Trump Team Will Let Go Without Immediate Replacement Heads of Agency Responsible for Ensuring US Nuclear Weapons Are Secure
‘Trump Basically Being Clueless’
Gizmodo has updated its story to state that rather than the Trump transition team asking the heads of the NNSA to leave on Jan. 20, “the Trump transition team has not asked the top two NNSA officials to stay on until they can be replaced.” The effect is the same: as it stand now there will be no leadership at the top of the federal agency that ensure the security of America’s nuclear weapons, and other nuclear materials.
The title has been updated to reflect this change, the story below has not been changed from the original:
The Donald Trump transition team is cleaning house of any and all Obama appointees, and that includes the heads of theÂ National Nuclear Security Administration, the federal government agency responsible for ensuring America’s nuclear weapons are safe and secure.
“According to an official within the Department of Energy, this past Friday, the President-electâ€™s team instructed the head of the National Nuclear Security Administration and his deputy to clean out their desks when Trump takes office on January 20th,” Gizmodo reports.
While it’s customary for all political appointees to resign effective noon on January 20, generally the incoming administration will ask those in key areas for which they have not yet had nominees confirmed to stay until they are replaced. The Trump administration, according to multiple reports, has not done this.
Through #NNSA‘s efforts, 31 countries + Taiwan are now #HEU-free. #uranium #2016inReview https://t.co/6e8LfUtRPk https://t.co/fJr4DfMDFS
â€” NNSA (@NNSANews) December 30, 2016
TheÂ National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), which has a $12.6 billion budget and about 25,000 employees, is “a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science,” according to its website. “NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear explosive testing; works to reduce the global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.”
Gizmodo reports “Trump has ordered Under Secretary for Nuclear Security Frank Klotz and his deputy, Madelyn Creedonâ€”both Obama appointeesâ€”to leave their posts, even if it means no one is in charge of maintaining the countryâ€™s nuclear weapons. According to our Energy Department source, Trumpâ€™s team has yet to nominate anyone to succeed them. Since both positions require Senate confirmation, if could be months before their chairs are filled. And the vacancies may extend beyond the leadership roles.”
â€œThere are scores more appointees within the department,â€ our source told us. â€œSecretarial and administration appointments that donâ€™t require Senate confirmation, mostly performing policy, liaison, and strategic advisory capacities in support of the agency theyâ€™re at. They serve at the will of the head of their agency. Those people are, theoretically, also out on inauguration day unless otherwise directed, which hasnâ€™t happened yet to my knowledge.â€Â
The source later added, â€œIâ€™m more and more coming around to the idea that weâ€™re so very very fucked.â€
While the lack of leadership isn’t an immediate danger, it could place the agency’s actions in disarray and it will leave them without anyone to advocate for their budget, and it will prohibit the agency from beginningÂ any new work.
Bob Rosner, the Co-Chair of the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists tells Gizmodo Trump’s call last month for a nuclear arms race and for enhancing America’s nuclear weapons is “a perfect example of Trump basically being clueless.” Trump “didnâ€™t understand that we have a refurbishment program, according to Rosner.
â€œHe didnâ€™t understand that, under Obama, that weâ€™d rebuilt the entire production complex. So exactly what he would mean by â€˜strengthening the nuclear program,â€™ itâ€™s a bit of a mystery. I donâ€™t know what heâ€™s talking about. Weâ€™ve done it already.â€Â
Here are a few tweets from Klotz and the NNSA explaining what they do:Â
#NNSA ensures AMS aircraft, equipment & team maintain mission readiness during DC proficiency test. https://t.co/gO3Fn6RWse pic.twitter.com/KNMkYGFkaX
â€” Frank Klotz (@FrankKlotzNNSA) January 3, 2017
#NNSA expanded #radiation detection capabilities to 16+ countries. #2016inReview https://t.co/6e8LfUtRPk pic.twitter.com/rsKqEv8ofS
â€” NNSA (@NNSANews) January 6, 2017
You can respond directly to Donald Trump by sending your comments to him on Twitter: @RealDonaldTrump.Â He is onÂ Facebook. The Trump Transition Team is on Twitter: @transition2017
You can also call theÂ US Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for any Senator or Representative.Â
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To comment on this article and other NCRM content,Â visit our Facebook page. To contact NCRM directly you canÂ email us.
Image by NNSA via Flickr and a CC licenseÂ
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DeSantis Kicks Off Presidential Campaign Tour With Claim Teachers Are ‘Forcing’ Students to Pick Pronouns
Governor Ron DeSantis kicked off his official presidential campaign tour on Tuesday, traveling to Iowa after announcing last week he was launching a White House run. On Wednesday, the Republican bragged to GOP voters that in Florida he recently signed a bill into law banning teachers from forcing children to pick pronouns, insisting it is happening in other states.
“It is wrong for a teacher to tell a student that they may have been born in the wrong body, or that their gender is a choice,” DeSantis announced.
“We don’t allow this in the state of Florida, and we actually just signed legislation protecting students from having teachers force them to pick pronouns, which they are doing in some parts of this country, at [a] very, very young age. We’re not competing in the ‘pronoun sweepstakes.’ We’re going to have school just like school’s been, from time in memoriam [sic], we’re not going to do all this other stuff,” he declared.
READ MORE: ‘Will Make a Great Trial Witness’: Experts Thrilled Jack Smith Is Investigating Trump’s Firing of Election Security Expert
While DeSantis is insistent that teachers are forcing very young students to pick pronouns, NCRM found no news reports supporting that claim.
We did find several news reports of teachers suing for not wanting to use a child’s preferred pronoun, which are issues for the courts.
We did find one report of a teacher who allegedly insisted on calling a 9-year old girl who identifies as a girl a boy, and the parents are suing.
