Ivanka Trump Gets West Wing Office, Other Perks Of An Administration Employee

I still say “nepotism.”

So Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, was given a role as senior adviser to Trump’s campaign. Now his daughter, Ivanka, is getting an office in the West Wing, security clearance, and government issued communication devices.

What’s she’s not getting is a salary, nor the ethical responsibility that comes from being a paid adviser. The hope is that she’ll adhere to those standards on her own.

Ivanka Trump’s role, according to her attorney Jamie Gorelick, will be to serve as the president’s “eyes and ears” while providing broad-ranging advice, not just limited to women’s empowerment issues. Last week, for instance, Ivanka Trump raised eyebrows when she was seated next to Angela Merkel for the German chancellor’s first official visit to Trump’s White House.

As her role in the White House grows — a role that comes with no playbook — Ivanka Trump plans to adhere to the same ethics and records retention rules that apply to government employees, Gorelick said, even though she is not technically an employee. But ethics watchdogs immediately questioned whether she is going far enough to eliminate conflicts of interest, especially because she will not be automatically subjected to certain ethics rules while serving as a de facto White House adviser.

Ivanka’s new role was cleared with White House counsel, so for now, it’s little more than an unusual arrangement.

How big of an influence she has within the administration, going forward, remains to be seen.

Ivanka Trump still owns her eponymous fashion and jewelry brand, even though she stepped down from her position at the company ahead of her father’s inauguration. She is also publishing a book, “Women Who Work,” which is due out in May.

“I will continue to offer my father my candid advice and counsel, as I have for my entire life,” Ivanka Trump said in a statement. “While there is no modern precedent for an adult child of the president, I will voluntarily follow all of the ethics rules placed on government employees.”

Keep in mind, she’s taken no oath and her role is unofficial, so she’s not bound by ethics rules. She just promises that she’ll abide by them.

And it’s more new territory for the nation.

Ivanka Trump has business interests that could potentially conflict with her new role, unofficial or not.

Under the new rules, Ivanka Trump has divested her common stock, tech investments, investment funds — and they will all appear on Kushner’s 278 financial disclosure form, required by all Cabinet nominees. Bloomberg News reported on Monday afternoon that Ivanka Trump and Kushner sold as much as $36.7 million in assets to comply with federal ethics rules, according to the Office of Government Ethics.

But when it comes to divesting from her business, however, Gorelick admitted there is no way to make it a conflict-free zone.

“The one thing I would like to be clear on: we don’t believe it eliminates conflicts in every way,” Gorelick said. “She has the conflicts that derive from the ownership of this brand. We’re trying to minimize those to the extent possible.”

She intends to distance herself from the day-to-day operations, and is putting her interest in a trust, to be operated by her brother-in-law, Josh Kushner, and sister-in-law, Nicole Meyer.

Gorelick, a former deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration, will also serve as the outside ethics adviser to the trustees. The business will also be prohibited from using her image to market the brand.

Under the trust, her attorneys said, Ivanka Trump will receive only the information she needs for disclosure requirements and to facilitate compliance with conflict of interest and impartiality rules.

Nothing with this administration is surprising to me, anymore. Appearances and ethics don’t really matter. Because she’s a Trump, we’re supposed to just accept that everything they do will be ethical and above board.

I remember some of the comments of outrage when it was discovered that Sasha and Malia Obama were being listed as “senior staff” on travel rosters for the Obamas.

This is quite a bit more ethically precarious than that.

 

 

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World’s Worst Surrogate Calls Today’s House Intel Hearing “Red Baiting”

Roger Stone.

He’s that guy who eats his own toenail clippings on a dare, then gets upset when somebody calls him gross.

Stone is the particularly noxious former Trump adviser who left Trump’s presidential campaign, after a series of inflammatory, racist comments on social media.

He’s also the wart that won’t go away, as he has been a more shameless self-promoter than anybody on Team Trump could dream to be.

And now he’s the guy who wants to clutch his pearls and play the outraged professional, after his name and some of his statements were brought up at today’s House Intel hearing into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign.

In a series of questions posed to FBI Director James Comey, Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff repeatedly referenced some of Stone’s public statements during the campaign, specifically his contact with the hacker “Guccifer 2.0,” who has claimed responsibility for hacking the Democratic National Committee last year. US intelligence officials believe Guccifer 2.0 to be a front for Russian intelligence.

This shouldn’t be a shock to Stone. He has spoke openly about his contact with the hacker known as Guccifer. He’s bragged about it, even.

I actually talked about some of Stone’s braggadocio a couple of weeks ago.

