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Biden administration on track to be most LGBTQ-inclusive in U.S. history
President-elect Joe Biden has repeatedly vowed to make LGBTQ rights a priority in his administration. But he won’t be working alone: The former vice president has already tapped LGBTQ appointees for several key roles and gay rights advocates are hopeful that more will be named, including the first out Cabinet member confirmed by the Senate. There’s also a push, should an opening become available, for him to nominate the first openly LGBTQ justice to the Supreme Court.
The Biden-Harris transition team has promoted the president-elect's “commitment to building an administration that looks like America.”
On Sunday, Karine Jean-Pierre, an out lesbian and chief of staff for Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, was announced as deputy press secretary, and Pili Tobar, an immigration rights advocate and former aide to Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., was named deputy White House communications director. Tobar, a lesbian, also worked as a communications director for the Biden campaign.
In November, Carlos Elizondo, who is gay and was Biden’s social secretary when Biden was vice president, was named White House social secretary.
Exposed: FBI Director James Comey’s Clinton Foundation Connection
306,013 AP Photos
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A review of FBI Director James Comey’s professional history and relationships shows that the Obama cabinet leader — now under fire for his handling of the investigation of Hillary Clinton — is deeply entrenched in the big-money cronyism culture of Washington, D.C. His personal and professional relationships — all undisclosed as he announced the Bureau would not prosecute Clinton — reinforce bipartisan concerns that he may have politicized the criminal probe.
These concerns focus on millions of dollars that Comey accepted from a Clinton Foundation defense contractor, Comey’s former membership on a Clinton Foundation corporate partner’s board, and his surprising financial relationship with his brother Peter Comey, who works at the law firm that does the Clinton Foundation’s taxes.
When President Obama nominated Comey to become FBI director in 2013, Comey promised the United States Senate that he would recuse himself on all cases involving former employers.
But Comey earned $6 million in one year alone from Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin became a Clinton Foundation donor that very year.
Comey served as deputy attorney general under John Ashcroft for two years of the Bush administration. When he left the Bush administration, he went directly to Lockheed Martin and became vice president, acting as a general counsel.
How much money did James Comey make from Lockheed Martin in his last year with the company, which he left in 2010? More than $6 million in compensation.
Lockheed Martin is a Clinton Foundation donor. The company admitted to becoming a Clinton Global Initiative member in 2010.
According to records, Lockheed Martin is also a member of the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt, which paid Bill Clinton $250,000 to deliver a speech in 2010.
In 2010, Lockheed Martin won 17 approvals for private contracts from the Hillary Clinton State Department.
“Mr. Comey’s appointment will be for an initial three-year term which, subject to re-election by shareholders, will expire at the conclusion of the 2016 Annual General Meeting,” according to HSBC company records.
HSBC Holdings and its various philanthropic branches routinely partner with the Clinton Foundation. For instance, HSBC Holdings has partnered with Deutsche Bank through the Clinton Foundation to “retrofit 1,500 to 2,500 housing units, primarily in the low- to moderate-income sector” in “New York City.”
“Retrofitting” refers to a Green initiative to conserve energy in commercial housing units. Clinton Foundation records show that the Foundation projected “$1 billion in financing” for this Green initiative to conserve people’s energy in low-income housing units.
Who Is Peter Comey?
When our source called the Chinatown offices of D.C. law firm DLA Piper and asked for “Peter Comey,” a receptionist immediately put him through to Comey’s direct line. But Peter Comey is not featured on the DLA Piper website.
Peter Comey serves as “Senior Director of Real Estate Operations for the Americas” for DLA Piper. James Comey was not questioned about his relationship with Peter Comey in his confirmation hearing.
DLA Piper is the firm that performed the independent audit of the Clinton Foundation in November during Clinton-World’s first big push to put the email scandal behind them. DLA Piper’s employees taken as a whole represent a major Hillary Clinton 2016 campaign donation bloc and Clinton Foundation donation base.
And here is another thing: Peter Comey has a mortgage on his house that is owned by his brother James Comey, the FBI director.
Peter Comey’s financial records, obtained by Breitbart News, show that he bought a $950,000 house in Vienna, Virginia, in June 2008. He needed a $712,500 mortgage from First Savings Mortgage Corporation.
But on January 31, 2011, James Comey and his wife stepped in to become Private Party lenders. They granted a mortgage on the house for $711,000. Financial records suggest that Peter Comey took out two such mortgages from his brother that day.
This financial relationship between the Comey brothers began prior to James Comey’s nomination to become director of the FBI.
DLA Piper did not answer Breitbart News’ question as to whether James Comey and Peter Comey spoke at any point about this mortgage or anything else during the Clinton email investigation.
Peter Comey Re-Designed the FBI Building
FBI Director James Comey grew up in the New Jersey suburbs with his brother Peter. Both Comeys were briefly taken captive in 1977 by the “Ramsey rapist,” but the boys managed to escape through a window in their home, and neither boy was harmed.
