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Former Texas Ranger Has Been Fired By Trump, A Drone ‘Constantly’ Hunting Down Integrity

The list of military officers fired by President Trump is long. His recent dismissal of former Navy SEAL Clint Blackburn has left many in the SEALs community frustrated that their careers are so quickly and mercilessly terminated.

Since the recent removal of a highly decorated and trusted commander from the ranks of the Army Rangers, Special Forces, Navy SEALs, and Air Force medics, many members of SEAL Team Six who participated in ISIS, Laos, and Afghanistan-related missions have raised concerns that the brass are trying to erase all that military expertise and expertise by toppling commanders and captains who were previously openly outspoken on legal and ethical ground.

Known as the “Slippery Slope”, the NFL, NFLPA, and MLB have all been widely reported as instances where professional athletes have bashed society and oppression through their words and actions on the field of play. The problem with this practice is that all professional athletes were given a clean slate by their superiors and essentially served their suspensions, reprimands, jail time, and fines for the heinous acts they perpetrated upon an entire nation of people they were sworn to protect, yet the men and women who have sacrificed their lives and limbs through global conflicts, have been punished to an even greater extent.

Halsey (Vincent John) Lawton

According to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, “[I]t’s not within my power to intervene” and suggested that those in question be dealt with “in the ranks.” Yet according to the Flag Officers Association of America, Obama was dismissed of responsibility as Commander in Chief for his mishandling of the Benghazi fiasco and Trump was either firing or demoting top military leaders far more for making their case rather than the clear criminal prosecution of Hillary Clinton.

Recently retired deputy Cmdr. Edward Gallagher was removed from his post with the White House Operating Group—known as the “Office of the Presidential Liaison”—by Trump, even though his involvement in Wikileaks and the IRS involving Hillary Clinton has been well-documented. In the past, White House staffers have acknowledged that the stolen emails of Hillary and John Podesta provided valuable insight and knowledge into what occurred in the 2016 Presidential race, which was in fact many times Trump’s campaign, yet when it came to the IRS’ illegal targeting of conservative groups, they hesitated.

Many eyewitnesses believe the Trump decision to fire Gallagher was politically motivated, while others suggest it was a poorly designed solution to a problem.

Former Navy SEAL Capt. Ed Thompson has always considered Gallagher a friend and he was shocked when he discovered Gallagher was being removed from his post. “I didn’t have to be told how valuable and revered he was by members of SEAL Team One,” Thompson shared. Thompson stated that Gallagher was the number one SEAL in the U.S. Navy at that time and was considered a hero for being embedded in hostile territory to rescue kidnapped foreign hostages, even though technically not on active duty. He was not involved in Obama’s administration and was only receiving a bonus for his services. “After being in the Navy, these rewards are few and far between,” Thompson explained.

Gerald Harold Wells once said of Gallagher, “I could call Ed Gallagher any time of the day or night and he would answer. That is the type of person we were all looking for in SEAL Team One.”

[Featured Image by SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images]

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Opinion: ‘Making America Great Again’

UPDATE: Donald Trump has ordered his defense secretary to reverse US Navy Department order to remove a decorated SEAL from the team he leads because of three instances of controversial “bad-guy” remarks. Trump canceled the order just days after a highly competitive Navy selection board recommended to the president to remove the decorated senior SEAL, Edward Gallagher.

The order from Defense Secretary James Mattis requiring the removal from the team by an officer on the senior enlisted ranking at rank of E6, was issued following a request from Trump and top White House adviser, Jared Kushner.

The Navy said Trump asked for the order against Gallagher to be put back into effect on Saturday, in a move that the president declared, in a tweet, had “made the country proud”.

A senior member of the White House National Security Council told Fox News that Trump and Kushner wanted to reach out to “connect[d] with a specific element of the community who could take a stand”.

Stripped of the job

Gallagher is the most senior Navy SEAL killed during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is highly unusual for a Medal of Honor nominee to be removed from the team on the senior enlisted rank.

White House sources confirmed that the order was reversed on Saturday evening. The following tweet was posted on Saturday night, shortly after the order was overturned:

Just 10 minutes before Trump reversed the Navy’s decision, the Navy circulated a short memo on the career of the 20-year-old Gallagher and publicly outlined the three incidents of questionable behavior.

One of those was what has been described as “casual violence”, seen as inappropriate harassment, throwing a seat from a plane at a man and shoving a woman.

The third incident detailed by Navy officials is a speech to a group of students that included a disclaimer not to interact with any athletes during the Olympics. Although these latest allegations paint Gallagher in a different light from previous incidents and are seen by some analysts as precedent in the modern service.

Gallagher has refused comment on the incident or the Navy’s investigation into the complaints.

Source: The Huffington Post.