Now he’s making a loud noise because he was taken seriously.

“Chairman Schiff is engaging in the worst kind of red baiting, fear mongering, it’s the new McCarthyism, and it’s mudslinging,” Stone said on SiriusXM radio’s “The Wilkow Majority.” “Any inference that my brief and now totally public exchange with Guccifer 2, who is alleged to be a Russian asset, is A) benign in its content, and more importantly, takes place at a time after the hacking and publication of the DNC documents by WikiLeaks.”

I still can’t believe anybody is giving Stone a forum, but he continued:

“This is does not constitute collusion,” he said.

“I had no contact with Russians. This one has been manufactured by the intelligence service with an assist from Soros and Brock,” Stone added. “I’m not gonna stop fighting for Donald Trump, nor are they going to silence me. I am anxious to go to the committee. Let’s see if they can handle the truth.”

If he was an actual friend of Donald Trump’s, he would shut up now.

Trump should be really uneasy knowing this guy is heading into these hearings as his “advocate.”

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WATCH: Ted Cruz Crushes His Democrat Foes In Neil Gorsuch Confirmation Hearing

This is what we need, if we want to see men like Neil Gorsuch make it through confirmation hearings: solid endorsements from men like Senator Ted Cruz.

Notably, Senator Cruz pointed out that a decade ago, Gorsuch was confirmed for the Federal Court of Appeals and he was apparently fine with the same Democrats who are attacking him, now.

Are there different standards of competence and fitness to wear the robe, in the eyes of Democrats?

Senator Mike Lee suggested that Gorsuch would get the 60 votes needed for confirmation.

You can watch all of Senator Cruz’s opening statement below.

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Ghoulish New Abortion Provider Seeks To Make Abortions A “Spa Experience”

Planned Parenthood has competition in the race to see which can display the most callous disregard for human life.

Carafem is an abortion chain that actively seek to portray abortion as if it’s a splurge-y, comfy, spa-like experience for women.

So far, the operation is small, but seeks aggressive expansion.

In 2015, a Carafem center opened in Washington, D.C.

Another is located in Atlanta, Georgia, and earlier in March, a third opened in Augusta, Georgia.

“We want to be really out loud about what we do,” said Melissa Grant, Carafem’s vice president of health services, as she sat inside one of the clinic’s exam rooms. Then she echoed the slogan on another of Carafem’s provocative pink ads: “Abortion. Yeah, we do that.”

In recent years, abortion rights activists have embraced a mantra of openness to erase the stigma of ending pregnancies, through initiatives such as “Shout Your Abortion,” the Sea Change project, and the “1 in 3 campaign.” Abortion providers like Whole Woman’s Health, whose clinics are in five states including Texas, haveplastered the words of famous feminists on the walls of exam rooms.

Even against that backdrop, Carafem stands out. One of its ads touts medication abortions, used in the first trimester, as “the 10-week-after pill” — and even has turned that slogan into a Twitter hashtag. Another ad depicts a text exchange in which one friend casually suggests abortion to another. All the ads grab attention with that eye-popping shade of Carafem pink.

The fact that this is going on in the “Bible belt” is causing a bit of an outrage.

And with good reason.

Abortion is not a day at the spa. Women who go for a day of facials, mani-pedis, and massages don’t tend to walk out with physical and emotional scars.

Seaweed wraps don’t cause the death of a developing life.

Carafem’s promotion of abortion pills has “crossed the boundaries of honesty and decency,” said Jody Duffy, the executive director of Post Abortion Treatment and Healing, which offers women — including some former Carafem patients — Christian counseling following abortions.

Elizabeth Greenwald, the leader of a local Georgia Right to Life chapter, said Carafem deceives women “by marketing a spa-like environment to hide the ugly truth that they’re killing an innocent child.” Mike Griffin, a pastor who lobbies for the Georgia Baptist Convention, said the fact that Carafem “creates a luxurious environment” in its clinic amounts to putting “a positive spin on a wicked act.”

Carafem want this framed as a “women’s health” issue (as all abortion supporters do), but neglect to point out that the majority of abortions are performed for convenience and as birth control, not for any legitimate health concern.

Carafem launched its first clinic two years ago just outside Washington, D.C. The nonprofit sparked some controversy there, too.

When the clinic sought to promote its abortion services on public transportation this winter with the “10-week-after-pill” slogan, the D.C. Metro rejected the ad. So Carafem put the same ad on a billboard truck and had it driven around the city.

I remember that. It was outrageous then, as well.

