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Westlake Legal Group > Howard Kurtz

Media rip Barr in advance for holding a news conference

Westlake Legal Group media-rip-barr-in-advance-for-holding-a-news-conference Media rip Barr in advance for holding a news conference Howard Kurtz fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc article 4847bf39-e025-5bfd-b0ca-01fceb2473c7
Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6026895663001_6026892191001-vs Media rip Barr in advance for holding a news conference Howard Kurtz fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc article 4847bf39-e025-5bfd-b0ca-01fceb2473c7

Even before William Barr’s appearance at the Justice Department this morning, he had been utterly vilified—for the sin of showing up to answer reporters’ questions.

There was, to be sure, more to it than that. By making his public appearance before the Mueller report was released, the attorney general appeared to be engaging in a partisan maneuver. He was, it was said, trying to frame the narrative in a way that would help the man who appointed him.

TRUMP BLASTS RUSSIA PROBE AS ‘HOAX’ AND ‘HARASSMENT’ AHEAD OF MUELLER REPORT RELEASE

But any attempt at spin would be short-lived at best, as journalists and members of Congress would see the anxiously awaited report about 90 minutes after the Barr presser.

Even before word leaked about the delayed release, which in my view was too cute by half, Barr was being savaged. The Washington lawyer who came into office highly respected—he had, after all, held the same job under George H.W. Bush—had shredded his credibility, according to the liberal indictment. Commentators at MSNBC were absolutely horrified that he would hold a news conference at all—and indeed, leading Democrats soon demanded that the AG cancel the session.

In other words, the pundits would be talking about Barr and his handling of the explosive report all day, but for him to publicly respond to questions was a bridge too far.

Sure, it would have been better to release the report first and make Barr available second. But the media uproar reflected the enormous anxiety in the runup to the report’s release, filled with days of speculation and advance conclusions about a document none of us had seen.

More concerning is a New York Times report that Justice Department officials had “numerous conversations with White House lawyers” about Mueller’s conclusions in recent days, helping the president’s legal team prepare its rebuttal report. And President Trump was leading the prebuttal, tweeting early this morning that “The Greatest Political Hoax of all time! Crimes were committed by Crooked, Dirty Cops and DNC/The Democrats.”

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The net effect is that after the deputy attorney general named Robert Mueller to lead an independent investigation insulated from politics, the matter is back in the hands of Trump political appointees—in part because Mueller punted on deciding obstruction of justice charges, leaving the matter to Barr.

But all the advance spin and counterspin will be moot the moment the report comes out.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6026895663001_6026892191001-vs Media rip Barr in advance for holding a news conference Howard Kurtz fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc article 4847bf39-e025-5bfd-b0ca-01fceb2473c7   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6026895663001_6026892191001-vs Media rip Barr in advance for holding a news conference Howard Kurtz fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc article 4847bf39-e025-5bfd-b0ca-01fceb2473c7

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How Trump is using furor over Ilhan Omar to bash Pelosi

Westlake Legal Group how-trump-is-using-furor-over-ilhan-omar-to-bash-pelosi How Trump is using furor over Ilhan Omar to bash Pelosi Howard Kurtz fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox-news/person/ilhan-omar fox-news/person/alexandria-ocasio-cortez fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc article 632f8a4a-e4c9-529d-a77a-f9f8146861ae
Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-2235797f3f104c879319d18d54bbc7a1 How Trump is using furor over Ilhan Omar to bash Pelosi Howard Kurtz fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox-news/person/ilhan-omar fox-news/person/alexandria-ocasio-cortez fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc article 632f8a4a-e4c9-529d-a77a-f9f8146861ae

Nancy Pelosi is speaker again for one reason: her party picked up 40 seats in mostly moderate districts.

And yet the Democrats are being yanked to the left by their most visible uber-liberals, creating a huge image problem for the 79-year-old congresswoman.

With the left-wingers grabbing the lion’s share of media attention, President Trump is already trying to run against her party as a bunch of wild-eyed socialists.

