Review Category : Poltics

POLL: The Top 15 Issues That Have Americans Worried

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The percentage of Americans who worry “a great deal” about the possibility of a terrorist attack has climbed by 12 percentage points since 2014, and has now reached 51 percent, according to a new Gallup Poll released this week.

Gallup says events like the rise of the militant group ISIS and the terrorist attack that killed several employees of a French satirical newspaper in Paris are likely responsible for the rise in concern.

Worries over the economy and the availability and affordability of health care top the list of Americans’ worries, each causing “a great deal” of concern for more than 50 percent of Americans.

Topics that worry Americans a great deal:

  • 54% – The availability and affordability of healthcare
  • 53% – The economy
  • 51% – The possibility of future terrorist attacks in the U.S.
  • 46% – The Social Security system
  • 46% – The size and power of the federal government
  • 46% – The way income and wealth are distributed in the U.S.
  • 43% – Hunger and homelessness
  • 43% – Crime and violence
  • 39% – Illegal immigration
  • 38% – Drug use
  • 37% – Unemployment
  • 34% – The quality of the environment
  • 28% – The availability and affordability of energy
  • 28% – Race relations
  • 25% – Climate change

The uptick of 11 percentage points in Americans’ concern over race relations is likely due to the controversy surrounding the Ferguson, Missouri, August 2014 shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager. Despite the spike in concern, race relations was still near the bottom of the list with only 28 percent of Americans expressing concern.

The list also holds some good news. While Americans’ concern about terrorism and race relations increased, much of the recession-era worry over unemployment has dissipated. The percentage of Americans worried about unemployment fell substantially from 49 percent in 2014 to 37 percent this year. Furthermore, Gallup says that figure has not been this low since before the start of the economic recession.

Of the topics on the list, Americans are least concerned about climate change. Race relations and the availability of affordable energy fill out the rest of the bottom three. Gallup attributes this shift in worry to “amped up” conversations on racism and police brutality in some communities, combined with economic growth and lower gas prices.

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POLL: The Top 15 Issues That Have Americans Worried

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The percentage of Americans who worry “a great deal” about the possibility of a terrorist attack has climbed by 12 percentage points since 2014, and has now reached 51 percent, according to a new Gallup Poll released this week.

Gallup says events like the rise of the militant group ISIS and the terrorist attack that killed several employees of a French satirical newspaper in Paris are likely responsible for the rise in concern.

Worries over the economy and the availability and affordability of health care top the list of Americans’ worries, each causing “a great deal” of concern for more than 50 percent of Americans.

Topics that worry Americans a great deal:

  • 54% – The availability and affordability of healthcare
  • 53% – The economy
  • 51% – The possibility of future terrorist attacks in the U.S.
  • 46% – The Social Security system
  • 46% – The size and power of the federal government
  • 46% – The way income and wealth are distributed in the U.S.
  • 43% – Hunger and homelessness
  • 43% – Crime and violence
  • 39% – Illegal immigration
  • 38% – Drug use
  • 37% – Unemployment
  • 34% – The quality of the environment
  • 28% – The availability and affordability of energy
  • 28% – Race relations
  • 25% – Climate change

The uptick of 11 percentage points in Americans’ concern over race relations is likely due to the controversy surrounding the Ferguson, Missouri, August 2014 shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager. Despite the spike in concern, race relations was still near the bottom of the list with only 28 percent of Americans expressing concern.

The list also holds some good news. While Americans’ concern about terrorism and race relations increased, much of the recession-era worry over unemployment has dissipated. The percentage of Americans worried about unemployment fell substantially from 49 percent in 2014 to 37 percent this year. Furthermore, Gallup says that figure has not been this low since before the start of the economic recession.

Of the topics on the list, Americans are least concerned about climate change. Race relations and the availability of affordable energy fill out the rest of the bottom three. Gallup attributes this shift in worry to “amped up” conversations on racism and police brutality in some communities, combined with economic growth and lower gas prices.

