[Discussion] Hope to Remember The Trump Administration Thread as being 'transparent and honest'

Let's follow and discuss what our newest presidential administration gets up to, the good, the bad, the lawsuits, and the many many indictments.

Only knowing Pompeo through fake news, that sounds about right.

I agree with Susan Collins that Trump really "learned his lesson" about abuse of power from the impeachment.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

I agree with Susan Collins that Trump really "learned his lesson" about abuse of power from the impeachment.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

I agree with Susan Collins that Trump really "learned his lesson" about abuse of power from the impeachment.

He learned the lesson they intended to teach him, that's for sure.

Looks like that IG was also looking into a Saudi arms deal that bypassed congress.

Pompeo confirmed Monday that he asked Trump to fire Linick because his work was “undermining” the department’s mission, but did not elaborate on any specific details.

The nation’s top diplomat said in a telephone interview with The Washington Post that Linick’s dismissal was not retaliation by the administration.

“I went to the president and made clear to him that Inspector General Linick wasn’t performing a function in a way that we had tried to get him to, that was additive for the State Department, very consistent with what the statute says he’s supposed to be doing,” Pompeo said, adding that he did not know Linick was investigating him.

So the inspector general for the State Department who was charged with investigating the Secretary of State was fired at the request of... the Secretary of State. Yet again we discover that oversight in this country is a joke.

It's really disappointing that members of the executive branch who want to thwart the will of Congress don't have the hustle of their predecessors.

I can at least respect the folks who illegally sold weapons at an outrageous markup to a regime that was an international pariah and then used the profit generated to give weapons to another group Congress explicitly said shouldn't be given weapons.

Kids these days are just lazy and are opting for the ole' "let's just fire the investigator" instead of putting in the hard work proper villainy requires.

I assume Trump is getting money on the side. I don't understand how any of this is in the US's interests.

Theoretically, Congress could prevent the IG from getting fired.

But it requires going through the Senate.

Meet your new acting chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee...

IMAGE(https://media.newyorker.com/photos/5909528b6552fa0be682c264/master/pass/rubio-water-bottle.jpg)

(CNN)GOP Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida will become the acting chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee after North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr stepped down from the position last week amid an FBI investigation into his stock trades, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Monday.
Rubio will step into the role beginning on Tuesday, when the Intelligence Committee is expected to vote on advancing the nomination of GOP Rep. John Ratcliffe to be the next director of national intelligence.
Kehama wrote:

Looks like that IG was also looking into a Saudi arms deal that bypassed congress.

You usually list the stupid crimes at the end, not the beginning.

OG_slinger wrote:

From May:

OG_slinger wrote:
garion333 wrote:

Other than playing to his base and distracting from other sh*t he's doing (or not doing, as it may be), who is it that stands to profit the most from this wall? Which friends of his? Will the wall be branded with his name? Will he collect tariffs on the wall?

There's gotta be something else here that I'm not seeing. That's one expensive ass wall and someone connected to the admin has to be raking in bucks. Is Raytheon building it?

Besides the companies thrawn82 linked to, there's also a dark horse: Fisher Industries. The company's CEO, Tommy Fischer, has wooed Trump by donating to his reelection campaign, repeatedly going on Fox News and saying he can build 200 miles of the wall in under a year, and actively courting other immigration hardliners.

He was most recently in the news because it was his firm that built the private wall in Sunland Park, NM that was GoFundMe'd by Brian Kolfage. Unsurprisingly, Sunland Park and New Mexico have halted construction because the group failed to get the proper permits and approval for the wall.

All of this, of course, has worked on Trump. He's repeatedly called the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and "aggressively" lobbied to award a border wall contract to Fisher Industries to the point that Trump's "push for a specific company has alarmed military commanders and DHS officials."

Fisher got removed from the bidding process previously. It built a concrete barrier prototype that was rejected and has since tried to come back with a metal slat design that the DHS and Army Corps of Engineers say is inadequate and lower quality than other designs.

But lobbying from the White House--both Trump and Kushner--forced the Army Corps of Engineers to add Fisher back to the bidding process. But then then-DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen had to meet with Trump and explain to him that Fisher could bid, but that the company’s proposal needed to change, and that Trump could not just pick the company. (Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, the commanding general of the Army Corps of Engineers, also had to explain to Trump that he couldn't just pick a company he liked.)

