Thursday, November 21
WH/NSC: Fiona Hill, Fiona Hill, Former Senior Director for Europe and Russia
State/FSO David Holmes, Political Counselor, US Embassy Kyiv, Ukraine
— CSPAN (@cspan) November 21, 2019
— CSPAN (@cspan) November 21, 2019
Posted: Nov 12, 2019
Updated: Nov 16, 2019
Updated, November 18, 2019
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.”
At President @realDonaldTrump’s direction, tomorrow I will lead a delegation with @SecPompeo, NSA Robert O'Brien & Amb. James Jeffrey to call on Turkey to stop the invasion, enact an immediate ceasefire & begin negotiations to restore peace and stability to the region. pic.twitter.com/UanvagFxk8
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) October 15, 2019
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) October 15, 2019
Erdogan says Washington wants #Turkey to first accept a ceasefire in #Syria & then talk – almost like a precondition which he rejects. Negotiations of Pence-led delegation in #Ankara will be key. On #Trump tweets, he says: “We can no longer keep up!” https://t.co/hwy8i4z4ir
— Hümeyra Pamuk (@humeyra_pamuk) October 16, 2019
This indictment of Turkey’s state-run bank may complicate VP Pence’s delegation there with Pompeo, reportedly set to leave within 24 hours. Case has lots of links to Trump and Erdogan.
— Adam Klasfeld (@KlasfeldReports) October 15, 2019
Interrupting debate live-tweet to flag this story.
This was a major Erdogan demand, the same one that Michael Flynn pushed when he worked as an undisclosed agent for Turkey.
WSJ also reported Flynn mulled plan to "whisk" the cleric, Gulen, away outside extradition process. https://t.co/19M2SOkcgO
— Adam Klasfeld (@KlasfeldReports) October 16, 2019
One person in the room during Hill’s testimony initially said Bolton mentioned Rudy in the quote, but two others have now said he cited Sondland: “I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up."
— Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) October 15, 2019
Hill went on to testify about what she described as a rogue operation carried out by U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney – something that Bolton characterized as being like a “drug deal.” https://t.co/g4q8pt5kvY
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) October 15, 2019
— Blake News (@blakehounshell) October 14, 2019
Yesterday’s letter from Fiona Hill’s lawyer to WH lawyers, pushing back on their executive privilege claims, may reveal the tenor of her testimony today: “The deliberative process privilege disappears altogether when there is any reason to believe government misconduct occurred.” pic.twitter.com/zJPptlFJRH
— Eric Columbus (@EricColumbus) October 15, 2019
It appears the WH and lawyers for Fiona Hill had a full back-and-forth about potential privilege issues with her testimony in the run-up to today.
Here's the WH letter warning Hill not to disclose classified or privileged information. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/VyVCkkJHYw
— Nicholas Fandos (@npfandos) October 15, 2019
Before I close, I must share the deep disappointment and dismay I have felt as these events have unfolded. I have served this nation honorably for more than 30 years. I have proudly promoted and served American interests as the representative of the American people and six different presidents over the last three decades. Throughout that time, I—like my colleagues at the State Department—have always believed that we enjoyed a sacred trust with our government.
We make a difference every day on issues that matter to the American people—whether it is war and peace, trade and investment, or simply helping with a lost passport. We repeatedly uproot our lives, and we frequently put ourselves in harm’s way to serve this nation. And we do that willingly, because we believe in America and its special role in the world. We also believe that, in return, our government will have our backs and protect us if we come under attack from foreign interests.
That basic understanding no longer holds true. Today, we see the State Department attacked and hollowed out from within. State Department leadership, with Congress, needs to take action now to defend this great institution, and its thousands of loyal and effective employees. We need to rebuild diplomacy as the first resort to advance America’s interests and the front line of America’s defense. I fear that not doing so will harm our nation’s interest, perhaps irreparably.
