In The Past 24 Hours Or So

Your Daily Dose of Trump and His Administration News

  • President Trump accused former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg of trying to “illegally” buy the Democratic nomination for president, taking aim at the billionaire businessman’s massive self-funding operation. “What Mini Mike is doing is nothing less than a large scale illegal campaign contribution. He is ‘spreading’ money all over the place, only to have recipients of his cash payments, many former opponents, happily joining or supporting his campaign. Isn’t that called a payoff?” Trump tweeted. 
  • Jason Klitenic, the general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence  whose handling of a government whistleblower complaint helped spur the House’s impeachment inquiry into President Trump, is stepping down from his post. 
  • John Rood, undersecretary of Defense for policy at the Pentagon is leaving the Trump administration. Rood is set to exit his post following Trump’s request for his resignation, which was conveyed by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.
  • Reportedly, Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told Defense Secretary Mark Esper he could “make your life hell” if the Pentagon chief pulled U.S. troops from West Africa, according to NBC News. The interaction reportedly happened at the 2020 Munich Security Conference last week. Graham, however, denied making the comments.
  • Right-wing broadcaster Josh Bernstein reported that the White House granted him media credentials to cover Trump’s campaign rally in Phoenix. Bernstein has, in the past, called for Joe Biden to be investigated for pedophilia; called for those who oppose Trump to be tortured, charged with treason, and executed; urged Trump to “become a dictator for patriotism” and to shut down critical media operations and arrest the heads of social media companies. 
  • Trump Tweeted: “Rod Blagojevich did not sell the Senate seat. He served 8 years in prison, with many remaining. He paid a big price. Another Comey and gang deal! Thank you to @LisaMarieBoothe  who really “gets” what’s going on! @FoxNews”

Note: Comey left the DOJ before Blagojevich committed his crimes and returned after he began serving his prison sentence. He wasn’t involved in the case.

  • Department of Homeland Security acting Secretary Chad Wolf has installed a new leader at US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a move that appears to signal the latest efforts by the White House to shake up the department leadership. Joseph Edlow who is USCIS chief counsel, is moving into a deputy director role and will serve as the day-to-day leader of the agency.
  • President Trump is named Richard Grenell, the American ambassador to Germany and an outspoken Trump loyalist, to be the acting director of national intelligence. Mr. Grenell will lead a group of national security agencies often viewed skeptically by the White House. Mr. Grenell, who has pushed to advance gay rights in his current post, would also be the first openly gay cabinet member.
  • Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney called out Republicans for being “a lot less interested” in deficits under President Trump than when former President Obama was in office. Mulvaney spoke at the Oxford Union and said that the GOP is “very interested in deficits when there is a Democrat in the White House.” “The worst thing in the whole world is deficits when Barack Obama was the president,” he said. “Then Donald Trump became president, and we’re a lot less interested as a party.” The acting chief of staff then added he found the $1 trillion deficit in the Trump era “extraordinarily disturbing.”
  • The U.S. government failed to effectively account for nearly $715.8 million in weapons and equipment allocated to Syrian partners as part of the multinational counter-ISIS fight, according to a new report from the Defense Department inspector general. An audit, publicly released on Tuesday, revealed that officials with Special Operations Joint Task Force–Operation Inherent Resolve “did not maintain comprehensive lists of all equipment purchased and received” to equip Syrian allies in the anti-ISIS fight in fiscal years 2017 and 2018 due to a lack of a central repository for accountability documentation.

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