Trump's Nominees & Hirees, contd. III

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Trump's Nominees & Hirees, contd. III

maig 28, 2019, 9:25am

Mrs. McConnell, knowing that infrastructure is a priority:

Elaine Chao still owns shares in stock she promised to divest
John Bowden - 05/28/19

...The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that federal disclosure forms show Chao to be the owner of nearly $400,000 work of stock in Vulcan Materials Co., a major supplier of materials for road pavement and other construction projects, more than a year after she promised to trade the shares for a cash payout. ethics agreement signed in 2017 stating that the exchange would occur in April of 2018...

...Chao has recused herself from all issues related to the company.

Vulcan's spokesman added to the Journal that the shares currently held by Chao were paid to her as part of the company's standard policy for former board members. Chao served on Vulcan's board of directors for two years.

...Walter Shaub, a former director of the Office of Government Ethics...“If you look at her ethics agreement, it provides for a complete disentanglement of her interest from Vulcan Materials, and that’s what was represented to the Senate....For the head of the DOT to have a financial interest in an asphalt company, that is not sending a message to employees of DOT that she is making ethics a priority.”

Editat: juny 3, 2019, 8:54am

Exclusive: Reporting by The New York Times shows how the family of Elaine Chao, transportation secretary and wife of Senator Mitch McConnell, prospered as the family’s shipping company developed deep ties to China’s political and economic elite.

A ‘Bridge’ to China, and Her Family’s Business, in the Trump Cabinet
Michael Forsythe, Eric Lipton, Keith Bradsher and Sui-Lee Wee | June 2, 2019

Elaine Chao has boosted the profile of her family’s shipping company, which benefits from industrial policies in China that are roiling the Trump administration.

Elaine Chao, the transportation secretary, oversees the American maritime industry. Her family’s shipping company, Foremost Group, has deep ties to the Chinese elite.

The email arrived in Washington before dawn. An official at the American Embassy in Beijing was urgently seeking advice from the State Department about an “ethics question.”

“I am writing you because Mission China is in the midst of preparing for a visit from Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao,” the official wrote in October 2017.

Ms. Chao’s office had made a series of unorthodox requests related to her first scheduled visit to China as a Trump cabinet member, according to people with knowledge of the email. Among them: asking federal officials to help coordinate travel arrangements for at least one family member and include relatives in meetings with government officials.

In China, the Chaos are no ordinary family. They run an American shipping company with deep ties to the economic and political elite in China, where most of the company’s business is centered. The trip was abruptly canceled by Ms. Chao after the ethics question was referred to officials in the State and Transportation Departments and, separately, after The New York Times and others made inquiries about her itinerary and companions...


Jason Horowitz @jasondhorowitz | 12:26 AM - 3 Jun 2019 :
This story!
During her confirmation hearing Ms. Chao did not discuss her family’s extensive ties to the Chinese maritime industry, and she did not disclose the Chinese accolades she had received as required by the Senate.
“An oversight,” the Transportation Department said.

juny 11, 2019, 11:32am

Chao's actions impeachable(?), but beneficiary(?) husband controls Senate.

Chao created special path for McConnell’s favored projects
A top Transportation official helped coordinate grant applications by McConnell’s political allies.


The Transportation Department under Secretary Elaine Chao designated a special liaison to help with grant applications and other priorities from her husband Mitch McConnell’s state of Kentucky, paving the way for grants totaling at least $78 million for favored projects as McConnell prepared to campaign for reelection.

Chao’s aide Todd Inman, who stated in an email to McConnell’s Senate office that Chao had personally asked him to serve as an intermediary, helped advise the senator and local Kentucky officials on grants with special significance for McConnell — including a highway-improvement project in a McConnell political stronghold that had been twice rejected for previous grant applications.

Beginning in April 2017, Inman and Chao met annually with a delegation from Owensboro, Ky., a river port with long connections to McConnell, including a plaza named in his honor. At the meetings, according to participants, the secretary and the local officials discussed two projects of special importance to the river city of 59,809 people — a plan to upgrade road connections to a commercial riverport and a proposal to expedite reclassifying a local parkway as an Interstate spur, a move that could persuade private businesses to locate in Owensboro.

Inman, himself a longtime Owensboro resident and onetime mayoral candidate who is now Chao’s chief of staff, followed up the 2017 meeting by emailing the riverport authority on how to improve its application. He also discussed the project by phone with Al Mattingly, the chief executive of Daviess County, which includes Owensboro, who suggested Inman was instrumental in the process...

juny 11, 2019, 11:37am

How does Kushner still have a security clearance??

Conflicts surrounding Jared Kushner "have only grown more distressing with time": Harvard professor
A business owned in part by Kushner reportedly received $90 million in foreign funding from an "offshore vehicle"

Matthew Rozsa | June 10, 2019

A real estate firm owned in part by Jared Kushner reportedly received $90 million in foreign funding from "an opaque offshore vehicle" after the son-in-law of President Donald Trump began working as a senior adviser at the White House.

The company in question, Cadre, has received overseas investments while Kushner "through a vehicle run by Goldman Sachs in the Cayman Islands," according to the Guardian. Although Kushner sold other assets after beginning his employment at the White House, financial disclosures indicate that he maintained his stake in Cadre, which is now worth as much as $50 million.

Because much is unknown about the nature of who has been investing in Cadre, experts have raised concerns that Kushner's interest in the company could interfere with his ability to impartially represent America's best interests in geopolitical situations. During his time in the White House, Kushner has taken a lead on foreign policy initiatives, including a well-publicized attempt to broker peace in the Middle East...

juny 11, 2019, 3:14pm

Ken Cuccinelli and the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998
Steve Vladeck | June 10, 2019

...To make a long story short, the administration has installed former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (who apparently has no meaningful chance of formal Senate confirmation) as acting director of the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). And although the manner in which President Trump pulled this off may not violate the plain letter of the FVRA, it certainly can’t be reconciled with the law’s spirit.

...underscores how poorly drafted the FVRA is—and how easy it is for administrations not as readily subject to conventional political checks to take advantage of its open-endedness. By this logic, nothing would prevent naming anyone, at any time, to run almost any senior agency for as long as the FVRA allows—a minimum of 210 days and perhaps more depending on when a permanent successor is nominated. There are obvious ways to fix the FVRA to prevent this president (or his successors) from similarly bypassing the Senate’s role in cases like these. The problem is finding the bipartisan political willpower in Congress to adopt them.

juny 13, 2019, 4:22pm

Federal watchdog agency recommends removal of Kellyanne Conway from federal office for violating the Hatch Act
Michelle Ye Hee Lee , Lisa Rein and Josh Dawsey | June 13, 2019

The Office of Special Counsel on Thursday recommended the removal of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway from federal office for violating the Hatch Act, which bars federal employees from engaging in political activity in the course of their work.

The report submitted to President Trump found that Conway violated the Hatch Act on numerous occasions by “disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in her official capacity during television interviews and on social media.” The agency described her as a “repeat offender.”

The decision about whether to remove Conway is up to Trump. A senior White House official said Thursday the president is unlikely to punish Conway and instead will defend her. The White House counsel immediately issued a letter calling for the agency to withdraw its recommendation that Conway be removed — a request the Office of Special Counsel declined.

...The Office of Special Counsel is a quasi-judicial independent agency that adjudicates claims of retaliation by whistleblowers and administers the Hatch Act and other civil service rules. It is a separate agency than the office run by now-former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who led the investigation into Russian interference..

juny 18, 2019, 1:40pm

Shanahan drops out of contention to lead Pentagon, as Trump taps Army secretary

President Trump abruptly announced Tuesday that acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan is withdrawing from consideration to lead the Pentagon and he's naming Secretary of the Army Mark Esper as his replacement.

While speculation has brewed for days about Shanahan's status, the announcement came shortly after the publication of an explosive USA Today report that the FBI has been examining a violent domestic dispute from nine years ago between Shanahan and his then-wife as part of his background investigation.

juny 19, 2019, 6:40am

>7 2wonderY: Shanahan

Shanahan drama shocks Capitol Hill, leaving Pentagon rudderless
By Rebecca Kheel - 06/18/19 raises questions anew about how much longer the Pentagon will go without a confirmed leader during a time of turmoil with Iran many lawmakers fear could turn to war.

The announcement left senators angry they had been left in the dark about many of the details from Shanahan’s past even though he had already gone through a confirmation process to be deputy Defense secretary.

“I feel that there was possibly a deliberate concealment here,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “I think there ought to be an investigation by the IG inspector general in the Department of Defense. … There ought to be a complete investigation of that whole process. …This is potentially a violation of criminal law.”

Sen. Jack Reed (R.I.), the top Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, said he was aware during Shanahan’s deputy secretary confirmation of a “contentious divorce,” but that many of Tuesday’s reported details were new.

“The more we know, the better off we are,” Reed said when asked if the committee should have known the rest.

...Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-Okla.) said Tuesday he was “surprised” by the announcement. He was told Shanahan was withdrawing in a call from Trump just before Senate lunches Tuesday afternoon.

...Inhofe has been vocal about the need for a permanent Defense secretary, pushing Trump to nominate Shanahan as the post remained unfilled for the longest period in the Pentagon’s history.

Inhofe reiterated Tuesday that being an acting secretary “lessens your impact” on the world stage, something particularly important right now “with the stuff that’s taking place in Iran.”

Trump, though, insisted the Pentagon would be prepared to take actions to counter Iran, even without a permanent head.

“We are very prepared for Iran, regardless of what goes,” Trump said...

juny 19, 2019, 12:46pm

Nominee to UN...

Craft absent from post for over 300 days, Menendez notes
LAUREN GARDNER | 06/19/2019

U.S. Ambassador to Canada Kelly Craft was absent from her post for more than 300 days during her tenure in Ottawa, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's top Democrat said today during her confirmation hearing to become the American envoy to the U.N....

juny 20, 2019, 9:58am

Watchdog claims Ivanka Trump violated Hatch Act after federal office called for Conway's firing

(Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) CREW said that she has used her government Twitter account to retweet “multiple partisan political posts” since March 2018.

“It has become clear that this rampant abuse of public office is not a problem of ‘one bad apple’ but rather a key feature of the Trump White House,” said CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder.

“By blatantly using her office for politics right after the Office of Special Counsel recommended her colleague be fired for repeatedly acting similarly, Ivanka Trump has basically thumbed her nose at the OSC and the rule of law. Never before have we witnessed this level of illegal politicized behavior, and it must not be allowed to continue.”

Editat: juny 24, 2019, 5:32am

Exclusive: Leaked Trump vetting docs (~100)
Jonathan Swan, Juliet Bartz, Alayna Treene, Orion Rummler | June 23, 2019

...Scott Pruitt..."allegations of coziness with big energy companies."

Tom Price...sections in his dossier flagging "criticisms of management ability" and "Dysfunction And Division Has Haunted Price's Leadership Of The House Budget Committee."

Mick Mulvaney..."red flags," including his assessment that Trump "is not a very good person."

...Rudy Giuliani...a separate 25-page document titled "Rudy Giuliani Business Ties Research Dossier" with copious accounting of his "foreign entanglements."

...Gen. David..."Petraeus Is Opposed to Torture." ...

...In the chaotic weeks after Trump's surprise election victory, Trump fired Chris Christie as the head of his transition. The team that took over — which V.P. Mike Pence helmed — outsourced the political vetting of would-be top officials to the Republican National Committee.

The RNC researchers identified some striking "Red Flags."

...Rex... "Tillerson's Russia ties go deep"

...Laura... "Ingraham said people should wear diapers instead of sharing bathrooms with transgender people."

...Kris Kobach..."white supremacy" as a vulnerability. ..

..."Some Say (Gary) Cohn Has An Abrasive, Curt, And Intimidating Style...He Would Sometimes Hike Up One Leg And Plant His Foot On A Trader's Desk, His Thigh Close To The Employee's Face, And Ask How Markets Were Doing."

...Some of the contenders were strikingly swampy — even by the RNC vetters' standards...

...The documents point to Trump’s willingness to meet with — and sometimes hire — people who had harshly criticized him.

...The RNC vetted some left field contenders....

juny 25, 2019, 6:22pm

"Be Best!"

Trump taps Melania Trump's spokeswoman as next White House press secretary
Kate Bennett | June 25, 2019

...Trump has tweaked the job duties before handing the reins to Grisham, whose purview will include a larger scope of responsibility than that of her predecessor Sarah Sanders, and one as yet unprecedented in this administration. Trump has appointed Grisham both White House director of communications as well as press secretary, a senior White House official tells CNN. Grisham will be assuming the roles formerly held by Bill Shine, who departed as White House communications director in March, and Sanders, who has said her last day will be this Friday.

Additionally, Grisham will remain in charge of communications for the East Wing in addition to her new West Wing responsibilities, staying on as the spokeswoman for the first lady, says the official...

juny 25, 2019, 7:16pm

Blurred lines: Trump’s UN choice and her coal magnate spouse

WASHINGTON (AP) — The email went out from senior Environmental Protection Agency officials to Kelly Craft, the U.S. ambassador to Canada, responding to questions she had about a funding matter.

But the acknowledgment email the EPA got back a few hours later wasn’t from the ambassador. It was from her husband, coal magnate Joseph Craft, a wealthy GOP donor who had been taking part in a months-long press by the coal industry for access and regulatory relief from the EPA and the Trump administration in general.

The blurring of roles — and email accounts — by the Crafts this time and others since she began representing the U.S. is raising questions as senators consider her nomination by President Donald Trump to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. That post would give her a prime seat at international talks to fight climate change, in part by encouraging limits on the burning of coal, with its heat-trapping emissions.

“Thanks!!” the coal baron replied to the December 2017 email from EPA officials, which had been addressed to “Ambassador Craft.” The agency was following up on a briefing she had gotten from then-EPA head Scott Pruitt on federal funding for cleaning up the Great Lakes, an issue of great interest to Canada.

Joseph Craft sent the acknowledgment on his work email for his Tulsa, Oklahoma-based coal company, Alliance Resource Partners LP.

His response ended with the breezy auto-tag from his cellphone: “Sent from my iPhone powered by coal!”

In a statement Monday, the State Department said Joseph Craft had been copied in on the EPA response to his ambassador wife after her Great Lakes discussion with Pruitt because he “had played a role in facilitating the exchange.” The statement did not elaborate, or say why his help was needed arranging a discussion between two government officials. “However, he does not play a role in official U.S. government business,” the State Department said...

jul. 9, 2019, 7:02am

Why Does Alex Acosta Still Have a Job?
The cabinet official’s connection to a shady deal for an alleged child molester.

Michelle Goldberg | Dec. 3, 2018

...It is the perverse good fortune of Alexander Acosta, Donald Trump’s secretary of labor, to be part of an administration so spectacularly corrupt that it's simply impossible to give all its scandals the attention they deserve...

Editat: jul. 11, 2019, 6:51am

Trump Detests Apologetic Men
Charles M. Blow | July 10, 2019

To stay on the president’s good side, you must perfect the art of denial, deflection and discredit.

...Donald Trump urged Acosta to publicly explain actions, or inactions, in the Epstein case

...For Trump, this isn’t about the charges or the children. For him, this is about how men perform denial. In the mind of the misogynist, a man’s word is the weightiest thing in society, even when he’s lying. One’s test of survival and prosperity isn’t what you say, but how you say it. It isn’t what you do, but how you defend or deny it.

Acosta did exactly what his audience of one would like: waffled, deflected and, notably, refused to apologize to the victims in the case and refused to say that he regretted his actions.

In Trump’s orbit you must ape the behavior of the boss: strongly deny and strenuously deflect. And, if possible, personally attack the person making the accusation. That is the Trump way. That is what he has always done.

...In Trump’s world, apologies and punishments are for the weak. They are for losers...


Trump labor secretary who cut Epstein deal plans to slash funds for sex trafficking victims
Ed Pilkington | 10 Jul 2019

...Acosta’s plan to slash funding of a critical federal agency in the fight against the sexual exploitation of children is contained in his financial plans for the Department of Labor for fiscal year 2020. In it, he proposes decimating the resources of a section of his own department known as the International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB).

The bureau’s budget would fall from $68m last year to just $18.5m. The proposed reduction is so drastic that experts say it would effectively kill off many federal efforts to curb sex trafficking and put the lives of large numbers of children at risk.

ILAB has the task of countering human trafficking, child labor and forced labor across the US and around the world. Its mission is “to promote a fair global playing field for workers” and it is seen as a crucial leader in efforts to crack down on the sex trafficking of minors...

jul. 15, 2019, 3:59am

Trump’s Record Of Ethically Tainted Cabinet Departures Rises With Acosta’s Exit
Paul Blumenthal | July 12, 2019

No other U.S. president has lost so many Cabinet members in his first term to ethics issues.

...With Acosta’s announced exit, the total number of ethics-related Cabinet-level departures in the Trump administration has reached five. This is an ignominious record for a president who claimed he would “drain the swamp” in Washington and eliminate corruption. The president has instead run one of the most corrupt administrations in American history with lax oversight, nepotism, self-dealing and the appointment of dozens of lobbyists to oversee the industries they previously worked for...

jul. 15, 2019, 9:02am

Mob bosses don't hobnob with or hire upstanding citizens!

jul. 30, 2019, 5:08pm

John Ratcliffe is the 'least-qualified person ever nominated' for national intelligence director, officials say

...current and former intelligence officials are calling him "the least-qualified person ever nominated to oversee the country’s intelligence agencies," The Washington Post reports...