That harm will come not just through the inevitable and continuing resignation and loss of many of this nation’s most loyal and talented public servants. It also will come when those diplomats who soldier on and do their best to represent our nation face partners abroad who question whether the ambassador truly speaks for the President and can be counted upon as a reliable partner. The harm will come when private interests circumvent professional diplomats for their own gain, not the public good. The harm will come when bad actors in countries beyond Ukraine see how easy it is to use fiction and innuendo to manipulate our system. In such circumstances, the only interests that will be served are those of our strategic adversaries, like Russia, that spread chaos and attack the institutions and norms that the U.S.helped create and which we have benefited from for the last 75 years.
I am proud of my work in Ukraine. The U.S. Embassy, under my leadership, represented and advanced the policies of the United States government as articulated, first by the Obama Administration and then by the Trump Administration. Our efforts were intended, and evidently succeeded, in thwarting corrupt interests in Ukraine, who fought back by selling baseless conspiracy theories to anyone who would listen. Sadly, someone was listening, and our nation is the worse off for that.
First she was asked to stay in Kiev another year. Then Rudy showed up, Trump weighed in, and she was told to leave "on the next plane." Remarkable testimony from US ambassador Marie Yovanovitch: https://t.co/dxaoXUm3qF
— Greg Miller (@gregpmiller) October 11, 2019
Key House Democratic chairs on Ambassador Yovanovitch: "Any efforts by Trump Administration officials to prevent witness cooperation with the Committees will be deemed obstruction of a co-equal branch of government and an adverse inference may be drawn against the President…" pic.twitter.com/VP6sNUR5zQ
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) October 11, 2019
Posted: 4:52 am EST
Via WH, January 16, 2019
Brian J. Bulatao, of Texas, to be an Under Secretary of State (Management), vice Patrick Francis Kennedy.
David Schenker, of New Jersey, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Near Eastern Affairs), vice Anne W. Patterson, resigned.
David Stilwell, of Hawaii, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (East Asian and Pacific Affairs), vice Daniel R. Russel.
Stephen Akard, of Indiana, to be Director of the Office of Foreign Missions, with the rank of Ambassador, vice Gentry O. Smith, resigned.
Marshall Billingslea, of Virginia, to be an Under Secretary of State (Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights), vice Sarah Sewall, resigned.
R. Clarke Cooper, of Florida, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Political-Military Affairs), vice Puneet Talwar, resigned.
Robert A. Destro, of Virginia, to be Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, vice Tomasz P. Malinowski.
Jeffrey L. Eberhardt, of Wisconsin, a Career Member of the Senior Executive Service, to be Special Representative of the President for Nuclear Nonproliferation, with the rank of Ambassador.
Ronald Mortensen, of Utah, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Population, Refugees, and Migration), vice Anne Claire Richard.
Kimberly Breier, of Virginia, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Inter-American Foundation for a term expiring September 20, 2020, vice Adolfo A. Franco, term expired.
John P. Abizaid, of Nevada, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Lynda Blanchard, of Alabama, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Slovenia.
Joseph Cella, of Michigan, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Fiji, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Kiribati, the Republic of Nauru, the Kingdom of Tonga, and Tuvalu.
Edward F. Crawford, of Ohio, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Ireland.
David T. Fischer, of Michigan, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Morocco.
Kenneth S. George, of Texas, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Oriental Republic of Uruguay.
Jeffrey Ross Gunter, of California, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Iceland.
Kenneth A. Howery, of Texas, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Sweden.
Ronald Douglas Johnson, of Florida, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of El Salvador.
Doug Manchester, of California, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
Lana J. Marks, of Florida, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of South Africa.
John Rakolta Jr., of Michigan, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the United Arab Emirates.
Leandro Rizzuto, of New Jersey, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Barbados, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Donald R. Tapia, of Arizona, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Jamaica.
Christine J. Toretti, of Pennsylvania, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Malta.
Adrian Zuckerman, of New Jersey, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Romania.
Kate Marie Byrnes, of Florida, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Macedonia.
Michael J. Fitzpatrick, of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Ecuador.
W. Patrick Murphy, of Vermont, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Cambodia.
Daniel N. Rosenblum, of Maryland, a Career Member of the Senior Executive Service, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Uzbekistan.
Matthew H. Tueller, of Utah, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Iraq.
