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Defense Secretary Blows Past National Security Experts Warnings to Install Trump and Nunes Loyalist as NSA Top Lawyer

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“The subversion of government continues”

In a move denounced by security and legal experts acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller has ordered the National Security Agency to install Michael Ellis, a Trump loyalist, former chief counsel to GOP Rep. Devin Nunes, and Republican political operative, as the NSA’s top lawyer. The role is a civil service position, not one in which a political nominee is legally allowed to be placed.

Miller ordered the NSA chief, General Paul Nakasone, to install Ellis by Saturday at 6 PM. National security experts were relieved when it appeared Nakasone had refused, but on Sunday The Washington Post and CNN both reported Ellis will be the agency’s general counsel.

“Mr. Ellis accepted his final job offer yesterday afternoon,” the NSA said in a statement Sunday, the Post reports, which is just three days before Trump will no longer be president. “NSA is moving forward with his employment.”

Susan Hennessey, a former Intelligence Community attorney who is now a CNN National Security and Legal Analyst, on Saturday basted the Trump administration’s 11th hour attempt to subvert the process and blasted Ellis himself as

On Sunday, after news broke that Ellis will be installed, Hennessey noted that he is now “entirely incapable of credibly leading the office or performing the functions of the job.”

She also suggested Ellis is not qualified:

Also on Sunday former SDNY federal prosecutor and former Dept. of Justice Inspector General Michael Bromwich tweeted the “subversion of government continues. No previous lame duck Administration would have attempted something like this. This guy should be terminated on Day 1,” he said, referring to Ellis.

In 2017 Ellis, who worked in the White House Counsel’s office, was responsible leaking intelligence to Rep. Devin Nunes that kicked off Trump’s lies that his “wires” had been “tapped.”

The New York Times reported in March of that year that Ellis leaked “intelligence reports that showed that President Trump and his associates were incidentally swept up in foreign surveillance by American spy agencies.”

More reactions:

Former Dept. of Defense Special Counsel:

Talking Points Memo founder and publisher Josh Marshall:

 

 

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Outrage After Fox News Hires ‘Known Liar and Propagandist’ Kayleigh McEnany

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Fox News says it has hired former Trump White House press secretary and campaign advisor Kayleigh McEnany, just one day after she whitewashed the former president’s reaction to the January 6 insurrection he incited. Massive online outrage followed, with some media watchers calling McEnany a “known liar and propagandist.”

“Former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany has joined the Fox News family,” Fox News stated in a news article, not an official company announcement.

“Harris Faulkner informed viewers on Tuesday during an exclusive interview with McEnany on ‘The Faulkner Focus,'” the article adds. “It is my distinct pleasure today to welcome Kayleigh McEnany to the Fox family. We will be seeing much more of her in the future,” Faulkner, a Fox News host, said.

No role or area was announced for McEnany.

NBC News adds that the announcement “comes after weeks during which the network had equivocated about McEnany’s role at the network.”

Strangely, a Fox News spokesperson “declined to comment beyond Faulkner’s statements.”

In an interview that aired Monday and Tuesday McEnany falsely told Faulkner “everyone” at the White House was horrified when they say the violent insurrection. It was a direct attempt to whitewash President Donald Trump’s behavior, which has been described as “delighted” and gleeful.

Fox News has become a landing zone for former Trump officials. McEnany joins one of her predecessors, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who became a Fox News contributor in August of 2019. More recently, former Director of the Trump White House’s National Economic Council, Larry Kudlow, landed at Fox with his own show on Fox Business Network. In between two stints at the Trump White House Hope Hicks served at Fox’s corporate parent as an executive vice president.

The outrage was palpable, including from media watchers and experts, and even inside Fox News.

Here’s CNN’s chief media correspondent:

More:

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$15 Minimum Wage Dealt a Blow – Not Allowed in COVID Relief Bill, Senate Parliamentarian Rules

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The Democrats’ plan, engineered by Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-VT), to pass a nationwide $15 minimum wage cannot be achieved by including the legislation in the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, the Senate parliamentarian ruled Thursday evening, CNBC reports.

Democrats intend to pass the relief bill via reconciliation, a method that would require just a simple majority.

Politico reported late last week Sen. Sanders was “confident” the $15 minimum wage could be achieved through the reconciliation process, adding that “President Joe Biden has not been as optimistic as the Vermont independent about the prospects of minimum wage working via reconciliation, though he supports a $15 minimum wage.”

“President Biden has promised to support a standalone bill to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour, but it’s unlikely to get any Republican support,” Axios has also reported.

A $15 minimum wage would life 900,000 people out of poverty.

 

This is a breaking news and developing story. 

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Democrats Pass LGBTQ Equality Act With Support of Just Three Republicans

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House Democrats have passed the historic LGBTQ Equality Act, legislation that expands the protections of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to protect against sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination. The vote was 224-206. Just three Republicans voted in favor of the bill.

President Joe Biden has said he wants to sign the legislation into law during his first 100 days. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will be in a position to make that possible, should all Democratic Senators support the bill. 60 votes will be needed under current filibuster rules.

The House also passed similar legislation in May of 2019, but then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to allow the bill to come to the floor for a vote.

Some news outlets are characterizing the bill as offering “sweeping” protections, but contrary to what most Americans believe, LGBTQ people have no federal law offering them specific protections. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 offers appropriate, not “sweeping” protections.

Recent court decisions, including the Supreme Court’s 2020 Bostock decision, have ruled the Civil Right Act applies to LGBTQ people, but the Equality Act will ensure these protections are realized.

In a sign of the further extremism of the Republican Party, the 2019 Equality Act passed with five more GOP votes than it did today.

Two Republicans who voted to pass the bill in 2019 voted against passing today’s bill.

This is a breaking news and developing story. 

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