Special Report Grapevine: Precautionary Measures

Homegrown: Not everything is made here in the US, but anything related to the race for the White House probably should be. According to Politico, Jeb Bush's latest Super PAC ad about America's future contains stock footage from other countries. A field used in the ad is actually located in Cornwall, England and is available on shutterstock.com for between $19 and $79. A shot of a construction worker was actually taken on a building in southeast Asia. You can get the HD version of that clip for just $35 dollars on pond5.com. A Right to Rise spokesman has not yet responded.

Lone Star Loneliness:  Someone Jeb Bush won't be seeing on the debate stage tonight is Governor Rick Perry. And now that the former Texas governor is officially out of the 2016 race one of his top donors  is asking for his money back. Texas billionaire Darwin Deason had previously contributed $5 million to Perry's Opportunity and Freedom PAC. Deason's son told Politico that his father now expects that all funds will be sent back  and that the committee will shut down. The PAC initially said it was still discussing its options but a senior member now tells the Daily Caller that it will return all donations.

"Our attorney advised us that the law does allow us to refund money to our large-dollar donors like the Deasons. We are talking with Mr. Deason at this time.  If he wants his contribution back we will send it back to him." The Deason family said they are going to *quote* let things shake out a bit before choosing another candidate to support.

Precautionary Measures: And speaking of political contributions  it's always best to double check to see where your money is going before you donate it. Actor Daniel Craig -- most commonly-known for his role as James Bond -- gave nearly $50,000  to a Super PAC supporting Bernie Sanders. The problem -- this group is not actually affiliated with the Sanders campaign. According to the Center for Public Integrity, the founder of Americans Socially United has a history of financial and legal woes. Back in June the PAC was forced to change its name from Bet on Bernie 2016 after the FEC determined that it “did not appear to be an authorized committee of that candidate.” As for Daniel Craig , he does not seem to be concerned about his donation saying in a statement ,"currently, I have been informed of no evidence to question that my donation has not been used as intended. Should that situation occur, then clearly, I will review my position." The Sanders campaign has asked the committee to cease and desist all of its activities.

Special Report Grapevine

Two Illinois lawmakers – including the number 2 Democrat in the Senate Dick Durbin – signed letters of support seeking grant funding from the Education department for MyWings Foundation – a charity that claiming to help people with disabilities with tablets and software applications. Sounds great, right? The foundation is a fraud. The “charity’s” pitchman is awaiting sentencing over a separate investment scam. Durbin’s office said the man, “used a false name and misrepresented himself to Senator Durbin’s staff.”

The New Mexico Secretary of state is due in court today for violating the laws she was elected to uphold. Republican Dianna Duran is set to be arraigned on 64 counts of embezzlement, fraud, money laundering and other charges. It will be her first public appearance since the charges were levelled two weeks ago. Her lawyer has vowed to fight the charges – but the secretary has remained silent.  She is accused of funneling campaign contributions to her personal bank accounts and withdrawing large sums of money at casinos.

The USDA wasted more than 6 million dollars on cars it hardly used. An IG audit found that nearly 6 thousand government cars were driven less than 5,000 miles over the course of the year, “Had USDA retained accurate log files and performed the minimum annual use tests – it could have achieved a potential savings of approximately $6.2 million for vehicles that may not have been necessary.” The audit also found questioned some excessive gasoline purchases – finding $1.2 in questionable transactions. 

SR Grapevine: Prison time for a handshake?

Inside Job: The VA's motto is to care for those who have borne the battle …that is unless the battle is within the VA. Retired Sergeant Bradie Frink, a clerk at the Baltimore VA office and a disabled Army veteran,  wrote a letter to Senator Barbara Mikulski  after the agency lost his benefits folder and missed his benefits payments. Two weeks later he was fired for alleged misconduct. The Washington Post reports the VA has the highest number of whistleblower abuse complaints in the federal government. the Office of Special Counsel has handled 66 cases this fiscal year alone and the independent federal agency determined Sergeant Frink  was wrongfully terminated. The Post reports he is back at work after receiving back pay and a settlement.

