This is the first installment in my opening series: The First Sixty Days. With new news breaking daily, it is difficult to keep track of each and every one of the scandals and conflicts of interest within the Trump administration. Thus, I have consolidated them into one document for reference purposes in an effort to ensure that these events are not forgotten.
Heads of Department:
- Linda McMahon– Small Business Administrator: a woman whose political experience begins and ends with two failed senate campaigns in Connecticut, and whose business experience is limited to helping run a multi-million dollar professional wrestling company, and who donated a total of seven million dollars to pro-Trump Super-PACs in the months leading up to election is now in charge of Small Business.
- Betsey DeVos– Secretary of Education: a woman with no education background whatsoever whose family has donated over eight million dollars to Republican Super-PACs, and who is in favor of deregulating and privatizing public school, and who has claimed that guns may have a place in some schools as a defense from “grizzly bears,” is in charge of deciding issues of school choice– decisions that drastically affect the opportunities of disabled students to receive equal education.
- Alexander Acosta– Nominee for Head of the Department of Labor: a man who made a deal with billionaire Jeffery Epstein in a child sexual abuse case– the same Jeffery Epstein who stood as a co-defendant with President Trump in a case where both men stood accused of rape and unlawful imprisonment of a child, until the case was suddenly and inexplicably dropped in November.
- Scott Pruitt– Head of the Environmental Protection Agency: a climate change denier who remains unconvinced of the effects of carbon dioxide on the environment is now in charge of deciding emissions regulations. The Oklahoma State Bar Association is also now considering an investigation to determine if he committed perjury during his confirmation hearing in regards to his now-confirmed use of a private email server in his capacity as Oklahoma Attorney General.
- Steven Bannon–Chief Strategist and National Security Council “Principles Committee” member: former chairman of Brietbart– an alt-right blog with no journalistic integrity–and a white nationalist with no government experience is sitting in a position generally reserved for high ranking members of the United States Armed Forces.
- Sebastian Gorka– “Deputy Assistant” and “Terror Advisor” to the President and the National Security Council: a man with a very unclear title–and therefore an unknown amount of oversight– and position who has been accused of being a member of an international Nazi organization, whose only response to the charge was to qualify that he was not a “full” member– effectively, that he had never taken the sworn oath of allegiance, although he inherited and continues to claim the title of association.
- Michael Flynn– former liaison to the Trump Campaign and former National Security Advisor: a man who had several unsanctioned conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak–a man known to United States Intelligence to be a covert operative for the Kremlin– in which he attempted to renegotiate sanctions imposed by the Obama administration in direct violation of the Logan Act, committed a felony by lying to the FBI in the process of an investigation, and then registered ex post facto as a foreign agent to Turkey– a piece of information allegedly known to the Trump campaign prior to his appointment. It should also be noted that one of the meetings between Flynn and Kislyak took place at Trump Towers, so the President’s assertion that he was not aware of the conversations, while not directly disprovable, certainly deserves a degree of suspicion.
- Ralph Shortey, former manager of the Trump Campaign in Oklahoma and an Oklahoma State Senator: arrested on charges of engaging in child prostitution and transporting a child for the purpose of prostitution, following years of work with a local YMCA youth program that is now under investigation, Shortey’s resignation from his position as a lawmaker has been demanded by the pubic, but not received.
- Paul Manafort, former Trump Campaign manager (succeeded by Steve Bannon, below): a former employee of a Russian oligarch, received ten million dollars a year in exchange for his work on behalf of the Kremlin agenda in the years 2006-2009. According to Sean Spicer, Manafort’s most significant role in the campaign was his organization of the Republican National Convention– an event at which Sergey Kislyak was present (in staunch contrast with general precedent regarding foreign diplomats and party conventions) and later had an unsanctioned conversation with then-Senator Jeff Sessions.
The Inner Circle:
- Mike Pence, Vice President: the same man who said that “mishandling classified information is a crime” in regards to the now-closed FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server has been found to have used a private email server in his role as Governor of Indiana. While he has claimed that comparisons between his use of a private server and Clinton’s are baseless because the state information he was discussing was not sensitive, the emails were found to have contained enough classified information to be ineligible for a public records request.
- Reince Priebus, White House Chief of Staff: a man who reached out to the FBI, attempting to pressure the agency into denying the existence of an investigation into any connection between the Trump Campaign and Administration and any Russian interference in the 2016 election–an investigation that was later revealed to be both legitimate and ongoing.
- Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State: the former CEO of Exxon Mobile and recipient of the Russian Order of Friendship in 2013, who broke precedent by failing to appear at the annual State Department Human Rights presentation and is now intending to bypass the upcoming NATO meeting in favor of a trip to Moscow.
- Jeff Sessions, Attorney General: a man who, in his confirmation hearing for the highest legal office in the executive branch committed perjury by his own definition, stating unequivocally he “did not have any communications with the Russians” in spite of two meetings with the aforementioned Sergey Kislyak– once in his official capacity as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and once at the Republican National Convention, a trip he billed using personal campaign funds and therefore cannot be dismissed as Senate business. (On an aside, Kislyak, who did not attend the Democratic National Convention, was only briefly seen at the RNC– long enough to talk to several Trump surrogates, but not long enough to participate in any official, sanctioned capacity.) Sessions has since recused himself officially from any Russian investigations, but that did not stop him from requesting the resignations of all remaining United States Attorneys on the same day the American Civil Liberties Union filed an ethics complaint against him for his misleading Senate testimony. Among those from whom resignations were requested was one Preet Bharara, the one United States Attorney who refused to resign and was later fired, and who, interestingly, was originally promised to be allowed to remain in his post under the Trump administration. Also of note, Bharara, prior to his dismissal, had been investigating a Russian money laundering scheme– the key witness of which mysteriously fell from the fourth floor of his apartment in Moscow days ago, prior to court hearings both in Russia and the United States.
If it seems odd that I chose not to include the President himself in this account, it is because his conflicts of interests and foreign ties are so deep as to deserve a separate evaluation, which will be forthcoming. I also intend, as another part of the First Sixty Days Recap Series to recall the executive actions and legislative intentions of the President, so stay tuned for that in the coming days. Finally, as the Gorsuch hearings continue and the House of Representatives moves forward with a vote on the American Health Care Act, look for summary posts on those proceedings in the near future as well.
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This is the ALF, signing off.