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Breaking: Entire Senior Management Team at the State Department Has Resigned

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Mass Exodus at Foggy Bottom

Four top State Department officials resigned Wednesday afternoon, just five days after two other top officials quit. The Washington Post Thursday morning reports, “The State Department’s entire senior management team just resigned.”

All are “career foreign service officers who have served under both Republican and Democratic administrations.”

Among them are Patrick Kennedy (photo), a nine-year veteran of the State Dept., who served as undersecretary for management. 

Washington Post foreign policy and national security opinion writer Josh Rogin, breaking the news, notes that Trump Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson, who has yet to be confirmed by the full Senate, “was actually inside the State Department’s headquarters in Foggy Bottom on Wednesday, taking meetings and getting the lay of the land.”

Some might consider that inappropriate.

“Then suddenly on Wednesday afternoon, Kennedy and three of his top officials resigned unexpectedly, four State Department officials confirmed. Assistant Secretary of State for Administration Joyce Anne Barr, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Michele Bond and Ambassador Gentry O. Smith, director of the Office of Foreign Missions, followed him out the door.”

Rogin adds that “Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Gregory Starr retired Jan. 20, and the director of the Bureau of Overseas Building Operations, Lydia Muniz, departed the same day. That amounts to a near-complete housecleaning of all the senior officials that deal with managing the State Department, its overseas posts and its people.”

Secretary of State John Kerry’s State Department chief of staff, David Wade, tells Rogin the mass exodus is “the single biggest simultaneous departure of institutional memory that anyone can remember, and that’s incredibly difficult to replicate.”

He adds, “Department expertise in security, management, administrative and consular positions in particular are very difficult to replicate and particularly difficult to find in the private sector.”

“These retirements are a big loss. They leave a void. These are very difficult people to replace,” Wade says.

Rogin reports the State Department workforce “is panicked about what the Trump administration means for them.”

The Wall Street Journal has a bit of a different spin, reporting “a majority were asked to leave by the Trump administration, a person familiar with the situation said.” Whether or not the Trump administration specifically asked them to leave has not been confirmed, but the Trump administration has, for the most part, asked all presidential appointees, including State Dept. Ambassadors, to resign effective Jan. 20. 

Regardless of whose choice it was, it is a tremendous loss. Kennedy, for example, has been in foreign service since 1973.

“Of course the incoming administration has a right to replace whatever under secretaries and assistant secretaries they’d like to,” Nicholas Burns, a former under secretary of state for political affairs and longtime diplomat, told the Journal. “Normally the outgoing person would stay in the job until his or her successor is confirmed. What you don’t want to have is a vacuum without senior leadership.”

The Trump transition team took a good deal of heat after it was revealed the head of the Washington, D.C. National Guard was requested to resign as of 12:01 PM on the day of Trump’s inauguration, during the moment he was in fact protecting the people who came to see the new president be sworn in. Days later, after tremendous outrage, he was asked to stay an extra three days. He chose not to.

Image by U.S. Department of State via Flickr

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OPINION

‘Stop Bringing Up Nazis and Hitler’: Marjorie Taylor Greene Smacked Down by Democrats

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U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was strongly criticized by two Democratic Congressmen after the Georgia Republican’s remarks about “Ukrainian Nazis” and her attempts to paint Ukrainians as Nazis.

“Stop bringing up Nazis and Hitler,” U.S. Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL) urged, after Greene’s remarks suggesting there is a large Nazi problem in Ukraine, during a House Oversight Committee hearing. “The only people who know about Nazis and Hitler are the 10 million people and their families who lost their loved ones, generations of people who were wiped out. It is enough of this disgusting behavior, using Nazis as propaganda. You want to talk about Nazis, get yourself over to the Holocaust Museum. You go see what Nazis did. It’s despicable that we use that and we allow it and we sit here like somehow it’s regular.”

Moskowitz began by telling the Committee his “grandparents escaped the Holocaust.”

“So my grandmother was part of the Kindertransport out of Germany. Her parents were killed in Auschwitz. My grandfather, her husband escaped Poland, from the pogroms,” he continued.

READ MORE: ‘Used by the Russians’: Moskowitz Mocks Comer’s Biden Impeachment Failure

“There are no concentration camps in Ukraine. They’re not taking babies and shooting them in the air ’cause they’re Jewish. There’s no gas chambers. There’s no ovens. They’re not railing people in, they’re not ripping gold out of people’s mouth. They’re not taking stuff out of their home. They’re not trying to erase a people. They’re Ukrainians.”