News12 on Long Island, New York in March reported, “the lawyer representing the girl’s family…says the student was bullied and had suicidal feelings.”
“She says the teacher told the student to ‘try being gay.’ The teacher is also accused of calling the girl a male name.
‘The teacher had some kind of agenda to have these students have alternate sexual preferences or gender identities they may or may not have had,'” the attorney said.
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In April, Colorado’s KRDO reported, “During the last Colorado Springs School District 11’s board meeting, officials tabled a controversial pronoun policy that would prevent educators from asking students their preferred pronouns. While the policy isn’t in effect, some teachers are concerned about how it would hinder them inside the classroom.”
Watch DeSantis below or at this link.
“We actually just signed legislation protecting students from having teachers force them to pick pronouns, which they are doing in some parts of this country… We’re not competing in the ‘pronoun sweepstakes.’”
— Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) at a presidential campaign event in Iowa pic.twitter.com/vvlk5logUJ
— The Recount (@therecount) May 31, 2023
‘Will Make a Great Trial Witness’: Experts Thrilled Jack Smith Is Investigating Trump’s Firing of Election Security Expert
U.S. Dept. of Justice Special Counsel Jack Smith has subpoenaed former Trump administration staffers possibly involved in the firing of Chris Krebs, a top cybersecurity official who had published a report calling the 2020 presidential election “the most secure in American history,” just days after the election, infuriating then-President Donald Trump.
The New York Times reports the special counsel’s investigators have “been asking witnesses about the events surrounding the firing” of Krebs (photo), who was appointed by Trump to the newly-created position of Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, part of the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security.
Krebs was fired by Trump on November 17, 2020 after tweeting that election fraud claims were bogus: “59 election security experts all agree, ‘in every case of which we are aware, these claims either have been unsubstantiated or are technically incoherent,’” according to The Washington Post.
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“Krebs’s statement amounted to a debunking of Trump’s central claim that the November election was stolen,” The Post reported at the time.
The New York Times on Wednesday reports the Special Counsel’s investigators “appear focused on Mr. Trump’s state of mind around the firing of Mr. Krebs, as well as on establishing a timeline of events leading up to the attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob on Jan. 6, 2021. The latest subpoenas, issued roughly two weeks ago, went to officials in the personnel office, according to the two people familiar with the matter.”
But national security and civil liberties journalist Marcy Wheeler asserts the Special Counsel’s efforts go further.
“I think it likely erroneous to imagine that Jack Smith is getting into Chris Krebs’ firing JUST to get to Trump’s mindset,” Wheeler tweeted. “He fired Krebs for doing something his Admin had specifically bought off on. It was a necessary part of the plot.”
“So,” Wheeler adds, “1) Trump fires Krebs for saying the election was fair 2) Trump fires Esper for saying he couldn’t invoke the Insurrection Act,” referring to then-Trump Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.
“Then he sought about sowing an insurrection based on claims the election wasn’t fair,” she notes.
RELATED: ‘Fired for Telling the Truth to the American People’: Legal Experts Blast Trump for Firing Top Cybersecurity Chief
MSNBC’s Steve Benen agrees, writing: “Presumably, pulling on this thread would also offer investigators additional evidence that the then-president was presented with the truth by his own team, even as he pushed his anti-election lies.”
Andrew Weissmann, the former FBI General Counsel who spent 20 years at DOJ, heralded the Special Counsel’s investigation into the firing of Krebs.
“A very natural thing for Jack to examine as part of plot to overthrow the election. AND Krebs will make a great trial witness for govt.,” Weissmann tweeted.
‘Definitely a Yellow Flag’: DeSantis Campaign Rollout Could Endanger Iowa Megachurch’s Tax Status
Ron DeSantis kicked off his campaign at an Iowa megachurch, whose pastor may have flouted tax-exempt laws.
The Florida governor said last week he would welcome a bill to defund the IRS, but two tax law experts told The Daily Beast that he may be ignoring the Johnson Act prohibiting churches and charities from “participating or intervening, directly or indirectly, in any political campaign on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for public office” by holding his first official campaign event at the Eternity Church in Clive.
“It’s definitely a yellow flag,” said Lloyd Mayer, a professor at the University of Notre Dame.
Mayer and Philip Hackney, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh, agreed the IRS prohibition could kick in if Pastor Jesse Newman spoke in his official capacity at the event.
IN OTHER NEWS: Jack Smith zeroes in on Trump’s firing of his own ‘disloyal’ cybersecurity official: NYT
“As he stands for righteousness and as the vicious onslaughts of those who plan to do wicked come against him,” Newman said at the event, standing at a podium with a DeSantis campaign poster on the front. “I pray [it will] have no effect on him or his family, or his campaign or his desire to stand up for the truth.”
Newman then offered a prayer seeking the governor’s election to higher office.
“God, I pray that all that the enemy means for harm, I believe you’re going to use it for good. We pray this in the name of Jesus,” the pastor said. “Could somebody say ‘Amen’?”
Tax experts say the church could argue it was offering DeSantis the same opportunity as any candidate, and they agreed that Newman’s personal political statements are protected by the First Amendment, but a federal court found in 2000 that the Johnson Amendment — Section 501(c)(3) in the federal code — sets limits when it comes to free speech and political expression by tax-exempt organizations.
The judge in that case affirmed the IRS decision to revoke the tax-exempt status of Church at Pierce Creek of New York, which took out a newspaper ad in 1992 condemning then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton’s support for abortion and LGBTQ rights.
“The government has a compelling interest in maintaining the integrity of the tax system and in not subsidizing partisan political activity, and Section 501(c)(3) is the least restrictive means of accomplishing that,” the court found in that case.
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