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  • TopHatter
    replied
    Pardoning Giuliani Would Put Trump in Legal Jeopardy
    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- If President Donald Trump wants to avoid federal criminal investigation once he’s out of office, here’s my free advice: Don’t pardon Rudy Giuliani.

    The New York Times reports that the two men have discussed whether the president should pardon his personal lawyer. But Trump owes Giuliani money for representing him, and pardoning someone to whom you owe money could easily be construed as a criminal act.

    Under federal law, it would be bribery to offer an official government act, like a pardon, in exchange for a debt, like the money Trump owes to Giuliani. An investigation would have to ensue. And as President Bill Clinton learned after pardoning financier Marc Rich, an investigation into a questionable pardon can be serious business.

    In response to the report, Giuliani’s spokesperson said that as a lawyer, Giuliani could not comment on any discussions he had with his client, the president. Attorney-client privilege is a real thing, yet it would not shield either Giuliani or Trump from criminal investigation if there were reason to think a criminal exchange had occurred. When a lawyer and a client together conspire to commit a criminal act, the attorney-client privilege evaporates. Evidence of their communication for criminal purposes could be subpoenaed and introduced in court.

    If no third party could testify and there are no tapes of their conversation, then the only direct evidence of a criminal bargain would be testimony by one of the two men. In this scenario, Trump could choose to remain silent and exercise his right against self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment.

    However, Giuliani could not plead the Fifth — not if he had already been given a blanket pardon for any criminal act he might have committed during the Trump administration.

    The right against self-incrimination only applies when a person’s testimony might put them in criminal jeopardy. A person with a blanket pardon covering some period of time doesn’t face criminal jeopardy for conduct occurring during that period of time. Giuliani could therefore in theory be compelled to testify against Trump, on pain of going to jail for contempt of court if he refused.

    The only escape hatch from this trap would be if Giuliani’s pardon were deemed to be invalid because it was obtained as part of a criminal act. No one knows for sure whether a criminally obtained pardon is constitutionally valid, because the issue hasn’t been litigated. But obviously, neither Trump nor Giuliani would want to go down this path.

    If he really felt he had to pardon Giuliani, Trump might ostentatiously pay Giuliani lots of money first, to prove the pardon wasn’t given in exchange for forgiving the lawyer’s perhaps $20,000 per day legal fees. But it would be tough for Trump to prove that he had definitively paid for all of the work Giuliani had done.

    The upshot is that just about the best way Trump could bring a criminal investigation on himself would be by pardoning Giuliani on his way out of the White House.

    Consider the pardon of Marc Rich on Bill Clinton’s last day in office. That led to George W. Bush’s attorney general, John Ashcroft, appointing a special prosecutor to investigate the pardon process. That prosecutor was — wait for it — James Comey. You just can’t make these things up.

    Most likely, President-elect Joe Biden’s Department of Justice would prefer not to investigate Trump on criminal charges. Biden’s attorney general, whoever it is, will be eager to reestablish the norm of nonpolitical criminal investigation and prosecution. Going after Trump would make it all but impossible to restore that norm.

    But a Giuliani pardon would look so corrupt that it would put huge pressure on the Department of Justice to bring in a special prosecutor to look into it. And because Trump would no longer be president, he would not be able to fire or intimidate that prosecutor.

    Comey’s investigation ultimately did not recommend criminal charges against Clinton, although congressional Republicans did pursue several investigations of their own. Whether or not Trump is afraid of Congress, he should be afraid of the appointment of a federal prosecutor.

    The final irony here is that if Giuliani were any kind of a responsible lawyer, he could not possibly ask Trump for a pardon — because doing so would be a disaster for his client. And if Trump brought it up, Giuliani should ethically tell him, as his lawyer, that any such pardon would jeopardize Trump. If Giuliani doesn’t tell the president not to pardon him, some other lawyer should.
    __________

    Leave a comment:


  • TopHatter
    replied
    Justice Department investigating potential bribery scheme to obtain pardon

    The Department of Justice (DOJ) is investigating a potentially criminal scheme involving paying a bribe to people either in or affiliated with the White House in exchange for an unknown person receiving a presidential pardon, according to court documents that were unsealed Tuesday.

    The court records, which were unsealed by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, say the DOJ investigation involves two people, whose names are redacted, who were improperly acting as lobbyists to secure the pardon for a person whose name is also redacted. The plot involved the person offering “a substantial political contribution in exchange for a presidential pardon or reprieve of sentence.”

    It was not immediately clear for whom the pardon would be granted or where the bribe would be directed, and the documents provide no indication President Trump was aware of the plot.

    The disclosure, contained in a 20-page filing littered with redactions, comes amid reports that Trump is considering pardoning an array of associates in the waning days of his presidency.

    The new filing shows Chief Judge Beryl Howell was conducting a review in August of a request from federal prosecutors to examine documents that had been obtained from a search warrant as part of an investigation into the plot.

    The release shows investigators recovered more than 50 digital devices, including iPhones, iPads, laptops and computer drives, after a raid of unidentified offices. The prosecutors were requesting access to the devices on suspicion that they showed alleged criminal activity regarding the “secret lobbying scheme” for the unnamed person.

    The files indicate the devices contain communications between a defendant and an attorney, which are typically kept from prosecutors because they are considered privileged. However, such privilege is not applied when an exchange involves discussion of a crime, and Howell granted prosecutors access to the devices.

