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‘Can’t Keep His Mouth Shut’: Trump Attacks Gen. John Kelly for Praising Vindman and Calling Extortion an ‘Illegal Order’

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President Donald Trump didn’t wait long to attack his former White House Chief of Staff after General John Kelly told an audience that LTC Alexander Vindman was right to notify his superiors of Trump’s Ukraine extortion scheme.

“When I terminated John Kelly, which I couldn’t do fast enough, he knew full well that he was way over his head,” Trump claimed. Various reports said for months Kelly was on the verge of resigning, and when Trump announced Kelly would exit, he did not say he fired him.

“Being Chief of Staff just wasn’t for him. He came in with a bang, went out with a whimper, but like so many X’s, he misses the action & just can’t keep his mouth shut, which he actually has a military and legal obligation to do,” Trump blasted. That’s false. It’s also another of many examples of Trump hiring or promoting someone then taking zero responsibility when he decides he doesn’t like the job they’re doing. Trump called Kelly “a great American” when moving him from Secretary of Homeland Security to the White House.

“His incredible wife, Karen, who I have a lot of respect for, once pulled me aside & said strongly that ‘John respects you greatly. When we are no longer here, he will only speak well of you.’ Wrong!” Trump concluded Thursday morning.

Trump was referring to an article Thursday morning in The Atlantic, which details remarks Kelly made the night before at Drew University.

“Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general, said that Vindman is blameless and was simply following the training he’d received as a soldier; migrants are ‘overwhelmingly good people’ and ‘not all rapists’; and Trump’s decision to condition military aid to Ukraine on an investigation into his political rival Joe Biden upended long-standing U.S. policy,” The Atlantic reported.

When Vindman heard the president tell Zelensky he wanted to see the Biden family investigated, that was tantamount to hearing “an illegal order,” Kelly said. “We teach them, ‘Don’t follow an illegal order. And if you’re ever given one, you’ll raise it to whoever gives it to you that this is an illegal order, and then tell your boss.’”

Calling it “exactly the wrong thing to do,” Kelly also “faulted Trump for intervening in the case of Eddie Gallagher, a Navy SEAL who was convicted last year of posing with the corpse of an Islamic State fighter. Trump reversed a Navy decision to oust Gallagher, in a chain of events that led to the resignation of Navy Secretary Richard Spencer.”

 

 

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BAD PRESIDENT

Trump Harasses CDC Into New School Re-Opening Guidelines As COVID Cases Reach 3 Million

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Wednesday presented a set of guidelines for returning to school this fall. Guidelines that were almost immediately trashed by President Donald Trump.

“We hope that most schools are going to be open,” Trump said at a White House event Wednesday. “They think it’s going to be good for them politically, so they keep the schools closed…no way. We’re very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools, to get them open.”

Vice President Mike Pence responded to the rebuke during a news conference addressing the issue. Pence said the CDC will issue new guidelines with “more clarity.” Pence addressed the update during his White House coronavirus task force meeting at the Education Department. He called it “absolutely essential” that students return to in-person learning this fall.

“We’re here to help,” Pence said. “We don’t want federal guidance to be a substitute for state and local laws and rules and guidance. We’re here to assist with the shared objective, which I think is shared by every parent in America, which is we want to get our kids back. We want to get them back in the classroom.”

“Remember it’s guidance, it’s not requirements, and its purpose is to facilitate the reopening and keeping open the schools in this country,” CDC Director Robert Redfield said.

Watch Pence’s press conference below.

The press conference came on the same day the United States reached a record high of 3 million coronavirus cases and Texas saw its worst single day number of deaths. Texas also hit a 15% Covid-19 positivity rate, a record high since the pandemic began in March. Additionally, it was given on the same day that 37 football players and staff at University of North Carolina tested positive for Covid-19; the average daily case count in Los Angeles County went up 84% in the past month; 26 Mississippi legislators tested positive; and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said he “instructed the Houston Forst Corporation to exercise its right contractually in canceling State’s Republican Convention.”

But let’s get kids back into schools this fall, it’s totally safe.

