U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) is responding to massive criticism of him over the past few days, culminating in allegations of sexism and racism, over his announcement he is opposed to President Joe Biden’s pick to head the Office of Management and Budget.
“Oh come on,” Manchin, who heads the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, told NBC News’ Garrett Haake when asked about his opposition to Neera Tanden, “it’s not personal at all. No, no.”
Manchin announced his opposition to Tanden on Friday, opening the door for three Republicans to almost immediately follow: Senators Susan Collins, Mitt Romney, and Rob Portman and subsequently declared their opposition.
Tanden is a woman of color. Born to Indian immigrants, she has been president of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress for nearly a decade. She also served in both the Clinton and Obama White Houses and as an advisor to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Manchin and Republicans have been attacking her over her admittedly mean tweets, many of which she chose to delete in an apparent effort to show contrition. She’s also repeatedly apologized.
But Tanden isn’t the only woman Manchin opposes, nor the only woman of color.
U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM) is President Biden’s pick to be Secretary of the Interior. She would be the first Native American to run the $20+ billon agency, and the first Native American Cabinet Secretary.
Manchin declared he was unsure of her nomination on Monday.
That would be two of President Biden’s picks Manchin seemingly opposes, both women of color, and neither of grounds they are not qualified.
Manchin late last month also reportedly “sniped” at Vice President Kamala Harris, after she visited West Virginia to drum up support for the administration’s coronavirus relief package.
Many say they are starting to see a pattern with Manchin, a Democrat so conservative there are three Republicans to the left of him. That pattern involves giving Republican presidents and male nominees, especially white male nominees, great deference, as his voting history proves.
Sexism isn’t “personal,” it is a pattern. There is always “justification” for treating someone any way you want, but the pattern of @Sen_JoeManchin treating Trump’s white male nominees with more deference and respect than Tanden is what makes it discriminatory.
— Snowflake In Chief (@SJDoubleYeah) February 23, 2021
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‘We Have a Russian Asset Sitting in the Oval Office’ Says Former Senior DOJ Official
A former senior Dept. of Justice official is one of several current and former intelligence agents who were “floored by President Donald Trump’s fervent defense of Russia at this year’s G7 summit in Biarritz, France,” according to a report at Business Insider.
That senior DOJ official worked closely with Robert Mueller when he led the FBI, and “told Insider Trump’s behavior was ‘directly out of the Putin playbook. We have a Russian asset sitting in the Oval Office.'”
“There is no fathomable explanation for why the president said these things,” the former official said. “Letting Russia off the hook for bullying smaller countries and then blaming Obama for it? It’s directly out of the Putin playbook.”
Glenn Carle, a former CIA covert operative who agreed to go on the record, “told Insider there’s been ‘no question’ in his mind for years that the president is behaving like ‘a spy for the Russians.'”
“The evidence is so overwhelming that in my 35 years in intelligence, I have never seen anything so certain,” Carle said.
“Intelligence assets become convinced to be spies for multiple reasons,” Carle, who specialized in getting foreign spies to become turncoats when he was at the CIA, said in an earlier interview with Insider. “It might start with kompromat or financial hooks, and the asset may be convinced he is acting as a patriot until he becomes accustomed to his role.”
Another official described as a “former CIA operative” “told Insider the evidence is ‘overwhelming’ that Trump is a Russian agent, but another CIA and NSA veteran said it was more likely Trump was currying favor with Putin for future business deals.”
And “a recently retired FBI special agent told Insider that Trump’s freewheeling and often unfounded statements make it more likely that he’s a ‘useful idiot’ for the Russians. But ‘it would not surprise me in the least if the Russians had at least one asset in Trump’s inner circle.'”
Meanwhile, a counter-intelligence agent who works for the FBI spoke about the G7, saying: “It’s hard to see the bar anymore since it’s been pushed so far down the last few years, but President Trump’s behavior over the weekend was a new low.”
Read the entire report at Business Insider.
‘There Is Something Bizarre — and Perhaps Sinister — About Trump’s Relationship With Russia’: CNN’s Toobin
CNN panel on Monday once again found itself baffled by President Donald Trump’s strange deference to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
During a discussion of former deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe’s bombshell revelation that Trump trusts Putin more than his own intelligence agencies, former Republican congressman Mike Rogers said it was disturbing how willing the president was to take the word of a top geopolitical rival.
“That’s very, very concerning to me,” he said. “These are his intelligence folks who are culling lots of points of collection, meaning human and electronic and digital, every form of [intelligence]… they take all of that information and then they come up with a policy or at least a proposal or at least an understanding of what’s going on in the world. The president needs to have faith and trust in that information.”
Legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, meanwhile, suggested there was something darker going on with the president’s often fawning treatment of his Russian counterpart.
“This is not just any leader,” Toobin said, referencing Putin. “This is Vladimir Putin, who he was trying to do business with, who was helping him win the election. I mean, there is something bizarre and perhaps sinister about the president’s relationship with Russia. “
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