A career foreign service officer says he got fired by a Trump-appointed ambassador simply for mentioning former President Barack Obama during a speech.
Journalist Julia Ioffe reports in GQ that Lewis Lukens, the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in London, was fired shortly after delivering a speech at an English university in which he touted the benefits of America’s relationship with the United Kingdom.
During the speech, Lukens told a brief story about how Obama had handled a disagreement over LGBT rights with the government of Senegal. The former diplomat tells Ioffe that Woody Johnson, the Trump-appointed ambassador to the U.K., approached him shortly after and told him to pack his things, seven months before he was scheduled to take on a new assignment.
The State Department declined to comment when Ioffe asked them to verify Lukens’s account.
“This incident, which has not been previously reported, offers a stark example of the politicization of the foreign service under Trump,” writes Ioffe. “It’s also a grim illustration of how the administration — through three years of attempted budget cuts, hiring freezes, and grotesquely personal attacks — has eviscerated the country’s diplomatic corps and put highly sensitive matters of national security in the hands of politically appointed novices.”
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‘Unlawful Orders’: Trump’s ‘Shoot Down Gunboats’ Wasn’t Just Embarrassing – Former Army JAG Says It Would Not Be Obeyed
As the Commander-in-Chief, President Donald Trump’s Fox News inspired tweet declaring he has instructed the Navy to “shoot down” Iranian gunboats was embarrassing, and deserving of the mockery it received. Anyone who served in the military, and pretty much anyone at all knows you don’t “shoot down” gunboats.
But former veterans and one former Army legal advisor, known as a JAG, say Trump’s threat could constitute an “unlawful” order.
Glenn Kirschner, an NBC News and MSNBC legal analyst served in the U.S. Army as a JAG for six years. He also served as an Asst. U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.
Kirschner weighs in, saying the order would be disobeyed.
As a former Army JAG, I prosecuted soldiers for military offenses. As a former civilian prosecutor, I spent decades handling murder case. A killing motivated by “harassment” is unlawful. Fortunately, as soldiers we are taught to disobey unlawful orders. Trump is failing. pic.twitter.com/3oNgS8y1HC
— Glenn Kirschner (@glennkirschner2) April 22, 2020
This is not the first time Trump has threatened or issued an unlawful order.
In early January Trump threatened he would use the U.S. Military to target and destroy Iranian cultural sites. Experts say had he gone through with it, it would have been illegal, unlawful, and a war crime.
And in 2017, when Trump threatened he would “totally destroy” North Korea, the top U.S. nuclear commander said “he would resist President Donald Trump if he ordered an ‘illegal’ launch of nuclear weapons.”
In 2018, Trump claimed immigrants were throwing rocks at U.S. Forces on the southern border, and announced, “We will consider that a firearm,” and declared “our military fights back.” In other words, he would have the Army shoot the unarmed immigrants.
Retired Army Gen. Mark Hertling said, “It would be an unlawful order.”
‘My First Calling Is to My Savior’: Pompeo Brags He Is Using Role of Secretary of State to Evangelize World Leaders
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is not only admitting, but bragging that he is using his official government role to evangelize world leaders, apparently hoping to bring them to Jesus Christ.
Pompeo is widely known for “brazenly inserting his evangelical Christian beliefs into discussions of foreign policy,” as The New York Times reported in earlier editions of this 2019 article. But it was not known until now that he has been ignoring the Constitution’s critical tenet of separation of church and state to preach the gospel to foreign leaders while on the taxpayers’ dime.
Secretary Pompeo spoke on a conference call for conservative Christian clergy, hosted by the anti-LGBTQ hate group Family Research Council last Thursday, and “told FRC’s pastors that he has used his official travels as an opportunity to evangelize,” according to Right Wing Watch’s Peter Montgomery.
“I’ve been unabashed in my role as Secretary of State to talk about the fact that I swore an oath to the Constitution, but that my first calling is to my Savior,” Pompeo told the conservative Christian pastors. “And I’ve made that something that I tell world leaders, whether I’m with President Sisi in Egypt or whomever, whatever faith they may be of or of no faith.”
He appeared to admit some world leaders were not pleased by his overtures, saying: “we’ve watched some of us be called out for that, to think that, to say that we don’t care about science, that we don’t care about the rule of law, all the things that I know we all care so deeply about.”
Pompeo appeared also to try to gain favor with the pastors and the Family Research Council’s president, Tony Perkins.
“My relationship with pastors across America, with Tony and all of you, reminds me of the important reason that I believe the Lord put me in this place to have this opportunity to make religious freedom such an important part of what this administration is doing.”
Photo: Secretary Pompeo Meets with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.
Image by US State Dept. via Flickr
Why Has Trump’s New Chief of Staff Not Resigned From Congress but Is Representing the White House in Coronavirus Negotiations?
U.S. Congressman Mark Meadows was appointed by President Donald Trump to be the latest White House Chief of Staff on March 6, but the Republican representing North Carolina’s 11th District has not officially resigned from Congress. Nevertheless he is representing the White House as Chief of Staff, and even working on vital coronavirus legislation – not in his role representing the people of North Carolina, but in his role representing the White House.
Last week Congressman Meadows posted to Facebook that he was “working at the White House again this week transitioning into the Chief of Staff role – working with Mick Mulvaney and the team here to ensure the switch is as smooth as possible. Things are going well,” he said.
Washington Post congressional reporter Paul Kane tweeted on Tuesday that Meadows was back in Congress, but as the official Chief of Staff, and that Meadows himself admits he still has not resigned as a U.S. Congressman.
Meadows told reporters he “still hasn’t resigned” from House. So this is one really odd, long transition. He’s incoming chief, still. https://t.co/n24xVJnSDD
— Paul Kane (@pkcapitol) March 24, 2020
The U.S. Constitution is clear:
“No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased [sic] during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.”
The Annenberg Guide to the United States Constitution explains:
“To ensure the separation of powers among the legislative, judicial and executive branches of government, Article I, Section 6, prohibits a senator or representative from holding any other federal office during his or her service in Congress.”
Meadows self-quarantined after he was announced, and his appointment technically is effective April 1, but he has been working inside the White House for well over a week.
On March 13 he wrote a lengthy letter to his constituents, saying in part: “While I haven’t officially started the Chief of Staff job yet, we’ve been hitting the ground running in the midst of a few weeks transition. I’ll still formally be a member of Congress until I resign and join the White House full time, which should be sometime over the next couple weeks. I’ll keep you all updated with as much info as we can. NC-11 constituent services will continue both now and after I step away, as we’ll make clear with more info soon. Stay tuned.”
Calls to Meadows’ D.C. and North Carolina offices went unanswered, and did calls to North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s office. All used recording saying due to COVID-19 they were unable to answer the phone.
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