    "The political strategy to obtain a presidential pardon was 'parallel' to and distinct from [redacted]'s role as an attorney-advocate for [redacted name]," Howell wrote in her court order.

    The new documents do not include any names of the people involved or when the scheme was hatched. They do say the two people who were working to organize the agreement were acting as lobbyists to senior administration officials but did not comply with the Lobbying Disclosure Act’s registration requirement.

    It also appears prosecutors have not yet provided evidence to the judge regarding a direct payment but that the person seeking a pardon was doing so for protection regarding political contributions they’d made.
    No charges have yet been filed that indicate a person has been prosecuted over the alleged bribery.

    Speculation over possible grants of clemency in the waning days of Trump’s presidency reached a fever pitch last week when Trump pardoned Michael Flynn, his first national security adviser, who pleaded guilty to a charge of lying to federal investigators about his contacts with the top Russian diplomat in the United States. The charge was brought in connection with former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

    Allies of the president on Capitol Hill and in the media have pressed him in recent days to preemptively pardon an array of confidants, family members and even himself, floating claims that they could be targeted by politically motivated charges once Trump leaves office.
    ____________

    I'm shock, SHOCKED, that someone would try to bribe an honest and stalwart public servant like Donald Trump....who thinks that bribes are totally fine and should be allowed.

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  • JRT
    replied
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  • TopHatter
    replied
    Originally posted by JRT View Post
    Originally posted by Eric_Arthur_Blair_aka_George_Orwell

    Doublethink: The act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct.

    According to Winston Smith, the protagonist of 1984, doublethink is, “To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself—that was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word—doublethink—involved the use of doublethink.”

    Four examples of doublethink used throughout 1984 include the slogans: War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength, and 2 + 2 = 5.

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  • TopHatter
    replied
    Former top admiral alarmed by Pentagon purge says Trump still has time to do something 'really destructive'

    Mike Mullen, a retired Navy admiral and formerly the top US military officer, sounded the alarm Sunday over the recent Pentagon leadership purge, noting that there is still time for President Donald Trump and his team to do "something that's really destructive."

    "I'm actually very concerned about the Trump loyalists who have now gone to work in the Pentagon," Mullen, who served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during both the Bush and Obama administrations, told Chuck Todd Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."

    Earlier this month, Trump fired his defense secretary. The next day, the chief of staff to the secretary of defense and the top civilian Pentagon policy and intelligence officials resigned.

    Those positions were filled by Trump loyalists, including retired Brig. Gen. Anthony Tata, a former Fox News commentator who spread falsehoods about former President Barack Obama, writing on social media that Obama was a "terrorist."

    "There are some real Trump loyalists there now in charge," Mullen said. "It's pretty difficult to think that over the course of 50 or 60 days you can do something constructive, but you can do something that's really destructive."


    As observers questioned the reasons behind the moves at the Pentagon, the administration began taking steps to pull thousands of US troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

    On November 17, acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller, who arrived at the Pentagon only a week prior, announced that by the middle of January the troop levels in Afghanistan and Iraq will be down to 2,500 each.

    "I just think we need to be very careful with that," Mullen said of the reductions.

    "I'd like everybody to come home as well," he continued. "There are still terrorists who would do us ill. I want to play, actually, the game on their turf, and not play it here. If we just come home, my fear is that they arrive here in the United States."

    "We've been through that before and I never want to see that happen again," he said.

    Retired Adm. William McRaven, the former head of US Special Operations Command and Navy SEAL who oversaw the Osama bin Laden raid, said Sunday on ABC's "This Week" that he was also "concerned" by changes at the Pentagon.

    He said that Trump had "taken out all the leadership in the Department of Defense" and replaced them with a new team, one lacking experience.


    "The new team, you know, maybe they're good folks, but they are inexperienced," he said. "And what they're trying to do, of course, is to push forward President Trump's agenda, particularly when it comes to Iraq and Afghanistan and drawing down the number of troops."

    "We can have reasonable policy discussions on how many people we ought to have in Iraq and Afghanistan," McRaven continued. "But what we don't want to do is we don't want to rush to failure. We don't want to pull everybody out of Afghanistan and risk putting the troops, you know, in greater harm's way."

    "We've got to be thoughtful, we've got to be methodical about how we draw down the number of troops in Afghanistan," he said. "But what it appears is that this new administration in the Department of Defense is really rushing to get a lot of Trump's agenda resolved before a President Biden comes in."

    Both Mullen and McRaven also raised concerns about the possibility of escalating tensions with Iran, which has been a serious issue at various points during Trump's presidency.
    ____________

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  • TopHatter
    replied
    Federal Judge Advances Lawsuit Accusing Felix Sater of Laundering Loot Through Trump Properties

    A federal judge on Monday partially advanced a lawsuit accusing Russian mafia-tied businessman Felix Sater of laundering millions stolen from Kazakhstan’s BTA Bank through Trump Organization properties.

    “In this case, Kazakhstan’s largest city and a Kazakhstani bank seek to recover millions of dollars in stolen funds from those who allegedly helped the culprits launder them,” U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan summarized in a 25-page opinion dismissing only two counts of a five-count complaint. “Felix Sater—the alleged ringleader of the money-laundering operation—along with his associate Daniel Ridloff and several business entities they control, move to dismiss.”

    Like Sater, Ridloff was also formerly associated with the Trump Organization. The lawsuit stems from allegations of the systematic looting of Kazakhstan’s largest city Almaty and its bank in 2009.

