Tag Archives: Trump Administration

Loyality pledges as a term of government employment?

This is America?

This guy should be the focus of how NOT to lead a civilian government department ….

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is no longer in the Navy….

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said Monday that nearly one-third of employees at his department are not loyal to him and President Donald Trump, adding that he is working to change the department’s regulatory culture to be more business friendly.

Zinke, a former Navy SEAL, said he knew when he took over the 70,000-employee department in March that, “I got 30 percent of the crew that’s not loyal to the flag.”

In a speech to an oil industry group, Zinke compared Interior to a pirate ship that captures “a prized ship at sea and only the captain and the first mate row over” to finish the mission.

“We do have good people” at Interior, he said, “but the direction has to be clear and you’ve got to hold people accountable.”

Zinke’s comments echo complaints by some White House allies that a permanent, “deep state” in Washington has sabotaged Trump’s efforts to remake the government.

Zinke did not go that far, but he lamented a government culture that prizes analysis over action, saying: “There’s too many ways in the present process for someone who doesn’t want to get (a regulatory action) done to put it a holding pattern.”

To remedy that, Zinke said he is pursuing a major reorganization that would push much of the agency’s decision-making outside Washington and move several agencies, including the Bureau of Reclamation and Bureau of Land Management, to undetermined Western states.

The moves follow military strategy, Zinke said: “Push your generals where the fight is.”….

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An argument against Trump JUST playing to his base….

Social scientists have long been familiar with the important concept of the reference group — a group individuals use as the standard against which to compare their own behavior and self-perceptions, whether a part of that group or not.

President Donald Trump has, in recent months, given evidence that his reference group is shifting to the minority of the U.S. population he characterizes as his “base.” In a series of tweets in August, he opined, “Hard to believe that with 24/7 #Fake News … the Trump base is getting stronger!” and, “… Supreme Court pick, economic enthusiasm, deregulation & so much more have driven the Trump base even closer together,” and, “The Trump base is far bigger & stronger than ever before …”

A selective focus on only a portion of the population as one’s reference group is an attractive and tempting alternative for any politician. It reduces the cognitive dissonance that accompanies attempting to deal with the fact that the entire population is more negative than positive (Trump’s current overall job approval rating is 37%), and it produces a stream of positive feedback from that base (as was the case in President Trump’s recent speeches in Phoenix and Springfield, Missouri).

At the same time, a selective choice of a relatively narrow reference group for a president has significant implications. The main consequence stems from the finding that the public, taken as a whole, wants less partisanship, less polarization, and is ultimately not in favor of a strict position of sticking to principles at the cost of getting things done.

Keep in mind that government and the way it operates today is, in the public’s mind, one of the most important problems facing the nation. Although this concern has multiple causes, a good deal of it comes from the belief that government — mainly Congress — is too focused on infighting, bickering, adherence to intransigent partisan allegiances, enslavement to special interests and those with money, and a general lack of willingness to compromise in order to get things done for the public good.

In this sense, Trump’s explicit announcement of the use of his base as the reference group governing his behavior (rather than using the nation as a whole) runs the danger of exacerbating, rather than ameliorating, the public’s concerns…..

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Mueller moves to begin questioning Trump’s White House Staff….

This WAS coming…

We KNOW…

But the announcement is sobering….

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And HAS to have Trump worried and distracted about what people will tell investigators about the Trump Administration beginnings when Trump and others thought they could do WHATEVER they wanted and Donald Trump was openly seeking to stop a probe of his actions…

The Mueller people have specific things they want to inquire about …..

Hmmmmm?

In a sign that the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election will remain a continuing distraction for the White House, the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, is in talks with the West Wing about interviewing current and former senior administration officials, including the recently ousted White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, according to three people briefed on the discussions.

Mr. Mueller has asked the White House about specific meetings, who attended them and whether there are any notes, transcripts or documents about them, two of the people said. Among the matters Mr. Mueller wants to ask the officials about is President Trump’s decision in May to fire the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, the two people said.

That line of questioning will be important as Mr. Mueller continues to investigate whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice in the dismissal of Mr. Comey.

