This statement is equally scary. He’s supposed to be in charge!
yes…they are always looking for ways to CYA - cover you A#%…include some plausible deniability so that he can avoid owning it should it come to bite him.
Weak…sounds very weak, right?!
Scoop: White House Chief Digital Officer departs to launch tech firm
White House Chief Digital Officer Ory Rinat is leaving the Trump administration later this month to launch a new technology company focused on influencer marketing, Axios has learned.
Why it matters: Rinat was instrumental in crafting the White House’s digital strategy and policy over the past three years. He has been with the White House since 2017.
Details: People familiar with the plans say the departure is amicable and that Rinat, who previously worked with the Heritage Foundation and Atlantic Media Strategies, is leaving because he wanted to start his own company.
- At the White House, Rinat helped build out digital assets including WhiteHouse.gov and all of the White House’s social media handles.
- They include CrisisNextDoor.gov and Coronavirus.gov websites dealing with the opioid and coronavirus public health crises, as well as PSAs around those crises.
Rinat’s new company, to be based in D.C., will close a seed round of investment this month, including some venture capital investment, per a source familiar with the funding. Engineers, designers, and a creator services team to be hired within the next month.
- It will power a technology platform for performance-based influencer and affiliate marketing.
- The platform will be available in the public affairs, food and cooking, parenting, and financial services verticals before expanding to others.
- It will only allow certain influencers to sign up to participate, so that it can vet those influencers as being brand-safe for advertisers.
The big picture: Currently, advertisers hire influencers to hawk products or ideas to their massive followings online, but it’s hard to measure influencers’ direct impacts on purchases or engagement.
- Rather than pay influencers a lump sum of money, Rinat’s platform will allow advertisers to pay out influencers based on a fixed cost-per-conversion rate.
Be smart: The public affairs sector lags when it comes to accountability and metrics-driven marketing. Rinat hopes to use his background in media and public affairs to differentiate the platform from other influencer marketing companies.
Ethics watchdog asks FBI to investigate Pompeo over inspector general’s firing - Axios
Driving the news: Former agency watchdog Steve Linick told Congress he was conducting five investigations into Pompeo and the department before he was fired, a transcript released Wednesday shows. His investigations included a special immigrant visa program audit and a prove “involving individuals in the Office of the Protocol.”
Catch up quick: Pompeo told the Washington Post in May that, when he asked President Trump to fire Linick, he did not know the IG was investigating allegations that he had a staffer run personal errands for him and his wife.
- Linick alleged in his testimony to Congress that a senior State Department official, who assisted Pompeo in bypassing a congressional freeze on arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, pressured him to drop an investigation into the matter, Axios’ Ursula Perano and Rebecca Falconer report.
- Linick told Congress that he was never influenced by State Department leadership on any investigation and no one obstructed him on the Saudi arms sale probe.
What they’re saying: " Secretary Pompeo may have obstructed an investigation by the State Department Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) in violation of a criminal obstruction of justice statute" by recommending that Linick be fired, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) Executive Director Noah Bookbinder wrote in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray on Friday.
- “Removing independent inspectors general — particularly when it appears intended to undercut investigations into powerful political figures — poses a serious threat to the stability and future of an ethical government in our country,” Bookbinder said in a Friday press release.
The other side: Pompeo has called the claims leveled against him “unsubstantiated,” and told the Post: “The president obviously has the right to have an inspector general. Just like every presidentially confirmed position, I can terminate them. They serve at his pleasure for any reason or no reason.”
- In response an investigation launched by House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Pompeo wrote in a June 11 letter obtained by Axios that his recommendation for Linick’s ouster was based on the IG’s “failure to properly perform his duties over a series of many months.”
- Stephen Biegun, deputy secretary of state, told Engel in a separate June 11 letter obtained by Axios that it is “entirely false” to say that Pompeo was aware of Linick’s investigation into allegations of misuse of government resources by Pompeo and his wife
Voice of America top officials resign as Trump-appointed CEO takes over international network
Two top officials at Voice of America resigned on Monday as an appointee of President Trump prepares to take control of the international network and other US federally-funded media operations. The resignations were long in the making.
The Trump administration had been trying to get its nominee, Michael Pack, through the Senate confirmation process for two years.
Earlier this month, after Trump applied additional pressure, the Republican-controlled Senate voted Pack through, adding to a sense of apprehension at Voice of America, VOA for short, about what comes next.