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FBI Now Probing Outgoing Rep. Aaron Schock

US Congress(SPRINGFIELD, Ill.) — The FBI office in Illinois’ state capital has opened a criminal investigation aimed at Rep. Aaron Schock.

Federal prosecutors in Springfield are assisting with the probe, which is looking at whether certain actions by the outgoing congressman violated federal law.

Even Schock’s father has acknowledged his son’s ethics troubles might lead to time behind bars.

“[It] all depends on what the Department of Justice wants to do,” Richard Schock told Chicago’s ABC affiliate WLS-TV on Wednesday. “Two years from now he will be successful if he’s not in jail.”

Nevertheless, a decade from now, “whatever he’s doing, he will be successful at. I promise you that,” Richard Schock insisted.

The congressman’s father also said the four-term lawmaker, 33, has been unfairly targeted.

Once Schock’s resignation officially takes effect on March 31, at least one pending House ethics investigation will end.

Before any of the drama over decorating his office to resemble the set of the popular show Downton Abbey, Schock was already under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for allegedly soliciting contributions for an independent expenditure-only political committee in excess of $5,000 per donor, in violation of federal law, House rules and standards of conduct. That investigation will end March 31 with the end of Schock’s service in Congress.

The Office of Congressional Ethics was also reportedly beginning its own probe into Schock’s expenditures. That probe will also end on the 31st, as OCE doesn’t have jurisdiction over former members of Congress.

Schock has repaid all money he’s received during his congressional career in the hopes of getting ahead of any potential legal ramifications after allegedly bilking the Treasury out of tens of thousands of dollars by overstating mileage on his official auto trips.

“In an effort to remove any questions and out of an abundance of caution, Congressman Schock has reimbursed all monies received for official mileage since his election to Congress,” a Schock aide wrote in an email.

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ATF Director B. Todd Jones Stepping Down After Nearly Four Years on Job

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) — The man brought in to repair one of the nation’s top law enforcement agencies after it was scarred by a gun-running scandal is stepping down, ABC News has learned.

Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives director B. Todd Jones has informed Attorney General Eric Holder he plans to resign. Jones has secured a new job in the private sector in New York City, and may be joining a professional sports league, ABC News was told.

Jones first took charge of the agency in August 2011, holding the position in an “acting” capacity until the U.S. Senate confirmed his presidential nomination nearly two years later. ATF had been without a Senate-confirmed leader for seven years.

During that time, the ATF and the Justice Department more broadly were blindsided by the “Fast and Furious” scandal, named for the ATF-led investigation in Arizona that put guns into the hands of criminals in Mexico, two of which ended up at the murder scene of a U.S. Border Patrol agent in late 2010.

In the wake of the scandal, President Obama then tapped Jones to chart a new course for the ATF. At the time, Jones was serving double-duty, holding onto his position as U.S. attorney — the Justice Department’s top prosecutor — in Minnesota.

Once confirmed, though, Jones left the U.S. attorney’s office, devoting his full attention to what ATF’s website says is “the unique law enforcement agency within the U.S. Department of Justice with the responsibility for enforcing firearms and explosives laws that protect communities from violent criminals and criminal organizations.”

Last month, however, controversy simmered across the country again when the ATF proposed banning certain.223-caliber bullets, which the ATF warned can break through a supposedly bullet-proof vest. Nevertheless, the public outcry and pressure from lawmakers prompted ATF to abandon its plans.

Before becoming U.S. Attorney in Minnesota at the start of the Obama administration, Jones was a partner with a major national law firm in Minneapolis, according to his official biography on ATF’s website.

After receiving his law degree from the University of Minnesota in 1983, he went on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving as an infantry officer with the First Marine Division and, subsequently, both a trial defense counsel and prosecutor in a number of court martial proceedings, his official biography says. Though he left active duty and returned to Minnesota in 1989, he was recalled to active duty in 1991 for Operation Desert Storm, stationed at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

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Scott Walker Stumps in South Carolina

ABC News(COLUMBIA, S.C.) — Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker continued his presumed quest to seek the 2016 Republican presidential nomination by making several appearances in South Carolina Thursday where voters go to the polls next February for the first southern primary.