Dazed and Confused: The Department of Homeland Security cannot effectively manage its own warehouse space and it is costing you money. An inspector general says the problem is confusion over the definition of a warehouse.  One mobile storage container for example is listed as a warehouse. While the actual warehouse -- full of old and broken furniture -- is classified as an office. Customs and Border Protection listed a similar facility , filled with seized weapons and illegal drugs , as a laboratory. The IG looked at more than 200 warehouses and found that nearly one-fourth were misclassified. In total,  DHS could save at least one million dollars a year by addressing issues with just three warehouses. The department says it agrees with the IG's recommendations.

Jailhouse Rock:  Finally, a handshake is fairly common form of communication, but in Iran it can land you in jail. A female artist, who is already serving more than 12 years in prison for publishing anti-Iranian cartoons,  is now facing indecency charges. The crime…shaking hands with her male lawyer. The government is charging them with “an illegitimate sexual relationship short of adultery.” Amnesty International is investigating and has started a petition calling for her release.

Christie on promising entitlement reform: ‘I’m proud I’m the only one of 17 saying it’

New Jersey Governor and presidential hopeful Chris Christie (R) said Thursday on “Special Report” that he’s proud to be the only Republican candidate promising to reform the country’s entitlement programs.

“I will run on it, cause I’ve been talking about it. It was the first speech I gave,” he said, “And I’m proud I’m the only one of 17 saying it, and I hope the others will follow.”

Christie says many voters he’s spoken to agree with him in recognizing the system must be changed.

“I ask people, ‘If you make over 200 thousand dollars a year in retirement income and have four, five million dollars saved, do you really need a social security check? And I will tell you most of the people I talk to in Iowa and New Hampshire shake their head that they don't need it,’” he said, adding, “They know it’s a problem. They know it in their heart, and they don’t have any leaders who are willing to stand up and say it.”

Christie went on to say that, if elected, he will lead Capitol Hill legislators to action.

“You need a strong president who’s going to tell Congress what they need to do. If we wait for Congress to lead, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives,” he concluded.

Hayes: Hillary's apology: She doesn't mean it

Steve Hayes,  Senior Writer for The Weekly Standard told viewers on "Special Report with Bret Baier" that Hillary Clinton's latest apology on her email controversy was inauthentic.

"This explains the shift from defiance to contritrition, It's totally contrived,  she doesn't mean a word of it." said Hayes

The former secretary of state insisted for months that owning a personal server, stored at her home, was allowed and that she had done nothing wrong. The controversy has dogged her since and became a liability as her popularity in the polls took a dive.

Hayes said Mrs Clinton maintained her innocence and even blamed her political enemies as far back as Bill Clinton's days in the White House, "She hinted several times that this was all  part of the vast right wing conspiracy. She's going back to the defense she used in the 1990's to defend her husband. "


Steve Hayes: New emails will put Clinton deeper into hot water

Weekly Standard columnist Steve Hayes told viewers Monday on "Special Report with Bret Baier" that the latest batch of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's emails - set to be released Monday by the State Department - will only put the candidate deeper into hot water.

"It's definitely having an effect," the Fox News contributor said of the email scandal.  "If you listen carefully to the defense we're hearing from Hillary Clinton supporters - it's really no defense at all."

The State Department said Monday that 150 of the emails set to be released are being censored or redacted because they contain information that has since been deemed classified - an issue that Hayes says will become "a huge problem" for Clinton.

"They're saying now, this stuff is still so sensitive that we can't make it public now," Hayes said.  "Well, surely it was more sensitive when she was serving as Secretary of State, and when the information was presumably much more contemporaneous. That's a huge problem for her, there is no good explanation for it, and I continue to think that's why we're not hearing an explanation from her."