    “The Court emphasizes that the Kazakh entities will need to adduce evidence showing the Sater defendants’ deceptive conduct and their justifiable reliance on that conduct in significantly greater detail to meet their burdens of production and of proof as the case progresses,” Nathan wrote. “However, at this stage, the Court concludes that it is not clear on the face of the complaint that their claims are untimely, and so declines to dismiss any claims on that basis.”

    Almaty’s attorney Craig A. Wenner, from the firm Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment. Neither did Sater’s counsel Jill Levi, from the firm Todd & Levi, LLP.

    The ruling itself does not mention Trump or his properties, but the lawsuit that it advances accuses Sater of helping the Almaty mayor’s son Ilyas Khrapunov launder stolen funds in at least five schemes throughout the United States, including through Trump Soho.

    “Sater not only met with Ilyas Khrapunov in Trump Tower to discuss laundering the stolen funds, but he also personally arranged meetings between Ilyas and Donald J. Trump to discuss possible investments,” the first amended complaint against Sater states.

    According to the lawsuit, there was also a proposal to funnel money through Trump Tower Moscow, before that plan fell apart around the time of the 2016 presidential election.

    “Among other proposed investments, Sater conspired with Ilyas to invest the stolen funds to develop a Trump Tower project in Russia, which Sater has claimed would have been a ‘high-rise, high-end development that could make a significant amount of money,'” the lawsuit states.

    The plaintiffs do not accuse Trump of wrongdoing.

    “The knowing receipt of stolen funds in furtherance of a money-laundering scheme, in the circumstances of this case, amounts to a sufficiently close connection to support a claim for unjust enrichment,” the ruling states. “The Court therefore concludes that the Kazakh entities have stated such a claim.”

    Judge Nathan dismissed two counts of fraud and unlawful means conspiracy, but not others alleging unjust enrichment, conversion and money had and received.
    ___________

    Leave a comment:


  • Albany Rifles
    replied
    Originally posted by JRT View Post
    Looks like Trump is setting up the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to knock it down hard, and thereby hobble the incoming administration. Because he can.

    Note the timing, 19 January 2020....
    Coming so close to the Inauguration AFGE could stick a fork in the plan. Lawsuit filed and ties it up in courts. Biden comes in and rescinds with an EO.

    Leave a comment:


  • JRT
    replied
    Originally posted by tbm3fan View Post
    Sure looks like Fox is now the propaganda arm of Trump, Inc. not that there was any doubt. Josef Goebbels would be proud of them and that journalist using the principles of propaganda he pioneered. Fortunately a slight majority of Americans haven't fallen for it.
    The red hat seems to be a mind control device that imposes Orwellian Doublethink.

    Originally posted by Eric_Arthur_Blair_aka_George_Orwell

    Doublethink: The act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct.

    According to Winston Smith, the protagonist of 1984, doublethink is, “To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself—that was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word—doublethink—involved the use of doublethink.”

    Four examples of doublethink used throughout 1984 include the slogans: War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength, and 2 + 2 = 5.

    .
    ...
    Last edited by JRT; 30 Nov 20,, 04:08.

    Leave a comment:


  • TopHatter
    replied
    Originally posted by tbm3fan View Post

    Sure looks like Fox is now the propaganda arm of Trump, Inc. not that there was any doubt. Josef Goebbels would be proud of them and that journalist using the principles of propaganda he pioneered. Fortunately a slight majority of Americans haven't fallen for it.
    Fox has always been the propaganda arm of Donald Trump...but even Fox has its traitors to the cause:

    Fox News Host Pulls Apart Election Lies Trump Spouted On Network Hours Earlier

    Fox News host Eric Shawn on Sunday debunked election disinformation that President Donald Trump shared on the same network only hours earlier.

    Trump unloaded a stream of baseless claims about a rigged election in his first televised interview since the election to his devout Fox News ally Maria Bartiromo, who encouraged the allegations and allowed them to go largely unchallenged.

    But Fox weekend anchor Shawn pointed out on “America’s News Headquarters” that Trump’s campaign has failed to prove any of his accusations in court.

    “In fact, your government, election officials, experts and others ― many of them Republican, including Trump appointed officials ― say that the president’s claims are false and unsubstantiated,” he told viewers.


    He invited Axios political reporter Hans Nichols to help dismantle many of Trump’s claims, including that ballots counted after the initial tallies on election night were somehow fraudulent.

    “Every swing state that we’re talking about, and they did these massive dumps of votes,” Trump said. “And all of a sudden, I went from winning by a lot to losing by a little.”

    “Well, officials say these are not illegal dumps,” Shawn said. “That’s just the counting of the many mail-in ballots that are entered into the computer system.”

    Biden overtook Trump in several battleground states where Trump initially led on election night as absentee and mail-in ballots were counted in subsequent days, a standard and legitimate procedure.

    Trump also asserted that President-elect Joe Biden couldn’t possibly have received more votes than former President Barack Obama.

    “It seems that we have a president who, he can’t wrap his brain or mind around the fact, he can’t process the fact that someone who he thinks is so inferior to him won the election,” Shawn said.

    Trump’s allies at Fox News, including Bartiromo and prime-time opinion hosts, helped him amplify false claims of election fraud. But some members of the network’s hard news division pushed back and fact-checked the unsubstantiated assertions.