That leaves Pelosi with the unenviable task of preventing the Democrats from being defined by their most ideological members — and yes, the irony that this challenge falls to a classic San Francisco liberal is unmistakable.

Democrats aren’t the world’s most organized party. Holding together a fractious caucus has never been an easy task. And there are lingering levels of distrust from the way the establishment favored Hillary Clinton in 2016 over Bernie Sanders, who now finds himself the nominal front-runner for 2020.

FOX NEWS’ BERNIE SANDERS TOWN HALL VIEWING NUMBERS BEAT CNN, MSNBC COMBINED

With the party obsessed with knocking off Trump, keeping a façade of unity may well be impossible.

“The far left’s frustration with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is on the rise,” The Washington Post declares.

The latest contretemps revolves around Ilhan Omar, one of the first two Muslim congresswomen, who has repeatedly stirred controversy with comments viewed as anti-Semitic. It was Pelosi who had to steer passage of a House resolution condemning anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry that was watered down by not mentioning Omar.

Now the Minnesota lawmaker is in a war of words with Trump, triggered by her remarks about 9/11. Omar complained that Muslims were being treated as second-class citizens because “some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.” The New York Post put a photo of the burning twin towers on the front page with the headline, “Here’s Your Something.”

The president pounced by retweeting a post that called Omar a “sick monster.” He posted a video with footage of the World Trade Center — titled “WE WILL NEVER FORGET!” — with Omar’s remarks spliced in.

PELOSI APPEARS TO TAKE NEW JAB AT AOC, SAYS ‘A GLASS OF WATER’ WITH A ‘D’ COULD WIN SOME DISTRICTS

When Omar started receiving death threats, some in the media blamed Trump, as if criticism of a politician is the equivalent of inciting crackpots against her. But the situation was certainly inflamed.

The Post reports that “Omar’s allies over the weekend were upset by what they viewed as Pelosi’s delayed response” in supporting her colleague. Her first statement criticizing Trump made no mention of Omar. Pelosi ratcheted up her rhetoric on Monday, saying the president’s sharing of the video was “beneath the dignity of the Oval Office.”

Liberals are also upset, according to the paper, at Pelosi’s jibe at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez during a “60 Minutes” interview. Pelosi said AOC’s “wing” of the party included “like five people.”

DOZENS OF DEMS VOTE 95 PERCENT OF TIME WITH AOC DESPITE PELOSI CLAIM BLOCK IS ‘LIKE FIVE PEOPLE’

Trump has ramped up his attacks on Omar, saying Monday that she’s “very disrespectful” toward both America and Israel and has “got a way about her that’s very, very bad for our country.”

The president is also using Omar as a way of dinging Pelosi. Keep in mind that Trump has not directly assailed Pelosi — not even bestowing a nickname on the woman who seemed to have outmaneuvered him during the 35-day government shutdown.

Look at this presidential tweet: “Before Nancy, who has lost all control of Congress and is getting nothing done, decides to defend her leader, Rep. Omar, she should look at the anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and ungrateful U.S. HATE statements Omar has made. She is out of control, except for her control of Nancy!”

Trump is essentially saying that Pelosi has lost control to her left-wing zealots, and has been reduced to an Omar puppet. Pelosi actually runs the House with a strong hand, but Trump’s slam nicely dovetails with his desire to run against the Omar/AOC/Bernie “socialists.”

Liberal critics are accusing the president of using bigoted rhetoric.

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“If Omar is a target, it has little to do with what she said and everything to do with who she is: A black Muslim woman — and an immigrant — whose very person disrupts the exclusionary ideal of a white Christian America,” says Jamelle Bouie, an African-American columnist for The New York Times.

It’s all gotten pretty ugly, no question about it. Ilhan Omar, although she apologized once for anti-Semitic comments, does not appear to be a conciliatory politician. And neither, of course, is Donald Trump.

But there is a payoff to waging such high-profile fights: Omar raised $832,000 in the first quarter of the year, more than all but a few House Democrats.