No interviews have been scheduled, but in recent weeks Mr. Mueller’s investigation has appeared to intensify. Late last month, he took the aggressive step of executing a search warrant at the Alexandria, Va., home of Paul J. Manafort, Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman. Legal experts say Mr. Mueller may be trying to put pressure on Mr. Manafort to cooperate with the investigation.

Although it has been clear for months that Mr. Mueller would interview Mr. Trump’s closest advisers, the recent inquiries come as the president is heading into the fall pushing his priorities in Congress, including a tax overhaul, with the constant distraction of a federal investigation….

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There is a Grand Jury sitting….

This IS a criminal investigation…

People have their OWN personal lawyers…

Who KNOWS who Trump would pardon…Or Not?

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Could the Courts force Republicans to pay Insurance companies their subsidies ?

Some people are thinking that Donald Trump could leverage  the Republicans in Congress by refusing to p[ay the Healthcare Insures…..

That may NOT be an option if judges around the country order the government to come thru with something President Obama put in the Affordable Healthcare Law…

The Insurance companies are owed a good amount of money….

Insurers are owed more than $8 billion in payments, and the tab is likely to grow. Insurers say spending restrictions Republicans forced on the “risk corridors” program during the Obama administration, aside from being illegal, are partly to blame for severe turbulence in some Obamacare marketplaces.

“[The Obama administration] repeatedly assured us it was there and it would be a clear obligation of the government,” said Tom Policelli, CEO of Minuteman Health, which is among the insurers suing the government over the shortfall. “Even the federal government is subject to the rules.”

The fiscal hit to the feds could be huge if the insurers win. And it would be one more embarrassing setback for Republicans, who likely saw their best shot at dismantling Obamacare slip away in the Senate’s failed repeal vote early Friday morning. President Donald Trump, meanwhile, has threatened to pull billions in funding from a separate Obamacare subsidy program he’s labeled a “bailout” for insurers.

The courts have so far split on whether the government must pay risk corridor funding since the first lawsuits were filed last year. In November, Land of Lincoln Health, a now-defunct nonprofit startup in Illinois, lost its case in the Court of Federal Claims seeking more than $70 million. But in April, Oregon-based Moda Health was awarded more than $200 million.

Both cases have been appealed and will be considered together by the same three-judge panel in Washington. Legal briefs in the combined cases are expected to be finished in September, but it’s not clear when a decision will come.

The decision could set a precedent that other judges will rely on when deciding similar lawsuits still winding through the system…..

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Could McMasters be the next to go?

Political personnel checkers at the Trump White House as Trump moves ‘loyal’  Yes people close to him….

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…twitter…

Surprising: admin sources told me they think Kelly hiring makes it more likely Trump ousts McMaster (who annoys him) replaces him w Pompeo.

image…Quartz

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Mike Pence…Run Silent…Run Deep….

Politico is out with a long piece about  America’s Vice President Mike Pence…

Pence is painted as the guy who is all but invisible to the media, but carries the water for his boss Donald Trump…..

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The piece is long on pointing to Pence being wired into Congressional Republicans and Pence serving as Trump’s chief assistant …

Of course it also pointed out that Trump does NOT like to share the spotlight with anyone also….So the Vice President says in the shadows….

In keeping with the positive smell of the piece ?

There is little pointing to the idea that Mike Pence maybe spending his time getting read to be the relief pitcher called up to serve……

From the moment last July when Trump picked Pence as his running mate, through the first five months of this administration, the vice president has been all but invisible in the parade of palace intrigue stories detailing the rivalries, alliances, backstabbing, self-promoting and stock-watching inside Trump’s reality-TV style presidency. That is no accident: Pence made clear to everyone around him when he was picked, and again at the outset of the administration, that the spotlight belongs to Trump. Leaking, speaking out of turn or doing anything that could be perceived as upstaging the president would not be tolerated. “He laid down the law,” one Pence associate recalls. “This was going to be about Trump, not him.” Unsurprisingly, the vice president declined to comment for this story.

