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Kelly Hired By Operator Of Detention Facilities For Migrant Children

Two leading members of Congress are demanding to know more about how John Kelly, who was first to push the Trump administration’s family separation policy as secretary of Homeland Security and who later saw it implemented as Trump’s chief of staff, is now making a six-figure salary from the company operating the nation’s largest jail for migrant children.

On June 6, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) sent a scathing letter to the head of Caliburn International demanding to know more about the firm’s arrangement with Kelly.

Kelly “was at the center of the inhumane and poorly planned immigration policies that put children in cages while separating thousands of families and that benefitted your company,” the congresswomen wrote to Caliburn.

“It is outrageous that he now appears to be cashing in on those same policies, as a board member for the company that benefitted from his actions as a government official,” they said.

Jayapal and Warren called out Caliburn, writing that the policies implemented and championed by Kelly are “allowing your company to rake in millions of dollars in taxpayer funds.”

After Kelly joined the board of directors of Caliburn International in April 2018, one of its subsidiaries received a $341 million no-bid contract to detain unaccompanied minor children. The company currently operates four shelters, with plans to open two more.

Under Kelly’s leadership, thousands of migrant children were ripped away from their families, even some who fled unthinkable circumstances to seek asylum in the United States. Kelly shrugged off the abject cruelty and risk of harm to children, saying offhandedly that “the children will be taken care of — put into foster care or whatever.”

A federal court has since ordered the Trump administration to reunite every kidnapped child with his or her family. Even though family separation is no longer the official policy, the Trump administration is still detaining thousands of children, meaning Caliburn can continue to collect taxpayer funds to jail them.

Warren and Jayapal introduced legislation in the summer of 2018 that would prevent high-level administration officials from immediately cashing in on policies they implemented, which would stop “actions like General Kelly’s rapid, cynical, and unethical shift from the government payroll to the contractor’s payroll.”

But since Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has pledged to make the Senate a legislative graveyard, the bill has little chance of becoming law any time soon. In the meantime, Warren and Jayapal are demanding answers from Caliburn about their arrangement with Kelly.

The two want to know when Caliburn began their negotiations with Kelly, if they had any discussion about the ethics of hiring Kelly, and how much money the company makes from each shelter that jails unaccompanied minors.

“It is disheartening that General Kelly, with his decades of public service, used his position to implement such cruel policies and then left the government to profit from them,” Warren and Jayapal concluded.

Published with permission of The American Independent.

IMAGE: John Kelly (R) listens to President Donald Trump during a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington January 31, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Report: Trump Intervened To Fix Top Secret Clearance For Ivanka

President Donald Trump pressured both ex-Chief of Staff John Kelly and ex-White House Counsel Don McGahn to give his daughter and top adviser Ivanka Trump a security clearance, according to a new report from CNN. When neither of them succumbed to his demands, however, he ended up granting the clearance himself, the report found.

The revelation that the president had to intervene on his daughter’s behalf comes as the White House faces increasing scrutiny from Democratic lawmakers in the House of Representatives.

The New York Times recently reported that Jared Kushner, Ivanka’s husband, also needed the president to intervene on his behalf to get a security clearance. CNN found that although concerns about either spouse could have endangered the others’ chances to get a clearance, the officials who typically approve security clearances had concerns about both of them individually.

Trump has previously denied intervening in the security clearance process. When concerns were raised about Kushner’s interim security clearance last year, he said that he would defer to Kelly’s judgment on the matter and stay out of it.

Ivanka also denied in a recent interview that her father had any involvement in her and her husband’s security clearances, which now appears to be entirely false. However, CNN noted that she may not have been aware that her father stepped in to grant the clearances.

As president, Trump has the final authority to grant, deny, or revoke security clearances. But critics have pointed out that intervening in the usual process for his family’s benefits reeks of nepotism and potentially endangers national security.

It is not clear yet what considerations led officials to stymie Kushner’s and Ivanka’s security clearance applications in the first place. We do know, though, that Kushner’s initial application had to be updated multiple times because he omitted more than 100 foreign contacts he had had when he first turned it in. On Tuesday, two lawmakers referred Kushner’s case to the Justice Department for a potential criminal investigation.

Inside Trump’s Manic And Incompetent Obsession With The ‘Wall’

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

The Wall Street Journal posted a behind-the-scenes deep dive into President Trump’s signature issue, a wall along the United States’ southern border, on Friday. In the story, written by Michael Bender, Trump emerges as an angry and unprepared figure, often yelling at staffers who failed, in the President’s estimation.

“Who the f— put that in my request?” Mr. Trump shouted in one testy 2017 exchange related to funding for the wall, according to Bender’s story.

The angry comment was directed at Marc Short, then Trump’s legislative affairs director, while John Kelly, Trump’s former chief of staff, was silent in the room, per Bender. The long read further pointed out that the various failures in getting the wall started the past few years may be the fault of Trump himself, who failed to appoint a dedicated point person, despite the barrier being his signature policy initiative.

“Yet in the two years since Mr. Trump took office, there had been no single official appointed within his administration to champion the wall,” Bender writes. “A revolving cast handled negotiations with Congress over paying for it. And the picture of what, exactly, the wall should be kept shifting.”

Trump did not blame himself for the wall not being built, however. He assigned blame to Democrats and some Republicans.

According to the Journal:

During the shutdown last month, Mr. Trump complained to conservative allies that Paul Ryan should have pushed harder for wall funds. Last weekend, the president complained about it again during a meeting with a Republican member of the committee that negotiated the latest deal.

 

 

#EndorseThis: Colbert Volunteers For White House Chief Of Staff

Having heckled John Kelly on his way out the revolving White House door, Trump quickly suffered his own humiliation when his first choice to replace Kelly as chief of staff turned him down. Nick Ayers, the vice president’s chief of staff, declined and then quit the White House altogether in a single tweet.

No remotely qualified candidate seems to want that job.

Which is not just comic material for Stephen Colbert, but an opportunity to present himself as a prospect for the top White House position. Not that he believes he could bring order to chaos, or save the country, but just because it would be fun.

“Who would pass up a chance to stand on the deck of the Titanic while it’s sinking?” he asks. Especially at the very moment when, as Stephen puts it, “Robert Mueller is beginning to show his hand.” Better watch out, “Individual 1.”

Just click for laughs.