Michael Flynn Writes Column Confirming He Is Definitely Insane
For several years, the national-security community has been wondering what the hell happened to Michael Flynn. Once a well-regarded director of the Defense Intelligence Agency for the Obama administration, Flynn appeared, according to his critics, to snap. He grew paranoid and obsessed with expanding a war against radical Islam into a Manichaean civilizational conflict. The rest (his work for Donald Trump, a handful of federal crimes) is history.
Flynn has written an op-ed, headlined “Forces of Evil Want to Steal Our Freedom in the Dark of Night, But God Stands With Us,” that resolves the question.
If you haven’t heard of Western Journal, don’t feel bad. I haven’t either, and I work in opinion journalism professionally. Presumably, Flynn shopped his column to several outlets before WJ (as its readers call it, probably) agreed to run it.
How to judge this op-ed? It is difficult to evaluate without knowing whether Flynn’s objective was to advance a policy agenda or to help his legal team plant an insanity defense. On the plus side, his prose is — well, distinctive. And his argument is difficult to rebut.
On the negative side, his main contention regarding the forces of evil and their alleged goals of stealing freedom is lacking in concrete evidence. The column is easier to understand if you read it in the voice of Colonel Jack D. Ripper, the deranged right-wing general in Dr. Strangelove. If I had edited the column, I would have urged Flynn to periodically address the reader as “Mandrake.”
A few passages give the Ripper-esque flavor of his analysis:
Once again, tyranny and treachery are in our midst, and although we feel we’ve descended into a hellish state of existence, we must never forget, hell is conquerable.
The idea or notion of a heaven on Earth is the very real sense of being free. Freedom is oxygen. Like the air we breathe that keeps our lungs full and our hearts beating, the celestial feeling of freedom brings a sense of peace to our souls.
As long as we accept God in the lifeblood of our nation, we will be OK. If we don’t, we will face a hellish existence.
God willing, we will prevail in peace and freedom from fear and in true health through the purity and essence of our natural fluids. God bless you all.
Wait, sorry; that last bit is from Dr. Strangelove. The rest are real Flynn quotes, though.
The Ripper character is defined by his superficially responsible and accomplished mien, which gradually reveals a military man who has been driven into dangerous monomaniacal aggression by right-wing paranoia. This is an almost eerily perfect description of Flynn. Except Flynn, unlike Ripper, is also a crook.
Bannon Ally in Charge of U.S. Media Agency Dismisses Heads of News Organizations
A conservative filmmaker who recently took over a United States global media agency removed the chiefs of four news organizations under its purview on Wednesday night, according to people with knowledge of the decision, in an action that raises questions about their editorial independence.
The filmmaker, Michael Pack, also dismissed the head of a technology group and disbanded the bipartisan board that helps oversee and advise those five organizations. He replaced its members largely with Trump administration political appointees, including himself as chairman. One board member works for a conservative advocacy organization, Liberty Counsel Action.
The moves were criticized by congressional officials, including a leading Democratic senator, and former diplomats as an effort to turn the news organizations under the United States Agency for Global Media into partisan outlets. The organizations receive funding from the American government but operate independently.
Mr. Pack is a close ally of Stephen K. Bannon, the former campaign strategist and White House adviser to President Trump who has urged Mr. Trump to take charge of the news organizations and reshape them to his purposes. Democrats in the Senate held up Mr. Pack’s nomination for years, but Mr. Trump urged Republicans in recent weeks to push through the confirmation.
The organizational heads dismissed Wednesday night were Bay Fang of Radio Free Asia; Jamie Fly of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty; Alberto M. Fernandez of Middle East Broadcasting Networks; Emilio Vazquez of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting; and Libby Liu of the Open Technology Fund.
Just cleaning house over here, gotta give everything a good white down.
Those who control the Medium control the message…alt-right news all the time.
Top State Department official resigns in protest of Trump’s response to racial tensions in the country
Mary Elizabeth Taylor, assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs, submitted her resignation Thursday. Taylor’s five-paragraph resignation letter, obtained by The Washington Post, serves as an indictment of Trump’s stewardship at a time of national unrest from one of the administration’s highest-ranking African Americans and an aide who was viewed as loyal and effective in serving his presidency.
“Moments of upheaval can change you, shift the trajectory of your life, and mold your character. The President’s comments and actions surrounding racial injustice and Black Americans cut sharply against my core values and convictions,” Taylor wrote in her resignation letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. “I must follow the dictates of my conscience and resign as Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs.”