The governor, who has won three elections in four years, including an effort to recall him, has positioned himself as a Washington outsider with broad appeal to both Republican establishment-types and social conservatives.

Walker is particularly attractive to GOP voters in South Carolina for his strong stance on national defense, opposition to unions and religious roots as the son of a Baptist preacher.

His only drawback at this point is being unable to match the fund-raising ability of probable frontrunner Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor who still hasn’t formally declared his intention to run for the White House.

Seeking to set aside doubts that he can’t keep up with Bush, Walker told one gathering that South Carolina Republicans were among his “almost 300,000 donors in the past four years” from all 50 states.

“Only Mitt Romney has more donors on the Republican side than that, and obviously he’s a former nominee,” Walker added.

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NCAA March Madness 2015: Possible 2016 Presidential Candidates Join Our NCAA Bracket Pool

Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — When in the course of human events a person, who is considering a 2016 presidential campaign, watches the NCAA basketball tournament, it becomes necessary for that person to participate in a joint ABC News/ESPN bracket pool.

Well, “necessary” might be pushing it, but 14 of the potential 2016 presidential candidates have done just that.

In partnership with our sister network ESPN, ABC News reached out to every major politician who’s said he or she is looking at a run for the White House. The result: Our official NCAA bracket pool for possible 2016 aspirants, live and viewable at ESPN.com–in the same format we and everyone else uses for ESPN bracket pools with our friends.

See the ABC/ESPN 2016 Potential Candidates’ Pool here after games tip off.

In this pool, the stakes could be presidential. See below who picked whom, and what it might mean for the future of the White House and the country.

JEB BUSH — VIRGINIA

The GOP’s 2016 front-runner shied away from the NCAA front-runner, Kentucky, and picked the University of Virginia to upset the Wildcats and win it all. Through the most jaded political lens, it could be considered a play for Virginia’s coveted swing-state votes in the general election — but we know the former governor isn’t looking that far ahead just yet. Losing Iowa State, who Bush had going to the Elite Eight, was a difficult way to start the tournament, though.

Filled out my bracket last night. Picking @UVAMensHoops to win it all! In SC today if you want to lodge complaints… pic.twitter.com/lKKDdH1RJL

— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) March 17, 2015

BOBBY JINDAL — LOUISIANA STATE
Standing by his home state until the end, the Louisiana governor picked LSU to advance as a nine-seed and win it all over Kentucky. The nationally known governor threw a potential bone to Iowa voters, picking Northern Iowa to upset Louisville in the second round. Jindal also had Iowa State in his Elite Eight.

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s NCAA bracket: LSU all the way pic.twitter.com/K6znEBUcR3

— Chris Good (@c_good) March 19, 2015

LINDSEY GRAHAM — KENTUCKY
Staying true to his Southern roots, the South Carolina senator sent two teams from his neighboring state, North Carolina, and two teams from Kentucky to the Final Four. In the end he put all his faith in the state of Kentucky — home of a potential 2016 rival and fellow senator, Rand Paul — and had Kentucky and Louisville playing for the title, with Kentucky winning it all. Graham is also the third possible candidate to suffer the loss of Iowa State.

.@LindseyGrahamSC‘s favoring 2 states in the NCAA Tournament, w/ 2 Kentucky teams & 2 NC teams in his #FinalFour pic.twitter.com/lB3AttO2LL

— A.J. Feather (@AJFeather) March 19, 2015

SCOTT WALKER — WISCONSIN
Unsurprisingly, Gov. Walker chose his home-state team to win the tournament. But he also stayed true to the Midwest by putting the Iowa State Cyclones in his Final Four. That decision turned out to haunt him when the Cyclones were upset on Thursday.

MARTIN O’MALLEY — MARYLAND
Staying true to his state, the former Democratic governor of Maryland — and the lone Democrat participating in our bracket challenge — Martin O’Malley picked the Maryland Terrapins to win it all. He matched Walker in disappointment, though, with the loss of a Final Four team in Iowa State.

