WH Withdraws Doug Manchester’s Nomination to be U.S. Ambassador to The Bahamas

 

On November 13, the White House formally withdrew its nomination of San Diego Developer “Papa” Doug Manchester to be Ambassador to The Bahamaas.  The Nassau Guardian reported in late October that Mr. Manchester  “has stepped back from his bid to become the United States ambassador for The Bahamas.” The report said that when reached for comment, Manchester Financial Group wrote in a statement, “He has withdrawn due to the threats on his and his family’s lives including three infant children under four years old.”  The report also said: “It also noted that Manchester had received “severe” threats on his life.”
The report does not include details on who made these threats against the nominee and if there is an ongoing investigation concerning these threats.
In related news, the US Embassy in Nassau recently broke ground on a new U.S. Embassy in downtown Nassau.  The new  facility will reportedly “provide a secure, modern, and resilient platform for U.S. diplomacy in The Bahamas. Its central location will facilitate our partnership with the Bahamian government as well as support to U.S. citizens living and traveling here.”  The project is expected to be completed in 2023.

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Impeachment Open Hearings Week #1: William Taylor, George Kent, Marie Yovanovitch

Updated: Nov 13, 2019

The House Intelligence Committee  Chairman Adam Schiff announced the first open hearings this week:

Wednesday, November 13, 2019 10:00 am ET

WHERE: Longworth House Office Building, Room 110
WATCH: Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrL2q91fnnQ&feature=youtu.be
Witnesses:
  • Ambassador William Taylor
    Chargé D’affaires, US Embassy Kyiv, Ukraine
  • Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent
    Deputy Assistant Secretary in the European and Eurasian Bureau at the U.S. Department of State.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Ambassador Marie “Masha” Yovanovitch
US Ambassador to Ukraine (2016-May 2019)

Private Wealth Manager William Ellison Grayson to be U.S. Ambassador to Estonia

 

On Sept 30, 2019, the WH announced the president’s intent to nominate William Ellison Grayson of California to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Estonia. The WH released a brief bio:

William E. Grayson is the National Director of the Family Offices of Bernstein Private Wealth Management in San Francisco, California.  In a long career of public service, Mr. Grayson has served four Presidents.  He was appointed by President Donald J. Trump to the Presidio Trust Board of Directors in San Francisco, California, where he was elected Board Chair by his fellow directors.  During the Obama Administration he served as a Regional Panelist for the White House Fellows Commission.  President George W. Bush appointed Mr. Grayson as a Commissioner on the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships and nominated him to the Internal Revenue Service Oversight Board.  As Principal Deputy General Counsel of the Army under President George H.W. Bush, Mr. Grayson oversaw the Army’s 2,700 lawyers.  Mr. Grayson received his B.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and his J.D. degree from the University of San Francisco School of Law.  He is the recipient of the Outstanding Civilian Service Award from the Secretary of the Army.

The Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California Berkeley has a more extensive bio here. If confirmed, Mr. Grayson would succeed career diplomat James Desmond Melville Jr. (1957–) who served as Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Tallinn from December 8, 2015–July 29, 2018 (also see Ex-Amb. to Estonia James D. Melville Writes Why He Quit). Career FSO Elizabeth K. Horst (?–) served as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim at the US Embassy Tallinn from July 29, 2018–August 2, 2019. Post is currently headed by career FSO Brian Roraff as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim.
Trump previously nominated Retired Navy Rear Admiral Edward Masso to be Ambassador to Estonia in September 2017.  The nomination for Edward Masso was withdrawn on May 24, 2018.
Grayson’s nomination is currently pending in Committee: 2019-10-15 PN1160 Department of State

Impeachment Inquiry: Transcripts of Depositions Released

Posted: Nov 12, 2019

On September 24, 2019, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the beginning of the impeachment inquiry. (see Tuesday, September 24, 2019: Speaker Nancy Pelosi Announces Formal Impeachment Inquiry).  Below are links to the full transcripts of the depositions that the Committee has released on a rolling basis. We will update this post as new transcripts are released to the public.

 

DOD/Laura Cooper, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Department of Defense
  • The testimony of Deputy Assistant Secretary Laura Cooper can be found here.
  • Key excerpts of Deputy Assistant Secretary Laura Cooper testimony can be found here.
STATE/Catherine Croft, Ambassador Volker’s Advisor
  • The testimony of Catherine Croft can be found here.
  • Key excerpts of Catherine Croft’s testimony can be found here.
STATE/Christopher Anderson, Ambassador Volker’s Advisor
  • The testimony of Christopher Anderson can be found here.
  • Key excerpts of Christopher Anderson’s testimony can be found here.
WH/Dr. Fiona Hill, NSC Russia Expert
  • The testimony of Dr. Fiona Hill can be found here.
  • Key excerpts of Dr. Fiona Hill’s testimony can be found here.

