Fox News First

Clinton campaign shifts story on destroyed emails

Chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi weighs in


**Want FOX News First in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**

Buzz Cut:
• Clinton campaign shifts story on destroyed emails
• Dem Power Index: O’Malley hits harder
• GOP Power Index: Bush, Walker duel continues, Fiorina rising
• Power Play: Vitter fights to end birthright citizenship
• There’s an extra charge for pillaging

Fox News: “Hillary Clinton’s camp late Sunday issued a significant clarification about the steps they say were taken to review thousands of personal emails before they were deleted, claiming her team individually read ‘every email’ before discarding those deemed private. Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill made the clarification in a written statement to Fox News. This comes after the former secretary of state’s office revealed last week that while more than 30,000 ‘work-related’ emails were turned over to the State Department, nearly 32,000 were deemed ‘private’ and deleted. This admission raised questions over how her team decided to get rid of those messages. Merrill on Sunday clarified an earlier fact sheet that described some of those methods but did not say every email was read. ‘We simply took for granted that reading every single email came across as the most important, fundamental and exhaustive step that was performed.  The fact sheet should have been clearer in stating that every email was read,’ Merrill said.”

“But who gets to decide what’s personal and what’s public? And if it’s a mixed-use email, and lots of the emails we get in life are both personal and work, I just can’t trust her lawyers to make the determination that the public’s getting everything they’re entitled to.” –Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., on “Fox News Sunday” Watch here.

[Watch Fox: Chief White House Correspondent Ed Henry has the latest developments in the Hillary email scandal.]

China donor shows why Hillary’s email matters - CBS News: “One donor - Rilin Enterprises- pledged $2 million in 2013 to the Clinton Foundation’s endowment. The company is a privately-held Chinese construction and trade conglomerate and run by billionaire Wang Wenliang, who is also a delegate to the Chinese parliament. Public records show the firm has spent $1.4 million since 2012, lobbying Congress and the State Department. The firm owns a strategic port along the border with North Korea and was also one of the contractors that built the Chinese embassy in Washington… [E]ven if the foundation were to return to the policies and practices in place while she was secretary, the launch of a Clinton presidential bid wouldn't preclude an individual, like Wang - with direct ties to the government - from contributing money….”

Interesting timing… - The Obama Administration is making a transparency push in this USA Today op-ed written by Corinna Zarek, senior adviser for Open Government in the White House Office of Science and Technology and Melanie Pustay, the director of the Office of Information Policy at the Department of Justice. “Agencies have released records either in full or in part for more than 90% of requests processed for disclosure. The most commonly cited FOIA exemptions were those that protect personal privacy, while the exemption related to national security on average accounted for only 1%.”

Low marks - Watchdog group Cause of Action has released its 2015 “Grading the Government” Report Card for all 15 Cabinet level agencies and their average response times to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests in the 2014 fiscal year. Eleven of the 15 received a “C” or worse with 3, the Departments of Treasury, Homeland Security and Education all receiving an “F”. The State Department, highlighted in recent weeks by questionable email and internet policies, received a “D”.

What’s Gaelic for ‘The servers will remain private?’ - Clinton will speak today at her induction ceremony into the 2015 Irish America Hall of Fame today in Manhattan.

1) Hillary Clinton; 2) Joe Biden 3) Martin O’Malley [+1]; 4) Elizabeth Warren [-1]; 5) Jim Webb

What would you say?
 - Give us your take on the Dem field and we will share the best and brightest with the whole class. Send your thoughts to FOXNEWSFIRST@FOXNEWS.COM

O’Malley hits ‘triangulation’ again: ‘It just undercuts our argument when we try to find the middle ground’ - In an interview with liberal columnist Katrina vanden Heuvel that resulted in a gushy profile piece, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley renewed a recent line of attack on the Democratic frontrunner: “I recently sat down with O’Malley to discuss his possible path to the White House. He made the case that rather than practicing the politics of “triangulation,” Democrats need to speak with clarity about what they are for. “We have to be very clear as a party about our principles,” he told me. “I think we undercut our own governing message and our own mission statement when we’re not clear-throated about the failure of trickle-down economics, how the economy is a result of political choices we make and why we need a combination of wage policies that reward work and policies to rein in reckless speculation that becomes destructive or predatory. It just undercuts our argument when we try to find the middle ground.”

