John Podesta Hauled In For Closed-Door Questioning By House Intel Committee

Looks like Johnny’s got some ‘splainin to do.

Former Hillary Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta was hauled in front of the House Intelligence Committee during a closed session on Tuesday – ostensibly to answer questions about the Obama administratio's handling of intelligence that Russia tried to hack state voting systems – and, strangely enough, it’s Democrats who are taking the credit for bringing him in.

As Bloomberg reported, Podesta met behind closed doors with the committee to answer questions about exactly why former President Barack Obama decided to sit on intelligence reports that Russia-backed hackers tried to infiltrate voting systems in 20 states after President Donald Trump took to twitter to point out the obvious hypocrisy in how Congress has aggressively scrutinized him for “collusion” and “obstruction” when it’s becoming increasingly clear that Democrats committed these exact offenses.

And now, Democrats, including Californians Dianne Feinstein, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Adam Schiff, ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, are apparently turning on their own.

Feinstein endorsed launching a probe into Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s campaign-era conduct – a probe that will likely center on a suspicious meeting between Lynch and former President Bill Clinton less than a week before former FBI Director James Comey said the bureau had concluded its probe into Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified information. Also, as Comey reminded us during his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee earlier this month, Lynch pressured him to soften his language about the Clinton probe and refer to it as a "matter" - the same language the campaign was using.

Schiff questioned Obama’s handling of the hacking disclosures during an appearance on CNN a few days ago.

“I think the Obama administration should’ve done a lot more when it became clear that not only was Russia intervening, but it was being directed at the highest levels at the Kremlin. Senator Feinstein and I repeatedly tried to make that case to the administration."

 

“He should’ve spoken out to the American people.”

Now we can add to that list Jim Hines, who represents Connecticut's tony Fairfield County, a stronghold of HRC support.

"I think it’s fair to ask him: What was the campaign’s and administration’s response” to the hacking," said Representative Jim Himes, a Connecticut Democrat on the Intelligence panel, which is looking into Russian interference in the election.

According to Bloomberg, Democrats said before the meeting that they had some tough questions planned for Podesta.

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Upon exiting the hearing, Podesta was ready with the usual excuses:  

“The president and the entire administration were dealing with an unprecedented incidence of the weaponization” of Russian cyberactivity, Podesta told reporters after emerging from the hearing room. He said they were dealing with the attacks as best as they could "on behalf of the American people."

Asked if he’d be coming back before the House or Senate intelligence committees, Podesta said, "Hope not." He wouldn’t answer when asked if the committee pressed him about the Obama administration’s response to the hacking.”

This last bit begs the question: Is Congress about to launch a full-fledged investigation into Obama’s handling of the Russia disclosures? Media reports already seem to imply that his reasoning for witholding the information was probably political. Though Obama allies have claimed that he didn't want to play into Trump's claims that the election was being rigged.

As Trump pointed out in a series of tweets, Obama knew about the attempted hacks for four months, but decided to sit on his hands because he didn’t want to “rock the boat.”
 

 

 

 

 

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Scrutiny of Obama’s handling of the disclosures intensified after the Washington Post published a report detailing Obama’s “secret struggle” to retaliate against Russian President Vladimir Putin. In a hearing last week, former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told the House Intelligence Committee that it wasn’t until Oct. 7 that he co-authored an administration statement regarding the Russian intrusions.

"We were were concerned by making a statement might be, in and of itself, might be challenging the integrity of the election process," Johnson said at the time.

As Bloomberg unnecessarily reminds us (because who could ever forget that risotto recipe?), Podesta’s email account was hacked, as was the Democratic National Committee’s. Many of those emails were then leaked, producing a steady, negative and sometimes embarrassing stream of news about Clinton’s campaign…but the Democrats didn’t cooperate fully with US investigators.

So, let’s do a quick recap: Lynch is being investigated by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Bernie Sanders’ wife Jane – and possibly Bernie himself – are being investigated by the FBI.

Who knows - maybe Clinton or Obama will be asked to appear next?