We were all thinking it, but the Daily Caller acted on it.
We were all thinking it, but the Daily Caller acted on it.
Could have been a Senator if it weren’t for that meddling kid
Zinke’s likely replacement is a “swamp creature”
Unlike many in the nation’s capital, acknowledgement seems less important to [David Bernhardt, the second-in-command at the Department of the Interior,] than behind-the-scenes power. And the latter he has. As Zinke ticked off the accomplishments of his first year—fulfilling the president’s vision for “energy dominance,” selling off public lands, and taking on the Endangered Species Act—he might as well have been naming feathers in Bernhardt’s cap. This stout, unobtrusive, middle-aged man in square glasses has been one of the most effective officials in the Trump administration, and after 14 months on the job, he appears to be within striking distance of taking over the department that oversees a fifth of the nation’s landmass.
Smart and generally well-liked by his colleagues, Bernhardt is regarded, with grudging respect from environmentalists, as the “brains behind the agency.” …
Bernhardt is the perfect No. 2 to a highly visible No. 1. Zinke is the folksy charmer; Bernhardt is the strictly-business lawyer. Zinke is the relative outsider, an opportunist, and a politician; Interior watchdogs say Bernhardt is the ultimate DC swamp creature. Zinke is relatively new to Interior; Bernhardt, who spent eight years at the department earlier in his career, knows the ins and outs of its labyrinthine bureaucracy. And while Zinke has been mired in scandals[,] Bernhardt has been largely invisible. Much like Andrew Wheeler, the technocrat who succeeded Scott Pruitt after his rocky stint atop the Environmental Protection Agency, Bernhardt could seamlessly take command[.]
Investigating Zinke — a look back
CREW has determined that Zinke has faced 17 federal investigations into alleged misconduct — though he was cleared of three of his five alleged Hatch Act violations. The Washington Post estimates “at least 15” investigations. The honors are/were being done by the Office of Special Counsel, the Interior Department’s Inspector General, the Government Accountability Office, and soon, according to today’s reports, the Justice Department. (And the Democrat-controlled House Oversight Committee is on deck in January.) Here are a few, via CREW:
The Interior Department blocked a casino project proposed by the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes after Zinke met with MGM lobbyists. Documents later revealed that by doing so, Interior had rejected recommendations from federal experts. The Inspector General has opened an investigation. …
Zinke tweeted a picture of himself wearing socks with President Trump’s Make America Great Again campaign slogan using his official Twitter account. OSC had previously instructed White House officials to avoid wearing or displaying the MAGA slogan while on duty. OSC confirmed that it had opened a case file into Zinke’s tweet. …
Following reports that the Interior Department would spend nearly $139,000 to replace three sets of doors, House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) requested a briefing from the Interior Department on plans to replace the doors, as well as documentation of the purchase. It is unclear if this inquiry is still ongoing. …
The Inspector General found that Zinke violated Interior Department policies by having his wife travel with him in government vehicles. It also found that Zinke brought campaign contributors on an official boat tour and tried to sidestep department policies in order to have his wife’s trips covered by taxpayer funding.
The end of Zinke at Interior (because ethics) — and now we’ll see if he gets indicted
Ryan Zinke, the secretary of the Interior Department and a key figure in the president’s sweeping plan to reshape the nation’s environmental framework, will leave his post at the end of the year, President Trump said on Saturday. Mr. Zinke’s departure comes amid numerous ethics investigations into his business dealings, travel and policy decisions. …
Mr. Zinke is the latest Trump official to exit an administration beset by questions of ethical conflict. … [A] former Montana congressman and member of the Navy SEALs best known for riding an Irish sport horse through Washington on his first day in office, [Zinke] oversaw mineral extraction and conservation on roughly 500 million acres of public land. He had become the subject of several federal investigations, one of which his department’s top watchdog has referred to the Justice Department, a potential step toward a criminal investigation.
The inquiries include an examination of a real estate deal involving Mr. Zinke’s family and a development group backed by the Halliburton chairman David J. Lesar. Mr. Zinke stood to benefit from the deal, while Mr. Lesar’s oil services company stood to benefit from Mr. Zinke’s decisions on fossil fuel production.
Informative thread about ruling striking down Obamacare
Texas federal judge strikes down Obamacare
U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor in Fort Worth agreed with a coalition of Republican states led by Texas that he had to eviscerate the Affordable Care Act, the signature health-care overhaul by President Barack Obama, after Congress last year zeroed out a key provision – the tax penalty for not complying with the requirement to buy insurance. The decision is almost certain to be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court.
