I was asked a while back if “Fox News Blonde” was an actual hair color and I said, damn, if it isn’t Clairol is losing money. In all events, this particular cadre of “journalists,” all interchangeable parts as long as the look is right, is Donald Trump’s favorite, and he has hired one, Kaleigh McEnany, to take over as press secretary. Unlike Stephanie Grisham, who never gave a single press conference in nine months, McEnany will be vociferously defending Trump on TV, we are led to believe. Daily Beast: Grisham’s ouster is one of the first major communications personnel shakeups under President Trump’s new chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and another change in an administration that has had almost constant staff turnover. Meadows wants McEnany to focus on defending the president on television, the Times reported. When Trump took office in 2016, Grisham, a campaign aide, was appointed deputy press secretary working alongside short-lived press secretary Sean Spicer. She then became Melania Trump’s communications director and forged a reputation as a dogged defender of the first lady, putting out aggressive statements and defending her during controversial moments like the infamous “I really don’t care, do U?” jacket and a secretive kidney operation in April 2018. Melania issued a statement and I’m not sure what it means, but here it is. Mrs. Trump also issued a statement praising Grisham. “She has been a mainstay and true leader in the administration from even before day one, and I know she will excel as chief of staff,” she said. Maybe Melania thinks Grisham fired Mark Meadows instead of the other way around? In all events, it is going to be very interesting in the White House very quick with McEnany on board. She’s been known in the past for her contentious live-TV meltdowns, so that’s what you can expect to see. I hope you stocked up on popcorn along with toilet paper, the show is about to begin.
This is either a troll or it is as deliberately tasteless as the pea coat with “I Don’t Really Care Do U?” stenciled on the back. Since when is the People’s House the President’s House? Although it’s not surprising in the burgeoning dictatorship which we know as the Trump administration. In fact, the only surprise is that the structure isn’t being referred to as the MAGA King’s castle. The first lady, Melania Trump, has overseen the renovation of the White House bowling alley. Historically, the White House has been referred to as "the people's house." pic.twitter.com/Q7dZXNALAZ — David Gura (@davidgura) May 1, 2019 Only Melania would think of something tacky like embossing a bowling ball. But cheer up. Maybe the Trumps will move on from “the president’s house” to the “Big House.” Wouldn’t that be nice? And seriously, I doubt if Melania has ever heard the term “the People’s House” because they don’t talk about that stuff in fashion magazines.
Yesterday, we covered the snowballing and serious scandal to suppress a whistleblower complaint originating within the intelligence community. Whistleblower complaints go directly to the inspector general of the agency in question, in this case, the office of the Director of National Intelligence. If the inspector general’s office finds the complaint to be credible, it is referred directly to congress. In this case, the inspector general determined that the complaint was both “credible” and “urgent.” The law could not possibly be clearer. The Director of National Intelligence must pass the complaint to congress. The law may be silent upon what else might be done with it, but the law mandates one thing only. It must be passed to congress. Today on Face the Nation, Rep. Adam Schiff said that Acting National Intelligence Director Joseph Maguire told Rep. Schiff that he had been told by a “higher authority” to not turn the complaint over. This is almost hard to believe, except with this administration. The fact that someone sitting in such a position, the acting Director of National Intelligence, believes there exists a “higher authority” than the clear law, is an issue with national security ramifications. The entire reason we have “whistleblower” statutes is precisely because higher authorities may damn well want the complaint suppressed! The law specifically contemplates situations where even a president orders someone within the executive branch to do something that helps the president, but hurts the nation. Situations like this, where we protected the person from the president, allowed us to believe we were a “nation of laws, not men.” Have absolutely no doubt that this man, Joseph Maguire, has attorneys working for his office that would tell him; “The law says you must pass this along. If you pass it along, and it angers the president, the president may fire you, rightly or wrongly. If you do not pass it along, and it comes out that you wrongly suppressed it, you could be imprisoned. Those are your choices.” Something caused this director, Joseph Maguire to choose option “A.” At this point in time in our nation, someone at this level of government, believes it is best for him to take his chances on breaking the law, rather than simply passing on a complaint to Congress. He is doing this, even though it certainly is not his problem (presumably) if someone “higher-up” broke the law. Something has made it “his problem” if he turns over documents implicating some “higher authority.” We know that Trump demands total loyalty from anyone who works “for him.” (The people in government do not work for Trump, but for the American people, but you know what Trump believes. They all work “for him.”) Unless you are fairly steeped in government and law, it is truly difficult to relate the seriousness of this suppression, and that’s before we even know what’s in the complaint! For all we know, the complaint contains proof that “President” Trump sold U.S. secrets for cold cash, costing American lives. It probably isn’t that blatant, but the point is, we don’t even know what might be within the “urgent” complaint. Here is someone “fairly steeped” in government and law, professor Lawrence Tribe, perhaps the most respect constitutional law scholar, ever. A “higher authority” than the Supreme Law of the Land?! The Acting DNI must think he has divine permission to defy […]