@GovernorOMalley staying true to his state roots, picks @umterps to win it all. #MarchMadness #MarchMadnessBracket pic.twitter.com/aSOFQrGIgw

— Veronica Strac (@VeronicaStrac) March 19, 2015

BEN CARSON — KENTUCKY
The neurosurgeon played it safe and showed a steady hand in sticking with top-seeded picks to make it to the Final Four. The potential Republican candidate is going with the heavily favored Kentucky Wildcats as his champion.

CARLY FIORINA — VIRGINIA
The one-time Senate candidate and former Hewlett-Packard CEO put her numbers game to the test with carefully calculated picks. Baylor is the lowest seed she sent to the Final Four, with UVA winning it all.

TED CRUZ — KENTUCKY
Although the Texan senator tweeted out a congratulations to all the Texas teams that made the tournament, Cruz opted out of picking any of his home-state teams to reach the Final Four. That turned out to be a good call, as the University of Texas, Baylor University, Southern Methodist University and Texas Southern all lost on day one. Cruz also sided with sports analysts and picked the undefeated Wildcats as the winner.

JOHN BOLTON — KENTUCKY
The former U.N. ambassador puts his geopolitical pragmatism to use in this bracket that includes three one seeds and a two seed in the Final Four. A Yale alum, Bolton picked his alma mater’s rival, Harvard, to win its first-round game.

JIM GILMORE — VIRGINIA
The former Virginia governor picks a homer bracket, with his home state’s UVA team going all the way. Gilmore, however, made the popular — but ill-fated — selection of putting Iowa State in the Final Four.

Virginia Gov. @GovernorGilmore picks his home state’s team UVA for the win: #marchmadness pic.twitter.com/JBkzt4dRLN

— Stacy Chen (@stacyytchen) March 19, 2015

RICK SANTORUM — WISCONSIN
The former senator and onetime GOP presidential runner-up played it safe, carefully picking the higher seeds in most games. However, like other possible 2016 hopefuls, he appeared to be favoring Iowa — whose caucuses he won in 2012 — putting the Iowa State Cyclones in the Final Four. He also made sure to represent Pennsylvania, with Villanova also reaching the semifinal round.

BOB EHRLICH — KENTUCKY
The former Maryland governor stuck with the front-runner in this field, picking the Wildcats over Duke in the title game. Ehrlich might be an early underdog to the 2016 front-runners if he enters the race, and he chose some upsets in the tournament this year, with UCLA and Davidson both advancing.

GEORGE PATAKI — KENTUCKY
In what could be construed as a naked play for support from Iowa caucusgoers, or a massive error in judgement, the former New York governor had Iowa State reaching the title game, before the overwhelming odds prevail with a Kentucky victory in Gov. Pataki’s bracket.

MIKE HUCKABEE — ARKANSAS
Last, but certainly not least, the 12-seed darling of the 2008 presidential race declined to submit an actual, pool-worthy bracket, but he shows out for his home state of Arkansas with what might be the biggest homer NCAA bracket ever tweeted.

Just filled out my bracket for the NCAA tournament. Pretty sure I nailed it. #gohogsgo #woopigsooie pic.twitter.com/vUE5cZ2qgx

— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) March 17, 2015

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Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy Insists No Crash at White House, No Videos ‘Erased’

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The new chief of the Secret Service Thursday insisted recent reports of a “crash” at the White House by potentially intoxicated agents driving a government vehicle “are inaccurate,” and he pushed back on any suggestion that his agency deliberately “erased” surveillance video showing the incident.

“There was no crash,” Director Joseph Clancy told a Senate panel during his second appearance before lawmakers this week. “There was no damage to the vehicle.”

Indeed, the video of the March 4 incident he has reviewed shows the vehicle driving at a speed of about two mph before “pushing aside a plastic barrel” standing outside of a White House checkpoint, according to Clancy. Earlier this week, he said the barrel was “nudged” by the government vehicle but did not fall over.