Greene’s remarks over the weekend had caused anger.

“It’s antisemitic to make Israeli aid contingent on funding Ukrainian Nazis,” Congresswoman Greene declared Sunday from her official government social media account, as legislation to support Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan moved to the top of Speaker Mike Johnson’s priority list in the wake of Iran’s attack on Israel. Her implication appeared to be Ukrainians are Nazis – a Putin talking point.

Greene on Wednesday spent several minutes again implying there are many Nazis in Ukraine, as she was refuted by a top scholar, Yale professor of history Timothy Snyder. Dr. Snyder is the author of a dozen books, including two on Nazis and the Holocaust, and is an expert on the Holocaust, Central and Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union, and serves on the Council on Foreign Relations.

Responding to Greene’s remarks, Snyder told the lawmakers, “no far-right party has ever crossed three percent” in a Ukrainian election.

READ MORE: ‘Scared to Death’: GOP Ex-Congressman Brings Hammer Down on ‘Weak’ Trump

Greene was also criticized by U.S. Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-FL), who called her out for her “hypocrisy” and reminded her that in 2022 she “spoke at event led by white supremacists.”

That event was hosted by white supremacist Nick Fuentes:

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Big Journalism Fail’: Mainstream Media Blasted Over Coverage of Historic Trump Trial

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‘Used by the Russians’: Moskowitz Mocks Comer’s Biden Impeachment Failure

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After Democratic House Oversight Committee Ranking Member Jamie Raskin blasted Republican Chairman Jim Comer, declaring “somebody needs therapy here” during a heated verbal brawl Wednesday afternoon, U.S. Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL) mockingly urged committee members to come together to “begin Comer’s therapy session.”

In a viral three-minute walkthrough of the discredited far-right wing chairman’s efforts, including making false claims and use, as Moskowitz noted, Russian disinformation to try to build a case against President Joe Biden, the Florida Democrat appeared to put the final nail in the impeachment coffin.

Moskowitz told the committee members Chairman Comer has to “face the fact that he was taken by the Russians,” and “was used by the Russians.” He also noted the committee has “already lost” Comer “to Russian propaganda.”

“I mean, we got to build a forcefield around the Chairman to make sure we don’t lose him to Chinese propaganda as well.”

READ MORE: ‘Big Journalism Fail’: Mainstream Media Blasted Over Coverage of Historic Trump Trial

Moskowitz made clear, through his well-known wit, that Comer “no longer has impeachment” as an option to use against President Biden.

The video has gone viral, with over 175,000 views in just over one hour.

Read the transcript of Moskowitz’s remarks and watch the video below or at this link.

“Let me start by saying, obviously Chairman Comer’s not here, but I think in light of what we witnessed earlier, I think it’s important that together as a committee that we begin, Chairman Comer’s therapy session, right. You know, a member of the other side wanted to confirm what the title of the hearing was, right, Chinese propaganda. Well, we know the title of the hearing certainly isn’t about impeachment anymore. And Chairman Comer has suffered tremendous loss, and we all know in our life, what it’s like to suffer tremendous loss. There’s all sorts of different stages of grief and that’s the loss obviously, of his of his impeachment hearing. And everyone deals with that in different ways and sometimes it takes time to grieve and struggle and and fill that hole that void that now exists now that he no longer has impeachment.”

“The only way we as a committee are going to help Chairman Comer get better is we have to get to the root cause. Right? So for today’s therapy session, okay, I want to talk about denial. Right? The denial that the impeachment hearings are over, and the denial, obviously, that he started with the 1023 form, which was Russian disinformation. And so, you know, Chairman Comer’s psychology teaches us that, you know, someone might be like him, using denial as a defense mechanism. And signs include that you refuse to talk about the problem. You find ways to justify your behavior, you blame other people or outside forces for causing the problem. You persist in your behavior by consequences. You promise to address the problem, maybe in the future, or you avoid thinking about the problem. And so in addition to these signs that Chairman comer has been displaying, as we saw at the beginning, he also might be feeling hopeless or helpless.”

READ MORE: ‘Scared to Death’: GOP Ex-Congressman Brings Hammer Down on ‘Weak’ Trump

“I just want the chairman to know that we’re pulling for him. We really we really are. I know, I know. It’s been hard to become someone who was used by the Russians. But the good news is, is that he’s this hearing today on Chinese propaganda, because we’ve already lost him to Russian propaganda. I mean, we got to build a forcefield around the chairman to make sure we don’t lose him to Chinese propaganda, as well.”

