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Trump’s ‘sluggish’ pace filling federal jobs is making US more vulnerable to terror attacks

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The U.S. effort to fight and prevent terrorism is being seriously hampered by President Donald Trump’s sluggish hiring of federal officials, particularly in the U.S. State Department and FBI.

A Sunday night report from Politico pointed to the record number of “vacancies across the government,” federal jobs that Trump has not bothered to fill. No U.S. presidential administration in history has taken this long to staff critical national security and law enforcement positions.

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“Top ranks at the State Department remain largely unfilled, as are some key ambassadorships. Trump has not named anyone to lead the Transportation Security Administration, which screens people at airports, or to run the Homeland Security office charged with protecting the country’s physical and cyber infrastructure,” wrote Politico’s Andrew Restuccia. “His choice to lead the Federal Emergency Management Agency is awaiting Senate confirmation, but Trump has not named a deputy.”

Trump has yet to name an Assistant Attorney General of National Security at the Justice Department, nor has he named a deputy at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Trump has yet to nominate a director for the National Counterterrorism Center and there is still the pressing question of a permanent director for the FBI.

These vacancies form critical blind spots in the nation’s ability to fight foreign and domestic terrorism.

“This is a team sport,” Max Stier — the head of the nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service — told Politico. “It’s critical to have a full team.”

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However, the chaotic nature of Trump’s White House, his many grudges against political figures who were critical of him during the campaign, and the unprecedented number of factionalized leaks pouring out of the administration have slowed hiring to a crawl.

Bedeviled by scandals and frequently appearing to skirt the edges of legality, Trump’s White House is finding that principled legal minds don’t want to work for the administration. In fact, many attorneys are avoiding Trump “like the plague,” according to reports.

“The leadership vacuum across the federal government has at times kept Trump from meeting promises made before he took office,” wrote Restuccia. “He blew past a 90-day deadline to craft an anti-hacking strategy, with no clarity on who was in charge of the issue.”

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While some officials believe that the nation would respond well in the short term to a terror attack — thanks to career professionals Trump has been unable to purge from key agencies — but problems would arise as the administration tries to recalibrate to new threats.

“In terms of an immediate response to an attack, the agencies will probably do fine,” said former State Department counter-terror coordinator under President Barack Obama Daniel Benjamin. “The real problems come later, when the administration has to readjust strategy to deal with the threat, do the hard work of figuring out if there was a vulnerability in some security or immigration system, and then remedy it.”

Thus far, Trump’s administration has yet to pass a single piece of successful legislation. Its executive order banning travelers from certain Muslim countries has been shot down repeatedly by federal courts. Trump is reportedly considering a major staff shake-up at the White House even as hundreds of positions remain unfilled in other areas of the government.

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Dem lawmaker encourages acting-DNI to ignore White House and deliver the whistleblower report directly to Congress

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Appearing on CNN on Friday morning to discuss an alarming whistleblower report on Donald Trump's actions that the president's administration is withholding from Congress, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) encouraged the acting Director of National Intelligence to hand the report over and ignore the administration.

Speaking with CNN host Jim Sciutto, Swalwell made a direct appeal to acting-DNI head Joseph Maguire.

"This is an opportunity for Republicans and Democrats to unite and say, we don't want this in our democracy," Swalwell explained. "You know, that's why I wrote the Protecting Our Democracy Act, to, you know, have a bipartisan commission look at this."

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‘Time for a new special counsel’: Ex-DOJ inspector general calls for formal probe of Trump-Ukraine calls

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A veteran law enforcement official called for a new special counsel investigation of President Donald Trump's communications with the Ukrainian president.

An intelligence official filed a whistleblower complaint against the president, and speculation has begun to focus the report concerns Trump's efforts to pressure Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden in exchange for U.S. aid -- and former Justice Department official Michael Bromwich called for a formal probe.

"Time for a new Special Counsel," Bromwich tweeted.

Bromwich -- inspector general for the Department of Justice from 1994-1999, former assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and associate counsel in the Office of Independent Counsel for Iran-Contra -- was responding to a summation of the allegations against Trump.

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Defiant Trump tells reporters ‘it doesn’t matter what I discussed’ with Ukrainian PM — then smears Joe Biden

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A defiant President Donald Trump said on Friday that whatever he told Ukraine's prime minister about seeking dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden wasn't important.

As reported by CNN's Jim Acosta, the president told reporters in the Oval Office that "it doesn’t matter what I discussed" recently with Ukrainian Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk, and then pivoted to attacking Biden.

"Someone ought to look into Joe Biden," the president said.

In Oval, Trump tells reporters when asked about Ukraine and whistleblower “it doesn’t matter what i discussed” and adds “someone ought to look into Joe Biden” (per WH pool).

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