“[W]omen are traveling further distances and incurring sizable expenses to access abortion care when they need it,” Carafem President Chris Purdy wrote in a Huffington Post op-ed last year. “… because of state-specific, restrictive laws, they may have to stay in hotels, miss days of work, and pay for childcare while being forced to adhere to a ‘mandatory waiting period.’ There has to be a better way.”

Yes. That “better way” would include taking some personal responsibility and using protection or abstaining from activities that would lead to unwanted pregnancy, in the first place.

There’s also the “better way” of adoption.

If a woman finds she can’t properly care for a child, there are so many couples out there who desperately want a child, but for whatever reason, can’t have one, themselves. They turn to adoption as an option to fill that emotional void.

There’s no way to clean this up.

Abortion is the ending of a human life, and organizations like Carafem see a way to make a profit from the irresponsible behavior and fears of women.

Trying to clean it up and make it “fun” and indulgent is absolutely sick.

And it’s also dishonest, because it covers up the very ugly truth of what abortion is, for the women and the children they destroy in the womb.

The Atlanta clinic is inside an aging office building on Peachtree Street, tucked between two Mexican restaurants. Located on the eighth floor — past a security guard, up an elevator, and past a locked entrance — Carafem’s clinic has a chic aesthetic that includes pink plush chairs in exam rooms and framed photos of smiling millennials fit for a magazine spread. Clinic staffers offer patients tea and snacks.

“We want this to be the best health experience you’ve ever had,” Grant said. “Not just the best women’s experience you’ve ever had.”

The “spa experience” costs women around $550 for those women who are within the first 90 days of their pregnancy.

Human misery has quite the price tag.

Before women leave the clinic, staffers encourage them to jot down notes about their care, either on #MyCarafemExperience cards that are shared on social media or in pamphlets passed on to future clients.

I’m sure if there are any cards that say, “My God, what have I done?” those don’t make it to Twitter.

Carafem is still a small operation, and for that, we can be thankful.

This is absolutely ghoulish, and it should never be allowed to go mainstream.

 

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Former Intelligence Officer Says He May Have Been Napolitano’s Source In British Wiretapping Claim

You know how the grapevine goes…

Somebody has some information, and they tell it to somebody. That somebody tells somebody else, who turns around and tells a few others.

The invent of the internet has made the grapevine much more extensive, but as it has always been with the grapevine, as the tale is spread, it tends to gather and collect “enhanced” details, until it finally ends up looking like something very different than when it started.

Apparently, that’s what happened with Fox News’ legal analyst, Judge Andrew Napolitano and the twisted tale of British intelligence’s culpability in wiretapping Trump Tower.

Larry Johnson, a former CIA analyst and Fox News contributor spoke with CNN’s “Reliable Sources” on Sunday and revealed that he may have served as the unwitting source for Napolitano’s tale.

He additionally says Napolitano – much like what happens with the internet – got it wrong.

Johnson said two sources told him that the British intelligence agency GHCQ had been passing information through back channels about the intelligence community’s meddling in U.S. politics, even before Thursday’s press briefing. That was when Spicer cited allegations Napolitano made — apparently fueled partially by Johnson — earlier in the week on Fox News that the GHCQ had spied on Trump.

“Now, I had known about the fact that the British through GHCQ were passing information back-channel. This was not done at the direction of Barack Obama. Let’s be clear about that. It was being done with the full knowledge of people like John Brennan and Jim Clapper,” Johnson said Sunday.

And Napolitano apparently got the information from a message board.

“I’m not saying the British GHCQ was wiretapping Trump’s Tower. … [Napolitano] shouldn’t have used the word wiretap. I call it an ‘information operation’ that’s been directed against President Trump and people like John Brennan,” Johnson said.

Napolitano reportedly directed the New York Times to call Johnson after facing skepticism regarding his U.K. wiretapping claim.

Napolitano used Johnson’s anonymous sources, so he has no idea who those sources were.

“I’m hearing it from people who are in a position to know. … I posted that on the discussion board and one of the individuals there shared that with the judge. I don’t know what his other sources are. All I know is what I know,” Johnson told CNN.

“What’s ironic is I was a Fox News analyst through 2002 to 2003. I never spoke to Judge Napolitano then and I hadn’t spoken to him until he called me on Saturday,” Johnson added.

Odd how people turn up when they want information, or at least a juicy story.

Meanwhile, Fox News still maintains they have no clue what Napolitano was talking about.

The House Intelligence Committee begin hearings on possible Russian meddling in the 2016 election on Monday. The plan is to include an investigation into any wiretapping, as well, but so far, the Trump administration has not offered any evidence.