Brett McGurk @brett_mcgurk | 10:55 AM · Jul 30, 2019
...Congress when creating the DNI after 9/11 unusually specified its qualifications in law.
(50 U.S.C. § 3023) says any nominee “SHALL have EXTENSIVE national security EXPERTISE.” ...

jul. 31, 2019, 2:45pm

Trump’s pick for managing federal lands doesn’t believe the government should have any
Steven Mufson | July 31, 2019

...This week, Trump’s Interior Secretary David Bernhardt signed an order making the Wyoming native William Perry Pendley the acting director of the Bureau of Land Management. Pendley, former president of the Mountain States Legal Foundation, was a senior official in Ronald Reagan’s administration.

The appointment comes as a critical time for the BLM, which manages more than a tenth of the nation’s land and oversees the federal government’s oil, gas and coal leasing program. Two weeks ago, Interior officials announced the department would reassign 84 percent of the bureau’s D.C. staff out West by the end of next year. Only a few dozen employees, including Pendley, would remain in Washington.

After more than two and-a-half years in office, Trump has yet to nominate a permanent director for BLM. By placing Pendley in charge of the agency, Bernhardt has installed a longtime crusader for curtailing the federal government’s control of public lands....

ag. 2, 2019, 4:44pm

#18 contd.

Trump Drops Plans to Nominate John Ratcliffe as Director of National Intelligence
Charlie Savage, Julian E. Barnes and Annie Karni | Aug. 2, 2019

...Mr. Ratcliffe’s qualifications for the job came under a swift and scorching examination almost immediately after Mr. Trump declared that the Texas lawmaker would be his nominee.

Reporters learned that he had embellished his credentials as a former federal prosecutor in East Texas when running for Congress, portraying himself as having deep experience putting terrorists in prison and shaping the Bush administration’s counterterrorism policy. In fact, while he was given the responsibility of coordinating any terrorism matters that arose for his office, there do not appear to have been any significant national security prosecutions in that jurisdiction during Mr. Ratcliffe’s tenure, according to former colleagues.

Mr. Ratcliffe, who also briefly served as an interim United States attorney in between two Senate-confirmed ones in the district, also exaggerated his role in a major, multistate crackdown on the employment of undocumented immigrants by a poultry producer.

Opposition in the White House to letting her serve as acting director has raised the question of whether (Sue Gordon, deputy director, widely respected will be ousted as part of a leadership shuffle at the intelligence director’s office that will be more to Mr. Trump’s liking.

...Administration officials and House Republicans also have said they would like someone at the agency who will work well with Attorney General William P. Barr, who has ordered a review of the intelligence agencies’ support for the F.B.I. as the bureau sought to understand Moscow’s covert efforts to tilt the 2016 election, including any links to the Trump campaign.

...A federal statute says that if the position of director of national intelligence becomes vacant, the deputy director — currently Ms. Gordon — shall serve as acting director.

But there appears to be a loophole: The law gives the White House much more flexibility in choosing who to appoint as the acting deputy if the No. 2 position is vacant, said Robert M. Chesney, a law professor at the University of Texas at Austin who specializes in national-security legal issues.

Ms. Gordon will retire if told by the White House that Mr. Trump wants someone else in the deputy’s role who could then rise to fill the vacancy created when Mr. Coats departs, according to officials.

Ms. Gordon, who has served more than 30 years in intelligence posts at the C.I.A. and other agencies, has not been officially informed by the White House that Mr. Trump intends to name someone else to oversee the intelligence agency until the Senate confirms a new director of national intelligence, officials said.

But the White House requested this week that the office provide a list of senior officials who worked for the agency, according to a senior administration official — a move that was interpreted as another sign that it is looking beyond her for people who could be temporarily installed in the top position...

ag. 3, 2019, 9:48pm

Only a Trumpist wouldn't throw his hands in the air and shout, "Basta!"

Now the Don says,"I depend on the press (you people) to vet my appointees!"

But wait. . .Wasn't it just yesterday that the press was "the enemy of the people"?

Ohhhhhhh, I get it. Of course, Trump doesn't do anything without the approval of America"s greatest enemy.

Makes perfect sense.

Editat: ag. 3, 2019, 11:40pm

Rachel Maddow tweets that by her count this is 35th time a nomination has had to be withdrawn!

ag. 6, 2019, 12:42pm

Steve Bannon, one of the first appointees, shows his values.

Steve Bannon tries to use El Paso shooting to brag about Trump’s economy

Bannon was interviewed on Monday on the The Howie Carr Show. Another former Trump adviser, Corey Lewandowski, was filling in for Carr as guest host of the syndicated radio program.
Bannon then launched into a stunning rant about how Trump was the reason there were so many people at the Walmart when an alleged white supremacist gunman carried out a mass attack on Saturday.

“Let’s talk about this horrible situation in El Paso the other day,” Bannon began. “You know, it was at a Walmart at 10:30 in the morning. That’s part of the Trump economic miracle.”

“What you had is El Paso, which I think is 80% Hispanic Americans, you had citizens over there from Mexico,” he continued. “They’re in the Walmart because the economy’s booming. We have the lowest Hispanic unemployment in this country in, what, 50 years?"

ag. 9, 2019, 3:26am

#20 contd.

Trump Names an Acting Spy Chief as No. 2 Intelligence Official Steps Down
Charlie Savage and Maggie Haberman | Aug. 8, 2019

...Under the law that created the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, if the position of deputy director (Sue Gordon stepped down under pressure) is vacant, Mr. Trump can temporarily install as the acting deputy director any sufficiently senior official in the intelligence community, or anyone else currently serving in a Senate-confirmed position in the broader executive branch.

(Joseph) Maguire, whom the Senate confirmed to lead the National Counterterrorism Center in December, would qualify by either method.

In a statement, (resigning director of national intelligence Dan Coats) praised Ms. Gordon’s three decades of service, while also saying he was “pleased” that Mr. Maguire would serve as the acting director.

...(Senate Intelligence Committee Senator Richard M. Burr, Republican of North Carolina) has suggested that Mr. Trump consider nominating the retired admiral Michael S. Rogers, who ran the National Security Agency and the military’s cybercommand from 2014 to 2018, along with two other prospects...

Pete Hoekstra, the American ambassador to the Netherlands and a former Republican House member from Michigan who led the House Intelligence Committee, is said to be another candidate.

set. 3, 2019, 1:46pm

Close to Scaramucci's record ~

Trump Labor Aide Quits After Anti-Semitic Facebook Posts Surface

Four hours after Bloomberg Law requested comment from the White House and DOL about Leif Olson’s social media post, the department said he has resigned, without elaboration.

Olson, 43, started at the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division Aug. 12 as a senior policy adviser, after being cleared for the job by the White House.

set. 10, 2019, 4:27pm

Poor John Bolton, booted from Lead Warmonger to Has Been. Another casualty of Trump's ego that can't take being contradicted.

Guess this proves that the last of the "working" neocons is just another homozygous dominant Idiot.

set. 10, 2019, 6:42pm

#26--there's this tendency of Trump's that when he gets rid of someone--the next guy he brings in is even worse. In Bolton's case I can't imagine who that wingnut would be because he was really scraping the bottom of the barrel with Bolton who wanted to go to war with practically everybody. Russia, China, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea etc. etc. So what's next? I don't know if Henry Kissinger would work for Trump--if not worse he's at least as bad. Elliott Abrams?

set. 11, 2019, 8:27pm

Put your money on Oliver North! ;^)

set. 12, 2019, 6:00am

#28--yeah, ugh. I don't suppose that North being just as unqualified for that position as Donald is for his would matter at all to Donald? Answering my own question...No--it wouldn't.

set. 12, 2019, 4:50pm

North is the perfect lickspittle, aka yes-man. That is the only job qualification important to Trump, regardless of the position.

set. 18, 2019, 11:00am

National Security Advisor, a diminished position: Robert O'Brian, hostage negotiator (w Sweden?)--
apple polisher, less foreign experience, Pompeo support, not interventionist?

Trump names new national security adviser
Kevin Liptak, Zachary Cohen and Jeremy Diamond | September 18, 2019

..."I am pleased to announce that I will name Robert C. O'Brien, currently serving as the very successful Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs at the State Department, as our new National Security Advisor. I have worked long & hard with Robert. He will do a great job!" Trump tweeted.

"Robert O'Brien said, 'Trump is the greatest hostage negotiator in history.' He happens to be right," Trump said, according to pool reporters. "We are 38-0. 38-0, ask Robert. In fact, I had never heard the term. Robert O'Brien said Donald Trump is the greatest hostage negotiator of all time. 38-0. At the time he said it we were 29-0. We are 38-0."

Trump personally dispatched O'Brien to help free US rapper A$AP Rocky from Swedish prison earlier this year...

O'Brien enjoyed support from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is now the most influential national security voice in the administration.

One senior White House official argued the pick shows that Trump "wants a consensus builder, not a showboater" in the role, suggesting O'Brien will cut a lower profile and work better with others in the administration than John Bolton did.

O'Brien, though, has far less national security or foreign policy experience than past national security advisers — under Trump or otherwise. CNN previously reported that the national security adviser role was expected to be diminished in the wake of Bolton's departure as Trump increasingly relies on his own instincts... his interviews and in interactions over the past days, Trump has sought to gauge whether those vying for the national security post agree with his overarching view that the United States should limit its activities abroad...

set. 18, 2019, 4:20pm

Good riddance

Climate Denialist to Depart White House National Security Council

William Happer, the White House architect of a stalled plan to attack the established science of climate change, is leaving the Trump administration on Friday.

His signature effort at the White House was a plan to establish a panel to question the scientific consensus that climate change is overwhelmingly caused by humans and is a growing threat to national security. The effort was blocked by other senior White House and administration officials, including members of the military and intelligence communities.

Editat: oct. 2, 2019, 9:31am

Richard Engel @RichardEngel (NBC) | 6:58 PM · Oct 1, 2019:

Pompeo, who accuses lawmakers who want answers of bullying, had fits of “anger” while at CIA, former Sr intelligence officials say.
Often, an official said, it would happen if analysis didn’t match the political theme of the day.
Lots of slammed phones + demands for polygraphs.


David Frum @davidfrum | Oct 2, 2019

Pompeo's words here are not literally a lie - the thing he says he has "not seen" is the complaint, not the call summary that inspired the complaint - but they are seriously misleading, and obviously intentionally so.

ABC News ABC | 9:24 AM · Sep 22, 2019:

"You just gave me a report... none of which I've seen," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tells @martharaddatz
when asked about a report that President Trump pressed the President of Ukraine to work with Rudy Giuliani to investigate Joe Biden's son.

ABC News Video 2:20

oct. 6, 2019, 8:11am

Yet another unfit for his office--the former director of the CIA yet!!

John Harwood @JohnJHarwood | 6:37 PM · Oct 5, 2019:
this notion advanced by Pompeo - that maybe we don’t know who interfered in 2016 election - is detached from reality
alarming if he actually believes it, and also if he doesn’t

Pompeo Defends Trump’s Ukraine Conspiracy Theory
Lara Jakes | Oct. 5, 2019

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defiantly insisted on Saturday in Greece that the Trump administration was right to ask Ukrainian officials to investigate claims of election interference in the 2016 American presidential campaign, bolstering a widely debunked conspiracy theory that had already been dismissed by his own diplomatic envoy.

In comments to journalists in Athens, where he was meeting with Greek leaders, Mr. Pompeo said it was the “duty” of the Trump administration to pursue whether efforts to tamper in the United States election were rooted in Ukraine, even though the American intelligence agencies have long concluded Russia was to blame.

...A White House reconstruction of the July 25 call, which Mr. Pompeo listened to as the conversation unfolded, showed that Mr. Trump asked Mr. Zelensky to “do us a favor” and investigate whether people in Ukraine were involved in the stealing of emails from the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, is pushing an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that the Ukrainians framed the Russian government by making it look like a Ukrainian hack of the Democratic committee was the work of Moscow.

In fact, American intelligence officials and prosecutors have cited ample evidence that it was Russia that stole the emails to embarrass Hillary Clinton, Mr. Trump’s Democratic challenger in 2016...

(Cue Russian bot.)

oct. 21, 2019, 10:42am

Mulvaney and Cipollone involved in internal White House feud over chief of staff job
Major Garrett | October 21, 2019

An internal West Wing feud is pitting the top White House lawyer, Pat Cipollone, against President Trump's acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, who has been facing criticism from both inside and outside the administration for recently telling reporters that military aid to Ukraine was withheld in part to advance Mr. Trump's political requests.

...Cipollone and his allies within the administration faulted Mulvaney for the botched effort to enlist former South Carolina Congressman Trey Gowdy to join the president's legal defense team to counter the impeachment inquiry.

Those close to Mulvaney contend Cipollone is a bigger problem, primarily his hard-nosed legal advice — so far accepted by Trump — to ignore the House impeachment inquiry and refuse all cooperation with requests for documents and witnesses...

oct. 27, 2019, 10:47am

Justin Walker, Judge, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky...

Alyssa Milano @Alyssa_Milano | Oct 26, 2019:
Another Trump Court Pick Rated ‘Not Qualified’ To Serve!
* 10 yrs out of law school
* Has never tried a case
* rated Unqualified by ABA
* federalist society member who clerked for Kavanaugh.
* 37 years old, was just given a lifetime federal judgeship

Senate Confirms Another Trump Court Pick Rated ‘Not Qualified’ To Serve
Jennifer Bendery | Oct 24, 2019

Justin Walker, 37, lacks the experience to be a lifetime federal judge, says the American Bar Association. Republicans voted for him anyway.

...Every Republican present voted to put Walker, 37, onto the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. Every Democrat present voted no. The full vote tally is here.

Walker “does not presently have the requisite trial or litigation experience” to be a federal judge, the ABA’s Standing Committee concluded in a July review.

The nonpartisan ABA, which thoroughly reviews each of a president’s judicial nominees, typically requires that someone chosen for a lifetime court seat have at least 12 years of experience practicing law. It’s not an automatic disqualifier, though, if a nominee has other substantial trial or courtroom experience. Walker falls short on both counts....

oct. 29, 2019, 12:22pm

biographical notes: William Brockenbrough Taylor Jr. (born 1947) : the former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine and the Future former-chargé d'Afaires ad interim to Ukraine, a.k.a. Acting-U.S. diplomatic representative to Ukraine.

Soon to be out of a job. William "Hearsay-'Bill'"-Taylor Junior.

Editat: oct. 30, 2019, 2:04pm

Trump judicial pick breaks down in tears at hearing over legal group's attack

Lawrence VanDyke was the subject of a scathing letter from the American Bar Association, sent to committee leadership Tuesday night, which alleged that people they interviewed expressed this concern, and that VanDyke himself "would not say affirmatively that he would be fair to any litigant before him, notably members of the LGBTQ community."

"Mr. VanDyke’s accomplishments are offset by the assessments of interviewees that Mr. VanDyke is arrogant, lazy, an ideologue, and lacking in knowledge of the day-to-day practice including procedural rules," it said, explaining why despite his professional and academic experience, they gave him a "Not Qualified" rating. "There was a theme that the nominee lacks humility, has an 'entitlement' temperament, does not have an open mind, and does not always have a commitment to being candid and truthful."

The ABA did note that VanDyke, a Harvard Law School graduate and former solicitor general for Montana and Nevada, is "clearly smart."

"The time has come, Mr. Chairman," (Mike) Lee (R-Utah) said, "to suspend the unique access that the American Bar Association has, until such time as a thorough investigation and review is undertaken to inquire into how these functions are performed."

Hawley made a similar declaration, urging the White House counsel's office "not to make nominees available any longer to the ABA for these interviews," and that "they should be treated like any other special interest group."

The ABA's letter said the evaluation was based on 60 interviews but did not say who or how many people expressed concerns about VanDyke's LGBTQ views.

nov. 12, 2019, 4:06pm

Senior Trump official embellished résumé, had face on fake Time cover

An NBC News investigation found that Mina Chang, the deputy assistant secretary in the State Department's Bureau of Conflict and Stability Operations, has inflated her educational achievements and exaggerated the scope of her nonprofit's work.

She was being considered for an even bigger government job, one with a budget of more than $1 billion, until Congress started asking questions about her résumé.

Her biography on the State Department website says she is a "graduate" of a program at the Army War College. But the program she attended was a four-day seminar on national security, according to the college.

(it goes on like this)

Editat: nov. 13, 2019, 12:18pm

Apparently, Trump kept Haley completely out of the loop. It
appears that their sidebar conversations and meetings were
merely opportunities for him to humor her and butter her up.
Her assignment required her to be in NYC.

nov. 13, 2019, 12:18pm

Trump has not changed the GOPers who have been singing his
praises over the last few years. He has systematically unleashed
the true hearts, minds and souls of those who have been hiding
behind their public façades for decades.

nov. 13, 2019, 10:53pm

>42 Molly3028:

Agreed. And heading the list is. . .

nov. 18, 2019, 10:30am

Possible pay-to-play scheme for ambassador role in Trump administration uncovered by CBS News
CBS News | November 18, 2019

When Hurricane Dorian ravaged the Bahamas in September, (billionaire Doug) Manchester wanted to help. So the San Diego real estate developer, who prefers the nickname "Papa Doug," loaded up his private jet with supplies and headed for the hard-hit Caribbean country where he owned a home – and hoped to soon be serving as U.S. ambassador.

A Trump supporter, Manchester donated $1 million to Trump's inauguration fund. He was offered the Bahamas post the day after Mr. Trump was sworn in. Manchester said Trump told him, "I should probably be the ambassador to the Bahamas and you should be president."

Then, for two and a half years, Manchester's nomination stalled in the Senate.

His Bahamas relief trip caught the attention of the President. Trump tweeted, "I would also like to thank 'Papa' Doug Manchester, hopefully the next Ambassador to the Bahamas, for the incredible amount of time, money and passion he has spent on helping to bring safety to the Bahamas."

Three days after the tweet, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel hit up Manchester for a ($500,000) donation...

nov. 18, 2019, 4:07pm

He's a real honey.