Krauthammer on a potential Biden run for office: ‘It could create a real challenge [for Clinton]’

Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer said Wednesday on “Special Report” that former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who has been dogged by questions about her email, sees a viable challenger for the race to the White House in Vice President Biden… and she has reason to worry.

“The reason she had to cut short her vacation, the reason she is scared is, up until now, no matter how bad things got, there was no alternative,” Krauthammer said. “She had no opponent.”

As Biden mulls over a presidential run,  President Obama’s press secretary stopped short of saying the commander-in-chief would endorse his vice president if he declares his candidacy.

“The words coming out of the White House… earlier in the week was pretty ominous [for Clinton],” Krauthammer said, “[The president said] choosing [Biden] was the best decision Obama ever made, when obviously he chose Hillary as well. So it was a signal.”

Krauthammer went on to say that could spell trouble for the Clinton campaign.

“If she loses Obama’s support, if there is only a hint or a rod to the previous Obama supporters, bundlers, et cetera that his choice of successor is Biden, it could create a real challenge,” he concluded.



National Geographic Presents Warlords of Ivory

The upcoming September issue of National Geographic magazine features the story of a special investigation into Africa’s illegal elephant poaching and ivory trade, to answer the questions, "who exactly is killing the elephants and why?".

It is also the subject of National Geographic Channel's "Explorer: Warlords of Ivory" August 30th documentary. Investigative reporter Bryan Christy commissioned the creation of life-like artificial elephant tusks (they had to smell, feel and look like the real thing), which he implanted with a hidden GPS device to track the world's elephant poachers and see the road the ivory travels. It is a fascinating investigation, a crime story, making the direct connection, for the first time, between ivory and terrorism (you probably remember when the group Invisible Children shot to fame after its video "Kony 2012" went viral? This investigation connects poaching to Kony).

If you think about it, the average person has no idea that there is a definitive connection between these beloved animals and terrorism and while most people can easily name a drug lord or a mafia boss, very few people could name a wildlife trafficker. Just a few days ago, while the world was preoccupied with the killing of Cecil the lion (due, in part, to the fact that Cecil's killer has a name and a face), 5 more elephants were poached for their ivory and the news didn't make headlines because there is no criminal, no face, to place the blame on. It is National Geographic's hope that Christy's investigation will change this trend.


Ingraham: “It’s a long way to the nomination”

Laura Ingraham told viewers Friday on “Special Report” that when it comes to assumptions about Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, “It’s a long way to the nomination. We’ve got a year.”

Her comments came ahead of a Donald Trump pep rally in Mobile, Alabama Friday evening. The Trump campaign said that 42 thousand people had RSVPs to the event, which would make it a record crowd for either party in this campaign cycle.

Ingraham also predicted a massive pushback from the Bush campaign in the months ahead.

“They’re prepared to do whatever is necessary to terminate any problem that comes to the floor and Donald Trump is a problem,” Ingraham said. “And so I think we can plan to see with a huge Bush largesse - they have money to blow and they are going to raise a lot more if necessary.”

Hillary Clinton in "panic mode"

Jason Riley, columnist with the Wall Street Journal said on "Special Report" that the Hillary Clinton campaign is in "panic mode," as they try to tamp down the latest controversy over classified emails.

"We know they're in panic mode because they keep telling us they're not in panic mode," Riley told viewers.

Riley pointed out that the email issue has dogged her in recent weeks, eclipsed policy announcements aimed at helping the middle class, "The media isn't talking about Hillary Clinton's plan to reduce college costs, plans to address income inequality. They're talking about her server and her email."

The former secretary of state held a news conference yesterday fielding questions about top secret communications, refusing to directly answer a question about whether she had the server wiped clean.

"That news conference was a disaster; I think they're in damage control mode," concluded Riley.




Coming Up

McCarthy withdraws from speaker race, vote postponed

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