    Shawn participated in a similar segment two weeks ago after Bartiromo gave airtime to Trump lawyers who peddled conspiracy theories about voter fraud.

    Leave a comment:


  • JRT
    replied
    Looks like Trump is setting up the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to knock it down hard, and thereby hobble the incoming administration. Because he can.

    Note the timing, 19 January 2020.

    Originally posted by Federal_Executive

    OMB Reportedly Designates 88% of Its Employees for Schedule F

    One former official said the decision will make it harder, not easier, for presidents of both parties to implement their policy agendas in the future.


    by Erich Wagner
    23 November 2020

    The leadership of the Office of Management and Budget reportedly plans to reclassify the vast majority of its workforce into a new employment category, removing job protections and effectively making them at-will employees.

    Last month, President Trump signed an executive order creating a new Schedule F within the excepted service for employees “in confidential, policy-determining, policy-making and policy-advocating positions” and instructing agencies to identify and transfer competitive service employees that meet that description into the new job classification, an initiative that could strip hundreds of thousands of federal workers of their civil service protections.

    The order has been widely derided by stakeholders and experts as an effort to politicize the civil service that would allow the president to purge agencies of employees viewed as disloyal and to instill partisans throughout the federal government. Agencies’ preliminary reviews of their workforces to determine who should be moved into Schedule F are due to the Office of Personnel Management by Jan. 19.

    On Saturday, Real Clear Politics reported that OMB Director Russell Vought has determined that 88% of the agency’s workforce, or 425 employees, should be converted to Schedule F, according to an internal memo.

    An OMB spokesperson confirmed to Government Executive that Vought has submitted the agency’s preliminary review to OPM and is awaiting approval to move forward with implementation, although they declined to provide a copy of the memo.

    Vought told Real Clear Politics that the decision will improve federal workers’ “accountability.”

    “Under President Trump’s leadership, we are committed to full accountability of policy-making officials, as Congress intended, and implementing merit principles,” he told the news outlet. “This is another step to make Washington accountable to the American people.”

    But Robert Shea, a former associate director at OMB during the George W. Bush administration and a national managing principal for public policy at Grant Thornton, said if anything, the opposite is true.

    “I think it erodes a lot of the trust that one should have in the advice that OMB’s spectacular workforce provides,” Shea said. “You know, the OMB staff are charged with doing the analysis, and making recommendations, to the most effective way to implement the president’s policies that are sometimes unpopular. Those folks often have to tell you, ‘You can’t do something you want to do,’ or, ‘The way to get something done that you want to do is harder than you might want it to be.’ If those employees fear retribution for providing tough love analysis, they’re likely to give a second thought before providing it.”

    If the Trump administration chooses to fire even a portion of the 425 employees slated to lose their civil service protections, the damage to the ability of presidents of both parties to implement their policy agendas could be vast, Shea said.

    “Education, national security, housing and public health, these folks have been helping to oversee the administration of these organizations and development of policy in these important areas, and if they are somehow removed . . . you would certainly lose that institutional expertise,” he said. “I think you’ll see an acceleration in the proposal of policies likely to be ineffective. Policies will be proposed that are likely to be met with not only resistance among stakeholders in Congress, but also in the courts. They will be inconsistent with current law and therefore challenged in the courts, and that will put inordinate delays in the implementation of a president’s policies.”

    A wide array of federal employee groups, good government experts and other stakeholders continued their plea for Congress to step in and block the executive order from being implemented. A coalition of groups, including the Partnership for Public Service, the Volcker Alliance, the Senior Executives Association and the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, sent lawmakers a letter last week urging them to include language in their next appropriations package to nullify the executive order.

    “Our nonpartisan civil service has served as a model for other countries for more than a century,” they wrote. “Since the passage of the Pendleton Act of 1883, civil servants have been hired based on their qualifications, and have been protected from removal based on political affiliation. These protections do not exist for the sake of the civil servants themselves, but rather to ensure the government delivers services insulated from undue political influence.”

    The executive order has been particularly harmful in light of the presidential transition, the groups wrote. Trump and his lieutenants could remove employees responsible for key government services just ahead of President-elect Biden’s inauguration, or they could hire a cadre of unqualified partisans to sabotage the new president’s administration.

    “The need for Congress to act is urgent, especially as we are in the midst of a transition,” they wrote. “Failing to act will set a dangerous precedent, signaling congressional indifference to a substantial expansion of executive power . . . If Congress remains silent, it indicates acceptance of not just this [executive order], but of future administrative actions to dismantle the legislative framework supporting a nonpartisan civil service.”

    .
    Originally posted by Federal_Executive

    Executive Order Would Politicize Civil Service

    President Trump signs directive that would potentially pull thousands of federal employees in "policy-making" positions out of the competitive service, making them at-will employees.


    by Erich Wagner
    22 October 2020

    President Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order creating a new classification of “policy-making” federal employees that could strip swaths of the federal workforce of civil service protections just before the next president is sworn into office.

    The order would create a new Schedule F within the excepted service of the federal government, to be composed of “employees in confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating positions,” and instructs agency heads to determine which current employees fit this definition and move them—whether they are members of the competitive service or other schedules within the excepted service—into this new classification. Federal regulations stating that employees hired into the competitive service retain that status even if their position is moved to the excepted service will not apply to Schedule F transfers.

