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Republican Closely Tied to Trump Quits Congress



Rep. Tom Marino, a Republican of Pennsylvania, has just resigned from the U.S House of Representatives. His resignation is effective next week, as The Hill reports.

Congressman Marino is closely tied to President Donald Trump. He endorsed Trump, was the chairman of Trump’s campaign in Pennsylvania, served on the executive committee of the Trump Transition team, and was chosen by the President to become his Drug Czar.

Marino withdrew from consideration as Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy after it was revealed he wrote legislation protecting drug companies.That legislation made it nearly impossible for the DEA to combat the opioid epidemic.

As Marino withdrew, Trump called him “a fine man.”

Marino, re-elected in November, has served in Congress since 2011. He says he’s resigning to “take a position in the private sector where I can use both my legal and business experience to create jobs around the nation.”

Image: Screenshot via YouTube


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Mass GOP Exodus Continues: 8-Term Anti-Gay Texas Congressman Latest to Retire



Fifth House Republican to Call It Quits in the Past Week

An eight-term U.S. Congressman from Texas is the latest casualty of the Trump era. Republican Rep. Mike Conaway will not seek re-election next year, and will retire at the end of his term. Politico’s Jake Sherman first reported the news.

Rep. Conaway took over the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation after Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) said he would step aside.

Conaway in 2017, two years after the Supreme Court found same-sex couple have a constitutional right to marry, denounced the marriages of those couples.

“I’m not opposed to civil unions,” he told a constituent at a town hall, after being pressed and insisting he is not anti-gay.

“Just don’t call it marriage,” he demanded.

Conaway is the fifth House Republican to call it quits in the past week, and the tenth Republican to not seek re-election in this Congress.

House Republicans have told reporters off the record they don’t believe they can re-take the House.

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Trump Ready to Throw Jr. Under the Bus: CNN Panel Explores Motives Behind Giuliani’s Primetime Meltdown



Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani’s stunning interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Wednesday night is still making waves, and a CNN panel agreed on Thursday morning that it could spell big trouble for Donald Trump Jr.

While discussing Giuliani’s latest admission that there may have been some collusion between members of the Trump campaign and Russian government agents, host John Berman asked whether Trump Jr. should be worried that is father is preparing to throw him under the bus for potentially conspiring with a hostile foreign power.

“Would you be nervous if you’re Donald Trump Jr. or Jared Kushner?” Berman asked. “Did Giuliani just send a signal that… the president’s legal defense team isn’t here for you?”

“That’s what I heard,” replied New York Times reporter Astead Herndon. “Everyone under [Trump’s] level can now be considered fair game, if we’re talking about the political signaling.”

Earlier in the panel, former federal prosecutor Elie Honig said that Giuliani’s latest defense of Trump reminds him of strategies that mafia bosses use to insulate themselves from prosecution.

“It’s a strategy of sorts, and it’s something I’ve seen as a prosecutor before,” he said. “Rudy Giuliani came up through the Southern District of New York like I did… making cases against large criminal organizations. And when you do that, one thing you learn is the boss… is insulated, he’s protected by the people below him. He can give orders, he doesn’t have to do the dirty work with his own hands.”

Watch the video below.

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Department of Defense Chief of Staff Sweeney Departs Pentagon



Kevin M. Sweeney

Following Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ resignation, Kevin Sweeney, the chief of staff to the secretary of defense, has also stepped down from the Pentagon.

“After two years in the Pentagon, I’ve decided the time is right to return to the private sector. It has been an honor to serve again alongside the men and women of the Department of Defense,” reads Sweeney’s resignation letter.

Sweeney has been with the Navy for several decades, graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1982. He served on several ships, and oversaw the restoration and return to operations for the USS Cole after it was damaged in a terrorist attack in October of 2000. He became chief of staff under former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in January 2017, and follows Mattis’ own departure in December of 2017.

The move would not be especially noteworthy in otherwise calm times, but under the backdrop of a government shutdown, the unexpected planned withdrawal from Syria, and a president threatening to declare a “national emergency” to bestow himself with broad-reaching powers, the move heightens fears of instability in the Department of Defense.

Mattis resigned in protest over President Trump’s decision to leave Syria, which will threaten US allies in the region to attacked by Turkey and ISIS, while creating a power vacuum likely to be filled by Russia and Iran. 

Mattis had set an end date for his service for the end February, but President Trump, angered by a resignation letter critical of the President’s actions, removed Mattis early as additional military brass also head for the exit doors.

In December, John Kelly, White House chief of staff and another former general, as well as Brett McGurk, the special envoy to the coalition fighting ISIS, both resigned. 

Pentagon spokesperson Dana White has also resigned as of the past week.

Image via the U.S. Navy.

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