Too shy - Howard Kurtz writes: “Wondering what Elizabeth Warren thinks about the Hillary e-mail debacle? She isn’t saying. That tells me two things. First, Warren actually isn’t eyeing a presidential run (duh) and doesn’t want to say anything that could be viewed as even mildly critical of the party’s virtually certain nominee.”

Over the Horizon - Suppose Hillary Clinton actually imploded and dropped out of the race. Who else might consider a run and could reasonably get a campaign together on the double. Some names to watch would include Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Gov. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., former Gov. Deval Patrick, D-Mass., and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y.

Carville to challengers: ‘If you want to waste your time, that’s your business.’ - The Hill: “James Carville said in an interview broadcast Sunday that it would be a waste of time for any Democrat to challenge Hillary Clinton in 2016. ‘I’ve had maybe three people come up to me and say, ‘Well, I’m for somebody else other than Hillary,’’ the Democratic strategist told host John Catsimatidis on ‘The Cats Roundtable’ on AM 970 in New York…‘Of course, Senator [Jim Webb] and Governor [Martin O’Malley] can say anything they want. But, in terms of the party, every poll that you see shows … 86 percent of the Democrats say they’re going to vote for Hillary … I don’t know how much data you can get, but who am I to tell Senator Webb or Governor O’Malley, who I both know, that you can’t run?’ he asked. ‘You’re not going to win. But if you want to waste your time, that’s your business.’”

1) Jeb Bush; 2) Scott Walker; 3) Marco Rubio; 4) Ted Cruz [+2]; 5) Rand Paul [-1]; 6) Rick Perry; 7) Carly Fiorina [+1]; 8) John Kasich [-1]; 9) Chris Christie [-1]; 10) Ben Carson.

On the Radar - Mike Huckabee, Rick SantorumBobby JindalMike Pence

What would you say?
 - Give us your take on the GOP field and we will share the best and brightest with the whole class. Send your thoughts to FOXNEWSFIRST@FOXNEWS.COM

[Watch Fox: Chris Stirewalt joins Gretchen Carlson on “The Real Story” in the 2 p.m. ET hour with the latest on who’s up and who’s down in the 2016 Power Index.]

Boston Herald:” In New Hampshire and beyond, 2016 presidential hopeful Jeb Bush is starting to run into ‘Bush Fatigue’ among Republican primary voters who fear he’s too similar in style and lineage to the past decade’s GOP candidates — his older brother, and failed contenders John McCain and Mitt Romney. But ironically, Bush’s appeal as a moderate could bring him swaths of independent voters if they decide to abandon a Democratic primary dominated by Hillary Clinton. … Bush’s moderate stances on amnesty for illegal immigrants and ‘Common Core’ education standards have alienated hard-line conservatives, but give him needed hope, said Democratic strategist Jason Stanford… ‘Jeb’s only path to victory here is to get all of the Republicans who vote in November to vote in the primary,’ Stanford said, suggesting that he could benefit from an independent swing. ‘That’s going to mean trying to expand the electorate, which is the hardest thing to get people to do in politics, to get them to vote when they don’t want to vote. He’s unliked, and he’s got an unlikely path to victory.’”

WHBL: “Scott Walker and Jeb Bush were both speaking to Granite State Republicans over the weekend, and already, Bush is calling Walker on his change in views on immigration. Walker says he changed his position because he listened. ‘Yeah, this is one where we listened to people all across the country, particularly border Governors who saw how this President messed it up, and that’s an issue where I think people want leaders who are willing to listen.’”

[AP: “Scott Walker’s children plan to skip college next fall to talk about their dad with New Hampshire voters, but the Wisconsin governor has stopped short of formally saying he is running for president.”]

AP: “As he prepares for of his expected presidential campaign, Sen. Ted Cruz is hoping voters from rural New Hampshire and his home state of Texas share a similarly dour view of government. The Republican is promising to abolish the Internal Revenue Service and scrap the Education Department. He vows to curtail federal regulators, likening them to locusts that deserve to be killed. And the Second Amendment is a staple in his pitch. It's all part of the sales job Cruz is making to rural voters. All candidates make such efforts, and frequent stops at county fairs and farm stands will be a regular feature of campaign schedules by the time there are declared candidates. But Cruz is going further, using his first visit to New Hampshire to head to the state's rural northern region.”