    Positions in the new Schedule F would effectively constitute at-will employment, without any of the protections against adverse personnel actions that most federal workers currently enjoy, although individual agencies are tasked with establishing “rules to prohibit the same personnel practices prohibited” by Title 5 of the U.S. Code. The order also instructs the Federal Labor Relations Authority to examine whether Schedule F employees should be removed from their bargaining units, a move that would bar them from being represented by federal employee unions.

    “Except as required by statute, the civil service rules and regulations shall not apply to removals from positions listed in Schedules A, C, D, E, or F, or from positions excepted from the competitive service by statute,” the order states.

    The order sets a swift timetable for implementation: Agencies have 90 days to conduct a “preliminary” review of their workforces to determine who should be moved into the new employee classification—a deadline that coincides with Jan. 19, the day before the next presidential inauguration.

    The White House argued that the executive order is a necessary reform to ensure that federal officials can more efficiently remove “poor performers.”

    “Effective performance management of employees in confidential, policy-determining, policy-making or policy-advocating positions is of the utmost importance,” the order states. “Unfortunately, the government’s current performance management is inadequate, as recognized by federal workers themselves. For instance, the 2016 Merit Principles Survey reveals that less than a quarter of federal employees believe their agency addresses poor performers effectively.”

    But federal employee groups and government observers described the executive order as a “stunning” attempt to politicize the civil service and undermine more than a century of laws aimed at preventing corruption and cronyism in the federal government.

    “The [1883] Pendleton Act is clearly in the sights of this executive order,” said Donald Kettl, the Sid Richardson professor at the University of Texas at Austin’s Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. “It wants to undo what the Pendleton Act and subsequent civil service laws tried to accomplish, which was to create a career civil service with expertise that is both accountable to elected officials but also a repository of expertise in government. The argument here is that anyone involved in policymaking can be swept into this new classification, and once they’re in they’re subject to political review and dismissal for any reason.”

    American Federation of Government Employees National President Everett Kelley said in a statement on Thursday that the executive order is “the most profound undermining of the civil service system in our lifetimes.”

    “This executive order strips due process rights and protections from perhaps hundreds of thousands of federal employees and will enable political appointees and other officials to hire and fire these workers at will,” Kelley said. “Through this order, President Trump has declared war on the professional civil service by giving himself the authority to fill the government with his political cronies who will pledge their unwavering loyalty to him—not to America.”

    Kettl said that the order could be far reaching in scope. Not only would high profile employees who publicly disagree with a president be targeted for removal, but lower level employees tasked with collecting the data and evidence underlying much of what the federal government does could be affected.

    “If you think about examples of how this could play out, Dr. [Anthony] Fauci could be fired, as well as individuals at the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] who are producing analysis about the spread of the coronavirus, social distancing and the importance of masks,” Kettl said. “You could have people within the State Department raising questions about the administration’s expansion of efforts to engage in crackdowns and change other policies who could be fired. The people counting the number of immigrant children who cannot be reunited with their parents could be fired. There’s no end to it because the biggest risk is that anyone who says anything that would be in opposition to the administration’s policy could be viewed as in a policy-making position, put in Schedule F and fired.”

    Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., who serves as chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee's subcommittee on government operations, blasted the administration's efforts to remove workers' civil service protections.
    “This executive order is yet another attack on federal employees that addresses absolutely none of the issues that can hinder effective federal recruitment and hiring," Connolly said. "It’s a cheap ploy to let the Trump administration replace talent and acumen with fealty and self-dealing.”

    .
    Originally posted by Trump_White_House_Executive_Orders

    Executive Order on Creating Schedule F In The Excepted Service

    Issued on: October 21, 2020

    By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including sections 3301, 3302, and 7511 of title 5, United States Code, it is hereby ordered as follows:

    Section 1. Policy. To effectively carry out the broad array of activities assigned to the executive branch under law, the President and his appointees must rely on men and women in the Federal service employed in positions of a confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating character. Faithful execution of the law requires that the President have appropriate management oversight regarding this select cadre of professionals.

    The Federal Government benefits from career professionals in positions that are not normally subject to change as a result of a Presidential transition but who discharge significant duties and exercise significant discretion in formulating and implementing executive branch policy and programs under the laws of the United States. The heads of executive departments and agencies (agencies) and the American people also entrust these career professionals with non‑public information that must be kept confidential.

    With the exception of attorneys in the Federal service who are appointed pursuant to Schedule A of the excepted service and members of the Senior Executive Service, appointments to these positions are generally made through the competitive service. Given the importance of the functions they discharge, employees in such positions must display appropriate temperament, acumen, impartiality, and sound judgment.

    Due to these requirements, agencies should have a greater degree of appointment flexibility with respect to these employees than is afforded by the existing competitive service process.

    Further, effective performance management of employees in confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating positions is of the utmost importance. Unfortunately, the Government’s current performance management is inadequate, as recognized by Federal workers themselves. For instance, the 2016 Merit Principles Survey reveals that less than a quarter of Federal employees believe their agency addresses poor performers effectively.

    Separating employees who cannot or will not meet required performance standards is important, and it is particularly important with regard to employees in confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating positions. High performance by such employees can meaningfully enhance agency operations, while poor performance can significantly hinder them. Senior agency officials report that poor performance by career employees in policy-relevant positions has resulted in long delays and substandard-quality work for important agency projects, such as drafting and issuing regulations.

