WTF Community

Who The Fuck Has Left The Trump Administration

New York Times Reporter Julie Davis adds this little tidbit. McGahn caught unaware of T’s announcement.


NEWS: The White House ethics lawyer, Stefan Passantino, leaves the post tomorrow, sources tell me.


Oh, wait…there’s more.

McGahn’s deputy and chief of staff, Annie Donaldson, is also expected to leave soon after McGahn departs

With vacancies abounding in the White House and more departures on the horizon, there is growing concern among Trump allies that the brain drain at the center of the administration could hardly come at a more perilous time.

job changes and firings have taken their toll across the White House, but their impact has been felt particularly in the communications and legal shops — two departments crucial to Trump staving off the looming threats.

McGahn’s deputy and chief of staff, Annie Donaldson, is also expected to leave soon after McGahn departs, two staffers said. Similarly, the White House press office is down to four press secretaries working on day-to-day White House matters, including Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and the regional and Cabinet affairs media teams in the communications office have been hollowed out.


Great article! But, to be fair, Trump assured his base in a tweet today that there is no chaos in the White House, instead it is a “‘smooth running machine’ with changing parts!” Yes, it’s just hummin’ along. :wink:

Yesterday the Washington Post published an excellent piece with a similar theme to the NYT article:

A telling excerpt:

Trump announced Wednesday that Donald McGahn will depart as White House counsel this fall, once the Senate confirms Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh. Three of McGahn’s deputies — Greg Katsas, Uttam Dhillon and Makan Delrahim — have departed, and a fourth, Stefan Passantino, will have his last day Friday. That leaves John Eisenberg, who handles national security, as the lone deputy counsel.

I can just picture tumbleweeds rolling down the halls.

Last night, Rachel Maddow interviewed, Carol Leonnig, one of the reporters who broke this story. She and her colleagues interviewed over 26 people at the White House while researching their report. It says a lot that so many of Trump’s staffers would be willing to be interviewed – loyal employees normally so “no” to such requests and defer to their superiors.

Footnote: I always enjoy Leonnig’s perspective – she’s a frequent guest on RMS. She and her fellow investigative reporters, along with the hard working agents in the FBI, and the tenacious prosecutors in the DOJ are all my heroes. They are saving our Republic! :trophy:


Puzzling to my eyes as well…

Ian Smith was a immigration policy analyst hired in 2017 it looks like, working with Stephen Miller in the policy office. They describe this being a very small working group who attended DHS meetings, on border issues, immigration and trade policy.

Like attract like…in these circles I suppose.

Smith, a Trump political appointee, did not respond to phone calls and emails seeking comment. The White House referred questions to DHS, where officials said they could not discuss Smith’s work, but that he immediately quit when asked if the emails were his.

“The Department of Homeland Security is committed to combating all forms of violent extremism, especially movements that espouse racial supremacy or bigotry,” DHS spokesman Tyler Q. Houlton said in a statement. “This type of radical ideology runs counter to the Department’s mission of keeping America safe.”

Though Smith was not assigned a supervisory position at DHS, he “wasn’t just some low-level schlub who didn’t do anything,” according to one government official familiar with his work for the administration.

He joined the department as an immigration policy analyst in 2017 and focused on refu­gee issues and temporary worker visas, according to former colleagues. He also worked on an effort, led by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, to expand the “Public Charge” rule by penalizing more legal immigrants who use tax credits or accept government benefits.

Critics of that proposal say it is part of a concerted attempt to reduce the number of foreigners living in the United States, while forcing immigrants to choose between seeking help and jeopardizing their legal status.

The policy office Smith was assigned to was badly understaffed, with several vacant positions, former colleagues said. On repeat occasions, they said, Smith attended immigration meetings at the White House convened by senior Trump adviser Stephen Miller, attending at times in place of his supervisor, Michael Dougherty, the DHS assistant secretary for border, immigration and trade policy.

Miller, Trump’s most influential adviser on immigration, is known for holding frequent meetings with DHS staff to discuss policy implementation and coordinate public messaging. Miller did not respond to requests for comment, and there is no indication he worked closely with Smith or was aware of his associations with white supremacists.

Former co-workers said Smith did not express extremist views on the job and mostly kept to himself while at work. “He’d done a lot of writing, and seemed like a quiet, thoughtful guy — a policy nerd,” said one ex-colleague.

Before joining DHS, Smith worked at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a Washington think tank whose restrictionist immigration views have won broad influence in the Trump White House.

During the period he was in communication with white-supremacist groups, Smith wrote dozens of articles for publications including National Review, the Hill and the Daily Caller. Many of the pieces call for tighter immigration controls.

