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Obama Appointee Targets Trump Appointee on Civil Rights Commission

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Three prominent Washington lawyers have tangled for months in a partisan drama involving two relatively obscure federal government agencies. 

That drama involves one of Barack Obama’s Justice Department nominees, who proved too controversial for some Senate Democrats. Now in another post, that Obama appointee targeted two allies of Donald Trump, both lawyers who advocate secure and clean elections.

The battlegrounds for this political brawl are the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and the Election Assistance Commission, but it almost escalated into a Justice Department probe. 

Here are some details of the partisan clash:

Democrat Debo Adegbile, whom Obama appointed to the Commission on Civil Rights in 2016, unsuccessfully pushed the Justice Department investigation of Republican member J. Christian Adams, appointed by Trump in 2020, according to emails and memos obtained by The Daily Signal. 

The most recent installment of the Adegbile-Adams rivalry occurred in August, when the Commission on Civil Rights voted to appoint election lawyer Cleta Mitchell to the board of advisers for the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. 

The dispute, however, appears to go back further.

Mitchell is chairwoman of the board of directors for the Public Interest Legal Foundation, an election watchdog group headed by Adams, its president. (Also on that board is Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, parent organization of The Daily Signal.)  

Adegbile complained that Adams “appears to have financial and business relationships with Ms. Mitchell, through PILF, which as far as I am aware he failed to disclose.”

Adegbile argued that Mitchell, as a board member for the Public Interest Legal Foundation, would have a say in Adams’ leadership and compensation. 

‘No Referral Warranted’

Mitchell has been involved in some high-profile election cases on the side of Republicans, including for Trump in the litigation that followed the 2020 presidential election. 

Adegbile voted for Mitchell’s appointment to the post advising the Election Assistance Commission, although he later seemed to make a procedural excuse for doing so. In a November email, an assistant wrote that Adegbile “also understood that we could only strike” one Republican nominee from consideration. 

In his failed push for a Justice Department investigation of Adams, Adegbile alleged a conflict of interest. The Commission on Civil Rights’ Office of General Counsel, however, responded in a Feb. 4 memo that “no such referral is warranted in this matter.”

The Commission on Civil Rights, created by the 1957 version of the Civil Rights Act, is tasked with investigating, reporting, and making recommendations on civil rights matters. The president appoints four members, the president pro tem of the Senate appoints two, and the House speaker appoints two. 

The commission had a 6-2 Democrat majority until 2020, when Trump appointed two members—Adams and Stephen Gilchrist—and evened representation to a 4-4 split on the panel. 

Adegbile’s move against Adams was a reaction to the Commission on Civil Rights finally being a bipartisan panel, Adams said. 

“There is intense animosity over the fact that the commission is now 4-4 Democrat and Republican,” Adams told The Daily Signal on Monday. “Also, there is total Trump Derangement Syndrome as it relates to Cleta [Mitchell].”

Adegbile and Mitchell did not respond to The Daily Signal’s inquiries Thursday and Friday for this report.

Obama Appointee vs. Trump Appointee

Adegbile, now a partner at the New York law firm of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, previously was director of litigation at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

The NAACP entity frequently has opposed voter ID and other election security measures advocated by Adams’ group, the Public Interest Legal Foundation.  

Adegbile also is a former Democrat staffer on the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

Adams, a lawyer in the Justice Department’s voting section from 2005 to 2010, founded the Public Interest Legal Foundation in 2012. The foundation has issued several reports on states and localities with more names on voter registration lists than there were residents eligible to vote, as well as jurisdictions that illegally included noncitizens and the names of dead voters on the rolls. 

Adams is the author of the 2011 book “Injustice,” which was critical of the Justice Department under then-Attorney General Eric Holder. 

In 2020, Trump appointed Adams to the Commission on Civil Rights after having appointed him in 2017 to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. 