With several cameras in the area of the White House, video from certain angles of the incident were lost because, “by practice,” the cameras tape over their content every 72 hours, Clancy said. Nothing was deliberately “erased,” he added.

Nevertheless, he said he has instructed his staff to contact the manufacturer of the cameras to see whether the company that built them can help retrieve the lost video.

“We understand it’s a concern,” he said. “We’re doing everything we can to retrieve those images and be as transparent as we can be.”

Clancy also said “there’s no question” the practice of taping over surveillance video every 72 hours needs to change. He said the practice began before he became director, and it has been based on privacy concerns that extended archives of surveillance video could amount to “databases” of those visiting the White House or walking the streets around it.

Speaking before a House panel Tuesday, Clancy acknowledged that how he handles this controversy is a “first test” for him as he tries to chart a new course for the Secret Service. Clancy reiterated frustration that it took his personnel five days to inform him of the allegations that two senior-level Secret Service agents were “inebriated” and crashed into the White House grounds.

That delay “is unacceptable” and “puzzles me, but it’s not going to happen again,” according to Clancy. He said he held a senior-staff meeting to “ma[k]e clear” that he needs to be promptly notified about such allegations, and he promised lawmakers that any Secret Service employee found to have concealed information “will be held accountable.”

“Our mission is too important for this to happen,” he said. “It undermines my leadership, and I won’t stand for it.”

The agents driving the government vehicle, Mark Connolly and George Ogilvie, have been reassigned while the investigation is pending, according to the Secret Service. No one has been charged, and no police reports were filed about the incident, which took place at the southeast entrance to the White House complex at 15th Street and E Street in downtown Washington.

While Clancy has often dismissed suggestions that a culture within the Secret Service has led to so many alcohol-related controversies in recent years, he acknowledged earlier this week that “there is an element” within Secret Service ranks that copes with the stresses of the job by drinking alcohol.

Lawmakers told ABC News the two agents had been at a retirement party before driving to the White House to retrieve another vehicle.

“When they got to the entrance of the White House, they apparently flashed their badges or whatever, and it was obvious that…to the guards that were there, that they may have been a bit impaired,” Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, told ABC News.

The vehicle then drove through an active crime scene set up after a woman left behind what was considered a suspicious package, according to accounts by Cummings and Clancy. The video Clancy has reviewed was saved because of the probe into the suspicious package, not because it related to the subsequent and separate allegations of employee misconduct, Clancy said.

Clancy emphasized Thursday it’s a violation of agency policy for any Secret Service employee to drive through an active crime scene, and information about the incident should have been sent up the chain of command.

Clancy also insisted it’s still unclear whether the agents were intoxicated, saying it’s a question that will be answered by the Department of Homeland Security Committee’s Inspector General, which is now investigating the matter.

“They are still allegations,” Clancy said of reports the agents were impaired by alcohol.

Nevertheless, when uniformed officers confronted the agents, a supervisor ordered them to let the agents go without charge, government sources said. The supervisor is still on the job, House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, told ABC News. Unlike the agents in the car, the supervisor has not been reassigned. pending the investigation.

In an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Pierre Thomas three weeks ago, Clancy vowed to chart a new course for the Secret Service.

“We have not received an unfair rap,” he conceded. “I think when you fail, and we have failed, we own it. Now, it’s up to us to correct it.”

In September, a man with a small knife in his pocket jumped the White House’s perimeter fence and made it deep inside the presidential building. That came more than two years after the Secret Service was shaken by the 2012 prostitution scandal out of Cartagena, Colombia.

At the time those scandals and others unfolded, Clancy was the head of security for Comcast, having left the government in 2011 after 27 years with the Secret Service. Clancy was “shocked” by what happened, he said.

Then, last month, a small drone flew over the fence and crashed on the White House grounds – prompting a predawn security scare. President Obama was in India at the time, and although the incident turned out to be a recreational flight gone awry, Clancy said he’s “certainly concerned” about the threat a drone like that could pose.