Smith would have had to pass a background check for his security clearance, which typically includes an in-person interview during which he would likely have been asked about any associations with extremist groups.

In a 2016 interview, Smith said he was born near Seattle and grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia, before moving to Asia and earning a law degree in Australia.


Just when you thought the corruption couldn’t get any more flagrant.

A Department of Interior official who oversaw last year’s drive to shrink two massive national monuments in Utah has left the department to join BP’s government affairs team, a spokesman for the energy giant confirmed Monday.

Former deputy chief of staff Downey Magallanes served as a top adviser to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke from the time he took over the department. Her portfolio included policy as well as operations, which encompassed a push to expand oil, gas and mining production on public lands. . . .

According to two individuals familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because it involved a personnel issue, Magallanes, a former aide to Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., would work on congressional relations. Her father, Frederick Palmer, served as a lobbyist for Peabody Energy Corp. from 2001 to 2015.

. . . Stephen Bloch, legal director for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, an advocacy group, said in an email: “Her prior work on behalf of oil, gas and coal, her family’s ties to the coal industry, and the fact that she is headed to BP all point in one direction: that she came to Interior with an agenda to promote fossil fuel development over the interest of the American public.

“Magallanes was intimately involved in the lead-up to President Trump’s unlawful attack on the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, a decision that was immediately challenged by Native American tribes, conservationists and businesses,” he added. “We’ll be working to undo that mischief long after she’s gone.”

And remember Trump’s much-touted “ethics pledge”? – look how easily she circumvents it (as many other departing staffers must be doing as well):

Trump’s ethics pledge bars political appointees from lobbying their respective agencies for five years after leaving office, and from lobbying anyone in the executive branch for the rest of his administration.


BP spokesman Jason Ryan . . . declined to elaborate on what Magallanes would do in her new job.

So technically, she’s not violating the ethics pledge since BP won’t come out and actually define what her position will be. Instead of “Lobbyist,” her title will probably be something like, “Person in Charge of Doing Promotey Stuff in Congress for BP.” There! No harm, no foul.

And just so there’s absolutely no doubt that this is a case of corruption-in-plain-sight, here’s an article by a group that has been monitoring the corporate-driven transfer of Bears Ears public lands into private hands.

EOG, as reported by the Salt Lake Tribune in 2016, has applied to drill three exploratory wells in Bluff Bench and Chimney Rocks, both located near Bears Ears. And several other companies, including Bill Barrett Corporation, BP, Anadarko Petroleum, and Southwestern Energy, all own acreage in the Paradox Basin, the shale basin sitting under Bears Ears.

So let’s review:

Jan., 2016: Downey Magallanes, as part of the new wave of Trump-hires at the Department of Interior, begins working to shrink the size of National Monuments which will transfer vast amounts of publicly held lands and mineral rights to private corporations.

Dec., 2017: Mission accomplished! Trump signs an order drastically shrinking the size of Bears Ears National Monument. This is a tremendous windfall for BP which has applied to place oil wells on land that is no longer protected.

Aug., 2018: Magallanes exchanges her 21-month gig at the Dept. of Interior for a cushy career with, lo and behold, BP. (But she’s not violating her ethics agreement since she won’t be officially called a “lobbyist”.)

Footnote: Just checked Magallanes’ LinkedIn page. She lists her new title at BP as “Senior Director, Federal Government Affairs” – that is the title universally employed by corporate lobbyists. So how is she not flagrantly violating her Trump-hyped “ethics pledge”?


Looking for leakers Trump wonders which witch is which. I feel confident that staffing changes will follow.


So this is happening…

A Fox News correspondent is a leading candidate to head the State Department agency tasked with combating propaganda and disinformation from foreign adversaries, CNN has learned.

Lea Gabrielle is being considered for special envoy and coordinator of the Global Engagement Center, multiple State Department sources and one former senior State official told CNN.

Gabrielle is a general assignment reporter for “Shepard Smith Reporting,” according to her Fox News biography, and was previously a military reporter. She is also a United States Naval Academy graduate and served in the US Navy as fighter pilot for more than a decade, as well as taking part in some intelligence operations.


Obama’s pick for director of the GEC, Michael Lumpkin, served as the assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict and as the acting under secretary of defense for policy, the third-highest civilian job at the United States Department of Defense.

Current acting director Daniel Kimmage has served in several State Department roles, including being principal deputy coordinator of the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications. Kimmage, who is fluent in Russian and Arabic, according to his biography, was also a senior fellow at the Homeland Security Policy Institute. His writings include reports on extremist media strategies.