Opposition emerged in 2013 when Obama nominated Adegbile to run the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, because Adegbile was a lawyer in an appeal filed on behalf of cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, convicted of the 1981 murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. 

The Washington Post quoted Adams, a vocal opponent of the Adegbile nomination, as saying: “When he ran the unit at the Legal Defense Fund, they took positions far outside of the mainstream of the law, far outside existing jurisprudence as it relates to race, and really advanced a fringe agenda. If he attempts to do the same at the Justice Department, it will be a catastrophe.”

The Democrat-controlled Senate defeated the Adegbile nomination in a bipartisan vote in March 2014. Eight Democrats—including then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada—joined Republicans in the 52-47 vote opposing the nomination.

Two years later, Obama appointed Adegbile as a member of the Commission on Civil Rights. 

Mitchell’s Appointment 

Adams nominated and voted for Mitchell to serve on the advisory board for the Election Assistance Commission. Mitchell is also the chairwoman of the board of directors for the Public Interest Legal Foundation. 

The Election Assistance Commission was created under the 2002 Help America Vote Act, under which the Commission on Civil Rights appoints some members to the 35-member EAC advisory board. 

From 1976 to 1984, Mitchell was a Democrat serving in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. In 1981, she also was a fellow at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics. In 1996, she registered as a Republican and served on the boards of the Republican National Lawyers Association, the American Conservative Union, and the National Rifle Association. 

Republicans on the commission nominated Mitchell and the full commission voted to appoint her to the Election Assistance Commission’s advisory board. Mitchell’s appointment stirred controversy on the left, in part because she assisted Trump’s legal team in the litigation that followed the disputed 2020 presidential election. 

Whatever the early concerns from the left, Mitchell’s board membership with the Public Interest Legal Foundation hardly seemed a secret. 

The foundation’s website clearly lists Adams as founder and president and prominently shows Mitchell as the board chairwoman. Mitchell and Adams also are named on the foundation’s Wikipedia page and elsewhere.

“It’s on the bloody website that she is on the board,” Adams told The Daily Signal. “It’s also in public reporting. This complaint was just a ruse to threaten.”

Object and Investigate

Adegbile voted for Mitchell’s appointment to the EAC post earlier in 2021, but in an email exchange in November—days before making the complaint about Adams and Mitchell—he expressed buyer’s remorse. 

The Daily Signal obtained the communications from the Commission on Civil Rights through a request under the Freedom of Information Act. 

Irena Vidulovic, Adegbile’s special assistant on the commission, sent an informal message Nov. 17 to commission Staff Director Mauro Morales, apparently to explain Adegbile’s vote for Mitchell. 

Vidulovic’s message said the vote on Mitchell’s appointment was “bundled” with another commission vote, according to the documents obtained by The Daily Signal. She added that Adegbile “also understood that we could only strike one R [Republican] nominee.”

Republicans on the commission put forward either Mitchell or Adams for Democrat commissioners to choose between, CNN reported

Adegbile himself wrote Morales and commission General Counsel David Ganz on Nov. 23, asserting that he had raised the issue of Adams’ potential conflict of interest at a meeting four days earlier:

I raised, on the record, the point that Commissioner Adams appears to have financial and business relationships with Ms. Mitchell, through PILF, which as far as I am aware he failed to disclose to the general counsel’s office prior to the nomination and vote on Ms. Mitchell’s appointment.

In short, Ms. Mitchell serves as chair of the board on which Commissioner Adams serves, she chairs the board of an organization that employs Commissioner Adams as general counsel and president, and Ms. Mitchell participates in approving his compensation. The failure to disclose these facts if true raise serious questions as to the propriety and validity of Commissioner Adams’ participation in matters regarding Ms. Mitchell. If it is determined that a violation occurred or that this matter is more appropriately investigated by a separate independent third party, a referral to [the] Office of Inspector General of the Department of Justice may be appropriate.

End of the Matter?

