Andrew Kreig

February 2018 News Reports

 

 

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Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative February 2018 news and views

Feb. 28

White House Bombshells

hope hicks strategic communications directorNew York Daily News, Longtime Trump aide Hope Hicks announces resignation as White House communications director, Staff report, Feb. 28, 2018. White House Communications Director Hope Hicks said Wednesday that she was planning to resign, a new report says. The 29-year-old Hicks (pictured) made the sudden announcement a day after she testified before a House Intelligence Committee investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Hicks refused to answer questions about her time in the White House or during the transition, but she did admit to telling white lies on behalf of the President.

“There are no words to adequately express my gratitude to President Trump,” Hicks said. “I wish the President and his administration the very best as he continues to lead our country.” Hope Hicks admits to telling white lies for President Trump

A former model with no experience in politics, Hicks was considered one of Trump’s most trusted and loyal aides. She was expected to leave her post in the next few weeks. It was not clear what she would do next. Hope Hicks (pictured) was considered one of Trump’s most trusted and loyal aides.
Hope Hicks was considered one of Trump’s most trusted and loyal aides.

hope hicks tux japan 2017 CustomHicks (shown at a formal dinner in Japan last year) was the seventh person named as the White House communications director. She shunned the spotlight and largely remained out of view, but her last few weeks were among the most tumultuous of her time at the White House.

Hicks came under fire earlier in the month after it was revealed that she helped coordinate the administration’s fierce pushback against reports that staff secretary Rob Porter abused his two ex-wives.…

January 2018 News Reports

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Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative January 2018 news and views

Jan. 31

FBI Leadership vs. White House On Memo

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Washington Post, FBI challenges accuracy of GOP’s surveillance memo, Devlin Barrett, Karoun Demirjian and Elise Viebeck​, Jan. 31, 2018.  The bureau spoke out against a memo criticizing the use of surveillance authorities, challenging the classified document’s accuracy as the White House and congressional Republicans are expected to soon make its contents public.

The FBI pushed back sharply Wednesday against a GOP memo criticizing the bureau’s use of secret surveillance orders — escalating a remarkable public standoff between the White House and the nation’s top law enforcement agency.

“As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about the material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy,” the FBI said in a statement.

rod rosenstein cspan It is highly unusual for the White House and the FBI to be publicly at odds over a matter of national security, and it was unclear what impact the disagreement might have on the standing of FBI Director Christopher A. Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein (shown at left), two Trump appointees who went to the White House on Monday to urge that the memo not be released.

Ethics Violation At HUD By Secretary Carson?

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ben carsonWashington Post, HUD lawyers warned Ben Carson risked running afoul of ethics rules by enlisting son, Juliet Eilperin and Jack Gillum, Jan. 31, 2018. The head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (shown at right) allowed his son to help organize a “listening tour” in Baltimore despite warnings from department lawyers, according to internal documents and people familiar with the matter.

djt sotu screen jan 30 2018President Trump speaks at his first State of the Union address on Jan. 30, 2018. He is flanked by Vice President Mike Pence (left) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (Screenshot)

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New York Times, ‘This Is Our New American Moment,’ Trump Tries to Move Past Tumult in State of the Union Speech, Julie Hirshfeld Davis and Michael D.…

December 2017 News Reports

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Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative December 2017 news and views

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Dec. 31

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New York Times, For Trump, a Year of Reinventing the Presidency, Peter Baker, Dec. 31, 2017. In ways that were once unimaginable, President Trump has discarded the conventions and norms established by his predecessors. The office has become a blunt instrument to advance personal, policy and political goals. Will that change the institution permanently?

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Washington Post, In first year, Trump starts delivering on vow to shrink government, Lisa Rein and Andrew Ba Tran,  Dec. 31, 2017.By the end of September, all but three Cabinet departments had fewer permanent staff than when President Trump took office — with most shedding hundreds of employees, according to an analysis by the Washington Post.