James Comey became a prosecutor who worked on the Gambino crime family case. He went on to the Bush administration, a handful of private sector jobs, and then the Obama administration in 2013.
Peter Comey, meanwhile, went into construction.
After getting an MBA in real estate and urban development from George Washington University in 1998, Peter Comey became an executive at a company that re-designed George Washington University between 2004 and 2007 while his brother was in town working for the Bush administration.
In January 2009, at the beginning of the Obama administration, Peter Comey became “a real estate and construction consultant” for Procon Consulting.
Procon Consulting’s client list includes “FBI Headquarters Washington, DC.”
So what did Procon Consulting do for FBI Headquarters? Quite a bit, apparently. According to the firm’s records:
Procon provided strategic project management for the consolidation of over 11,000 FBI personnel into one, high security, facility.
Since 1972 the Federal Bureau of Investigation has had its headquarters in a purpose built 2.1 million square foot building on Pennsylvania Avenue. Having become functionally obsolete and in need of major repairs, GSA and the FBI were considering ways to meet the space needs required to maintain the Bureau’s mission and consolidate over 11,000 personnel.
Procon assisted GSA in assessing the FBI’s space needs and options for fulfilling those needs. Services provided included project management related to site evaluations, budgeting, due diligence, and the development of procurement and funding strategies.
Those “funding strategies” included talking to “stakeholders”: “Worked with stakeholders and key leadership to identify strategic objectives, goals and long range plans for capital and real estate projects.”
Procon Consulting obtained its contract for FBI Headquarters prior to James Comey’s nomination to serve as director of the FBI.
In June 2011, Peter Comey left Procon Consulting to become “Senior Director of Real Estate Operations for the Americas” for DLA Piper.
Peter Comey has generated some controversy in that role. According to Law360 in May 2013 (the same month that James Comey was confirmed as someone being considered by Obama to become FBI director):
Two real estate services businesses filed a $10 million suit against the law firm Monday alleging it stiffed them on as much as $760,000 of work done at DLA Piper’s Chicago office and improperly gave proprietary information to a competitor.
The plaintiffs take particular aim at Peter Comey, DLA Piper’s senior director of real estate operations. Leasecorp and SpaceLogik include several emails in the complaint that are purportedly from DLA Piper senior real estate partners Jay Epstein and Rich Klawiter and are sharply critical of Comey’s handling of the matter. In one email, Epstein wrote that “it’s an embarrassment for the firm to be treating someone who we are working with like this.”
In another email allegedly from Klawiter on Feb. 20, the DLA Piper partner informed Leasecorp President Michael Walker, a principal for both plaintiffs, that Comey had sent him and Epstein an email claiming that the real estate services firms were behind on their contractual obligations.
“I just received an email from Peter (Jay was also a recipient) that is so inflammatory I can’t even send it or you’ll hit the roof,” Klawiter said in the email, according to the complaint. “This is not going to end well.”
Clinton Scandals: A Guide From Whitewater To The Clinton Foundation
Former Arkansas employee Paula Jones (center, with long hair) sued Bill Clinton for civil money damages in 1994 alleging that Clinton had propositioned her in a Little Rock hotel room years earlier. The Washington Post/Washington Post/Getty Images hide caption
Former Arkansas employee Paula Jones (center, with long hair) sued Bill Clinton for civil money damages in 1994 alleging that Clinton had propositioned her in a Little Rock hotel room years earlier.
The Washington Post/Washington Post/Getty Images
Donald Trump has promised to speak Wednesday about, in his words, "the failed policies and bad judgment of Crooked Hillary Clinton."
He had previously billed the speech, which was postponed after last week's Orlando shooting, as addressing "all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons." Specifically, Trump had vowed to cover everything from what he calls the couple's "politics of personal enrichment" to Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server as secretary of state, which he argued was "designed to keep her corrupt dealings out of the public record, putting the security of the entire country at risk." Trump has previously attacked Clinton on the campaign trail for her husband's scandals with women, calling her an "enabler." And just this week, Trump referenced a new book by a former Secret Service employee who said he witnessed allegedly abusive behavior when the Clintons occupied the White House.
The ongoing FBI investigation into Clinton's email practices may be well known. But over decades in public life, dating to Bill Clinton's tenure as a state official in Arkansas, numerous other public controversies — from the death of Vince Foster and Whitewater to Benghazi — have swirled around the Clintons.
Here's our shorthand guide to some of those scandals and their outcome.
Alexander Tin and Ashley Young contributed to this report.
A Guide To The Clintons' Scandals
Allegation: The granddaddy of all Clinton scandals surfaced during Bill Clinton's bid for the presidency. It centered on financial contributions by Bill and Hillary Clinton into a real estate entity known as Whitewater Development Corporation during his time as an Arkansas state official. Eventually, the Justice Department and independent counsel launched investigations.