Trump advisory board member: Women should strive to be “handmaidens,” stay out of the workplace

The Trump campaign recently launched its “Black Voices for Trump” coalition, with President Donald Trump speaking at a rally in Atlanta, GA. The campaign also announced the members of its advisory board, which includes numerous right-wing media personalities such as radio host Herman Cain, Fox Nation hosts Diamond and Silk, and Fox News contributors Deneen Borelli and Alveda King.

The campaign lists the involvement of Clarence Mason Weaver (who usually goes by Mason Weaver in media appearances and also lists his name as Clarence A. Mason on his website), a right-wing author and purported motivational speaker.

nov. 18, 2019, 4:24pm

>40 2wonderY: Mina Chang resigns after "arguing that her academic statements were not misleading and that she did not commission the doctored Time cover."

nov. 26, 2019, 3:52am

Forget the Oval. The real Trump action is in the residence.
NANCY COOK | 11/24/2019

Fixated on impeachment proceedings against him, Trump is increasingly taking his official business to the White House’s executive residence to escape perceived risks of his formal office space.

...The Oval Office is the traditional epicenter of power for American presidents, but a new one is emerging that’s more exclusive, more secluded and more convenient.

President Donald Trump is increasingly morphing the White House residence into a second Oval. It’s become the place where Trump feels most productive, where he avoids meddling by his staff and where he speed-dials his network of confidants, GOP lawmakers and TV pundits...


Rick Wilson @TheRickWilson | 8:15 AM · Nov 25, 2019
We're in Fuhrerbunker territory.

des. 2, 2019, 8:39am

Is Perry the first Trump Cabinet member to leave without a clear scandal? (His Ukrainian entanglement being somewhat unclear at this time)

Perry ends final day as Energy secretary

Perry joined the Energy Department in March of 2017, shortly after Trump's inauguration, despite campaigning for president in 2012 and famously calling for the department to be abolished at the time.

gen. 20, 2020, 1:27pm

Security probe targets Trump's Russia adviser
DEB RIECHMANN | 1/20/2020

WASHINGTON (AP) — A White House adviser on Europe and Russia issues has been placed on administrative leave pending a security-related investigation, two people with knowledge of his exit said Sunday.

Andrew Peek was escorted off the White House compound on Friday, according to one of those familiar with his departure...


Jeff Stein @SpyTalker | 10:12 PM · Jan 19, 2020:

Rumor inside NSC is that Peek
‘had relations with Russian hookers and could not locate his government cell phone,’
insider source tells me.

feb. 6, 2020, 10:38am

Handbag designer & Mar-a-Lago member, now ambassador to South Africa, apparently doesn't need professionals' help--especially professionals who remind her that her efforts to elevate her son to a senior role in the embassy violates State Department rules.

At Embassies Abroad, Trump Envoys Are Quietly Pushing Out Career Diplomats
Robbie Gramer | February 5, 2020

“There’s zero support or pushback from the department for the career people,” said one former U.S. official.

...politically appointed ambassadors are sacking their deputy chiefs of mission—an embassy’s second-in-command post held by foreign service officers—in unusually high numbers...

Along with South Africa, Trump’s envoys in Canada, France, Iceland, Romania, and the United Kingdom have all removed their deputy chiefs of mission, some ambassadors doing so just shortly before or after arriving at their new posts.

Ambassadors have full authority to remove their deputy chief of mission, even without cause, given how important the relationship between an ambassador and his or her deputy is to ensuring the smooth management of an embassy. But the high rate at which it’s happening now reflects how wide the gulf can be between politically appointed ambassadors and the diplomatic corps—an issue laid bare by Trump’s impeachment trial that dragged the State Department into Congressional impeachment investigations. Behind the scenes, some officials fear it is hampering embassies’ abilities to carry out their missions...

feb. 8, 2020, 6:43am

EPA official known for chanting 'lock her up' says his bipartisanship cost him
DEBRA KAHN | 02/06/2020

...Michael Stoker, an agricultural attorney from Santa Barbara who had been serving as regional administrator since May 2018, said he was fired Wednesday morning by associate deputy administrator Doug Benevento and EPA chief of staff Ryan Jackson, whom POLITICO reported last month is planning to take a job with the National Mining Association.

"Five minutes after they hung up on me, they disabled my EPA phone and laptop," he told POLITICO in an interview. "A 64-year-old presidential appointee in an election year does not resign to do nothing," he said. "Everyone knows that, so I'm not going to give you that resignation. I'll give you a resignation if you give me a reason."

EPA's Region 9 covers Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada and the Pacific Islands. The agency under current Administrator Andrew Wheeler as well as previous Administrator Scott Pruitt has sought to revoke California's authority to set stricter-than-federal environmental rules, including greenhouse gas standards for passenger vehicles.

D.C.-based EPA officials appeared to have a falling out with their San Francisco-based Region 9 office last fall after Wheeler told California the state was responsible for water pollution by allowing homelessness to grow in major cities...

feb. 12, 2020, 7:47am

Yes, Trump’s latest Fed pick is that bad. Here’s why.
Catherine Rampell | Feb. 10, 2020

...President Trump’s latest unfit nominee for the Federal Reserve Board, (his economic advisor) Judy Shelton,...confirmation hearing Thursday.

...Trump economic adviser...threatens the Fed’s political independence

...her many opportunistic policy reversals

...her desire to bring back the gold standard.

...She has made clear that she would tattle to (sorry, “coordinate with”) the president about Fed meetings. This would make candid discussion — and, therefore, independent policymaking — impossible.

What’s more, she would almost certainly be viewed as a Fed chair-in-waiting if Trump gets reelected. Trump won’t reappoint Jerome Powell, whom the president regards as an “enemy”; Shelton’s confirmation to the Fed would place her on a glidepath to replace him.

Nine years ago, Senate Republicans blocked a Fed Board candidate nominated by President Barack Obama on the grounds that the candidate was supposedly unqualified — despite the fact that that nominee, Peter Diamond, had a Nobel Prize in economics. Surely these same lawmakers can be at least 1/100th as picky today.

The global economy depends on it.

feb. 12, 2020, 8:01am

Trump withdraws Treasury nomination of former U.S. attorney for D.C. Jessie K. Liu after criticism of her oversight of Mueller prosecutions
Spencer S. Hsu, Josh Dawsey and Devlin Barrett | Feb. 11, 2020

President Trump on Tuesday withdrew the nomination of former U.S. attorney Jessie K. Liu of the District of Columbia to a high-ranking Treasury Department post after being lobbied by critics of her office’s handling of cases, including ones inherited from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III,...

Liu, 47, served more than two years in the politically sensitive post of top federal prosecutor in the nation’s capital and was Trump’s first nominee to the position, serving from September 2017 until Jan. 31.

In the job, Liu oversaw late-stage court proceedings for top Trump aides and Mueller defendants, including Trump’s 2016 deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates and former national security adviser Michael Flynn, as well as the November trial and conviction of longtime Trump political adviser Roger Stone.

...Liu, who had served on his presidential transition team and was a Treasury appointee early in his term, was personally vetted by then-White House counsel Donald McGahn, and met with Trump in the White House before he first named her U.S. attorney.

Late last year, the White House announced plans to promote her, saying on Dec. 10 that Trump intended to nominate her to undersecretary of the Treasury Department for terrorism and financial crimes, to lead the administration’s use of economic sanctions as a national security and foreign policy tool...

feb. 13, 2020, 11:48am


Trump Courts Appearance of Impropriety in Interviewing U.S. Attorney Candidates
Ed Kilgore | Oct. 19, 2017

...In all three cases, he has personally interviewed prospective chief federal prosecutors who could be dealing with cases involving Trump properties or allegations of misdeeds by the 2016 Trump campaign. And in two cases, Trump has connections with the interviewees (e.g., Jessie Liu) or their employers...


INTERIM = no confirmation required

Thursday, January 30, 2020
Attorney General William P. Barr Appoints Timothy Shea Interim U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia


Shea replaced Jessie Liu, who supervised Stone sentencing recommendation, and who had her nomination as undersecretary of Treasury pulled. Out of work?

We Now Have a Perfect Symbol of Trump and Barr’s Badly Damaged DOJ
Barbara McQuade | Feb. 12, 2020

Timothy Shea became the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia last week. On Tuesday, his career ended.

Shea is still technically in office, but his ability to effectively lead the nation’s largest U.S. Attorney’s Office has ceased. That’s because Shea did something unheard of: One day after career prosecutors filed a sentencing memorandum with the court in the Roger Stone case, seeking a sentence that complies with federal guidelines, Shea publicly overruled them by asking the court for a more lenient sentence.

What happened in between? President Donald Trump tweeted his disapproval about the treatment of his friend, calling the initial sentencing recommendation “a horrible and very unfair situation” and stating, “Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice!”

Bowing to political pressure from the president violates the duty of prosecutors to bring impartial justice. Even the appearance that a prosecutor’s office has been swayed by political influence harms its effectiveness by eroding public confidence in its independence. A Department of Justice that favors the friends of those in power is no longer true to its name.

Just last week, Attorney General William Barr named Shea the acting successor to Jessie Liu, whom Trump had appointed to serve as an . Oddly, rather than continuing to serve as U.S. Attorney while awaiting Senate confirmation, Liu was removed from office and replaced with Shea, who had previously served as an adviser to Barr. Shea’s appointment gave Barr a close confidant in the office handling the cases related to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into connections between Russian election interference and the Trump campaign. Former national security adviser Michael Flynn still awaits sentencing. On Tuesday, Trump withdrew Liu’s nomination. Was that more fallout from the conflict in the Stone case, or was that the plan all along?...

feb. 13, 2020, 4:40pm

Christina Wilkie (CNBC) @christinawilkie | 11:53 AM · Feb 13, 2020
McEntee was fired in 2018 after a gambling addiction and alleged financial crimes led to WH revoking his security clearance.
Given this history, 29 yo McEntee is a very, very unusual pick to direct the WH Office of Presidential Personnel, in charge of vetting job applicants.

Quote Tweet
Maggie Haberman @maggieNYT · 5h
MORE in White House staff moves - Johnny McEntee, the aide removed by Kelly over security clearance issues
who recently returned to the West Wing, is expected to take over the office that oversees presidential personnel appointments, per 2 ppl briefed.

Sean Doocey, who had overseen PPO, is moving to the State Department, per additional sources.

McEntee wanted the personnel job, according to several people briefed on the events.
Doocey could have stayed and worked for him, but instead opted to move to State.

Sam Vinograd (CNN) @sam_vinograd · 5h
After an investigation into his finances, McEntee's security clearance was revoked while he was serving as Trump's personal assistant.
He was escorted off of WH grounds.
You still need a security clearance to run the PPO office.

Editat: feb. 22, 2020, 8:37am

An administration official confirms to @VOANews that @RichardGrenell will simultaneously serve as ambassador to #Germany and (acting) director of national intelligence (he's also special envoy for peace negotiations between #Serbia and #Kosovo).
- Steve Herman @W7VOA | 10:23 PM · Feb 19, 2020


Lawfare @lawfareblog | 10:28 PM · Feb 19, 2020:
The president has named Richard Grenell, US Ambassador to Germany, as acting DNI—despite his lack of significant senior intelligence experience.

Last year, Lawfare’s @DavidPriess wrote about the risk inherent in picking a DNI from Trump’s central casting:
The Potential Trouble With Nominating a DNI From Trump’s Central
The nomination-by-tweet of Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe of Texas as director of national intelligence (DNI)
to replace outgoing DNI Dan Coats has drawn rapid and harsh condemnation from many


Lev Parnas Dishes on Kushner, Maduro, and Soros
Betsy Swan | Jan. 18, 2020

In an interview from his lawyer's office, the ex-Giuliani ally (Parnas) very weird meeting with the lawyers of an indicted Ukrainian oligarch...Dmytro Firtash

...two of Giuliani’s allies did join Firtash’s legal team. Toensing and diGenova began representing him in the summer of 2019, and Parnas told Maddow that they worked to score political gifts for Trump from the gas magnate. Parnas said they also tried to leverage their Trumpworld connections to help Firtash.

“During the situation that was going on with the Firtash case, Victoria called Ric Grenell because he was the ambassador to Germany and Vienna was in the same orbit there,” Parnas said. “She basically asked him, if he sees any pressure coming from DOJ to extradite Firtash, if he could let us know. She told me he said he would.” Parnas said he didn’t know if Grenell ever shared information regarding Firtash with Toensing...

feb. 20, 2020, 10:37am

Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004:
"Any individual nominated for appointment as Director of National Intelligence shall have extensive national security expertise."
- Warren Bass (WSJ) @warren_bass | 7:30 PM · Feb 19, 2020

(So Trump names Grenell as ACTING Director, not requiring Senate confirmation.)

feb. 21, 2020, 10:32am

Johnny McEntee called in White House liaisons from cabinet agencies for an introductory meeting Thursday,
in which he asked them to identify political appointees across the US government who are believed to be anti-Trump, per 3 sources familiar w meeting.

Scoop: New White House personnel chief tells Cabinet liaisons to target Never Trumpers - Axios
McEntee has told people there will be no more promotions for "Never Trumpers."

- Jonathan Swan @jonathanvswan | 10:08 AM · Feb 21, 2020

Editat: feb. 22, 2020, 8:50am

>56 margd: >57 margd:

YIKES: New @ODNIgov @RichardGrenell probably shouldn't even have a security clearance, because he failed to report lobbying work for a corrupt Moldovan politician who's now a fugitive, @iarnsdorf reports (below).
- Lydia DePillis (Propublica) @lydiadepillis | 4:42 PM · Feb 21, 2020

Trump’s New Spy Chief Used to Work for a Foreign Politician the U.S. Accused of Corruption
Isaac Arnsdorf | Feb. 21, 2020

Richard Grenell did not disclose payments for advocacy work on behalf of a Moldovan politician whom the U.S. later accused of corruption. His own office’s policy says that could leave him vulnerable to blackmail.

feb. 22, 2020, 8:43am

>59 margd: Important to note, as well, how recent the work was - 2016.

Editat: feb. 23, 2020, 8:15am

Trump’s Efforts to Remove the Disloyal Heightens Unease Across His Administration
Peter Baker | Feb. 22, 2020
As senior officials are shown the door, a new personnel chief orders a search for political appointees as well as career officials deemed insufficiently supportive of the president.

..."Trump appears to be launching the biggest assault on the nation’s civil service system since the 1883 Pendleton Act ended the spoils system"....


Ambassador Rick Grenell thinks having an embassy staff reporting on political events in other countries is unnecessary
because "we can get that information off the internet"
1:31 ( )

- Jason Campbell @JasonSCampbell | 6:48 PM · Feb 21, 2020

feb. 24, 2020, 10:40am

>31 margd: contd.

Under O’Brien, N.S.C. Carries Out Trump’s Policy, but Doesn’t Develop It
Michael Crowley and David E. Sanger | Updated Feb. 23, 2020

WASHINGTON — When President Trump’s national security adviser, Robert C. O’Brien, convenes meetings with top National Security Council officials at the White House, he sometimes opens by distributing printouts of Mr. Trump’s latest tweets on the subject at hand.

The gesture amounts to an implicit challenge for those present. Their job is to find ways of justifying, enacting or explaining Mr. Trump’s policy, not to advise the president on what it should be.

That is the reverse of what the National Security Council was created to do at the Cold War’s dawn — to inform and advise the president on national security decisions...

feb. 26, 2020, 11:45am

White House Confirms It's Purging Disloyal Employees 'From the Bowels of the Federal Government'
Administration will "take appropriate action" when officials find workers not sufficiently loyal to Trump, spokesman says.
Eric Katz | February 25, 2020

The White House this week confirmed it is combing through federal agencies to identify employees not sufficiently loyal to President Trump to facilitate their ouster, sparking concerns the administration could run afoul of long-established civil service laws.

The administration is examining employees throughout the government to find anyone taking action officials decide represents an effort to undermine Trump, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said on Fox News Monday. Gidley did not specifically mention career employees, who are statutorily protected against political retaliation, but did note the “millions” of individuals agencies employ. By contrast, there are only about 4,000 political appointees in government....


A new senior leader at the White House personnel office: A college senior

The White House has hired a college senior to be one of the top officials in its powerful Presidential Personnel Office...

James Bacon, 23, is acting as one of the right-hand men to new PPO director John McEntee, according to the officials. Bacon, a senior at George Washington University pursuing a bachelor’s degree, comes from the Department of Transportation, where he briefly worked in the policy shop. Prior to that role, while still taking classes, he worked at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, where he was a White House liaison, according to two other officials. At HUD, he distinguished himself as Secretary Ben Carson’s confidential assistant, according to two other administration officials...

feb. 26, 2020, 4:10pm

After Ric Grenell's appointment as acting DNI,
DNI chief of staff Viraj Mirani and DNI principal executive Andrew Hallman were both told to leave their positions immediately
despite offering to stay on board and help with Grenell’s transition.
- Natasha Bertrand (politico) @NatashaBertrand | 2:21 PM · Feb 26, 2020

Trump tightens his grip on intelligence

After railing for years against the “Deep State” and the “Russia Hoax,” the president is on his way to getting the docile intelligence community he’s always wanted.

feb. 27, 2020, 3:41am

>63 margd: & >64 margd:

Whoo-boy! Your posts sure prove Trump likes him some under-educated! That Grenell is no more than a right wing Twitter troll cut from the same cloth as himself, why. . .Yee-Haww!

America must never forget that Susan Collins was right -- Trump sure has learned his lessons from being impeached: Get revenge, purge non-loyalists, and neuter DNI of actual intelligence.

Or as Susan and her fellow R senators should say, "Due solely to our acquittal, DJT learned how to turn a world leading democracy into an impotent Russian satellite in two weeks."

març 1, 2020, 5:37am

Ratcliffe rebuts criticism over experience for DNI nomination
Tal Axelrod - 02/29/20

...Trump tapped (Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) for the top intelligence role Friday, reviving concerns from Democrats that sunk the Texas Republican’s first nomination for the post last year.