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‘Right-Hand Woman’ to Trump, Fiona Hill, to Testify Before House on Impeachment

Senior White House adviser and “right-hand person” to President Donald Trump, Fiona Hill, is said to be a witness for Democrats in their push to impeach Trump, The New York Times reports. Hill is expected to testify Thursday at a closed-door, closed-door hearing by the Judiciary Committee, according to the report.

Hill, 46, served as the National Security Council’s director for multilateral affairs and human rights under Barack Obama and worked in the Office of the U.S. Special Envoy to Syria under Hillary Clinton. She most recently served as the NSC’s senior director for European and Eurasian affairs.

Before joining the administration, Hill worked as a policy analyst in the George W. Bush administration. At the time of her departure, she told the Times, she was given a title “not unlike the title ‘petty’-something like that.”

In the article, Hill is quoted as saying, “The environment, from our perspective, was not conducive to ideas. It was about details, about agreements, not about history.”

The two former U.S. secretaries of state with whom Hill worked in the Bush administration—Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice—are also expected to testify, according to the Times.

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Trump Expelling Russian Diplomat Known as ‘Mr. 45’

HUNTSVILLE, Iowa — President Donald Trump fired the first salvo in his potential 2020 reelection campaign on Wednesday, expelling the Russian diplomat known as “Mister 45” after reports that he advised Ukraine in recent months to use force against Russian-backed separatists.

Joseph Skowronski, a former Russian diplomat who was assigned to the U.S. embassy in Kiev, was the first diplomat to be expelled under Trump’s sanctions against Russia. He is expected to lose his diplomatic post but will retain his status as a U.S. citizen.

Skowronski, who is in his late 50s, and his wife have three children in the United States. “I wish to reassure my American friends and family, including my children, that I have not been involved in the well-being or political affairs of the United States,” he said in a statement.

Skowronski has been out of a job since Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine twice attacked Ukrainian military installations in June and July. Russia has blamed the attacks on Ukrainian forces, and denounced the airstrikes as “acts of aggression.”

Late last month, according to the New York Times, Skowronski told Ukranian officials that the sanctions against Russia had stalled the negotiations to end the fighting, which has killed more than 10,000 people. The article was first reported on Wednesday by the website FAS.

Spokesmen for Trump and the Ukrainian Embassy did not respond to requests for comment on the report.

Skowronski is an unusually high-profile target of Trump’s sanctions, and the first to be removed on orders of the president, who has levied a set of penalties against Russia, primarily as punishment for its use of military force in eastern Ukraine.

An Iranian who was appointed ambassador to the United States by former President Barack Obama, Skowronski was a main architect of a U.S. agreement with Moscow under which Russia entered into one of the strictest agreements of its kind. “In so many words, he was the face of the Obama administration in Eastern Europe,” said Brendan O’Connor, who represented Ukraine before the U.S. State Department during the negotiations.

Trump last year signed a law that expanded sanctions against Russia after Moscow annexed Crimea in 2014 and its incursion into eastern Ukraine. The law gave Trump the power to prohibit any U.S. person from engaging in new banking and other transactions with him unless he submitted specific information indicating that the transactions would be in U.S. national security or financial interest.

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Judge Blocks Scheduled Executions of Federal Death Row Inmates

× Judge Blocks Scheduled Executions of Federal Death Row Inmates

A federal judge Wednesday blocked President Donald Trump’s reprieve of nine executions from a federal court set to begin Monday, saying the state and the federal government should address the problem of executions being rushed to avert pending court challenges.

The judge’s injunction came as execution dates for those in federal custody were slated to begin. An original schedule of nine executions scheduled to begin Monday has been pushed back a few weeks.

The judge, Michael Urbanski, said he was “hard pressed to understand how a death sentence that is specifically issued under a plan to execute in the course of a district court action, is then bargained away with no meaningful regard for the most fundamental elements of due process.”

Urbanski’s lengthy opinion was issued amid the deadline for members of the public to file arguments about the legality of the federal executive clemency office’s reprieve of the executions. The reprieve was issued on Tuesday by one of Trump’s appointees, Acting Assistant Attorney General John Cronan.

“If federal prosecutors can go to court and obtain a stay from an existing court order by reprieve, what other power of the executive does the federal government not exercise?” Urbanski wrote.

In the past year, the US Supreme Court has considered more than two dozen executions, deciding against them in about half.

In January, the high court rejected the final appeal of an Arkansas inmate who claimed his health was deteriorating as a result of his death penalty sentence, finding the state had the authority to put inmates to death by lethal injection.

More recently, in September, the justices declined to hear an appeal from Oklahoma inmate Charles Warner, who had spent 13 years on death row after being convicted of child rape and murder.

Warner’s attorneys had argued in their case that the low dosage of midazolam required to render an inmate unconscious was wrong for California prisoners and said it resulted in multiple botched executions.

The Department of Justice on Wednesday said it would appeal the injunction issued by the judge.

