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herding cats

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Member since: Mon Nov 18, 2013, 03:56 PM
Number of posts: 16,280

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Intel community, Trump administration turning on Mike Flynn

Mike Flynn’s already tense relationships with others in the Trump administration and the intelligence community are growing more fraught after reports that the National Security Adviser breached diplomatic protocols in his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States.

On Friday, one of Flynn’s closest deputies on the National Security Council, senior director for Africa Robin Townley, was informed that the Central Intelligence Agency had rejected his request for an elite security clearance required for service on the NSC, according to two people with direct knowledge of the situation.

That forced Townley, a former Marine intelligence officer who had long maintained a top secret-level security clearance, out of his NSC post, explained the sources, who requested anonymity to discuss sensitive personnel matters.

One of the sources said that the rejection was approved by Trump’s CIA director Mike Pompeo and that it infuriated Flynn and his allies.

Both sources said that the CIA did not offer much explanation for why Townley’s request for so-called “Sensitive Compartmented Information” clearance was rejected. But the sources said that Flynn and his allies believe it was motivated by Townley’s skepticism of the intelligence community’s techniques — sentiments shared by Flynn.

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One person close to Trump said that, within the White House, Flynn is regarded by some as waging “a jihad against the intelligence community.” This person said Flynn is blamed by some people around Trump for trying to turn the new president against the intelligence community during the campaign and transition period, when Trump was openly skeptical about U.S. intelligence findings that Russia meddled in the election to try to help his campaign and damage that of his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.


http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/mike-flynn-nsa-aide-trump-234923


This WH has as many leaks as it has drama.

Rupert Murdoch-owned outlets get only US questions at Trump-Japan press event

President Trump only chose media outlets owned by conservative mogul Rupert Murdoch to ask questions during Friday’s joint press conference with Japanese President Shinzo Abe.

The White House typically says in advance which outlets will be allowed to ask questions of the world leaders during such events, most often on a rotating basis.


Trump called on reporters from the New York Post and Fox Business Network, two outlets that are owned by Murdoch's News Corp. No other American reporters were called on during the press conference.
The Post’s Daniel Halper, who published a book critical of Trump's presidential rival, Hillary Clinton, in 2014, asked Trump about his reaction to a federal court's ruling on Thursday that kept his travel ban inactive. Halper also asked Abe about his response to Trump’s decision to drop out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a multi-country trade deal that included Japan.

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This week, the Financial Times reported that Murdoch sat in on Trump’s interview with The Times of London, which is also owned by News Corp. Murdoch has reportedly sought a closer relationship with Trump after initial skirmishes between Trump and Murdoch's Fox News during the Republican primary.

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/318971-rupert-murdoch-owned-outlets-get-only-us-questions-at-trump-japan


I posted this here earlier today about the WSJ, another Murdoch publication.

Conflict Over Trump Forces Out an Opinion Editor at The Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial features editor has left the paper following tensions over the section drifting in a pro-Donald Trump direction.

News of the departure of Mark Lasswell, who edited op-eds for the Journal, comes as the paper’s internal tensions over Trump have begun to spill into public view. The reliably hawkish, pro-trade, small government conservative Journal op-ed page has been challenged by the rise of the populist, nationalist Trump movement. The Journal’s opinion pages have been a showcase for the intra-right divide over Trump, featuring Trump-sympathetic writers like Bill McGurn alongside anti-Trump columnists such as Bret Stephens. Lasswell appears to be a casualty of that divide, and his dismissal a victory for the pro-Trump faction on the editorial staff.

According to two sources with direct knowledge of the situation, Lasswell was in effect phased out over a period of months from the paper. He took a book leave during the election following conflict with his boss Paul Gigot, the editorial page director, about the extent to which the page should run material sympathetic to Trump.

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According to a source close to Lasswell, the relationship between Lasswell and Gigot broke down in June when Gigot blocked Lasswell from publishing op-eds critical of Trump’s business practices and which raised questions about his alleged ties to Mafia figures. Lasswell asked Gigot for a book leave for the remainder of the election. Gigot, who had been critical of Trump, took a “sudden turn” on the candidate, the source said. In a note to staff on July 5, Gigot announced Lasswell’s leave. The note reads in part:

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/02/conflict-over-trump-forces-out-an-opinion-editor-at-the-wall-street-journal/516318/


Trump is handling his four senior advisers like they're on The Apprentice

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Trump has at least four senior officials vying for alpha status in the West Wing: Conway; Reince Priebus, his chief of staff and nominally the person in charge; Steve Bannon, the chief strategist, who has been the architect of Trump’s early actions; and Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and enforcer.

“Trump famously pits this one against the other,” a top White House official said, recounting the events of the day. “He’s like, ‘So and so is amazing, maybe smarter than you!’ He’ll just tease us.”

