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‘Trump seems to have mistaken ethics waivers for pardons’: Bush lawyer blasts possible violation of ethics rules

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When the White House gave waivers to lobbyists to allow them to enter the revolving door of the political swamp, they may have violated ethics rules themselves.

According to a New York Times report, the waivers may have skirted federal ethics rules for Steve Bannon. The exemption allowed White House aides to communicate with Breitbart News. In fact, the White House issued an exemption that allows all aides to communicate with all news organizations even if they were “a former employer.”

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The move comes in the wake of anonymous leaks coming from the president’s own staffers.

The concern was not with the waiver it was that the waiver was “retroactive.”

“There is no such thing as a retroactive waiver,” said Walter M. Shaub Jr., the head of the Government Ethics Office. “If you need a retroactive waiver, you have violated a rule.”

The ethics office also pressed the administration to make the waivers public. Doing so revealed possibly conflicts with new Trump aides and their government duties. One of Trump’s first executive orders was to put strict ethics rules in place for political appointees like Bannon and others. That policy restricted Bannon from contacting Breitbart workers for two years about issues he was overseeing, however, Bannon continued his contact in violation. Breitbart has experienced a striking drop in traffic since Trump officially took office.

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It prompted an official complaint by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington to be filed with the ethics office. Breitbart has enjoyed special treatment in the White House with official press access as a media organization.

In another case, Kellyanne Conway acted “inadvertently” when she promoted the Ivanka Trump brand on Fox News while standing inside the White House and speaking as a spokesperson for the White House.

Don Fox, the general counsel of the ethics office explained in 2010 “waivers and authorizations must be issued prospectively in order to be valid.” Evaluating the waivers is one of the more serious and significant duties of the office, he explained.

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“Both the individual employee’s interests and those of the government are best served when this process is carried out in a careful and consistent manner,” he said.

Shaub noted that he’s not even sure if they can evaluate a waiver because it was issued after the conduct othrewise prohibited.

“The only retroactive waiver I have ever heard of is called a pardon,” said George W. Bush’s White House Counsel Richard W. Painter.

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Trump unleashes bizarre stream of gobbledygook when reporter asks him to describe his health care plan

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President Donald Trump has vowed multiple times over the past two-and-a-half years to unveil his own replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act, but so far no actual plan has come to light.

As noted by CNN fact checker Daniel Dale, Trump was asked by a reporter in New Hampshire this week to describe his health care plan, and the president responded with a stream of gobbledygook.

"So, we have a great plan coming out," the president began when asked about his plan. "It's going to be -- if we can take back the House because we're not going to get the Democrats to vote for it, because they're doing Medicare for all, which is going to take away your freedom, take away your doctors, take away everything that you should be able to have, and most importantly, it's going to take away -- we have 180 million people right now that have private insurance and they love it, and all of that's going to be taken away. It's absolute craziness."

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Ex-Obama speechwriter humiliates Ted Cruz for whining about NYT’s racism coverage

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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Tuesday got more than he bargained for when he went after former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau, who had criticized the senator for complaining about the New York Times' "1619 Project."

After Cruz accused the Times of trying to foment division in the United States by shining a light on the legacy of slavery and racism in the country, Favreau hit back at him for relying on right-wing propaganda websites instead of actual news sources.

"Ted Cruz picking a bad faith media bias fight with the New York Times and then retweeting all of the glowing coverage from right-wing propaganda sites is literally everything you need to know about Ted Cruz," Favreau wrote.

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Trump thought his racist attacks would be a winner — but it looks like they’re backfiring: poll

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President Donald Trump managed to win a narrow electoral victory in 2016 despite displays of virulent racism, from saying a Hispanic judge can't be fair to calling Mexicans rapists to doubling down on his belief that the Central Park Five were guilty.

With the 2020 election around the corner, Trump seems to be betting on the idea that he won because of these racist episodes, and so is continuing to lob them, telling Democratic congresswomen of color to "go back" where they came from and whipping up his base with talk of immigrants as an "invasion."

But as GQ noted on Tuesday, a new poll shows that Trump's strategy may be a big mistake.

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