Melania Trump was in Walter Reed Hospital for about a week for a procedure that takes about 45 to 90 minutes on an awake patient, the cauterization of a vein on a kidney to prevent an embolism or aneurism. Normally, if a patient remains in the hospital at all following this procedure, it would be […]
If you’re just now tuning in, Donald Trump has been livid with Fox News for some weeks now. He’s been tweeting vitriol at them, “Remember who put you there!” and asking his friends, “What the hell is wrong with Fox?” Maybe it’s the Murdoch sons, whom Trump describes as “very liberal” but in all events, Fox is not doing what Fox is programmed to do, in Trump’s mind, which is: to 1) agree with him on all things, 2) amplify his positions 3) give him supporting material for his views, which he can then repeat and retweet. That’s their job and boy, today, they really stepped out of line and the cognitive dissonance in Trump’s tiny mind must be banging like an anvil. Shep Smith started out a piece Thursday, “any notion that we’re in a manageable trade dispute with China is now dispelled. This is a trade war. America just fired another shot. And you are about to pay. The trade talks with the Chinese effectively collapsed today. The president announced new tariffs today. The markets were retreated today — in a big way. The Dow was up nearly 300 points. Then the president tweeted about the new tariffs. That was 1:30 this afternoon. See it. Now the Dow is down 228. A more than 500-point plunge. What does this mean?” Well, we can tell you one thing that it means. Trump is furious. It’s bad enough the stock market turned on him, but the same afternoon, Fox News does as well? Here’s what got the ball rolling. …buy agricultural product from the U.S. in large quantities, but did not do so. Additionally, my friend President Xi said that he would stop the sale of Fentanyl to the United States – this never happened, and many Americans continue to die! Trade talks are continuing, and… — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 1, 2019 …We look forward to continuing our positive dialogue with China on a comprehensive Trade Deal, and feel that the future between our two countries will be a very bright one! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 1, 2019 So now Trump’s going to put an additional tariff on China. Could it be that he really believes that a tariff is defined as a check which another government writes to the Treasury, because that’s what he’s been plying his base with, tales of “billions of dollars being deposited into the Treasury.” Unfortunately, that heretic Shep Smith kept going on and explaining things, and there was no discussion of giant checks being written to the government. Smith actually described a tariff as a tax — fancy that? You mean it’s not a check, like Trump says it is? Oh, noes. The WalMart Patriots aren’t going to like this one bit. The moo moos and the flip flips are going up. Here’s what else Smith said: “everything the Chinese sells to the U.S. will be taxed at a higher rate. Every toy, every piece of clothing, every bag of tea, every drop of oil, and American consumers are the ones footing the bill. First, the importers will pay it, then the distributors will pay up, and the stores will pay it, then they will pass it to you. The buck stops with you. You pay. That’s how this works. Always. […]
Roger Stone should perhaps change his name to Rosetta stone, because a lot of people on all ends of the political spectrum are worried what will happen if Stone ends up going to prison. Some are worried about what dirt he might dish on Donald Trump, others are worried about what vengeance he might seek against the people who put him there. Randy Credico is the Mueller investigation witness that Roger Stone has been convicted of threatening. He told a journalist a few months ago that “if Stone goes to jail, I’m a walking dead man.” Michelle Goldberg, New York Times: On Thursday, after the president’s intervention to get Stone a lighter sentence convulsed the Justice Department, I spoke to Credico, a left-wing comedian and activist, and he elaborated on what he’d meant. “The guy goes to prison and I’m to blame, and you’re being called a rat, you’re worried about somebody with a red hat, a MAGA hat, doing a Jack Ruby on you,” he said. His fear has national implications, because a central question in the Stone sentencing is whether Credico truly felt endangered when Stone promised to cause him harm. Despite what the administration’s defenders say, the answer is yes. Credico wrote a letter to the judge regarding his qualms, and the letter has since been picked up by Fox News, who twisted it’s meaning and exploited it for their own purposes. Credico is no stranger to what a term in prison can do to a man. His father was convicted of safe cracking and put behind bars for a decade and came out, understandably, a broken man. That prompted Credico to remark “I would ask for leniency for Hannibal