WH/Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, NSC Russia Expert

  • The testimony of Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman can be found here.
  • Key excerpts of Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman’s testimony can be found here.
STATE/George Kent: Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs (EUR)
  • The testimony of Deputy Assistant Secretary Kent can be found here.
  • Key excerpts from Deputy Assistant Secretary Kent can be found here.
STATE/Ambassador Bill Taylor: Current Chargé d’Affaires, US Embassy Ukraine
  • The testimony of Ambassador Taylor can be found here.
  • Key excerpts from Ambassador Taylor’s testimony can be found here.
STATE/Kurt Volker:  Former U.S. Special Envoy to Ukraine
  • The testimony of Ambassador Volker can be found here.
  • Key excerpts from Ambassador Volker’s testimony can be found here.
  • the Committees released all additional Volker text messages received by the Committees, which can be found here.
  • Key excerpts from these additional text messages can be found here.
  • The Committees first released excerpts of text messages produced by Ambassador Volker on October 2, 2019, which can be found here.
STATE/Ambassador Gordon Sondland:  Current U.S. Ambassador to the European Union
  • The testimony of Ambassador Sondland can be found here, including an addendum he filed on November 4, 2019
  • Key excerpts from Ambassador Sondland’s testimony can be found here.
STATE/Ambassador Michael McKinley:  Former Senior Advisor to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
  • The testimony of former Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State Ambassador P. Michael McKinley from October 16, 2019 can be found here.
  • Key excerpts from McKinley’s testimony can be found here.
STATE/Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch: Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine
  • The testimony of former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie “Masha” Yovanovitch from October 11, 2019 can be found here.
  • Key excerpts from Yovanovitch’s testimony can be found here.

 

 

 

US Embassy Cairo DCM Dorothy Shea to be U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon

 

On October 11, the WH announced the president’s intent to nominate Dorothy Shea of North Carolina, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Lebanese Republic. The WH released the following brief bio:

Dorothy Shea, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, currently serves as the Deputy Chief of Mission of the United States Embassy in Cairo, Egypt. Previously, she had served as Deputy Principal Officer at the United States Consulate General in Jerusalem, as Director of the Office of Assistance for Asia and the Near East in the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, and as a Pearson Fellow with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Ms. Shea was also the Political/Economic Counselor at the United States Embassy in Tunis, Tunisia, a Political Officer at the United States Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel, a Director for Democracy and Human Rights at the National Security Council, and a Special Assistant to the Special Envoy for War Crimes Issues in the Department of State. Ms. Shea earned a B.A. from the University of Virginia, M.S. from Georgetown University, and M.S. from the National War College. She speaks French and Arabic.

If confirmed, Ms. Shea would succeed career diplomat Elizabeth H. Richard (?–) who was confirmed U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon by the U.S. Senate on May 17, 2016.

Career SES Donald Wright – From HHS to US Embassy Tanzania

 

On Sept 30, 2019, the WH announced the president’s intent to nominate Donald Wright of Virginia, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the United Republic of Tanzania.

Don J. Wright, M.D., MPH, a career member of the Senior Executive Service, is Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health and Director of the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  His career at HHS includes service as Acting Assistant Secretary for Health and Acting Executive Director of the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition.  Dr. Wright developed and implemented the National Action Plan to Reduce Healthcare Associated Infections and Healthy People 2020, the Nation’s framework for disease prevention and health promotion initiatives.  Before joining the government as Director of the Office of Occupational Medicine at the Department of Labor, he was a clinician in Texas for 17 years.  Dr. Wright received his B.A. at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, and his M.D. at the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas.  He received an MPH at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Wauwatosa.  He was honored by the American College of Preventive Medicine in 2019.

If confirmed, Mr. Wright would succeed Mark Bradley Childress (1959–), a non-career appointee who served as Ambassador to Tanzania from May 22, 2014–October 25, 2016.   Senior FSO Inmi Patterson has been Chargé d’Affaires since June 2017.

US Embassy Canberra PolCouns John Hennessey-Niland to be U.S. Ambassador to Palau

 

On Sept 30, 2019, the WH announced the president’s intent to nominate John Hennessey-Niland of Illinois, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Palau. The WH released the following brief bio:

Mr. Hennessey-Niland, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Counselor, currently serves as Political Counselor at the United States Embassy in Canberra, Australia.  Previously he was the Foreign Policy Advisor to United States Marine Corps Forces Pacific at Camp Smith, Hawaii, and the Political-Economic Chief at the United States Embassy in Suva, Fiji.  Other diplomatic assignments include Deputy Chief of Mission and later Chargé d’Affaires at the United States Embassy in Dublin, Ireland; Director at the National Security Council for the G-20/G-7; and Director of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement at the United States Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan.  Mr. Hennessey-Niland received his B.A. at Tufts University, a MALD at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and a Diplome at France’s École Nationale d’Administration.  He speaks French and Dutch.  His awards include the Department of State Foreign Policy Advisors (POLAD) of the Year Award and the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Medal.