His inconspicuousness is engineered to keep all eyes on the president. But it’s also necessary to guard against whispers that he, not Trump, is running the show—a narrative fueled both by Pence’s standing in the party and by the fact that he has been empowered like no vice president before him to establish, sell and execute the administration’s agenda. Five months into the Trump era—and less than a year since he was plucked from a thorny situation in Indiana—Pence, once an endangered small-state governor, has become the most popular Republican in the country and accumulated an astonishing amount of power. He is deeply involved with nearly every major decision coming from the White House, whether it be the withdrawal from the Paris climate accord or the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. He is the administration’s most effective and reassuring messenger, often because of his license to clarify or even correct things said by his boss. And he is widely viewed by Republicans on Capitol Hill as the de facto leader of the GOP—not just the safety parachute for a free-falling presidency, but a polished, respected statesman from whom members can take their cues.

Mike Pence has a very full and complex portfolio in his briefcase. And he has to carry it like there’s a bottle of nitroglycerin inside.”

Ken Blackwell

This outsized stature, however, also threatens the harmony between Pence and his famously fickle superior. Trump has come to trust his second in command above everyone else in the White House, people close to both men say, prizing Pence’s unwavering loyalty and discretion. And yet the vice president’s camp operates in a continual state of apprehension, having been handed massive responsibilities by a president known for his insecurities and acute sensitivity to being overshadowed. Ken Blackwell, the former Ohio secretary of state and longtime conservative activist who ran the domestic policy wing of Pence’s transition team, put it this way: “Mike Pence has a very full and complex portfolio in his briefcase. And he has to carry it like there’s a bottle of nitroglycerin inside.”….

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New National Security Advisor may push Bannon from power…

President Trump’s pick of H.R. McMaster may have unintended consequences for Trump and his buddies Stephen Bannon and Stephen Miller….

The tow are pure political guys , who have had the ear of Trump thru the campaign and for the last several weeks…..

But it appears that their influence in national security policy is being cropped as the group of generals work to establish a chain of command  to the Commander-In-Chief that does NOT go thru Bannon and Miller, as it may have under the fired Mike Flynn days….(Bush and Obama had the same NSC chain of command …Flynn changed it….McMaster seems to be putting it back)

McMaster is rumored to be looking to bring the Chair of Joint Chiefs back into the National Security Council…..

Members of Congress will supportive of cutting bannon and Miller out of the decision process in the council…..

Of course Trump gets the final say on all of this , but one would think that Trump will HAVE to go with supporting the newly hired McMaster if he doesn’t want to have to go looking for a FOURTH person to work the national security advisor job in a month…

Veterans of past administrations and members of Congress from both parties criticized the decision to put Mr. Bannon on the principals committee, saying that it risked injecting politics into national security. President George W. Bush’s senior adviser, Karl Rove, was generally kept out of sensitive national security meetings. Mr. Obama’s senior adviser, David Axelrod, attended some national security meetings but was not given formal status.

The White House said the concern about Mr. Bannon’s role was overblown. But Mr. Trump was surprised by the intensity of the blowback to the initial order, and complained that Mr. Flynn had not made him understand the significance of the changes or how they would be perceived, according to senior officials.

The principals committee, led by the national security adviser, is the central body that decides foreign policy issues that do not go to the president and frames the choices for those that do. The organization chart issued last month said that the director of national intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff would attend the committee’s meetings only “where issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed.”

While the decision to give Mr. Bannon a seat was a conscious one, Mr. Trump’s team did not intend to reduce the role of the intelligence director or Joint Chiefs chairman, officials said. In crafting their organization order, the officials said, Mr. Trump’s aides essentially cut and pasted language from Mr. Bush’s organization chart, substituting the national intelligence director for the C.I.A. director, who back then was the head of the nation’s spy agencies.

What Mr. Trump’s team did not realize, officials said, was that Mr. Obama’s organization chart made those two positions full members of the committee.

As a practical matter, Mr. Trump’s aides may not have intended a substantive change, but the political symbolism of elevating Mr. Bannon while seemingly demoting military and intelligence leaders was an immediate distraction…..

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It appears the first weeks of the Trump Admin where NOBODY knew WTF was going on is going away is some places….

Military guys aren’t comfortable with leaderless adhoc ways of running things…

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Trump voters express regret ?