In response, the Commission on Civil Rights appointed its “designated agency ethics official” to “take all appropriate actions related to the appointment of Ms. Mitchell to the EAC’s Board of Advisors.”

After the review, Morales and Ganz sent a Feb. 4 memo to commission members, which The Daily Signal obtained separately from its request under the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA. Their memo says:

In conclusion, [the commission’s Office of General Counsel] took a number of actions based on the November 19, 2021, business meeting and subsequent email, including reviewing thousands of emails in connection with media FOIA requests related to this matter, providing ethics advice and counseling to Commissioner Adams and his SA [special assistant], referring the matter to [the Office of Government Ethics’] General Counsel, and conducting its own legal analysis … to determine if referral to an independent inspector general … was warranted. 

It is our opinion that no such referral is warranted in this matter or that other remedy or further action is necessary. 

With that, Adegbile’s complaint against Adams and Mitchell apparently hit a dead end.

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email [email protected] and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the url or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.

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Hailey Bieber Details Terrifying ‘Life-Altering’ Mini-Stroke She Suffered And Procedure To Close Hole In Her Heart

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Hailey Bieber has spoken out in her “own words” about the “life-altering,” “scariest moment” of her life she had after suffering what she called a mini-stroke, and later underwent a procedure to close a hole in her heart.

The 25-year-old supermodel and wife of superstar singer Justin Bieber took to her YouTube channel Wednesday and opened up about the terrifying experience of being hospitalized last month after she suffered a blood clot to her brain that traveled through a hole in her heart between 12 and 13 millimeters, reported People magazine.

“I had, like, a very scary incident on March 10, basically,” Bieber shared. “I was sitting at breakfast with my husband, having a normal day … and all of the sudden, I felt this really weird sensation that kind of like traveled down my arm from my shoulder all the way down to my fingertips. And it made my fingertips feel really numb and weird.”

“Justin [her husband] was like, ‘Are you okay?’” she added, as she explained that she tried to respond to him, but she “couldn’t speak.” “The right side of my face started drooping; I couldn’t get a sentence out.”

“Obviously, immediately, I thought I was having a stroke,” the supermodel continued. “He thought I was having a stroke. Right away, he asked for somebody to please call 911 and get a doctor.”

Hailey said that where they were, there happened to be a medic who started asking her lots of questions and testing her arms, calling it definitely the “scariest moment” of her life. The model talked about how the “facial drooping lasted for probably like thirty seconds.” Her speech did came back, but her “anxiety” about what was happening just made “everything worse.”

“By the time I got to the emergency room, I was pretty much back to normal – [I] could talk, [I] wasn’t having any issues with my face or my arm,” Bieber explained.

She said scans revealed she had, in fact, suffered a “small blood clot” to her brain which was labeled a “TIA” [Transient Ischemic Attack]. Hailey told her followers it was basically like having a “mini-stroke.”

Doctors still weren’t sure what caused it, but she said it was widely believed it was a combination of birth-control issues, recently having COVID-19, and having just traveled “to Paris and back in a very short amount of time,” calling it a “perfect storm.”

Further testing at the University of California, Los Angeles, revealed Bieber had a Grade 5 PFO [a small opening in the heart that usually closes after birth]. The outlet said the hold measured between 12 and 13 millimeters. She later underwent a procedure to close the hole, and said it went “very smoothly” and she’s recovering.

“The biggest thing I feel is I just feel really relieved that we were able to figure everything out, that we were able to get it closed, that I will be able to just move on from this really scary situation and just live my life,” Hailey shared.

“If there’s anybody that watches this that has gone through the same thing or something similar, I definitely really empathize with you,” she concluded. “And I understand how life-altering and scary it is.”

Bieber, who’s the daughter of actor Stephen Baldwin and Kennya Baldwin, married her husband Justin in 2018.

Related: Hailey Baldwin Credits Christian Faith For Marriage To Justin Bieber

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Wikipedia’s Left-Wing Bias

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I love Wikipedia. I donated thousands of dollars to the Wikimedia Foundation.