Texas and an alliance of 19 states argued to the judge that they’ve been harmed by an increase in the number of people on state-supported insurance rolls. They claimed that when Congress repealed the tax penalty last year, it eliminated the U.S. Supreme Court’s rationale for finding the ACA constitutional in 2012.
Johnson & Johnson stock takes huge dive after report reveals that it knew it had asbestos in its baby powder
Johnson & Johnson’s (JNJ) stock tumbled 10% on Friday — wiping out close to $40 billion of its market value — after a Reuters report said the company knew for decades that asbestos was in its baby powder.
The company has been grappling with lawsuits alleging some of its talcum powder products caused cancer. But the Reuters report cites documents and other evidence that indicate company executives, mine managers, scientists, doctors and lawyers knew about the problem and failed to disclose it to regulators or the public.
Biden advisers float picking Beto as VP
The discussions suggest Biden is aware that his age may be the biggest hurdle to launching another bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, especially in an era when many in the party yearn for a new generation of leadership. He would be the oldest person to ever be elected president.
Past and current advisers to Biden have held frequent conversations about options to alleviate concerns about age, including teaming him with a younger running mate. One option that has been floated, according to a source with knowledge of the talks, is outgoing Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who at 46 has become the subject of intense 2020 speculation after nearly beating GOP Sen. Ted Cruz.
Major investigation finds a Johnson and Johnson cover-up
A Reuters examination of many of those documents, as well as deposition and trial testimony, shows that from at least 1971 to the early 2000s, the company’s raw talc and finished powders sometimes tested positive for small amounts of asbestos, and that company executives, mine managers, scientists, doctors and lawyers fretted over the problem and how to address it while failing to disclose it to regulators or the public.
The documents also depict successful efforts to influence U.S. regulators’ plans to limit asbestos in cosmetic talc products and scientific research on the health effects of talc.
A small portion of the documents have been produced at trial and cited in media reports. Many were shielded from public view by court orders that allowed J&J to turn over thousands of documents it designated as confidential. Much of their contents is reported here for the first time
Mulvaney will give up his other job to babysit Trump
Ladies and gentlemen, your new (acting) White House chief of staff
Michigan GOP to voters: Screw you
A typically strange development in the George Papadopoulos saga
Mueller: Flynn was no FBI victim
Three would-be copycats of Dylann Roof have been arrested over the past week
Dakota Reed, 20, was arrested at his mother’s home in Lake Forest Park, Washington on Friday, the county’s Daily Herald first reported. Reed, according to social media posts and YouTube videos reviewed by the Herald, is a neo-Nazi who also pledged allegiance to the Ku Klux Klan and a white supremacist separatist movement based in the Pacific Northwest. Reed posed with multiple semi-automatic rifles in those posts and made explicit threats to murder Jewish people.
At least one of the threats invoked Roof, a white supremacist who murdered nine black worshippers at a South Carolina church in 2015. Reed is the third young white person recently arrested over threats mentioning Roof. Earlier this week, FBI agents arrested a twentysomething Toledo, Ohio couple who allegedly planned a mass shooting. One of the pair, Elizabeth Lecron, allegedly sent letters and Nazi literature to Roof in prison. She is one of only four people the mass murder is known to have corresponded with while he sits on death row.
More horrible details about a horrible case
A seven-year-old Guatemalan girl who died in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection waited an hour-and-a-half before receiving emergency medical care after showing symptoms, officials said Friday.
The girl, whose name has not been released by CBP, and her father were apprehended after crossing the border illegally into New Mexico with her family and over 160 other migrants. Medical personnel are not staffed in the remote area where they were held, known as Antelope Wells, the officials said.
Before the group left Antelope Wells by bus to be transferred to a border station, her father reported that she was ill and vomiting. By the time she arrived at the border station an hour-and-a-half later, she was not breathing. She was revived twice by emergency workers and then transported by air to a hospital in El Paso, Texas, where she died of cardiac arrest with her father by her side.
A somewhat positive finding: only Trump’s most ardent supporters tend to believe his false statements
The poll finds that Americans see Trump’s rhetoric as distinctly inaccurate compared with other politicians and the mainstream media, which Trump regularly derides as “fake news.” While majorities say each regularly makes misleading statements, nearly half say Trump makes claims that are “flat-out false,” compared with less than one-third who say the same of Republicans and Democrats in Congress or of the mainstream media.
More than 6 in 10 Americans say they believe fact-checking organizations when they conclude that Trump has made a false claim. Just about half are confident in similar assertions in newspapers and on cable news.
Since becoming president, Trump has made 6,420 false or misleading statements through Oct. 30, including more than 4,400 this year, according to a database maintained by the Fact Checker.
Anyone who thought he was going to stand in the way of Wisconsin Republicans’ power grab doesn’t know Scott Walker