The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel shared a story about how an email written by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) in December 2016 has suppressed the latest media frenzy to surround the Trump family.
A Minnesota mining company, Twin Metals Minnesota, “holds two mineral leases on government land outside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.” Strassel explains:
The Interior Department had renewed the leases for decades. But when Twin Metals got serious about a mine, the Obama administration jumped into bed with green activists who ardently opposed it.
In 2014, Interior delayed the renewals, calling for more “study.” In early 2016, the department’s solicitor issued a howler of a legal opinion, granting the government new authority to deny Twin Metals automatic lease renewals. It was an Obama extralegal classic: The opinion ignored precedent, existing rights and regular procedure. In a midnight kiss to green activists, the department officially blocked the leases on Dec. 15, 2016.
In December 2017, Twin Metals applied once again to renew their leases, hoping to get a different answer from Trump administration officials. And indeed they did. “The new Interior principal deputy solicitor found the prior opinion fatally flawed and moved to renew Twin Metals’ leases. The company moved on to an arduous environmental review, and it could still be blocked by the feds or the state. Beyond some furious greens, that should have been the end of the matter.”
In the meantime, Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner rent a home in Washington which is owned by a Chilean billionaire whose family controls Twin Metals. They pay $15,000 a month to the owner, whom they have never met.
Bingo! Discovery of this coincidental connection by the press prompted cries of “Scandal! Payoff! Sleaze!” Strassel says we live “in an age where every move by the executive branch is judged not on the policy merits but on a “corruption” scale.”
The media paid no attention that the Obama administration’s decision was a bow to political correctness and was bound to be overturned.
Democrats and activists have instead spun this as straight-up cronyism. Green groups routinely slam the decision as a favor to “Ivanka’s landlord.” Minnesota’s Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton decried the “shameful reversal” as proof that “big corporate money and special-interest influence now rule again.” House Democrats sent letters to Interior and Agriculture Secretaries David Bernhardt and Sonny Perdue harping on the landlord question. The goal is to gin up a scandal of the type activists used to run out other Trump appointees.
The day after the Obama administration’s decision to block the leases, Sen. Klobuchar sent an email to then-Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack which can be viewed here.
She wrote: (emphasis mine)
I have always believed in what you do…but this just floored me. Trump will reverse this. When you guys leave and are out talking about a job message for rural America, I will be left with the mess and dealing with the actual jobs. But you guys sure got a good story in the New York Times.
It should have been handled through the normal process. It wasn’t. I still don’t have answers to my questions. I asked them in writing in July. I will now ask them of the Trump administration…which is ironic because the most likely reason I did not get answers to my questions is why we have the trump administration to begin with. Who cares about answering some pesky questions from a woman senator from the Midwest when you guys and the White House and the activists have all the politics down, right?
I repeatedly expressed concerns about using this lease denial process after they had had the leases for years…It will now end up in a lawsuit and everyone will raise money off of it and do attack ads based on it on both sides. Somehow Trump will reverse the decision or a court will.
I am not for or against this project but I just wanted a fair process based on science that told us the truth. That is not how this feels.
Klobuchar understands that Vilsack’s decision was political and that it was a mistake. And that the Trump administration wouldn’t bow to the God of political correctness. And that just maybe, many of the foolish decisions made by Obama officials to please one progressive group or another is why Trump was elected.
Great letter Mrs. Klobuchar. Oh, and thanks!