Day 964: Extremely complete.
1/ Trump announced that he fired his national security adviser, who insists that he resigned. John Bolton, disputing Trump’s version of events, tweeted that “I offered to resign last night and President Trump said, ‘Let’s talk about it tomorrow.’” Trump, meanwhile, tweeted that “I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House.” Trump added that he “disagreed strongly with many of [Bolton’s] suggestions.” The two have had a series of disagreements during Bolton’s tenure, including how to handle sensitive foreign policy matters involving North Korea, Afghanistan, and Iran. Trump did not name Bolton’s successor but said he plans to name a replacement “next week.” Bolton was Trump’s third national security adviser. (Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News / CNN / ABC News / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / Associated Press / BBC / Axios)
- ⚡️ Who The Fuck Has Left The Trump Administration? A timeline of all the departures so far… (What The Fuck Just Happened Today?)
2/ Trump called his second national security adviser and told him that he missed him. In phone calls with retired Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, Trump has solicited advice on national security challenges, including asking McMaster whom he should nominate for Secretary of Defense. McMaster was also fired by Trump on Twitter. (NBC News)
📌 Day 421: Trump plans to remove national security adviser H.R. McMaster and is currently considering potential replacements. Trump plans to take his time with the transition in order to avoid humiliating McMaster and ensure he has a strong replacement. Other Trump officials, like Ben Carson and Mick Mulvaney, are also rumored to be on the chopping block. “There will always be change,” Trump said. “I think you want to see change. I want to also see different ideas.” Sarah Huckabee Sanders, meanwhile, disputed the story that Trump had decided to fire McMaster, tweeting: “Just spoke to @POTUS and Gen. H.R. McMaster — contrary to reports they have a good working relationship and there are no changes at the NSC.” (Washington Post / New York Times)
📌 Day 428: Trump will replace H. R. McMaster with John Bolton as his national security adviser. Bolton is a Fox News commentator and a former United States ambassador to the United Nations. McMaster had reportedly been discussing his departure with Trump for several weeks. “The two have been discussing this for some time. The timeline was expedited as they both felt it was important to have the new team in place, instead of constant speculation,” a White House official said. “This was not related to any one moment or incident, rather it was the result of ongoing conversations between the two.” McMaster, a three-star Army general, also announced that he would retire from the military. Bolton will be Trump’s third national security adviser in 14 months. Bolton was also passed over for a State Department job last year, because Trump didn’t like his mustache. (New York Times / Washington Post / Bloomberg / CNN)
3/ The purported high-level CIA source extracted from Russia in 2017 is currently living in Washington under his real name and under government protection. The CIA’s Russian informant was active in the agency’s conclusion that Putin ordered and orchestrated the campaign to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. The CIA then exfiltrated one of its top spies from Russia after officials became concerned he was in danger of being caught after Trump “mishandled” classified material. While NBC News is withholding the man’s name and other key details at the request of U.S. officials, he fits the profile of the person who may have had access to information about Putin’s activities, and who would have been recruitable by American intelligence officials. The NBC correspondent went to the man’s house, rang the doorbell, and five minutes later two men in an SUV came up the street and parked immediately adjacent to the correspondent’s car. (NBC News)
📌 Day 963: In 2017, the U.S. extracted one of its highest-level covert spies from inside the Russian government. The previously undisclosed secret mission was driven, in part, after Trump shared classified information with the Russian foreign minister and Russian ambassador in a May 2017 Oval Office meeting. (CNN)
📌 Day 111: Trump met with Putin’s top diplomats at the White House. The talks came one day after Trump fired the FBI Director, who was overseeing an investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. Sergey Lavrov met with Rex Tillerson earlier in the day and sarcastically acknowledged the dismissal of James Comey by saying “Was he fired? You’re kidding. You’re kidding.” The Kremlin said Trump’s firing of Comey will have no effect on bilateral relations between the two countries. Trump also met with Sergey Kislyak, a key figure in the Flynn investigation. (Associated Press / Reuters / Washington Post / NPR)