From today:

North Dakota company that Trump touted gets $400 million border wall contract

WaPo wrote:

A company that President Trump urged military officials to hire for border wall construction has been awarded a $400 million contract to build a span of new barrier across an Arizona wildlife refuge, according to a Department of Defense announcement Monday.

North Dakota-based Fisher Sand and Gravel Co. won the contract to build in the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge in Yuma County, Ariz., the Defense Department said, with a target completion date of Dec. 30, 2020.

I just...

Trump’s preferred construction firm lands $1.3 billion border wall contract, the biggest so far

WaPo wrote:

A North Dakota construction firm that has received backing from President Trump has now secured the largest border wall contract ever awarded, a $1.3 billion deal to build 42 miles of black-painted fencing through the rugged mountains of southern Arizona.

The company that won the contract, Fisher Sand and Gravel, has been repeatedly lauded by the president in White House meetings with border officials and military commanders, the result of a long and personalized marketing pitch to Trump and ardent supporters of his barrier project.

After its initial bids for border contracts were passed over, the company and its CEO, Tommy Fisher, cut a direct path to the president by praising him on cable news, donating to his Republican allies and cultivating ties to former Trump adviser Stephen K. Bannon, GOP Senate candidate Kris Kobach and other conservative figures in Trump’s orbit.

Fisher’s first and only other major border contract, for $400 million, is under review by the Defense Department inspector general after Democratic lawmakers raised concerns about improper White House influence on the procurement process. The inspector general’s office confirmed Tuesday that the audit is ongoing.

The new award to Fisher carries an average cost of more than $30 million per mile of border barrier, more expensive than other contracts for Trump’s wall. The project has morphed from a 2016 campaign promise into one of the largest federal infrastructure projects in U.S. history.

OG_slinger wrote:

I just...

Trump’s preferred construction firm lands $1.3 billion border wall contract, the biggest so far

WaPo wrote:

A North Dakota construction firm that has received backing from President Trump has now secured the largest border wall contract ever awarded, a $1.3 billion deal to build 42 miles of black-painted fencing through the rugged mountains of southern Arizona.

The company that won the contract, Fisher Sand and Gravel, has been repeatedly lauded by the president in White House meetings with border officials and military commanders, the result of a long and personalized marketing pitch to Trump and ardent supporters of his barrier project.

After its initial bids for border contracts were passed over, the company and its CEO, Tommy Fisher, cut a direct path to the president by praising him on cable news, donating to his Republican allies and cultivating ties to former Trump adviser Stephen K. Bannon, GOP Senate candidate Kris Kobach and other conservative figures in Trump’s orbit.

Fisher’s first and only other major border contract, for $400 million, is under review by the Defense Department inspector general after Democratic lawmakers raised concerns about improper White House influence on the procurement process. The inspector general’s office confirmed Tuesday that the audit is ongoing.

The new award to Fisher carries an average cost of more than $30 million per mile of border barrier, more expensive than other contracts for Trump’s wall. The project has morphed from a 2016 campaign promise into one of the largest federal infrastructure projects in U.S. history.

So the $400 million deal is under investigation... It would appear that they're taking the approach of, maybe a bigger one will work and it will be allowed through. This is just blatant....

I hope they are looking forward to the next investigation.

JC wrote:
OG_slinger wrote:

I just...

Trump’s preferred construction firm lands $1.3 billion border wall contract, the biggest so far

WaPo wrote:

A North Dakota construction firm that has received backing from President Trump has now secured the largest border wall contract ever awarded, a $1.3 billion deal to build 42 miles of black-painted fencing through the rugged mountains of southern Arizona.

The company that won the contract, Fisher Sand and Gravel, has been repeatedly lauded by the president in White House meetings with border officials and military commanders, the result of a long and personalized marketing pitch to Trump and ardent supporters of his barrier project.

After its initial bids for border contracts were passed over, the company and its CEO, Tommy Fisher, cut a direct path to the president by praising him on cable news, donating to his Republican allies and cultivating ties to former Trump adviser Stephen K. Bannon, GOP Senate candidate Kris Kobach and other conservative figures in Trump’s orbit.

Fisher’s first and only other major border contract, for $400 million, is under review by the Defense Department inspector general after Democratic lawmakers raised concerns about improper White House influence on the procurement process. The inspector general’s office confirmed Tuesday that the audit is ongoing.