If confirmed, Mr. Hennessey-Niland would succeed Ambassador Amy Jane Hyatt (1955–), a career diplomat who has been Chief of Mission to Palau since March 10, 2015.

Office of Special Counsel Announces Suspensions of Two Federal Employees Over Hatch Act Violations

 

On October 18, the Office of Special Counsel announced disciplinary actions imposed on two federal employees working for the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) for Hatch Act violations.

​The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) today announced significant discipline imposed on two federal employees working for the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) who engaged in prohibited political activity in violation of the Hatch Act.

One DLA employee violated the Hatch Act on numerous occasions by sending partisan political emails and making political Facebook posts while at work.  The employee also used Facebook to solicit political contributions nearly two dozen times in violation of the Act.  During OSC’s investigation, the employee admitted he was aware of the Hatch Act and that his supervisor had counseled him about the Act prior to engaging in the prohibited activity.  In a settlement agreement, the employee agreed to a 90-day suspension without pay.

Another DLA employee violated the Hatch Act by displaying the words “Vote Republican” on a PowerPoint presentation that he gave while on duty and in the federal workplace.  The employee had received extensive Hatch Act training and was explicitly told prior to giving the presentation that certain images he planned to use, including the “Vote Republican” image, would be problematic.  In a settlement agreement, the employee agreed to a 30-day suspension without pay for his violation.

“With election season drawing near, it is critical that federal employees understand and abide by their Hatch Act obligations,” said Special Counsel Henry J. Kerner. “As demonstrated in these two cases, there are significant repercussions for federal employees who violate the Hatch Act.”

Note that last June, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) sent a report to President Donald J. Trump finding that Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway violated the Hatch Act on numerous occasions by disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in her official capacity during television interviews and on social media. “Given that Ms. Conway is a repeat offender and has shown disregard for the law, OSC recommends that she be removed from federal service.”
On June 13, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) said it “respects the Office of White House Counsel but respectfully disagrees with its position, and will not withdraw its Report​ sent to the President today finding numerous Hatch Act violations made by Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway (OSC File Nos. HA-19-0631 and HA-19-3395).”

70th SecState Pitches Pilot For New TinFoil Hat Spin-Off

 

 

Pompeo’s Mea Culpa or Nah?

 

 

Michael R. Pompeo With the Student Newspaper The Sunflower | October 25, 2019

QUESTION: Thank you. Bill Taylor, a fellow West Point grad who’s served in every administration since 1985 – both parties – testified before the House. The White House line characterized it – he and others as “radical unelected bureaucrats.” I think you responded briefly to that yesterday, but I’m curious: Do you still have confidence in your top Ukrainian diplomat?

SECRETARY POMPEO: I don’t talk about personnel stuff. It just – it’s not fair to any of the team. But I’ll say this: I have a responsibility leading this big organization. I’ve watched Bill. He and I have talked about Ukrainian policy at some length: how do you take down corruption; how do you now help the new leader there, President Zelensky; how do we deliver on America’s national security interests. And he and I were in full accord on that. We – he and I both share in this vision for how American interests in Ukraine can properly be represented, and I have every reason to think that he’s still out there banging away at that problem set.

But I will say this: We all, as human beings, can get it wrong, too. We see things through a certain prism; we address things in a certain way. We all have a responsibility to make sure we’re getting it as right as we can each and every day. And so I don’t think by nature of the fact that I work at the State Department means I get everything right every day. I think that’s true for all the people who work at the United States Department of State. Indeed, I have seen State Department officials engage in behavior that was not appropriate, that wasn’t right, that didn’t reflect the highest values of the Foreign Service and American diplomacy around the world. And so my obligation as the organization’s leader is to sort through that, to parse through it, to make sure that we collectively are delivering on behalf of the American people each and every day.

We know that human beings can get it wrong, of course. “And so I don’t think by nature of the fact that I work at the State Department means I get everything right every day.”
Jeez, no one is accusing him of getting “everything right everyday.”
Indeed, I have seen State Department officials engage in behavior that was not appropriate, that wasn’t right, that didn’t reflect the highest values of the Foreign Service and American diplomacy around the world.”
Now, what is Pompeo talking about here?
This happened on the same day when his boss said that “everyone makes mistakes”, hey even Mike Pompeo. Apparently, that mistake was Pompeo hired an honorable man, Ambassador Bill Taylor as the United States man in Ukraine, who did his duty and told what he knew when called upon by the Congress in the impeachment inquiry.