    Pursuant to my authority under section 3302(1) of title 5, United States Code, I find that conditions of good administration make necessary an exception to the competitive hiring rules and examinations for career positions in the Federal service of a confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating character. These conditions include the need to provide agency heads with additional flexibility to assess prospective appointees without the limitations imposed by competitive service selection procedures. Placing these positions in the excepted service will mitigate undue limitations on their selection. This action will also give agencies greater ability and discretion to assess critical qualities in applicants to fill these positions, such as work ethic, judgment, and ability to meet the particular needs of the agency. These are all qualities individuals should have before wielding the authority inherent in their prospective positions, and agencies should be able to assess candidates without proceeding through complicated and elaborate competitive service processes or rating procedures that do not necessarily reflect their particular needs.

    Conditions of good administration similarly make necessary excepting such positions from the adverse action procedures set forth in chapter 75 of title 5, United States Code. Chapter 75 of title 5, United States Code, requires agencies to comply with extensive procedures before taking adverse action against an employee. These requirements can make removing poorly performing employees difficult. Only a quarter of Federal supervisors are confident that they could remove a poor performer. Career employees in confidential, policy-determining, policy‑making, and policy-advocating positions wield significant influence over Government operations and effectiveness. Agencies need the flexibility to expeditiously remove poorly performing employees from these positions without facing extensive delays or litigation.

    Sec. 2. Definition. The phrase “normally subject to change as a result of a Presidential transition” refers to positions whose occupants are, as a matter of practice, expected to resign upon a Presidential transition and includes all positions whose appointment requires the assent of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel.

    Sec. 3. Excepted Service. Appointments of individuals to positions of a confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating character that are not normally subject to change as a result of a Presidential transition shall be made under Schedule F of the excepted service, as established by section 4 of this order.

    Sec. 4. Schedule F of the Excepted Service. (a) Civil Service Rule VI is amended as follows:

    (i) 5 CFR 6.2 is amended to read:
    “OPM shall list positions that it excepts from the competitive service in Schedules A, B, C, D, E, and F, which schedules shall constitute parts of this rule, as follows:

    Schedule A. Positions other than those of a confidential or policy-determining character for which it is not practicable to examine shall be listed in Schedule A.

    Schedule B. Positions other than those of a confidential or policy-determining character for which it is not practicable to hold a competitive examination shall be listed in Schedule B. Appointments to these positions shall be subject to such noncompetitive examination as may be prescribed by OPM.

    Schedule C. Positions of a confidential or policy-determining character normally subject to change as a result of a Presidential transition shall be listed in Schedule C.

    Schedule D. Positions other than those of a confidential or policy-determining character for which the competitive service requirements make impracticable the adequate recruitment of sufficient numbers of students attending qualifying educational institutions or individuals who have recently completed qualifying educational programs. These positions, which are temporarily placed in the excepted service to enable more effective recruitment from all segments of society by using means of recruiting and assessing candidates that diverge from the rules generally applicable to the competitive service, shall be listed in Schedule D.

    Schedule E. Position of administrative law judge appointed under 5 U.S.C. 3105. Conditions of good administration warrant that the position of administrative law judge be placed in the excepted service and that appointment to this position not be subject to the requirements of 5 CFR, part 302, including examination and rating requirements, though each agency shall follow the principle of veteran preference as far as administratively feasible.

    Schedule F. Positions of a confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating character not normally subject to change as a result of a Presidential transition shall be listed in Schedule F. In appointing an individual to a position in Schedule F, each agency shall follow the principle of veteran preference as far as administratively feasible.”

    (ii) 5 CFR 6.4 is amended to read:
    “Except as required by statute, the Civil Service Rules and Regulations shall not apply to removals from positions listed in Schedules A, C, D, E, or F, or from positions excepted from the competitive service by statute. The Civil Service Rules and Regulations shall apply to removals from positions listed in Schedule B of persons who have competitive status.”

    (b) The Director of the Office of Personnel Management (Director) shall:

    (i) adopt such regulations as the Director determines may be necessary to implement this order, including, as appropriate, amendments to or rescissions of regulations that are inconsistent with, or that would impede the implementation of, this order, giving particular attention to 5 CFR, part 212, subpart D; 5 CFR, part 213, subparts A and C; and 5 CFR 302.101; and

    (ii) provide guidance on conducting a swift, orderly transition from existing appointment processes to the Schedule F process established by this order.

    Sec. 5. Agency Actions. (a) Each head of an executive agency (as defined in section 105 of title 5, United States Code, but excluding the Government Accountability Office) shall conduct, within 90 days of the date of this order, a preliminary review of agency positions covered by subchapter II of chapter 75 of title 5, United States Code, and shall conduct a complete review of such positions within 210 days of the date of this order. Thereafter, each agency head shall conduct a review of agency positions covered by subchapter II of chapter 75 of title 5, United States Code, on at least an annual basis. Following such reviews each agency head shall:

    (i) for positions not excepted from the competitive service by statute, petition the Director to place in Schedule F any such competitive service, Schedule A, Schedule B, or Schedule D positions within the agency that the agency head determines to be of a confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating character and that are not normally subject to change as a result of a Presidential transition. Any such petition shall include a written explanation documenting the basis for the agency head’s determination that such position should be placed in Schedule F; and

    (ii) for positions excepted from the competitive service by statute, determine which such positions are of a confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating character and are not normally subject to change as a result of a Presidential transition. The agency head shall publish this determination in the Federal Register. Such positions shall be considered Schedule F positions for the purposes of agency actions under sections 5(d) and 6 of this order.