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Letting The Wiretapping Claims Fade Away Wont Be So Easy

If President Trump wants to keep making allusions to his wiretapping claims, as he did with German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week, that’s fine, but at some point, he’s going to have to back it up with evidence.

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham is not just letting it go.

Good for him.

“We owe it to [Trump]; we owe it to the American people to find out what happened in the 2016 election,” Graham said in an interview with John Catsimatidis that aired Sunday on New York’s AM 970.

“If there was a warrant issued to surveil the Trump campaign, I want to know about it. That would be disturbing because you’d have to have probable cause to get one. If there is no surveillance of the Trump campaign by the FBI or any other group, I think the American people need to know that,” he added.

And he’s right.

There’s no disinfectant like sunlight, and if our former president was engaged in such destructive, covert activities against who, at the time, was a private citizen, then what else was he doing and getting away with? Who else was involved?

The American people have the right to know.

On the other hand, if our current president is popping up in the middle of the night to make baseless accusations, we need to know why.

Graham also went after WikiLeaks, and at Russia, for potentially attempting to influence the 2016 election.

 “WikiLeaks is a Russian front … I want Russia to pay a price. As Republicans we should be very upset that a foreign power would try to interfere in our election,” the lawmaker said.

“I want to punish the hell out of Russia for trying to interfere in our election,” he added.

How much of the results of the 2016 election were due to Russian interference is up for debate. I don’t think there’s much doubt that the dump of Democratic National Committee emails really got a lot of Bernie Sanders supporters upset with the Clinton clan.

Was it enough to get them to either stay home or vote for Trump? I don’t know that there have been any polls done on that, but I suppose it’s possible.

Regardless, we shouldn’t be getting comfortable with Russia or any other foreign power working to guide us off into a kakistocracy.

 

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I’m Pretty Sure Trump Is Going To Hire Captain America To Fix The VA

I’m serious.

On Friday, President Trump said during a press conference that he would be holding a “major meeting” all about the Department of Veterans Affairs at Mar-a-Lago that evening.

Good. The VA is in shambles and our vets need someone to step up to the plate and make things happen. That was actually one of Trump’s campaign talking points. He was going to do right by our vets.

VA Secretary David Shulkin sat next to the president, as he announced the meeting.

“So are you going to be at that meeting?” Trump asked. Shulkin shook his, no. “You heard about it, right? It’s going to be great — all about the VA.”

Heard about it?

You’re the president and he’s your VA secretary. If you’re going to have a meeting about the department he runs, maybe he needs a bit more formal arrangement than a last minute invite?

As it was, the “major meeting” did not take place, at least, not what most of us would think of as a major meeting.

Some kind of meeting did take place, however, and it could be very major.

The event never appeared on Trump’s official schedule for the day and such a meeting has not been included in future schedules.

Trump will have dinner with Ike Perlmutter, the CEO of Marvel, on Saturday, though it will be closed press, according to pool reports.

Oh, snap!

Trump announces a major meeting, then goes into a press closed meeting with Captain America’s boss?

Yeah, something big is about to go down!

Think about it: Captain America… aka… Steve Rogers, you know, he’s a captain, first of all, and he’s probably been collecting VA benefits longer than most of us have been alive.

We have seen that Trump likes putting military men in prime cabinet roles, and Cap has a great resume.

No doubt, Trump is aware of how he nearly single-handedly took out the leader of Hydra, the Red Skull, and drove the Nazi-era subgroup into the underground.

Then, years later, showing prescient leadership abilities, he assembled the Avengers to stop an extraterrestrial attack on New York.

Those aliens were illegal, too.

Ok, the Avengers seem to be on a break, now, but the captain has shown that he doesn’t mind stepping outside the box. He’s not afraid to mix things up, in order to get things done.

He’s just the kind of guy Trump appreciates!

He may be just the man to step in and shake up the status quo at the VA, so, WHOO HOO!

We can rest easy, because Trump is on top of things, and he surrounds himself with the best people.

While he’s got Perlmutter’s ear, he should see if he can score Doctor Strange to help pound out the specifics for a suitable Obamacare repeal bill.

 

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Jake Tapper: “I’ve Never Seen This Level Of Falsehood” (VIDEO)

President Trump is not letting his war on media subside, so CNN’s Jake Tapper isn’t backing down, either.

I can’t say I blame him. As I’ve stressed, repeatedly, bias or no bias, we still need a free media.

“I’ve never really seen this level of falsehood,” Tapper said on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher.”