Ratcliffe, a former U.S. attorney who sits on both the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees, is known to be a staunch White House ally.

The Texas lawmaker boosted his profile within the GOP and among Trump’s associates with his questioning of witnesses during former special counsel Robert Mueller's probe and the House’s impeachment investigation.

However, his lack of experience in an intelligence agency alarmed some senators, and his nomination led to renewed criticism that the president was seeking to fill an apolitical vacancy with a partisan ally.

"The last time this nomination was unsuccessfully put forward, serious bipartisan questions were raised about Rep. Ratcliffe’s background and qualifications," Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, tweeted Friday. "It’s hard for me to see how anything new has happened to change that." ...

Editat: març 2, 2020, 7:33am

Judge Says Ken Cuccinelli Was Appointed Unlawfully To Top Immigration Post
James Doubek | March 1, 2020

...In a 55-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss said the administration violated the federal Vacancies Reform Act when it tapped (Ken) Cuccinelli in June 2019 to lead U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency within the Department of Homeland Security that oversees legal immigration into the country.

The ruling invalidated a pair of directives issued by Cuccinelli, an immigration hardliner and the former attorney general of Virginia, that introduced new restrictions on the asylum process.

The first directive shortened the length of time asylum-seekers have to prepare for "credible-fear interviews" with officials from 48 or 72 hours to "one full calendar day from the date of arrival at a detention facility." With the second, Cuccinelli prohibited asylum officers from granting extensions to this new policy "except in the most extraordinary of circumstances."

...The Trump administration is expected to appeal the decision.

...because Cuccinelli did not have the authority to issue the directives, the (Honduran) women's "credible-fear determinations" would be vacated and they would not face expedited removal "until a legally sufficient interview occurs...To be sure, the Court has concluded that the two directives are invalid and must be set aside"...

...It remains unclear what the ruling might mean for Cuccinelli, who still leads USCIS and in November became the second-highest official at the Department of Homeland Security.

Editat: març 3, 2020, 10:27am

Trump loyalist installed in top intelligence post on National Security Council

A White House lawyer and former counsel to the House Intelligence Committee under Devin Nunes has been named senior director for intelligence on the National Security Council, the latest instance of President Donald Trump elevating a trusted loyalist to control the intelligence community.

Michael Ellis, a deputy to White House lawyer John Eisenberg, started in the role on Monday, according to a senior administration official and a former national security official. Ellis left the counsel’s office so won’t be dual-hatted with his new job.

The office of the director for intelligence serves as the day to day connective tissue between the intelligence community and the White House. Sensitive information coming in from the intelligence agencies will go to that office, especially if it is in hard copy form. The office also coordinates covert action activities between the White House and the intelligence community, and it’s where the NSC server is housed that stores the most sensitive classified information.

Ellis has been in the White House counsel’s office since 2017, and was reportedly one of the White House officials who showed Nunes intelligence reports that led to the congressman’s probe into surveillance of the Trump campaign team.

Ellis also featured in the Ukraine scandal...Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman...told lawmakers in October that Ellis and Eisenberg were the ones who decided to move the record of Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky into the NSC’s top-secret codeword system—a server normally used to store highly classified material that only a small group of officials can access.

...The House Intelligence Committee sought Ellis’ testimony in the impeachment probe in November, but Ellis refused to appear for his scheduled deposition...

...job was previously held by a government career professional detailed to the NSC

Editat: març 14, 2020, 1:53pm

So far, with the exception of the outright political hacks, Cuccinelli and Verma, Trump's Cornavirus Task Force is making Herculean efforts to head off the Dodo-in-Chief and the There's-No-Such-Thing-as-Science VEEP who heads the task force from propagandizing the threat of epidemic and the spread of tin foil hat exxperts' maliciously dangerous drivel about it.

Let's see how long Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci hold out against the tsunami of stupidity that are Trump, Pence, and their faithful conspiracy theorists and prayer-crazed base.

Editat: març 7, 2020, 3:04am

Civilian vacancies at Trump’s Pentagon hit new high

The number of high-level civilian vacancies at the Pentagon has hit a new high for the Trump administration as lawmakers raise concerns that the department doesn't have enough qualified people in place to tackle the nation's biggest national security problems.

More than a third of all Senate-confirmed civilian positions at the Department of Defense are now vacant or filled by temporary officials, a peak level for the administration outside of the transition period... Out of 60 senior positions, 21 lack permanent appointees. Thirteen of those positions have no nominee identified, including the slots for comptroller, space policy chief, and the head of international security affairs...

Editat: març 7, 2020, 3:13am

More Friday night news:

Trump replaces Mick Mulvaney with Mark Meadows as chief of staff
Kevin Liptak, Kaitlan Collins, Maegan Vazquez and Caroline Kelly | March 6, 2020

President Donald Trump announced late Friday that he was replacing his acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, with Republican Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, a shake-up in the top echelons of the West Wing just as the President confronts a growing public health crisis and girds for reelection.

Meadows, who had previously announced he was leaving Congress, will become Trump's fourth chief of staff in a little more than three years in office. In a tweet, Trump did not denote him "acting," a designation Mulvaney never graduated from in the turbulent 14 months he spent in the job.

...Trump, who did not immediately offer an explanation for the swap, thanked Mulvaney and said he said would become special envoy for Northern Ireland...Before taking the post previously occupied by Reince Priebus and John Kelly, Mulvaney had lobbied for the Northern Ireland envoy role, people familiar with the matter said. The posting has been vacant since 2017, even as the power-sharing government in Belfast faced a crisis.

...Mulvaney took the chief of staff role after serving as director of the Office of Management and Budget, a role he'd held since the start of the Trump administration. Mulvaney also served as the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from 2017 to 2018.

març 9, 2020, 1:01am

If you believe John Boehner, the Republican former speaker of the House of Representatives, Mark Meadows is “an idiot.”

març 14, 2020, 2:03pm

Trump hires only the best people. Of course, they are only to be found among unemployed college students who have no job experience. In his second such hire this year.
A 22-year-old Iowa State University senior set to graduate in May has been hired for a key position in the Trump administration.

Anthony Labruna is set to start on Monday as a deputy White House liaison at the Department of Commerce, the secretary's office confirmed to The Hill on Friday. -- The Hill

His first was a Purge Prince last month.
. . .the latest indicator of how bereft the Trump administration is of standards and how contemptuous it is of people who might know better with Politico’s report that the White House is hiring a college senior to be what Politico describes as “one of the top officials in its powerful Presidential Personnel Office.” James Bacon, a 23-year-old undergraduate at George Washington University, is being installed as the office’s director of operations and right-hand man to the PPO’s new 29-year-old director, John McEntee. Bacon’s role appears to be to help McEntee carry out a purge of insufficiently loyal Trump appointees. . .

Editat: març 17, 2020, 8:45pm

OPM chief Dale Cabaniss abruptly resigns
DANIEL LIPPMAN | 03/17/2020

Dale Cabaniss, the director of the government’s Office of Personnel Management, resigned abruptly on Tuesday, effective immediately.

Cabaniss stepped down because of what two people familiar with the matter said was poor treatment from the 29-year-old head of the Presidential Personnel Office, John McEntee, and a powerful appointee at OPM, Paul Dans, the new White House liaison and senior adviser to the director of OPM. ((Dans) clearly came with some kind of agenda, upsetting all kinds of apple carts without any basis of knowledge)

...The departure casts a cloud of uncertainty over the federal workforce as it struggles to decide how to handle the coronavirus outbreak, with growing questions about the Trump administration's decision to keep most government offices open and how it is handling remote work.

...OPM is the human resources management policy shop for the federal government’s civil service, and deals with health benefits and retirement, among other issues. Cabaniss is the former Republican staff director of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on financial services and general government and was chairman of the Federal Labor Relations Authority in the Bush administration.

...McEntee's return to the White House has roiled the administration with some officials criticizing the former Trump campaign staffer for what they see as an effort to stock the administration with his friends, including at least three college seniors.

...As some prominent Democrats call for the military to help out more with the response to the coronavirus crisis, John Troup Hemenway has been temporarily hired on a 30-day detail to help the deputy director of the Presidential Personnel Office, Michael Burley, with paperwork for Defense Department political appointees, according to one of the people. Hemenway (in his 20s) is expected to graduate from the University of Virginia in December 2020.

...James Bacon, 23 and a senior at George Washington University, was hired to be one of McEntee’s righthand men as he tries to fill the Trump administration with loyalists and fire anyone who they suspect of disloyalty.

Anthony Labruna, who is expected to graduate from Iowa State University in early May but was dismissed from the Trump campaign in February, was also recently named deputy White House liaison at the Department of Commerce...

març 18, 2020, 6:48am

Biden may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he will
have the best of the best working for him and with him during his

març 18, 2020, 8:14am

DHS faces coronavirus with scores of vacancies and a leadership vacuum
Shannon Pettypiece | March 18, 2020

Roughly two-thirds of top jobs in the department are vacant or filled with acting appointees, more than in any other federal agency...

abr. 16, 2020, 9:35am

Caputo, who moved to Moscow in 1990s, was Putin’s image maker, worked for Gasprom, & is close pals with Stone & Manafort,
spent last year promoting the Kremlin’s 2016 election Ukraine conspiracy and nonsense about Bidens,
in coordination w/ Russian agent Telizhenko. But now...
- Alexandra Chalupa @AlexandraChalup | 8:48 PM · Apr 15, 2020

Secretary Alex Azar @SecAzar · 13h
I’m delighted to have Michael Caputo join our team at @HHSGov
as our Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, especially at this critical time in our nation’s public health history.

Image ( )

abr. 21, 2020, 4:03am

Brett Giroir, Trump’s testing czar, was forced out of a job developing vaccine projects. Now he’s on the hot seat.
Brett Giroir says U.S. needs to test 4.5 million people per month for covid-19
Michael Kranish | April 20, 2020

Brett Giroir, the federal official overseeing coronavirus testing efforts, says that his experience working on vaccine development projects at Texas A&M University helped prepare him for this historic moment. He once said that his vaccine effort was so vital that “the fate of 50 million people will rely on us getting this done.”

But after eight years of work on several vaccine projects, Giroir was told in 2015 he had 30 minutes to resign or he would be fired. His annual performance evaluation at Texas A&M, the local newspaper reported, said he was “more interested in promoting yourself” than the health science center where he worked. He got low marks on being a “team player.”

Now President Trump has given Giroir the crucial task of ending the massive shortfall of tests for the novel coronavirus. Some governors have blasted the lack of federal help on testing, which they say is necessary to enact Trump’s plan for reopening the economy.

That criticism has focused attention on Giroir and whether he can deliver results under pressure. His years as director of the Texas vaccine project illustrate his operating style, which includes sweeping statements about the impact of his work, not all of which turned out as some had hoped...

abr. 24, 2020, 10:47am

>77 margd: Caputo, contd.

New HHS spokesman made racist comments about Chinese people in now-deleted tweets
Andrew Kaczynski, Nathan McDermott and Em Steck | April 23, 2020

...Michael Caputo, a longtime New York Republican political operative who worked on Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, was appointed last week as Assistant

Secretary for Public Affairs at HHS, a prominent communications role at the department which serves a central role in the federal government's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Here are some of Caputo's deleted tweets pertaining to the unfolding health crisis in the United States:

February 28: Caputo tweets, "Bottom line, a lot of Americans have to get sick and die for coronavirus to tank the Trump economy. The Democrats' only hope for 2020 victory is a sunk economy. They're talking it down right now. But their strategy only works if a lot of Americans get sick and die."

March 8: Caputo tweets, "Coronavirus is the Democrats' new Russia, their new Ukraine. And nobody will believe them except their zombies. But know this: The Dems' strategy to defeat @realDonaldTrump requires 100s of thousands of American deaths. Will one of their nutjobs make it happen, a la Hodgkinson?"

March 8: Caputo retweets a tweet from the conservative actor Nick Searcy that read, "Democrats are pulling for the virus to kill a lot of people."

March 8: Caputo tweets a screenshot of a Washington Post story, "How the Trump administration lost control of the coronavirus crisis." "The Get Trump Media has shifted gears again: from the Russia Hoax to the Ukraine hoax to this. REMEMBER: Coronavirus is serious. The media is not."

March 11: Caputo tweets in a chain on testing shortages, "A lot of the panic is orchestrated by soulless Trump critics who seize every crisis as an opportunity to stop him. And fail." Still, Caputo acknowledged that the lack of testing was an issue.

March 11: Caputo tweets, "For the Democrat 2020 victory strategy to work, 100,000+ Americans have to die. For the Democrat 2020 victory strategy to work, you have to believe the media. Media literacy is more vital now than ever. Question everything - smell the BS - start by doubting anonymous sources."
He follows up in a tweet saying, "There must be a national pandemic tragedy for the Democrats to win. They're counting on it now."

March 12: Caputo tweets in response to the baseless conspiracy that the US brought coronavirus to Wuhan that, "Sure, millions of Chinese suck the blood out of rabid bats as an appetizer and eat the ass out of anteaters but some foreigner snuck in a bottle of the good stuff. That's it." He follows up, "Don't you have a bat to eat?" He tweets at another user, "You're very convincing, Wang."

March 13: Caputo tweets that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is an "*asshat."

March 14: Caputo tweets, "100s of thousands must die and the US economy must collapse for the Democrat 2020 victory strategy to succeed. They're getting so excited for the carnage. Sick people."

He follows up, "Of course he has" -- in response to Trump being proactive. "This Democrat strategy, echoed by their conjugal media, will fail. Hoping your country fails and hundreds of thousands die so you can gain power is a sick and twisted strategy. America will punish them."

March 14: Caputo tweets, "Taking down names of progs who pick out of context phrases from Administration statements so they can 'LOL' for resistance cred while Washington deals with a pandemic. These are the biggest assholes. Hugest shitbags. Gargantuan sphincters."

March 15: Caputo tweets a reference to a conspiracy about George Soros, the prominent philanthropist and Democratic donor. "Are you kidding? Soros's political agenda REQUIRES a pandemic." Soros is the subject of numerous anti-Semitic conspiracy theories fueled by extremists and in 2018 a pipe bomb was sent to his home in New York state.

March 15: Caputo tweets at Daniel Goldman, a lawyer for House Democrats during impeachment, "Wow. I started out feeling badly for you. At least now we know the Wuhan Virus doesn't have any lingering effects on douchebags."

Goldman had tested positive for coronavirus and had tweeted, "One final note: I may be the first you know who tested positive, but I won't be the last. Let's take care of each other, listen to the experts and the cities, states and corporations who are taking the lead in the absence of the fed government, and get through this together. END."

March 16: Caputo tweets in response to a tweet noting the Dow Jones Industrial Average had lost all its gains since Trump took office, "The Democrat celebration of the death and destruction will be held soon."

March 17: Caputo tweets, "#ChineseVirus" 20 times in a row. President Trump in March began calling the coronavirus the "Chinese virus."
Trump claimed he did so to counter conspiracy theories from Chinese media and an official that the US brought the coronavirus to Wuhan. Trump claimed he also did so because it was "accurate... it comes from China, that's why." Trump denied that it is a racist term. Critics alleged the President did so to deflect blame from his own administration's preparation failures. Trump subsequently decided to pull back from associating the coronavirus' name with China.

March 17: Caputo tweets, "The Chinese Communist Party has always been adept at lying to cover their murders. What's remarkable here is the US Democrats and their conjugal media repeating CCP propaganda because they hate Trump more than they love America. The Wuhan virus has exposed them."

March 17: Caputo tweets claiming there is "intentional media panic."

"Saying the intentional media panic doesn't exist is dishonest. Saying everything in this crisis transpires because of intentional media panic is also dishonest," writes Caputo.

March 17: Caputo tweets a conspiracy that implies economist David Rothschild is a member of the European Rothschild family calling him, "an inbred elitist sphincter whose family craves control. That's one reason why he constantly lies about President Trump."

Rothschild told CNN he is not related to the banking family, which is frequently the target of anti-Semitic conspiracies.

March 18: Caputo tweets, "Double down on #ChineseVirus. Leftists lost the true meaning of 'racism' long ago. And polls show they've beaten this dead horse so badly that GOP, independent, and soft Dem voters ignore them." He adds, "Nobody should let Democrats and their conjugal media popularize Chinese Communist Party talking points. Democrats + Media = CCP."

March 18: Caputo tweets after a reporter asks Trump why he calls it the "Chinese Virus," "And they wonder why many consider them now the enemy of the people. Carrying water for the Chinese Communist Party is reason enough."

March 20: Caputo tweets at Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut to, "Try to support America until this is over. Even you can do it." Murphy had tweeted complaints about how long it would take to receive the order of facemasks, blaming the Trump administration. Murphy cited a February 5 tweet he sent after a Congressional briefing saying the Trump administration was not taking coronavirus "seriously enough."

March 20: Caputo tweets at another Twitter user, "I know you want millions to die so your addled candidate can stumble into the White House but it looks like you might be disappointed. How sad for you." Caputo had sent a tweet that cited a report from Fox News to claim Washington was flattening the pandemic curve and the Twitter user had asked for a link to the information.

March 20: After President Trump ripped into NBC News reporter Peter Alexander for asking Trump what he had to say to Americans who were scared of the virus, Caputo criticized the media for defending Alexander: "the media is showing their asses to the world again, wringing their hands over a hack reporter's treatment."

When one of Caputo's followers pushed back and said that his question was legitimate, Caputo responded by saying, "Listen to his entire interaction including his first comment/question. Also: this guy has been a dick for awhile."

Alexander began his exchange with Trump by asking whether he was giving Americans "false hope" by promoting unproven coronavirus drugs.

