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Watchdog Group Investigating if Steve Mnuchin and Louise Linton Used Federal Government Plane to View Eclipse

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Mnuchin and Linton ‘Headed to Fort Knox With McConnell After the Lunch to Tour the Bullion Reserve at the Army Post and View the Eclipse’

Louise Linton‘s passive-aggressive comments on her Instagram post showing her and her husband, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, exiting a federal government plane were the focus of many news articles Tuesday. Linton had bragged about all the designer brands she was wearing in the photo, which led to social media users chastising her. Her responses reeked of privilege, and her two-sentence “apology,” issued by her publicist, didn’t help any.

But today Linton and Mnuchin may need a different kind of help, help that a publicist can’t provide.

A watchdog group is demanding to know why Mnuchin was allowed to use a federal government plane for the couple’s trip to Kentucky that she so famously documented, when policy and procedure state domestic travel for cabinet members is usually made on commercial airlines. 

According to a Monday report in the Courier-Journal, “Mnuchin, 54, was accompanied by his new wife, actress and producer Louise Linton, who is 36. The two were headed to Fort Knox with McConnell after the lunch to tour the bullion reserve at the Army post and view the eclipse.”

It’s that last part that drew the attention of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) a non-partisan DC-based non-profit.

Did Mnuchin and Linton take a government plane so they could use it to see Monday’s historic solar eclipse?

CREW is requestingcopies of all records concerning authorization for and the costs of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s use of a government plane to travel to Lexington, Kentucky on Monday, August 21, accompanied by his wife Louise Linton,” and “copies of all records concerning authorization for and the costs of Secretary Mnuchin’s use of a government plane for any purpose since his appointment as Treasury Secretary.”

In other words, has Mnuchin been using federal government planes since he’s become Treasury Secretary? While not illegal if approved, his job is presumably in part to help improve America’s finances, and using federal government planes would not do that. And like Linton’s Instagram comments, would be yet another example of privilege run amok. 

“The requested records would shed light on the justification for Secretary Mnuchin’s use of a government plane, rather than a commercial flight, for a trip that seems to have been planned around the solar eclipse and to enable the Secretary to secure a viewpoint in the path of the eclipse’s totality,” CREW says on its website. “At a time of expected deep cuts to the federal budget, the taxpayers have a significant interest in learning the extent to which Secretary Mnuchin has used government planes for travel in lieu of commercial planes, and the justification for that use.”

Linton apparently has a talent for courting attention.

This is not Linton’s first encounter with controversy,” Yashar Ali wrote at HuffPost of Linton’s Instagram comments. “In 2016, Linton came under fire for her self-published memoir, In Congo’s Shadow, which detailed her time as a student in Zambia. In July of 2016, Zambians, and their advocates, criticized Linton’s portrayal of Zambia as a war-torn, poverty-stricken nation with wild animals running through the streets. Linton was also criticized for portraying herself as a white savior. Under pressure, Linton withdrew the book from sale and pledged to give any proceeds to charity. The actress actually dressed as Marie Antoinette in a 2007 episode of ‘CSI: NY.’

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Image by Linda Thomas-Fowler via Flickr and a CC license

Hat tip: Uproxx

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'CLARIFYING THINGS'

Mark Meadows Retweets Trump’s Denial He Tested Positive for COVID Before Debate – a Fact That Appears in Meadows’ Book

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Less than 24 hours after former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows appeared to agree to cooperate with the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, news broke that The Guardian had obtained a copy of his new book, and from it the revelation that three days before appearing on stage with Joe Biden at the Sept. 26 presidential debate the then-president, Donald Trump, had tested positive for coronavirus.

Never mind that a second test showed a negative result – one Harvard epidemiologist says that merely meant Trump was not yet infectious but he was, by the debate, “blazing positive” but decided to go on a potentially infect countless others. That act, the noted disease specialist and professors says, “was a massive, dangerous and likely intentional decision.”

Trump, as usual, especially in recent days, issued a quick statement via his spokesperson, this time denying the revelation in Meadows’ book, a revelation The Washington Post Wednesday afternoon reported it had confirmed with two other former Trump aides.

What is stunning is that, as Politico National Political Correspondent Meridith McGraw notes, Meadows himself retweeted Trump’s statement of denial:

The Washington Post also notes that at least six people close to Trump tested positive for coronavirus shortly after the debate, including Melania Trump, Hope Hicks, Stephen Miller, and Kayleigh McEnany.

“Trump on Wednesday was furious that Meadows revealed the anecdote in his forthcoming book and that it was published via the liberal-leaning Guardian website, according to a person familiar with the former president’s reaction, who requested anonymity to reveal a private conversation,” the Post adds. “Meadows through an emissary has offered to put out a statement ‘clarifying things,’ but that offer was rejected, the person said.”

Which is likely why he decided to retweet Trump’s statement.

Writer and political activist Don Winslow has another take on the day’s events:

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BREAKING NEWS

Watch: Stacey Abrams Announces She’s Running for Governor of Georgia

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Stacey Abrams has just announced she is running for governor of Georgia. Abrams, the former Minority Leader of the Georgia House of Representatives for more than six years ran for governor in 2018, losing by a slim margin to then Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp in a race many saw as tainted by his voter suppression actions.

Abrams went on to become a highly-effective voting rights advocate and activist, and many credit her with helping elect Joe Biden president by helping him win the state by registering an estimated 800,000 more voters.

Watch:

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'PRETTY STARK DIFFERENCE'

‘The Former President Was Suggesting People Inject Bleach’: Psaki Smacks Down Doocy Over COVID Deaths

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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was quick to scuttle Fox News’ president anti-Biden propagandist after he tried to turn today’s news about then-President Donald Trump hiding the results of his positive COVID test barely days before standing on stage with Joe Biden at a Sept. 2020 debate into a story about President Joe Biden’s success in scuttling the pandemic.

“There’s a lot of talk about the first Trump-Biden debate today,” Doocy began. “But at the second one in 2021, roughly 220,000 Americans had already died of COVID. Joe Biden said about Trump, ‘anyone who was responsible for that many deaths should not remain as President of the United States of America.’ Is that still the standard now that more Americans have died under President Biden?

“I think the fundamental question here is what are you doing to save lives and protect people?” Psaki responded, with a tinge of anger. “And the former president was suggesting people inject bleach. He apparently, reportedly didn’t even share with people he was going to interact with that he had tested positive for COVID himself. He continued to provide a forum for misinformation, which probably led to people not getting, not taking steps forward to get to protect themselves, to wear a mask, to eventually get vaccinated. This President has made the vaccine widely available. He’s relied on the health – the advice of his health and medical experts, and he is trying to be a part of solving this crisis, getting the pandemic under control. And I think there’s a pretty stark difference between their approaches. ”

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