The new award to Fisher carries an average cost of more than $30 million per mile of border barrier, more expensive than other contracts for Trump’s wall. The project has morphed from a 2016 campaign promise into one of the largest federal infrastructure projects in U.S. history.

So the $400 million deal is under investigation... It would appear that they're taking the approach of, maybe a bigger one will work and it will be allowed through. This is just blatant....

I hope they are looking forward to the next investigation.

They are trying to spend it before anyone does anything.

Every "investigation" into Trump is completely toothless and meaningless. Why should anything deter him at this point? I don't think he's too concerned with Nancy ripping up another one of his speeches.

r013nt0 wrote:

Every "investigation" into Trump is completely toothless and meaningless. Why should anything deter him at this point? I don't think he's too concerned with Nancy ripping up another one of his speeches.

I guess Susan Collins was right that he did learn his lesson.

Lessons:
You can't stop me
Throw as much effed up sh*t at once but stagger it a little to keep resetting outrage
All I have to do to gut the opposition is to say they are nasty
The real power of the presidency is to make lies true for enough people to delay the truth
The president can also push the consequences of lies onto other people
If enough people absorb the consequences of lies, then the lies become truth
Or lies absent any consequences or with consequences that can be ignored are truth

Also, the ones that keep saying there is a problem are clearly the ones that are causing a problem.

I think if anything this administration has proven that the concept of balance of power in our (US) goverment is by consent only. If the executive branch refuses to accept limitations or oversight, it turns out there really aren't any.

Clumber wrote:

I think if anything this administration has proven that the concept of balance of power in our (US) goverment is by consent only. If the executive branch refuses to accept limitations or oversight, it turns out there really aren't any.

I mean didn't we learn this from Andrew Jackson?

Clumber wrote:

I think if anything this administration has proven that the concept of balance of power in our (US) goverment is by consent only. If the executive branch refuses to accept limitations or oversight, it turns out there really aren't any.

They're aided and abetted here significantly by the Senate. We're seeing that a lot of the oversight role of Congress falls on the Senate---the supposedly more neutral, high-minded legislative branch. It's the Senate that has approved the administration's terrible cabinet picks and judges; it's the Senate that could block things like the firing of the inspectors general but has refused to; and it's the Senate that turned impeachment into a show trial.

The Trump administration wouldn't have gotten so far without a complicit Senate majority.

Clumber wrote:

I think if anything this administration has proven that the concept of balance of power in our (US) goverment is by consent only. If the executive branch refuses to accept limitations or oversight, it turns out there really aren't any.

We're literally waiting on two SCOTUS decisions to see if this is literally true or not.

It's been effectively true with Barr, McConnell, and every other Republican Senator.

Mitch McConnell is the worst thing to happen to this country since Reagan.

Stele wrote:

Mitch McConnell is the worst thing to happen to this country since Reagan.

There are so many worst things to choose from though. Arthur Laffer, George W. Bush, Oliver North, Tom DeLay.... It is an everlasting factory of the worst humans ever spawned.

Looks like we're paying to help Pompeo develop contacts and a donor list for his future Senate or presidential run.

Pompeo's elite taxpayer-funded dinners raise new concerns

NBC News wrote:

As federal workers file out of the State Department at the end of a Washington workday, an elite group is often just arriving in the marbled, flag-lined lobby: Billionaire CEOs, Supreme Court justices, political heavyweights and ambassadors arrive in evening attire as they're escorted by private elevator to dinner with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Until the coronavirus shut them down in March, the gatherings were known as "Madison Dinners" — elaborate, unpublicized affairs that Pompeo and his wife, Susan Pompeo, began in 2018 and held regularly in the historic Diplomatic Reception Rooms on the government's dime.

State Department officials involved in the dinners said they had raised concerns internally that the events were essentially using federal resources to cultivate a donor and supporter base for Pompeo's political ambitions — complete with extensive contact information that gets sent back to Susan Pompeo's personal email address. The officials and others who attended discussed the dinners on condition of anonymity.

An NBC News investigation found that Pompeo held about two dozen Madison Dinners since he took over in 2018. NBC News obtained a master guest list for every dinner through the end of 2019, as well as internal State Department calendars from before the pandemic emerged, showing that future dinners were on the books through at least October. The master list includes the names of nearly 500 invitees and specifies who accepted, although it is possible some people RSVP'd but didn't show up in Foggy Bottom for dinner.

