President Donald Trump’s White House counsel has reportedly been personally involved in keeping Congress from reviewing a whistleblowing report involving Ukraine.
“The revelation that Trump pushed Zelensky to pursue the Biden probe, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, represents the most detailed account so far of the president’s conduct that prompted a U.S. intelligence official to file a whistleblower action against the president,” The Washington Post reported Friday. “The disclosure comes amid new details about the White House’s role in preventing Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire from complying with Congressional demands for the material in the complaint.”
In addition to confirming the WSJ report, The Post also furthered the story with new reporting on the role of the White House in the scandal.
“White House Counsel Pat Cipollone has been engaged in the matter since shortly after the whistleblower action surfaced, officials said, helping to identify legal obstacles to the sharing of information that could be politically damaging to Trump,” The Post reported. “Cipollone’s involvement reveals a more direct White House role in the dispute than has previously been reported.”
Read the full report.
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Experts Slam Fox News for Wrongly Attacking VP Harris for ‘Repeatedly Failing to Salute Military’
Fox News is taking fire from military experts after the conservative media outlet and some of its strongest allies attacked Vice President Kamala Harris for not saluting members of the U.S. Military. As experts explained, Harris is not a member of the military nor in the chain of command, and it would be inappropriate for her to do so. It would also signal a weakening of civilian control.
“Vice President Kamala Harris is facing criticism for appearing to break with precedent and failing to salute the honor guard when boarding Air Force Two,” Fox News’ Evie Fordham wrote in an online article on Tuesday. “Video reviewed by Fox News showed that her predecessors, former Vice President Mike Pence and President Biden, regularly saluted the honor guard in the same situation.”
Tom Nichols, a professor at the U.S. Naval War College who formerly was a fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, slammed Fox News, saying it would be “incorrect” for her to salute, and they know they’re wrong.
The Commander in Chief returns salutes as a matter of courtesy (a practice started by Reagan), but the VP is a civilian who is not in the chain of command. It would be incorrect for her to salute anyone, and @FoxNews knows this.
If other VPs did it, it was incorrect. https://t.co/62tcIOK5c3
— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) March 24, 2021
They know, which is what makes it worse.
— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) March 24, 2021
Task & Purpose, a military news site reported on the “conflict” before Fox News did, concluding, “there is no requirement that the President or Vice President of the United States return a salute.”
But a veteran speaking to The Chicago Tribune back in 2015 went even further.
“In the military, saluting is a part of ceremony and it’s very prescriptive. If you’re not in uniform, you can’t salute,” Eric Potter, a 32-year veteran of the military said.
“Saluting soldiers is not a recommended way to honor current or former members of the Armed Forces,” the editorial team at Aircraft Compare wrote. “Even members of the Armed Forces do not salute when out of uniform. A salute is part of the official protocols that active soldiers follow. Outside official duties, the military salute is rarely displayed.”
Meanwhile, Fox News host Sean Hannity “reported” on the “scandal” on his own site:
WATCH: Kamala Harris Does Not Salute Members of the Military When Boarding Air Force Two https://t.co/9ts8sk4ch7
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) March 23, 2021
Former NYC “top cop,” and convicted felon Bernie Kerik, who served in the U.S. Army and should know better, called not saluting “disgraceful.”
DISGRACEFUL: @VP Kamala Harris refuses to salute the honor guard at the steps of the aircraft. It is a clear demonstration of her dislike for those in uniform, both law-enforcement and military. pic.twitter.com/7QFHzamnt7
— Bernard B. Kerik (@BernardKerik) March 23, 2021
Jonathan Ladd, associate professor at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy and the Department of Government joined in noting Fox News is wrong:
No president (or vice president) saluted the military before Reagan. Not Grant. Not Ike. Nobody. The president’s a civilian. Reagan was an actor who didn’t serve overseas in WW2, but with a flair for showmanship, and created the theatrical gesture. https://t.co/aHnyJvToNj
— Jonathan Ladd (@jonmladd) March 24, 2021
As did Military.com congressional reporter Steve Beynon:
The VP is not in the chain of command and even the president saluting isn’t technically a thing and something adopted relatively recently. https://t.co/k4BPXVKoVE
— Steve Beynon (@StevenBeynon) March 23, 2021
Trump Political Appointee and Anti-LGBTQ Christian Right Activist Sues Biden After Refusing to Resign
Roger Severino, a former Trump appointee at the Dept. of Health and Human Services who targeted LGBTQ Americans in his religious crusade as head of the Office of Civil Rights is suing the Biden administration for firing him from his appointment by the former president to an obscure but powerful federal government agency known as ACUS.
