House of Bad Security Clowns

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Trump Maladministration

Conservative opinion writer Kathleen Parker explains why Rob Porter was kept at his job without a security clearance. He was one of the few people working at the White House “who knew how to do anything,” Parker says.

Most likely, Rob Porter was deemed too valuable to the White House given that he, and virtually no one else, including the president and Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, understood how the legislative branch of government works. Whatever his military achievements, Kelly may be the least-qualified chief of staff in recent history, including his lackluster predecessor, Reince Priebus, who is James A. Baker III by comparison. …

… Kelly has pleaded ignorance about Porter’s alleged abusive background, saying he only recently found out about it. But it appears that Kelly was informed last fall and that White House Counsel Donald McGahn knew a year ago. The Post reported Thursday: “When McGahn informed Kelly this fall about the reason for the security clearance holdup, he agreed that Porter should remain.” …

… The shock and awe emanating from the White House about Porter aren’t so much a commentary on the man, but testament to the surreal and potentially perilous incompetence surrounding the president.

I would have left out “potentially,” but yeah.

Dozens of White House staff lack permanent security clearances. This includes Jared Kushner; officials say he is not expected to receive a security clearance in the near future.

The president’s son-in-law and close adviser has been allowed to see materials, including the President’s Daily Brief, that are among the most sensitive in government. He has been afforded that privilege even though he has only an interim clearance and is a focus in the ongoing special counsel investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to influence the election.

Get this–

Those in [White House Counsel Donald] McGahn’s office, people familiar with the matter said, feel they cannot take action on other people whose background checks have dragged on because they did not take similar steps with Kushner.

Porter and Kushner and who know who else in the White House surely had and have access to all the intelligence given to Trump, including his famously dumbed-down daily briefs that he apparently can’t read, but which have to be explained to him.

Trump, the Post reports, “has opted to rely on an oral briefing of select intelligence issues” because reading the brief — which every president has been able to do since its existence began — “is not Trump’s preferred ‘style of learning,’ according to a person with knowledge of the situation.”

Trump does not receive his verbal briefing daily, but instead “about every two to three days on average in recent months, typically around 11 a.m.” That’s when “executive time” ends and Trump has to turn off Fox News to listen to officials for a while, before he gets more screen time later in the day.

And then he can’t be bothered to listen to the explanations:

The early briefing sessions had a more freewheeling quality, according to current and former administration officials. Five or more White House aides might join Trump for the briefing, in addition to his briefer and intelligence officials.

The meetings were often dominated by whatever topic most interested the president that day. Trump would discuss the news of the day or a tweet he sent about North Korea or the border wall — or anything else on his mind, two people familiar with the briefings said.

On such days, there would only be a few minutes left — and the briefers would have barely broached the topics they came to discuss, one senior U.S. official said.

This causes one to suspect that people like Kelly, Porter and Kushner are the ones really driving anything the White House actually does. Kushner’s prior experience at being a big shot include turning the once-respected New York Observer into a combination Trump propaganda rag / shopping circular for the Upper West Side and blowing the family fortune on an overpriced white elephant on Fifth Avenue. If he ever actually succeeded at anything, I must have missed it. On top of that, he deliberately falsified security clearance forms and has extensive foreign business ties that ought to have disqualified him for a White House job by themselves.

As for John Kelly, he obviously has failed to bring order to the White House. He also is an immigration hard liner who was among those who were behind the scuttling of the Graham-Durbin budget deal at the “shithole” meeting.

Just three weeks ago, Kelly was being called “President Kelly” at the right-wing National Review. “Donald Trump runs a Twitter account. President John Kelly is running the administration,” Kevin Williamson wrote. Yes, but running it badly.

This is Trump’s latest tweet, btw.

 

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Swami  •  Feb 10, 2018 @5:25 pm

    This causes one to suspect that people like Kelly, Porter and Kushner are the ones really driving anything the White House actually does.

    Exactly! Trump is too involved with his "executive"time. Laying in bed eating McDonald's quarter pounders and watching Fox and Friends. He could care less about governing. He only wants to bask in the glory of power. He's a BBOS.

  2. aj  •  Feb 10, 2018 @6:49 pm

    The Washington Post writes that there are dozens without full security clearances working in the White House. 

    reminds me of last summer:

    http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/news/a56258/donald-trump-jr-email/
    a writhing ball of snakes pretending to be a government.

  3. bowtiejack  •  Feb 10, 2018 @8:57 pm

    "If he ever actually succeeded at anything, I must have missed it."

    Mene mene tekel upharsin.

    Which is the Steve Bannon translation for "When the cross-collateralization refinancing of  666 5th Avenue hits later this year they are f—-ed." [You don't have to know what that means, but God! don't you love the appropriateness of that 666 address?]

    The way to understand them is that Donald Trump and Jared Kushner are both entitled rich kids (undoubtedly why they get along so well together).