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Why Hillary Clinton Thinks America Has a ‘Fun Deficit’

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Hillary Clinton appears ready to embark on one of the most rigorous and time-consuming political journeys — the presidential campaign trail — so her message to Americans Thursday was unexpected: Take a break and have more fun.

“There’s a huge fun deficit in America,” Clinton said during remarks at the American Camp Association conference in Atlantic City. “We really need camps for adults.”

With a wink and a nudge to Congress, Clinton made the case that if more adults — and perhaps politicians — had more fun, more people would get along.

“The red cabin and the blue cabin have to come together and actually listen to each other,” Clinton joked to the crowd of roughly 3,000 summer camp professionals.

The event also included a rocket round of questions for Clinton:

What’s the historic figure you most identify with? “Eleanor Roosevelt”

Who is a mentor of yours? “Marian Wright Edelman…founder of the Children Defense Fund.”

If you were not a political figure or lawyer, what would you have liked to have been? “A teacher.”

What’s the most important thing you learned from your father? “Discipline…a sense of getting up every day ..and doing the best you can.”

What do you like to read? “I love to read good mysteries…especially mysteries written by women. I like to read American history.”

Do you watch Homeland? “I have. I’m little behind to be honest.”

How about House of Cards? “Yes…we binge watch. But we haven’t yet watched the third season….Great acting, unrealistic stories.”

What is the most important character trait? “Love and kindness.”

Words you live by? “I really try to start every day and end every day practicing the ‘discipline of gratitude.'”

Clinton, who has been steadily staffing up and seeking counsel ahead of her expected run for president, also noted that she’s recently been reading about founders of the United States, including the George Washington administration.

The Atlantic City event — a paid speech, which included prepared remarks followed by a question-and-answer session moderated by Jay Jacobs, a Democratic National Committee member and camp owner — also marked the end of an era for Clinton, who has been on the paid speaking circuit since leaving the State Department. This was her last scheduled paid gig ahead of when she is expected to announce her candidacy early next month.

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See Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Stone-Faced Selfie

Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) — Justice Ginsburg dissents…from smiling.

Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi snapped a selfie with the ladies of the Supreme Court at her annual Women’s History Month reception Wednesday, but not even a sappy Instagram filter could soften the Notorious R.B.G.

While Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan smiled obligingly, 82-year-old Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg – known on social media as “Notorious R.B.G.” – remained remarkably stone-faced.

Celebrating #WomensHistoryMonth by honoring women of “Supreme” achievements! #WomenSucceed pic.twitter.com/X7y9vRUu5p

— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) March 18, 2015

Considering R.B.G. is an O.G. (that’s original gangster, for all you non-’90s rap fans), it’s perhaps not surprising that she’d “mean-mug” in a selfie.

While the group photo, taken in Pelosi’s office on Capitol Hill, may not break the Internet, the “Supreme selfie” is generating some buzz in part from Ginsburg’s stoic expression.

Ginsburg, Sotomayor, Kagan and retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor are the only female justices in U.S. history.

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Boehner Reiterates Call for Hillary Clinton to Turn over Email Server

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday repeated his call for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to turn over her private email server.

“Secretary Clinton must hand over her email server to an independent third party arbiter,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said.

Doing so, he said earlier this week, is “the fairest way” to ensure all public documents are turned over, particularly in regard to the deadly terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11, 2012.

“We need the secretary to do the right thing here so that we can get to the facts about what happened before, during and after an attack on our people,” the House speaker said Thursday.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Boehner and other Republicans’ request for Clinton to turn over her emails to a third party is a waste of taxpayer money.

“I think it’s a mistake for those committees to continue a political investigation of Hillary Clinton,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said.

Pelosi said Congress’ concern about Clinton isn’t really about emails — it’s all about politics.

“I think we’re gonna just see the ongoing attempt to investigate Hillary Clinton, whatever the subject, whether it’s her emails or it’s her hair or whatever it happens to be,” she said.

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