Toooooo LATE now people…..

The Huffington Post talked to six Trump voters whose posts ended up on the Trump Regrets account. Many of them said they felt the president-elect had broken his promises about “draining the swamp” and prosecuting Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. Others wish he would just stop tweeting. But like Richardson, they said they still wouldn’t choose Clinton if they could go back to Election Day.

“I don’t necessarily regret my choice,” said a man named Bill, who asked that his last name be withheld to prevent more Twitter backlash. “I regret that we didn’t have better choices as a country.”

Bill showed up on the Trump Regrets account for a post asking the president-elect to stop tweeting. He has since deleted his original tweet ― he was getting tired of the ire coming his way on Twitter, which he mostly uses to post about sports.

Bill said he would like Trump to act more like President Barack Obama, who he voted against twice but considers “an extremely honorable man who served the country fantastically.”…

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Trump picks a fiscal conservative for Budget Director….

Interesting?

Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), his choice, is AGAINST HUGE budget deficit spending by the government…

This going to set him against Republican plans to pass tax cuts , yet expand spending on infrastructure and defense….

While Trump himself does NOT like to spend a lot of HIS money….

There are those in his party that ARE rubbing their hands looking forward to throwing the money limiting sequester in the garbage….

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Donald Trump is flying around the country ignoring Wash DC plans for his Admin….

Donald Trump is used to ‘doing his own thing’ …..

He has run his companies with virtually no staff….

That is about to change…..

The question is ?

Can a 70 year old businessman/enterainer adapt?

“The senior people are all focused on Cabinet appointments,” said a Republican official involved in past transitions. “I wonder how much time, attention and decision-making is being allocated to the rest of the government. … It is not a recipe for smooth governance.”

The New York-D.C. transition divide reflects Trump’s tendency to focus on personnel and, especially, personality, over policy. Experts say that bent, combined with his improvisational style and the divisions between the teams will complicate his transition to the White House, making it less likely he’ll have a cohesive roadmap for governing on Day One…..

“It is hard to get the government to do things. It’s not like you flip a switch,” she said. “Even reversing regulations, as Trump has said he wants to do, is a long process.”

Indeed, some Obama administration officials worry the Trump transition is far behind in coming up with department-by-department transition plans. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, for example, told reporters on Monday that her agency has had only one visit from one person from the transition team.

A Trump transition official disputed any divide between New York and D.C., or that the transition is falling behind, saying the senior team is “providing clear guidance for New York and D.C. every single day. … The operations are seamless and working well.”

To be sure, past transitions have also suffered from geographic divides. Barack Obama spent much of his time in Chicago ahead of his inauguration and Hillary Clinton’s close aides were also largely based in New York City. The influence of lower-level transition policy staff has always paled in comparison to those aides who have the president-elect’s ear.

“Any transition team only has the power to make recommendations, unless someone on that team ends up in the government,” says Charlie Black, a long-time GOP operative and lobbyist, who is not working for the Trump transition.

But former transition officials say Trump’s operation is unusual in the way it’s leaving so much of the policy and second-tier personnel appointments to D.C. transition team members, many of whom are volunteers with little power and no connection to Trump’s key advisers…..

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Trump also has little use or patience for the details and norms of running a LARGE enterprise like a Government….

One could assume that Trump’s cabinet could have MORE power that in almost any previous Administation due to the fact that Donald Trump is JUST focused on attention getting actions and his lack of knowledge of how government actually works?

Indeed, Mike Pence has been cleaning up behind Trump since he came on board….

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Potenial Trump Commerce pick is “the king of bankruptcy,”

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Wilbur Ross, a true Billionaire , has saved a lot of businesses…

He has also put a lot people out of a job. and sometimes in danger……..

Admirers praise Wilbur Ross as “the king of bankruptcy,” calling him a savior of failing U.S. industries.

But his critics have a different name for the 78-year-old investor said to be Donald Trump’s pick for Commerce secretary. They describe him as a “vulture,” and say his restructuring of ailing industries has sometimes come at the expense of workers’ safety — in one egregious case, contributing to the deaths of 12 miners in Sago, West Virginia.