     

     

     

  4. Swami  •  Feb 10, 2018 @9:45 pm

    Here we go again with another public ritual of male dominance and submission. I guess Trump enjoyed publicly making Sessions his bitch so much that he's decided that it's probably gonna be so much more pleasurable having a 4 star Marine Corps general put his head down in submission and submit his resignation in a gesture of failing to properly serve his master. Trump will probably have to sneak off to the Lincoln bedroom to wax his carrot at the thought of dominating Kelly. Session was easy, Kelly will be the ultimate climax.

     

  5. Ed  •  Feb 11, 2018 @12:44 am

    "Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?" Indeed there is, sir. It is what you are getting from Robert Mueller and his team right now and will continue to get when their investigation is complete. 

  6. Doug  •  Feb 11, 2018 @11:46 am

    CNBC November 2016

    A source told NBC News that Trump asked President Barack Obama during their Thursday meeting how many White House staffers he could replace. And when the sitting president responded that Trump gets to staff just about the entire White House, the president-elect was surprised, NBC's source said.

    The Wall Street Journal reported a similar anecdote, but said that it was Trump aides who seemed "unaware" that the West Wing staff needed to be replaced after Obama's departure.

    Of course, the result was staffing the West Wing with reality show idiots like Omarosa with not a shred of government experience. Loyalists who at least looked competent in a suit and tie were promoted to positions of power which they do not understand and policy people with racist malice at least equal to the president, like Bannon & Miller were put in charge. There is no bridge of experienced people between the clowns in the West Wing with authority and the career gov't employees who know what turns the various wheels. I suspect the career people will let Trump's idiots run the ship of state aground to demonstrate what damage fools in charge can do.

  7. Doug  •  Feb 11, 2018 @12:25 pm

    OT: The USSC seems poised to strike down mandatory union dues when some of the money is used to support candidates. But the USSC has upheld the right of business to contribute to candidates. When a business can invest in candidates, isn't my money frequently being used to elect candidates who support the business position which is adverse to the consumer position? The USSC would say, perhaps that as a consumer I can shop with a merchant who isn't in politics, but when business can invest secretly in campaigns, how do I know? 

    Which brings up an idea I have for how to deal with a conservative court who will expand "free speech" in ridiculous ways for decades.

    Suppose on a legislative basis, or better yet as a FTC directive, require any business who directly or indirectly participates in politics disclose exactly who and how much on a web site for consumers and label every product they sell or include in every contract if it's a service industry, where consumers can find that information. WallMart would have to put a sticker on every widget they sell. Participating in politics would not only be transparent, it would have a cost associated which companies who do not play in politics would not have to bear.

    Re Citizens United, also decided on free speech, the FEC (elections) has control now on Internet electioneering. If the FCC (communications) issued a directive without a law along these lines, it would be binding, though it would be challenged. In the interests of fairness and free speech, so a candidate without the superPAC that a sugar daddy isn't at a severe disadvantage, any electioneering from a superPAC has to give rebuttal time of 50% of the length of the ad, with a minimum of 10 seconds. Mandatory rebuttal and mandatory transparency can be required, in some cases without legislation. Whether or not we'd prevail in court would have to be tested. But don't forget that Cheif Justice Roberts upheld Obamacare. Judges are sometimes open to silly arguments which appeal to their politics, but they aren't always deaf to extensions of the bad reasoning which might mitigate the effect of the faulty ruling.

  8. csm  •  Feb 11, 2018 @3:03 pm

    Why are they there?

    Kushner — the wealthy young dumb as a brick scion of a prominent family who plays very well the part of a smart guy.

    Kelly — a general with the same retrograde views of his boss and party, whose ability to "bring order" was catastrophically oversold.

    Porter — a serial spouse abuser who's most well known characteristic makes him perfectly suited for the company he was hired to keep.

    Whenever there is another scandalous eruption of shamelessness or idiocy, we just need to keep in mind that in organizations, tone and culture is set from the top.  And at the top of this steaming dung heap of an administration is the reality clown in chief, of whom it will always be appropriate to say, just when you think he can't go any lower…

  9. Doug  •  Feb 11, 2018 @8:33 pm
  10. grannyeagle  •  Feb 11, 2018 @9:29 pm

    If Trump spends any time in the Lincoln bedroom, he better be careful.  I've heard it is haunted.

  11. Swami  •  Feb 11, 2018 @11:30 pm

    The thought that Kelly would bring order to the White House is on a parallel with the theological question that counters the big bang theory.. How can order result from chaos without a divine structure?

  12. feckless  •  Feb 12, 2018 @1:04 pm

    How can the Russians NOT be playing these chumps like a cheap balalaika?

    We shouldn't be talking about what the tRump administration is doing, we should be watching the Putin administration, they are much more competent and likely to have more influence than Kelly et al.

  13. c u n d gulag  •  Feb 12, 2018 @1:35 pm

    Today, we await tRUMPTY-Dumbty's infrastructure "plan."

    I wonder how the the nincompoop's surrounding Dumbty explained what infrastructure is?    

    They probably took some Lego's left around the Oval Office left by Javanka's kids.

    "Mr. President, you see these tracks here?  Choo-choo trains use them.  We need a lot of new tracks.  And here's the choo-choo's engineer.  He's worried about going over a bridge, because a lot of them are rusty and about to fall down."

     

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