Lecter.” He said this, even though Roger Stone threatened to kidnap his dog and said to him, “Prepare to die! (expletive)” It was out of a combination of anxiety and idealism that, following Stone’s conviction, Credico wrote to the judge in the case, asking that she show Stone mercy. “I don’t want to see a guy go to prison because of me, it’s going to be on my conscience, plus it’s going to anger a lot of people out there who called me a rat,” he told me. Now, because of that letter, Credico finds himself near the center of the unfolding scandal over Donald Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr’s intervention in Stone’s sentencing. His words are being used by Trump allies to argue that the prosecutors in the Stone case went overboard. “Unfortunately, they’re exploiting it for their own agenda,” he said of his letter. […] Yet defenders of Trump and Barr are pointing to Credico’s letter to suggest that they were remedying an injustice, rather than perpetrating one. On Fox News, Katie Pavlich claimed that Credico “said that it was actually a joke and they talk about stuff like that all the time and he actually didn’t feel intimidated.” In the D.O.J.’s updated Stone sentencing memo, Credico’s letter is an important part of the case for a shorter prison term. Credico, the memo said, “asserts that he did not perceive a genuine threat from the defendant but rather stated that ‘I never in any way felt that Stone himself posed a direct physical threat to me or my dog.’” Note the wording: Stone himself. “I never thought Stone personally […]
Today this tweet popped up. Dear Cabinet Officials: Today’s #coronavirus briefing went from bad to worse. Deeply troubling. Some people are saying it may be time to invoke the #25thAmendment. Thoughts? — Hakeem Jeffries (@RepJeffries) April 18, 2020 So, why should we give a damn? This is probably the millionth time someone with sense has called for Trump’s ouster via the 25th Amendment. And Pence, who is the only one who can trigger it, will never, ever do it. Why is this important? For the simple reason that Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) is the Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, one of the main players in the House impeachment proceedings, and a House Democrat close to both Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff. He’s a rising star in Democratic politics, and a powerful voice in the black and progressive Democratic communities. And, most importantly, because Jeffries, a member of the House leadership, would have never issued such a damning tweet if Pelosi and the House Leadership weren’t behind it. I almost titled this “House Leadership Calls for 25th Amendment Invocation,” but that would be going further than Jeffries went. But not a lot further. In short: Nancy Pelosi and the House Democratic leadership are calling for the White House to consider kicking Trump’s ass to the curb via the 25th Amendment. So what in Bog’s name did the stupid son of a bitch say this time? Well, I didn’t watch it. I don’t watch any of his stunt “briefings.” The media pays people hazard pay to stick their heads in that rhetorical sewage pipe every day and extract…something…out of it. Here’s what I’ve gleaned from today’s Two-Minute Hate: I challenge you to try and make sense of this Trump rant pic.twitter.com/4umIOeHle2 — Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 18, 2020 I tried. I really did try to listen to all 39 seconds of it. I felt a blood vessel over my eye start to throb about ten seconds in, and I ceased-and-desisted. He told a blizzard of lies. Nothing new here. CNN has a breakdown of Trump’s daily breakdown. Apparently he tried to claim that having less casualties to COVID-19 than we suffered during World War I is a good thing. Or something. Trump left the poduim at 6:16. (No one reported if he left a trail of diarrhea leakage behind him as he stalked off the stage.) Jeffries posted his tweet 33 minutes later. I have no idea what specifically prompted Jeffries to issue his call to consider a 25th Amendment remedy for Trump today. Maybe Pelosi just had as much of his vitrolic spew as she could handle. Maybe Jeffries just threw his hands up and said “Fuck it, let’s light this candle.” Whatever it was, I guarantee he ran it by Pelosi before posting it. Twitter is a truly ephemeral flavor of social media. 99% plus of all tweets sink without a trace within minutes. This one may well sink right along with the rest of them. But I think it may not. It is a shot fired across the White House’s bow by the House Democrats. For the first time that I’m aware of, a senior member of the House Democratic leadership publicly suggested that the 25th Amendment — the removal of the sitting president because he is mentally unfit for the job — […]
Cue the Pink Panther music, and turn up the midnight oil, “Anonymous” — the White House staffer who penned the scorching editorial in the New York Times and the book, “A Warning” — may have finally been outed by the Trump administration. Now the lead detective on this case will make Inspector Clouseau seem like Hercule Poirot on steroids. Would you believe Peter Navarro, Trump’s painfully inept and embarrassing economic adviser — whom he calls “My Peter?” And Navarro is just one of a team of staffers that have taken it upon themselves to rout out this snake in their grass — and bear in mind, Trump says, he’s “surrounded by snakes” which is his pet name for Never Trumpers. Nobody is safe in Trumpworld, least of all Anonymous. Read this brief back story on the atmosphere in the White House these days and then we’ll get to today’s headline