March 20: Caputo tweets in an exchange on Hollywood elite, "They understand the Chinese authorities caused this global crisis, but they hate Pres Trump more than they love America. Anyone who once doubted that now knows its true."

March 21: Caputo sends a tweet that implies MSNBC host Scarborough is committing treason, "300M? That's just foolish. As our nation is in crisis you're working hard to make the situation worse. There's a word for that. Do you know it? It rhymes with sedition." Scarborough tweeted about a lack of testing for 300 million Americans.

Scarborough told CNN in an email, "I'm more interested in what the assistant Secretary does in the future than what he may have tweeted about me in the past. We're facing difficult times ahead and I am hopeful that the president's entire team will simply follow the lead of Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx and keep America's seniors safe."

March 21: Caputo tweets at Gen. Michael Hayden, former CIA and NSA director for George W. Bush, "You are corrupt garbage, Hayden. Spying on Americans is insidious and illegal, but you normalized it. Now you defend China after they unleashed a global pandemic. You can fuck right off. Step aside and let normal Americans do the right thing. Your time is gone."

Hayden had called Richard Grenell, the acting DNI director, an "idiot" after Grenell tweeted, "The one who started the fire should never be praised for acting like a firefighter later" in reference to China's role in the coronavirus pandemic.

Hayden told CNN in an email, "Michael Caputo fits right in to this administration. He is a typical Trump thug. By the way, I never replied to his tweet but this now seems like the appropriate time to point out that he will not be a 'normal American' doing the right thing in any position in this administration."

March 22: Caputo tweets that Democrats are intentionally destroying the economy during the debate over the economic stimulus package after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the House would introduce its own coronavirus bill. "Power. It's the Democrats' oxygen, and they'll destroy Americans for it."

Caputo had said that Democrats have a goal of "massive deaths" and "economic meltdown" to win the November elections, "Now you see: Democrats need massive deaths and economic meltdown to win in November. With this House action, they get closer to their goal and they think they can cover their flank with 'argle bargle corporations get rich!' Normal Americans see this and will punish them."

Caputo follows up, "I'm serious: The Dem strategy for 2020 victory requires that @realDonaldTrump fail in his fight against the Chinese virus.Failure is measured in deaths and economic collapse. The only questions to ask a Dem are how many Americans must die, how many families must be destroyed?"

March 22: Caputo quote tweets a user, adding he is "right you know" to say Democrats hope no treatment for coronavirus works. "They are literally cheering on the deaths of Americans and the destruction of our economy. They would rather see people die than see Trump successfully navigate this disaster," the tweet said.

"How many Americans must die to feed Democrat powerlust? 100K? 1M? More??," Caputo added. "How much economic destruction is the Democrat goal? 100% unemployment?'"

March 23: Caputo tweets with a picture of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during the debate over the economic stimulus package, "The Democrats have one motivation for holding Americans hostage in a global crisis: HATE."

March 27: Caputo retweets a picture of a smiling George Soros with the caption, "The real virus!☠️☠️☠️ behind everything....."

March 28: Caputo tweets. "This is how mentally ill many Trump haters are in this crisis" in reply to a tweet that says Trump supporters will "ignore scientific and medical experts" and "urge millions to die for the glory of capitalism."

March 28: Caputo quote tweets MSNBC's Chris Hayes, who noted no other country on Earth was doing a worse job handling the crisis, with "Who knew @chrislhayes is Chinese?"

March 29: Caputo tweets that Vice President Joe Biden is an "empty puppet" and Ron Klain, the former Ebola czar in the Obama administration, is a "puppeteer" for the "CCP Chinese Communist Party virus", writing, "You don't see it? Let me help you. Biden has degraded into empty puppet. On the CCP virus, Ron Klain is the puppeteer. You knock out Gepetto, Pinocchio can't dance. How does a 'turd' know so much more than you?"

March 31: Caputo retweets a tweet that says "the Left hate normal Americans and they want us dead and replaced. Act as if they mean it, because they do."

April 1: Caputo called Joe Scarborough, MSNBC, and the rest of the media "completely full of sh*t."

He was appointed to his position at HHS just two weeks later.

abr. 29, 2020, 11:16am

Webinar: How federal job vacancies hinder the government’s response to COVID-19
Wednesday, Apr 29, 2020 1:30 PM - 2:15 PM EDT

Vacant positions and high turnover across the federal bureaucracy have been a perpetual problem since President Trump was sworn into office. Upper-level Trump administration officials (“the A Team”) have experienced a turnover rate of 85 percent — much higher than any other administration in the past 40 years. The struggle to recruit and retain qualified candidates for key leadership positions in agencies like the Department of Homeland Security, the National Security Council, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency have resulted in disruptive leadership vacuums that hamper the government’s ability to plan for and react to crises. The consequences are now on full display as the administration struggles to respond to the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the nation.

On April 29, Governance Studies at Brookings will host a webinar to discuss how widespread federal vacancies affect government response and accountability during crises like the coronavirus pandemic.

Viewers can submit questions for panelists by emailing or via Twitter at @BrookingsGov.

maig 2, 2020, 6:53am

Nominees to replace inconvenient HHS Inspector General, ambassador to Ukraine.

Trump Moves to Replace Watchdog Who Identified Critical Medical Shortages
Peter Baker | May 1, 2020

WASHINGTON — President Trump moved on FRIDAY NIGHT (caps margd's) to replace a top official at the Department of Health and Human Services who angered him with a report last month highlighting supply shortages and testing delays at hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic...Christi A. Grimm, the principal deputy inspector general who was publicly assailed by the president at a news briefing three weeks ago.

The nomination was the latest effort by Mr. Trump against watchdog offices around his administration that have defied him. In recent weeks, he fired an inspector general involved in the inquiry that led to the president’s impeachment, nominated a White House aide to another key inspector general post overseeing virus relief spending and moved to block still another inspector general from taking over as chairman of a pandemic spending oversight panel.

...To take over as inspector general, Mr. Trump on Friday night named Jason C. Weida, an assistant United States attorney in Boston. The White House said in its announcement that he had “overseen numerous complex investigations in health care and other sectors.” He must be confirmed by the Senate before assuming the position.

Among several other nominations announced on Friday was the president’s choice for a new ambassador to Ukraine, filling a position last occupied by Marie L. Yovanovitch...Lt. Gen. Keith W. Dayton, a retired 40-year Army officer now serving as the director of the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Germany. Mr. Dayton speaks Russian and served as defense attaché in Moscow. More recently, he served as a senior United States defense adviser in Ukraine appointed by Jim Mattis, Mr. Trump’s first defense secretary.

Editat: maig 2, 2020, 12:11pm

New Press Sec'y, K. McEnany's opening words about her first briefing and ongoing job, "I will never lie to you, you have my word on that.."
New White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany gave her first briefing on Friday, an event she indicated would be one of many going forward. And it went about exactly as well as could be expected.

Which is to say that it was a whirlwind of lies, deception, trumped-up outrage, braggadocio, and deflection.

Here's the first outright lie; it followed a mischaracterization of the prez's tweet to MI gov. about armed "protestors" terrorizing the capitol.
Asked about the accusations of sexual misconduct against Trump, McEnany brushed them off.

The president has swiftly denied all of these allegations that were raised four years ago. He’s always told the truth on these issues,” she said.

maig 5, 2020, 5:01am

Withdrawn earlier, Trump re-instated his nomination of Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe of Texas as Director of National Intelligence, to be reviewed this am by Senate committee.

The Potential Trouble With Nominating a DNI From Trump’s Central Casting
David Priess | July 30, 2019

...John Ratcliffe was chief of anti-terrorism and national security for the Eastern District of Texas for three years; a U.S. attorney for one year; and mayor of the town of Heath, Texas, for eight years. Since joining Congress in 2015, he’s served on the Homeland Security Committee—though not its Counterterrorism and Intelligence Subcommittee. He has been on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence for just more than six months.

...50 U.S.C. § 3026(a)(3) says: “Any individual nominated for appointment as Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence shall have extensive national security experience and management experience.”

...Ratcliffe...has neither a long track record of managing large organizations nor a history of engaging intimately with national-level intelligence.

...Unlike (HW) Bush, he hadn’t been ambassador to the United Nations or de facto ambassador to China. Ratcliffe’s main qualifications for receiving a nomination from Trump seem to be his aggressive defense of the president and his directed questioning of individuals the president doesn’t like....former deputy assistant director of the FBI Counterintelligence Division Peter Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page...former special counsel (Mueller)...(came) up with disparaging nicknames for Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler and Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff...

Ratcliffe, in other words, came right out of central casting for Trump. But he looks quite different when compared to the men and women who have led the nation’s intelligence efforts for more than seven decades. Should his nomination go forward, senators have many valid questions to ask not only about his political tirades but also about how he plans to overcome his relative lack of intelligence exposure and senior management experience.

juny 17, 2020, 8:30am

Michael Pack, a conservative filmmaker and supporter of the president, is set to take over as head of the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM), which oversees the Voice of America.

Top Executives At VOA Resign As Trump Ally Prepares To Take Over

Earlier this month the Senate approved Pack — who is close to Steve Bannon, the former top Trump aide and ex-executive chairman of the right-wing Breitbart News — to lead USAGM on a nearly party-line vote, with only one Democrat joining Republicans to approve the nomination. The vote was delayed because of a still ongoing investigation into whether Pack misused funds at Public Media Lab, a non-profit he ran.

Taxpayer-funded VOA, which began in 1942, provides news and information in more than 40 languages, with an estimated weekly global audience of more than 280 million.

Despite being an agency of the U.S. government, the organization's charter requires VOA to be "accurate, objective and comprehensive" and reflect the nation as a whole. Pack is seen by critics as someone who might push more favorable coverage of the Trump administration at VOA, jeopardizing its editorial independence.

juny 18, 2020, 8:48pm

Retired generals pull support for Trump nominee after offensive tweets uncovered by CNN

Gen. Joseph Votel and Gen. Tony Thomas had both signed a letter of support for retired Army Brig. Gen. Anthony Tata, a frequent guest on Fox News and ardent defender of the President, to become the third highest official at the Pentagon before news of his controversial comments surfaced, according to a draft copy obtained by CNN.

If confirmed by the Senate, Tata would oversee the Defense Department's policy shop, including its national security and defense strategy, nuclear deterrence and missile defense policy, and security cooperation plans and policies.

Several defense officials tell CNN that senior officials at the Pentagon are hopeful that his nomination will be pulled and no confirmation hearing takes place. Officials are banking on Inhofe telling the White House the nomination cannot go forward.

juny 22, 2020, 2:16pm

But no objections to Roger Stone's appearance?

What Fiona Hill Learned in the White House
Adam Entous | June 22, 2020

...After Betsy DeVos, the Education Secretary, was interviewed on “60 Minutes,” Trump complained that she wasn’t attractive enough. When officials were discussing the possibility of a new position for Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Trump said he didn’t like how her cheeks looked. He complained to officials that Kirstjen Nielsen, the Secretary of Homeland Security, wasn’t sufficiently aggressive toward migrants—and she was too short. When Trump insulted a female adviser, the men in the room would look away. “It throws you off your game,” a former female adviser told me. “It deflates you.” Another former White House official, a man, told me that Trump was “rougher with women. He has a problem with women.” It was soon evident that Trump had a problem with Hill. “Forgive me, Fiona’s attractive, but he doesn’t trust women that are kind of non-players in his world,” the former official said...

Trump thought Yellen was too short to be Fed chair. That’s not how any of this works.
Matt O'Brien | Dec. 3, 2018

...Right after he was elected president, Donald Trump declined to hire John Bolton because of his mustache. Trump told confidants that he objected to Bolton’s bushy white mustache, which is sort of a cross between Yosemite Sam and Hitler...

juny 26, 2020, 7:16am

Rep. Katie Porter @RepKatiePorter | 2:50 PM · Jun 25, 2020:

Meet Jay Clayton. He chairs a federal agency to keep Wall Street in check (SEC). He's also the nominee to replace a U.S. Attorney (Berman SDNY) who was fired for investigating the President.

I asked him how he can be independent, in his current or future roles, when he's the President's golf buddy.

0:56 ( )

jul. 7, 2020, 2:29am

Katie Miller, press secretary for Mike Pence, quoted in Jacob Soboroff's new book, Separated:
"DHS sent me to the border to see the separations for myself -- to try to make me more compassionate -- but it didn't work."

- Maddow Blog @MaddowBlog | 10:50 PM · Jul 6, 2020

jul. 7, 2020, 4:20pm

Democratic bill would require dark money judicial groups to reveal donors
Published Thu, 10:02 AM EDTUpdated Thu, Jul 2 202010:57 AM EDT
Brian Schwartz | Jul 2 2020
Key Points

Democratic lawmakers are introducing a bill that would require “dark money” judicial groups to reveal their donors after years of anonymous funding.

The bill would demand that groups which spend $50,000 in a calendar year on advertisements linked to federal judicial nominations release the names of their donors who give over $5,000.

The bill comes after Senate Democrats published a report claiming President Trump’s outside judicial advisor, Leonard Leo, and his vast network have helped rig the nomination process.

...the “Judicial Ads Act”..., co-sponsored by eight other Democratic lawmakers, demands that groups which spend $50,000 in a calendar year on advertisements linked to federal judicial nominations to release the names of their donors who give over $5,000. These organizations have always kept their donors anonymous.

It would also require advertisements connected to judicial confirmations to disclose who is funding the spot and would ban foreign nationals from funding advertisements related to a judicial nomination...

jul. 15, 2020, 11:04pm

Loyalty search

Hundreds of Trump appointees face a pre-election test

White House officials have said that the interviews are a necessary exercise to determine who would be willing to serve in a second term if President Donald Trump is reelected. But officials summoned for the interviews say the exercise is distracting from numerous policy priorities, like working to fight the pandemic, revitalizing the economy or overhauling regulations, and instead reflect the White House’s conviction that a “deep state” is working to undermine the president.

It’s “an exercise in ferreting out people who are perceived as not Trump enough,” said one person briefed on the meetings.

Editat: jul. 16, 2020, 12:14pm

Putin has got to be the happiest camper on the planet. He most
likely made it possible for the most useless excuse for a human
being and administrator in America to become the country's #45.
Trump's voters wonder why their lives turned out the way they
did. Maybe them being batsh*t crazy, like their cult leader, had
something to do with their failures. Also, super-rich dads were
not part of their family trees.

jul. 21, 2020, 5:33pm

In unusual arrangement, deputy HHS secretary’s wife has been lobbying the agency on behalf of health care companies
Nicholas Florko | July 21, 2020

WASHINGTON — Emily Hargan, who is married to Department of Health and Human Services Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan, has been lobbying the agency for roughly one month on behalf of health care clients, including Nostrum Pharmaceuticals, the blood glucose monitor company Smart Meter, and TL Management, which runs a chain of nursing homes...

jul. 22, 2020, 8:08am

“Disturbing And Demoralizing”: DHS Employees Are Worried The Portland Protest Response Is Destroying Their Agency’s Reputation

Hamed Aleaziz | July 21, 2020

“Despite working at DHS, I watch and learn about every day’s new descent into lawlessness and authoritarianism just like the rest of the world,” one employee said. “Being a part of this corrupt regime, even as I play no role in the decision-making process, leaves me disgusted by my employer and saddened for my country.”

“This administration’s utterly transparent fearmongering of sending federal officers out against peaceful protesters in Portland and Chicago has no purpose other than to support Trump’s reelection bid. It is blatantly unconstitutional and an embarrassment to the agency and the career civil servants who work here,” said one employee.

Another DHS employee said they’d never seen anything like what's happening in Portland in their many years at the agency.
“We have a lot of work ahead in terms of repairing the public’s trust,” the employee said.

Another staffer called the deployment “disturbing and demoralizing.”
“Such actions appear to do less to restore law and order than they do to deepen the public’s distrust of DHS,” they said.

“I did not sign up nor was I trained to be a street cop,” said one DHS employee who had not been deployed but had reservations of others being sent there. “Civil societies have immigration laws that need to be enforced, but that does not mean we should be used as this delusional president’s personal attack dog just because we happen to be available.”

Another DHS employee said the way the department was going about the effort “absolutely hurts the reputation of the agency. Most people have no clue what we do, but now they will have this ham-fisted response in their mind as they think about CBP.”

“The events in Portland raise serious questions concerning both the use of DHS law enforcement assets and their conduct,” said one DHS employee. “The DHS OIG should immediately open an inspection and investigation because all accounts suggest the law enforcement surge strays from DHS’s mission and is potentially unlawful.”

“When the current administration and the leadership in DHS insert DHS in the middle of this — to protect statues and to bring ‘order’ to Portland — it is so damaging to the brands of the agencies. It guts public safety,” said John Sandweg, a former senior DHS official in the Obama administration. “It’s devastating what this administration has done.”

ag. 8, 2020, 9:20am

Laurence Tribe tribelaw | 7:16 AM · Aug 8, 2020:

Trump’s Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and
his wife, Aldona Wos, nominated to become our ambassador to Canada,
own between $30 million and $75 million of assets in competitors to the US Postal Service.
No problem there, right?

ag. 11, 2020, 3:25am

A new book just exposed Stephen Miller’s white nationalist strategy and its roots (32:59)
Grant Stern | August 11, 2020

Scott talks with Jean Guererro, who is an investigative journalist for NPR, the PBS Newshour, and the author of Hatemonger: Stephen Miller, Donald Trump, and the White Nationalist Agenda. Jean’s new book explains all, and she took the approach of developing a deep biography of the advisor to understand his motivations which have become ever more influential over time within the White House...

ag. 13, 2020, 1:35am

Financial disclosures reveal postmaster general's business entanglements and likely conflicts of interest, experts say
Marshall Cohen | August 12, 2020

...when he became postmaster general, Louis DeJoy still owned a large equity stake in XPO (a USPS contractor), totaling between $30 million and $75 million. Federal ethics officials recently approved his decision to keep these assets, but outside experts with decades of experience in government are raising red flags.