Fire ‘em up - New Hampshire Union Leader: “U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, in a mix of a stump speech and Sunday sermon, rallied Republicans here over chili and talk of what it takes to make America great. ‘Let’s get back to what has made America a beacon of hope and freedom for the world for centuries,’ the Texas Republican said. ‘From the beginning of this country, God’s providential blessing has been on America and I tell you I’m convinced God is not done with America yet.’”

[Cruz campaigns  in Manchester today.]

Texas Tribune: “In a string of appearances during South by Southwest, [Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.] sought to portray his Libertarian-tinged brand of conservatism as the antidote for a Republican Party that has lost its way with key voting blocs, namely the kinds that flock every year to Austin's famous festival. Anchored on a Monday morning opening of an Austin outpost for his likely 2016 presidential bid, Paul's trip to Texas came the same weekend many of his potential rivals were barnstorming more traditional campaign venues in New Hampshire. The contrast, it seemed, was not lost on him. ‘I think we've tried the standard candidates and we've lost,’ Paul said in an interview. ‘I think we have to have something different if we're going to have a large enough constituency to win in the big general elections in our country.’”

Might want to run that by the FEC, Senator - Paul tweeted, “I’m the only candidate who thinks the NSA program on phone records should be shut down. #sxsw” But Paul is still technically not a candidate for anything.

‘I see the stars. I hear the rolling thunder’ - In a profile of David Lane, the heavy hitter for conservative Christian politics this cycle, the NYT drops this detail: “Two years ago, Mr. Paul, his wife, Kelley, and their sons joined about 50 pastors and evangelical leaders on [a trip to Israel]. Afterward, Mr. Lane said, he received a note from Mr. Paul in which he wrote that he had awaked from a dream singing ‘How Great Thou Art’ and that two of his sons had committed their lives to Christ.”

Bloomberg: “Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina told an Iowa public affairs show that, as a former tech executive, she finds Hillary Clinton's assertions about her private e-mail account and server ‘humorous.’ ‘I mean, she talked about Secret Service [agents] guarding the server: The concern is not that the server will be physically stolen,’ Fiorina told The Insiders with a laugh on Sunday. ‘The concern is the server will be hacked.’”

[Fiorina will participate today in a Capitol Hill panel discussion on gender politics hosted by conservative group the Concerned Women for America.]

A Michigan State University researcher has laid out the plans for the ultimate great American road trip. Randy Olson used an algorithm to calculate that it would take 13,699 miles to hit 50 major landmarks. Olson told NY Daily News, “It’s grand by design. It has a combination of major sites that Americans want to see at some point in their lives.” Olson was approached by Discovery News to use the algorithm he originally designed to quickly find the famously hidden Waldo character from the children’s book series. There were a few ground rules laid out beforehand. The trip had to make at least one stop in all 48 contiguous states, must be taken by car and never leave the country and would only include stops at National Natural Landmarks, National Historic Sites, National Parks, or National Monuments. Motorists could start at any point on the map and so long as they stay the route, Olson said the trip would realistically take about three months.

Got a TIP from the RIGHT or LEFT? Email FoxNewsFirst@FOXNEWS.COM

Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval
: Approve – 45.3 percent//Disapprove – 50.5 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 31 percent//Wrong Track – 60 percent

Fox News: “A powerful U.S. Senate investigatory committee has launched a bipartisan probe into an American nonprofit’s funding of efforts to oust Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after the Obama administration’s State Department gave the nonprofit taxpayer-funded grants, a source with knowledge of the panel’s activities told The fact that both Democratic and Republican sides of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations have signed off on the probe could be seen as a rebuke to President Obama, who has had a well-documented adversarial relationship with the Israeli leader.  The development comes as Netanyahu told Israel's Channel Two television station this week that there were ‘governments’ that wanted to help with the ‘Just Not Bibi’ campaigning -- Bibi being the Israeli leader’s nickname. It also follows a [Fox News] report on claims the Obama administration has been meddling in the Israeli election on behalf of groups hostile to Netanyahu.”

[Watch Fox: Correspondent Doug McKelway has the latest developments live from the State Department.]