“Just quantitatively. It’s not just, ‘If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor,’ it’s conspiracy theories based on nothing that have members of his own party distancing themselves from him.”

He’s not wrong.

Trump and those faithful to Trump have weaponized social media, with rumors, innuendo, and outright hoaxes not only spreading like wildfire, but sticking, no matter how much evidence exists to the contrary.

It is rampant, with legitimate news organizations struggling to get the truth out, over the actual “fake news” sites that thrive on the gullibility of the public.

“Politicians lie. It wasn’t invented on January 20,” Tapper said, but Trump is trying to “discredit the entire fourth estate, the entire media, we’re all fake news except for ‘Fox And Friends.’”

Tapper went on to say what bothered him the most was the attack on John McCain as not being a war hero.

Say what you will about McCain. His record as a senator is fair game. The man is awful.

His service to his country, however, is not.

McCain didn’t just serve, he suffered in a Vietnamese war prison. To have such a hedonistic, unserious man as Donald Trump disparage that is unconscionable.

“The truth of the matter is that there’s no bias when it comes to facts and there’s no bias when it comes to decency,” Tapper added. “It is empirically indecent to make fun of the disabled. You don’t have to be a Democrat or a Republican or Independent or socialist or libertarian. That is just indecent. My children know better than that.”

We can assume Trump did not have the same kind of upbringing as some of us.

Tapper went on to make the point that Trump is where he is because Democrats didn’t offer anything worthwhile with Hillary Clinton.

He also feels that some voted for Trump, not because of what he said, but in spite of what he said, because the desire to stick a thumb in the eye of liberals, as well as establishment Republicans was so great.

People are tired. They want to see Washington do something, and Trump seemed poised to shake everything up.

If you can overlook Maher’s predictable schmaltz, suggesting such ridiculousness that if half the people really want Trump, maybe the UN should step in, good points are actually made.

It’s surprising how even a hack like Maher can produce a quality discussion, with the right guests.

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The Military Nude Photo Scandal Just Got More Complicated

Last week, a military scandal erupted, when it was revealed that nude pictures of female military personnel were being spread around social media.

It just got a bit more complicated.

While the investigation began with the Marines, it has expanded to include the Navy, Air Force, Army, and Coast Guard.

It also has expanded to include gay porn websites.

There are, apparently, a number of these porn sites that feature men in uniform performing lewd acts. The Pentagon announced on Friday that a joint military task force has been formed to investigate the origins of the nude photo sharing, as well as the gay porn sites. Particularly, they want to know if the men featured are active military members or just men in military costumes, and were they consenting?

Military law doesn’t allow for such activity, and you can bet, if these are active military members, there is a price to be paid.

As for the female nudes:

Female sailors posted at more than a dozen Naval commands were targeted by online users looking for nude photos the women may have sent to significant others back home or within the military, according to a report published Tuesday evening. Sailors or those close to command personnel are the suspected culprits behind the photo-snatching. The images were then posted to various online boards where active and retired service members can share the naked photos with one another at the expense of the victims. Some of the sites even divide photos by name and where the woman is or was based.

Unbelievable.

They at least have a clue where to begin investigating.

The command locations affected by the breach include carriers Eisenhower, Truman, Roosevelt and Reagan; the destroyer Cole; Naval Base San Diego, Naval Station Norfolk, Naval Air Stations Oceana, North Island and Pensacola; the hospital ship Mercy, Walter Reed Medical Center; and the U.S. Naval Academy, according to Navy Times’ investigation.

“Marines United” was a 30,000 member page on Facebook that was featuring the pictures of the nude women. It was shut down by Facebook last Saturday, but undeterred, someone began a new page, “Marines United 2.0.” Other forms of pornography are featured, along with the pilfered photos.

The nature of the postings seems to be a bit more than just some pervy hacker type spreading nudies.

They seem to not only want to humiliate the women involved, but to also thumb their nose at military leadership.

Members have posted personal information about the women in the photos and even called on others to harass them could constitute breaking “revenge porn” laws in 30 states. In addition, Article 120c of the Uniform Code of Military Justice strongly prohibits photographing and recording “another person’s private area without the person’s consent,” and broadcasting or distributing that material.

Another report released last Tuesday found there are other pages, like AnonIB, where male members from every other branch of the military can request photos of women, even by name and where they are currently stationed.

This is probably going to get a lot bigger and more humiliating.

Until it is resolved, I hope those young women who have made the choice to serve their nation by joining the military use every measure of caution and decorum.

The same can be said for the men.

There really are some deeply sick, disrespectful people out there, so you have to be willing to take care of yourselves.

 

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