To stay on top, being by the President’s side is crucial. Priebus, for example, has a deputy, Katie Walsh, who previously worked with him at the Republican National Committee and who has taken on many of the responsibilities of a traditional White House chief of staff so that Priebus can remain glued to Trump. The situation has irritated the anti-Priebus faction. “Reince is a glorified bodyman,” one longtime Trump adviser said. “I don’t see how he has time for his responsibilities.”

Conway’s lack of clearance for high-level national-security discussions was increasingly leaving her out of the inner circle. Trump frequently asked Conway why she wasn’t in meetings, and Conway had to explain that she was waiting for her top-secret clearance. All that was left, for her to gain the access that her male rivals have, was to finish the training yesterday. But her comments about Ivanka pulled her off track.

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http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/kellyanne-conways-battle-for-trumps-favor


White House considers rewriting Trumps immigration order

Source: Washington Post

The White House is considering rewriting the executive order barring refugees and citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the country, according to officials, indicating the administration may try to restore some aspects of the now-frozen travel ban or replace it with other face-saving measures.

The deliberations come after a panel with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit declined Thursday to immediately reinstate President Trump’s controversial directive. Officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal discussions, said the White House and Justice Department are also mulling whether to ask the full 9th Circuit or the Supreme Court to intervene. Government lawyers could alternatively wage a legal battle in the lower courts to address more squarely whether Trump’s directive violates the constitution.

Still, the White House’s options appear increasingly limited. The 9th Circuit judges indicated some of the administration’s proposed concessions — which presumably could turn into rewrites — don’t go far enough. Government lawyers also cannot undo Trump’s own campaign trail comments about wanting to stop all Muslims from entering the country and his assertion after taking office that Christians would be given priority. That is potentially compelling evidence that even a watered-down order might be intended to discriminate, said Leon Fresco, the deputy assistant attorney general for the Office of Immigration Litigation in President Barack Obama’s Justice Department.

“The problem is this is such a bad case for the government to be making these arguments,” Fresco said.

It is not clear exactly in what ways the White House might rewrite the order, and doing so would not automatically render moot the various lawsuits across the country.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/white-house-considers-rewriting-trumps-immigration-order/2017/02/10/ddcf5a6a-efb5-11e6-b4ff-ac2cf509efe5_story.html?tid=sm_tw&utm_term=.516f6553bf1e

Conflict Over Trump Forces Out an Opinion Editor at The Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial features editor has left the paper following tensions over the section drifting in a pro-Donald Trump direction.

News of the departure of Mark Lasswell, who edited op-eds for the Journal, comes as the paper’s internal tensions over Trump have begun to spill into public view. The reliably hawkish, pro-trade, small government conservative Journal op-ed page has been challenged by the rise of the populist, nationalist Trump movement. The Journal’s opinion pages have been a showcase for the intra-right divide over Trump, featuring Trump-sympathetic writers like Bill McGurn alongside anti-Trump columnists such as Bret Stephens. Lasswell appears to be a casualty of that divide, and his dismissal a victory for the pro-Trump faction on the editorial staff.

According to two sources with direct knowledge of the situation, Lasswell was in effect phased out over a period of months from the paper. He took a book leave during the election following conflict with his boss Paul Gigot, the editorial page director, about the extent to which the page should run material sympathetic to Trump.

<>

According to a source close to Lasswell, the relationship between Lasswell and Gigot broke down in June when Gigot blocked Lasswell from publishing op-eds critical of Trump’s business practices and which raised questions about his alleged ties to Mafia figures. Lasswell asked Gigot for a book leave for the remainder of the election. Gigot, who had been critical of Trump, took a “sudden turn” on the candidate, the source said. In a note to staff on July 5, Gigot announced Lasswell’s leave. The note reads in part:

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/02/conflict-over-trump-forces-out-an-opinion-editor-at-the-wall-street-journal/516318/

Senior law enforcement officials urge Trump to scrap 'ineffective' crime plan

Source: The Guardian

Dozens of senior law enforcement officials have urged Donald Trump to abandon his draconian crackdown on crime and to instead revive efforts to reform the criminal justice system.

In a report co-written by David Brown, the former Dallas police chief widely praised for his response to the killing of five officers last year, the officials said Trump should rethink his blunt law-and-order plans.

“Decades of experience have convinced us of a sobering reality: today’s crime policies, which too often rely only on jail and prison, are simply ineffective in preserving public safety,” they said.

The report was published on Friday by Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration, a coalition of more than 200 current and former senior police officers and prosecutors.

