Even Conway Can’t Sufficiently Defend Trump’s Not Firing Flynn Last MonthÂ â€“ Because He Should Have
Matt Lauer held Kellyanne Conway’s feet to the fire over the Trump administration’s handling of the Michael Flynn scandal which erupted late Monday night with the retired general’s resignation as National Security Advisor.Â
Flynn had repeated calls with Russian officials and as they regularly do, America’s intelligence agencies reportedly were able to listen to those conversations. Sally Yates, the acting head of the Dept. of Justice told the Trump administration, presumably President Trump, in January that Flynn was susceptible to being blackmailed by the Russians yet Trump took no action.
Flynn reportedly also talked with Russian officials about President Obama’s sanctions, but later lied to Vice President Pence, claiming he had not.
On Tuesday’s “Today” show, host Matt Lauer discussed the administration’s failure to act.
Lauer pointed out that as late as Monday afternoon Conway publicly stated Flynn had the president’s full support. “So had he not resigned the president would have continued with him as National Security Advisor,” an incredulous Lauer asked Conway, “even though he misled the vice president and the administration about the contents of that call?”
Conway delivered a les-then credible response, so Lauer interrupted.
“So wait a minuteÂ â€“ you’re saying that was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” he said, of the admittance by Flynn he “misled” Pence when he falsely claimed to not have discussed sanctions with Russian officials. “The White House knew about that last month,” Lauer reminded Conway. “The Justice Dept. warned the White House that General Flynn had not been completely honest in characterizing that conversation with the Russian ambassador.”
Lauer, who generally does not hold hard-hitting interviews, didn’t stop there.
“They even went further to say as a result of that dishonesty, he was at risk for blackmailing by the Russians,” Lauer concluded.
“Well, that’s one characterization,” she said, reminiscent of her infamous “alternative facts” remarks. “But the fact is that Gen. Flynn continued in that position and was in the presidential daily briefings, was part of the leader calls, as recently as yesterday.”Â
Conway did not seem to understand that Flynn’s presence was a problem, not the sign of a healthy administration.
“Kellyanne,” Lauer interrupted again, “that makes no sense.”Â
“Last month the Justice Dept. warned the White House that Gen. Flynn had misled them and as a result he was vulnerable to blackmail, and at that moment he still had the complete trust of the president?”
Conway could only respond with, “Matt, I’m telling you what the president has said,” and “we’re moving on.”
â€” TODAY (@TODAYshow) February 14, 2017
Some responses via Twitter:
Wow Matt Lauer is breaking down Kellyanne Conway point by point. She looks exhausted. Not on her game today.
â€” Kyle MacDonald (@thatkylemac) February 14, 2017
â€” Giggle Tornado (@giggle_tornado) February 14, 2017
Kellyanne Conway is showing signs of stress & wear. She isn’t holding her own very well well Matt Lauer on the Today Show. #investigateflynn
â€” RogueWhiteHouse (@whitehouserogue) February 14, 2017
â€” Eli Gerzon (@eligerzon) February 14, 2017
Wow! Even Matt Lauer is asking tough questions and pressing Conway. Never thought I would see that. KAC seems to be wilting. https://t.co/2bwWhRn5lx
â€” Nancy O. (@neob82201) February 14, 2017
Bravo, bravo Matt Lauer for taking KellyAnne Conway to task today! Finally, someone tells the Trump camp that “this doesn’t make sense”…
â€” Day (@DayNewYork) February 14, 2017
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Burn Bags and Use of Personal Email: Justices’ Security Practices Even Worse Than Leak Investigation Showed
Multiple sources familiar with the court’s operations told CNN that justices often used personal email accounts for sensitive communications, employees used printers that didn’t produce logs and “burn bags” to collect sensitive materials for destruction were often left open and unattended in hallways.
“This has been going on for years,” one former employee said.
Some justices were slow to adopt email technology — they were “not masters of information security protocol,” according to one source — and court employees were afraid to confront them over the security risks.
Supreme Court marshal Gail Curley in her investigative report noted that printer logs intended to track document production were insufficient, but a former employee said employees who had VPN access could print documents from any computer, and remote work during COVID-19 shutdowns and otherwise meant draft opinions could have been taken from the building in violation of court guidelines.
Curley’s report noted that court methods for destroying sensitive documents should be improved, but three employees said striped burn bags supplied to chambers were often left sitting out unattended, and each justice had their own protocols for disposing of court documents.