The Department of Justice said in a statement that the federal law that permits the executive clemency office to exercise its authority “does not give the federal government the authority to evade its obligation to provide timely notice to prisoners facing execution under a federal habeas corpus proceeding.”

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GOP seeks to distract from looming Trump impeachment debate

The Trump administration on Wednesday organized a flurry of separate events promoting the president’s tax cut and the roaring economy, part of the Republican strategy to undercut the debate over impeaching the president over his sacking of the FBI director.

Responding to growing Democratic opposition to the administration’s policy toward immigrants and to the president’s comments about the midterm elections, lawmakers of both parties pushed back against the idea that Trump could be impeached. But some Republicans also acknowledged that the president’s prospects for averting removal from office were faltering.

“For him to be removed, two-thirds of both chambers would have to vote to remove him,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said on a call with reporters on Wednesday. Cornyn, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, said he did not think that would happen.

Nevertheless, Cornyn called for impeachment hearings, so that House Republicans could defend the president’s actions, as Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., did Wednesday in a debate on a Senate floor.

Other Republicans went further. Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., said on the same Senate floor that the time has come to revisit the issue of impeachment. Kennedy, a former federal prosecutor, said he believed the only two violations that would justify removal from office are obstruction of justice and bribery.

But he went on to say that other grounds, including racial discrimination, suggest “the proper remedy” would be to find that the president might be “incapable of discharging the duties of his office.”

The GOP efforts come as growing numbers of Republican lawmakers, still worried about prospects for control of the House, start hearing that one of the top impeachment tools could disappear from their toolbox. The sweeping tax cuts that Congress enacted at the end of 2017 would require that money be set aside each year from the government’s budget surplus to cover a deep reduction in the tax burdens of wealthy people. There has been bipartisan agreement for a decade that the Clinton-era “bailout of the rich” had contributed to the budget deficit. Republicans now favor reverting to the policy of expanding the budget surplus to cover tax cuts for the middle class.

Republicans, who had hoped their tax cuts would do enough to improve public perceptions of the economy to help them win House control in 2018, were unprepared when the tax cuts later led to an outsized budget deficit that threatens to force a showdown between Trump and congressional Democrats. At best, Republicans now acknowledge, it is unlikely that the tax cuts and the increasing budget deficit can be offset by undoing the tax cuts or cutting domestic programs.

Last week, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, laid out a plan with other moderate Republicans to put a stick in the spokes of the impeachment debate, arguing that the rising budget deficit did not justify impeachment.

“It was an extraordinary accomplishment” to pass the tax cuts last year, Collins said in an interview Wednesday. She said that while she supported investigations of the Trump administration’s conduct, and urged Democrats to do the same, “I don’t think it’s going to be productive” to talk about impeachment now.

Collins and her Republican allies offered legislation this week that would exempt most of the federal government’s $12 trillion worth of bonds from the proposed cuts in the budget. While Republicans hope that Republicans in the House would be able to send the legislation to Trump’s desk, it is unclear whether it would win enough Democratic support to advance.

“You know, I could count on one hand,” Cornyn said, if he had the votes to repeal all the tax cuts in the short term, even though this “would increase the deficit by billions of dollars.”

Norman Ornstein, a political analyst at the American Enterprise Institute, said it was possible that a “couple dozen” Republicans in the House might take that route. But if they did, it might be too late to forestall impeachment. “There’s only a 20 percent chance it would pass the Senate, and a 30 percent chance it would be repealed by presidential veto,” Ornstein said.

Trump has often said that the Senate might decide to remove him, and Republican leaders say privately that they are willing to consider such an unprecedented scenario, if necessary.

But Graham acknowledged Wednesday that more than one Republican or even both parties might have to agree for a president to be removed from office, so a filibuster might be needed.

“All this business about what I call the congressional thugs come down to a reality where there’s two ways it can happen,” Graham said. “One is, if we’re lucky,

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AG Jeff Sessions Will Face Congress Today, Part 2

Washington, DC — Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will face Congress today at a hearing that will explore “border security, immigration policy, and international cooperation on international criminal justice matters.” Many in the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Democratic minority have expressed frustration that the Trump administration has refused to hold hearings on a wide variety of significant issues.

In addition to the tenor of today’s hearing, with Republicans on the committee squaring off against Democrats on both sides, the Media has also circulated an image of a newly installed sign atop the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. The sign, which was just erected Monday, reads, “Temporary Embassy” (in an apparent attempt to undercut calls for any new embassy to be built in Jerusalem, which President Trump has committed to). Ambassador David J. Trumps Administration could have a tough time with his reading test.

Attorneys You Might Know: David J. Trumpsé (Atty. General of the United States), Jessica Podovsky (Prosecutor for the Southern District of New York)

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Trump visits Apple in New Mexico

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President Donald Trump dropped in on an Apple factory in New Mexico Wednesday, praising the company’s migrant worker relief plan for child care and other benefits.

