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Tag: walter shaub

In Bid For Impunity, Trump Fires Four Inspectors General

The job of inspectors general in government agencies is to investigate corruption and wrongdoing in the federal government, free of political pressure.

Donald Trump has now fired four inspectors since April 3 in what many say is an attempt to stop oversight of Trump's and his administration's alleged corruption and failures.

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Former Federal Ethics Chief Warns Of Trump’s ‘Authoritarian Coup’

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

When Donald Trump was running for president in 2016, he vowed to "drain the swamp" if elected — which was his way of promising to clean up the political environment in Washington, D.C. and make the federal government more accountable. But former ethics official Walter Shaub, in an op-ed for USA Today, argues that Trump's presidency has been a nonstop attack on accountability.

Shaub served as director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics from 2013-2017. He resigned in the middle of Trump's first year in office in protest of the White House's complete disregard for ethics rules. And in his new op-ed, Shaub details some of the many ways in which accountability has been under attack during Trump's presidency — from his "assault on inspectors general" to "open presidential profiteering" to the firing of officials who stood up to him, including former FBI Director James Comey and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

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New White House Personnel Chief Seeking ‘Purge’ Of Trump Critics

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

In 2018, John McEntee had been serving as a personal aide to President Donald Trump when White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly fired him. But Kelly left Trump’s administration in January 2019 on bad terms with the president, and McEntee was recently rehired for the White House and asked to head the personnel office — where, according to Axios reporters Jonathan Swan and Alayna Treene, the 29-year-old Trump loyalist is trying to purge Trump’s critics.  

Swan and Treene report that Trump “has empowered McEntee — whom he considers an absolute loyalist — to purge the ‘bad people’ and ‘Deep State.’ McEntee told staff that those identified as anti-Trump will no longer get promotions by shifting them around agencies.”

The Axios journalists report that according to three sources, McEntee “called in White House liaisons from cabinet agencies for an introductory meeting” on Thursday and “askedthem to identify political appointees across the U.S. government who are believed to be anti-Trump.”

Swan and Treene predicted that the hiring of McEntee as personnel chief “foreshadowed sweeping personnel changes across government. But McEntee suggested the most dramatic changes may have to wait until after the November election.”

Attorney Walter Shaub, former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, responded to Axios’ report on Twitter — posting, “Denying promotions to career officials based on political affiliation is illegal. That’s why this reprobate is hoping for a day when there are no laws.”

After being acquitted on two articles of impeachment on February 5, Trump fired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman from the National Security Council and also fired Gordon Sondland as U.S. ambassador to the European Union. Both were key witnesses in the impeachment inquiry. Moreover, Swan and Treene note, Trump has “promoted or brought back several people he considers core loyalists,” including McEntee, former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks and Ric Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany.

“McEntee’s job already is being tested with Trump’s decision to tap Grenell, a staunch loyalist who has never worked for an intelligence agency, as the acting director of national intelligence,” Swan and Treene observe. “Trump has said it’s only a temporary move until he names a new permanent director.”

Trump Tweet Extorts Gov. Cuomo Over Tax Probe

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

When Walter Shaub resigned in protest from President Donald Trump’s administration in July 2017, he had been heading the Office of Government Ethics (OGE). Shaub is still voicing his concerns about Trump’s administration, and this week, he spoke out about a Trump tweet that has been drawing criticism for seemingly linking the possible end of travel restrictions affecting New York State to Trump-related investigations there.

Trump, on Thursday, tweeted, “I’m seeing Governor Cuomo today at The White House. He must understand that National Security far exceeds politics. New York must stop all of its unnecessary lawsuits & harassment, start cleaning itself up, and lowering taxes.”

After Shaub saw that tweet, he compared it to the “quid pro quo” that House Democrats accused Trump of during his impeachment trial: military aid to Ukraine in exchange for an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

Shaub tweeted, “It is Ukraine all over again. Only now it is one of these United States being extorted. Holy cow, people. It’s happening in plain sight this time. Have we reached the point where a quid pro quo doesn’t even make a ripple? Is that the degree of submission to corruption? Wake up!”

Vox’s Aaron Rupar interviewed Shaub about Trump’s Cuomo-related tweet and his response to it.

Shaub told Vox, “It’s important to remember the context in which all of this is unfolding. This week, we’ve learned that the extent to which the president has politicized the Department of Justice may be a lot worse than any of us feared. And then, on the heels of that discovery, he tweets out this extortionate demand that New York drop its lawsuits against him.”

Shaub went on to say, “I’m not accusing him necessarily of committing a crime, but this is the exact type of behavior that was implicated in the impeachment hearing where he tried to strongarm Ukraine into taking an action against one of his political rivals, and he took an official action of withholding hundreds of millions of dollars of needed aid from a country that has been invaded by Russia.”

Experts Warn On Bill Barr’s ‘Carefully Staged PR Pushback’

Attorney General Bill Barr’s record and not his remarks should govern how the people and the press perceive the Justice Department chief. So say experts who weighed in after the attorney general gave an interview to ABC News in which he appears to complain about President Donald Trump’s tweets.

“I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody … whether it’s Congress, a newspaper editorial board, or the president,” the attorney general told ABC News. “I’m gonna do what I think is right. And you know … I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me.”
But government, legal, and authoritarianism experts, and some journalists are saying “don’t fall for it,” literally. Those words came from NBC News National Security Contributor Frank Figliuzzi, a former FBI Assistant Director, on MSNBC.

“It all rings very hollow to me and I don’t think we can take anything the Attorney General says at face value,” former U.S. Attorney, law school professor, and MSNBC contributor Joyce Vance said on Meet the Press Daily.

Journalist Judd Legum, who founded ThinkProgress and Popular.info, warns that the A.G. should not be taken at face value, because what he really wants is plausible deniability.

Former CIA officer and former White House National Security Council spokesperson Ned Price suggests Trump’s tweets make it harder for Barr to do what Trump wants:

Progressive newsletter The Daily Edge:

Former Office of Government Ethics director:

MSNBC Justice & Security Analyst, former DOJ chief spokesperson: