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• No one read Hillary emails before destruction
• Did Hillary sign on the line?
• Kerry concedes Iran nuke deal wouldn’t be binding
• New Hampshire is the place to be
• Work it, Dennis
NO ONE READ HILLARY EMAILS BEFORE DESTRUCTION
How did Hillary Clinton know that the tens of thousands of emails from her time in office she ordered destroyed were personal? Did she or even her staff scroll through her sent items scanning emails about “yoga routines” or “family vacations” before deleting them? Nope. No one looked at them. The Clinton campaign said those emails that did not crop up in a keyword search performed by her team were automatically deleted. No eyes. No one to be subpoenaed. Just highlight all and press delete. That method seems better for missing emails than to finding them. And it would sound reckless and haphazard coming from another politician. In this case, though it sounds like a woman covering her tracks in preparation for a long and bloody legal fight over subpoenas to come.
[AP: “The Associated Press on Wednesday sued the State Department to force the release of email correspondence and government documents from Hillary Rodham Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.]
See ya - Time: “For more than a year after she left office in 2013, she did not transfer work-related email from her private account to the State Department. She commissioned a review of the 62,320 messages in her account only after the department–spurred by the congressional investigation–asked her to do so. And this review did not involve opening and reading each email; instead, Clinton’s lawyers created a list of names and keywords related to her work and searched for those. Slightly more than half the total cache–31,830 emails–did not contain any of the search terms, according to Clinton’s staff, so they were deemed to be ‘private, personal records.’”
Gowdy tries to broker a deal to see server - AP: “The chairman of a House committee investigating the deadly 2012 attacks in Benghazi said Wednesday he wants an independent review of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s email server that she insists should remain private, setting up a confrontation between the GOP-led Congress and the likely presidential candidate. House Speaker John Boehner’s office did not rule out a vote in the full House to force Clinton to turn over the server. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., told The Associated Press that neither Clinton nor the committee should determine which emails are made public and which remain private. ‘Let a neutral, detached, disinterested observer make that call,’ he said, suggesting a retired judge or inspector general could fill the role.”
Report finds poor electronic hygiene at State Department - WaPo: “In perhaps the mostly timely inspector general report of all time, the State Department’s watchdog released its review of the agency’s e-mail record keeping Wednesday, highlighting specific lapses and confusion. The IG concluded that there’s no ‘central oversight’ of recording e-mails at State. And that ‘many e-mails that qualify as records are not being saved as record e-mails.’ The IG conducted its review last year of a program lower-level State employees use for archiving their e-mails.”
[The Obama administration’s plan for Internet regulations, long held in secret, is expected to be released today.]
DID HILLARY SIGN ON THE LINE?
WashEx: “Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, like all departing federal employees, was required to fill out and sign a separation statement affirming that she had turned over all classified and other government documents, including all emails dealing with official business. Fox News’ Megyn Kelly reported Wednesday evening on the requirement and that a spokesman for Clinton had not responded to a request for comment, including an explanation of when the former chief U.S. diplomat signed the mandatory separation agreement or, if she didn't, why didn't she. The Washington Examiner also asked Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill for comment late Wednesday but had received no response from him early Thursday.”
“Every employee at the State Department has to sign this little piece of paper when they leave the State Department. And it says I certify basically under penalty of perjury that I have returned all official records that were in my possession while I was an officer of the Department of State. So where is that document, Megyn? And if there isn't, if [Hillary Clinton] didn't sign that, why not? There are a lot of questions to be answered.” --Former DOJ Attorney Shannen Coffin on “The Kelly File” Watch here.
The Judge’s Ruling: Hillary broke her oath - Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst JudgeAndrew Napolitano says Hillary Clinton violated her duty to safeguard classified records when she used a personal email account as Secretary of State and asks: “Mr. President, will your Department of Justice prosecute Clinton for retaining 48 months of classified records on her personal server after she left office, as it did Gen. David Petraeus, who kept 15 months of classified records in a desk drawer in his home after he left office?”
BALZ: HILLARY NEEDS AN OPPONENT
Dan Balz writes: “For Democrats, institutionally and collectively, the stakes are high. Victory in the 2016 general election is far from certain, whatever the demographic trends. Those who claimed they wanted a competitive nomination contest, even if they didn’t really want it or assumed it would not happen, must think now that it would be more valuable than ever. That still looks unlikely, but without it, [Hillary Clinton] will be running mostly against herself for the next year and some months, and as the past week has shown, that’s not always in her best interest.”
Warren setting trap for Hillary on trade - The Hill: “Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is locking horns with the Obama administration over possible provisions in forthcoming trade proposals that she says could help multinational corporations at the expense of American workers. The administration hit back just minutes after Warren signed off a conference call with reporters, releasing information meant to show that President Obama's proposal would increase transparency and protect workers' rights.”
O’Malley won’t engage on scandal - WaPo: “The one person in politics who seems most reluctant to talk about Hillary Rodham Clinton’s e-mail is someone who stands to benefit from the continued controversy: her potential Democratic presidential primary rival, Martin O’Malley. On Wednesday, the former Maryland governor declared he was “a little sick of the e-mail drama,” after being asked about it multiple times by reporters covering a speech he gave at the Brookings Institution in Washington. … O’Malley was also asked Wednesday if he would release his e-mail from his days as governor. … It didn’t sound like much would be forthcoming from O’Malley. He relayed that Maryland has no requirement for governors to keep copies of e-mail and that his office generally deleted them after “a set number of weeks,” unless the e-mail in question was part of litigation or a public information act request.”
“Most years, there’s the inevitable frontrunner. And that inevitable front-runner is inevitable right up until he or she is no longer inevitable.” – Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley on MSNBC.
Dead. Broke. - Politico: “By Election Day 2016, taxpayers will have paid out more than $16 million to fund Bill Clinton’s pension, travel, office expenses and even the salaries and benefits of staff at his family’s foundation, federal records show. Since he left the White House in 2001, Clinton and his office have received more money through the Former Presidents Act than any other ex-president, according to a POLITICO analysis of budget documents.”
KERRY CONCEDES IRAN NUKE DEAL WOULDN’T BE BINDING
WashEx: “The Obama administration won’t submit any deal limiting Iran’s nuclear ambitions to Congress for approval because it won’t be legally binding, Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday. ‘We’ve been clear from the beginning we’re not negotiating a legally binding plan. We’re negotiating a plan that will have a capacity for enforcement,’ he told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. ‘We don’t even have diplomatic relations with Iran right now.’ Kerry, who was visibly irritated by what he called misconceptions by lawmakers about the ongoing talks, was criticizing an open letter to Iran’s leaders signed by 47 Republican senators. The letter has angered Democrats, but appears not to have slowed bipartisan efforts to force congressional approval of a deal, in spite of stiff opposition by the Obama administration. As he spoke, committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., who did not sign the letter but is a sponsor of legislation to require approval of any deal, cut him off. Corker later noted that as a senator, Kerry had demanded congressional approval of a proposed agreement with Iraq on the status of U.S. troops there.”
Rubio roasts - Miami Herald: “U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio had a pointed exchange Wednesday with Secretary of State John Kerry in a Senate hearing … in which Rubio's first question to Kerry was this: ‘I believe that much of our strategy with regards to ISIS is being driven by a desire not to upset Iran so that they don't walk away from the negotiating table on the deal that you're working on,’ he said.”
Cotton trolls so hard - In a too-transparent effort to shift the discussion away from her ongoing troubles, Hillary offered her first-ever explicitly partisan attack on Twitter concerning the open letter from 47 Republican Senators reminding Iran’s theocracy that any deal President Obama makes without congressional approval will not be binding for subsequent administrations. So Republicans took to Twitter to roast Clinton for supporting the president’s unpopular policy on Iran.
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...
It is ground cumin that makes your chili taste like chili and that signifies Mexican cuisine to American palates. Now, the musky, pungent flavor from the seeds of the tall, flowering cumin plant is making it into an increasing number of dishes here. But did you know that cumin is one of the most common flavors across the world and carries with it a remarkable etymological history and can helps us trace the growth of trade and agriculture across the millennia? Spicy, indeed. NPR takes us through the funky history of cumin: “In English, at least, cumin has a singular distinction – it is the only word that can be traced directly back to Sumerian, the first written language. So when we talk about cumin, we are harkening back to the Sumerian word gamun, first written in the cuneiform script more than 4,000 years ago.”
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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 44.8 percent//Disapprove – 50.8 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 32.3 percent//Wrong Track – 59.7 percent
NEW HAMPSHIRE IS THE PLACE TO BE
Jeb Bush and Scott Walker hit New Hampshire Friday to begin a battle for the hearts and minds of Granite State party leaders and activists. The top tier 2016 contenders and other Republican hopefuls are converging on the “first in the nation primary” state over the next several days for good reason. First, without a regional favorite as was the case in 2012, things look more inviting. And, an always-alluring prize has increased in value due to a tight 2016 primary calendar. Wining in New Hampshire, along with two or more of the early 2016 contest states, creates a February momentum that could enable a candidate to lock up the nomination in March. And with Super Tuesday perhaps to become Super-duper Tuesday as conservative Southern states look to be first in line, New Hampshire is the best place to be right now.
Early rounds - New Hampshire should be fertile Bush territory, though this is Jeb’s first trip there in 15 years. Walker visited once in 2012. Both men will be looking to make good first impressions with party officials in the retail politics state. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry has events in N.H. today and Friday, and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, hits the state Sunday and Monday. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, with a natural appeal in the “Live Free” state, is not instate this weekend. However, like most other GOP hopefuls, Rand has made several forays to New Hampshire this cycle.
Walker to meet Granite State heavyweights - New Hampshire Union Leader: “Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will have private meetings with former Gov. John H. Sununu, state Senate President Chuck Morse and Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas… His meetings and stops at this time are private, with the exception of his remarks Saturday to a New Hampshire Republican Party grassroots training conference at Concord High School.”]