“In fact, you can see behind me, these are quotes from the chairman, Chairman Comer. Every single solitary time and there are hundreds more that he went on TV in interviews and talked about this 1023 form, which was all Russian disinformation. But we gotta make the Chairman understand that it’s going to be okay. We will get him through this, but he’s got to recognize, gotta recognize that denial is not just a river in Egypt. He’s gonna have to face the fact that he was taken by the Russians.”

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OPINION

‘Big Journalism Fail’: Mainstream Media Blasted Over Coverage of Historic Trump Trial

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The media’s ability to shape public opinion is well-documented, and by the end of the second day of the first criminal trial in history of a former U.S. president critics are slamming the content, framing, and focus of mainstream media organizations. The biggest concerns: refusing to cover the former president’s apparent inability to stay awake in court, too much identifying information of potential and chosen jurors, and even subtle descriptions that can be used to feed into false perceptions the trial is “unfair” or, as the ex-president likes to say, a “scam.”

Overnight, CNN’s Oliver Darcy’s “Reliable Sources” newsletter blasted mainstream media outlets that “strangely show little interest in reporting on Donald Trump’s courtroom naps.”

“Imagine, for a moment, if President Joe Biden were to be caught openly sleeping at an important hearing,” Darcy posits. Trump was caught “nodding” off repeatedly several times over the first two days of trial (there is not trial Wednesdays). “Then imagine it were to occur at another important hearing the next day. Not only would right-wing media outlets like Fox News run wild with coverage questioning his fitness for office, mainstream news organizations would no doubt also treat the snooze fest as a serious news story. But, for some unknown reason, Donald Trump falling asleep at his historic criminal trial in New York (as he apparently did, again, on Tuesday) has been met with a rather muted response.”

READ MORE: SCOTUS Justices Appear to Want to Toss Obstruction Charges Against Some J6 Defendants: Experts

Noting, “It’s important,” Darcy asks, “why has much of the press fallen asleep at the wheel?” and serves up some examples – or lack thereof.

“ABC News and NBC News didn’t even bother mentioning it on their evening newscasts and many major outlets haven’t even filed straight stories on it. To be frank, if not for The NYT’s Maggie Haberman reporting on the matter Tuesday, it’s unclear whether the public — which is relying on news organizations to be its eyes and ears in the courtroom, given cameras are barred — would know about it.”

“It’s all the more bizarre given that Trump has made attacking ‘sleepy Joe’ a central tenet of his campaign, framing the president as lacking the stamina to serve in the nation’s highest office. Which is to say, the fact that Trump is the one apparently unable to stay awake in his own criminal trial isn’t a trivial story.”

Jennifer Schulze, a media critic who was a Chicago Sun-Times executive producer, WGN news director, and adjunct college professor of journalism, pointing to Darcy’s criticism, calls it “a big journalism fail.”

READ MORE: ‘Scared to Death’: GOP Ex-Congressman Brings Hammer Down on ‘Weak’ Trump

The ex-president is facing 34 felony counts for falsification of business records when he paid hush money to an adult film actress then allegedly tried to cover it up, which some say is election interference.

New York State Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan is overseeing the Trump trial, and ordered the identities of all jurors and prospective jurors to remain anonymous. Trump has a proven track record of alleged attempts to intimidate witnesses, judges, prosecutors, and others involved in his trials.

Some are concerned the media went too far in posting and publishing some possibly identifying information internet sleuths could use to piece together their names.

“There is seriously far, far too much identifying information about prospective jurors, several of whom are now empaneled, coming out in the press,” warned attorney and author Luppe B. Luppen.

Here’s how Fox News host Jesse Watters used that information to target one empaneled juror, while attempting to discredit the trial.

Fox News’ Sean Hannity went after “Juror Number One,” who is the foreperson.

It is not just Fox News targeting jurors.

Even The New York Times’ coverage of jurors drew the ire of critics.

READ MORE: ‘Your Client Is a Criminal Defendant’: Judge Denies Trump Request to Skip Trial for SCOTUS

Here’s how The Times’ Jonah Bromwich reported on the jury foreperson:

“The foreperson who was just selected — that’s juror one, the de facto leader of the group who will likely help steer deliberations — works in sales and enjoys the outdoors. He is originally from Ireland, but will help decide the former American president’s fate.”

University of Wisconsin—Madison professor of political science, who has a Ph.D. in Government, criticized the Times’ reporting.

“100% certain if the foreperson were native born, they would not have written this sentence and used the formulation of ‘former president’ subtly implying the foreperson from Ireland is somehow not a real American.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

 

 

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