Outcome: Neither Bill nor Hillary Clinton faced prosecution for their involvement in Whitewater. But their public statements about the matter, and the handling of documents that went missing and later reappeared, came under intense scrutiny. Their partners in the real estate investment were Jim McDougal and his then-wife Susan. Jim McDougal was convicted of fraud charges for making bad loans and he died of heart disease in a Texas prison. Susan was convicted of fraud in connection with obtaining a $300,000 federally-backed small business loan. She refused to answer grand jury questions in the Whitewater affair and was held in contempt of court, spending 18 months in jail. Bill Clinton pardoned her before he left the White House in early 2001.
Allegation: Not long after Bill Clinton entered the White House, in May 1993, seven workers in the travel office were fired. The White House attributed the ouster to ethics and financial record-keeping problems in the office. Critics said the Clintons got rid of government workers to make room for cronies. The FBI was tapped to investigate.
Outcome: The Justice Department, at least one congressional panel, and special prosecutors all probed the reason for the firings. Independent Counsel Ken Starr found no blame rested with Bill Clinton. Another independent counsel scrutinized Hillary Clinton's involvement and statements about the firings but seven years after the event, he found no basis to bring any charges against her.
Dear Hillary Clinton, Here Are Slate’s Picks for Your All-Female Cabinet
Hillary Clinton has promised to fill at least half the seats on her Cabinet with women, the New York Times reports. That would be nothing short of revolutionary—women have never exceeded about a third of the Cabinet—but while the first female president is making history, she may as well go all the way. Slate’s writers and editors put our heads together and came up with our recommendations for the first all-female Cabinet. Madame President, you’re welcome.
Vice President: Elizabeth Warren—a controversial pick, even within the Slate offices. Here’s Michelle Goldberg on why a Clinton-Warren ticket would invigorate the campaign, and Jamelle Bouie on the devastating hole that Warren would leave in the Senate.
Secretary of State: Susan Rice, who should have had the job in 2012.
Secretary of the Treasury: Anat Admati, the Stanford economist famous for saying that “the bankers have no clothes.”
Secretary of Defense: Michèle Flournoy, who will likely actually get the job.
Attorney General: Kamala Harris, the California attorney general who “is trying to chart a middle course on the Democratic Party’s most contentious issue: criminal justice,” as the Times Magazine has written.
Secretary of the Interior: Frances Beinecke, longtime head of the National Resources Defense Council, a foremost conservation group.
Secretary of Agriculture: Michelle Obama, the only person we trust to make our nation healthier.
Secretary of Commerce: Jeanne Shaheen, ranking member of the Senate’s Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee.
Secretary of Labor: Phyllis Borzi, current assistant secretary for employee benefits security.
Secretary of Health and Human Services: Kirsten Gillibrand.* She went from voting with the National Rifle Association to tirelessly shaming its supporters. She’s been an advocate of women’s rights and reproductive health, too.
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: Annise Parker, former Houston mayor and among the first openly gay mayors of a major U.S. city.
Secretary of Transportation: Janette Sadik-Khan, former commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation.
Secretary of Energy: Cathy Zoi, Stanford professor and former assistant secretary for energy efficiency and eenewable energy at the Department of Energy.
Secretary of Education: Diane Ravitch, an education historian who went from advocating charter schools and testing to opposing them.
Secretary of Veterans Affairs: Tammy Duckworth, who lost both of her legs in the U.S. Army and became the first disabled woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Secretary of Homeland Security: Loretta Lynch, who has sought to reform policing tactics as attorney general (while dealing with the Clinton email mess).
And here’s who we’d put in the additional Cabinet-level positions:
White House Chief of Staff: Huma Abedin, because no one has more experience managing the politics of Clintonworld.
Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency: Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation who could provide some continuity as the agency tries to finish implementing its Clean Power Plan.
Director of the Office of Management and Budget: Sallie Krawcheck, former CFO of Citigroup who launched an investment adviser solely to boost women in business.
United States Trade Representative: Anne-Marie Slaughter, president and CEO of New America who, in addition to penning feminist tracts, is an international law expert and former director of policy planning at the State Department.*
United States Ambassador to the United Nations: Melinda Gates, whose Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest private donor to aid and development in the world.
Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers: Mary Jo White, current chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Administrator of the Small Business Administration: Margot Dorfman, co-founder and CEO of the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce, dedicated “to promoting the economic and leadership interest of women.”
Correction, July 5, 2016: This post originally misspelled Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s first name. It also misidentified New America as the New America Foundation.
“We had maybe half the Senate standing along the back rail of the House chamber watching the vote. There was just absolute, utter shock … they were apoplectic: ‘What’re we going to do now?’ ”
The House voted in favor of two articles of impeachment, finding that Clinton had committed perjury before the grand jury and had obstructed justice, but rejected accusations of perjury in the Jones case and of abuse of office.