The ship’s captain who tried to warn his crew of COVID aboard his ship is being fired, after his initial firing was stopped and investigated.
The Navy has decided to uphold the firing of Capt. Brett Crozier, the former commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt who was relieved of duty after raising the alarm about a Covid-19 outbreak on his ship in March, according to two people familiar with the investigation.
“The results of the investigation justified the relief,” said one person who has seen the investigation. “He failed to take appropriate action, to do the things that the commanding officer of a ship is supposed to do, so he stays relieved.”
Fall out from the clearing out of VOA and former Board members are protesting Pack’s actions
and write a letter to him.
Former Board members on Maddow tonight discussing the fallout
Ryan Crocker - Diplomat, former Ambassador
Bipartisan lawmakers are calling for answers from the new Trump-appointed chief executive at the US Agency for Global Media after a firing spree on Wednesday.
The shakeups at the taxpayer-funded agency have raised concerns that CEO Michael Pack intends to turn the agency into a political arm of the administration, prompting both Democratic lawmakers and former USAGM board members to call on him to respect the independence of its news organizations and recognize its importance in promoting democracy abroad.
Jamie Fly, the ousted head of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFERL), on Friday warned against the US falling behind authoritarian countries in the information space and called for “clear and consistent leadership, funding, and support” at the news organization.
In what a former official described as a “Wednesday night massacre,” the heads of Middle East Broadcasting, Radio Free Asia, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and the Open Technology Fund were all ousted, multiple sources told CNN, and their respective boards were dismissed.
In a press release Thursday, USAGM described it as “Pack (effecting) a series of significant and long-overdue actions to keep assurances to restructure the agency, fully in accordance with the law.”
“Every action I carried out was – and every action I will carry out will be – geared toward rebuilding the USAGM’s reputation, boosting morale, and improving content,” Pack said in the release, which included positive anonymous quotes and was described by one staffer as akin to “North Korean” propaganda.
The Democratic chairs of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and House Appropriations Committee wrote in a letter to Pack Friday that they were “outraged” at Wednesday’s actions.
“Now, more than ever, it is critical that the USAGM staff are enabled and empowered to do this critical work and to continue the longstanding practice of not getting entangled in politics – and especially that they are not expected to shift their practice to propagandize or mislead audiences at the Trump Administration’s whim,” wrote Reps. Eliot Engel and Nita Lowey of New York.
They called on Pack to turn over by June 29 “any and all documents relating to, referring to or regarding the performance, views, and/or potential termination or replacement of Alberto Fernandez, Jamie Fly, Bay Fang, and Libby Liu” – the individuals who were ousted on Wednesday – stretching back to the beginning of Trump’s presidency.
Rep. Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Friday that he was concerned by the removals and Pack’s failure to consult with Congress.
While every new leader has a right to bring in his or her own team, these mass terminations beyond just the USAGM executive leadership seem potentially damaging to both the operations & morale of the agency," he wrote on Twitter. “Unfortunately, I and others were not consulted before these major decisions were made. Further troubling is that in his letter to USAGM employees, he stressed the importance of consulting with Congress.”
“I hope CEO Pack will find time very soon to explain to me and my colleagues on the House Foreign Affairs Committee his reasons for making these decisions,” the Texas Republican said. He and GOP Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee also said they were “troubled” by the removal of another top official at the Open Technology Fund “and are concerned about the future of the organization.”
“We have been impressed with the efforts of President Laura Cunningham and her team, and we look forward to hearing from CEO Pack on how he plans to continue the vital mission of OTF during this time of transition,” the Republican lawmakers wrote in a statement Friday.
From Elizabeth Warren pointing to the inherent corruption in Michael Pack’s moves.
Congressional Oversight 2020 - election edition
Shady stuff…SDNY - the fiercely independent part of the Judiciary, and a T appointee Berman is let go. What is up with this…???
FRIDAY nite missile.
There will be an overseeing DA from NJ for 5 months.
The SDNY has received pressure from Wm Barr in the past.
Does not pass smell test.
More Questionable Behavior from Trump, T Admin, DOJ, and R's vs Dems, Press, Justice
More Questionable Behavior from Trump, T Admin, DOJ, and R's vs Dems, Press, Justice
A new pattern is forming, I’d have to check the dates but this comment feels true.
NPR reporter tells us the follow-up on T firing Berman…and the coercion/lies that AG Barr was involved with.