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Housing official claims she was punished for opposing Ben Carson’s fancy office redecoration

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A senior career official says she was demoted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and replaced by a Trump appointee after refusing to break the law to approve an expensive redecoration of secretary Ben Carson’s office.

Helen Foster claims she faced retaliation for exposing a $10 million budget shortfall and for protesting that she was prevented from handling sensitive information because she was believed to be a Democrat, reported The Guardian.

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The 47-year-old Foster filed a complaint with the office of special counsel, which is not related to Robert Mueller’s investigation, alleging that HUD officials violated whistleblower laws, and she seeks a public apology, compensatory damages and reinstatement as the department’s chief administrative officer.

Foster notified department officials that planned improvements to Carson’s suite at HUD headquarters exceeded federal spending limits, and she says colleagues told her “$5,000 will not even buy a decent chair.”

The official says she had been asked a week before Trump’s inauguration by acting HUD director Craig Clemmensen to help Carson’s wife, Candy, get funding to redecorate the incoming secretary’s office.

Foster said she told the acting director about a statutory spending limit of $5,000, but she said Clemmensen told her previous administrations had found ways to flout the law.

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Clemmensen repeatedly ordered her to “‘find money’ for Mrs. Carson,” according to the complaint, and Foster said she eventually complained to HUD’s budget director.

Foster oversaw the department’s Freedom of Information Act office as part of her duties, but she complains that she’d been barred from handling a pair of requests related to a former event planner for the Trump family who had been appointed to a job with HUD.


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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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