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New York Times, Democrats in High-Tax States Try to Cushion New Law’s Jolt, Ben Casselman, Dec. 31, 2017. Officials are considering legal challenges, other sources of revenue and ways to, in effect, restore deductions that the overhaul scaled back. Governments, as a rule, have not sought to exploit tax loopholes. But state leaders said Congress, in singling out certain states, had broken an implicit compact with them.

Supreme Court Report On Federal Courts

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john roberts oWashington Post, Chief justice announces courts will examine sexual harassment protections, saying federal judiciary ‘is not immune,’ Robert Barnes,  The initiative will ensure there are proper procedures in place to protect law clerks and other court employees from sexual harassment, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. (shown at right) announced in his 2017 State of the Judiciary Report.

alex kozinski informal wThe statement, in Roberts’s 2017 State of the Judiciary Report, follows the retirement last month of Judge Alex Kozinski (shown at left), of the U.S.…

November 2017 News Reports

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Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative November 2017 news and views

Nov. 30

GOPers Ramming Through Tax Cut For Trump, Big Donors

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New York Times, The Senate Is Rushing to Pass Its Tax Bill Because It Stinks, Editorial Board, Nov. 30, 2017. As more senators show signs of sacrificing their principles and embracing the Republican tax bill for minor and nebulous concessions, it bears looking more closely at the process that produced this terrible legislation and some of its lesser-known provisions.

irs logoThe Senate tax bill, a 515-page mammoth, was introduced just last week, and the chamber could vote on it as soon as Thursday. This is not how lawmakers are supposed to pass enormous pieces of legislation. It took several years to put together the last serious tax bill, passed in 1986.

Congress and the Reagan administration worked across party lines, produced numerous drafts, held many hearings and struck countless compromises. This time it’s not about true reform but about speed and bowling over the opposition in hopes of claiming a partisan victory.

bob corkerThe country ought to be dismayed by the way senators like Bob Corker (left), Susan Collins and Ron Johnson appear to be backing away from their principled objections based on half-measures promised by President Trump and the majority leader, Mitch McConnell, that will not address its big flaws.

This rush to the Senate floor has been orchestrated by Mr. McConnell, following the same playbook he used in the failed effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The longer people have to study the details, the less likely the bill is to pass. People should know by now about the big stuff: the giant permanent corporate tax-rate cut, the small and temporary tax cuts for the middle class, the repeal of the A.C.A.’s individual mandate and the $1.4 trillion added to the federal deficit over 10 years.…

October 2017 News Reports

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Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative October 2017 news and views

Oct. 31 Retrospective: Halloween In Kennedy Oval Office

President John F. Kennedy with children on Halloween

President John F. Kennedy with children on Halloween

Oct. 31

Terror Act Hits New York Cit, Kills Eight

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Washington Post, Manhattan vehicle attack kills at least 8, injures 12 in ‘act of terror,’ Mark Berman and Devlin Barrett, Oct. 31, 2017. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the attack on a cyclist path in Lower Manhattan was “an act of terror.” The driver jumped out of a Home Depot rental truck with what appeared to be a weapon before he was taken into custody.

Law enforcement officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss an open investigation, identified the suspect as Sayfullo Saipov, an Uzbek immigrant, who had been living in Tampa, Fla.

Saipov moved to the United States from Uzbekistan about five or six years ago, said Dilnoza Abdusamatova, 24, who said that Saipov stayed with her family in Cincinnati for his first two weeks in the country because their fathers were friends

2016 Campaign Facebook Danger Revised Up to 126 Million Impressions

ny times logofacebook logoNew York Times, Russian Influence Reached 126 Million Through Facebook, Mike Isaac and Daisuke and Wakabayashi, Oct. 31, 2017 (print edition).  Facebook and Google, ahead of congressional hearings, disclosed details about “insidious” Russian efforts to sow discord in the U.S. The new information reveals the scope of the agents’ use of their platforms.

ny times logoNew York Times, What Can Be Done to Fix Facebook? We Asked 9 Experts, Farhad Manjoo and Kevin Roose, Oct. 31, 2017 (print edition).  Technologists, academics, politicians and journalists suggested ways to improve Facebook — as a product, a company or both.