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-2235797f3f104c879319d18d54bbc7a1 How Trump is using furor over Ilhan Omar to bash Pelosi Howard Kurtz fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox-news/person/ilhan-omar fox-news/person/alexandria-ocasio-cortez fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc article 632f8a4a-e4c9-529d-a77a-f9f8146861ae   Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-2235797f3f104c879319d18d54bbc7a1 How Trump is using furor over Ilhan Omar to bash Pelosi Howard Kurtz fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox-news/person/ilhan-omar fox-news/person/alexandria-ocasio-cortez fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc article 632f8a4a-e4c9-529d-a77a-f9f8146861ae

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Bernie Sanders, angry at potshots, slams left-wing group

Westlake Legal Group bernie-sanders-angry-at-potshots-slams-left-wing-group Bernie Sanders, angry at potshots, slams left-wing group Howard Kurtz fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc b49bda20-4523-5323-a72b-f53d4894f218 article
Westlake Legal Group AP19023063227888 Bernie Sanders, angry at potshots, slams left-wing group Howard Kurtz fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc b49bda20-4523-5323-a72b-f53d4894f218 article

There were three big-time events over the weekend.

Tiger Woods pulled off the most remarkable comeback in any sport with his Masters win. (And Donald Trump called it, said he’d win majors after they played together in February, you’ve gotta give him that.)

Pete Buttigieg delivered an announcement speech (soon after the 18th hole) that drew Tiger levels of praise, as the media lovefest with the South Bend mayor continues unabated. (Beto who?)

And Bernie Sanders picked a fight with a liberal website, making sure it was leaked to The New York Times.

It’s long past time to take Bernie seriously. “Bernie Sanders is the Democratic Front-Runner,” says the Atlantic.

Stop Thinking of Bernie Sanders As a Gadfly. He’s the Front-Runner,” cautions the L.A. Times.

He’s raised the most money ($18 million), he’s drawing big crowds, and in a new Emerson poll, he edges out the undeclared Joe Biden, 29 to 25 percent.

Sanders even forced himself to talk to reporters for the first time in two months on the trail.

So why on earth is he starting an intra-party battle with a scathing letter to the Center for American Progress?

In the letter, Sanders wrote: “This counterproductive negative campaigning needs to stop. The Democratic primary must be a campaign of ideas, not of bad-faith smears. Please help play a constructive role in the effort to defeat Donald Trump.”

The backstory: The Center for American Progress is a Hillary-centric think tank, founded by John Podesta 16 years ago and funded in part by George Soros. It remains filled with Democratic establishment figures.

Sanders undoubtedly got screwed by the DNC and the party apparatus in 2016, when the playing field, including a meager number of debates, was tilted to favor Hillary Clinton. So he’s understandably sensitive on the subject.

But Bernie’s beef is with ThinkProgress, a liberal website that is affiliated with CAP but which both groups say is editorially independent.

What really burned Bernie was a posting that began: “It’s all very off-brand and embarrassing, but Sen. Bernie Sanders is a millionaire. Turns out railing against ‘millionaires and billionaires’ can be quite the lucrative enterprise.”

Now I happen to think this is utter BS. The Vermont senator achieved millionaire status in part by writing a book that became a best-seller. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. And Sanders made that point forcefully last night at a Fox News town hall with Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum.

Sanders accused ThinkProgress of “dishonesty” and said the site was also being unfair to fellow liberals Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker.

ThinkProgress editor-in-chief Jodi Enda, a former CNN and Knight-Ridder reporter, responded by saying her site will not take sides in the Democratic primaries. “Political leaders should not be able to muzzle or stop coverage that they consider critical,” said Enda’s statement, reported by the Times.

But by yesterday CAP President Neera Tanden had backed down, saying a ThinkProgress video on Sanders “is overly harsh and does not reflect our approach to a constructive debate of the issues.”

Sanders is obviously trying to send a message. But isn’t he punching down by going after an ideological website?