James Rogan: I don’t think any of us believed that Clinton would actually be impeached until the very, very end of the process. I just never believed it was going to happen.
Ray L a Hood : When the votes were taken—and I announced each one separately—I think people were surprised by the fact that Clinton was impeached by the House but not on all four impeachment articles.
Barney Frank: One thing that never got enough attention was that the impeachment process was conducted by a lame-duck Congress. If the Congress elected in 1998 had voted, instead of the one that did vote, one of the articles would not have passed the House, because there were a number of pro-impeachment people who were defeated by anti-impeachment Democrats. Some weirdo from New Jersey was defeated. He was the one who sang on the House floor, “Twinkle, twinkle, Kenneth Starr, now we see how brave you are.”
James Rogan: We had maybe half the Senate standing along the back rail of the House chamber watching the vote. There was just absolute, utter shock. I walked by a bunch of them, and they were apoplectic: “What’re we going to do now?” I said, “Well, you’re going to have to try the case, that’s what you’re going to do now.”
V. THE TRIAL AND ITS AFTERMATH
Once Clinton was impeached, it fell to the Senate to put him on trial and decide whether to remove him from office. The trial was set to begin on January 7, 1999. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott called Minority Leader Tom Daschle and said he wanted to work out the process. One of their decisions was to host executive sessions for the full Senate, with no media present. They chose to meet in the Old Senate Chamber, which had housed the Senate until 1859 and then for decades was the home of the Supreme Court.
Tom Daschle: Henry Clay, John Calhoun, and Daniel Webster spent their careers in that chamber, so there’s just an awesome feeling of history. In the public sessions, people were speaking to the camera, but in the executive sessions people were speaking to each other. They were very candid, very emotional sometimes.
We had one question in particular about how we were going to proceed. [Senator] Phil Gramm made some proposal and almost immediately Ted Kennedy agreed with that, and we were so enamored of the fact that you had Ted Kennedy and Phil Gramm finding some consensus that we said, “Do you all share that view?,” and everybody said, “Yeah.” Walking out, Trent and I felt we needed to make an announcement that, procedurally, this is what we were going to do. Trent said, “Do you understand what we actually agreed to?,” and I said, “No, I thought you did.”
James Rogan and Bob Barr were among the 13 House Judiciary Committee members selected as managers for the Senate trial—in effect, prosecutors. They worked with the Republicans’ chief investigator, David Schippers, to negotiate a process with the Senate.
James Rogan: Trent Lott did handsprings trying to make it go away. Lott finally told Schippers and me, and this is about as precise a quote as I can give you, because it still rings in my ears, “We don’t care if you have photographs of Clinton standing over a dead woman with a smoking gun in his hand. I have 55 Republican senators, seven of whom are up for reelection next year in very tough races. You guys in the House just jumped off a cliff. We’re not following you off the cliff.”
Bob Barr: They didn’t want to have anything to do with an impeachment. The procedures were, from the standpoint of a trial attorney, laughable. We could call no live witnesses. They limited the overall evidence that we could use to only that evidence which already was in the public domain. So they made it impossible for us to present a strong case.
Tom Daschle: If witnesses had been called, it would have been far more sensational, and we wanted to keep the sordid nature of some of this out of the public spectacle, to the extent we could. I think we always knew we had the votes not to convict. What I was more concerned about was ensuring that at the end of the day not one senator would say, Well, if I only had known this, I would have voted differently.
David Kendall: The president apologized repeatedly for his conduct and to Ms. Lewinsky. At a White House prayer breakfast on September 11, 1998, he said, “I have done wrong,” and “I don’t think there is a fancy way to say that I have sinned.” He apologized explicitly to “everybody who has been hurt,” including “Monica Lewinsky and her family.” The Starr Report came out later that day. In every pleading we filed in the House and Senate, we repeated this apology, and on behalf of the president, my partner and I apologized directly and personally to Ms. Lewinsky in January 1999, when her deposition was taken by the House managers as part of the Senate trial.
Monica Lewinsky speaks to ABC two months after the impeachment trial. (Rick Maiman / Getty)
After arguments in the Senate concluded, on February 9, senators repaired behind closed doors to deliberate. When they voted, on February 12, both articles were defeated. Forty-five senators voted to convict on perjury, and 50 on obstruction—well short of the 67 needed to remove Clinton from office. Shortly after the vote, the Capitol had to be evacuated because of a bomb scare. Some Democrats went to the White House to meet with Clinton.
Tom Daschle: Within an hour after I had voted on impeachment, I was walking around the Air and Space Museum, because we all had to clear the building and we had no place to go.
Julian Epstein: Clinton certainly felt the scarlet letter of impeachment. He was embarrassed and ashamed, for sure, and he felt like it had really hurt his second term. But he thought of himself as the Comeback Kid. I think he felt good about being vindicated. I think he felt good about beating Starr. He’s generally a pretty upbeat person, and he definitely was that day.
