Icahn to Pruitt to Porter to Daniels et al. to Cohen to Trump, and Beyond

Summarizing this Rachel Maddow segment would be too time consuming, so please watch the video. You can skip the first three minutes if you are short on time.

Before you lift your jaw off the floor, here’s a juicy bit Maddow left out. Samantha Dravis, the woman on the payroll who couldn’t be bothered to come to work, is a former girlfriend of Rob Porter.

Josh Marshall writes,

InsideEPA, an EPA trade sheet, reports that Scott Pruitt’s downfall is the work of disgraced former White House aide Rob Porter, who leaked damaging information about Pruitt to retaliate against a former girlfriend who told White House officials about Porter’s history of domestic violence.

As was basically reported at the time, Porter’s downfall seems to have started when a former girlfriend, Samantha Dravis, went to White House officials and told them what she knew about Porter’s past, particularly his abuse of two ex-wives. Dravis was a top aide to Scott Pruitt, the EPA Administrator. …

… Dravis’s resignation was announced earlier today.

There’s also a lot of new reporting about Michael Cohen’s business deals and how they might be interesting to Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Investigators were particularly interested in interactions involving Michael D. Cohen, Trump’s longtime personal attorney and a former Trump Organization employee. Among other things, Cohen was involved in business deals secured or sought by the Trump Organization in Georgia, Kazakhstan and Russia.

And what about the infamous $130,000 Cohen paid Stormy Daniels that Trump says he knew nothing about? It seems unlikely that Cohen just casually shelled out that much money out of his own pocket to any woman who claimed an affair with Trump.  That money had to come from somewhere. This suddenly puts the Daniels saga into the middle of the rest of Trump’s messes, and possibly connects to the Russian investigation if any of that hush money can be traced to overseas sources.

Finally, just to get a better idea of what a freak show the Trump Administration is, see “Rex Tillerson’s $12 million army of consultants.”

It was one of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s core goals: radically reshaping the State Department to make it leaner, cheaper and modernized to the standards of a former private-sector CEO.

Now that Tillerson has been fired, the vaunted “Redesign” initiative he launched faces an uncertain future, but at least one clear legacy: around $12 million spent just for private consultants who in some cases charged the State Department more than $300 an hour.

Yep; Tillerson had hired a bunch of pricey business consultants to come in and make the State Department more “efficient.” Yet Tillerson refused to work with anyone who had any experience with the State Department and appeared to not appreciate that it wasn’t Exxon, or even Procter & Gamble.

Congressional aides and former State Department officials noted that, despite months of work, Tillerson’s redesign initiative has had few, if any, tangible accomplishments. …

…Tillerson and his top aides “had disdain for the professionals,” one former senior State Department official said. “You had years of blueprints for reform developed internally, two QDDR documents, and thousands of career officers and civil servants who crave change and reform and would’ve been thrilled to work on this effort at no added taxpayer expense.”

“Instead,” the former official added, “they chose to lavish money on contractors and consultants who knew nothing about the organization.”

If you have ever worked for a company that hired outside consultants to “streamline” things, and the consultants turned out to be a pack of clueless empty (but very expensive) suits who spent no time talking to employees and whose recommendations totally bleeped up your department because the suits had no clue what your department even did when they issued their recommendations, you’ll appreciate this.

One State staffer on the redesign team complained about the Insigniam consultants in particular, saying they showed a poor grasp of how the State Department functions and little appreciation for diplomats’ training and experience. In one meeting with State Department employees last year, the staffer recalled, the Insigniam consultants puzzled their audience with an awkward attempt at explaining the importance of context in conversations.

“They would say something like, ‘If I said to you, ‘Get me some water,’ you’d know to get a cup and go to the sink and bring me back the water, but if you said that to someone in China, they might just scoop up some water from a puddle on the ground.’ And they said this to a room full of diplomats!” the staffer said. “It was painful. We were literally objecting to the way they were talking. We were trying to educate them on what we did so that they could actually help do the job they were hired to do.”

Yep. That’s what running the government like a business looks like.