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In other words, if he’s on track to win the Democratic presidential nomination, he should be brushing off criticism by liberal writers. The letter makes him sound hypersensitive — and the leak broadcast the dispute to many millions who would never have seen the ThinkProgress post.

Sanders is about to draw far tougher press scrutiny than he did in 2016, when the media never thought he had a shot at beating Hillary. And how he deals with that scrutiny will show people whether he has the toughness to take on Trump.

Westlake Legal Group AP19023063227888 Bernie Sanders, angry at potshots, slams left-wing group Howard Kurtz fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc b49bda20-4523-5323-a72b-f53d4894f218 article   Westlake Legal Group AP19023063227888 Bernie Sanders, angry at potshots, slams left-wing group Howard Kurtz fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc b49bda20-4523-5323-a72b-f53d4894f218 article

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Julian Assange, arrested for damaging leaks, claims to be a journalist

Westlake Legal Group julian-assange-arrested-for-damaging-leaks-claims-to-be-a-journalist Julian Assange, arrested for damaging leaks, claims to be a journalist Howard Kurtz fox-news/politics fox-news/person/julian-assange fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/barack-obama fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc e993c02e-abef-5f9d-81ac-c9568590a134 article
Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-ab7c8d80d22049149b0c00f1e33bbb0c Julian Assange, arrested for damaging leaks, claims to be a journalist Howard Kurtz fox-news/politics fox-news/person/julian-assange fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/barack-obama fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc e993c02e-abef-5f9d-81ac-c9568590a134 article

The images were stunning as we saw Julian Assange led away from his sanctuary of nearly seven years, looking haggard and disoriented with a Santa Claus beard.

And moments after British police took him from the Ecuadorean embassy, the media debate erupted.

Is this a fugitive from justice, a man who damaged America, which he detests, by releasing classified files about our troops?

Or is this a man functioning as a digital-age journalist, as his lawyers contend, who was blowing the whistle under the banner of press freedom?

I don’t know how the legal case will shake out, or even whether U.K. authorities will extradite Assange to the U.S. But I do know this: Conservatives and liberals, at different times, have embraced Assange depending on his targets.

JULIAN ASSANGE’S ARREST DRAWS FIERCE REACTIONS ON ‘THE VIEW’

His abrupt arrest, once Ecuador got fed up with harboring him, was tied to a sealed indictment brought last year by the Trump Justice Department.

That was rooted in the document dump that the Wikileaks founder orchestrated back in 2010. The group teamed up with an Army private, Bradley Manning (now Chelsea Manning), who was sentenced to 35 years for leaking classified files.

Prosecutors say Assange agreed to help Manning solve a password on a Pentagon computer that allowed access to classified documents, and encouraged Manning to keep digging for information.

WHERE’S THE CAT ASSANGE KEPT AT ECUADORAN EMBASSY IN LONDON?

The leaks exposed abuse of detainees by the Iraqi military and higher-than-reported civilian death tolls in Iraq, as well as 250,000 diplomatic cables from U.S. embassies that included sensitive talks that embarrassed the country. A military judge convicted Manning of aiding the enemy.

When Barack Obama, overruling his Pentagon chief, commuted Manning’s sentence after nearly seven years — this following a couple of suicide attempts — many liberal commentators approved of the move. But Paul Ryan called it “outrageous,” and John McCain said Manning had engaged in “espionage” and put American troops at risk. (As president, Trump retweeted a message slamming Obama for “pardoning a traitor.”)

ASSANGE ARREST DRAWS FIERY RESPONSES FROM US LAWMAKERS

But Republican attitudes toward Wikileaks flipped during 2016, when the group, accused by U.S. officials of working with Russia, hacked into a treasure trove of Democratic emails.

While Nancy Pelosi called the hacking an “electronic Watergate,” candidate Trump at various times said: “Wikileaks has provided things that are unbelievable” about Hillary Clinton. “Boy, that Wikileaks has done a job on her, hasn’t it?” “Wikileaks, some new stuff, some brutal stuff.” And: “I love Wikileaks.”