The records show that about 29 percent of the invitees came from the corporate world, while about a quarter of them hailed from the media or entertainment industries, with conservative media members heavily represented. About 30 percent work in politics or government, and just 14 percent were diplomats or foreign officials. Every single member of the House or the Senate who has been invited is a Republican.

The dinners are named after James Madison, America's fourth president and fifth secretary of state, who made a habit of inviting foreign diplomats to exchange ideas over dinner. But historians could point to no precedent for a secretary of state's playing host to such frequent gatherings, paid for by State Department funds, involving political and business leaders.

"Madison certainly paid his own entertainment expenses," said Kevin Gutzman, a professor at Western Connecticut State University who wrote a biography of Madison.

The Madison Dinners, which aren't disclosed on Pompeo's public schedule, add another element to what his critics say is a pattern of pushing the edge of the envelope by using government resources for potential personal or political gain.

Trump administration to withdraw from Open Skies arms control treaty

WaPo wrote:

The Trump administration began privately informing allied nations this week that the United States will withdraw from a treaty designed to reduce the chances of an accidental war between Russia and the United States by allowing reconnaissance flights over the two countries, said diplomats familiar with the discussions.

A withdrawal from the Treaty on Open Skies risks driving another wedge between the United States and its allies in Europe, some of whom urged the U.S. to remain in the pact in recent weeks despite U.S. concerns about Russian compliance.

The Treaty on Open Skies emerged out of a proposal that President Dwight D. Eisenhower initially suggested to the Soviets to promote transparency about military surveillance overflights.

The Soviet Union rejected his offer, but President George H.W. Bush revived the idea after the fall of the Soviet Union and the multi-country pact was signed in 1992. It came into force in 2002, after the 20th country ratified the pact.

Today, the treaty includes 34 nations and allows each of them to carry out reconnaissance flights over one another's territory on short notice to gather information about military activities.

The Trump administration has argued that Russia is violating the Open Skies Treaty. In March, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said Russia had blocked the United States from flying reconnaissance missions over the exclave of Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea and the southern border with Georgia.

“They have been cheating for many years,” Esper said during a testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Advocates of the treaty said a U.S. withdrawal would be counter-productive.

“The problems we were having with Open Skies did not defeat the object and the purpose of the treaty,” said Alex Bell, a senior director at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. “It never appeared like the Trump Administration was really trying to fix these compliance problems. It seems like they only know how to break things.”

This is the second time that Trump has decided to have America pull out of an arms treaty it says Russia is violating rather than do the work of enforcing the terms of the treaty.

Someone with a conspiratorial bent might wonder why Trump is continually having America take the international diplomatic heat for pulling out of treaties that Russia's been violating while doing absolutely nothing to address Russia's underlying behavior.

Someone's going to get shot down over this and I'm guessing it'll probably be an American pilot.

OG_slinger wrote:

Trump administration to withdraw from Open Skies arms control treaty

This is the second time that Trump has decided to have America pull out of an arms treaty it says Russia is violating rather than do the work of enforcing the terms of the treaty.

Someone with a conspiratorial bent might wonder why Trump is continually having America take the international diplomatic heat for pulling out of treaties that Russia's been violating while doing absolutely nothing to address Russia's underlying behavior.

Just came here to post the same story. So frustrating. It's like the Trump administration is a bunch of horrible renters that know they aren't getting the security deposit back so they're destroying the place for the next person. I am wondering if 8 years (fingers crossed) is long enough to repair the damage or if that's only going to be enough time to stop the bleeding on a patient that may already be on life support....

What really gets me is that a politician who figured out how to rise to the occasion would be having a massive popularity surge even if the current state of the pandemic was exactly the same.

Rep. John Ratcliffe was confirmed Thursday as President Donald Trump's top intelligence official on a party-line Senate vote

Wasn't qualified the first time-

Ratcliffe withdrew last year amid questions about exaggerations to his resume and his partisan record

Still isn't qualified...

I haven't served in an intelligence agency. I think that bringing a different kind of experience today is really going to be vitally important. You know all of the experience in the world isn't helpful without judgment, and I think what we've seen is that some of our most experienced intelligence officials have gotten it wrong with respect to important issues,"

but had plenty of time to craft the answers that they panel wanted to hear!

He gave carefully crafted answers, not answers that at least left me with the notion that he's going to protect the community that's currently under assault," said Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the panel's top Democrat.