He is refusing to resign, despite being a political appointee.
“President Biden’s attempt to remove me contrary to law exposes his lofty promises of healing and uniting all Americans as nothing more than cynical manipulation,” Severino defiantly told Newsweek.
“Because I am not one to be bullied, not even by the President himself, I will not resign my duly commissioned post and look forward to seeing how President Biden tries to justify his vindictive actions in court.”
Severino’s lawsuit claims that “President Biden has no constitutional authority under Article II to terminate Mr. Severino’s appointment to the Council.”
“The Council” is the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS), which holds sway over how U.S. government regulatory agencies operate.
Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern, who covers the courts and the law, writes on Twitter that “Severino’s substantive argument … seems to suggest that ACUS is part of no branch of government, but instead sits outside the executive branch on some heavenly plane.”
He calls the lawsuit “bonkers, BONKERS, just eye-melting galaxy-brain-level drivel.”
What’s especially pathetic, though, is that federal law doesn’t even protect Roger Severino from removal. He’s an at-will employee! He wants the federal judiciary to go beyond the text of the statute and find, in its penumbra, an implicit protection against removal. It is insane.
— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) February 4, 2021
Severino spent his four years in the Trump administration working tirelessly to kill protections, many installed by the Obama administration, for LGBTQ patients, effectively promoting discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation. He also expanded opportunities for people of faith to claim anti-religion discrimination by creating the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division at HHS.
At HHS Severino called Obama-era protections for transgender patients “unnecessary.”
And in defending an anti-LGBTQ “religious freedom” regulation, Severino told reporters, “Patients want doctors who match their values.”
As NCRM has previously reported, Severino has been called a “radical” anti-LGBTQ religious right activist by the Human Rights Campaign. He once served as CEO and counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a religious right non-profit that opposes separation of church and state. He has also served as the Director of the DeVos family’s Center for Religion and Civil Society in the Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity.
He is married to Carrie Severino, president of the Judicial Crisis Network, which spent millions to install President Donald Trump’s extremist judges, including reportedly tens of millions of dollars to help secure Trump’s three Supreme Court nominees.
‘How Can You Have Unity if You’re Taking Away Everything We Like?’: Fox News Blasts Biden for Scrapping Trump Policies
Conservatives all over the country have been using President Joe Biden’s call for unity to attack him by criticizing the new president’s decision to implement policies different from his predecessor. Nowhere was that more prevalent than on “Fox & Friends” Thursday morning, which devoted several segments to the claim that Biden shouldn’t change anything Trump did if he really wants unity.
“Our country’s got to come together,” the Fox News morning show’s cohost Ainsley Earhardt told viewers, “and Joe Biden said yesterday, ‘I want unity.’ He talked about that in his speech, but the first thing he does, the first order of business is to walk in, sit down at the table, and he has 17 executive orders really wiping away much of what President Trump did. So, his supporters are saying, ‘How can we have unity if you’re taking away everything that we like?'”
Crooked Media’s editor in chief sums up Republicans’ false argument:
Conservatives will pretend “unity” means Democrats have to let them keep ill-gotten gains, leave saboteurs in positions of power, but nobody has to pretend to believe them. pic.twitter.com/wE8ueBlR4r
— Brian Beutler (@brianbeutler) January 21, 2021
Ainsley Earhardt whines that “Joe Biden said yesterday, ‘I want unity’ … but the first thing he does” is “17 executive orders really wiping away much of what President Trump did.” pic.twitter.com/A3Z1pEuGU3
— Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) January 21, 2021
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