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CORRUPTION?

Vice President Pence Faces Heightened Scrutiny

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Mike Pence at CPAC 2018

Pence has remained largely in the background of the Trump presidency, often working behind the scenes on policy and other issues while Trump takes center stage. As Trump’s fortunes have waned, however, those in his orbit are being reexamined.

The line of succession would call for Mike Pence to replace Donald Trump should he be removed from office. Many have feared what a Pence presidency would look like, given his actions as the Governor of Indiana against the LGBTQ community, women, and others.

Amongst the bad news for Trump last week was the indictment of Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort. Manafort was found guilty last week on eight counts of financial crimes in his fraud trial.

It was Paul Manafort who chose Mike Pence as Donald Trump‘s vice president, with the president reportedly preferring Chris Christie for the role.

The link between Manafort and Pence is leading to additional scrutiny for the vice president, as people ask just what Pence knew about Manafort and his connections.

Many are also curious about Pence’s involvements with former adviser Mike Flynn, questioning if he lied to protect the general in January of 2017 when he declared that Flynn had not discussed, “anything having to do with the United States’ decision to expel diplomats or impose censure against Russia” with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Flynn, in his guilty plea, admitted to discussing sanctions with Kislyak, and that he was following the instructions of “a senior member” of the campaign.

Representative Elijah Cummings had also warned Pence about possible conflicts of interests surrounding Flynn in light of his visit to Russia and his ties to Turkey.

It is possible that, when Mueller concludes his investigation, that both Trump and Pence, amongst others, would be unable to fulfill the office of the Presidency.

It is worth noting that the last Republican president to face impeachment, Richard Nixon, also lost his vice president as the administration became mired in controversy. Vice President Spiro Agnew pled no contest to a charge of tax evasion and resigned on the 10th of October 1973, several months prior to Nixon’s own resignation.

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

 

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CORRUPTION?

Internet Explodes as Trump Tweets He’s Reversing Brand New North Korea Sanctions – Because He ‘Likes’ Kim Jong-un

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‘Mad King Foreign Policy’

President Donald Trump is literally conducting foreign policy via Twitter. Friday afternoon from Mar-a-Lago the President tweeted that he is reversing sanctions Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin imposed just 24 hours ago.

The President did not accurately describe when they were placed into effect, as CNN’s Sarah Westwood reported:

The White House reportedly scrambled to support Trump’s unilateral decision, seemingly made without consultation with Treasury.

“President Trump likes Chairman Kim, and he doesn’t think these sanctions will be necessary,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, according to The New York Times.

On social media, many – including experts – were stunned:

Richard Haass, the President of the Council on Foreign Relations, noted Trump usurped Secretary of State Mike Pompeo similarly this week:

Former principal deputy assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs weighed in with a simple but powerful three-letter statement:

Professor of international relations, political scientist, and CEO:

A professor at American University who teaches intelligence and analysis mockingly referred to a top-level official at the National Security Council:

Democratic 2020 presidential candidate:

Boston Globe columnist:

National political reporter for NBC News:

New York Times DC correspondent:

CNN’s Kaitlan Collins notes the sanctions are important for denuclearization:

 

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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CORRUPTION?

Accused Pedophile Protector and Labor Secretary Alex Acosta Dined With SCOTUS Justice Alito in DC Last Night

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A federal judge ruled he broke the law by delivering a tremendous get-out-of-jail gift to a billionaire child rapist. Now, he’s dining with a Supreme Court Justice.

Embattled Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta is under fire after a federal judge last week ruled he broke the law in how he prosecuted serial child rapist and billionaire Jeffrey Epstein. Acosta’s illegal gift to Epstein, who is extremely well-connected – including to now-President Donald Trump – allowed the billionaire pedophile to avoid federal charges and to serve only 13 months in a work-release program.

“Palm Beach multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein, 54, was accused of assembling a large, cult-like network of underage girls — with the help of young female recruiters — to coerce into having sex acts behind the walls of his opulent waterfront mansion as often as three times a day, the Town of Palm Beach police found,” The Miami Herald reported last year.

He could have spent the rest of his life behind bars, were he fully prosecuted.

Enter U.S Attorney Alex Acosta, now President Trump’s Secretary of Labor.

“As part of the arrangement, Acosta agreed, despite a federal law to the contrary, that the deal would be kept from the victims. As a result, the non-prosecution agreement was sealed until after it was approved by the judge, thereby averting any chance that the girls — or anyone else — might show up in court and try to derail it.”

Secretary Acosta has made no indication he plans to resign.

Defending Acosta, President Trump on Friday said, “I really don’t know too much about it,” and, “I know he’s done a great job as labor secretary and that seems like a long time ago,” referring to the deal Acosta made for Epstein in 2007.

So, many on Tuesday are finding it strange and disturbing that Secretary Acosta was seen Monday night out on the town dining at a Washington, D.C. restaurant with a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, the ultra-conservative Samuel Alito.

Daily Beast reporter Betsy Woodruff tweeted out the news, noting also that “Acosta clerked for Alito.”

Here’s how some are responding:

 

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CORRUPTION?

DOJ Investigating Secretary of the Interior

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The Dept. of Justice is investigating Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke for “possibly using his office for personal gain,” CNN has just reported.

The Inspector General of the Dept. of the Interior had referred one of its three ongoing probes into Secretary Zinke to the Dept. of Justice.

“A referral to the Justice Department means that prosecutors will explore whether a criminal investigation is warranted,” The Washington Post reports.  “While an agency’s inspector general regularly issues reports on the findings of its inquiries, it only refers cases to the Justice Department when it has determined that there could be potential criminal violations.”

It is not known which, if not all, of the three investigations were referred to Justice.

Secretary Zinke has been under investigation, like several Trump appointees, for his extravagant, and expensive, taxpayer-funded travel habits.

“One of the most serious allegations under investigation,” however, the Post adds, “regards the secretary’s role in a Montana land development deal backed by David J. Lesar, chairman of the oil services firm Halliburton. The business and retail park, known as 95 Karrow, is slated to include several businesses and would be near multiple parcels of land owned by Zinke and his wife.”

The Post notes that “Halliburton’s operations are directly affected by many of Interior’s policies, including rules on how oil and gas drilling must be conducted, and which public lands and federal waters are open to energy exploration and development.”

Recently, a political appointee of HUD Secretary Ben Carson – who has little actual experience in oversight but had signed off on his $31,000 dining table – was announced as the replacement for the acting inspector general at the Interior Dept. Until the news media exposed the move and it was canceled.

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

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