Findings, music, and occasional reflections by Paul Woodward

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Trump fires Defense official because she attempted to follow the law

Jonathan Chait writes:

Two days after Senate Republicans acquitted President Trump on both counts of impeachment, the Trump administration fired a number of national-security officials: European Union ambassador Gordon Sondland and Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, the National Security Council staffer, for voluntarily testifying before the House, as well as the latter’s twin brother, Lieutenant Colonel Yevgeny Vindman, for being related to Alexander. Now, the “Friday Night Massacre” is extending into this week. The New York Post reports that the administration is retaliating against Elaine McCusker, whose nomination for Pentagon comptroller and chief financial officer has been pulled.

What’s especially chilling about this move is the reason for the retaliation. McCusker is losing her job because she attempted to follow the law. There’s no cover story to rationalize it. That is the cover story. “This administration needs people who are committed to implementing the president’s agenda, specifically on foreign policy, and not trying to thwart it,” a White House official tells the paper.

McCusker’s crime is quite literally having attempted to follow the law. Over the summer, the Office of Management and Budget was trying to hold up aid for Ukraine that Congress had passed into law, because it was trying to extort Ukraine to investigate Trump’s rivals. Defense Department officials, who were supposed to allocate the funds, attempted to implement the policy. Just Security obtained the email chain. [Continue reading…]

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