Bibi on the ropes ahead of Tuesday vote - WaPo: “TEL AVIV — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned supporters at a rally here Sunday that he and his Likud party may not win Tuesday’s election, a potentially dramatic fall for a consummate political survivor whose nine years in office transformed him into the public face of contemporary Israel. … The last polls for Israel Army Radio found that more than half of Israelis surveyed plan to vote based on social and economic issues and that fewer than 1 in 3 put security at the top of their concerns. Nine of 10 respondents said the cost of living would influence their choice.”

White House confirms: Obama seeks to drop U.N. sanctions for Iran, too -  Weekly Standard: “In a Saturday night letter from President Obama’s chief of staff Denis McDonough to Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair Bob Corker, the White House confirmed that in fact the United Nations will play a key role in any nuclear deal that may be reached with Iran.”

Talk about talking - AP: “Two weeks out from a deadline for a framework accord, some officials said the awesomeness of the diplomatic task meant negotiators would likely settle for an announcement that they've made enough progress to justify further talks.”

“I think it’s appalling to interfere in a negotiation like this that the commander-in-chief has engaged. I think that Democrats and Republicans House and Senate members ought to keep their powder dry.” –Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., on “Fox News Sunday” Watch here.

Senator David Vitter, R-La., joins Chris Stirewalt to discuss birthright citizenship, which bestows automatic citizenship on children born in the U.S. even if both parents are here illegally. Vitter details his proposed amendment that would require at a least one parent be in the country legally to grant U.S. citizenship. WATCH HERE.

The nation hits its borrowing limit today, with the Treasury Department once again resorting to “extraordinary measures” to keep from defaulting on a debt that now stands at a staggering $18.1 trillion. The measures are estimated to run dry sometime between October and November and while a default has been professed by both parties to be less likely this time around, raising the limit is just one bitter economic battle set embroil the White House, Congress and the politics of 2016. This week Congress begins to hammer out a budget, with separate Republican resolutions slated to be released by the House, Tuesday and the Senate, Wednesday. Achieving a joint budget resolution is critical to the Republican strategy to use reconciliation – a procedure that would enable the Senate to pass bills with a simple majority – as a means to usher in major policy changes such as a rollback of ObamaCare. President Obama could still use his veto, but at a political cost.

Senate GOP plan denies Dems 2016 ammo - The Hill: “Senate Republicans will not include detailed plans to overhaul entitlement programs when they unveil their first budget in nearly a decade this week, according to GOP sources. The decision would break from Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) House budgets from recent years, which Democrats used to pound Republican candidates in the 2012 and 2014 elections…. In breaking with Ryan, Senate Republicans want to avoid giving their opponents the same ammunition, especially with a slim majority and in danger of losing their majority in 2016…The Senate GOP blueprint will not propose reforming Social Security, the political third rail that Ryan also avoided as former chairman of the House Budget Committee. ‘From the standpoint of a budget, the less words of the English language you use, the better off you are,’ said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), a senior member of the Budget panel.”

Boehner-Pelosi prescription for Medicare ‘doc fix’ - Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi are pushing a deal to permanently change the way Medicare pays doctors and to extend a children’s health program for two years, Politico reports. “The estimated $200 billion package could be introduced as soon as this week by House committees responsible for health care policy….The plan would permanently eliminate the Sustainable Growth Rate, the outdated formula that calls for frequent and deep cuts to Medicare providers, and replace it with a new payment system….[and] extend funding for two years for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which is set to expire in September.”

THERE’S AN EXTRA CHARGE FOR PILLAGING “If you love Game of Thrones, this is the property for you. You can recreate your favourite moments from the television series in your own medieval village which is on the market in central Italy for about [$580,000]. According to, Fabio Pisi Vitagliano, a representative of the group which owns the village it has been uninhabited since the late 1970s. For your money you get 15 buildings, in various states and about [600 acres] of land. The whole village is within the Gran Sasso National Park…. There is a church, watermill and three older buildings called “Case Menghini” and a small cluster of interconnected houses. … According to the Valle Piola website the first written document mentioning Valle Piola dates back to the year 1059. From the 13th century until the time of the Italian Risorgimento (unification), Valle Piola served as a meeting centre and hide-out for armed brigands.”

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 politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he authors the daily Fox News Halftime Report political news note and co-hosts the hit podcast, Perino & Stirewalt: I'll Tell You What. He also is the host of Power Play, a feature video series on Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on network programs, including America’s Newsroom, Special Report with Bret Baier and Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. He also provides expert political analysis for FNC’s coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.