    (b) The requirements set forth in subsection (a) of this section shall apply to currently existing positions and newly created positions.

    (c) When conducting the review required by subsection (a) of this section, each agency head should give particular consideration to the appropriateness of either petitioning the Director to place in Schedule F or including in the determination published in the Federal Register, as applicable, positions whose duties include the following:

    (i) substantive participation in the advocacy for or development or formulation of policy, especially:

    (A) substantive participation in the development or drafting of regulations and guidance; or

    (B) substantive policy-related work in an agency or agency component that primarily focuses on policy;

    (ii) the supervision of attorneys;

    (iii) substantial discretion to determine the manner in which the agency exercises functions committed to the agency by law;

    (iv) viewing, circulating, or otherwise working with proposed regulations, guidance, executive orders, or other non-public policy proposals or deliberations generally covered by deliberative process privilege and either:

    (A) directly reporting to or regularly working with an individual appointed by either the President or an agency head who is paid at a rate not less than that earned by employees at Grade 13 of the General Schedule; or

    (B) working in the agency or agency component executive secretariat (or equivalent); or

    (v) conducting, on the agency’s behalf, collective bargaining negotiations under chapter 71 of title 5, United States Code.

    (d) The Director shall promptly determine whether to grant any petition under subsection (a) of this section. Not later than December 31 of each year, the Director shall report to the President, through the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, concerning the number of petitions granted and denied for that year for each agency.

    (e) Each agency head shall, as necessary and appropriate, expeditiously petition the Federal Labor Relations Authority to determine whether any Schedule F position must be excluded from a collective bargaining unit under section 7112(b) of title 5, United States Code, paying particular attention to the question of whether incumbents in such positions are required or authorized to formulate, determine, or influence the policies of the agency.

    Sec. 6. Prohibited Personnel Practices Prohibited. Agencies shall establish rules to prohibit the same personnel practices prohibited by section 2302(b) of title 5, United States Code, with respect to any employee or applicant for employment in Schedule F of the excepted service.

    Sec. 7. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

    (i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

    (ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

    (b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

    (c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

    (d) If any provision of this order, or the application of any provision to any person or circumstances, is held to be invalid, the remainder of this order and the application of any of its other provisions to any other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.

    (e) Nothing in this order shall be construed to limit or narrow the positions that are or may be listed in Schedule C.

    DONALD J. TRUMP

    THE WHITE HOUSE,
    October 21, 2020.

    .
    POTUS-45 Donald J. Trump is still hustling his hats at the White House Gift Shop, now at a discounted sale price:

    ...
    Last edited by JRT; 30 Nov 20,, 04:11.

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  • tbm3fan
    replied
    Originally posted by JRT View Post
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    Sure looks like Fox is now the propaganda arm of Trump, Inc. not that there was any doubt. Josef Goebbels would be proud of them and that journalist using the principles of propaganda he pioneered. Fortunately a slight majority of Americans haven't fallen for it.

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  • JRT
    replied
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    Originally posted by CNN

    Fox News' Maria Bartiromo gave Trump his first TV interview since the election. It was filled with lies.

    by Alexis Benveniste
    Sunday, 29 November 2020

    (New York)President Donald Trump on Sunday spoke with Fox News anchor Maria Bartiromo -- his first TV interview since the election. The conversation was riddled with lies and conspiracy theories.

    Bartiromo opened the interview with a question about election fraud, telling Trump, "The facts are on your side." Trump responded, falsey saying, "This election was a fraud; it was a rigged election." The Fox anchor then reflected the president's anger, saying, "This is disgusting and we cannot allow America's election to be corrupted."

    The interview highlighted that Trump is "unable or unwilling to accept reality," CNN's Chief Media Correspondent Brian Stelter said on "Reliable Sources" Sunday.


    Trump spewed misinformation throughout the conversation.

    False allegations of voting issues
    "We had glitches where they moved thousands of votes from my account to Biden's account," Trump falsely told Bartiromo as he continued to bash mail-in voting and incorrectly claimed "dead people were applying to get a ballot."

    In addition to Trump's unwillingness to acknowledge Joe Biden won the election, Bartiromo's unchallenged acceptance of Trump's false narrative also presents a danger to American democracy, said CNN's Senior Media Reporter Oliver Darcy on "Reliable Sources."

    "News organizations — and I think Fox claims to be one — have a responsibility," Darcy said. "The president of the United States is trying to overturn the election. ...Frankly, there is not much daylight between Maria and [Infowars conspiracy theorist] Alex Jones."

    Bartiromo's journalism career goes back more than 25 years. She created a name for herself when she launched CNBC's morning show "Squawk Box" and anchored "The Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo" and "On the Money with Maria Bartiromo." In 1995, she made history as the first reporter to broadcast live from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

    But much of the media world has shifted its perspective on her after she went to Fox News.

    "Maria Bartiromo, once a feared and acclaimed journalist, best known for working the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, forcing CEOs to tell the truth, now sits behind a desk and invites the president to lie and lie and lie," Stelter said.

    Trump's disinformation campaign about the election is less a cohesive strategy and more about throwing spaghetti at the wall in the hope that something sticks, said Jonathan Rauch, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution said,

    "What he's running right now is a classic Russian-style disinformation campaign," Rauch said.