Before Wikipedia, all we had were printed encyclopedias—out of date by the time we bought them.

Then libertarian Jimmy Wales came up with a web-based, crowd-sourced encyclopedia.

Crowd-sourced? A Britannica editor called Wikipedia “a public restroom.” But Wales won the battle. Britannica’s encyclopedias are no longer printed.

Congratulations to Wales.

But recently, I learned that Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger now says Wikipedia’s political pages have turned into leftist “propaganda.”

That’s upsetting. Leftists took over the editing?

Sadly, yes. I checked it out.

All editing is done by volunteers. Wales hoped there would be enough diverse political persuasions that biases would be countered by others.

But that’s not what’s happening.

Leftists just like to write. Conservatives build things: companies, homes, farms.

You see the pattern comparing political donations from different professions: Surgeons, oil workers, truck drivers, loggers, and pilots lean right; artists, bartenders, librarians, reporters, and teachers lean left.

Conservatives don’t have as much time to tweet or argue on the web. Leftists do. And they love doing it. This helps them take over the media, universities, and now, Wikipedia.

Jonathan Weiss is what Wikipedia calls a “Top 100” Wikipedian because he’s made almost half a million edits. He says he’s noticed new bias: “Wikipedia does a great job on things like science and sports, but you see a lot of political bias come into play when you’re talking current events.”

Weiss is no conservative. In presidential races, he voted for Al Gore, Ralph Nader, and Barack Obama. Never for a Republican. “I’ve really never identified strongly with either political party,” he says.

Maybe that’s why he notices the new Wikipedia bias.

“People on the left far outweigh people on the center and the right … a lot [are] openly socialist and Marxist.” Some even post pictures of Che Guevara and Lenin on their own profiles.

These are the people who decide which news sources Wikipedia writers may cite. Wikipedia’s approved “Reliable sources” page rejects political reporting from Fox but calls CNN and MSNBC “reliable.”

Good conservative outlets like The Federalist, the Daily Caller, and The Daily Wire are all deemed “unreliable.” Same with the New York Post (That’s probably why Wikipedia called Hunter Biden’s emails a conspiracy theory even after other liberal media finally acknowledged that they were real).

While it excludes Fox, Wikipedia approves even hard left media like Vox, Slate, The Nation, Mother Jones, and Jacobin, a socialist publication.

Until recently, Wikipedia’s “socialism” and “communism” pages made no mention of the millions of people killed by socialism and communism. Even now, deaths are “deep in the article,” says Weiss, “treated as an arcane academic debate. But we’re talking about mass murder!”

The communism page even adds that we cannot ignore the “lives saved by communist modernization”! This is nuts.

Look up “concentration and internment camps” and you’ll find, along with the Holocaust, “Mexico-United States border,” and under that, “Trump administration family separation policy.”

What? Former President Donald Trump’s border controls, no matter how harsh, are very different from the Nazi’s mass murder.

Wikipedia does say “anyone can edit.” So, I made a small addition for political balance, mentioning that President Barack Obama built those cages.

My edit was taken down.

I wrote Wikipedia founder Wales to say that if his creation now uses only progressive sources, I would no longer donate.

He replied, “I totally respect the decision not to give us more money. I’m such a fan and have great respect for you and your work.” But then he said it is “just 100% false … that ‘only globalist, progressive mainstream sources’ are permitted.”

He gave examples of left-wing media that Wikipedia rejects, like Raw Story and Occupy Democrats.

I’m glad he rejects them. Those sites are childishly far left.

I then wrote again to ask why “there’s not a single right-leaning media outlet Wiki labels ‘reliable’ about politics, [but] Vox, Slate, The Nation, Mother Jones, CNN, MSNBC” get approval.

Wales then stopped responding to my emails.

