Trump’s national security team is constant source of turnover | TheHill


Defense Secretary James Mattis‘s decision to quit the Trump administration is the latest indication of a Cabinet constantly being shaken up.

Mattis, who President Trump announced Sunday will leave office at the end of this year — ahead of the secretary’s preferred exit — is just the latest person with a high-level national security or foreign policy position to be headed out of the president’s orbit.

Some have resigned, others have been ousted, and a few have moved to other posts within the administration.

It will leave Trump with a different team in 2019.

Here’s a look at the top national security-related posts that have seen turnover under Trump.

National security adviser

Three people have served as Trump’s principal adviser on national security and foreign policy issues in the White House.

The president tapped Michael Flynn, a retired three-star Army general turned vociferous campaign surrogate, to serve as his national security adviser shortly after the 2016 election.

Flynn’s tenure was extremely brief. He was forced to resign less than a month into the post over revelations that he misled Vice President Pence about contacts with the Russian ambassador during the transition. Since then Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about those contacts, and he cooperated with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference.

Trump then appointed H.R. McMaster, another army lieutenant general. McMaster was widely viewed as one of the more moderate voices in the administration and was said to have clashed with Trump on various issues, including the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that Trump consistently disparaged on the campaign trail.

But McMaster didn’t last long, either. In April of this year, Trump moved to replace him with John Bolton, a George W. Bush-era official known for his hawkish views on China and Iran.

FBI director

Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey in May 2017 is viewed as one of the most controversial moments of his presidency.

The move came just months after Comey publicly confirmed the existence of the FBI’s investigation into whether associates of the Trump campaign coordinated with Moscow to interfere in the 2016 election.

And while the firing was predicated on a recommendation from the Justice Department that Comey be removed for his handling of the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server, Trump later told NBC News that the “Russia thing” factored into his decision. Mueller is said to be reviewing Comey’s firing in his probe into whether the president obstructed justice.

Comey, who has since become a frequent critic of Trump, later testified before the Senate that the president had asked him to abandon the FBI’s investigation into Flynn.

The Senate later confirmed Christopher Wray, another veteran of the George W. Bush administration, as FBI director.

Attorney general

Now-former Attorney General Jeff Sessions joined the administration as a trusted confidant with whom Trump had built a strong rapport during the campaign.

 

Source: Trump’s national security team is constant source of turnover | TheHill

Trump digs in on the wall and the shutdown : NBC News


President Donald Trump told reporters after a Christmas Day phone call with troops that he won’t reopen the government until he gets the $5 billion in funding for his border wall.

As the government shutdown entered its fourth day and expected to stretch at least well into the week, the president said the U.S. must have “a wall, a fence, whatever they’d like to call it.”

Trump also insisted Tuesday that the wall — through renovations and new contracts — is actually already scheduled to be built and refurbished. He claimed that 115 miles of wall was set to be constructed in Texas, and that he would visit the border at the end of January for a groundbreaking ceremony.

 

Source: Trump digs in on the wall and the shutdown : NBC News

Mob boss gone mad: Trump longs to go after Clinton, apologizes for murderers | Salon.com


Last week, the Federalist Society grand poobah Leonard Leo, widely credited as the mastermind behind Trump’s extremist court-packing scheme, got into a bit of spat with another high powered conservative legal luminary. That would be George Conway, the prominent Trump critic who is also the husband of Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway. Leo was upset because Conway had started a legal organization called Checks and Balances, which is dedicated to opposing Trump’s abuse of presidential power and degradation of the rule of law.

Leo said he found the whole concept outrageous. Just because the president spouts off day and night wondering why the Department of Justice isn’t jailing his political rivals and demanding that its top officials pledge fealty to him as he imagines Joe McCarthy’s lawyer (and Trump mentor) Roy Cohn would have done — well, isn’t an abuse of power unless he takes action.

Leo told Axios:

I measure a president’s sensitivity to the rule of law by his actions, not his off-the-cuff comments, tweets or statements. And the president has obviously had lots of criticisms about former Attorney General Sessions and about the department, but at the end of the day, he hasn’t acted upon those criticisms.

This was fatuous in all respects but particularly so since Trump has just fired Jeff Sessions because he followed the ethical guidelines of the department and recused himself from the Russia investigations, thus failing to protect Trump. That is taking action. The same goes for firing James Comey for failing to quash the Russia investigation.

 

Source: Mob boss gone mad: Trump longs to go after Clinton, apologizes for murderers | Salon.com

Former FBI director James Comey sheds ‘secret’ Twitter alias, slides into Trump’s stomping grounds : Daily Kos


attribution: Getty Images

There’s a new Twitter sheriff in town

In March 2017, Ashley Feinberg of Gizmodo did some sleuthing and figured out former FBI director James Comey had been using a secret alias on Twitter. Comey was tweeting under the name @ReinholdNiebuhr and eventually confirmed Feinberg’s detective work, even jokingly offering her a job.

Today, James Comey shed the alias account and unveiled a new Twitter feed, one that is quickly gaining new followers and is likely to give @realDonaldTrump some heartburn.

 

Trump is not likely to greet him like the did the first time the two met at the White House.

And the fact Comey felt the need to open a more public, verified account could be telling. As in, he has a story to tell and he is getting closer to being able to talk about it publicly.

Of course, longtime Twitter users began welcoming and hazing the newest verified account:

Of course, many users gave Comey a less than hospitable welcome, but you’ll have to get in the Twitter mud yourself to read those responses.

 

Source: Former FBI director James Comey sheds ‘secret’ Twitter alias, slides into Trump’s stomping grounds  : Daily Kos