Page 10 - The Noise August 2017
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noise newS by cindy cole
the truMping oF an adMiniStration
Since taking office in January, the Administration of President Donald J. Trump has taken some hard knocks. What first looked like house-cleaning has seemingly become a revolving door of staff and high-ranking officials: Sally Yates; Michael Flynn; Preet Bharara; Katie Walsh; James Comey; Michael Dubke; Sean Spicer. Here’s a look at some of the casualties as Mr. Trump employs his reality TV methods to run the government.
Sally yateS
Sally Yates became the acting attorney general when Mr. Trump took office on January 20 having been appointed to the Department of Justice (DOJ) by former President Barack Obama. On January 30, she was fired. Why? For opposing the original travel ban Mr. Trump enacted through executive order seven days after he took office. In a letter directed to DOJ staff, Ms. Yates wrote “At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with the responsibilities of the Department of Justice, nor am I convinced that the executive order is lawful.”
A statement issued by the White House explained her firing saying, “The acting attorney general has betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States.” The travel ban would be suspended by federal court order within days of Ms. Yates’ departure.
It was later reported that, prior to her firing, Ms. Yates had warned the administration about the possibility that incoming National Security Advisor Mike Flynn had misled officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, about communications he had with the Russian ambas- sador to the US. She cautioned that he might be vulnerable to blackmail.
Michael Flynn
Michael Flynn, a retired US Army Lieutenant General, was picked by the Trump Adminis- tration to become its National Security Advisor. He abruptly resigned on February 13 after news leaked that he may have had unlawful interactions with a foreign government prior to Inauguration Day. He admitted to not giving truthful information about the nature of those communications to VP Pence and others in the administration.
In his resignation letter, Mr. Flynn wrote “In the course of my duties as the incoming Na- tional Security Advisor, I held numerous phone calls with foreign counterparts, ministers, and ambassadors.” He said those communications were standard practice and necessary to the transition of US leadership.
“Unfortunately,” he continued, “because of the fast pace of events, I inadvertently briefed the Vice President Elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian Ambassador.”
JaMeS coMey
The first time an FBI director was fired by a president was in 1993 when President Bill Clin- ton fired William S. Sessions, a Reagan appointee. The second time was when James Comey was fired by President Trump on May 9. Interestingly, Mr. Comey was in charge of the inves- tigation into possible collusion with Russia by the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.
Mr. Comey took over the FBI in 2013 during the Obama Administration. When Trump moved in, he had already been under fire for the handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her time as Secretary of State.
When Mr. Comey refused to let up on investigations into Trump campaign ties to Russia and possible interference in the election, the president decided he’d had enough. While
initially denying that Mr. Comey’s canning had anything to do with the Russia probe, in an interview with NBC News, Mr. Trump said “In fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.’” He reportedly told Russian officials in the Oval Office that Mr. Comey was “crazy, a real nut job.”
Congress and the Justice Department have continued to investigate Trump’s ties to Russia. Newly appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller is currently heading the inquiry. His head may be the next one on the chopping block.
Sean Spicer
Sean Spicer’s brief tenure as White House press secretary was embroiled in conflict and controversy. He had a combative relationship with the White House Press Corps and clashed with reporters repeatedly over “fake news” allegations. But he also inspired the term “alter- native facts” which Trump aide Kelly Anne Conway used to defend Mr. Spicer’s statements that Trump’s inauguration crowds were the largest in history when clearly they were not. He was lambasted on social media after calling World War II concentration camps “Holocaust centers” and, in criticizing Russia’s alliance with Syria, stated Adolf Hitler “didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.”
Information given to the press corps by Mr. Spicer was frequently contradicted by the president later on. He blocked news agencies like CNN and The New York Times from press briefings. Eventually, he reduced the number of on-camera press briefings and seemed to drop out of the public eye for a while. Word leaked out from the White House that the presi- dent wasn’t happy with Mr. Spicer’s job performance.
But the final straw was when the president appointed Anthony Scaramucci, a Wall Street mogul, as White House Communications Director. Mr. Spicer reportedly told the president that he thought appointing the inexperienced financier would be a mistake. Within hours of Mr. Scaramucci’s acceptance of the position on July 21, Mr. Spicer turned in his letter of resignation. He will serve until sometime in August. “I have no regrets,” he told Fox News in an interview.
What’s the worst thing about Sean Spicer leaving the White House? No more Melissa Mc- Carthy skits on Saturday Night Live.
Michael Short
The most recent fallout of the Trump administration was the resignation of White House Assistant Press Secretary Michael Short. He resigned on July 25, just four days after Mr. Spic- er, when Mr. Scaramucci leaked to news outlet Politico that he intended to fire him. Mr. Short beat him to the punch and left his position the same day.
At press time, it is being speculated that Attorney General Jeff Sessions could be fired. And tensions have been growing between the president and Special Counsel Robert Mueller regarding the Russia investigation, though it isn’t clear whether it’s within Mr. Trump’s jurisdiction to fire him. Rumors have also been circulating that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson might resign but he recently told reporters at the State Department “I’m not going anywhere.” Only time will tell.
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