In his Hot Dish morning newsletter yesterday Star Tribune reporter Patrick Coolican declared that he had achieved “Some clarity on Ilhan Omar.” I declare that the story is about as clear as mud.
KARE 11’s John Croman reported a short segment on the story last night (video below). I believe he obtained a statement from an informal volunteer on behalf of the Omar campaign, but nothing from the campaign directly. The statement reported by Croman in his segment is more of the same unresponsive claptrap to which we have grown accustomed.
When I spoke to him in the early afternoon yesterday, Croman told me that Ben Goldfarb — the new spokesman who had talked to Coolican on behalf of the campaign — had not returned his call seeking comment. The campaign seems unwilling to close the gaping holes in the story as reported by Coolican (and KMSP 9’s Tom Lyden).
What is going on here? Tom Lyden noted the unanswered questions that plague the story when he reported it for KMSP 9 on Monday. He has shared the Democratic response to his story with his followers on Twitter (below).
I love this threat from the Pres. of the Young DFL. Petulance at its finest. pic.twitter.com/PRTPhvFOWk
— Tom Lyden (@LydenFOX9) August 16, 2016
On Friday I received the campaign’s response to my inquiries from Minneapolis criminal defense attorney Jean Brandl. Brandl instructed me to communicate with her if I had further questions so that she could have a “record” of them. I think that was supposed to scare me.
Yesterday I followed up with Brandl:
Dear Ms. Brandl: I am confused by the limited information the campaign has released to KMSP 9 and the Star Tribune. I do have a few follow-up questions. I would appreciate your forwarding them to whoever is responding on behalf of Ilhan Omar.
1. Is the Ahmed Aden named on the 2002 marriage license the Ahmed Hirsi whom Ms. Omar identifies as her husband and the father of her children on her campaign site? Did Ms. Omar marry Ahmed Aden? Did Ms. Omar live with Ahmed Aden? Who is Ahmed Aden and where is he now?
2. Has Ms. Omar ever married Ahmed Hirsi, the man she identifies as her husband and the father of her children on her campaign site? Is Ahmed Hirsi another name for the man identified as Ahmed Aden on the 2002 marriage license?
3. Does Ilhan Omar have a brother named Ahmed Nur Said Elmi?
4. I understand that Ms. Omar acknowledges Ahmed Nur Said Elmi as her legal husband. Is that correct? Who is the man identified as Ahmed Nur Said Elmi on Ms. Omar’s 2009 marriage license and where is he now? Did Ms. Omar ever live with him? When and where did she live with him?
5. Ms. Omar and Ahmed Hirsi appear to have lived as husband and wife for more than 10 years, since around 2002. Is that correct?
I would appreciate the campaign’s response to these questions by the close of business today.
Thank you for your courtesies and consideration.
I received no response to my inquiries. At least I can be confident they have been “recorded.”
In choosing to leave the story with unanswered questions that Omar could easily answer if she chose to, the Omar campaign has made a calculation. They seem to have made the calculation that they cannot fill the gaping holes in Omar’s story without exposing Omar to some kind of legal jeopardy, but that they can bull their way through the election without more.