Washington, October 8, 2016: The internet whistleblowing group Wikileaks released over 2,000 emails involving Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. The release comes the same day the State Department published 350 emails previously deleted from Clinton’s private server.
At first inspection the emails date as far back as 2008 to 2016 and cover the gamut from the mundane like “Hillary Clinton’s Chipotle Order” to “Call with HRC” to “My position on the Iran deal” sent from Nancy Rotering to John Podesta.
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Wikileaks said Podesta is a long-term associate of the Clintons and served as Bill Clinton’s chief of staff from 1998 to 2001.
The State Department released 250 pages of Clinton’s emails on Friday, following a court order to release 360 pages last month.
Newly disclosed emails show top Obama administration officials in close contact with Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2015 about potential fallout from the former secretary of state’s use of a private email server.
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According to those email disclosures, the White House was instructing Secretary of State John Kerry to avoid questions about Clinton’s email arrangements, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The emails were obtained by the Republican National Committee as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking records of Clinton’s time in office.
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Podesta served during Bill Clinton administration. Wikileaks warned on its 10th anniversary it would be releasing more emails. (IANS)
The Trump administration is considering more dramatic cuts to the U.S. refugee program, with one official suggesting the White House not allow any refugees into the country in the coming fiscal year.
In a Politico report released Thursday, government officials from several federal agencies attended a meeting last week and discussed several options that included a ceiling of 10,000 — well below the current refugee ceiling of 30,000, which is already an all-time low for the program.
The U.S. resettled 23,190 refugees since the beginning of fiscal 2019 last October. With 2½ months remaining until the count resets, the U.S. is on track to fall short of this year’s cap, according to U.S. State Department data.
Since the so-called “refugee ceiling” is an upper limit, and not a quota, the government is not required to meet the annual admissions number.
Scott Arbeiter, president of World Relief, one of the primary refugee resettlement nongovernmental organizations in the U.S., said he has heard multiple figures proposed for the coming fiscal year, all well below the program’s historical annual threshold of around 60,000 to 70,000.
In President Barack Obama’s last year two years in office, his administration made a concerted effort to increase the number of admitted refugees, with a particular focus on Syrians fleeing conflict and persecution.
And since the U.S. president is the one who ultimately makes the final decision when it comes to the number of refugee admissions, President Donald Trump has leeway to further reduce the total allowed.
“The president hasn’t made an actual decision, that won’t happen till October. But I suspect they’re testing the waters a bit to see if, in fact, the public will respond to this, and if there will be any public outrage,” Arbeiter told VOA. “So it is a proposed number, it is not a final number, but a number anywhere between zero, and we’ve heard 3,000, 7,000 10,000, but anywhere in that range, what it effectively does is it closes the door on refugees, and effectively constitutes a total ban on refugees.”
Earlier ban attempts
Trump repeatedly attempted a ban on refugees with multiple executive orders on travel during his first year in office, citing “national security” concerns. Those worries, however, were not substantiated by data and no scientific study demonstrates a correlation between refugee admissions and elevated crime or security risks.
Each year, the president makes an annual determination, after appropriate consultation with Congress, regarding the refugee admissions ceiling for the following fiscal year. That determination is expected to be made before the start of fiscal 2020 on Oct. 1, 2019.
The U.S. State Department is one of the leading agencies involved in the deliberation process with the White House over refugee admissions. In an emailed statement Friday, a spokesperson reiterated the president makes the decision on the ceiling every year “after appropriate consultation with Congress.”
Beyond that, however, the spokesperson said the State Department would “not discuss internal and interagency deliberations or communications involved in such deliberations.” Last year, however, the White House was criticized by members of Congress after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the fiscal 2019 cap would be 30,000, before the legally required meetings with Capitol Hill lawmakers happened. (VOA)