The day after the acquittal,Saturday Night Live featured Darrell Hammond as a triumphant Clinton in the White House Rose Garden.
Darrell Hammond: You had this person who was, you know, sort of a scallywag, but only on about a Daffy Duck level. He was the kid who’d been sent to the principal’s office but now was back, and he was okay. He didn’t get a paddling, he didn’t get a suspension, he didn’t get after-school detention. He was sprung free.
And once that happened, the first thing we did on the show was have him walk out there and say, “I am bulletproof.”
Bill M c Collum: It was all about the rule of law. Henry Hyde said those words over and over again, and people wondered, What in the world are you talking about? The rule of law is about the public’s faith in the court system, in the law. When you have a president who violates the law in court, in a deposition or in front of a grand jury, and you don’t hold him accountable, that undermines the faith people have in the court system. It wasn’t about the actual underlying facts of what happened in the White House or about Monica Lewinsky. It was about upholding that rule of law.
Lucianne Goldberg: This guy was a horndog. We chopped him alive. He never was the same. I don’t care whether he got impeached or not. I just wanted people to know what kind of person he was.
Presidency of Bill Clinton
The Clinton administration got off to a shaky start, the victim of what some critics called ineptitude and bad judgment. His attempt to fulfill a campaign promise to end discrimination against gay men and lesbians in the military was met with criticism from conservatives and some military leaders—including Gen. Colin Powell, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In response, Clinton proposed a compromise policy—summed up by the phrase “Don’t ask, don’t tell”—that failed to satisfy either side of the issue. Clinton’s first two nominees for attorney general withdrew after questions were raised about domestic workers they had hired. Clinton’s efforts to sign campaign-finance reform legislation were quashed by a Republican filibuster in the Senate, as was his economic-stimulus package.
Clinton had promised during the campaign to institute a system of universal health insurance. His appointment of his wife to chair the Task Force on National Health Care Reform, a novel role for the country’s first lady, was criticized by conservatives, who objected both to the propriety of the arrangement and to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s feminist views. They joined lobbyists for the insurance industry, small-business organizations, and the American Medical Association to campaign vehemently against the task force’s eventual proposal, the Health Security Act. Despite protracted negotiations with Congress, all efforts to pass compromise legislation failed.
Despite these early missteps, Clinton’s first term was marked by numerous successes, including the passage by Congress of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which created a free-trade zone for the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Clinton also appointed several women and minorities to significant government posts throughout his administration, including Janet Reno as attorney general, Donna Shalala as secretary of Health and Human Services, Joycelyn Elders as surgeon general, Madeleine Albright as the first woman secretary of state, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the second woman justice on the United States Supreme Court. During Clinton’s first term, Congress enacted a deficit-reduction package—which passed the Senate with a tie-breaking vote from Gore—and some 30 major bills related to education, crime prevention, the environment, and women’s and family issues, including the Violence Against Women Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act.
In January 1994 Attorney General Reno approved an investigation into business dealings by Clinton and his wife with an Arkansas housing development corporation known as Whitewater. Led from August by independent counsel Kenneth Starr, the Whitewater inquiry consumed several years and more than $50 million but did not turn up conclusive evidence of wrongdoing by the Clintons.
The renewal of the Whitewater investigation under Starr, the continuing rancorous debate in Congress over Clinton’s health care initiative, and the liberal character of some of Clinton’s policies—which alienated significant numbers of American voters—all contributed to Republican electoral victories in November 1994, when the party gained a majority in both houses of Congress for the first time in 40 years. A chastened Clinton subsequently tempered some of his policies and accommodated some Republican proposals, eventually embracing a more aggressive deficit-reduction plan and a massive overhaul of the country’s welfare system while continuing to oppose Republican efforts to cut government spending on social programs. Ultimately, most American voters found themselves more alienated by the uncompromising and confrontational behaviour of the new Republicans in Congress than they had been by Clinton, who won considerable public sympathy for his more moderate approach.
Clinton’s initiatives in foreign policy during his first term included a successful effort in September–October 1994 to reinstate Haitian Pres. Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who had been ousted by a military coup in 1991 the sponsorship of peace talks and the eventual Dayton Accords (1995) aimed at ending the ethnic conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina and a leading role in the ongoing attempt to bring about a permanent resolution of the dispute between Palestinians and Israelis. In 1993 he invited Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Liberation Organization chairman Yasser Arafat to Washington to sign a historic agreement that granted limited Palestinian self-rule in the Gaza Strip and Jericho.
Although scandal was never far from the White House—a fellow Arkansan who had been part of the administration committed suicide there were rumours of financial irregularities that had occurred in Little Rock former associates were indicted and convicted of crimes and rumours of sexual impropriety involving the president persisted—Clinton was handily reelected in 1996, buoyed by a recovering and increasingly strong economy. He captured 49 percent of the popular vote to Republican Bob Dole’s 41 percent and Perot’s 8 percent the electoral vote was 379 to 159. Strong economic growth continued during Clinton’s second term, eventually setting a record for the country’s longest peacetime expansion. By 1998 the Clinton administration was overseeing the first balanced budget since 1969 and the largest budget surpluses in the country’s history. The vibrant economy also produced historically high levels of home ownership and the lowest unemployment rate in nearly 30 years.