"The idea that you can be a postmaster general and hold tens of millions in stocks in a postal service contractor is pretty shocking," said Walter Shaub, the former director of the Office of Government Ethics, who resigned in 2017. "It could be that he's planning on selling it, but I don't understand the delay. He has managed to divest a lot of other things. And if he wasn't prepared to sell that off, he shouldn't have taken the job."

Schaub, who is now a senior adviser at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, suggested that if DeJoy doesn't divest his holdings soon, it could be construed as an illegal conflict of interest. Schaub also questioned why the ethics officials approved this arrangement.

It's illegal under federal law for federal government employees or their spouses to have a "financial interest" in companies that intersect with their official duties. The ethics experts who spoke to CNN said DeJoy could have mitigated these conflicts by divesting, agreeing upfront to recuse himself from some matters, receiving legal waivers, or even establishing a blind trust.

...DeJoy's trades in Amazon shares are also facing scrutiny. According to his financial disclosures, DeJoy owned between $100,000 and $250,000 in Amazon stock when he joined the administration.

On June 24, DeJoy divested those shares, but the same day he bought a new financial interest in the company, purchasing between $50,000 and $100,000 in stock options for Amazon. The stock options, which expire on October 16, give DeJoy the right to buy shares of Amazon at a price of $1,960 per share. Shares in Amazon are currently trading at more than $3,100.

"It's another conflict. He's got the option to buy. That means he's gambling that Amazon's value is going to go up," said Marcus Owens, a former top IRS official with decades of experience dealing with federal ethics rules. "Why is he investing in a competitor to the enterprise that he's supposed to be managing? This is a classic case for investigation by an inspector general."

Given the President's repeated criticism of Amazon and its contracts with the Postal Service, those stock trades stuck out to ethics experts. Trump has publicly attacked Amazon and the Washington Post, which is owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. And Trump has privately complained about Washington Post coverage while attacking Amazon, the newspaper reported.

"This is pretty outrageous, to come into government and then buy conflicting (interests)," Shaub said. "He partially eliminated a conflict of interest and then bought a new one on the same day."...

ag. 14, 2020, 4:15am

Jared Kushner:

The Good Son
Franklin Foer | August 13, 2020

...appears to have sufficient analytic acumen to comprehend that the country has been brought to its knees by the coronavirus pandemic. Kushner might not be the brightest public servant in American history—he is a Harvard graduate who is also a leading symbol of college-admissions corruption, and a businessman with a substantial record of failure—but he has shown flashes of effectiveness in his time at the White House. Because he projects a facsimile of capability and because he shows, at irregular intervals, a seemingly genuine interest in governing, he is also an exasperating mystery.

...Why does he enable his father-in-law’s worst impulses?

...In the marriage of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, Kushner is arguably the one with the more domineering father. From an early age, Jared learned how to accumulate influence by faithfully serving the interests of powerful, mercurial men. He grew adept at managing their outbursts, or rather, he learned how to avoid becoming their target. For all the power Kushner has amassed, his ascent required the submission of self and the stifling of principle.

This dangerous admixture of propulsive ambition and boundless self-abasement has now come to afflict the nation. Kushner’s foibles have exacerbated the administration’s disastrous response to its greatest crisis.

White House colleagues say that Kushner genuinely believes he has the capacity to handle any problem assigned to him. Wealthy, polished, and soft-spoken, his self-confidence is no mystery to anyone familiar with a certain type of Ivy League privilege, or with the hereditary rich, who know they possess more than enough capital to protect themselves from life’s material vicissitudes. With the ambiguous yet capacious title of “senior adviser,” Kushner set out, early in the Trump term, to resolve issues that had bedeviled previous administrations of both parties: immigration reform, mass incarceration, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But perhaps none were as complicated or posed so immediate a threat as the responsibility added to his overflowing portfolio this spring.

When Kushner showed up for work on March 11, he was summoned by Mike Pence. The vice president had been designated by Trump to preside over the government’s response to the virus. With the economy on the verge of collapse, his efforts could hardly be characterized as a triumph. Now Pence dumped the problem on Kushner’s desk. As he grasped the magnitude of the challenge before him, Kushner is said to have felt an uncharacteristic jolt of anxiety; he wondered to himself whether he was up to the task. But it was what the president wanted, and he was determined not to let Trump down...

ag. 14, 2020, 12:32pm

Top DHS officials Wolf and Cuccinelli are not legally eligible to serve in their current roles, GAO finds
Erica Werner and Nick Miroff | August 14, 2020

...Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf and his deputy Kenneth Cuccinelli are serving under an invalid order of succession under the Vacancies Reform Act.

The Vacancies Reform Act governs how temporary appointments can be made to positions that require Senate confirmation. President Trump has repeatedly circumvented the Senate confirmation process by placing people in acting positions — including Wolf and Cuccinelli, whose official title is Senior Official Performing the Duties of Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security.

Those two appointments violated the act, GAO said, because of the sequence of events following the resignation of DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in April of last year. The official who assumed the title of acting secretary at that time, Kevin McAleenan, had not been designated in the order of succession, GAO said.

Subsequent personnel moves also were invalid, and Wolf and Cuccinelli “are serving under an invalid order of succession," the agency said.

GAO said it was referring the matter to the DHS inspector general for reviews, and that any further actions would be up to Congress and the IG.

Wolf was a deputy chief of staff in the Trump administration before rising through the ranks, in part because of his repeated public professions of support for Trump and his hard line views on immigration...

ag. 14, 2020, 12:56pm

Keeping Up With the Millers: Stephen Miller and His Wife, Katie, Found Love in a Hateful Place
Trump’s favorite young power couple—after Jared and Ivanka and Don Jr. and Kimberly, that is—have carved out a special place in the administration for their rhetoric and ideology
Evgenia Peretz | Aug 13, 2020

...These may be the Millers’ final days this close to the sun. But for some of his family members, even a Trump defeat won’t end the nightmare. “I personally believe that he should be tried for crimes against humanity,” says Patti Glosser of her young relative. Katie could easily find herself at a place like Fox, a new Irena Briganti. Stephen will likely find a role at a far-right think tank or a Breitbart-like corner of the web. The worry among his relatives is that Stephen has laid the groundwork for longevity. “When he’s in his 60s or 70s or even sooner, we could go through this all over again,” fears Patti. “Will we become a kinder, gentler nation, or will we continue on the path that we are?”

ag. 19, 2020, 10:38am

Why Are Senate Republicans Playing Dead?
They’re allowing President Trump to place loyalists in important government positions.
Stephen I. Vladeck, professor at U TX School of Law | Aug. 19, 2020

...It’s easy to blame Mr. Trump for abusing the labyrinthine process for filling vacancies in senior executive branch positions — because he has. This administration has found every plausible loophole — and some implausible (if not unlawful) ones — to install its preferred choices in an impressively broad and important array of senior government jobs.

But the real culprit for these abuses, and the principal obstacle to any meaningful reform, is the Senate — which has simply rolled over in the name of Republican Party unity as the president has run roughshod over its constitutional role.

.In Article II, Section 2, the Constitution expressly lays out a unique and central role for the Senate (“Advice and Consent”) in this process. Choosing nominees is the president’s power, but confirming them is the Senate’s. This design, as Gouverneur Morris explained at the Constitutional Convention, would provide “security” against a rogue president. As Alexander Hamilton put it in The Federalist No. 76, “it would be an excellent check upon a spirit of favoritism in the President, and would tend greatly to prevent the appointment of unfit characters from State prejudice, from family connection, from personal attachment, or from a view to popularity.”

...There are obvious ways for Congress to close some of the loopholes that President Trump has exploited, including some of the proposals from Representative Katie Porter, Democrat of California, in the Accountability for Acting Officials Act. Among other things, Congress can be far clearer about the pool of eligible individuals to temporarily fill cabinet vacancies. It could also designate more explicit lines of succession within specific agencies, provide far more strict time limits and, in cases of real abuse, gradually reduce the powers that “acting” officials are allowed to exercise compared with their Senate-confirmed predecessors.

But the real solution is for the Senate to do its job — not just when the president is from a different party, but when he’s on the same team, too. A Republican Senate was only too happy to assert its institutional prerogatives (at the expense of a Supreme Court seat) during a Democratic administration but has been just as happy to abandon it when a Republican sits in the Oval Office.

That’s not the separation of powers; it’s the separation of parties. And it’s a dereliction of duty for which the Senate, and individual senators, can — and should — be held responsible.

ag. 26, 2020, 4:25pm

Natasha Bertrand @NatashaBertrand | 12:14 PM · Aug 26, 2020
BREAKING: Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, Alex Vindman's twin brother who served as a senior NSC ethics official,
has filed a complaint w/DoD IG raising concerns that he was retaliated against for reporting "ethics and legal compliance violations" by NSA O'Brien

Andrew P. Bakaj @AndrewBakaj | 12:58 PM · Aug 26, 2020:
NEWS: I can confirm that @MarkSZaidEsq @BradMossEsq Eugene Fidell and I represent Yevgeny Vindman.
Please see Statement Concerning Lieutenant Colonel Yevgeny Vindman's Whistleblower Reprisal Complaint with DoD Inspector General.
Image ( )

Natasha Bertrand @NatashaBertrand | 1:22 PM · Aug 26, 2020:
Vindman's complaint alleges that O'Brien and NSC CoS Alex Gray "engaged in demeaning and demoralizing sexist behavior against … female NSC professionals," including that they "would inappropriately comment on women’s looks, ‘talk down’ to women and exclude women from meetings.”

ag. 28, 2020, 12:03pm

Engel Announces Contempt Proceedings against Pompeo (Press Release)
US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs | August 28, 2020

Bronx, NY—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today announced that the Committee will begin work on a resolution holding Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in contempt. Chairman Engel made this announcement amid Secretary Pompeo’s ongoing refusal to comply with the Committee’s duly authorized subpoena for records into his transparently political misuse of Department resources. Secretary Pompeo’s most recent actions build on an unprecedented record of obstruction and defiance of the House’s constitutional oversight authority.

Chairman Engel said, “From Mr. Pompeo’s refusal to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry to his willingness to bolster a Senate Republican-led smear against the President’s political rivals to his speech to the RNC which defied his own guidance and possibly the law, he has demonstrated alarming disregard for the laws and rules governing his own conduct and for the tools the constitution provides to prevent government corruption. He seems to think the office he holds, the Department he runs, the personnel he oversees, and the taxpayer dollars that pay for all of it are there for his personal and political benefit.

“I gave Mr. Pompeo ample opportunity to fulfill my request for documents, which I first made more than three months ago. These documents were already produced to the Senate, and his refusal to provide them to the Foreign Affairs Committee required that I issue a subpoena on July 31.

“Mr. Pompeo’s final response makes it clear where he stands: the Department would turn over the documents if the Committee announced that we, too, were pursuing an investigation into the same conspiracy theory that’s been debunked again and again. Mr. Pompeo is demanding that the Committee do essentially the same thing Russia is doing, according the Office of the Director of National Intelligence: ‘spreading claims about corruption’ in order to ‘interfere in the American presidential election.’ In other words, Pompeo will give the Committee what we were seeking if we join in a smear of the President’s political rival. Sound familiar?

“I want no part of it. Under no circumstances will I amplify Putin’s debunked conspiracy theories or lend them credence. And I won’t stand by and see the Committee or the House treated with such disdain by anyone.”

The Secretary’s ongoing defiance of two duly authorized subpoenas on matters directly linked to American foreign policy toward Ukraine has left the Committee no further option but to begin drafting a resolution finding Secretary Pompeo in contempt of Congress.

In September 2019, Chairman Engel issued a subpoena seeking records as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. That inquiry found that, with the assistance of his lawyer Rudy Giuliani, the President abused the power of his office to pressure the Government of Ukraine for his own political gain, leading to the President’s impeachment by the House of Representatives.

Last month, Chairman Engel issued a subpoena as part of the Committee’s investigation of Pompeo’s partisan misuse of Department resources to aid two Republican-led Senate committees’ smears to undermine the President’s political rival. At Pompeo’s instruction, the Department has produced more than 16,000 pages to the two Senate committees and just last week Department personnel around the world were instructed to gather more information. At the same time, Pompeo has refused to provide this information to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, which has primary jurisdiction over the State Department.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) recently warned that at least one specific foreign national providing information to the Senators “is spreading claims about corruption – including through publicizing leaked phone calls” in order to boost the President’s reelection bid. Such leaked calls, one of which President Trump recently retweeted, are part of what the ODNI has warned are Russian efforts to interfere in the upcoming U.S. presidential election in support of Donald Trump.

ag. 28, 2020, 12:16pm

Natasha Bertrand @NatashaBertrand | 12:14 PM · Aug 26, 2020
BREAKING: Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, Alex Vindman's twin brother who served as a senior NSC ethics official,
has filed a complaint w/DoD IG raising concerns that he was retaliated against for reporting "ethics and legal compliance violations" by NSA O'Brien

Andrew P. Bakaj @AndrewBakaj | 12:58 PM · Aug 26, 2020:
NEWS: I can confirm that @MarkSZaidEsq @BradMossEsq Eugene Fidell and I represent Yevgeny Vindman.
Please see Statement Concerning Lieutenant Colonel Yevgeny Vindman's Whistleblower Reprisal Complaint with DoD Inspector General.
Image ( )

set. 2, 2020, 5:10pm

At Voice of America, Trump Appointee Sought Political Influence Over Coverage
David Folkenflik | September 2, 2020

At the Voice of America, staffers say the Trump appointee leading their parent agency is threatening to wash away legal protections intended to insulate their news reports from political meddling.

"What we're seeing now is the step-by-step and wholescale dismantling of the institutions that protect the independence and the integrity of our journalism," says Shawn Powers, until recently the chief strategy officer for the U.S. Agency for Global Media, which oversees VOA.

Voice of America's mission is a form of soft diplomacy: to embody democratic principles through fair reporting and to replace a free press in countries where there is none. VOA and its four sister networks together reach more than 350 million people abroad each week.

Since taking office in June, Pack has upended the agency. appears that Pack is, in fact, interested in influencing which stories get told, and how. The senior news editor who oversaw VOA's standards and practices was reassigned to a corporate position earlier this summer and has since played no role in guiding coverage or scrutinizing stories flagged as problematic.

And journalists say they are being second-guessed more frequently than they had come to expect. In two cases, stories were removed from VOA's websites after questions were raised. NPR has uncovered an additional instance in which the Voice of America's legal assurance of journalistic independence — known as a "firewall" — appears to have been explicitly violated by Pack and the team he has brought in...

set. 3, 2020, 8:46am

Maya Lau (LA Times) @mayalau | 9:39 PM · Sep 2, 2020:
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy's son, who was not a top tennis prospect,
made it onto Duke's competitive tennis team while DeJoy & his wife donated to Duke's athletic dept.
In all they gave at least $2.2M

Postal chief DeJoy has long leveraged connections, dollars
Associated Press | Aug. 30, 2020 what Democrats call a breach of protocol and blatant cronyism, (Louis) DeJoy’s name was added as a (Postmaster General) contender by the board member leading the search, John Barger. He was acting on behalf of the board’s chairman, Robert “Mike” Duncan, a former Republican National Committee chairman who knew DeJoy and his wife through work on a White House advisory group. DeJoy, Barger and Duncan were prominent donors to President Trump and other Republicans.

How exactly DeJoy was hired is among the questions Congress is trying to unravel as lawmakers scrutinize a series of operational changes at the Postal Service that have resulted in widespread mail delays and fears that the agency will not be able to handle an expected surge in mail-in ballots this fall as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

...The Associated Press reviewed hundreds of pages of records related to DeJoy, revealing a driven businessman who turned his father’s trucking company into a national logistics operator, clashed with labor unions and forged political connections that eased his path into lucrative government contracting.

His prolific giving to organizations and GOP candidates, including $1.2 million to Trump, has also drawn a spotlight to the transactional appearance of some of his contributions. His wife, Aldona Wos, is a prominent donor as well and has been nominated by Trump to serve as ambassador to Canada; her nomination is pending.

The records reviewed by the AP reveal a pattern of DeJoy’s family winning coveted opportunities after making generous contributions.

In one instance, DeJoy’s son, Andrew, secured a slot on Duke University’s tennis team in 2014 while his parents wrote a series of large checks to the school’s athletic department...

set. 6, 2020, 2:16pm

Louis DeJoy’s rise as GOP fundraiser was powered by contributions from company workers who were later reimbursed, former employees say
Aaron C. Davis, Amy Gardner and Jon Swaine | September 6, 2020

Louis DeJoy’s prolific campaign fundraising, which helped position him as a top Republican power broker in North Carolina and ultimately as head of the U.S. Postal Service, was bolstered for more than a decade by a practice that left many employees feeling pressured to make political contributions to GOP candidates — money DeJoy later reimbursed through bonuses, former employees say...DeJoy would instruct that bonus payments to staffers be boosted to help defray the cost of their contributions, an arrangement that would be unlawful.

...“He would ask employees to make contributions at the same time that he would say, ‘I’ll get it back to you down the road,’ ” said the former employee...

set. 13, 2020, 10:06am

Longtime Climate Science Denier Hired At NOAA
Rebecca Hersher | September 12, 2020

David Legates, a University of Delaware professor of climatology who has spent much of his career questioning basic tenets of climate science, has been hired for a top position at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Legates confirmed to NPR that he was recently hired as NOAA's deputy assistant secretary of commerce for observation and prediction. The position suggests that he reports directly to Neil Jacobs, the acting head of the agency that is in charge of the federal government's sprawling weather and climate prediction work.