At the Albuquerque plant, he says he wants to hold a “big jobs meeting” and talked about improving regulations and “breaking up a lot of the big agribusinesses” that oppose him.

Earlier this year, Apple CEO Tim Cook rejected the president’s tariffs on goods from China, calling the move “directly destructive to our supply chain.”

However, Trump claims a former executive recently told him Apple could back out of the agreement to absorb some of the effects of the trade war.

Apple doesn’t appear to be that worried by the report, with an iPhone-related tweet from the company late Wednesday night saying it has agreed to help workers with the transition and will also supply free, tax-exempt baby carriers to employees so that they can have a better work-life balance.

Watch Trump’s visit from an earlier White House briefing:

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Rick Scott refers to Andrew Gillum as Andrew Gillum again in fiery debate

Rick Scott tried the now-familiar line of attack in a stark state to campaign for statewide office that he’s doing a poor job as governor, according to the harsh words that emerged from last night’s debate.

The Republican governor on Wednesday repeated a familiar line of attack against his opponent, Democrat Andrew Gillum, accusing him of not having delivered on key reforms he had promised to deliver by his second anniversary.

And Gov. Ron DeSantis seemed to echo that line when he said: “In just two years, four major legislative sessions, 2,000 appointments across the state, that’s eight different initiatives in 32 months. The list just keeps getting longer and longer and longer.”

He contrasted that to what Gillum described as the governor’s deep commitment to free college, his call for universal pre-K, the “commonsense protections” of auto insurance rates.

Here are a few of the chief differences:

Scott pointed to charter schools as having been ineffective and said they have a weak record on teacher performance.

Gillum called for more charter schools and expanded students’ involvement in the school building program that might give them a shot at transferring to higher performance schools.

Both men said they were most proud of trying to address the sanctuary city ordinance and supporting voting rights, among others.

Scott revealed that while he was at Goldman Sachs on a state consulting job in 2001 when he was blasted in the media for racy tweets sent while he was governor, he never resigned.

DeSantis – the former congressman who was elected in November – said he did not know Scott or even met him while he was in Washington D.C.

The candidates appeared to have little to say in response to a moderator’s question about what they thought of the president.

On a lighter note, Gillum, a Democrat and Tallahassee mayor, compared the GOP attack on the universal health care law “Obamacare” to 1950s censorship.

The transcript provided to the Tampa Bay Times and the Miami Herald reads:

“OK, you’re not getting Obamacare to privatize our healthcare anymore – we understand – and we understand. We know the American people are tired of Obamacare, and my opponent wants to repeal it, which means it’s going to repeal itself. It’s going to put that healthcare right back out of the hands of the American people.

“I guess what I want to know, Andrew, is if we go back to a single-payer healthcare system, you’re going to prohibit people from taking insurance with a doctor they like, with a plan that fits their needs? We made a mistake at the last time with the Affordable Care Act. So I’m going to stand up, too, for what we did under Obamacare but want to continue to improve it.”

The Times and Herald both had the debate-related debate transcripts in their paper Wednesday.

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We were back on the podcast: A look at what came up on the first post-election edition

NEW YORK — Feel like the political world lost its mind last night? Feel free to hand over your pillows. It was the first post-election “On Politics” podcast edition, and it certainly brought in some sharp moments — and some uncomfortable views.

Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder — one of a handful of big names involved in a new Democratic effort to take control of the House of Representatives — offered his views on what the new Congress should do. But he mostly tried to downplay expectations.

“I think if anybody’s in office and they think they know what they’re doing, then they probably should not be in office,” Holder said, offering a thought or two about things such as the new Democratic majority’s ability to impeach President Donald Trump.

“I think there’s no greater word that I can make about the fact that the grand jury is doing an investigation into Trump,” Holder added. “What does that mean? Does it mean he’s going to be indicted? Are we going to impeach him? We’re not going to call it impeachment.”

To get a sense of some of the other hot-button issues that dominated the night, New York Times staff writers Maggie Haberman and Mike Grynbaum welcomed Twitter’s former head of politics Zeke Miller into the fray.

Author Sarah Posner said she’s “not sure what to make of the departure” of ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen.

Longtime Fox News host Shepard Smith went in for a conversation about his network’s coverage of the midterm elections, during which Trump supporters were confronted by female protestors and some viewers were angry about lost coverage.

And Andrea Mitchell and The Washington Post’s Marwa Eltagouri, in Denver to cover the debate over renaming a street after former U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, discussed the campaign for a rematch, which was nearly derailed by Republican Doug Robinson’s showing last week.

Plus, the panel went behind the scenes at the National Republican Congressional Committee meeting in Washington to find out how the party plans to reclaim the House next year.