    He added that Trump's intention is to "flood the zone" and "confuse people" by pushing out conspiracy theories, lies and half-truths.

    The fact that his conspiracy theories have gained so much traction shows that Trump's strategy has been effective at gaining support from Republicans -- if not for overturning the election result. When it comes to Trump's skills in this area, Rauch said, "I think he's better than Putin."


    Rauch added that President-elect Joe Biden has done a good job of "not rising to the bait of every single conspiracy that's thrown out there."


    'I came up with vaccines'
    Nearly an hour into the interview, Trump finally discussed the coronavirus pandemic that continues to spiral out of control.

    Although America continues to hit new records for coronavirus infections, Trump claimed that the United States is more in control of the pandemic than other nations, a fact belied by America's higher infection rate than many countries.

    "We're doing better than the rest of the world," Trump told Bartiromo, speaking about the way the coronavirus has been handled in the United States.

    As of Sunday, there are more than 13 million Covid-19 cases in the United States and more than 266,000 people in the United States have died from Covid-19 complications.

    Trump also took credit for drug companies' vaccine trials, which have resulted in far-better-than-expected efficacy rates. The Trump administration's "Operation Warp Speed" funded some pharmaceutical companies' research, development and eventual distribution of the vaccine, but some companies with successful vaccine trials -- such as Pfizer (PFE) -- did not participate in the administration's program.

    "I came up with vaccines that people didn't think we'd have for five years," Trump said. In fact, pharmaceutical companies -- including Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Novavax -- created the vaccines.

    Sunday's interview came after a long streak of silence for Trump. People who work closely with the president have avoided answering questions about the election, avoiding questions about the president's efforts to overturn the election.

    .
    Last edited by JRT; 29 Nov 20,, 22:20.

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  • Julie
    replied
    I plan on early voting in Georgia as I'm sure others will as well.

    Leave a comment:


  • JRT
    replied
    Originally posted by USNews

    Air Force Accused of Influencing Georgia Runoff Election in Favor of Republicans

    by Paul D. Shinkman, Senior Writer, National Security 
    25 November 2020

    The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee is accusing the civilian political appointee who oversees the Air Force of attempting to influence the hotly contested Senate runoff election in Georgia, saying the timing of an announcement to station new, sophisticated aircraft at a base in Savannah "inherently politicizes" the process.

    "The timing and decision to include Savannah, Georgia, in the announcement, when Georgia is focused on Senate runoff elections, raises questions about the secretary's motives," Rep. Adam Smith said in a statement late Tuesday. "The Air Force did not need to make this decision now – plain and simple – and should delay moving forward with these basing actions."

    The Democrat from Washington state was concerned about the Air Force's announcement earlier in the day of preferred locations for a new fleet of C-130J Super Hercules, the newest version of the storied cargo planes. He said the process for determining where the planes will be based is still under review and that Congress may nullify the Air Force's announcement in its upcoming military funding bill. Smith also seemed unaware that the service was considering adding a fourth installation for the C-130s that would accommodate its plans for the Georgia Air National Guard Base and the 165th Airlift Wing there.

    "I am disappointed that the Air Force rushed today's announcement, a decision that could mar the service's historically repeatable, transparent, and deliberate strategic basing process, which until now has helped insulate basing decisions from political influence," Smith said. "If the Air Force plods ahead, the service runs the risk of undermining the strategic basing process and may force Congress to take action to protect the basing process from being used to potentially influence congressional action or election outcomes."

    A spokeswoman for the air service and for Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett declined to respond to questions about Smith's concerns regarding the timing of the announcement but said the base in Savannah had been added to three other installations set to receive the C-130s because Congress has hinted at buying more of the aircraft in the future.

    "Naming the preferred alternatives now allows us to move forward with the environmental impact process without delay, enabling the timely beddown of these C-130Js," Ann Stefanek said in an emailed statement.

    At least one of the Republican politicians involved in January's runoff election almost immediately claimed credit for the announcement as a part of his service to his home state.

    "This is extremely exciting news for Savannah's airmen and the entire coastal community," Sen. David Perdue, who faces Democrat Jon Ossoff in the runoff election on Jan. 5, said in a statement. "As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and proud senator for Georgia, I continue to focus on making sure our women and men in uniform always have the tools they need to carry out their missions, and that our state is at the forefront of that effort."

    The statement from his office also included statements from Maj. Gen. Thomas Carden, adjutant general of the Georgia National Guard, touting "the unwavering support and leadership from Sen. David Perdue" who added that the new plans "put us in a position to take on this new equipment and make our country safer," as well as from the executive director of the Coastal Georgia Military Affairs Coalition, retired Col. Pete Hoffman, who said the decision "was driven in large part by Sen. Perdue."

    Hoffman also extended his thanks to Sen. Kelly Loeffler, another Republican who faces a tough runoff race against Democrat Raphael Warnock.

    Only 24 of the aircraft are currently ready to deploy, so the Air Force currently plans to send eight C-130Js to each of the three bases previously approved to receive them in Kentucky, Texas and West Virginia, pending the outcome of standard "environmental assessments."

    "Georgia will receive new aircraft if they become available in the future," the Air Force said in a public statement on Wednesday.

    Paul D. Shinkman, Senior Writer, National Security

    .

    ...


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  • JRT
    replied
    Where is the metal foil lined red hat and white bed sheet outer garment ???

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    Last edited by JRT; 29 Nov 20,, 01:17.

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