...Legates has a long history of using his position as an academic scientist to publicly cast doubt on climate science....


A professor of climatology at U Delaware, Legate mostly co-authored on precipitation.
A few zags, however--in my quick scan, polar bears seem a little outside his expertise:

set. 23, 2020, 2:18pm

DHS awarded $6 million in contracts to firm where Acting Secretary Wolf's wife is executive
A Homeland Security spokesperson said Wolf was unaware of the contracts until contacted by the media. Wolf's Senate confirmation hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

Julia Ainsley | Sept. 23, 2020, 6:00 AM EDT

...Wolf's wife, Hope Wolf, is vice president of professional staff operations at Berkeley Research Group, a consulting firm. Although the company has a long history of federal contracts, it did not do work for DHS until after Wolf became the TSA's chief of staff in 2017...

...Kyle Herrig, founder and president of Accountable.US, a left-leaning watchdog group, said the $6 million in contracts may be a conflict of interest...the largest asset listed on Wolf's federal financial disclosure form is his wife's $1.1 million retirement account at Berkeley Research Group.

"After Mr. Wolf joined DHS, it began pumping millions of dollars into his wife's firm, which also happens to be his largest financial asset," Herrig said. "The arrangement is highly problematic and warrants congressional scrutiny."

...According to USA Spending, Berkeley Research Group's contracts with DHS are for "Information Technology Software," but it is not known what specific software was provided or to what component of DHS...

set. 23, 2020, 6:10pm

When You're Goal Is Pack SCOTUS with RWNJ Idealogues, Not Jurists

Trump’s SCOTUS front-runner Amy Barrett is in a ‘cult’ — according to an ex-member who ‘experienced abuse and torture’.
. . .the secretive Catholic group People of Praise, known for its rigid gender roles and lifelong loyalty oaths, which apparent front-runner Judge Amy Coney Barrett is a member of.
Amy Goodman of Democracy Now,, interviewed a former member. Transcript here:
(I) was a member of the People of Praise — many call it a community, but I describe it as a cult — in Corvallis, Oregon. I experienced abuse and torture by my husband, Marty Warner, Independence, Oregon, and the cult leaders, as well as shunning, shaming and a smear campaign against me when I escaped and left. For safety, I legally changed my name, and I’ve lived under a state address protection program from my ex-husband for the past 20 years.

Even though I left the People of Praise cult, I didn’t have any rights, due to being married to my husband, who was a cult member. I was under the authority of my husband and his authoritarian head, Ed Brown. Under their authority, I was forced to attend meetings, but because I had defied leadership and their authority. . .
If Judge Barrett becomes Trump's nominee, close questioning of her loyalties to the group must happen. If she remains a member, her loyalties -- if she tries to leave the cult -- must still be closely questioned. She should not be confirmed if she maintains or is forced to maintain ANY ties to "People of Praise,"or expresses any hesitancy to renounce her oath to it publicly and truthfully since there would be no separation of Church and State in her person. The Judge's oath to "people of Praise" assumes precedence over her loyalty to uphold the Constitution by definition.

Trump's favored candidate is no more than an acolyte of Catholic "sharia" law and is therefore unqualified to sit on the SCOTUS as long as her self-professed loyalty is to the Church first and not the State, if at all.

In Depth Analysis Article: "Who Is Amy Barrett? Front-Runner to Replace RBG Is Anti-Abortion Member of Patriarchal Catholic Group"
U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who is a devout Catholic who has taken conservative stances on abortion, gun rights, immigration and LGBTQ rights. Barrett’s involvement with the conservative Catholic group People of Praise, whose members pledge a lifelong loyalty oath to the group,/i>, has also raised questions about her ability to rule independently.

set. 24, 2020, 6:25am

DeVos under investigation for potentially violating Hatch Act because of Fox News interview

...The Office of the Special Counsel has started investigating Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for potentially violating the Hatch Act, after she slammed Joe Biden in a Fox News interview and her agency promoted it through official channels.

...At least 12 Trump senior officials have violated the Hatch Act, according to the OSC, the independent agency that probes possible violations. In most cases, the office decided that the violation was minor enough to merit only a warning letter. Only one case, that of former senior counselor Kellyanne Conway, was sent to President Donald Trump for action, and he didn’t act on it.

“Today (Biden’s) turned his back on the kids that we’re talking about and he’s turned his face in favor of the teachers union and what they have to say and what they have to demand and it’s really shameful,” she told the (Fox) interviewer. The Education Department also blasted out a link to the Fox News clip with the attack on Biden to an official email distribution list under the heading “From the Desk of The Secretary.”

The Hatch Act prohibits most political activity by federal employees, but the Trump administration hasn’t paid much attention to it, even hosting parts of the Republican National Convention at the White House with multiple Cabinet members giving primetime addresses...

oct. 1, 2020, 2:49am

Top Intelligence Official Releases Unverified, Previously Rejected Russia Information
Julian E. Barnes, Adam Goldman and Nicholas Fandos | Sept. 29, 2020

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s top intelligence official (John Ratcliffe, the director of national intelligence and previously an outspoken congressional ally of the president) on Tuesday released unverified information about the 2016 campaign that appeared to be a bid to help Mr. Trump politically and was said to be disclosed over the objections of career intelligence officials who were concerned that the material could be Russian disinformation.

...Mr. Ratcliffe sought to shore up the credibility of the material, which centered on claims about Hillary Clinton (approved a plan for her 2016 campaign to “stir up a scandal” against Mr. Trump by tying him to the Russian hackers who had broken into Democratic servers), saying that it was not a product of Russian disinformation after initially acknowledging that it could be. But his initial disclosure, coming hours before the first presidential debate, offered fresh ammunition for Mr. Trump to attack his political enemies.

Other officials...had evaluated and rejected the information in the years since...

oct. 3, 2020, 10:44am

Amy Coney Barrett brought her 7 unmasked kids to a super spreader event to show how pro life she is so she could be confirmed by a group of pro life people who have presided over 200K+ deaths to be a pro life judge that will uphold the death penalty and take away health insurance

- J-L Cauvin (comedian) @JLCauvin | 11:13 PM · Oct 2, 2020

oct. 6, 2020, 3:17pm

Frank Figliuzzi (frmr Asst Dir FBI) @FrankFigliuzzi1 | 11:58 AM · Oct 6, 2020:
Chris Wray may get fired for this. Must watch this video on election security from our intel leaders:

Quote Tweet
FBI @FBI · 4h
The right to vote in a free and fair election is one of the foundations of American democracy. The leaders of the #FBI, @CISAgov, @NCSCgov, and @NSAgov want you to know how their organizations work together to protect your voice—no matter how you cast your vote. #Protect2020

9:06 ( )

oct. 7, 2020, 8:48am

Rick Bright, Trump administration vaccine expert turned whistleblower, resigns NIH post
Nicholas Florko @NicholasFlorko | October 6, 2020

WASHINGTON — Rick Bright, the Trump administration vaccine expert turned whistleblower, resigned from the federal government Tuesday, according to a press release from his lawyer.

Bright, who headed the powerful Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, was abruptly reassigned in April to a lesser position at the National Institutes of Health. Bright has alleged he was moved after raising concerns about the Trump administration’s response to Covid-19 (hydroxychloroquine, too, I think?) and nepotism within the Department of Health and Human Services. In May, he filed a formal whistleblower complaint against his former employer.

In an amended whistleblower complaint filed Tuesday, Bright said that he had only been given one assignment since being assigned to the NIH, which is now complete....

Bright also said in the new complaint that he has requested to work specifically on Operation Warp Speed’s vaccine and therapeutic work. He claims he has not been given additional assignments because of political grudges.

That lack of work, Bright argues in the new complaint, constitutes a “constructive discharge” from the government, a term used to describe when an employer makes a workplace so hostile that it forces the employee to quit.

It’s unclear whether Bright’s latest claim will impact his pending case before the government.

The Office of Special Counsel, which reviews whistleblower complaints, has recommended that Bright be reinstated to his old job at BARDA pending a full investigation of his complaint, but HHS has ignored that recommendation. It is not clear when the full investigation will be completed.

Editat: oct. 12, 2020, 6:35pm

I hope Amy's being a last minute pick of the orange lunatic turns
out to be an anchor around her neck every day of her sorry
SCOTUS life. She and Brett are bottom-of-the-GOP-barrel picks.
Americans deserves better.

oct. 12, 2020, 6:37pm

I feel kind of sorry for her, actually.

In all seriousness, she does seem like someone who actually does want to be taken seriously as a judge, and no matter what the outcome, she will always be the judge who was picked because Mitch McConnell figured she is not bright enough to have her own thoughts. Regardless of any other qualifications she may have, the Kentucky Tortoise has made it quite clear that this is the only reason he's put her forward, and that if he believed for a minute that she had an independent thought in her head, she would not have been nominated.

But not that sorry, really. If she was really the sort of person who should be taken seriously as a judge, she would have told Mitch to win the election and then nominate her after January.

Editat: oct. 16, 2020, 1:57pm

White House puts ‘politicals’ at CDC to try to control info

...The two appointees assigned to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Atlanta headquarters in June have no public health background. They have instead been tasked with keeping an eye on Dr. Robert Redfield, the agency director, as well as scientists, according to a half-dozen CDC and administration officials who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal government affairs.

...When the two appointees showed up in Atlanta, their roles were a mystery to senior CDC staff, the people said. They had not even been assigned offices. Eventually one, Nina Witkofsky, became acting chief of staff, an influential role as Redfield’s right hand. The other, her deputy Chester “Trey” Moeller, also began sitting in on scientific meetings, the sources said.

...It’s not clear to what extent the two appointees have affected the agency’s work, according to interviews with multiple CDC officials. But congressional investigators are examining that very question after evidence has mounted of political interference in CDC scientific publications, guidance documents and web postings...

oct. 19, 2020, 11:04am

Watchdog group accuses Amy Coney Barrett of “unconscionable cruelty” in teen rape case
Barrett decided to overturn a $6.7M jury award to a teen allegedly raped in a jail run by ex-Sheriff David Clarke
Igor Derysh | October 16, 2020

...Barrett was one of the three judges on a Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals panel which reversed a $6.7 million verdict against Milwaukee County in 2018 after a corrections officer was charged with repeatedly raping a pregnant 19-year-old inmate.

Former corrections officer Xavier Thicken was charged with multiple counts of sexual assault in 2013 after the woman alleged that he had raped her during and after her pregnancy at a jail run by the controversial former Sheriff David Clarke. Those charges were dropped when he agreed to plead guilty to felony misconduct in public office in 2014.

The woman later filed a lawsuit against Milwaukee County. In her testimony, she alleged that Thicklen had raped her in different parts of the jail when she was eight months pregnant and demanded that she perform oral sex on him after giving birth.

A jury awarded the woman $6.7 million in 2017, which was upheld by District Judge J.P. Stadmueller before the Seventh Circuit Court overturned the ruling in September 2018.

Barrett joined Judges Daniel Manion and Robert Gettleman in reversing the district court ruling against the county, though it upheld the judgement against Thicklen. Mannion wrote in the unanimous opinion that the county was not responsible for the guard's conduct.

"Conduct is not in the scope if it is different in kind from that authorized, far beyond the authorized time or space, or too little actuated by a purpose to serve the employer," he said.

"Even when viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to (the woman) and the verdict, we hold no reasonable jury could find the sexual assaults were in the scope of his (Thicklen's) employment," the opinion stated. "The evidence negates the verdict."...

Manion noted that the training materials stated guards were prohibited from having sex with inmates...

oct. 22, 2020, 9:44am

Trump’s Vaccine Czar Refuses to Give Up Stock in Drug Company Involved in His Government Role
Isaac Arnsdorf | Sept. 23, 2020

The administration calls Moncef Slaoui, who leads its vaccine race, a “contractor” to sidestep rules against personally profiting from government positions. Slaoui owns $10 million in stock of a company working with his team to develop a vaccine.

...Moncef Slaoui, is the top scientist on Operation Warp Speed, the administration’s effort to develop a coronavirus vaccine in record time. Federal law requires government officials to disclose their personal finances and divest any holdings relating to their work, but Slaoui said he wouldn’t take the job under those conditions. So the administration said it’s treating him as a contractor. Contractors aren’t bound by the same ethics rules but also aren’t supposed to wield as much authority as full employees.

Slaoui agreed to sell stock worth $12 million and resign from the board of Moderna, the developer of a leading potential vaccine. But Slaoui insisted on keeping his roughly $10 million stake in his former company, GlaxoSmithKline, another contender in the Operation Warp Speed vaccine race. “I won’t leave those shares because that’s my retirement,” he has said. GlaxoSmithKline, working with Sanofi, has started human trials for a coronavirus vaccine using similar technology to Sanofi’s flu shot. It is supported by up to $2.1 billion from the U.S. government.

As a concession, Slaoui committed to donating any increase in the value of his holdings to the National Institutes of Health.

But Democrats on the House Committee on the Coronavirus called the commitment “toothless.” According to newly released records from the committee, Slaoui’s contract with the government specifies that the donation “may occur on the last death of the employee and his or her spouse.” Slaoui is 61 and his wife, Kristen Belmonte, is 50...

oct. 26, 2020, 10:44am

#BREAKING: The Office of Special Counsel has launched an investigation into Mike Pompeo
for Hatch Act violations during his address to the RNC while he was on official government travel in Jerusalem.

The investigation is looking into his misuse of State Department resources.

-Travis Akers @travisakers | 10:11 AM · Oct 26, 2020

oct. 26, 2020, 6:00pm

Trump appointee resigns over the president’s order removing job protections for many civil servants
Eric Yoder | Oct. 26, 2020

The Trump administration-appointed head of a key advisory council on the civil service has resigned over an executive order to strip away protections against political interference in hiring and firing for a large portion of the career federal workforce.

The order, which could affect tens of thousands or more career positions involved in making or carrying out policy, “is nothing more than a smoke screen for what is clearly an attempt to require the political loyalty of those who advise the President, or failing that, to enable their removal with little if any due process,” Ronald Sanders wrote in his letter of resignation Sunday from the Federal Salary Council.

“I simply cannot be part of an Administration that seeks . . . to replace apolitical expertise with political obeisance. Career Federal employees are legally and duty-bound to be nonpartisan; they take an oath to preserve and protect our Constitution and the rule of law . . . not to be loyal to a particular President or Administration,” he wrote...

oct. 28, 2020, 4:13pm

Trump Political Appointee Removes Climate Agency’s Chief Scientist for Emphasizing Its Scientific Integrity Policy
Elliot Hannon | Oct 28, 2020

...The New York Times added additional, maddening details this week, reporting on how the agency’s chief scientist Craig McLean was ousted last month by a newly installed Trump appointee, Erik Noble. From the Times:

Mr. McLean had sent some of the new political appointees a message that asked them to acknowledge the agency’s scientific integrity policy, which prohibits manipulating research or presenting ideologically driven findings. The request prompted a sharp response from Dr. Noble. “Respectfully, by what authority are you sending this to me?” he wrote, according to a person who received a copy of the exchange after it was circulated within NOAA. Mr. McLean answered that his role as acting chief scientist made him responsible for ensuring that the agency’s rules on scientific integrity were followed. The following morning, Dr. Noble responded. “You no longer serve as the acting chief scientist for NOAA,” he informed Mr. McLean, adding that a new chief scientist had already been appointed. “Thank you for your service.”

McLean was replaced with climate science critic Ryan Maue from the libertarian Cato Institute. A new job was created—that of deputy assistant secretary—for fellow climate skeptic David Legates. According to the Times, both hires were made without consultation with the head of the agency, NOAA acting Administrator Neil Jacobs.

nov. 1, 2020, 4:28am

Trump’s Favorite COVID Adviser Goes on Kremlin-Backed RT to Blast Lockdowns as ‘Epic Failure’
Allison Quinn | Nov. 01, 2020

Scott Atlas also made a point to complain about criticism he’s faced for his coronavirus guidance, calling it a “sad statement” that the media “destroyed” him.


‘A whole lot of hurt’: Fauci warns of covid-19 surge, offers blunt assessment of Trump’s response
Josh Dawsey and Yasmeen Abutaleb | Oct. 31, 2020

“We’re in for a whole lot of hurt. It’s not a good situation,” Anthony S. Fauci, the country’s leading infectious-disease expert...“All the stars are aligned in the wrong place as you go into the fall and winter season, with people congregating at home indoors. You could not possibly be positioned more poorly.”...

...the United States needed to make an “abrupt change” in public health practices and behaviors. He said the country could surpass 100,000 new coronavirus cases a day and predicted rising deaths in the coming weeks.

...former vice president Joe Biden’s campaign “is taking it seriously from a public health perspective.” Trump, Fauci said, is “looking at it from a different perspective.” He said that perspective was “the economy and reopening the country.”

...described a disjointed response as cases surge....the White House is almost entirely focused on a vaccine, even though experts warn it is unlikely to be a silver bullet that ends the pandemic immediately...

...the White House coronavirus task force meets less frequently and has far less influence as the president and his top advisers have focused on reopening the country. “Right now, the public health aspect of the task force has diminished greatly,” he said.

...“The last time I spoke to the president was not about any policy; it was when he was recovering in Walter Reed, he called me up,” he said. Fauci said he phones into meetings of other staffers but largely avoids the West Wing because “of all the infections there.”

...lamented that Scott Atlas, a neuroradiologist and Trump’s favored pandemic adviser, who advocates letting the virus spread among young healthy people and reopening the country without restrictions, is the only medical adviser the president regularly meets with.

“I have real problems with that guy,” Fauci said of Atlas. “He’s a smart guy who’s talking about things that I believe he doesn’t have any real insight or knowledge or experience in. He keeps talking about things that when you dissect it out and parse it out, it doesn’t make any sense.”