Unless Wikipedia’s bias is fixed, I’ll be skeptical reading anything on the site.

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The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here is to be construed as representing the views of The Heritage Foundation. 

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com, and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the URL or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state. 

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Public Health England to blame for sending patients to care homes without Covid tests

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Speaking on condition of anonymity, Whitehall officials alleged that Prof Duncan Selbie, the former PHE chief executive, was ultimately responsible for informing Mr Hancock of the risks.

Prof Selbie is working as a senior adviser to the DHSC. Neither he nor the department responded to requests for comment on Wednesday.

Mr Hancock, who was replaced by Sajid Javid last year, claimed the High Court ruling had exonerated him and the had been cleared “of any wrongdoing” because PHE “failed to tell ministers what they knew about asymptomatic transmission”.

The High Court judges concluded that care home policies in March and April 2020 were “irrational” because they failed to advise that those discharged from hospitals “should, so far as practicable, be kept apart from other residents for up to 14 days”.

“Since there is no evidence that this question was considered by the secretary of state, or that he was asked to consider it, it is not an example of a political judgment on a finely balanced issue,” they said. “Nor is it a point on which any of the expert committees had advised that no guidance was required.”

After the ruling, Boris Johnson said he wanted to “renew my apologies and sympathies” to relatives who lost loved ones, adding: “The thing we didn’t know in particular was that Covid could be transmitted asymptomatically in the way that it was.”

However, the risks of asymptomatic transmission had been highlighted by Sir Patrick Vallance, the Government’s chief scientific adviser for England, who said it was “quite likely” as early as March 13 2020. Varying levels of risk had been outlined in papers from late January, the ruling said.

The judicial review was brought by Dr Cathy Gardner and Fay Harris, whose fathers, Michael Gibson and Donald Harris, died after testing positive for Covid.

‘Opens the floodgates for potential claims’

Paul Conrathe, a solicitor at Sinclairslaw who was instructed by both women, said: “It’s possible that care home providers and relatives who lost loved ones in the first wave could bring compensation claims. The Government was found to have acted ‘irrationally’ – that’s a very high legal hurdle.”

Nadra Ahmed, who chairs the National Care Association, said the ruling “opens the floodgates for potential claims to be brought against government policy”.

“This will be especially pertinent where the individual was not given a choice,” she said. “There will be a lot of people assimilating to the information as they consider if the loss of their loved one was premature, and holding the Government to account is the only way forward for them.”

Helen Wildbore, the director of the Relatives and Residents Association, said that the ruling proved “the protective ring around care homes was non-existent” and that older people were “abandoned at the outset of the pandemic”.

A government spokesman said it had been a “very difficult decision” to discharge hospital patients into care homes, taken when evidence on asymptomatic transmission was “extremely uncertain”.

The spokesman added: “We acknowledge the judge’s comments on assessing the risks of asymptomatic transmission and our guidance on isolation, and will respond in more detail in due course.”


‘He was in a home and should have been safe’

They stood outside the Royal Courts of Justice, two women unknown to each other before the Covid pandemic but brought together by tragedy, writes Tom Ough.

Cathy Gardner spoke first, delivering a steely reading of a statement. Matt Hancock’s boast of a “protective ring” encircling care homes, Dr Gardner said, was “a despicable lie of which he ought to be ashamed and for which he ought to apologise”.

Fay Harris, more downcast in demeanour but no less forthright, told journalists: “I have lost precious years with my wonderful Dad.”

Both women lost their fathers in early 2020, arguing that they might still be alive were it not for hospital patients having been discharged into care homes without having been tested for Covid.

Michael Gibson, born in 1931, had been a superintendent registrar of births and deaths. “He was in a home and should have been safe,” Dr Gardner told The Independent after his death.

Mr Gibson, who had advanced dementia, had fallen ill a couple of weeks before the first lockdown. Staff at his care home were unable to procure tests for Covid, but the virus is believed to have struck him down.

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