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State Department Tag

President Donald Trump released his plan for the 2018 federal budget titled "America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again." The plan includes cuts to some departments and slashes programs in order to reallocate funds to a bigger defense budget. "One of the most important ways the Federal Government sets priorities is through the Budget of the United States," wrote Trump. "Accordingly, I submit to the Congress this Budget Blueprint to reprioritize Federal spending so that it advances the safety and security of the American people."

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson may finally have his #2 man at the department. The Wall Street Journal has reported former Utah Governor and presidential candidate Jon Huntsman has become one of the top contenders. Originally, Tillerson wanted Elliott Abrams, an official in the state department under President Ronald Reagan, but after learnings Abrams criticized Trump during the campaign, Trump said no.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and State Department have announced officials will suspend "any and all actions" over the executive order President Donald Trump signed to halt immigration from seven countries. Trump signed the order so the government could put together a better vetting process to weed out terrorists. From The Hill:
“At the earliest possible time, the Department of Justice intends to file an emergency stay of this order and defend the President’s Executive Order, which is lawful and appropriate,” spokesperson Gillian Christensen said in a statement, as first reported by BuzzFeed News.

Top officials have resigned at the State Department before the Senate has confirmed former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State. The Washington Post reported:
Then suddenly on Wednesday afternoon, [undersecretary for management Patrick] Kennedy and three of his top officials resigned unexpectedly, four State Department officials confirmed. Assistant Secretary of State for Administration Joyce Anne Barr, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Michele Bond and Ambassador Gentry O. Smith, director of the Office of Foreign Missions, followed him out the door. All are career foreign service officers who have served under both Republican and Democratic administrations.

Meow. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) came out with the claws during the hearing for former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, President-elect Donald Trump's choice for secretary of state. Rubio started by asking Tillerson if he considers Russian President Vladimir Putin a war criminal. Tillerson, who ran a company that had many deals with Russian STATE OWNED companies, refused to take the bait:
"I would not use that term," Mr. Tillerson said.

Former CEO ExxonMobil Rex Tillerson, President-elect Donald Trump's choice for Secretary of State, will face the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today for his confirmation hearing. You can expect him to face questions about Russia since ExxonMobil has agreed to numerous deals with Russian state companies to drill in the Arctic. Questions will also include topics like climate change and human rights. You can watch the confirmation with us as I live blog.

The FBI published around 300 pages of documents associated with Hillary Clinton's email investigation on Sunday night when the most of us enjoyed football, hockey, or the Golden Globes. These emails include discussions within Hillary's team about the computer hardware during the FBI's investigation:
At first, Clinton was unwilling to surrender her private server, but hacked emails appear to show her team advised her to let the FBI take control of the materials.

While this has yet to be confirmed by President-elect Trump or his team, NBC News is reporting that CEO Rex Tillerson will be nominated for Secretary of State with John Bolton serving as his second. NBC News reports:
Donald Trump is expected to nominate Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson as his secretary of state, two sources close to the transition process told NBC News on Saturday. Tillerson, 64, became president of the Texas-based oil company in 2004 and has a close business relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He has spent his entire career at the company now known as Exxon Mobil.

Multiple sources have told Fox News that the guards hired to protect the Americans in Benghazi betrayed them in the end. These sources claim the firm "hastily recruited locals with terror ties who helped carry out the attack" that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens, Foreign Service Information Officer Sean Smith and CIA contractors and former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty. The sources also said the State Department hired these guards from the Wales-based Blue Mountain Group despite internal objections:
The explosive charge against Wales-based Blue Mountain Group comes from several sources, including an independent security specialist who has implemented training programs at U.S. Consulates around the world, including in Benghazi, where he trained a local militia that preceded Blue Mountain. The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Blue Mountain used local newspaper ads to assemble a team of 20 guards, many of whom had terror ties, after securing a $9.2 million annual contract.

As the fetid swamp that surrounds Hillary and everything she touches becomes more clear to more Americans, her "charity" has confirmed that it did indeed receive a $1 million "donation" from Qatar while she was Secretary of State.  Qatar, one of the forces involved in toppling Libya's Muammar el-Qaddafi and a vocal cheerleader for Assad's ouster over the Qatar-Turkey pipeline, clearly had the same goals that drove Hillary's time at State . . . and resulted in one of her infamous and chilling cackling outbursts. Reuters reports:
The Clinton Foundation has confirmed it accepted a $1 million gift from Qatar while Hillary Clinton was U.S. secretary of state without informing the State Department, even though she had promised to let the agency review new or significantly increased support from foreign governments.

The State Department released 74 additional emails to Judicial Watch, a watchdog group that continues to investigate Hillary Clinton's private email server. These emails are the ones the FBI found after it completed its investigation. One email included a chain that the State deemed as classified that Hillary sent to her daughter Chelsea Clinton. The State has blacked out the majority of the email chain, but it came from White House Deputy National Security Advisor Michael Froman and forwarded to Hillary by her policy aide Jake Sullivan. Hillary then sent it to Chelsea. Chelsea Hillary Classified Email

Russian officials asked three states if they could attend polling stations during the Nov. 8 election while Kremlin propaganda sites like Russia Today reported that Russia's Central Elections Commission even asked the State Department for permission to watch the polls. The State denied a request even came through:
"Any suggestion that we rejected Russia's proposal to observe our elections is false," Toner said, noting that allowing foreign observers is up to individual states. Russian officials could have participated in an observer delegation through the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Toner added, but declined to do so, making their new complaints "nothing more than a PR stunt."

Holy cow, this story keeps going back and forth. I'm getting whiplash. First, Wikileaks said Ecuador cut Wikileaks founder Julian Assange's internet access at its embassy in London. Then the anti-secrecy website said sources claimed Secretary of State John Kerry did it. Today the Ecuadorian government said it cut the internet to stop the website from influencing the presidential election since Wikileaks has been publishing Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta's emails. Now NBC reports that the U.S. did have a hand in the internet outage "after U.S. officials conveyed their conclusion that Assange is a willing participant in a Russian intelligence operation to undermine the U.S. presidential election."

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange lost his internet access at the Ecuadorian embassy in London over the weekend after the website published three Hillary Clinton speeches to Goldman Sachs. First the organization blamed the Ecuadorian government, but today the group claimed Secretary or State John Kerry pushed the government to deny Assange access to the internet. The State Department has now denied Kerry had anything to do with the incident:
“While our concerns about WikiLeaks are longstanding, any suggestion that Secretary Kerry or the State Department were involved in shutting down WikiLeaks is false,” [State Department spokesman John] Kirby said. “Reports that Secretary Kerry had conversations with Ecuadorian officials about this are simply untrue. Period.”

The Hillary Clinton email scandal just got much worse. New files indicate the possibility of "quid pro quo" between the State Department and the FBI. FOX News reports:
New FBI files contain allegations of 'quid pro quo' in Clinton's emails FBI interview summaries and notes, provided late Friday to the House Government Oversight and Intelligence Committees, contain allegations of a "quid pro quo" between a senior State Department executive and FBI agents during the Hillary Clinton email investigation, two congressional sources told Fox News.
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