More On Special Prosecutor’s Probe

Donald Trump and George Papadopoulos campaign meeting2016 Trump campaign foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos, third from the left, sits during a meeting that includes then-Sen.

September 2017 News Reports

 

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Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our September blend of mainstream and alternative news and views

Sept. 30

NBC News, Puerto Rico Crisis: San Juan Mayor Pleads for Federal Aid, Phil Helsel and Saphora Smith, Sept 30, 2017. The mayor of Puerto Rico’s largest city earned a rebuke from President Donald Trump on Saturday after pleading for more federal assistance in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

“We are dying, and you are killing us with the inefficiency and the bureaucracy,” San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz said Friday at a news conference. She highlighted donations from companies and others, including 200,000 pounds of food donated by Goya, as a contrast to federal help.

“This is what we got last night: four pallets of water, three pallets of meals and 12 pallets of infant food — which I gave them to the people of Comerio, where people are drinking off a creek,” she said. “So I am done being polite. I am done being politically correct. I am mad as hell.”

Donald Trump playing golf

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Washington Post, Ratcheting up tensions amid crisis, Trump attacks San Juan mayor, David Nakamura and John Wagner, Sept. 30, 2017. From his golf resort in New Jersey, the president (shown in a collage of file photos) criticized Carmen Yulín Cruz for what he called “poor leadership” after she pleaded for additional help in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Democrats, community leaders and major celebrities lambasted Trump for casting blame and appearing insensitive to the suffering of U.S. citizens.

Huffington Post, Retired Lieutenant General: While Trump Golfs, San Juan’s Mayor Is ‘Living On A Cot,’ Sebastian Murdock, Sept. 30, 2017. “And the president has shown again, you don’t give a damn about poor people.” 

puerto rico flag

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Washington Post, Their island homes wiped away in hurricanes, Caribbean residents wonder: Should we go back?

August 2017 News Reports

 

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  Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative August 2017 news and views

Aug. 31

Trump Now Taking Steps To Ruin ‘Obamacare’

HuffPost,Trump Ramps Up Obamacare Sabotage With Huge Cuts To Enrollment Programs, Jeffrey Young, Aug. 31, 2017. Advertising and promotional budget for HealthCare.gov has been slashed by 90 percent and programs to help people sign up also face a nearly 40 percent cut. President Donald Trump’s administration has taken more steps to undermine the Obamacare marketplaces it’s responsible for managing. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced Thursday that it’s making drastic cuts in spending on advertising for the 2018 open enrollment period on the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchanges, as well as significant cutbacks in funding for local organizations that help consumers navigate the buying process.

Weakening the two most important tools the federal government has to promote enrollment on the state-based exchanges ― 39 of which are run wholly or mainly by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ― is the latest signal that the Trump administration isn’t committed to serving exchange customers and bolstering the marketplaces during the first open enrollment it will oversee from start to finish.President Donald Trump’s administration has taken more steps to undermine the Obamacare marketplaces it’s responsible for managing.

Trump himself repeatedly has said he wants to let or make the health insurance exchanges collapse, and his administration has taken a number of actions to destabilize them. That’s above and beyond his advocacy for the Affordable Care Act’s repeal.

More Hurricane News, Analysis

ny times logoNew York Times, Did Unbridled Growth Contribute to Houston Flooding? Manny Fernandez and Richard Fausset, Aug. 31, 2017 (print edition). Harvey is raising questions about whether there are, in fact, limits to the Houston model of perpetual growth.…

July 2017 News Reports

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 Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative July 2017 news and views

July 31

djt anthony scaramucci nydailynews cover adios moochacho aug 1 2017 custom

New York Daily News cover for Aug. 1, 2017 print edition

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ny times logoNew York Times, Scaramucci Is Forced Out of New Role at White House, Maggie Haberman, Michael D. Shear and Glenn Thrush, July 31, 2017. The decision to remove Anthony Scaramucci as communications director came at the request of President Trump’s new chief of staff, John Kelly, shown in an official photo. President Trump has decided to remove Anthony Scaramucci from his position as communications director, three people close to the decision said Monday, relieving him just days after Mr. Scaramucci unloaded a crude verbal tirade against other senior members of the president’s senior staff.