The GEC, established in April 2016, has a mission that includes “countering the adverse effects of state-sponsored propaganda and disinformation.” It has taken on increasing importance as experts warn of the potential for massive disinformation campaigns heading into the midterm elections.
Facebook’s former security chief Alex Stamos told CNN this week that US elections are at risk of becoming the "World Cup of information warfare."

I wish her the best of luck in her new position.


It will be revealed within the week, and it can not be contained.

Pence is a suspect - due to the use of the word Lodestar
Gen Kelly & Mattis - already on record to be disgruntled.

White House Searches For Anonymous Inside Critic
Aides chase rumors of who could have written opinion piece on alleged effort within administration to thwart Trump’s impulses

Michael C. Bender
Sept. 5, 2018 7:17 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON—White House aides launched a search for the anonymous author of an opinion column who claimed Wednesday to be part of a secret group of officials inside the administration acting as a check on President Trump’s “worst inclinations.

An angry president called the New York Times piece “a disgrace” and slammed its author as “gutless.”

The writer was identified only as a senior administration official. A New York Times spokeswoman declined to comment when asked for a description of that term.

“This is the stuff we have to deal with, and, you know, the dishonest media,” Mr. Trump told reporters at the White House when asked about the column. The president was ready for the question, pulling a sheet of paper from his suit-jacket pocket and responding with a list of what he said were his administration’s accomplishments, including low unemployment.

Later in the afternoon, Mr. Trump tweeted a video of his response to the op-ed and followed it with a second tweet that read simply, “TREASON?”

Inside the West Wing, top officials canceled afternoon meetings and huddled behind closed doors to strategize about how to expose the author, White House officials said. Some officials called reporters to chase down rumors about who was behind the op-ed, and whether it came from inside the White House or a cabinet-level agency.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that the op-ed was written by a “gutless, anonymous source.” Both she and Mr. Trump referred to the Times as “failing,” despite statistics from the company showing subscriptions have increased since his election.

“The individual behind this piece has chosen to deceive, rather than support, the duly elected president of the United States,” Ms. Sanders said. "He is not putting country first, but putting himself and his ego ahead of the will of the American people. This coward should do the right thing and resign.”

Since its inception, the Trump administration has included some senior officials—both conservative and more liberal—who have sought to curb Mr. Trump’s direction, according to people familiar with the matter.

Steve Bannon, the president’s former chief strategist and a self-described economic populist, directed junior staffers to ignore direct orders from the president, these people said. On trade policy, Gary Cohn, his former top economic adviser and a registered Democrat, often slowed the president’s attempts to implement his protectionist instincts, these people said.

The hunt for the anonymous writer came on a day when the White House was busy responding to the author of the latest critical book about the Trump presidency.

Coverage of the new manuscript from Bob Woodward, a Washington Post editor and author of a dozen best-selling nonfiction books, was being closely monitored by the president.

In the White House earlier on Wednesday, reporters asked Mr. Trump about a trade deal he plans to sign with South Korea later this month. The president responded by referring to a passage in Mr. Woodward’s book alleging that Mr. Cohn removed papers from the Oval Office desk that would have pulled the U.S. out of the Korea Free Trade Agreement before Mr. Trump could sign them.

“I read another phony thing in the book about the trade deal, that certain people didn’t want me to look at,” he said. “That was another thing in the book that was just totally false.”

Mr. Trump on Wednesday also referred reporters to a pair of statements released on Tuesday from chief of staff John Kelly and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis that disputed the disparaging quotes in the book that they allegedly made in private about the president. Mr. Trump’s former attorney, John Dowd, also disavowed statements attributed to him in the book.

Mr. Mattis, who was cited in the book as saying the president’s understanding of global affairs was that of a “fifth- or sixth-grader,” called the passage a “product of someone’s rich imagination.”

“The contemptuous words about the president attributed to me in Woodward’s book were never uttered by me,” he said in the statement.

Mr. Trump Wednesday offered differing accounts about how those statements came to be released.

At about 2 p.m., he told reporters that he was surprised by the statements from Messrs. Kelly and Mattis, saying they were released “without my even knowing about it.”

Two hours later, he told reporters he had approached Gen. Mattis about the book and his defense secretary offered to put out a statement disputing the book’s descriptions of him. “And I said, ‘Thank you very much, that’s very kind,’” Mr. Trump told reporters.

Mr. Woodward’s book, entitled, “Fear: Trump in the White House,” is scheduled for publication on Sept.


The White House launches another witch hunt to track down the anonymous author of a New York Times Op-ed. I stand by my assertion that the White House does not know which witch is which. :smirk:

WASHINGTON—White House aides launched a search for the anonymous author of an opinion column who claimed Wednesday to be part of a secret group of officials inside the administration acting as a check on President Trump’s “worst inclinations.”

An angry president called the New York Times piece “a disgrace” and slammed its author as “gutless.”

Later in the afternoon, Mr. Trump tweeted a video of his response to the op-ed and followed it with a second tweet that read simply, “TREASON?”

Inside the West Wing, top officials canceled afternoon meetings and huddled behind closed doors to strategize about how to expose the author, White House officials said. Some officials called reporters to chase down rumors about who was behind the op-ed, and whether it came from inside the White House or a cabinet-level agency.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that the op-ed was written by a “gutless, anonymous source.” Both she and Mr. Trump referred to the Times as “failing,” despite statistics from the company showing subscriptions have increased since his election.

“The individual behind this piece has chosen to deceive, rather than support, the duly elected president of the United States,” Ms. Sanders said. "He is not putting country first, but putting himself and his ego ahead of the will of the American people. This coward should do the right thing and resign.”


@dragonfly9 you beat me by 6mins. Must have been while I was typing. :woman_facepalming:t2:

1 Like

Wha??? LOL

All of us are in ISO (IN SEARCH OF) mode to understand this fast moving cRa*
Adrenalin is pumping, right?

I go thru twitter, and came across Bender’s article, and snatched it, before it went behind it’s paywall.

So…yes, we are on the same search…eyes popping, and fingers scrambling.

Yikes, where is the actual straw in this pile-up that will break his back? When will it end? :boom:

Now onto cartoons, friend @Pet_Proletariat


Today is pretty crazytown. This really is the golden age of television. :smirk:


oooop this was already posted by @Keaton_James (I was reading on a cyber group’s recommendation for using paper ballots…and came across this.)

Aug 4th - Who the Fuck Left the WH

Not sure this is a group that we can not afford to lose. I do not know who the names are of the top four FBI Cyber officials. But it looks grim. :open_mouth:

The recent departures of four top FBI cyber officials reflect a troubling trend: The bureau is losing its most seasoned agents and supervisors tasked with disrupting digital threats from Russia and elsewhere, even as threats to the nation’s power grid and elections grow.

Close to 20 top FBI cybersecurity leaders have left for high-paying corporate jobs over the past five years, one former veteran agent told POLITICO — a dramatic turnover in a handful of senior jobs. And news of the most recent retirements followed the abrupt departure of the co-head of the FBI’s newly formed election meddling task force.

The exodus — including departures from the FBI’s Cyber Division — worries current and former bureau officials. It’s also prompting concern from several top congressional Democrats, who asked their committees’ chairmen last week to get assurances from FBI Director Christopher Wray “that the agency has a plan to replace the departing staff, and that the safety of our elections will not suffer in the interim.”


Mass exodus from the EPA has shrunk the agency’s workforce by 8 percent

During the first 18 months of the Trump administration, records show, nearly 1,600 workers left the EPA, while fewer than 400 were hired. The exodus has shrunk the agency’s workforce by 8 percent, to levels not seen since the Reagan administration. The trend has continued even after a major round of buyouts last year and despite the fact that the EPA’s budget has remained stable.

Those who have resigned or retired include some of the agency’s most experienced veterans, as well as young environmental experts who traditionally would have replaced them — stirring fears about brain drain at the EPA. The sheer number of departures also has prompted concerns over what sort of work is falling by the wayside, from enforcement investigations to environmental research.

According to data released under the Freedom of Information Act and analyzed by The Washington Post, at least 260 scientists, 185 “environmental protection specialists” and 106 engineers are gone.


Retired Admiral William “Bill” McRaven, the former head of Special Operations Command resigned from the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Board last month, just days after issuing a stunning rebuke of President Donald Trump’s decision to revoke the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan, the Pentagon confirmed Thursday.

“I can confirm that Admiral (ret) William H. McRaven resigned from the Defense Innovation Board, effective August 20, 2018,” Pentagon spokesperson Heather Babb told CNN in a statement. “The Department appreciates his service and contribution on the board.”

While his departure was first reported by Defense News on Thursday, the Pentagon confirmed that McRaven officially resigned last month, just four days after he authored a blistering op-ed in the Washington Post slamming Trump’s decision to revoke Brennan’s clearance.

I salute McRaven – he has the courage to stand up for his convictions. He put our nation’s security before his own personal interests. The fact that Trump has set a precedent of revoking security clearances as an act of political retribution weakens our intelligence services, our military, and our government. He sounded the alarm, knowing it would cost him dearly. I only wish that Republicans in congress would show the same resolve to protect our country from the imminent threat posed by our unhinged President.