Should Ross be nominated as Commerce secretary, some of those questionable practices are sure to be under a spotlight during his confirmation hearings, making him a complicated choice as the official in charge of promoting U.S. business abroad and defending U.S. trade laws. Also likely to get attention are his dizzying array of domestic and foreign investments and business dealings. Those include board positions on at least five major public companies and leadership in several private firms.

“He might be the second-most complicated person in the administration to vet, behind the president-elect himself,” said Norman Eisen, a Brookings Institution visiting fellow who once served as President Barack Obama’s chief ethics lawyer.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Ross has told associates he’s likely to take an administration job and that it would mean the end of his business career because he would be forced to divest himself of his investment holdings…..

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Mitt Romeny for Sec of State?

It appears Trump has asked the 2012 GOP nominee to consider the post ……

NOT Rudy Guiliani….

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Mitt Romney is said to be seriously weighing a possible job offer to become Donald Trump’s secretary of State, CNN reported.

The 2012 GOP nominee is talking about the possibility with his family members, the network reported, according to a source familiar with transition discussions.
But a decision will likely not be made until after the Thanksgiving holiday.

The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday reported the president-elect is leaning toward nominating Romney to serve as secretary of State, with Rudy Giuliani another top contender.

Trump considers Romney to be the prototypical choice for the job, according to the report….

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Michael Flynn…Trump’s new National Security advisor….

A look at the man mostly BEFORE he hitched his wagon to Donald Trump…..

Donald Trump’s national security advisor sounded very different when he was running counterinsurgency campaigns in Kabul.

Who is Michael Flynn, Donald Trump’s new national security advisor? There is no single or simple answer. The Flynn you’ve probably heard of, the one who hitched his wagon to Trump for-President, seems intent on convincing the world that he harbors a smoldering animus against Islam. He is a man whose worldview the American Conservative has described as “warped.” But there once was a Flynn who resembles the current man barely, if at all.

We can find this earlier Flynn in the papers he wrote while serving as an intelligence officer and in the relationships he formed with special operators working the tough fight in Afghanistan. Through these lenses emerges an innovator who sought to update intelligence collection and dissemination practices to comport with modern technology; an intelligence professional who emphasized building local ties with—yes—Muslim leaders to undermine the insurgent cause; and a manager who pushed hard for big changes, alienating entrenched power brokers in the intelligence community.

In 2010, Flynn was the director of intelligence for joint international forces in Afghanistan, working for top war commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal. Together, they reshaped how operators acquired information and intelligence to target enemies, emerging with a process sometimes called F3EAD, for Find, Fix, Finish, Exploit, Analyze, and Disseminate.

“They are the folks that ‘industrialized’ the targeting process of F3EAD,” said Stuart Bradin, a retired Army colonel who worked with Flynn in Afghanistan.

Flynn distilled the new ideas in a 2010 white paper, “Fixing Intelligence”, coauthored for the Center for New American Security, or CNAS. Its thrust: share more intelligence with and among with more operators at the battalion and company level, and do it much faster.

“Currently, information this basic to a coordinating a successful counterinsurgency literally is inaccessible to the people who need it most. This failure not only jeopardizes an operation, but also exposes international efforts to ridicule for their ineptitude,” Flynn wrote.

In the paper, Flynn argued that the military should rely more on open-source and data and much less on classified and expensive intel….

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image…. AP/Susan Walsh….

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Trump makes more picks for his Admin….

Sen. Jeff Sessions for Attorney General…..

President-elect Donald Trump has selected Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) to serve as his attorney general, Trump’s transition team announced Friday morning.

Sessions becomes the first person selected by Trump to a Cabinet level position in the new administration. In doing so, Trump selected one of his most loyal supporters, and a senator whose arguments about immigration predated Trump’s candidacy.

“Jeff has been a highly respected member of the U.S. Senate for 20 years,” Trump said in a statement. “He is a world-class legal mind and considered a truly great Attorney General and U.S. Attorney in the state of Alabama. Jeff is greatly admired by legal scholars and virtually everyone who knows him.”

The Alabama Republican was the first senator to endorse Trump’s White House bid. Two of his top staffers have become key players in Trump’s orbit on the campaign and the transition team….

