Hannity, Tillerson, and Himes . . .

http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/10/politics/us-attorneys-resignation/

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has asked for the resignations of 46 US attorneys, igniting anger from officials who say they were given no warning about their dismissals.  The Justice Department announced the firings Friday afternoon, and many prosecutors had not been formally notified or even told before they were fired, according to a law enforcement source. Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente was in the beginning stages of calling each US attorney individually to tell them they had to resign when the DOJ issued a statement.  A law enforcement source charged that “this could not have been handled any worse” because there was little warning. Many prosecutors found out through media reports that they had to resign today.

Trump’s conservative allies have increasingly called for him to rid the government bureaucracy of “enemies” they believe are secretly undermining his administration. In fact, on Sean Hannity’s Thursday evening show, he warned of “deep-state Obama holdovers embedded like barnacles in the federal bureaucracy” saying they are “hell-bent on destroying President Trump.” Hannity said “it’s time for the Trump administration to purge these saboteurs.”

The day before, Hannity pushed the theory that the CIA actually hacked Democrats’ emails during the election and framed Russia for it. Hannity has been giving Trump dozens of fawning interviews for years. He’s a big fan of the president, and Trump returns the favor, talking up and reportedly watching his show regularly.

Pundit(s):

  • These are apoliticalcareer‘ people being removed without replacements in place to take over active/ongoing court cases, some of them quite important and high profile
  • The abruptness of this action is highly unusual
  • Why now?  Hannity?

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/mar/11/sean-spicer-trump-wiretapping-claim-ahead-ourselve/

The House Intelligence Committee have asked the Justice Department to surrender any applications, court orders, search warrants or other evidence by Monday proving Mr. Trump or his associates were subject to surveillance during the 2016 U.S. presidential race.  Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, California Republican, told reporters earlier this week that his panel will probe Mr. Trump’s claim during the course of reviewing contacts that occurred between last year’s presidential campaigns and foreign entities, the likes of which may have been intercepted during routine eavesdropping efforts undertaken by U.S. authorities against Russian diplomats and other targets.

http://www.freemarketcentral.com/post/5796/jp-morgan-ceo-jamie-dimon-trump-has-awakened-economys-animal-spirits

J.P. Morgan & Co. Chief Executive Officer and prominent Democratic donor Jamie Dimon on Thursday praised President Donald Trump’s purportedly pro-growth agenda, claiming that the president’s victory over Hillary Clinton had awakened “animal spirits” in the market.

Trump’s agenda has reinvigorated business owners and consumers alike, Dimon said during an interview with Bloomberg TV. He cited the sharp rise in business confidence and consumer sentiment that has been reflected in a series of surveys released since the election.

Though some concerns remain—particularly tied to Trump’s protectionist views on trade and a dearth of policy detail—Dimon said many in the business world believe Trump’s promises to slash corporate taxes, invest in infrastructure spending and roll back existing regulations will help reinvigorate global growth.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39233539

Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray met senior White House aides (Jared Kushner) without the State Department’s knowledge, according to an official.

State Department acting spokesman Mark Toner said he was “unaware” the foreign minister was in Washington.

The secretary of state (Tillerson) typically receives foreign diplomats during visits to the nation’s capital.

The disconnect comes amid reports that the State Department (Tillerson) has been sidelined in matters of foreign policy.

“We’ll take that and get back to you. I was unaware that he was – the foreign minister was in town,” Mr Toner said at a news conference on Thursday.

“I can’t speak to whether there’s going to be any meetings at the State Department at any level,” he continued.

Is Tillerson sidelined?

There’s no question that Rex Tillerson is keeping an extraordinarily low profile for a secretary of state. The question is whether that’s because the former CEO is still getting up to speed with a government role, or whether the State Department is being sidelined by members of the president’s inner circle who also weigh in on foreign policy.

The Mexican foreign minister’s schedule suggests the latter. The other part of the equation is the lack of senior staffing to drive the State Department policy agenda in a sharp-elbowed town. To some extent that’s a broader issue – a number of government agencies are still battling to get the White House to approve their nominations.

But there was a particularly thorough purge of Obama appointees at the State Department who could have smoothed the transition. And there is the prospect of steep budget cuts. All of which prompted four Senate Democrats to warn Mr Tillerson that the department is in danger of being carved out of foreign policy decisions.