A source familiar with court security practices said some colleagues stapled burn bags shut, while others filled them to capacity and left them near their desks, and others simply left them sitting in hallways where anyone with access to non-public areas could have taken sensitive materials.
Ethics Complaint Against Sinema Urges Investigation Into Staffers’ Duties and Her Possible ‘Abuse of Taxpayer Dollars’
If you are hired to work in Senator Kyrsten Sinema‘s office on Capitol Hill there is a 37-page memo you’ll want to read detailing all the responsibilities her staffers are required to perform, from getting her groceries, calling Verizon and going to her D.C. home to wait for a repair person if the internet goes out, scheduling massages, and ensuring her very detailed airplane requirements are met.
“It is your job to make her as comfortable as possible on each flight,” the memo says, as The Daily Beast first reported in December.
But now a group of 13 non-profit organizations have joined to file an ethics complaint against Senator Sinema (I-AZ), a new Daily Beast report reveals Friday, including details from that 37-page memo which the newly-independent lawmaker directed to be drawn up. Dated Thursday, the complaint is titled: “Letter to Senate Ethics Committee Regarding Reports of Sinema Abusing Taxpayer Dollars.”
“Senate Ethics guidelines stipulate that staff should not be asked to perform personal errands for members. This is an unambiguous ethical boundary,” the group’s complaint reads.
It also points to that 37-page memo, which it says, “indicates that staff are required, as a condition of their jobs, to carry out numerous tasks that are outside the scope of public employment, including doing personal errands for the Senator, carrying out household tasks at her private residence, and advancing their own funds for her personal purchases. It makes unreasonably precise scheduling demands, and former staff have confirmed some of the allegations.”
The allegations continue.
“And, most troubling, it calls on staff members, who are employed and paid by the public and explicitly barred from campaign activity, to schedule and facilitate political fundraisers and meetings with campaign donors, presumably during the workday while they are on the clock and physically on federal property.”
“Senate staff are prohibited under your guidelines from engaging in political activity ‘on Senate time, using Senate equipment or facilities.’ While you have not prohibited campaign activity outside work hours, the plain language of the memo clearly implies that Sen. Sinema expects her staff to carry out these scheduling tasks during the workday. And these tasks may separately violate Senate Rule 41.1, which explicitly prohibits Senate employees from ‘solicit[ing]’ campaign funds.”
The complaint also alleges that “Sen. Sinema required her staff to schedule three physical therapy and massage sessions a week related to her training for athletic competitions, and to tightly manage her dietary schedule — while allotting only a 30-minute period on Wednesdays for meetings with the constituents she represents.”
The carefully-worded complaint adds, “the allegations paint a picture of a Senator who is not only unresponsive to her constituents, but also disrespectful and even abusive to her employees and wholly unconcerned about her obligations under the law.”
The Daily Beast has posted a copy of the complaint here.
You can read The Beast’s full report here.
Santos May Owe Thousands in Unpaid Traffic Violation Fines and Fees Across Two States: Report
When he left for Washington, D.C., U.S. Rep. George Santos also appears to have left a string of unpaid traffic violation fines and fees in two states, including red light, double parking, and overtime parking citations totaling thousands of dollars.
The embattled serial liar and freshman New York GOP lawmaker “may owe more than $3,400 in unpaid citations, according to records from New York City and Florida,” CBS News reports.
Included in that total is $1,299.10 from Florida for toll violations that “racked up late fees and were ultimately sent to collections agencies.”
It appears that in November of 2016, as soon as he got his New York driver’s license after having one in Florida, a car previously ticketed via a red light camera whose plates match one registered to Santos “began piling up citations in New York City — 29 in the next two and a half years, according to city government records, which do not identify the drivers of vehicles being ticketed.”
“More than $1,800 in payments were made for 17 citations, but another 12 remain unpaid, with $2,142.61 still due, according to city records.”
CBS News also points to a New York Post report from January revealing “a Nissan Rogue driven frequently by Santos in recent months had been issued speeding tickets at least five times since he was elected on Nov. 8, ‘including four times in school zones.'”
Santos is under numerous state and federal investigations that span the gamut from campaign finance to allegedly stolen charity funds donated to save the life of a veteran’s service dog. The dog died after the vet could not afford to pay for the operation.
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