The president was a bit less effusive yesterday. He deflected reporters’ questions on the arrest, saying, “I know nothing about Wikileaks. It’s not my thing.”

So Assange, once hated by the right and defended by the left, went through a metamorphosis when he was damaging the Hillary campaign — an all-too-vivid example of Washington’s fickle loyalties.

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Assange’s lawyer played the media card yesterday, telling reporters that “this precedent means that any journalist can be extradited for prosecution in the United States for having published truthful information about the United States … Publishing of documents, of videos of killings of innocent civilians, exposure of war crimes — this is journalism.”

While the case might have legal implications for legitimate reporters who publish classified material — and typically withhold documents that could endanger lives, sources and methods — Assange is an activist who cares nothing for American national security. Instead, he is using journalism as a fig leaf for his reckless conduct.

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-ab7c8d80d22049149b0c00f1e33bbb0c Julian Assange, arrested for damaging leaks, claims to be a journalist Howard Kurtz fox-news/politics fox-news/person/julian-assange fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/barack-obama fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc e993c02e-abef-5f9d-81ac-c9568590a134 article   Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-ab7c8d80d22049149b0c00f1e33bbb0c Julian Assange, arrested for damaging leaks, claims to be a journalist Howard Kurtz fox-news/politics fox-news/person/julian-assange fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/barack-obama fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc e993c02e-abef-5f9d-81ac-c9568590a134 article

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Black hole politics: Why no progress escapes DC’s gravity

Westlake Legal Group black-hole-politics-why-no-progress-escapes-dcs-gravity Black hole politics: Why no progress escapes DC's gravity Howard Kurtz fox-news/topic/green-new-deal fox-news/politics/executive/homeland-security fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc article 530eb39b-8946-5cd7-8f18-3af74e973108
Westlake Legal Group jTVzX3HFWeZTNJJVtLESbU Black hole politics: Why no progress escapes DC's gravity Howard Kurtz fox-news/topic/green-new-deal fox-news/politics/executive/homeland-security fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc article 530eb39b-8946-5cd7-8f18-3af74e973108

There is breaking news on the black hole front.

For the first time, scientists have done what once seemed unthinkable for a phenomenon whose presence was theoretical: captured a photographic image of a massive black hole.

The Event Horizon Telescope shows a ring of orange light with a pitch-black center, where the laws of physics are obliterated. Inside, gravity is so extreme that nothing which enters can escape.

Sounds kind of like Washington.

A whole lot of sound and fury that dissipates inside the nation’s capital, leaving no discernable movement on virtually anything.

The media, myself included, tend to get caught up in each dazzling light show. But it’s hard to find an issue these days where a solution escaped from the political darkness.

Since Donald Trump is the brightest star in the political firmament, he tends to dim many other sources of light. The press grades him each day from sunrise to sunset (as well as on his pre-dawn and late-night tweets).

There’s so much pontification and posturing on all sides, but what emerges in the end? Immigration is only the latest example of a battle royale where nothing ends up happening. The firings at Homeland Security won’t change the border crisis over migrant families. Congress remains paralyzed on the issue, just as it was during the Obama administration and the Bush administration. The president, backing off a threat to close the border, declared a national emergency that will remain tied up in the courts, and a judge has blocked his policy of making asylum seekers wait in Mexico.

In short, it’s a black hole.

The same applies to all the back-and-forth on health care. Trump announced he’d come up with a better replacement for ObamaCare, Republicans freaked out, and Trump said never mind, that will come after the election. Bernie Sanders yesterday introduced a Medicare for All bill that makes ObamaCare look like tinkering. The measure would wipe out all private insurance and force everyone onto a government-run plan. It has absolutely no chance of passing.

Fade to black.

Run through the issues and the dark picture is the same.

The president talked about a major push on infrastructure in his State of the Union. Neither side has put a plan on the table.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is promoting a Green New Deal that gave Republicans a juicy target but that Nancy Pelosi has no plans to bring to a vote.