In 1998 Starr was granted permission to expand the scope of his continuing investigation to determine whether Clinton had encouraged a 24-year-old White House intern, Monica Lewinsky, to state falsely under oath that she and Clinton had not had an affair. Clinton repeatedly and publicly denied that the affair had taken place. His compelled testimony, which appeared evasive and disingenuous even to Clinton’is is”), prompted renewed criticism of Clinton’s character from conservatives and liberals alike. After conclusive evidence of the affair came to light, Clinton apologized to his family and to the American public. On the basis of Starr’s 445-page report and supporting evidence, the House of Representatives in 1998 approved two articles of impeachment, for perjury and obstruction of justice. Clinton was acquitted of the charges by the Senate in 1999. Despite his impeachment, Clinton’s job-approval rating remained high.
3. She’s bad on Israel.
Upon ascending to the Senate, Gillibrand said she would “offer what I think is the best policy, regardless of what [Israeli prime minister Benjamin] Netanyahu says is what he wants to do.”
Turns out the “best policy” is unwavering support for anything and everything the Israeli government does.
As early as April 2009, Gillibrand met with Robert Cohen, one of the board members of the right-wing group AIPAC, to talk Israeli policy. Members of AIPAC are now regular visitors to Gillibrand’s offices, according to her public schedule.
In 2013, Gillibrand appeared at AIPAC’s annual conference alongside John McCain, who told attendees she had “done a magnificent job in defense of the state of Israel.”
Indeed she has. After Israeli forces raided the unarmed, nonviolent Gaza Freedom Flotilla in 2010 (which resulted in a US citizen’s summary execution), she helped draft a letter calling on Obama to investigate whether one of the flotilla groups should be labeled a foreign terrorist organization. She signed on to the resolution expressing US support for Israel during its horrific 2014 devastation of Gaza, and later spoke out against the UN Human Rights Council’s inquiry into Israeli war crimes during the conflict.
While Gillibrand insisted that Obama pressure Arab leaders to resume peace talks, she has been silent on the illegal settlements in occupied territory, the single biggest roadblock to a peaceful resolution. In fact, she’s gone further, actively opposing any measures aimed at preventing continued settlement building.
Gillibrand criticized the call from the UN Human Rights Council’s special rapporteur for a boycott of companies in illegal settlements (and called for his removal), criticized a food-labeling measure by the EU that mandated that products made in the settlements be labeled as such, and worked with Schumer to rebuke the UN Security Council’s condemnation of the illegal settlements early this year.
She’s also opposed the Palestinian bid for statehood, calling it a “harmful distraction” and teamed up with Marco Rubio to push Obama to block the Palestinian Authority’s attempts to join the International Criminal Court. While Gillibrand’s office frequently puts out press releases about violence directed at Israel, you’d be hard-pressed to find a single generic statement regarding Israeli attacks on Palestinians, whether vigilante or state-sanctioned.
Schumer and Clinton must be proud.
A Brief History of White House Czars
T here was a joke floating around Republican circles earlier this year that was decently funny, by Washington standards, and had the added virtue of being true: Barack Obama has more czars than the Romanovs ever did. The quip, tweeted by Senator John McCain, was a thinly veiled gripe about the President’s appointment of a slew of policy coordinators tasked with everything from reforming health care to restoring the Great Lakes. The White House advisers drew wide attention earlier this month when green-jobs czar Van Jones was forced to resign after revelations of impolitic comments about Republicans and his support for a petition suggesting a government plot behind the Sept. 11 attacks.
So when does a high-level White House adviser become a czar? No one knows for sure, since the term itself has no formal definition. Essentially it’s a media creation &mdash the White House rarely even acknowledges the title &mdash used as a snappy shorthand to identify and describe the array of policy officials swarming the West Wing. And it’s hard to blame reporters unwieldy official titles are often begging for a rebranding (Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, for example, doesn’t stand a chance against drug czar). Counts of Obama’s czars range from the high teens to about 28, depending on whether such figures as State Department envoy George Mitchell and economics adviser Paul Volcker are included.
But while Obama’s cadre of newly crowned czars has earned condemnation from the right, when it comes to recruiting presidential advisers he’s in good company. During World War I, Woodrow Wilson appointed financier Bernard Baruch to head the War Industries Board &mdash a position dubbed industry czar (this just one year after the final Russian czar, Nicholas II, was overthrown in the Russian Revolution). Franklin Roosevelt had his own bevy of czars during World War II, overseeing such aspects of the war effort as shipping and synthetic-rubber production. The term was then essentially retired until the presidency of Richard Nixon, who appointed the first drug czar and a well-regarded energy czar, William E. Simon, who helped the country navigate the 1970s oil crisis. The modern drug czarship &mdash perhaps the best-known of the bunch &mdash was created by George H.W. Bush and first filled by William Bennett, now a conservative radio host. By some counts, George W. Bush had the same number czars as Obama &mdash or even more &mdash though not so early in his presidency.
