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Palmer Report: Exasperated Rex Tillerson loses it while at White House, begins yelling at Donald Trump’s staff

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No one outside of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin knows why Trump chose ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to be Secretary of State. That seems to include Tillerson, who has no idea why he was picked for the job, and has clearly never wanted it, and seems to only be there as a figurehead while Trump dismantles the State Department at Putin’s request. It’s all left Tillerson exasperated to the point that he’s finally exploded.

While at the White House, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson lost control of himself and began yelling at a top Donald Trump staffer while in front of other Trump staffers, according to a Politico report (link). As it turns out Tillerson’s frustrations with Trump are largely the same as those who oppose Trump: the State Department isn’t being staffed, the United States government no longer has a diplomatic arm, and Tillerson has no role beyond holding the title.

Trump had lured Rex Tillerson into the job by telling him that he could hire anyone he wanted for the State Department. But Trump and his White House have gone on to block the appointment of any Democrats at all, or Republicans who have ever criticized Trump. Because nearly every self respecting person in government has a low opinion of the unstable Donald Trump, it means that basically none of Tillerson’s hires are being approved.

Rex Tillerson seems to be in the process of finally figuring out what outsiders surmised from the start: the Putin-controlled Trump White House doesn’t want there to a State Department, because the Russian government doesn’t want the United States to have any diplomatic influence anywhere in the world. Even though Tillerson has a longtime close business relationship with Putin, he must not have known that he was supposed to take the job and do nothing while Trump destroyed the State Department. It’s enough to make one wonder when the exasperated Tillerson will end up resigning. If you’re a regular reader, feel free to support Palmer Report

The post Exasperated Rex Tillerson loses it while at White House, begins yelling at Donald Trump’s staff appeared first on Palmer Report.



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mikenova
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National Security: National security adviser McMaster defends Trump’s approach with allies as ‘tough love’

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He brushed past suggestions that Trump should try to calm jittery allies worried about Russia.







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mikenova
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Why Is Donald Trump Enabling Russian Espionage in America?

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White House refuses to push back on aggressive Kremlin spying

How the Obama administration mishandled clandestine Russian interference in last year’s election has become the talk of the town and social media thanks to a new, detailed report by the Washington Post. That piece portrays a White House in disarray through 2016, unable to decide what to do about Kremlin meddling, despite high-grade intelligence confirming that Vladimir Putin had ordered his spy services to create electoral mayhem in America.

Of course, I told you that months ago, and Barack Obama’s reputation for diffidence and indecision – particularly regarding Russia, which was by no means confined to 2016 – will mar his administration’s legacy, deservedly so. Obama’s fateful lack of pushback against the Kremlin will hang over last year’s election as the preeminent what-if for future historians to unravel.

Nevertheless, President Obama’s mistakes on Russia are now confined to the past, while his successor keeps making them in real time. Donald Trump’s recent tweets have only added to the mystery of his relationship with Moscow, which is the subject of no less than four major Washington investigations: by the FBI, by both houses of Congress, and by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

After months of protesting that the issue of Russian interference in last year’s election was wholly fake, conjured by liberals and journalists, the president at last conceded (or at least strongly seemed to) that Moscow had, in fact, done something nefarious in 2016. Trump subsequently opined that the real collusion with the Kremlin had been done by Obama – without adding any details – and that the current White House resident is therefore owed an apology by the media!

It’s difficult to know what to make of all this. All that can be stated for certain at present is that widely reported efforts by the president’s lawyers to get their client to stop sending inflammatory tweets which might be used against Trump by investigators and prosecutors have wholly failed.

Read the rest at The Observer …


Filed under: Counterintelligence, Espionage, USG

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mikenova
11 hours ago
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Sanctioning Russia – With German and French Allies Who Needs Enemies?

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The U.S. Senate has just passed a bill expanding the sanctions against Russia imposed earlier in response to Russian aggression in Ukraine and its seizure of Crimea. In addition, Russian threats against Baltic nations and…

The post Sanctioning Russia – With German and French Allies Who Needs Enemies? appeared first on Lima Charlie News.

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mikenova
14 hours ago
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Today's Headlines and Commentary

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The ongoing ransomware attack across Europe, the United States, and Asia has raised concerns over the growing frequency of large-scale cyberattacks, The New York Times writes. The NotPetya attack is the second worldwide ransomware hacking since May, when the WannaCry virus disrupted the United Kingdom’s National Health Service. The Times runs through what we know and don’t yet know about the malware.

The Journal reports on Secretary of Defense James Mattis’s comments that the lack of a chemical weapons attack showed that the Trump administration’s warning to the Assad regime in Syria worked. Late on Monday, the U.S. threatened to use force against Syria in the case of another chemical attack after the Pentagon saw indications that an attempt may have been looming. Politico describes the process behind the drafting and release of the administration’s abrupt warning: while Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster were all involved, the statement left numerous top officials across the State and Defense Departments blindsided.

The White House may shift the State Department’s bureaus of Consular Affairs and Population, Refugees, and Migration to the Department of Homeland Security, CNN tells us. A White House official indicated that the proposal resulted from a “brainstorming session” dedicated to “improving efficiencies across government,” and is not yet a formal plan.