They criticized an executive order on crime fighting signed by Trump on Thursday, saying that the president had encouraged police officers to focus on general lawbreaking rather than to target violent crime.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/feb/10/trump-crime-law-enforcement-criticism

GEORGIA: Congressional GOP Aides Driven From Room With SHAME! Chants By Trump Protesters

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:

The protests that have rocked Republican town hall meetings across the nation have arrived in Georgia. Dozens of protesters packed a meeting on Friday in Greensboro hosted by aides to U.S. Sens. David Perdue and Johnny Isakson and Rep. Jody Hice. The trio of Republicans, though, was not there.

The meeting – which a Hice spokesman characterized as a routine “constituent service day” featuring private sessions with local residents – is one of the first Republican congressional events in Georgia since Donald Trump’s inauguration. About a half-dozen congressional aides briefly addressed the crowd, telling them the event was not a town hall and they would take no questions from the floor. They left after crowd members chanted “shame, shame, shame.”

Many in the crowd of hundreds drove in from metro Atlanta or Athens, a where a protest group organized a carpool convoy to the event. About half of the group applauded when asked if they lived in Hice’s northeast Georgia district, a deeply-conservative district which includes much of the Democratic bastion of Athens. The lawmakers’ aides said the event was never meant to be a traditional town hall meeting.

http://www.joemygod.com/2017/02/10/georgia-congressional-gop-aides-driven-room-shame-chants-trump-protesters-video/


Video at link!

Taboo Italian Thinker Is Enigma to Many, but Not to Bannon

ROME — Those trying to divine the roots of Stephen K. Bannon’s dark and at times apocalyptic worldview have repeatedly combed over a speech that Mr. Bannon, President Trump’s ideological guru, made in 2014 to a Vatican conference, where he expounded on Islam, populism and capitalism.

But for all the examination of those remarks, a passing reference by Mr. Bannon to an esoteric Italian philosopher has gone little noticed, except perhaps by scholars and followers of the deeply taboo, Nazi-affiliated thinker, Julius Evola.

“The fact that Bannon even knows Evola is significant,” said Mark Sedgwick, a leading scholar of Traditionalists at Aarhus University in Denmark.

Evola, who died in 1974, wrote on everything from Eastern religions to the metaphysics of sex to alchemy. But he is best known as a leading proponent of Traditionalism, a worldview popular in far-right and alternative religious circles that believes progress and equality are poisonous illusions.

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Mr. Spencer said “it means a tremendous amount” that Mr. Bannon was aware of Evola and other Traditionalist thinkers.

“Even if he hasn’t fully imbibed them and been changed by them, he is at least open to them,” he said. “He at least recognizes that they are there. That is a stark difference to the American conservative movement that either was ignorant of them or attempted to suppress them.”


https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/10/world/europe/bannon-vatican-julius-evola-fascism.html?smid=tw-nytimesworld&smtyp=cur


Top commander: Russia 'legitimizing' Taliban to undermine US, NATO

Source: The Hill

Russia is trying to legitimize the Taliban in order to undermine the United States and NATO, the top U.S. general in Afghanistan said Thursday.

“The Russian involvement this year has become more difficult,” Gen. John Nicholson told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “First, they have begun to publicly legitimize the Taliban. This narrative that they promote is that the Taliban are fighting Islamic State and the Afghan government is not fighting Islamic State and that therefore there could be spillover of this group into the region. This is a false narrative.”

“I believe its intent is to undermine the United States and NATO,” he later added.

Nicholson was testifying about the current situation in Afghanistan, which he called a stalemate that he needs a few thousand more troops to break.

Among the challenges in the country are the actions of external actors such as Pakistan, Iran and Russia, Nicholson said.

He said Russia's meddling in Afghanistan started in 2016 and continues to increase.

Read more: http://thehill.com/policy/defense/318741-top-commander-russia-legitimizing-taliban-to-undermine-us-nato
Posted by herding cats | Thu Feb 9, 2017, 02:37 PM (5 replies)

Trump contradicts Gorsuch spokesman, accuses Blumenthal of misrepresenting comments

Source: The Hill

President Trump on Thursday contradicted a spokesman for his Supreme Court nominee in a tweet blasting Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who told reporters that Judge Neil Gorsuch called Trump's tweets attacking federal judges "demoralizing."

"Sen.Richard Blumenthal, who never fought in Vietnam when he said for years he had (major lie),now misrepresents what Judge Gorsuch told him?" the president tweeted Thursday morning.

Blumenthal said Wednesday that Gorsuch called Trump's tweets attacking federal judges "disheartening" and "demoralizing."

In a later statement, Blumenthal urged Gorsuch to make his concerns public.

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A spokesman for Gorsuch later confirmed to CNN that the judge used the terms "disheartening" and "demoralizing" to describe Trump's tweets during his meeting with the Blumenthal.



Read more: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/318646-trump-blumenthal-misrepresents-what-gorsuch-told-him
Posted by herding cats | Thu Feb 9, 2017, 09:09 AM (7 replies)
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