Note: There appears to be three career diplomats on the Executive Calendar whose nominations have not been resubmitted to the Senate with this list (Robert K. Scott for Republic of Malawi; Francisco Luis Palmieri for Honduras, and Joseph E. Macmanus for Colombia). Also many more names that were pending in the SFRC last year that we expected to see renominated but as of this writing, the White House has not done so except for a couple nominees. It could just be a matter of time. We expected this list to come out the first week of January, and the names were only sent to the Senate on January 16. We’ll be in the look out for that other long list.
Andrew P. Bremberg, of Virginia, to be Representative of the United States of America to the Office of the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva, with the rank of Ambassador.
Kip Tom, of Indiana, for the rank of Ambassador during his tenure of service as U.S. Representative to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture.
Michael Pack, of Maryland, to be Chief Executive Officer of the Broadcasting Board of Governors for the term of three years. (New Position)
John Barsa, of Florida, to be an Assistant Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, vice Marcela Escobari.
Mina Chang, of Texas, to be an Assistant Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, vice Jonathan Nicholas Stivers.
Richard C. Parker, of North Carolina, to be an Assistant Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, vice T. Charles Cooper, resigned.
Alan R. Swendiman, of North Carolina, to be Deputy Director of the Peace Corps, vice Carlos J. Torres.
Spencer Bachus, III, of Alabama, to be Member of the Board of Directors of the Export-Import Bank of the United States for a term expiring January 20, 2023, vice Patricia M. Loui, term expired.
Claudia Slacik, of New York, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Export-Import Bank of the United States for a term expiring January 20, 2023, vice Sean Robert Mulvaney.
Kimberly A. Reed, of West Virginia, to be President of the Export-Import Bank of the United States for a term expiring January 20, 2021, vice Fred P. Hochberg, resigned.
Irving Bailey, of Florida, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation for a term expiring December 17, 2021, vice Matthew Maxwell Taylor Kennedy, term expired.
Christopher P. Vincze, of Massachusetts, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation for a term expiring December 17, 2019, vice Todd A. Fisher, term expired.
Alexander Crenshaw, of Florida, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Millennium Challenge Corporation for a term of three years, vice Mark Green, term expired.
George M. Marcus, of California, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Millennium Challenge Corporation for a term of three years, vice Morton H. Halperin, term expired.
WHO: Brett P. Giroir, of Texas, to be Representative of the United States on the Executive Board of the World Health Organization, vice Thomas Frieden.
IMF: Mark Rosen, of Connecticut, to be United States Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund for a term of two years, vice Margrethe Lundsager, resigned.
OSCE: James S. Gilmore, of Virginia, to be U.S. Representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, with the rank of Ambassador.
OSCD: Pamela Bates, of Virginia, to be Representative of the United States of America to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, with the rank of Ambassador.
Marking the 22nd day of the Trump Shutdown. This is now officially the longest government shutdown in history.
No way to run a government: “Trump’s advisers are scrambling to build an exit ramp while also bracing for the shutdown to last WEEKS longer.” https://t.co/23FJ4bWdBT
— Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) January 12, 2019
The sense of urgency for a deal is mounting, as 800,000 federal workers missed their first paycheck on Friday https://t.co/dislmB0ZHN
— POLITICO (@politico) January 12, 2019
The shutdown has entered a record 22nd day, with hundreds of thousands of federal workers now missing paychecks. Here's where the impasse stands. https://t.co/t3aOjE09zv
— WSJ Shutdown (@WSJshutdown) January 12, 2019
During the first week of the shutdown, 4,760 federal employees filed for unemployment benefits, the Labor Department said. https://t.co/W0N0ZOnIMP
— WSJ Shutdown (@WSJshutdown) January 12, 2019
Update: DC federal judge refuses DOJ's request to postpone Monday hearing in federal employees' suit over #shutdown. Judge Richard Leon will rule Monday on TRO request. Order just issued: pic.twitter.com/VlF9Fr3VfG
— Mike Scarcella (@MikeScarcella) January 12, 2019
Also here is a White House official who need not worry about a paycheck, calling the current chaos and debacle on government workers’ lives as somehow putting them in a “better off” universe.
