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Scandal Swirling Around Hope Hicks Right Now

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The White House is the Swamp

You just can’t make this stuff up.

Ready?

White House Communications Director Hope Hicks is dating White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter.

Porter just resigned after being accused by both of his ex-wives of domestic abuse.

The Intercept’s Ryan Grim tweeted these photos earlier today:

Before Porter resigned the White House issued a statement in support of Porter, despite the graphic allegations that came with photos allegedly proving the reported physical domestic abuse.

Also issuing a statement supporting Porter was the office of Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah.

As it turns out, Hicks allegedly helped draft the statements of support for Porter.

Some are wondering if Hicks drafted the statement from Senator Hatch – more on that in a bit.

Here we go.

On Tuesday, Trump chief of staff John Kelly “strongly defended White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter against disturbing allegations, first published in the Daily Mail, that he abused his ex-wives,” Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman reports.

“Yesterday,” Sherman continues, “Porter’s second wife, Jennifer Willoughby, told the Mail that Porter called her a ‘fucking bitch’ on their honeymoon, and once pulled her naked out of the shower. In response, Kelly put out a statement calling Porter ‘a man of true integrity and honor’ and a ‘trusted professional.’ But shortly after Kelly rallied behind his colleague, Porter’s first wife came forward with additional harrowing allegations.”

Colbie Holderness, who married Porter in 2009, told the Daily Mail that Porter punched her in the face and choked her, among other alleged abuses. The article included a photo of her with a black eye. “It was not hard enough for me to pass out, but it was scary, humiliating, and dehumanizing,” she said. Porter told the Daily Mail that the allegations were “slanderous and simply false.”

Sherman writes, “last week, [Porter] emerged when the Daily Mail reported he’s dating White House Communications Director Hope Hicks.”

In a series of crisis meetings, the statement was drafted by Hicks, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and Kushner’s White House spokesman, Josh Raffel.”

But wait, there’s more.

In a statement Wednesday White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “Rob Porter has been effective in his role as staff secretary. The president and chief of staff have full confidence in his abilities and his performance.”

And, more.

Politico reports White House Chief of staff John Kelly “was previously aware of the 2010 protective order, which prevented Porter from getting a full security clearance.”

So, there was an order of protection against Porter, and he did not have a full security clearance>

And yet…

“As staff secretary, Porter handled every document signed by the president,” Politico reports.

That seems to be a problem.

Then there’s this from Business Insider.

“Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah performed a remarkable about-face on Wednesday after the second major news outlet in a row published allegations of spousal abuse against Rob Porter, Hatch’s former chief of staff.”

When the Daily Mail approached Hatch for comment on the Porter allegations, Hatch berated the outlet for publishing the claims and praised Porter as “kind and considerate” and “principled.”

“It’s incredibly discouraging to see such a vile attack on such a decent man,” Hatch said. “Shame on any publication that would print this — and shame on the politically motivated, morally bankrupt character assassins that would attempt to sully a man’s good name.”

Later, Hatch “issued a remarkably different response.

“I am heartbroken by today’s allegations. In every interaction I’ve had with Rob, he has been courteous, professional, and respectful. My staff loved him and he was a trusted advisor,” Hatch said. “I do not know the details of Rob’s personal life. Domestic violence in any form is abhorrent and unacceptable.”

Some are wondering if Hicks drafted the first hatch response.

If all this weren’t enough, The Washington Post’s Kathleen Parker, a conservative journalist reporting since 1977, is wondering how John Kelly let all this happen:

It’s only Wednesday.

Image via Wikimedia

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AMERICA IN CRISIS

Intelligence Agencies Saw Growing Risk From Coronavirus-Like Outbreak — but Stayed Quiet for Fear of Trump’s Wrath

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U.S. intelligence agencies have been warning against the likelihood of a global pandemic — just as coronavirus seems poised to become — but have recently backed down for fear of angering President Donald Trump.

Intelligence analysts assessed in 2017 and 2018 that a pandemic could strain resources and harm the global economy, but they agreed not to release a public warning so far this year because they’re reluctant to discuss intelligence that might displease the president, officials told NBC News.