Mr. Scaramucci’s abrupt removal came just 10 days after the wealthy New York financier was brought on to the West Wing staff, a move that convulsed an already chaotic White House and led to the departures of Sean Spicer, the former press secretary, and Reince Priebus, the president’s first chief of staff.

White House Survivor Game (New York Post cover July 29, 2017)

The decision to remove Mr. Scaramucci, who had boasted about reporting directly to the president, not the chief of staff, John F. Kelly, came at Mr. Kelly’s request, the people said. Mr. Kelly made clear to members of the White House staff at a meeting Monday morning that he is in charge.

It was not clear whether Mr. Scaramucci will remain employed at the White House in another position or will leave altogether. Just days into his appointment, Mr. Scaramucci unloaded a crude verbal tirade against other senior members of the president’s staff.

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Internet Dark Humor: Photoshopped photo on web shows ousted Trump asides in awkward poses

ny times logoNew York Times, A Divorce Report Caps Scaramucci’s Explosive First Week on the Job, Katie Rogers, July 31, 2017.…

June 2017 News Reports

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 Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative June 2017 news and views

June 30

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Washington Post, Trump’s voting commission asked states for election data. At least 25 states say they can’t or won’t hand it over, Mark Berman and David Weigel, June 30, 2017. President Trump’s voting commission stumbled into public view this week, issuing a sweeping request for nationwide voter data that drew sharp condemnation from election experts and resistance from at least 24 states that said they cannot or will not hand over all of the data.

Donald TrumpThe immediate backlash marked the first significant attention to the “Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity” since Trump started it last month and followed through on a vow to pursue his own unsubstantiated claims that voter fraud is rampant and cost him the popular vote in the presidential election. The White House has said the commission will embark upon a “thorough review of registration and voting issues in federal elections,” but experts and voting rights advocates have pilloried Trump for his claims of widespread fraud, which studies and state officials alike have not found. They say that they fear the commission will be used to restrict voting.

Those worries intensified this week after the commission sent letters to 50 states and the District on Wednesday asking for a trove of information, including names, dates of birth, voting histories and, if possible, party identifications. The letters also asked for evidence of voter fraud, convictions for election-related crimes and recommendations for preventing voter intimidation — all within 16 days.

While the Trump administration has said it is just requesting public information, the letters met with swift — and sometimes defiant — rejection. “This entire commission is based on the specious and false notion that there was widespread voter fraud last November,” Virginia Gov.…

May 2017 News Reports

 

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Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative May 2017 news and views

May 31

New York Times, Trump Likely to Pull U.S. Out of Climate Pact, Officials Say, Michael D. Shear and Coral Davenport, May 31, 2017. The decision would make good on President Trump’s campaign pledge, but would weaken the landmark accord that pledged action to curb global warming. Mr. Trump has been willing to shift direction up until an announcement, and an official said that caveats may accompany the withdrawal.

And Mr. Trump has proved himself willing to shift direction up until the moment of a public announcement. He is set to meet Wednesday afternoon with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (shown at left in a file photo), who has advocated that the United States remain a part of the Paris accords and could continue to lobby the president to change his mind.

Advocates for pullout are reported to include White House advisor Stephen Bannon, shown in a file photo at right.

Trump White House

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Washington Post, How Jared Kushner built a luxury skyscraper using loans meant for job-starved areas, Shawn Boburg, May 31, 2017.  The strategy allowed Kushner and his partners to obtain $50 million in financing from foreigners through a U.S. visa program. Jared Kushner and his real estate partners wanted to take advantage of a federal program in 2015 that would save them millions of dollars as they built an opulent, 50-story residential tower in this city’s booming waterfront district, just across the Hudson River from Lower Manhattan.

There was just one problem: The program was designed to benefit projects in poor, job-starved areas.

So the project’s consultants got creative, records show. They worked with state officials in New Jersey to come up with a map that defined the area around 65 Bay Street as a swath of land that stretched nearly four miles and included some of the city’s poorest and most crime-ridden neighborhoods.…

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