The czar post has always had opponents, and criticism has swelled along with attention to Obama’s appointments. Foremost among them are members of Congress who believe the advisers circumvent the legislative branch’s proper supervision of the executive (unlike Cabinet secretaries, czars are not subject to confirmation votes). Earlier this month, six Republican lawmakers wrote a letter to Obama complaining that 18 White House positions “may be undermining the constitutional oversight responsibilities of Congress.” Democratic Senator Robert Byrd, a well-known defender of Senate prerogatives, complained about the positions in a letter earlier this year. A spokesman replied that Obama is simply continuing a presidential practice in place for decades.
The more interesting criticism, however, is the charge that czarism simply doesn’t work. Czars generally don’t have budget control or other real authority, and are often caught up in turf battles among Cabinet secretaries and fellow West Wingers. “There’ve been so many czars over the last 50 years, and they’ve all been failures,” New York University public-service professor Paul Light told the Wall Street Journal. “It’s a symbolic gesture of the priority assigned to an issue.” Sometimes, however, symbolism matters. John Koskinen, the Clinton Administration adviser responsible for overseeing Y2K preparation, was cited by the National Journal for his successful use of the role. Though he had no formal authority, Koskinen could convene White House meetings and Cabinet secretaries knew he had the President’s ear on the issue. At one meeting, agency heads who had been dragging their feet on preparing their computer systems were called to the carpet by Vice President Gore and asked to get with the program. “That was effective,” Koskinen later said.
Black Americans have made gains in U.S. political leadership, but gaps remain
Kamala Harris is sworn in as vice president by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington as Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff, and Joe Biden look on. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Twelve years after Barack Obama made history as the first Black U.S. president, a Black woman was sworn in as vice president of the United States following the election of Joe Biden. Kamala Harris, who is of mixed Jamaican and Indian heritage, is the first Black American, first person of Asian descent and first woman to hold the second-highest office in the country. Harris’ election represented another advance in the slow but steady progress Black Americans have made in recent decades in gaining a greater foothold in political leadership, particularly in the U.S. House of Representatives and in the Cabinets of recent presidents. But they have lagged in the Senate and in governorships.
This analysis builds on earlier Pew Research Center work analyzing the share of elected officials and other leaders in politics who are Black.
The data on Black U.S. House members from 1965 to 2019 is based on the Brookings Institution’s “Vital Statistics on Congress.” The number for 2021 is drawn from the U.S. House of Representatives Press Gallery. These figures show the number of Black representatives on the first day of each congressional session and do not include nonvoting delegates or commissioners.
Historical data on the share of Cabinet members who are Black was previously gathered from Inside Gov, a now-defunct online source for information on the U.S. government. Data on the Biden administration’s Cabinet comes from the White House and news reports. In this analysis, the Cabinet includes the vice president and heads of federal agencies it does not include Cabinet-level officials. Figures are percentages because the number of Cabinet positions has fluctuated across administrations. The figures shown are based on the maximum number of Black Cabinet members serving concurrently in a given administration out of the total number of Cabinet members in that administration.
The analysis also cites one question from a Pew Research Center survey of 9,654 U.S. adults conducted in June 2020. Here are the questions asked in that survey, along with responses, and its methodology.
Many Black Americans view political representation as a potential catalyst for increased racial equality, according to a June 2020 Pew Research Center survey. Four-in-ten Black adults said that working to get more Black people elected to office would be a very effective tactic for groups striving to help Black Americans achieve equality. White adults were less likely to view this as an effective way to bring about increased racial equality (23% said it would be very effective).
Data from the past several decades reveals the upward yet uneven trajectory of Black political leadership in America. In 1965, there were no Black U.S. senators or governors, and only five members of the House of Representatives were Black. As of 2021, there is greater representation in some areas – 57 House members in the new Congress are Black (not including nonvoting delegates and commissioners), putting the share of Black House members (13%) about on par with the share of the overall U.S. population that is Black. But in other areas, there has been little change: There are three Black senators – the same number as in 2019 – and no Black governors.
The first Black U.S. senator, Hiram R. Revels, a Republican from Mississippi, was chosen by his state’s Legislature to fill an empty seat. He served for a year, from 1870 to 1871. In total, 11 Black Americans have served in the Senate, including three currently in office. This is the same number as in the previous Congress, since Harris moved from the Senate to the White House and Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, became the first Black senator from Georgia. Until 2013, no two Black senators had been in office at the same time.
