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Kelly may depart in expected White House shakeup

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Kelly may depart in expected White House shakeup

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is inching closer to his long-teased major White House shake-up, gearing up for the twin challenges of battling for re-election and dealing with the Democrats’ investigations once they take control of the House.

The biggest piece of the shifting picture: Chief of Staff John Kelly’s departure now appears certain.

Trump announced Friday he was picking a new U.S. attorney genera l and a new ambassador to the U.N. , and at the same time two senior aides departed the White House to beef up his 2020 campaign. But the largest changes were still to come. Kelly’s replacement in the coming weeks is expected to have a ripple effect throughout the administration.

According to nearly a dozen current and former administration officials and outside confidants, Trump is nearly ready to replace Kelly and has even begun telling people to contact the man long viewed as his likely successor.

“Give Nick a call,” Trump has instructed people, referring to Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Nick Ayers, according to one person familiar with the discussions.

Like all of those interviewed, the person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive personnel matters.

Trump has hardly been shy about his dissatisfaction with the team he had chosen and has been weighing all sorts of changes over the past several months. He delayed some of the biggest shifts until after the November elections at the urging of aides who worried that adding to his already-record turnover just before the voting would harm his party’s electoral chances.

Now, nearly a month after those midterms, in which his party surrendered control of the House to Democrats but expanded its slim majority in the Senate, Trump is starting to make moves.

He announced Friday that he’ll nominate William Barr, who served as attorney general under President George H.W. Bush, to the same role in his administration. If confirmed, Barr will fill the slot vacated by Jeff Sessions, who was unceremoniously jettisoned by Trump last month over lingering resentment for recusing himself from overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation.

Sessions was exiled less than 24 hours after polls closed. But Trump’s broader efforts to reshape his inner circle have been on hold, leading to a sense of near-paralysis in the building, with people unsure of what to do.

Trump also announced that State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert is his pick to replace Nikki Haley as the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and he said he’d have another announcement Saturday about the military’s top brass.

All this came the same day that Trump’s re-election campaign announced that two veterans of the president’s 2016 campaign, White House political director Bill Stepien and Justin Clark, the director of the office of public liaison, were leaving the administration to work on Trump’s re-election campaign.

“Now is the best opportunity to be laser-focused on further building out the political infrastructure that will support victory for President Trump and the GOP in 2020,” campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a statement.

The moves had long been planned, and will give Kelly’s eventual successor room to build a new White House political team.

Kelly was not at the White House on Friday, but was expected to attend an East Room dinner with the president and senior staff.

Ayers, who is a seasoned campaign veteran despite his relative youth — he’s just 36 — has the backing of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, the president’s daughter and son-in-law and senior advisers, for the new role, according to White House officials. But Ayers has also faced some resistance. During Trump’s flight home from a recent trip to Paris, some aides aboard Air Force One tried to convince the president that Ayers was the wrong person for the job, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Trump and Kelly’s relationship has been strained for months — with Kelly on the verge of resignation and Trump nearly firing him several times. But each time the two have decided to make amends, even as Kelly’s influence has waned.

Kelly, a retired Marine Corps four-star general, was tapped by Trump in August 2017 to try to normalize a White House that had been riven by infighting. And he had early successes, including ending an open-door Oval Office policy that had been compared to New York’s Grand Central Station and instituting a more rigorous policy process to try to prevent staffers from going directly to Trump.

But those efforts also miffed the president and some of his most influential outside allies, who had grown accustomed to unimpeded access. And his handling of domestic violence accusations against the former White House staff secretary also caused consternation, especially among lower-level White House staffers, who believed Kelly had lied to them about when he found out about the allegations.

Kelly, too, has made no secret of the trials of his job and has often joked about how working for Trump was harder than anything he’d done before, including on the battlefield.

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Associated Press writer Catherine Lucey contributed to this report.

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On Twitter follow Miller at https://twitter.com/ZekeJMiller and Colvin at https://twitter.com/colvinj

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Entertainment and Sports

Kristy Swanson, Dean Cain receive death threats over Strzok-Page ‘FBI Lovebirds’ production

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Kristy Swanson Dean Cain receive death threats over Strzok-Page FBI Lovebirds production

Conservative actors Kristy Swanson and Dean Cain are receiving death threats over a planned stage performance based on the extra-marital texts sent between FBI cohorts Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. The two members of federal law enforcement have been accused of conspiring with others during the 2016 election in an effort to prevent then-candidate Trump from winning as well as possibly taking him down if he were to win, which he did.

FBI Lovebirds: Undercovers,” will be directed by Phelim McAleer and is seeking an audience from the President himself. But shortly after buzz started building around the production, threats came in on Twitter.

Watching replies in their Twitter feeds, it’s clear the abuse continues even after offenders have been reported.

What makes it worse is that this is being framed by many in the media as a “pro-Trump” production. They are literally going on stage to read publicly available text messages verbatim. If the words of FBI agents texting each other is somehow considered to be “pro-Trump” by the media, then anything that isn’t blatantly pro-Democrats can be construed as pro-Trump.