of the deputy national security adviser who’s head is rolling — at least as far as the Department of Energy. Daily Beast: Does the so-called “Senior Administration Official” really exist, or is it just the Failing New York Times with another phony source? If the GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist, the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2018 That view has inspired the West Wing’s efforts this month to purge the White House of perceived subversives, such as Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who testified to Congress about Trump’s phone call with the Ukrainian president. Vindman is not suspected of being Anonymous, but was removed from his NSC post last week in retaliation for his (legally mandatory) testimony before a House panel investigating conduct that led to the president’s impeachment. It’s not clear whether Anonymous actually remains in an administration post, or has moved on. Reporting since his or her Times column has floated a variety of potential culprits. Every administration official who’s been asked has denied being Anonymous. But then that’s what Anonymous said he or she would do. “For now,” the person wrote in A Warning, “if asked, I will strenuously deny I am the author of this book, including when the president demands we each disavow it.” Ooooh, wicked. King Donald doesn’t like that attitude, I’ll warrant. This is what the rack and thumb screws are for. So today, either Anonymous was unmasked, or at least a scapegoat was found and in this political climate, that is the direction we’re going, make no mistake. Either way, deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates is set to be removed from the National Security Council and moved to the Department of Energy because word on the street is she might be Anonymous. Axios: Why it matters: Coates’ working relationship with National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, who elevated her to the deputy role only months ago, has strained amid an effort by some people inside the administration to tag her as “Anonymous” — a charge she has vehemently denied to colleagues. […] Driving the news: As Politico first reported, Coates has been the target of a whisper campaign in recent weeks making a circumstantial case that she was the identity behind an op-ed in the New York Times and later a bestselling book describing a resistance movement against President Trump in his own White House. One of the literary agents […]
Paranoia runs deep. Into your life it will creep. — Buffalo Springfield Donald Trump is sick and tired of disloyalty and so he’s taking action to eliminate it. Trump has found out the hard way that perfection in staffing is a relative concept. People who he blithely sent through the West Wing revolving door a year or two ago are now looking great in retrospect, next to the likes of Rex Tillerson who called him a “fucking moron” or H.R. McMaster who called him an “idiot” and a “dope.” Compared to that, having Reince Priebus, whom he once ordered to kill a fly, back on board is a comfort. Along with Priebus comes Sean Spicer and Hope Hicks, along with Trump’s former body man, John McInteen, who was fired by John Kelly because he had a gambling problem which led to a security clearance issue. McInteen is set up to head the Presidential Personnel Office, which will give him the power to hire everywhere in the federal government. Here we go with “only the best people,” fascist edition. Axios. Why it matters: Trump has increasingly become furious with what he sees as a federal government full of “never-Trumpers.” Administration officials tell Axios Trump feels he’s surrounded by snakes and wants to clear out all the disloyal people. Trump sees McEntee as the ultimate loyalist, and he has assigned him the powerful role of picking personnel across the federal government. What we’re hearing: Trump has been asking for names of people he should fire. Many on the outside are more than happy to oblige. He was furious about former D.C. Attorney Jessie Liu, who he had nominated to serve as the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial crimes, after hearing from a number of people, including Rep. Louie Gohmert, that Liu was someone not to be trusted. This is looking like the beginning of Trump’s version of the SS. They were loyalists to Hitler and charged with ferreting out anybody who wasn’t and disposing of them. Let the purge begin.
This may seem a small thing on it’s face, but it portends a higher reality in Trump world. The aide wasn’t accorded any kind of due process or told specifically what the firing offense was. This kind of ambiguity, along with being thrown off the job suddenly, is not how government workers usually are terminated, to say the very least. This is pure Trump world at it’s worse and it behooves us to take note of it. Here’s a statement from McKenna confirming news. Says there was a complaint lodged against him about “a statement or statements I may have made while on the grounds.” pic.twitter.com/y9LL7O9IxK — Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) March 25, 2020 Who wants to work in an environment where if you dare breathe a criticism or implied criticism of the boss, you’re instantly fired? Or maybe, you’re “Anonymous” the articulate leaker? Paranoia runs deep with respect to that particular personality. And this is the White House, never forget, a place where people have always wanted to work, a place where a position was considered the capstone of a successful career. But under Trump, it’s a petty hell hole — or as John Kelly phrased it, “It’s a horrible place to work.”