The share of Black members in a presidential Cabinet was at or above parity with the population during the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations and Obama’s second term, and this will be the case if all of Biden’s nominees are approved. But there was only one Black Cabinet secretary during the Trump administration, and the same was true during Obama’s first term.
The current 117th Congress includes 57 Black representatives, a record high and a large increase since 1965. Only two of these 57 representatives are Republicans. Two nonvoting delegates, representing the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands, are Black. Only five representatives were Black in 1965, and all were Democrats.
Black U.S. House members, 1965-2021
|Date||Number of U.S. representatives who are Black|
Note: Shows the number of Black representatives at the outset of each term of Congress. The data does not include nonvoting delegates or commissioners.
The highest level of Black representation in a presidential Cabinet occurred during Bill Clinton’s first term, when four out of 15 Cabinet appointees were Black. Since then, the share of the Cabinet that is Black has fluctuated. In Obama’s first term and Donald Trump’s presidency, only one Cabinet member was Black, but under George W. Bush’s first term and Obama’s second, the share of the Cabinet that was Black exceeded the Black share of the overall U.S. population. If Biden’s slate of nominees is confirmed by the Senate, his Cabinet will include three Black members – Harris as vice president, Lloyd Austin as the first Black secretary of defense, and Marcia Fudge as secretary of housing and urban development.
Black U.S. Cabinet members
|Administration||% of Cabinet members who are Black|
|Nixon, term 1||0%|
|Nixon, term 2||0%|
|Reagan, term 1||7%|
|Reagan, term 2||7%|
|Clinton, term 1||27%|
|Clinton, term 2||20%|
|G.W. Bush, term 1||19%|
|G.W. Bush, term 2||13%|
|Obama, term 1||6%|
|Obama, term 2||25%|
Note: Percentage for Biden’s Cabinet is based on his nominees as of Jan. 22, 2021, before the confirmation process was finalized. All other percentages are based on the maximum number of Black Cabinet members serving concurrently in a given administration out of the total number of Cabinet members in that administration. In this analysis, the Cabinet includes the vice president and heads of federal agencies it does not include Cabinet-level officials. The number of Cabinet positions has changed over time.
There are no Black governors in office today, and there have been none since Deval Patrick retired in 2015. In fact, there have been only four in U.S. history. Pinckney Pinchback served as a governor of Louisiana for 35 days in the 1870s following Henry Clay Warmoth’s impeachment. Virginia, Massachusetts and New York each had a Black governor during the 1990s and 2000s – Douglas Wilder, Deval Patrick and David Paterson, respectively. The latter two were the first to serve simultaneously, from 2008 to 2010. Three Black candidates – including two seeking to become the first Black female governor – are part of a crowded field vying to be elected governor of Virginia in November 2021.
Note: This is an update of a post originally published June 28, 2016, and previously updated on Jan. 18, 2019.
The Clinton Presidential Library and Museum features 20,000 square feet of exhibit space that chronicles American history at the turn of the 21st century. Interactive exhibits, including a White House Cabinet Room reconstruction and a full-scale replica of the Oval Office, give visitors a first-hand look into the life and work of the 42nd president. Other exhibits include 13 policy alcoves and an interactive 110-foot timeline within which the history of the Clinton Administration unfolds. The third floor includes exhibits about life in the White House: showing the splendor of state events, fascinating gifts from foreign heads of state, the spirit of holiday celebrations, and how the Clintons made the White House their home.
President Bush had high approval ratings in '91, and Ross Perot fought hard as an independent, but Governor Clinton prevailed by offering Americans a prospect of change.
This exhibit brings visitors back to the pinnacle of President Clinton’s election, when he stood before nearly a million people and spoke of the changes he would rise to fulfill.
The Vice President
Al Gore set new standards for the Vice Presidency, and used his expertise on issues from the environment to arms control, to propose new ideas and see them through.
White House at Work
The members of the White House staff reflected the diversity of America. They worked tirelessly to turn the Administration’s ideas into action.
The Cabinet Room, the home of deliberations and decisions that have been shaping our nation’s future for more than 100 years, has been re-created here.
These numbers and figures give substance to the enormity of the presidency, allowing visitors to witness the true scale of many of President Clinton’s policies and decisions.
The 28-foot columns holding historical documents are the foundation of the museum as the policy challenges and solutions were the foundation of the Clinton Administration.
The timeline puts the Clinton Administration into historical perspective, giving cultural, technological, and international flavor to the American political scene.
Life in the White House
The White House was the setting for countless state events, holiday and family celebrations, and a showplace for the best of American craftsmanship, cuisine, and culture.
The only full-size replica of the Oval Office, this exhibit allows every visitor to feel as if he or she were standing at the helm of American power and prestige.
The Work Continues
The Clinton Foundation allows President Clinton to continue to employ his leadership and influence to address the world’s most pressing challenges.
In this exhibit, visitors will venture through the phases of Bill Clinton’s youth and catch a glimpse into his campaigns for Congress, Attorney General and Governor.