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Rep. Pompeo (R-Kan)  for CIA Director….

President-elect Donald Trump has selected Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) to lead the CIA, a Trump transition source told The Hill on Friday morning.

Pompeo accepted the offer to replace current CIA Director John Brennan. It came moments after reports emerged that Trump tapped Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) to be his attorney general.
“I am honored and humbled to accept the President-elect’s nomination to lead the Central Intelligence Agency,” Pompeo said in a statement.

He said he had loved representing Kansas in Congress, “but ultimately the opportunity to lead the world’s finest intelligence warriors, who labor tirelessly to keep this nation and Kansas safe, is a call to service I cannot ignore.”

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Note…

For more on the Trump Transition….Here.

Politico’s guesses….Here….

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Trump picks retired Lt.Gen Michael Flynn as his National Security Advisor

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Flynn, a Democrat, was forced out of the Obama Admin’s Dfense Intel Agency an has become a super hawk against the actions of the his former boss and Hillary Clinton….

He will now oversee some the very people he reorted to in the military up to two years ago…

He has been a close advisor to Donald Trump for the past year and has looks a Russia as less of a tradion adversey than other’s in the GOP……

His views on Russia and Putin will rub some Republicans in Congress the wrong way….Flynn does not need US Senate confirmation…

President-elect Donald Trump has tapped retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, one of his top confidants, to be White House national security adviser, elevating the controversial surrogate to be the chief arbiter of virtually every major defense and foreign policy decision.

The choice of Flynn, who was known as a skilled, if combative intelligence officer during his 33-year career but was forced out as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014, signals the president-elect’s intention to wage an aggressive war on terrorism — possibly without the diplomatic and cultural sensitivities that have been the hallmark of President Barack Obama’s approach, which Flynn has repeatedly criticized.

Flynn’s appointment was confirmed to POLITICO by a source close to the Trump transition on Thursday night. In the past, Flynn, 58, has argued that “Islam is a political ideology,” one that in his view “the American Founding Fathers wanted nothing to do with.”

His hardline views — as well as laudatory statements about Russia — have made him a lightning rod, as did his strident attacks on Hillary Clinton during the campaign, including leading chants at Trump rallies of “Lock her up.”

But Flynn, a registered Democrat, heavily influenced Trump’s campaign and is now poised to shape nearly every international issue that comes before the new president, sitting atop a National Security Council staff of hundreds…..

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House GOP Rightwingnuts Warn Trump the ‘King of Debt’….

Anybody that thinks a President Trump is gonna have a easy time with Conservatives in Congress is rolling themselves….

Just like the internal goings on with the Democrats?

The Republican Civil War is alive and ain’t going away….

Donald Trump has NO Idea what he has put in House Speaker Paul Ryan’s lap….

Trump ran on spending and never explained HOW he would pay for his programs….

On Wednesday afternoon, House Republicans from the hard-line Freedom Caucus assembled for the first time since the election for the monthly “Conversations with Conservatives.” In one hour, they served up enough intra-GOP disputes to last four years.

They differed with President-elect Donald Trump on a massive infrastructure bill that isn’t funded by cuts elsewhere in the government.

They split with Senate Republicans, and potentially with Trump, on whether to repeal Obamacare in its entirety.

They warned Trump, and Ryan, that they would rebel against any attempt to increase spending before Trump takes office.

They split with the Senate GOP, and among themselves, on whether Republicans should use the “nuclear option” to abolish the filibuster.

They took positions at odds with Trump on entitlement programs and split with fellow House Republicans on returning lawmakers’ ability to fund pet projects through earmarks.

They bitterly opposed efforts by some Republicans to protect Ryan from procedural vehicles for removing him from the speakership.

And, during their hour-long Q&A with reporters in a House hearing room, they signaled a potential donnybrook with Trump over executive power.

Carved on the moderator’s lectern was an eagle and “E Pluribus Unum” seal. If Wednesday was any indication, the motto may become “E Pluribus Chaos.”…

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Conservative Republican Rightwingnut’s Congressmen NEVER really trusted Donald Trump….And apperntly STILL don’t …

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