The White House is the Swamp
You just can’t make this stuff up.
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.
â€” Los Angeles Times (@latimes) February 7, 2018
The Intercept’s Ryan Grim tweeted these photos earlier today:
Senior White House aide Rob Porter physically assaulted two ex-wives, they tell @theintercept. Full story to come in the morning.
His first wife, Colbie Holderness, provided these photos from a vacation they took together in Florence, Italy: pic.twitter.com/tl3TbyGA8Y
â€” Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) February 7, 2018
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.
White House communications director Hope Hicks, who has been in a romantic relationship with Rob Porter, was involved in crafting the response to the allegations of domestic abuse leveled against Porter on Tuesday, two sources familiar with the matter tell me
â€” Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1) February 7, 2018
Some are wondering if Hicks drafted the statement from Senator Hatch â€“ 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, “Porterâ€™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, Porterâ€™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. â€œIt was not hard enough for me to pass out, but it was scary, humiliating, and dehumanizing,â€ she said. Porter told the Daily Mail that the allegations were â€œslanderous and simply false.â€
Sherman writes, “last week, [Porter] emerged when the Daily Mail reported heâ€™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 Kushnerâ€™s White House spokesman, Josh Raffel.”
But wait, there’s more.
In a statement Wednesday White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said,Â â€œRob 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.â€
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>
“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 â€” 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.Â “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.
Orrin Hatch statement released by the White House was nothing like the one he later released. Hope Hicks is in charge of messaging & dates Rob Porter.
Trump’s statement by Stormy Daniels was later disputed by Stormy Daniels.
They’re just printing what they want at this point.
â€” Karen DaltonBeninato (@kbeninato) February 7, 2018
Another disturbing part of this story is Hope Hicks, who is dating Porter, may have fabricated a statement from a senator – Hatch – in defense of Porter. This regime has no respect for boundaries. https://t.co/ywnz2USjTZ
â€” Amy Siskind (@Amy_Siskind) February 7, 2018
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:
There he goes . . . Rob Porter, WH aide who allegedly abused two wives, has left the building. Now, what about COS John Kelly? The FBI conducted background check on Porter and White House knew about the allegations. Hello? Is anyone home over there?#RobPorter #HopeHicks
â€” kathleenparker (@kathleenparker) February 7, 2018
It’s only Wednesday.
Image via Wikimedia
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‘Scared to Death’: Trump’s Prison Panic Admission Means He Knows He’s Doomed Says Legal Expert
Reacting to a report that Donald Trump has been quizzing his attorneys about what type of prison he likely will be sent to, former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner stated that is not only an indication that he knows he’s going to be convicted but also an admission of guilt.
Speaking with MSNBC host Jonathan Capehart, the attorney was asked about a recent Rolling Stone report about Trump’s prison panic.
As Rolling Stone reported, Trump asked if he’s “be sent to a ‘club fed’ style prison — a place that’s relatively comfortable, as far these things go — or a ‘bad’ prison? Would he serve out a sentence in a plush home confinement? Would government officials try to strip him of his lifetime Secret Service protections? What would they make him wear, if his enemies actually did ever get him in a cell — an unprecedented set of consequences for a former leader of the free world.”
According to the attorney, Trump is revealing himself by asking for so many details.
“What does this tell you about Trump’s mindset?” host Capehart asked.
“It tells me he is scared to death” Kirschner quickly answered. “It tells me he has overwhelming consciousness of guilt because he knows what he did wrong and he knows he is about to be held accountable for his crimes. So it is not surprising that he is obsessing.”
“If he was confident that he would be completely exonerated, would he have to obsess about what his future time in prison might look like?” he suggested. “I think the last refuge for Donald Trump can be seen in a recent post where he urged the Republicans to defund essentially the prosecutions against him. which, to this prosecutor, Jonathan, smells a lot like an attempt to obstruct justice.”
Watch below or at the link.
Image via Shutterstock
‘Vulgar and Lewd’: Trump Judge Cites Extremist Group to Allow Drag Show Ban
A federal judge in Texas known for a ruling that attempted to ban a widely-used abortion drug is citing an extremist anti-LGBTQ group in his ruling allowing a ban on drag shows to stay in place.
U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, a former attorney for an anti-LGBTQ conservative Christian legal organization, and a member of the Federalist Society, in his 26-page ruling dated Thursday cited the “About” page of Gays Against Groomers to claim, “it’s unclear how drag shows unmistakably communicate advocacy for LGBT rights.”
Judge Kacsmaryk, appointed by Donald Trump twice before finally assuming office in 2019, suggests the First Amendment does not provide for freedom of expression for drag shows, calls drag “sexualized conduct,” and says it is “more regulable” because “children are in the audience.”
Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern adds, “Kacsmaryk’s conclusion that drag is probably NOT protected by the First Amendment conflicts with decisions from Texas, Florida, Tennessee, and Montana which held that drag is constitutionally protected expression. It also bristles with undisguised hostility toward LGBTQ people.”