Remember when Trump spent the last couple of weeks during the midterms touting a second tax cut aimed at the middle class? That’s vanished.

The House passed tougher background checks for gun purchases, but the Senate isn’t touching it.

And the soaring budget deficit? Don’t even ask.

Even the endlessly covered Mueller investigation wound up hitting a wall, with no further criminal charges.

In this galaxy, cooperation is weakness and compromise is alien. No one wants to give the other side a win.

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With the one-time exception of criminal justice reform, bipartisanship has vanished. Everything’s already about positioning for 2020, whether it’s slavery reparations or abolishing the Electoral College.

It’s sunny in Washington during cherry blossom season, but from the outside, it sure looks like a black hole.

Westlake Legal Group jTVzX3HFWeZTNJJVtLESbU Black hole politics: Why no progress escapes DC's gravity Howard Kurtz fox-news/topic/green-new-deal fox-news/politics/executive/homeland-security fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc article 530eb39b-8946-5cd7-8f18-3af74e973108   Westlake Legal Group jTVzX3HFWeZTNJJVtLESbU Black hole politics: Why no progress escapes DC's gravity Howard Kurtz fox-news/topic/green-new-deal fox-news/politics/executive/homeland-security fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc article 530eb39b-8946-5cd7-8f18-3af74e973108

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Trump’s revolving door may not produce results, especially on immigration

Westlake Legal Group trumps-revolving-door-may-not-produce-results-especially-on-immigration Trump's revolving door may not produce results, especially on immigration Howard Kurtz fox-news/us/immigration/border-security fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/politics/executive/homeland-security fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc article 6231e6ed-9106-5e7c-93e3-bd93a4b941ef
Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-227948bfdb6a4638af250d72b4a75364 Trump's revolving door may not produce results, especially on immigration Howard Kurtz fox-news/us/immigration/border-security fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/politics/executive/homeland-security fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc article 6231e6ed-9106-5e7c-93e3-bd93a4b941ef

The list is growing longer.

Rex Tillerson, Jim Mattis, Jeff Sessions, John Kelly, Reince Priebus, Gary Cohn, Steve Bannon, Sean Spicer, H.R. McMaster, Bill Shine, Jim Comey, Tom Price, Ryan Zinke, Hope Hicks, Rob Porter, Don McGahn, Anthony Scaramucci, David Shulkin — oh, and Omarosa — all are gone from running major departments or senior White House posts.

And now Homeland Security’s Kirstjen Nielsen and Secret Service chief Randolph Alles have been pushed out as well.

Everyone knows it’s not easy working for President Trump, and that some high-profile appointees have left with their reputations scarred or at least diminished. When Trump isn’t happy with an aide’s performance, he can publicly lambaste that person — most famously in the case of Sessions — in an effort either to vent or nudge that person toward the exits.

The result, as the media are filled with stories about the latest “purge” — both the Washington Post and New York Times used that word — is a stunning rate of turnover.

Trump told reporters yesterday that he never said he was “cleaning house” at DHS and castigated asylum rules, chain migration and “open borders” Democrats.

TRUMP SAYS NO PLAN TO REVIVE FAMILY SEPARATIONS, BLAMES OBAMA FOR UPROAR

Just as reporters were being ushered out of the Oval, Trump said: “Just so you understand, President Obama separated the children … I’m the one that stopped it.” (Whatever the policy’s roots in the Obama years, it was Trump’s zero-tolerance approach that turned the separations into a crisis breaking up thousands of migrant families — and shows how stung he was by the coverage. Trump also said, contrary to media reports, he’s not looking to resume family separations.)

Here’s the thing about the personnel shakeup: they’re all staff. And they serve, in that worn-out phrase, “at the pleasure of the president.”

If Trump was pushing to liberalize immigration policy, as many in the media prefer, and was firing top officials who weren’t getting that done, the coverage would be very different.

But the more the president is depicted as pushing for harsh and heartless solutions to the border crisis, the more he is seen as unloading those who can’t make it happen — even when they run up against legal or practical constraints.