“We assess that the United States and the world will remain vulnerable to the next flu pandemic or large-scale outbreak of a contagious disease that could lead to massive rates of death and disability, severely affect the world economy, strain international resources, and increase calls on the United States for support,” said the most recent worldwide threat assessment, issued in January 2019 by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

But so far this year the leaders of intelligence agencies have agreed not to release their threat assessments publicly, which has prevented Congress from getting public testimony about the implications of the outbreak’s impact on the economy and national security.

The intelligence analysis found that outbreaks are being spread from animals to humans, just as COVID-19 is believed to have originated — and analysts even mentioned a close cousin to the coronavirus strain in one report.

Related: Watch: Trump Jr. Falsely Accuses Democrats of Hoping Coronavirus ‘Kills Millions’ to End President’s ‘Streak of Winning’

 

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DISCRIMINATION

Bill Barr’s DOJ Intervenes to Support Lawsuit Filed by Christian Photographer Refusing to Photograph Same-Sex Weddings

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The U.S. Dept. of Justice under Attorney General Bill Barr has intervened in a pre-emptive lawsuit filed by a Kentucky wedding photographer who claims her interpretation of her Christian religion bars her from taking photos of weddings of same-sex couples.

No same-sex couple has ever tried to hire Chelsey Nelson to photograph their nuptials, but her attorneys, the far right wing Alliance Defending Freedom, filed the lawsuit against Louisville city officials anyway, according to the AP. The ADF appears on the Southern Poverty Law Center list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups.

And now the Justice Dept. in a 23-page “statement of interest” says the “Court should find that Plaintiffs have demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits.”

In other words, the DOJ has told the court hearing her case directly that it agrees with the ADF.

The Louisville law bans businesses from discriminating against LGBTQ people. Many legal experts agree that refusing to provide a service to an entire class of people is discrimination, hence the countless laws across the country that protect LGBTQ people and other minorities from being refused services their non-LGBTQ peers regularly pay for and receive without question.

The DOJ, however, in a press release claims the legal statement it filed explains that Nelson “is likely to succeed on her claim that requiring her to photograph weddings against her conscience constitutes government-compelled speech that violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.”

“The First Amendment forbids the government from forcing someone to speak in a manner that violates individual conscience,” said Eric Dreiband, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The U.S. Department of Justice will continue to protect the right of all persons to exercise their constitutional right to speech and expression.”

The ACLU disagrees, and “filed a brief defending the city, arguing that the Nelson’s intent to offer wedding photography only to heterosexual couples violates the city law.”

The renowned  civil rights group calls Nelson’s position “identity-based discrimination.”

The SPLC says the Alliance Defending Freedom “has supported the recriminalization of homosexuality in the U.S. and criminalization abroad; has defended state-sanctioned sterilization of trans people abroad; has linked homosexuality to pedophilia and claims that a ‘homosexual agenda’ will destroy Christianity and society.”

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RACISM

‘Invalid in Its Entirety’: Appeals Court Blocks Trump’s Racist ‘Remain in Mexico’ Policy Targeting Asylum Seekers

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A three-judge panel on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has blocked President Donald Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” immigration policy that illegally forces asylum seekers into Mexico while awaiting their court hearings.

In the 2-1 decision judges called Trump’s Orwellian “Migrant Protection Protocols” policy “invalid in its entirety due to its inconsistency with” federal law, saying it “should be enjoined in its entirety.” The Washington Post reports.

A senior Trump advisor, the white nationalist Stephen Miller, is the force behind the racist program the court just halted. A 2018 Washington Post article revealed  Miller “pushed to implement the Remain in Mexico plan immediately,” despite it not being ready.

A White House meeting on the program was described in this excerpt from a  now-famous article in The New Yorker earlier this month:

One participant in the November meeting pointed out that El Salvador didn’t have a functioning asylum system. “They don’t need a system,” Miller interrupted. He began speaking over people, asking questions, then cutting off the answers.

As the meeting ended, Miller held up his hand to make a final comment. “I didn’t mean to come across as harsh,” he said. His voice dropped. “It’s just that this is all I care about. I don’t have a family. I don’t have anything else. This is my life.”

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.

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