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) January 11, 2019
Via Amazon: Bob Woodward is an associate editor at The Washington Post, where he has worked for forty-seven years. He has shared in two Pulitzer Prizes, first for the Post’s coverage of the Watergate scandal with Carl Bernstein, and second in 2003 as the lead reporter for coverage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He has authored or coauthored eighteen books, all of which have been national nonfiction bestsellers. Twelve of those have been #1 national bestsellers.
With authoritative reporting honed through eight presidencies from Nixon to Obama, author Bob Woodward reveals in unprecedented detail the harrowing life inside President Donald Trump’s White House and precisely how he makes decisions on major foreign and domestic policies. Woodward draws from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand sources, meeting notes, personal diaries, files and documents. The focus is on the explosive debates and the decision-making in the Oval Office, the Situation Room, Air Force One and the White House residence.
Fear is the most intimate portrait of a sitting president ever published during the president’s first years in office.
“I think you’ve always been fair.”—President Donald J. Trump, in a call to Bob Woodward, August 14, 2018
A follow-up to Trump-Putin Summit Fallout: POTUS Entertains Proposal For Russia to Question Ex-US Amb Mike McFaul. The Senate has just passed a 98-0 resolution against making available for Russian questioning current or former diplomats as well as other officials of the United States Government. The White House has now released a statement about Putin’s proposal that the President of the United States purportedly disagreed with but had previously called “an incredible offer.”
See July 19 update below via VOA with Secretary Pompeo saying “It’s not going to happen,” then added that “”President Trump was very clear – we’re not gonna force Americans to go to Russia to be interrogated by the Russians.”
BREAKING: Senate unanimously PASSES (98-0) a resolution expressing opposition to allowing Russia to interview US diplomats and agents, a proposal offered by Putin on Monday and rejected just this afternoon by the White House.
Here's the text of the resolution: pic.twitter.com/oB6aTxnYts
— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) July 19, 2018
Adopted, 98-0: S.Res.584, Questioning of US officials by Putin government (Schumer Resolution)
— Senate Cloakroom (@SenateCloakroom) July 19, 2018
98-0. Bipartisanship is not dead yet in the US Senate. Thank you all for your support.
— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) July 19, 2018
The White House cannot let another day pass without unequivocally rejecting Russia’s absurd request to interrogate @McFaul and other officials. Merely entertaining this idea betrays our diplomats, undermines our interests, and hands Putin yet another propaganda victory.
— Madeleine Albright (@madeleine) July 19, 2018
The administration needs to make it unequivocally clear that in a million years this wouldn't be under consideration, period. Full stop. Not something that should require a half second of consultation. Dangerous. https://t.co/5smobXDnkc
— John Kerry (@JohnKerry) July 19, 2018
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) July 19, 2018
For the third consecutive day, another walk back from the White House@PressSec now says @realDonaldTrump disagrees with Putin's proposal to have Russians interview the 12 indicted Russians.
The president had called it "an incredible offer"
Here's the statement just released pic.twitter.com/ifCSoB65a4
— Cecilia Vega (@CeciliaVega) July 19, 2018
The notion that this proposal was made in “sincerity” by President Putin, and that President Trump disagreed with it is actually laughable. Were that true, the Press Secretary could have said immediately that the president pushed back hard against that proposal. This White House must really think we’re all dumb as rocks.
This was a no brainer. Ambassador McFaul, and the other officials that Russia wanted to question may not have been employees of this president, but they were employees and representatives of the United States of America, not of the Democratic Party (despite what this president might think or believe). The fact that this was even offered as a proposal tells us just what Putin think of this President. And the fact this President Trump did not push back and even appeared to consider it is horrifying.
So instead, the Press Secretary announced from the podium that the president “would work with his team” — excuse me, to do what exactly? And now the Press Secretary is saying that while President Trump disagreed with Putin’s proposal, “hopefully President Putin will have the 12 identified Russians come to the United States to prove their innocence or guilt.” That proposal was supposedly in exchange for the questioning of USG individuals. And now all they have left is “hoping” that Putin will go ahead with the proposal anyway?
Holy caramba! No wonder Putin is laughing his head off; he’s playing chess against our White House playing find the shortest toothpick.
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) July 19, 2018