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Tag: chief of staff

More Blurry Lines: John Kelly to Attend DOJ Briefings on Controversial Informant

President Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The lines continue to get blurred in the Trump era.

White House chief of staff John Kelly plans to attend two briefings at the Justice Department on Thursday about an FBI informant who interacted with the Trump campaign in the 2016 election.

Kelly’s presence comes despite previous White House assurances that no member of the president’s team would attend the Justice Department gathering, Politico notes.

It’s unclear if the briefings will include documents or details about the informant’s work for the FBI or whether they’ll cover the intelligence community’s reluctance to share the highly classified information with members of Congress, the publication writes.

 

Top Trump Advisers Mull Departure over Lingering Feud with President

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Two top advisers to Donald Trump may soon resign from the White House amid longstanding tensions with the president. 

National Security Adviser H.R. McCaster and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly have grown increasingly frustrated with Trump and are considering leaving the administration, four senior administration officials told Reuters

But if the past is any indication, the administration officials said the tensions could blow over. 

The most recent sign of conflict arose over the weekend, when Trump criticized the three-star general for saying the special counsel investigation shows “incontrovertible” evidence that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

McCaster is considering returning to the Pentagon, officials said. 

A rift between Trump and Kelly grew over the chief of staff’s handling of the resignation of White House staff secretary Rob Porter, who was accused by two-ex wives of domestic violence. 

Turnover has plagued Trump’s administration since he became president in January 2017. 

Trump Denies Chief of Staff’s Claims That President Softened Plans for Border Wall

An existing wall at border of Mexico. Photo via Congress.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump fired back at his chief of staff, John Kelly, on Thursday morning, saying his top aide misspoke a day earlier when he told a group of lawmakers that some of the president’s tough immigration policies were “uninformed” and would never result in a wall along the entire southern border with Mexico.

In a meeting with some Democratic lawmakers, Kelly insisted Mexico will never pay for a border wall.

President Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly .

Trump responded several hours later in three strongly worded tweets, saying plans for the wall have “never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived it.”

Trump also insisted Mexico would reimburse the U.S. for the costs to build the wall.

“We need the Wall for the safety and security of our country,” Trump tweeted. “We need the Wall to help stop the massive inflow of drugs from Mexico, now rated the number one most dangerous country in the world. If there is no Wall, there is no Deal!”

It’s unclear what prompted Kelly to contradict the president’s position on a security wall, but the statements to lawmakers come on the eve of a possible federal government shutdown.

The president has indicated he’s willing to compromise with Democrats on granting permanent legal protections for so-called Dreamers in exchange for providing border security funding that would help build a wall on the Mexican border.

Without a long-term budget deal by midnight Friday, the federal government faces a possible shutdown. 

Game of Musical Chairs at Justice as Deputy Atty. Gen. Gets Sworn In

Gary Grindler/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — It’s a game of musical chairs over at the Justice Department at 950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.

Gary G. Grindler, who had been filling in as acting deputy attorney general, the number two spot, becomes chief of staff to the Attorney General, the department announced Monday.

Grindler is being replaced by James Cole, who was installed as deputy Attorney General through a recess appointment by President Obama. Cole was sworn in on Monday.

James Cole/law firm

And Grindler replaces Kevin Ohlson, who will be “resuming his career service with the department,” the Justice Department announced in a press release.

“Kevin Ohlson has been an extraordinary public servant through a long career at the department, and while I am sorry to lose him from my office, I am grateful for his tireless work leading my staff the past two years,” Attorney General Eric Holder said.

“As he has throughout his career, Gary Grindler showed remarkable leadership under difficult circumstances as Acting Deputy Attorney General over the past year, and I could not be more pleased that he has agreed to continue that service in this new role as my chief of staff.”

Grindler had served as Acting Deputy Attorney General since Feb. 5. Ohlson had served as Chief of Staff and Counselor to the Attorney General since February 2009. He had previously served as the Director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review, chief of staff to the Deputy Attorney General and Assistant U.S. Attorney, the Justice Department said.

Feds Bust D.C. Council Chief of Staff on Bribery Charges Related to Taxi Industry

Councilman Jim Graham
Councilman Jim Graham

It doesn’t sound like the guy got enough money to risk career and go to jail. But who can always understand human nature? The FBI used an informant in this case who wore a wire. After taking a $500 bribe in July, council aide Ted Loza explained why he took it: “You know I need it. That’s why I take it, you know.” Simple enough explanation.

By Del Quentin Wilber and Tim Craig
Washington Post Staff Writers
WASHINGTON — The chief of staff to D.C. Council member Jim Graham was arrested on bribery charges Thursday, accused of taking trips and $1,500 in payoffs in exchange for pushing legislation that would reward some in the taxicab industry.

Ted G. Loza, 44, was taken into custody at his home on Columbia Road NW a little before 7 a.m., just hours before federal agents descended on his office at city hall to search records and computers.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Feds Inquiring About Gov. Richardson’s Ex-Chief of Staff

This has the makings of a full-fledged scandal with plenty political repercussions.

By Martin Z. Braun and William Selway
Bloomberg

Federal prosecutors are asking if New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson’s former chief of staff told a state agency to hire a bond adviser that donated $100,000 to Richardson’s political committees, people familiar with the matter said.
A witness who testified before a federal grand jury in Albuquerque last month said he was asked if David Contarino, the former chief of staff, ordered New Mexico Finance Authority officials to hire Beverly Hills, California-based CDR Financial Products Inc. Another person familiar with the investigation said Contarino, 47, is a subject of the inquiry and that prosecutors are looking at whether he solicited contributions from firms that worked on finance authority bond deals.
Contarino “is a very effective political professional,” said Edward Romero, a former U.S. ambassador to Spain and the national finance chairman for Richardson’s 2008 presidential campaign. “He’s a hard worker.” Romero said he would be surprised if Contarino did anything improper.
For Full Story

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