2020 CANDIDATES, JOURNALISTS PUSHED TWEET FALSELY CLAIMING TRUMP CALLED ASYLUM SEEKERS ‘ANIMALS’

The Washington Post reported on “a series of head-spinning departures … senior DHS officials remained in a fog about the fate of their agency’s leaders, expecting more firings as part of a widening purge,” and quoted one as saying: “They are decapitating the entire department.”

The New York Times, citing the growing influence of White House hard-liner Stephen Miller, said “some of the president’s allies complained that he was going too far, taking out subordinates who actually share his goals on immigration at the prodding of White House aides hunting for scapegoats for the failure to control the border as he has promised to do.”

But while some of those exiled from the administration get the bum’s rush, others do not.

As Politico points out, invoking the former head of the SBA, “Kirstjen Nielsen got a 21-word tweet. Linda McMahon got a 13-minute lovefest.”

A few people have gotten a nice sendoff, including Hicks and Nikki Haley. Sessions would be at the other extreme.

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Kelly, whose departure had been the subject of constant media speculation, got his discharge in December when Trump stopped in front of White House reporters and announced the news, preempting a planned formal announcement. Months earlier, Trump had said his chief of staff would be staying through 2020. His successor, Mick Mulvaney, has only an acting title.

That same month, Mattis was pushed into resigning after Trump said he was pulling all American troops from Syria. But when the Pentagon chief wrote a strongly worded resignation letter, the president said he had essentially fired him.

The president is entitled to have the team he wants, even if that turns the White House gate into a revolving door. But on a subject as intractable as illegal immigration, that doesn’t necessarily change the outcome.

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-227948bfdb6a4638af250d72b4a75364 Trump's revolving door may not produce results, especially on immigration Howard Kurtz fox-news/us/immigration/border-security fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/politics/executive/homeland-security fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc article 6231e6ed-9106-5e7c-93e3-bd93a4b941ef   Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-227948bfdb6a4638af250d72b4a75364 Trump's revolving door may not produce results, especially on immigration Howard Kurtz fox-news/us/immigration/border-security fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/politics/executive/homeland-security fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc article 6231e6ed-9106-5e7c-93e3-bd93a4b941ef

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Worst of both worlds: Trump ousts Kirstjen Nielsen, media hammer her

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Westlake Legal Group ap18002800474878 Worst of both worlds: Trump ousts Kirstjen Nielsen, media hammer her Howard Kurtz fox-news/politics/executive/homeland-security fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc article 27ba1baa-de5a-5eef-a787-ccc524c2bb1d

The Mexican border, an issue that helped get Donald Trump elected, continues to bedevil his presidency.

One quote from my book “Media Madness,” uttered privately before the midterms, has always resonated with me.

Steve Bannon told the president: “Don’t think you’re getting away without building a wall. You said it too many times at too many rallies. Nancy Pelosi will get the House. They’re going to swear themselves in and [blanking] impeach you.”

He was right about Pelosi, though impeachment clearly isn’t happening. But Bannon’s larger point was that the wall and border security is so crucial to Donald Trump’s base that he can’t survive unless he does everything in his power to deliver on his promise.

That’s why Trump triggered the 35-day government shutdown, that’s why he declared a national emergency to get wall funding, that’s why he threatened to close the border last week before backing off.

NEW ACTING DHS BOSS HAS LONG RECORD IN BORDER SECURITY

And that’s why he forced Kirstjen Nielsen out of her job.

The Homeland Security secretary walked into a meeting with the president Sunday night expecting to stay on the job and walked out unable to get her resignation letter out before he tweeted the news. That’s not a voluntary departure. (Yesterday’s firing of Secret Service chief Randolph Alles adds fuel to what The New York Times is calling a “purge.”)

In the end, she got the worst of both worlds. She will forever be defined as the Cabinet member who presided over the forced separation of migrant children from their families, leading to such devastating worldwide reaction that Trump was forced to abandon the policy. And yet the president did not deem her tough enough on illegal immigration.