Calling the judge “a proud Christian nationalist who flatly refuses to apply binding Supreme Court precedent when it conflicts with his extremist far-right beliefs,” Stern at Slate writes that Kacsmaryk ruled drag “may be outlawed to protect ‘the sexual exploitation and abuse of children.’ In short, he concluded that drag fails to convey a message, while explaining all the reasons why he’s offended by the message it conveys.”
Stern does not let Kacsmaryk off the hook there.
“From almost any other judge, the ruling in Spectrum WT v. Wendler would be a shocking rejection of basic free speech principles; from Kacsmaryk, it’s par for the course. This is, after all, the judge who sought to ban medication abortion nationwide, restricted minors’ access to birth control, seize control over border policy to exclude asylum-seekers, and flouted recent precedent protecting LGBTQ+ equality,” Stern says.
“He is also poised to bankrupt Planned Parenthood by compelling them to pay a $1.8 billion penalty on truly ludicrous grounds. And he is not the only Trump-appointed judge substituting his reactionary beliefs for legal analysis. We have reached a point where these lawless decisions are not only predictable but inevitable, and they show no sign of stopping: Their authors are still just settling into a decadeslong service in the federal judiciary.”
West Texas A&M University President Walter V. Wendler penned the letter that sparked the lawsuit.
Titled, “A Harmless Drag Show? No Such Thing,” Wendler wrote: “I believe every human being is created in the image of God and, therefore, a person of dignity. Being created in God’s image is the basis of Natural Law. James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, prisoners of the culture of their time as are we, declared the Creator’s origin as the foundational fiber in the fabric of our nation as they breathed life into it. Does a drag show preserve a single thread of human dignity? I think not.”
Journalist Chris Geidner concludes, “It’s an extremely biased ruling by a judge who has established that he does not care about being overturned — even by the most conservative appeals court in the nation.”
Gaetz Praises GOP Congressman Who Echoes His Call for Change ‘Through Force’
U.S. Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL). largely seen as pushing Speaker Kevin McCarthy‘s Republican-majority House of Representatives toward shutting down the federal government, is praising and promoting remarks made by a freshman GOP lawmaker that appear to suggest the use of violence. U.S. Rep. Eli Crane‘s comments, posted Friday (below), call for change “through force,” remarks echoing Congressman Gaetz’s recent comments which were denounced by an expert on authoritarianism as fascistic.
“The only way we’re going to see meaningful change in this town is through force,” wrote Congressman Crane, Republican of Arizona atop a three-minute video in which he frames what is now an almost guaranteed government shutdown as a “spending fight.” In his video he says, “the only way you’re gonna get any change in this town is through force.” Gaetz in August had said, “we know that only through force do we make any change in a corrupt town like Washington, D.C.”
Congressman Crane is a former Navy SEAL. He has promoted the false “Big Lie” conspiracy theory that there was massive fraud in the election President Joe Biden won, and called “on the state legislature to decertify the 2020 election.” He is one of six House Republicans who voted against McCarthy’s speakership all 15 times in January.
“Congressman Eli Crane is a fountainhead of political courage,” said Rep. Gaetz Friday afternoon. “He holds the line.”
Crane recently came under fire for calling Black people “colored,” during debate on his legislation that would force the U.S. Armed Forces to not use any diversity requirements in its hiring practices.
Just days before he won his House seat last year, The Washington Post reported Crane had urged an “audience to look up an antisemitic sermon at a recent campaign stop.”
“Crane said that he was motivated to run because of ‘radical ideologies that are destroying this country’ and that he was most concerned about ‘Cultural Marxism,’ which the Southern Poverty Law Center has described as an antisemitic baseless claim gaining traction on the American right.”
“He encouraged the audience to watch a speech by a right-wing pastor who blamed cultural change on a group of German Jewish philosophers and condemned Barack Obama for having a ‘homosexual agenda.'”
“If we don’t wake up,” Crane said, according to the Post, “if we don’t study what they’re doing, and if we don’t put people in influential positions that understand what this war is all about, what they’re trying to do and have and have the courage to call it out, we’re going to lose this country.”
In August, while standing next to Donald Trump at a campaign rally, Congressman Gaetz said, “Mr. President, I cannot stand these people that are destroying our country. They are opening our borders. They are weaponizing our federal law enforcement against patriotic Americans who love this nation as we should.”
“But we know that only through force do we make any change in a corrupt town like Washington, D.C. And so to all my friends here in Iowa, when you see them come for this man, know that they are coming for our movement and they are coming for all of us.”
At the time, Raw Story reported, “historian and author Ruth Ben-Ghiat called Gaetz comments alarming.”
“What he is saying is that they are not going to have change through elections or through legislation or through reform. They are going to have change through violence,” she warned.
“And that’s how fascists talk,” Ben-Ghiat added. “So, even if Trump is out of the picture, these are people who have adopted methods very familiar to me as a historian of fascism, that violence and corruption and lying that’s what the party is today.”
Image via Shutterstock
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