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Donald Trump made it clear at the beginning of his campaign that he wasn’t going to follow the normal rules or tone of politics. We’re keeping track of all the ways his presidency veers from the norm in terms of policy and rhetoric.
Day 277 Oct. 23
Trump is paying his aides’ legal fees in Russia probe, report says
In an administration under investigation for allegations of collusion with Russia, >even the lawyers need lawyers. So it’s not a shock that the legal bills are starting to pile up.
Now, President Donald Trump is putting up almost half a million of his own cash to “defray the costs of legal fees” for his current and former aides, a White House source told >Axios.
The Republican National Committee has reportedly put forth around $430,000 to hire lawyers for Trump and his oldest son Don Jr., who generated his own controversy when he admitted that he met with a Russian attorney with ties to the Kremlin who promised dirt on Hillary Clinton. Instead of paying the RNC back, however, Trump will match the amount with his personal funds, according to the source
Axios wasn’t clear which Trump campaign officials would be getting some of the money, but another source told Axios that at least one prominent figure in the Russia probe won’t be getting anything from the president: former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who recently >began asking the general public for help with the “enormous expense of attorneys’ fees and other related expenses.”
— Rex Santus
Soldier’s widow wonders why Trump can’t remember her husband’s name
The latest Trump administration scandal is forcing a bizarre question on the American people: Do you believe the president or the widow of a fallen soldier?
Myeshia Johnson, the >wife of a U.S. Army sergeant who died in Niger earlier in October, went on Good Morning America on Monday to share her side of the story about a condolence call she received from the president.
Trump had previously attacked Florida Democrat >Rep. Frederica Wilson’s account of the call — that Trump forgot her husband’s name, Sgt. La David Johnson, and said her husband “knew what he was signing up for.” Wilson’s a friend of the Johnsons who listened in when Trump called Myeshia.
But Johnson told Good Morning America on Monday that what Rep. Wilson said was “>100 percent correct.”
“I heard him stumbling on trying to remember my husband’s name, and that’s what hurt me the most because if my husband is out here fighting for our country and he risked his life for our country, why can’t you remember his name?” Johnson said.
Minutes later, Trump denied Johnson’s characterization of the call on Twitter.
I had a very respectful conversation with the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, and spoke his name from beginning, without hesitation!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 23, 2017
Even before Johnson spoke out, Trump tried to discredit Wilson’s version of the encounter.
Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof). Sad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 18, 2017
Trump also claimed last week that he’d called “>virtually all” families who lost loved ones in the military while he’s been president. But the Trump administration is now reportedly >rush-shipping condolence letters to military families.
— Joshua Marcus
McCain took a jab at Trump for dodging the Vietnam draft
Without even mentioning Donald Trump’s name, veteran Arizona Sen. John McCain took another jab at the president on Sunday by slamming draft dodgers who “found a doctor that would say that they had a bone spur.”
Trump famously avoided deployment to Vietnam with >five deferments, including a 1968 doctor’s note for bone spurs on his heels. Spurs are calcifications that form on the edges of normal bone that can irritate and inflame the surrounding tissue, although they sometimes go unnoticed as well.
“One aspect of the conflict, by the way, that I will never ever countenance is that we drafted the lowest income level of America, and the highest income level found a doctor that would say that they had a bone spur,” McCain told C-SPAN3 in the latest installment of a long-running feud with Trump.
Last Monday, the Republican senator slammed “half-baked, spurious nationalism” as unpatriotic — another dig at the White House. And in early September, Trump sent a flurry of tweets slamming McCain for his “no” vote on the Obamacare repeal.
Even as a candidate, Trump belittled McCain’s military service in Vietnam. Trump said McCain is only considered a war hero because he was captured and tortured as a prisoner of war. “I like people that weren’t captured,” Trump said at the time. The president has >never apologized, according to McCain.
— Paul Vale
Day 274 Oct. 20
Trump nominees that haven’t been Senate-confirmed are working anyway
President Trump has complained the Senate’s taking too long to confirm his nominees for federal agency posts. So it seems, for some of them at least, he’s found a solution: Let them work without going through the standard congressional approval process.
Four nominees at three government agencies were found to be essentially doing the work they would be doing in the post they’re nominated for — but they haven’t been approved by the Senate yet, according to >Politico.
While Trump’s complained that Senate Democrats have been slow to approve his nominees, Democrats have said Trump’s been slow to nominate.
But Trump’s flouting of the Senate approval process could be a violation of an obscure 1998 law called the Vacancies Act, passed after President Bill Clinton tried to put a Justice Department official in a post doing work very similar to a post that required Senate approval, after the Senate had already rejected him for that post.
The nominees in question are:
- Susan Bodine, nominated for the head of enforcement position at the Environmental Protection Agency but not yet approved, who’s been acting as an adviser to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. (Bodine was a >partner at a law firm that represents polluters before her appointment to work at the EPA.)
- Michael Dourson, nominated in July to be the head of the EPA’s chemical pollution office, is also currently advising Pruitt on chemical safety. (Dourson, for the last several decades, has >advised some of the chemical companies he will be tasked with regulating as part of his role at the EPA.)
- Trump appointed Mary Waters in July to serve as the assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs at the State Department. She’s been doing the job she’s hasn’t yet gotten Senate approval for for months already, according to multiple anonymous sources that spoke to >Politico. (Waters served in President George W. Bush’s Department of Agriculture.)
- Russell Vought is Trump’s nominee for deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget. He hasn’t been approved yet, but he’s already a senior adviser to OMB chief Mick Mulvaney. A White House official even told Politico that Vought is acting as the de facto deputy director of the agency. (Vought >took heat from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders during a confirmation hearing in June for writing an op-ed claiming that Muslims “do not know God because they have rejected Jesus Christ his Son, and they stand condemned.”)
— Alex Lubben
Trump wrongly links rise in U.K. crime to “radical Islamic” terrorism
In an apparent attempt to justify his travel ban, Donald Trump >linked a rise in the U.K. crime rate to the spread of “radical Islamic terror.” But the increase has little to do with terrorism.
In an early-morning tweet on Friday, Trump said: “Just out report: “United Kingdom crime rises 13% annually amid spread of Radical Islamic terror.” Not good, we must keep America safe!”
Just out report: "United Kingdom crime rises 13% annually amid spread of Radical Islamic terror." Not good, we must keep America safe!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 20, 2017
Trump was apparently referencing a >report published by the U.K. Office for National Statistics on Thursday, which does show a 13 percent rise in crime in the U.K. for the year through the end of June. The text, however, mentions the words “terror” or “terrorist” just five times and never “Islamic terrorism.” Instead, >knife and sex crimes have mainly caused the increased rate.
The main reference to terrorism in the report said that the terror attacks in Manchester and London this past year accounted for 35 of the 664 total murders. But that’s a decrease of 2 percent compared to the previous year.
A significant increase of 59 percent did occur in the number of attempted murder offenses, which the report largely attributed to terror-related cases. But attempted murders are a minute portion of the total number of crimes in the 13 percent increase.
— David Gilbert
Source : https://news.vice.com/story/trump-is-paying-his-aides-legal-fees-in-russia-probe-report-says