Jeb grabs key Ayotte aide - Boston Globe: “Former Florida governor Jeb Bush’s leadership PAC has hired two of the most sought-after New Hampshire Republican operatives to aid his efforts ahead of what could be a run for president. Rob Varsalone, a close confidant of US Senator Kelly Ayotte, and Nate Lamb, Scott Brown’s field director on his US Senate campaign last year, have been named senior advisers to Bush’s Right to Rise political action committee.”
Perry PAC bolsters N.H. team - NH Journal: “[F]ormer Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s RickPAC has told the New Hampshire Journal it has made three key hires… Veteran political operative Michael Dennehy has moved into the role as RickPAC state senior advisor after having a similar role in Perry’s issues group, Americans for Economic Freedom…Dante Vitagliano has been named as field director of RickPAC in New Hampshire. He was deputy political director of Marilinda Garcia’s 2nd District U.S. House campaign last year, while Ryder Selmi will serve as North Country field manager.”
Cruz to talk national security in S.C. - Prior to his two-day swing through New Hampshire, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas will address the South Carolina National Security Summit on Saturday in Columbia.
Jeb to tap policy director from Wall Street - NRO: “Jeb Bush will in the coming days name Justin Muzinich the policy director of his likely 2016 presidential campaign, according to multiple sources. Muzinich, who holds an undergraduate degree and an MBA from Harvard and a law degree from Yale, has spent his career in finance, first at Morgan Stanley, where he worked in mergers and acquisitions, and then at the hedge fund EMS Capital. He currently serves as vice chairman of Muzinich & Co., the New York City investment firm.”
[Cashing out - WaPo: “Bush is selling ownership stakes in Jeb Bush & Associates, a business consulting firm he launched after he left the governor’s office in 2007; and in Britton Hill Partnership, a business advisory group that in 2013 set up private-equity funds investing in energy and aviation.”]
Walker wins crucial Chachi primary - WaPo:“Actor Scott Baio, who you may remember from either ‘Joanie Loves Chachi,’ or ‘Charles in Charge’ depending on when you graduated high school, recently rubbed whatever celebrity bling he has left onto presumed GOP presidential hopeful Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. On Tuesday, Walker was in Southern California running his not-yet campaign for president, took advantage of a photo op with Baio and his wife Renee Sloan. Baio, a registered Republican, then tweeted the photo with a pretty clear endorsement, ‘Gov. Walker sounds a lot like President Reagan. #WalkerForPres.’”]
Poll: No strong feelings in Kentucky about Rand’s run - Lexington Herald-Leader: “According to the [latest Bluegrass poll,] 19 percent said [Rand Paul] should run for president, 19 percent said he should run for his Senate seat, 23 percent said both, 30 percent said neither, and 9 percent said they were not sure. Given the poll's plus-or-minus margin of error of 2.3 percentage points, those numbers reflect little statistical change from October, when the Bluegrass Poll asked the same question.”
CRIST FANS SENATE SPECULATION
Orlando Sentinel: “Charlie Crist is considering another run for the U.S. Senate, in the 2016 race. ‘Well, I have been encouraged to,’ Crist said Wednesday when asked by phone about reports that he might run again. Crist, who is in New York, declined to elaborate. Crist, a former Republican governor of Florida, ran for the Senate in 2010 as an independent, losing handily to Republican Marco Rubio, but finishing ahead of Democrat Kendrick Meek. In 2013 he formally changed his party affiliation to Democrat and last year ran again for governor, losing to incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Scott in a close race. There is a chance that Rubio will not seek re-election. He has repeatedly said that if he decides to run for president, he would not seek re-election to the Senate.”
WORK IT, DENNIS
AP: “Once a wanton wiener dog, Dennis went on a diet and is now a happy shadow of his former self after losing more than 75 percent of his body weight. Less than two years ago, Dennis weighed in at a whopping 56 pounds - about the size of four or five miniature dachshunds, which is what he is. … A series of ‘before’ photos show Dennis resting on rolls of fat, his head seemingly too little for his blob of a body. He couldn’t take more than a few steps without being out of breath. Then Brooke Burton adopted him from a relative who had fed him White Castle burgers, pizza and other human food, and didn’t pay much attention to the dog’s burgeoning belly. Burton put him on diet of dry dog food, plus lots of walks and affection. Now the 6-year-old wiener dog is a svelte 12 pounds and happily chasing squirrels in the backyard, playing fetch and bossing around the other three rescue dogs that live with him.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“No one has asked [Hillary Clinton] yet whether in the criteria that her staff used before destroying the 30,000 emails they decided that the communications about the Clinton Foundation and the contributions of other governments was a private or public issue. I suspect it was all deleted. But we won’t know.” —Charles Krauthammer on “Special Report with Bret Baier” Watch here.
Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News. Want FOX News First in your inbox every day? Sign up here.
Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as digital politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he authors the daily "Fox News First" political news note and hosts "Power Play," a feature video series, on FoxNews.com. Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on the network, including "The Kelly File," "Special Report with Bret Baier," and "Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace." He also provides expert political analysis for Fox News coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.