The Trump administration is considering taking a harsher stance on its relations with Pakistan in an effort to cut back Pakistani support for militant groups that have used the country as a base from which to conduct attacks in neighboring Afghanistan, Reuters reports. Options on the table include increased drone strikes, withholding of aid, and weakening Pakistan’s status as a U.S. ally. In a separate report released Tuesday, the Pentagon indicated that Pakistan was the most significant external factor affecting Afghan stability through governmental support of the Taliban and Haqqani Network. The Pakistani embassy in the United States warned the U.S. against using it as a “scapegoat” to explain challenges in Afghanistan.

Yesterday, the Qatari Foreign Minister met with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a closed-door meeting in Foggy Bottom, the Post reports. The two discussed the ongoing diplomatic crisis in the Gulf, which has shown no signs of resolution following Qatar’s rejection of the list of demands presented to it by the Gulf Cooperation Council States that recently cut their ties with Qatar. The Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister told the press yesterday that the demands were non-negotiable and were a prerequisite to re-engagement with Qatar. Later in the day, Tillerson also met with the Kuwaiti Minister of State, whose government has attempted to mediate the weeks-long dispute.

Oil companies have expressed concern over the Senate’s new package of Russian sanctions, which would prevent American participation in any oil production projects in which a Russian firm is involved anywhere in the globe, the Washington Post reports. But Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN), who is shepherding the bill through the approval process, has said the issues can be “easily addressed.” The bill has stalled in the House over procedural concerns, and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) has called on the Senate to complete a fix prior to the July 4th recess.

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who has been under scrutiny amidst the various probes into Russian election interference, registered retroactively as an agent of a foreign government yesterday, reports The Wall Street Journal. The disclosure to the Justice Department’s Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) unit marked an acknowledgement that a portion of Manafort’s lobbying work on behalf of former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych aimed to influence U.S. government officials and journalists. Manafort’s spokesman said Manafort began working with the FARA unit to navigate the registration process in September of 2016, prior to the election results and the investigation into Russian election interference.

The Canadian Supreme Court ruled that a Canadian court can grant an injunction anywhere in the world, if such a move is required to secure the injunction’s effectiveness, The Guardian reports. In the case, the Court forced Google to remove links to one company’s content from all versions of its search engine across the globe—not only the Canadian version—following an intellectual property dispute with a competitor. Critics fear that the decision could lead to corporations and governments increasing censorship requests that then eliminate permissible content from the entire internet, no matter the location. 

The trial of accused NSA leaker Reality Winner has been set for October, according to The Hill. Winner is charged with providing a top-secret NSA report on a 2016 Russian cyberattack on a voting software company to the news outlet The Intercept.

President Trump accepted French President Emmanuel Macron’s invitation to meet in Paris on July 14th in celebration of Bastille Day as well as the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entrance into World War I, CNN reports. The two are expected to discuss a wide range of issues, including coordination on counterterrorism efforts.

A helicopter attacked Venezuela’s Supreme Court yesterday, CNN reports. Prior to the attack, an ex-policeman posted a video online announcing that his group planned to launch an air and land assault to restore democracy to Venezuela. From the helicopter, attackers threw grenades and shot at the building, though no one was injured. Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro activated the government security forces in response. The nation has been in the depths of a political and economic crisis which has seen many calls for a change in leadership. Some have claimed that the entire incident may have been staged by the government to generate legitimacy for a harsher crackdown on dissent.

 

 ICYMI: Yesterday, on Lawfare

Charlie Savage described the changes in the new, paperback edition of his book Power Wars, which provides a history of national-security legal policymaking in the Obama era.

Paul Rosenzweig asked if the cyberattack in Ukraine yesterday was a precursor to war, but updated the post after news broke that the cause was an outbreak of the Petya ransomware.

Shane R. Reeves examined previous attempts at creating “safe zones” in Syria and argued that without serious commitment, newly proposed zones will be just as ineffective or dangerous.

J. Dana Stuster posted the Middle East Ticker, covering the recent Saudi succession shakeup, the Gulf States’ demands to Qatar, and U.S. policy in Eastern Syria.

William I. Hitchcock reviewed Melissa Feinberg’s Curtain of Lies: The Battle over Truth in Stalinist Eastern Europe (Oxford Univ. Press, 2017).

Matthew Kahn posted the video of yesterday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Section 702 reauthorization.

Andrew Kent examined the Supreme Court’s decision in Hernandez v. Mesa.

Jack Goldsmith announced the supplement to the new edition of Foreign Relations Law: Cases and Materials (6th Ed. 2017), the casebook he co-authored with Curtis Bradley.

Daniel Byman analyzed whether Al Qaeda is in decline.

Josh Blackman looked at the scope of the Supreme Court’s decision in IRAP v. Trump.

Benjamin Wittes posted a copy of his FOIA request for internal FBI communications surrounding the firing of James Comey. 

Email the Roundup Team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for additional commentary on these issues. Sign up to receive Lawfare in your inbox. Visit our Events Calendar to learn about upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings on our Job Board.

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mikenova
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Senate Intelligence Committee Hearing on Russian Interference in European Elections

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The Senate Intelligence Committee held a hearing on Russian interference in European elections.

 

Panel

  • Ambassador Nicholas Burns, Roy and Barbara Goodman Family Professor of Diplomacy and International Relations, Harvard Kennedy School of Government (Testimony)
  • Janis Sarts, Director, NATO Strategic Communication Center of Excellence (Testimony)
  • Ambassador Vesko Garcevic, Professor of Diplomacy and International Relations, Boston University (Testimony)
  • Constanze Stelzenueller, Bosch Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution (Testimony)
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