she wishes that were true. But the House has already voted to repeal 13 Obama-era regulations, and President Trump signed his third on Tuesday. Now the GOP should accelerate by fully utilizing the 1996 Congressional Review Act.
Republicans chose the damaging 13 rules based on a conventional reading of the CRA, which allows Congress to override regulations published within 60 legislative days, with simple (50-vote) majorities in both chambers. Yet the more scholars examine the law, which had only been used successfully once before this year, the clearer it is that the CRA gives Congress far more regulatory oversight than previously supposed.
Spearheading this review is the Pacific Legal Foundation’s Todd Gaziano—who helped write the 1996 act—and the Heritage Foundation’s Paul Larkin. Their legal findings, and a growing list of rules that might be subject to CRA, are on www.redtaperollback.com. Continue reading
by Charlie Hoffmann • Washington Free Beacon
A Friday opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal has conservatives on Capitol Hill intrigued about the possibility of being able to roll back a plethora of regulations introduced during the Obama administration.
Kimberley Strassel’s column, “A GOP Regulatory Game Changer,” argues that the Congressional Review Act of 1996, or CRA, would grant congressional Republicans the ability to repeal onerous regulations passed by the Obama administration.
The accepted wisdom in Washington is that the CRA can be used only against new regulations, those finalized in the past 60 legislative days. That gets Republicans back to June, teeing up 180 rules or so for override. Included are biggies like the Interior Department’s “streams” rule, the Labor Department’s overtime-pay rule, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s methane rule. Continue reading
by Ali Meyer • Washington Free Beacon
Former President Obama left office having added $9.3 trillion to the national debt, according to numbers from the Treasury Department.
When Obama took office on Jan. 20, 2009, the outstanding public debt totaled $10,626,877,048,913. On Jan. 20, 2017, when Obama left office, outstanding public debt totaled $19,944,429,217,106, an increase of roughly $9.3 trillion.
Comparatively, former President George W. Bush contributed far less to the debt. When Bush took office in January 2001, the debt was roughly $5.7 trillion. That figure had swollen to $10.6 trillion by the time he left office, an increase of about $4.9 trillion. Continue reading
By Bre Payton • The Federalist
In his final few days in office, President Obama and his pals have been frantically spinning his tenure in the White House as a “scandal-free” eight years.
Just watch this exchange between CNN’s Jake Tapper and White House chief of staff Denis McDonough on Sunday in which McDonough claims the Obama administration has been free of scandal.
— CNN (@CNN) January 15, 2017