Holy shit!!


Trent Teyama, FBI’s section chief for cyber readiness and COO - Cyber Division.

Speculating that given there is no strong mandate within T’s administration to curtail the war on cyber, election hacking etc., it might be time before mid-terms to cut out. Oh, and the money is always much better.

Trent is leaving for Parsons.

Trent Teyema, the FBI’s section chief for cyber readiness and chief operating officer of the bureau’s Cyber Division, has been named senior vice president and chief technology officer for the government-focused wing of Parsons Corporation.

The move comes as a number of cybersecurity experts at the bureau have left their positions over recent months. In July, the Wall Street Journal reported that a number of top-ranking cybersecurity officials were leaving for various roles in the private sector.

The FBI’s cyber readiness team works to educate enterprises on various cyberthreats and coordinate information-sharing initiatives. During his time at the bureau, Teyema helped establish the FBI’s National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force, which is responsible for investigating cyberthreats that pose the most harm to the country.

Teyema also spent time as the director of cybersecurity policy at the National Security Council from 2010 to 2011.


Rod Rosentein has offered his resignation.

Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, was considering resigning on Monday, days after private discussions were revealed in which he talked about invoking the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office and secretly taping him to expose chaos in the administration.

Over the weekend, Mr. Rosenstein called a White House official and said he was considering quitting, and a person close to the White House said he was resigning. On Monday morning, Mr. Rosenstein was on his way to the White House to meet with Mr. Trump’s chief of staff, John F. Kelly.

Mr. Trump was in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, and it was not clear whether he would accept a resignation, fire Mr. Rosenstein or allow him to remain in the job.


President Donald Trump will meet with Rod Rosenstein Thursday after the deputy attorney general went to the White House Monday expecting to be fired.

Rosenstein met with chief of staff John Kelly and spoke with Trump, who is in New York.

“At the request of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, he and President Trump had an extended conversation to discuss the recent news stories,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. “Because the President is at the United Nations General Assembly and has a full schedule with leaders from around the world, they will meet on Thursday when the President returns to Washington, DC.”


If this is true, I’m extremely disappointed in Rosenstein. He should be fighting this tooth and nail. First, my understanding is that his remarks about recording Trump were sarcastic, but even if they weren’t, there’s no harm in discussing various contingencies in the face of a crisis which is where the DOJ found itself after the firing of Comey.

Anyone who has worked in business, politics, or the military knows that contingencies are discussed all the time – it’s called brainstorming. A group charged with finding a solution for an intractable problem is, in fact, remiss in its duties if it doesn’t brainstorm. At the beginning of the path toward a viable solution many possible courses of action are be placed on the table and then, by a process of elimination and creative thinking, the best solution is selected – it’s simply good process management to do so. It would be another matter if Rosenstein went further down the path of recording Trump (for example, a detailed memo or Powerpoint presentation was produced that showed an actual plan for doing so), but my understanding is, this is not the case.

This morning, some commentators are trying to put a good face on Rosenstein’s possible departure, saying it wouldn’t really affect the Mueller investigation that much. I strongly disagree. Mueller reports to the Attorney General (or in the present case, the Deputy AG, since Sessions has recused himself – for the purposes of this discussion, I’ll just call that person “Mueller’s boss”).

Mueller’s boss can interfere with the investigation in many ways, for example reducing the budget, denying requests to follow leads that may extend beyond the initial scope of the investigation, etc. And ultimately Mueller’s boss can fire Mueller. (see footnote 1)

In addition, following the normal line of succession, Rosenstein’s replacement replacement would be Noel Francisco, "a longtime conservative lawyer with ties to the White House. You can bet he will do Trump’s bidding.

And just as importantly, when Mueller produces his report, it goes to his boss who then decides whether or not it will be made public. I’m not sure that Rosenstein would make it public, but I’m darn sure his replacement would not. I want to read every single word of that report! (see footnote 2)

So I feel there is really no way to put a good face on this. Rosenstein’s departure would, at the least, impede the investigation and, at worst, bring it to a virtual halt and keep the findings secret.

Come on, Rosenstein, stand up and fight this!


  1. From Politico:

As the Justice Department authority overseeing the investigation, Francisco could narrow its parameters or deny specific requests to prevent Mueller from looking into Trump’s personal and business affairs. He would also assume control of Mueller’s budget.

(A shout out to @hippopotatomus and @dragonfly9 for calling attention to this way back in April.)

  1. Also from Politico:

Under the special counsel regulations guiding his appointment, Mueller would submit his report to Rosenstein, not to Congress or the public. And under those regulations, his report will remain confidential unless Rosenstein decides to release it.