“I disagree with [CDC] on their very tough & expensive guidelines for opening schools,” Trump tweeted. “While they want them open, they are asking schools to do very impractical things. I will be meeting with them!!!” the President tweeted.

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'UNPRECEDENTED THREAT'

More Than 100 Roger Stone Accounts, Pages Removed from Instagram and Facebook

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A network of more than 100 social accounts and pages related to former Trump adviser Roger Stone were removed Wednesday. The under the radar raid reportedly consisted of 54 Facebook accounts, 50 Facebook pages and four accounts on Instagram, a photo-sharing platform owned by Facebook.

Approximately 260,000 accounts followed one or more of these Pages and 61,500 people followed one or more of these Instagram accounts. Several of the pages were also linked to the Proud Boys, a far-right group banned from Facebook in 2018.

The pages and accounts in question appeared to have “coordinated inauthentic behavior” focused on audiences in the U.S., targeting Stone directly, political issues in Florida, and hacked materials released by WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential election cycle.

“The people behind this activity used fake accounts — some of which had already been detected and disabled by our automated systems — to pose as residents of Florida, post and comment on their own content to make it appear more popular than it is, evade enforcement, and manage Pages,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, wrote in a blog post for the social media giant. “Several of these Pages had links to Proud Boys, a hate group we banned in 2018. Some Pages appeared to have acquired followers from Pakistan and Egypt to make themselves seem more popular than they were.”

The network was most active between 2015-2017, according to Gleicher.

“Since then, the majority of these accounts have been dormant, and some were permanently deleted by the users,” he wrote. “The Page admins and account owners posted about local politics in Florida, Roger Stone and his Pages, websites, books, and media appearances, a Florida land and water resources bill, the hacked materials released by Wikileaks ahead of the US 2016 election, candidates in the 2016 primaries and general election, and the Roger Stone trial.”

Gleicher added, “We first started looking into this network as part of our investigation into the Proud Boys’ attempts to return to Facebook after we had designated and banned them from the platform. We identified the full scope of this network following the recent public release of search warrants pertaining to the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in response to a joint petition from The New York Times, CNN, the Associated Press, The Washington Post, and Politico. Our investigation linked this network to Roger Stone and his associates.”

Gleicher’s team concluded that advertising spent on the campaigns totaled less than $308,000.

Examples of the posts are below.

This past February, Stone was sentenced to 40 months in prison following his conviction of lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstructing a proceeding related to the Robert Mueller investigation into the 2016 election and Russian interference.

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BULLYING

War Hero Alexander Vindman Retires After Excessive ‘Bullying’ by the President

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After more than 21 years of service with the US Army, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman has announced his retirement. The 45-year-old decorated war hero endured numerous attacks by Donald Trump leading up to, during and following his key witness account in Trump’s impeachment inquiry last November.

In February, Trump fired Vindman as the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council. Vindman’s twin brother, Army Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, was escorted off White House grounds at the same time and apparently dismissed from his post at the National Security Council.

Allegations in recent weeks suggested the White House was attempting to block Vindman’s upcoming military promotion to the rank of colonel.

Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton was promoting his new book “In the Room Where It Happened” when he told Jake Tapper, “Based on not just his service, but his twin brother’s service at the NSC, both of whom were pushed out of their assignments early, I think they certainly deserve promotion based on what I saw. They shouldn’t be discriminated against.”

He added, “I hope there’s nobody in the White House who’s holding this up or putting bureaucratic obstacles in the way. I think this is something, this kind of corruption of this promotion process, unfortunately, typical of a number of things that have happened in the administration, I think it’s a bad signal to all of our military.”

Legal representative for Vindman, Amb. David Pressman, said Trump’s vendetta against his client was a campaign filled with “bullying, intimidation and retaliation.”

“The President of the United States attempted to force LTC Vindman to choose: Between adhering to the law or pleasing a President. Between honoring his oath or protecting his career. Between protecting his promotion or the promotion of his fellow soldiers,” Pressman said in a statement to CNN. “These are choices that no one in the United States should confront, especially one who has dedicated his life to serving it,” he added, noting that Vindman “did what the law compelled him to do; and for that he was bullied by the President and his proxies.”

Vindman received the Purple Heart for his service in the Iraq War.

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