READ HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY KIRSTJEN NIELSEN’S RESIGNATION LETTER

In fact, based on reports from CNN and NBC, Trump wants to reinstate the family separation approach, and Nielsen’s resistance to that may have been the final straw. She had asked for Sunday’s sitdown.

“Mr. Trump in recent weeks had asked Ms. Nielsen to close the ports of entry along the border and to stop accepting asylum seekers, which Ms. Nielsen found ineffective and inappropriate,” the Times says. “While the 30-minute meeting was cordial, Mr. Trump was determined to ask for her resignation. After the meeting, she submitted it.”

Most pundits expected Nielsen to be dumped after the midterms, especially after the departure of her mentor, chief of staff John Kelly, who previously ran Homeland Security and pushed her for the post. But then her position seemed to stabilize.

In a possible harbinger, Lou Dobbs, the Fox Business host who speaks privately with Trump, called for Nielsen’s firing on his show nearly two weeks ago.

More from the Times: “The president called Ms. Nielsen at home early in the mornings to demand that she take action to stop migrants from entering the country, including doing things that were clearly illegal, such as blocking all migrants from seeking asylum. She repeatedly noted the limitations imposed on her department by federal laws, court settlements and international obligations.

Those responses only infuriated Mr. Trump further.”

Plus: “Multiple White House officials said she had grown deeply paranoid in recent months, after numerous stories about her job being on the line.”

It was a bit sad watching Nielsen briefly talk to reporters staked out at her Alexandria home yesterday, thanking the president, offering no hint of their disagreements and taking no questions.

But the press had little sympathy for Nielsen. A Times editorial said she “enforced cruelty at the border.”

CNN’s Jeff Toobin said Nielsen will be remembered as “the woman who put children in cages.”

The Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky: “Kirstjen Nielsen Was Heartless, But Not Heartless Enough for Trump.”

But if she is forever defined by the 2018 breakup of families, Nielsen was not an ardent advocate. She “hesitated for weeks about whether to sign a memo ordering the routine separation of migrant children from their families so that the parents could be detained,” the Times says. Yet it was she who got hammered at Hill hearings when she had to defend the policy.

Trump will name Customs and Border Protection chief Kevin McAleenan, said to be more of a hard-liner, as her acting successor.

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The stakes for the president are laid out in a Washington Post piece that also includes his on again, off again assault on ObamaCare:

“Trump’s dark warnings pose a central conundrum for his reelection effort: Can he win the White House a second time by railing against the very problems he promised to fix?”

That hearkens back to Bannon’s warning to Trump about the border and the wall as the key to 2020 — and explains why Kirstjen Nielsen is about to become a private citizen.

Westlake Legal Group ap18002800474878 Worst of both worlds: Trump ousts Kirstjen Nielsen, media hammer her Howard Kurtz fox-news/politics/executive/homeland-security fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc article 27ba1baa-de5a-5eef-a787-ccc524c2bb1d   Westlake Legal Group ap18002800474878 Worst of both worlds: Trump ousts Kirstjen Nielsen, media hammer her Howard Kurtz fox-news/politics/executive/homeland-security fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc article 27ba1baa-de5a-5eef-a787-ccc524c2bb1d

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Why Speaker Pelosi and President Trump aren’t making a deal

For the moment, at least, both sides would rather have the issue.

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-5b85891b5e114745b5e2c78b1373a578 Why Speaker Pelosi and President Trump aren't making a deal Howard Kurtz fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/leadership fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc article a60a3a4d-a65e-568d-ba5e-85ccc986d1b3

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Op-ed assault: Romney rips Trump despite embracing him at times

Mitt Romney was so anxious to launch his Washington career with an anti-Trump hand grenade that he couldn’t even wait until he was sworn in.

Westlake Legal Group Mitt-Romney Op-ed assault: Romney rips Trump despite embracing him at times Howard Kurtz fox-news/politics/senate/republicans fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc d5a2c45f-de60-5a90-a2df-2829b20f3a2e article

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