The hardest thing in show business isn’t winning awards or getting good roles. The hardest thing in show business is being conservative and handling the relentless attacks from the unhinged. Stay the course, Kristy Swanson and Dean Cain.

Image source: Parade

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Immigration

New Mexico county commissioners, sheriffs demand immediate action on border emergency

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New Mexico county commissioners sheriffs demand immediate action on border emergency

In a letter signed by County Commission Chairs and County Sheriffs across New Mexico, Republican House Leader Jim Townsend called for all of their lawmakers on Capitol Hill to render immediate relief and to work with President Trump to end the crisis at the southern border. They declared the situation had reached the stage of full emergency in the border state and American citizens were being harmed as a result of DC’s inaction.

We elected officials in our respective New Mexico counties hereby declare that we believe the southern border immigration crisis has reached the level of an emergency situation.

This emergency must e addressed and it must be addressed immediately. Our communities do not have the resources nor the budgets to handle the massive influx of immigrants we are experiencing and are expected to experience in the very near future. Our scarce resources are in danger of being rapidly depleted to the point that we will be unable to effectively care for our own citizens and our existing homeless population, many of whom are American veterans.

We, whom you represent, request that you put politics aside and support the President of the United States in his request for the supplemental funding necessary to effectively address this crisis and provide the New Mexicans you serve with the relief we so desperately need. We implore you to protect the border and proved processes that protect immigrants and/or asylum seekers crossing into the United States properly and legally.

It is with our constituent’s [sic] support and with their well-being in mind that we request you exercise your elected duty to the people whom you serve and act now in this emergency situation to overcome the politics in addressing this humanitarian crisis with no further delay. Please work with the President to give relief and security to both New Mexicans and the immigrants entering through our southern border.

The letter was retweeted by the official White House account.

Opinion

The letter is much kinder than I would have worded it considering the untenable attempts to subvert the truth by Democrats and mainstream media. They pretend like there’s not a real problem to appease their base on the coasts. Meanwhile, American citizens and migrants alike are suffering horribly as a result of Capitol Hill’s unwillingness to act.

Until the American people acknowledge this emergency and demand the Democrats cease their indefensible stance on the crisis, they’ll continue to delay and distract as long as possible. One might argue this is their attempt to normalize illegal immigration just long enough until they can regain the White House and set us down a path of full-blown open borders.

This isn’t an immigration crisis. It’s an illegal immigration crisis.

This isn’t about bigotry. It’s about the reality of the situation.

We, as conservatives, must regain our footing on this issue. The left wants to portray this as somehow racist when in reality it’s all about our sovereignty and making sure we’re defending our borders from literal invaders. No other country is as generous to those whose first interaction with our country is to break the law by crossing the border away from designated ports of entry. Yet the Democrats continue to paint this as an issue regarding race.

We either have a country or we don’t. We need immigrants. We need those who come into the country legally, not the masses who intend to file for asylum so they can be released to the interior for a time. The truth of this situation is such that if we had an honest media, the vast majority of Americans would be allowed to recognize the truth based solely on the facts alone. But we don’t have an honest media. We have a media that has a progressive agenda and they’re willing to defend that agenda to the detriment of the nation.

Quote

“We must protect our borders now!” – Jim Townsend

Final Thoughts

New Mexico is ground zero of the migrant crisis. While citizens and migrants suffer, both the whole of the Democratic Party and most of mainstream media continues to stick their heads in the sand. This has reached the point of lunacy.

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Guns and Crime

President gives AG Barr unilateral authority to declassify 2016 campaign spying documents

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President gives AG Barr unilateral authority to declassify 2016 campaign spying documents

The investigation into the investigators is now in full swing as President Trump signed an order for U.S. intelligence organizations to quickly and fully cooperate with Attorney General William Barr’s multiple investigations into spying that took place against the Trump campaign during the 2016 elections.

In a statement by the White House, the President also noted that Barr would have unilateral authority to declassify documents related to his investigations.

“Today, at the request and recommendation of the Attorney General of the United States, President Donald J. Trump directed the intelligence community to quickly and fully cooperate with the Attorney General’s investigation into surveillance activities during the 2016 Presidential election. The Attorney General has also been delegated full and complete authority to declassify information pertaining to this investigation, in accordance with the long-established standards for handling classified information. Today’s action will help ensure that all Americans learn the truth about the events that occurred, and the actions that were taken, during the last Presidential election and will restore confidence in our public institutions.”

Final Thoughts

If this is handled properly, and there’s no reason to believe it won’t be, the President will have ammunition to use against Democrats while they continue to try to collect their own. It bodes ill for the nation that Democrats continue to press investigation after investigation, but this can act to counterbalance their narrative.

Meanwhile, Congress is unable to get anything done while the left continues to do focus solely on taking down the President and winning the White House.

The positive in all this is we may finally get to see the depths of the conspiracy against the Trump campaign and how our elected officials as well as law enforcement and intelligence agencies tried to defy the will of the people.

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