The secretary of state has got his priorities right by making Asia one of his first trips. He heads there next week for talks with allies about North Korea (without reporters). But again, the question is what he can achieve. “Diplomacy is a team sport,” says Chris Hill, the chief US negotiator with North Korea from 2005-2009. “And I don’t see the team there.”

POTUS son-in-law Jared Kushner has been meeting with leaders of foreign countries instead of Tillerson in some instances.  Tillerson has not commented on the above.

Pundit(s):

  • It appears the State Dept. is ‘out of the loop’ on foreign policy
  • Tillerson hasn’t been showing up for meetings
  • Foreign leaders seek to meet with person who are likely to result in the most ‘impact’ for their agenda
  • most career government officials would not try to undermine the current Admin.

Pundit(s):

  • DT has been violating his oath of office by lying about Obama (and other things)
  • The office of POTUS had no press sec’y until 1929 — Spicer is making a mockery of the post
  • Spicer smiles while going out and telling reporters what DT told him to tell them, verbatim:  “Phony in the past, real now.” (as pertains to job report stats just out)
  • 50% of those in the press room LOL (as it’s so funny when the POTUS jokes about his lying)
  • Comey may have to prosecute Flynn for failing to register as a foreign agent
  • The economy was doing very well when DT took office — he can’t take credit for that (but is)
  • “Twitter Trump” and POTUS Trump are the *same* person
  • Are we, as a nation, “institutionalizing” lying?

Roger Stone brags about Wikileaks during the campaign.  Stone was partners with Paul Manafort (and was also a former Nixon aide).  http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/10/politics/roger-stone-wikileaks-russia/

Over the weekend, the longtime Trump confidant tweeted that he had a “back channel” to WikiLeaks during the presidential campaign — only to later delete it.  Scrutiny around Stone’s potential ties to WikiLeaks began in August 2016, when at an event in Florida, Stone said: “I actually have communicated with Assange. I believe the next tranche of his documents pertain to the Clinton Foundation, but there’s no telling what the October surprise may be.”

Stone has denied coordination with WikiLeaks and reiterated the claim many times over since then, in interviews with the Guardian, MSNBC, The New Yorker and others, that his information came from a US journalist who is friends with both himself and Assange.
In a contentious question-and-answer session early February on the website Reddit, Stone said, “I have been forthright about the fact that Julian Assange of WikiLeaks and I share a common friend who has communicated with both of us.”  Throughout these media appearances, Stone has also categorically denied any contact with Russia besides an affinity for its alcoholic beverages.
Stone has known Trump for decades, dating back to when he said the two connected through attorney Roy Cohn — who gained notoriety as an ally of Sen. Joseph McCarthy — before establishing a business relationship. He was initially part of Trump’s campaign before the two split ways amid disputed circumstances in August 2015. Later on in the campaign, Stone went on to start a super PAC in support of Trump as well as keep a line of communication open.  While he reportedly played a role in their mutual associate Paul Manafort getting a leading role in the campaign last spring, Stone generally remained on the sidelines following his early break with the Trump campaign.

Jim Himes has introduced a bill.  https://himes.house.gov/press-release/himes-leads-bipartisan-reclamation-war-powers-act

On March 9, Congressman Jim Himes (CT-04) and Walter Jones (NC-03) along with Peter Welch (VT-At-Large), Seth Moulton (MA-06), Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), Kathleen Rice (NY-04) and Kurt Schrader (OR-05) introduced The Reclamation of War Powers Act, a bill that would explicitly return the power to declare and wage war back to Congress, as the Constitution requires.

“The power to make war is explicitly granted to Congress in Article I Section 8 of the Constitution,” said Himes.  “Over many decades, however, this power has migrated increasingly to the President. We are now in a situation where military actions are carried out by the US around the world without the explicit approval of Congress and under the auspices of Authorizations for Use of Military Force from many years ago. It’s an abrogation of Congress’s Constitutional duties and we have an obligation to take back that power on behalf of the American people. ”

“For years, Congress has abdicated its constitutional war powers to the executive branch,” said Congressman Jones. “It is time we reclaim our duties and hold debate over the decision to wage war. Our men and women in uniform deserve that at the very least.”

The explicit constitutional authority of Congress to declare war and authorize the use of military force has eroded,” said Congressman Welch. “Our legislation reclaims that authority consistent with the Constitution and eliminates any excuse by Congress to avoid tough votes by staying the sidelines.”

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