4/ Trump has repeatedly expressed skepticism about using foreign intelligence from covert sources, saying he doubts the credibility of the information they provide. Multiple senior officials who served under Trump, said he privately complained that foreign spies can damage relations with their host countries and undermine his personal relationships with their leaders. (CNN)
5/ Trump claimed he’ll release an “extremely complete” report of his financial records in order to dispel the notion that he’s profiting off of his administration. In response to questions from reporters about several instances of U.S. Air Force personnel staying at his Turnberry resort in Scotland, Trump said it was unfair to suggest that he played any part in the arrangement because he owns so many different properties. He offered no specifics about the report, nor did he give a timeline of when he plans to release it. (Politico)
6/ Trump played a direct role in setting up the arrangement between his golf resort in Scotland and officials at Glasgow Prestwick Airport with the goal of increasing private and commercial air traffic to the region. During Trump’s presidential run, the Pentagon began using the airport to refuel Air Force flights, giving the local airport the job of finding accommodations for flight crews who had to remain overnight. Yesterday, Trump said that the deal had “NOTHING TO DO WITH ME,” but documents show both Trump and the Trump Organization were directly involved in crafting the partnership. The Trump Organization worked to get Trump’s resort on the list of hotels that Prestwick would routinely send aircrews to, even though Turnberry is 20 miles from the airport – farther away than many other hotels and with higher advertised prices. (New York Times)
📌 Day 963: An Air National Guard crew stayed at Trump’s Turnberry golf resort in Scotland in March. The Air Force plane stopped at a nearby airport to refuel both en route to the Middle East and back, with the crew staying at the resort, which lost $4.5 million in 2017, but revenue went up $3 million in 2018. The Air Force confirmed that crew members stayed at Turnberry, but said “it did not appear” that they stayed at the hotel on the way back. There are more than two dozen hotels, guesthouses and inns a few miles from the Prestwick airport with most of them much less expensive than the $380/night advertised rate at Trump Turnberry. The fuel would have also been cheaper if purchased at a U.S. military base. (Politico / New York Times)
📌 Day 963: Trump denied being involved in the stays at Turnberry by Air Force crews, tweeting that “I know nothing,” but that “they have good taste!” Air Force crews will typically stop at U.S. military bases in Europe to refuel, where it’s cheaper to do so. Trump added: “NOTHING TO DO WITH ME.” (Politico)
poll/ 60% of Americans expect a recession in the next year. Trump’s economic approval rating declined from 51% in July to 46% in September, with 47% disapproving. (Washington Post)
poll/ 38% of Americans approve of the job Trump is doing as president – down from a career-high 44% in July. 56% disapprove of the way Trump is handling his job as president. (ABC News)
poll/ 60% of American say Trump does not deserve to be reelected. (CNN)
More Americans lack health insurance for the first time since the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010. About 27.5 million people, or 8.5% of the population, lacked health insurance for all of 2018, up from 7.9% the year before. (New York Times)
The Trump administration promoted an immigration judge that threatened a 2-year-old Guatemalan boy with an attack dog if he didn’t stay quiet in court. “I have a very big dog in my office,” Judge V. Stuart Couch told the boy, “and if you don’t be quiet, he will come out and bite you!” In August, the Trump administration promoted Couch and five other judges to the Justice Department’s Board of Immigration Appeals, which often has the final say over whether immigrants are deported. (Mother Jones)
Trump ordered White House officials to crackdown on homelessness in California. Trump has repeatedly attacked Democratic politicians in California over the state’s homelessness issue, which he’s called a “disgrace to our country.” The Trump administration, however, may have exacerbated the problem by tightening immigrants’ eligibility for federal assistance. (Washington Post)
A federal judge set Michael Flynn’s sentencing for Dec. 18th. Flynn pleaded guilty on Dec. 1, 2017, to lying to the FBI about contacts with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. (Washington Post)
Three House committees are investigating reported efforts by Trump and Rudy Giuliani “to pressure the government of Ukraine to assist” Trump’s re-election campaign. The Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees wrote to the White House and State Department seeking records related to what they described as efforts to “manipulate the Ukrainian justice system.” (Reuters / CNBC)
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