...“I tip my hat to (chief of staff Mark Meadows) for admitting the strategy (the administration was not going to control the pandemic)...He is straightforward in telling you what’s on his mind. I commend him for that.”

...needed to be careful with his words because he would be blocked from doing appearances in the future...

...Fauci has told others that he has experienced a surge in harassment and threats.

White House spokespeople did not offer comments from either Atlas or Birx despite being asked several times.

Timeline: The 184 times Trump has downplayed the coronavirus threat

...Without the ear of the president or other top White House officials, Fauci and other health experts believe the most effective thing they can do is get the public health message out through local and national television media interviews. Birx, the coronavirus coordinator, has traveled across the country in recent weeks delivering blunt advice to state and local leaders grappling with surges of infections, hospitalizations and deaths.

“The thing we can do is to try to get the message out”

Earlier in the pandemic, Fauci said he and Birx would agree on a message that Birx, who works out of the White House and once met with the president almost every day, would deliver to Trump.

“All of a sudden, they didn’t like what the message was because it wasn’t what they wanted to do anymore,” he said. “They needed to have a medical message that was essentially consistent with what they were saying.

“And one of the ways to say the outbreak is over is to say it’s really irrelevant because it doesn’t make any difference. All you need to do is prevent people from dying and protect people in places like the nursing homes,” Fauci said. “And because of that, Debbie almost never ever sees the president anymore. The only medical person who sees the president on a regular basis is Scott Atlas. It’s certainly not Debbie Birx.”ts say are needed. Many nursing homes are also experiencing shortages of personal protective equipment, personnel and other critical supplies that the administration has not sufficiently addressed.

“(Scott Atlas) insists he’s not somebody who’s pushing for herd immunity...He says, ‘That’s not what I mean.’ But everything he says — when you put them together and stitch them together — everything is geared toward the concept of ‘it doesn’t make any difference if people get infected. It’s a waste of time. Masks don’t work. Who cares,’ and the only thing you need to do is protect the vulnerable, like people in the nursing homes” ...

...many people who catch the virus recover “virologically” but will have chronic health problems.

“The idea of this false narrative that if you don’t die, everything is hunky dory is just not the case,” he said. “But to say, ‘Let people get infected, it doesn’t matter, just make sure people don’t die’ — to me as a person who’s been practicing medicine for 50 years, it doesn’t make any sense at all.”

...“Even though we’re getting challenged with more cases, the medical system is much better prepared to take care of seriously ill people, so that’s the reason why I think the surge of cases is going to be counterbalanced by better experience.”

...regions of the country that may be ill-prepared to deal with a winter surge of infections, including Midwestern and Western states because they have limited intensive care beds, as well as nurses who can treat growing numbers of covid-19 patients.

“It’s much more about some of the states like Utah, Nevada, South Dakota, North Dakota, where … they never had a pretty good reserve of intensive care beds and things like that. I hope they’ll be okay, but it’s still a risk that, as you get more surging, they’re going to run out of capacity”...

nov. 2, 2020, 5:08am

Like being fired by Trump wouldn't give Dr. Fauci even more credibility and a bigger microphone?

Trump Suggests He Will Fire Anthony Fauci ‘A Little Bit After’ Election
Nick Visser·| November 2, 2020

nov. 2, 2020, 5:20am

S'ha suprimit aquest usuari en ser considerat brossa.

nov. 2, 2020, 7:35am

>121 margd: >122 margd: >124 margd: contd.
'A Huge Attack': Critics Decry Trump Order That Makes Firing Federal Workers Easier
Brian Naylor | October 31, 2020
Heard on Weekend Edition Saturday

The Trump administration has issued an executive order that would fundamentally restructure the federal workforce, making it easier for the government to fire thousands of federal workers, while also allowing political and other considerations to affect hiring.

The executive order, issued last week, would affect the professional employees in policymaking positions at the very top of the civil service — people like lawyers and scientists who are are not political appointees and serve from administration to administration regardless of which party controls the White House.

The president's order changes that, creating a new category for them — "Schedule F" — and taking away their civil service protections. In a statement that accompanied the order, the White House took aim at those protections, saying they make it too difficult for agency heads to remove "poor performers." Without the protections, the employees can be more easily replaced...

Editat: nov. 5, 2020, 7:43pm


Frank Figliuzzi @FrankFigliuzzi1 | 5:56 PM · Nov 5, 2020:
Steve Bannon calls for beheading Dr. Fauci and FBI Director Wray:
1:02 ( )
From Madeline Peltz

Carrie Cordero @carriecordero | 6:41 PM · Nov 5, 2020:
One would think a guy currently out on bail under federal charges
would steer clear of 18 USC 115(a)(1)(B) (threatening a federal official)

ETA Twitter suspended Steve Bannon's account

Editat: nov. 9, 2020, 2:50pm

Trump fires Secretary of Defense Mark Esper
Nicole Gaouette, Barbara Starr, Ryan Browne and Betsy Klein | November 9, 2020

President Donald Trump announced on Twitter Monday that he has fired Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, and that Christopher Miller, who serves as director of the National Counterterrorism Center, will become acting secretary "effective immediately."...

Steve Vladeck (U TX Law) @steve_vladeck · 1h
There’s currently a Senate-confirmed Deputy Secretary of Defense — David Norquist.
Under 10 U.S.C. § 132(b), *he* is supposed to become Acting Secretary in the event of a vacancy.
Unless Trump fired him, too.
Image ( )

Bobby Chesney (UT School Law) @BobbyChesney | 1:22 PM · Nov 9, 2020:
...10 USC 132 contemplates situations where Secretary "dies, resigns, or is otherwise unable" to execute the office.
Firing arguably is outside the scope of that list. At any rate, unlikely this ends up in court.

nov. 9, 2020, 2:41pm

Jake Tapper (CNN) @jaketapper | 1:39 PM · Nov 9, 2020:
According to a senior administration official,
John McEntee, director of the White House Presidential Personnel Office, is spreading the word throughout the administration that
if he hears of anyone looking for another job they will be fired.

nov. 10, 2020, 2:37am

Trump removes head of climate science report

..Michael Kuperberg had worked as executive director of the U.S. Global Change Research Program, which produces the National Climate Assessment (the federal government's most definitive scientific report on climate change). The move comes just days after the White House tapped Betsy Weatherhead to lead the sweeping climate study. Weatherhead joined the U.S. Geological Survey after working at climate analytics firm Jupiter Intelligence.

... Kuperberg's departure comes in the wake of the Trump administration hiring of David Legates, an academic at the University of Delaware who has written that "carbon dioxide is plant food and is not a pollutant," to a newly created political position at NOAA.

...Kuperberg had run the USGCRP since 2015 and was expected to remain there until the fifth edition was completed in 2023. An administration official who was not authorized to speak publicly confirmed Kuperberg's move and said the change was a surprise...

nov. 10, 2020, 2:38am

....On Friday, Neil Chatterjee was removed as FERC chair on Friday after advocating for opening up markets to renewable sources and exploring carbon pricing....

des. 1, 2020, 6:46am

Dr. Scott Atlas resigns from Trump administration
Kaitlan Collins, Jim Acosta and Devan Cole | November 30, 2020

As a special government employee, Atlas had a 130-day window in which he could serve and that window was technically coming to a close this week.

...he said his "advice was always focused on minimizing all the harms from both the pandemic and the structural policies themselves, especially to the working class and the poor....I sincerely wish the new team all the best as they guide the nation through these trying, polarized times," he wrote, apparently referring to President-elect Joe Biden's incoming coronavirus team.

...Atlas' months-long stint in the White House was marked by controversy as he became a close adviser to Trump on the pandemic, adopting public stances on the virus much closer to the President's -- including decrying the idea that schools cannot reopen this fall as "hysteria" and pushing for the resumption of college sports.

In one extraordinary episode in October, Twitter removed a tweet from Atlas that sought to undermine the importance of face masks because it was in violation of the platform's Covid-19 Misleading Information Policy, according to a spokesman for the company.

And earlier this month, he criticized coronavirus restrictions in Michigan, urging residents in the state to "rise up" against the measures. The comments came weeks after officials thwarted an alleged domestic terrorism kidnapping plot against Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who herself has been the subject of harsh criticism from the President and other Republicans amid the pandemic.

Following those remarks, Stanford University distanced itself from Atlas, who is a senior fellow at the school's Hoover Institution. A group of faculty members at the university celebrated his resignation from the Trump administration on Monday, saying in a statement that it's "long overdue and underscores the triumph of science and truth over falsehoods and misinformation...His actions have undermined and threatened public health even as countless lives have been lost to Covid-19," the faculty wrote.

Atlas was not on a call Vice President Mike Pence held on Monday with state leaders, according to a list of participants. During the call, Pence and members of the task force focused on vaccine safety and distribution...

des. 2, 2020, 1:21pm

Sec. Mnuchin, Naked & Afraid, Rehearses for Interview with St. Peter

Rep. Katie Porter, (D-CA) puts the devil in the hot seat. Watch his grilling in this video.
Rep. Katie Porter grills Sec. Mnuchin, saying he wants to ban the Fed from using any more of $450B Congress set aside in CARES Act.

Porter: Is it the year 2026?

Mnuchin: Of course it’s not 2026, how ridiculous…

Porter: …It’s ridiculous that you are play-acting as a lawyer.

des. 3, 2020, 3:57pm

Trump aide banned from Justice after trying to get case info

...Heidi Stirrup, an ally of top Trump adviser Stephen Miller, was quietly installed at the Justice Department as a White House liaison a few months ago. She was told within the last two weeks to vacate the building after top Justice officials learned of her efforts to collect insider information about ongoing cases and the department’s work on election fraud...

Stirrup is accused of approaching staffers in the department demanding they give her information about investigations, including election fraud matters...

...Stirrup had also extended job offers to political allies for positions at some of the highest levels of the Justice Department without consulting any senior department officials or the White House counsel’s office and also attempted to interfere in the hiring process for career staffers, a violation of the government’s human resources policies...

On Thursday, Trump appointed Stirrup to be a member of the board of visitors of the U.S. Air Force Academy...

des. 3, 2020, 4:10pm

>134 margd: Trump shot back at Barr on Thursday, saying the Justice Department “hasn’t looked very hard” and calling it a disappointment. But he stopping short of implying Barr’s future as attorney general could be cut short.

It's so sweet that he thinks Barr's got a future as attorney general.

And by "sweet", I obviously mean "evidence of complete cognitive breakdown". Seriously, the man needs to be in a home. Where are his relatives, and why aren't they taking care of him?

des. 3, 2020, 5:18pm

>134 margd:

So, we can now say, "Trump lost his Stirrup going over the fence of the DOJ"?

des. 3, 2020, 6:32pm

Death Threats from Trump WH a Communication Too Far?

After moving over to the White House to the communications post in April, Alyssa Farah has left for greener pastures.

First there was this:
Farah had a different message on the Saturday night that President-elect Joe Biden was named the winner of the election.

“There is more that unites as a Nation than divides us,” she tweeted, with three American flag emojis. It flies in the face of President Donald Trump’s message that the election was rigged and he is the true winner.
Then she reacted to this:
Earlier Thursday, in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Farah said that Trump campaign attorney Joe diGenova calling for violence against former DHS official Chris Krebs, “was wildly inappropriate.”
A communication too far for Trump's former Communication Director it seems.

des. 4, 2020, 11:53am

Trump Pentagon Nominee Boosted Calls For Martial Law This Week
Matt Shuham | December 4, 2020

...Scott O’Grady, Trump’s nominee to become assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs for remainder Trump term)...nomination was sent to the Senate on Monday.

O’Grady also retweeted numerous false claims that Trump had in fact won a second term in office, by a landslide, and described Joe Biden’s winning the presidency as a “coup” attempt carried out in coordination with Chinese President Xi Jinping...

“I don’t know who needs to hear this,” read the message that O’Grady retweeted. “But calling for martial law is not a bad idea when there is an attempted coup against the president and this country happening right now.”

...O’Grady’s social media is full of conspiracy theories and outrageous claims — like the assertion that former President Barack Obama is a “sworn socialist” and that former Secretary of Defense James Mattis is a “traitor.”

Following the election, O’Grady retweeted assertions about Georgia elections officials having “something to hide” and about Donald Trump winning the state of California, which in fact Joe Biden won by more than 30 points. He also shared conspiracy theories about COVID-19. CNN flagged a 2019 tweet in which O’Grady wrote that “the growing muslim populations” would pose a problem for Europe.

des. 4, 2020, 3:46pm

Trump administration appoints loyalists Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie to Defense Business Board
Dan Lamothe | Dec. 4, 2020

The Trump administration installed... former campaign figures Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie among the new appointees to the Defense Business Board.

The appointments were announced along with the removal of other members, at least some of whom were dismissed. Acting defense secretary Christopher Miller, appointed to his job last month following the firing of Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, said in a statement that he was “proud” to welcome each of the new members, and looked forward to their contributions to help guide the Defense Department’s business efforts in coming years.

“These individuals have a proven record of achievement within their respective fields and have demonstrated leadership that will serve our Department, and our nation well,” Miller said...

...Lewandowski and Bossie worked together on the Trump presidential campaign in 2016, and later co-authored a memoir titled, “Let Trump Be Trump.”

The board reports to the defense secretary, providing independent advice and recommendations on Defense Department “management, business processes and governance from a private sector perspective,” according to the board’s charter. Members are unpaid and typically meet quarterly.

des. 8, 2020, 11:34am

>126 margd: contd.

Trump’s Plan to Gut the Civil Service
Jim Eisenmann | December 8, 2020, 10:28 AM

On Oct. 21, President Trump issued an executive order that, for many federal employees, effectively overturned the civil service system that has existed in the United States since 1883. By creating a new type of federal position, Schedule F, Executive Order 13957 empowers federal agencies to involuntarily move scores of career federal employees into positions for which statutory and constitutional job protections would be eliminated—putting them at risk of being fired at will. Just as perniciously, the executive order allows agency heads to move current political appointees into these newly created Schedule F positions without competition and not based on merit—in essence, creating a new category of political appointee. The creation of Schedule F is nothing more than an attempt to gut the career civil servant class and further marginalize career civil service employees.

According to the executive order, positions fall in the definition of Schedule F if they are those of “a confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating character.” The order states that the creation of Schedule F was necessary because the president must have “appropriate management oversight regarding” the career civil servants working in positions of a “confidential, policy-determining, policy-making or policy-advocating character”—and that, because of the importance of these functions, employees in these positions must display “appropriate temperament, acumen, impartiality, and sound judgment.”

Of course, no one doubts these maxims. Indeed, all federal employees are and should be subject to rigorous standards in hiring and performance. But the executive order posits that because of the importance of these roles, the long-standing rules relating to hiring based on competition and merit, and the legal protections against summary firings of civil service employees, should not apply to Schedule F employees. It’s true that these roles are important—but that’s why the nonpartisan, experienced civil servants already in these jobs should be protected, rather than face the threat of replacement by inexperienced current political appointees.

...Yes, hiring and firing civil servants can at times be inefficient. But these job protections exist pursuant to federal law and the Constitution. As the Supreme Court has said, the Framers of the U.S. Constitution “ranked other values higher than efficiency.” A well-trained, experienced cadre of public servants hired based on merit and competition and protected from the whims of political appointees should be a priority for the new administration.

It is possible that Schedule F will be much ado about nothing. But that depends mostly on what, if anything, the Trump administration does within its waning days. There have been efforts to prevent Schedule F from moving ahead. The National Treasury Employees Union has filed a lawsuit to stop its implementation. Members of Congress sent a letter to Michael J. Rigas, the acting OPM director and acting deputy director for the Office of Management and Budget, expressing their “grave concerns” about Schedule F. Congressional appropriators may threaten to withhold funds from federal agencies that would be used to implement Schedule F.

But the only person who can do something concrete about the executive order and Schedule F’s implementation is President-elect Joe Biden. In the meantime, thousands of career federal civil servants will wait nervously until Jan. 20.

Editat: des. 29, 2020, 4:29pm

Trump's crackdown on the US-Mexico border has been a moneymaker for border agents working with traffickers
Luis Chaparro | Dec 29, 2020

...During the Obama administration, cases of misconduct among border officers dropped steadily. But since 2017, when Trump took office, cases have reached a five-year high, according to a recent internal Customs and Border Patrol report.

There were 286 total arrests during fiscal year 2018 — 268 CBP employees arrested twice, one employee arrested four times, and one employee arrested five times.

The charges include drug smuggling, bribery, theft, and sharing classified government data, records show....


U.S. Customs and Border Protection Discipline Analysis Report Fiscal Year 2018
68 p

gen. 3, 2:35pm

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy

Kohl's Christmas catalogue (Dec 10-24, 2020) just arrived at my se Michigan home on January 2, 2021.
In a recession, Kohl's paid good money for a catalog that DeJoy's USPO delivered after the fact.

Talk about a war on Christmas!

gen. 20, 9:44am

Trump revokes rule preventing White House staff from lobbying
MERIDITH MCGRAW | 01/20/2021

After campaigning on a promise to “drain the swamp,” Donald Trump ended his presidency by revoking his own rule meant to prevent White House staff from lobbying.

Shortly after he entered office, Trump signed an executive order that barred appointees from any lobbying related to their agency for five years, in addition to a lifetime ban on lobbying for a foreign government. Every Trump appointee was required to sign a pledge agreeing to those rules. But in a last-minute move early Wednesday, Trump reversed the order and allowed the revolving door in Washington to continue swinging...

gen. 20, 8:37pm

Biden clears out some of the remaining trash left behind:

feb. 19, 3:02pm

GOP Senate memo* says DeJoy personally ordered USPS overtime cuts, contradicting DeJoy’s prior testimony
Nikhel Sus and Linnaea Honl-Stuenkel | February 19, 2021