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Interior Department pays $139,000 to fix doors in Ryan Zinke’s office

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The U.S. Department of Interior spent $139,000 to fix three sets of doors in Secretary Ryan Zinke’s office, a spokeswoman said on Thursday, a move quickly criticized as wasteful by activists.

Interior spokeswoman Heather Swift said that the project to fix the three double doors was requested by career facilities and security officials as part of a decade-long overhaul of the historic building, which was completed in 1936.

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Zinke “was not aware of this contract but agrees that this is a lot of money for demo, install, materials, and labor,” Swift said in an email about the work, first reported by the Associated Press.

 
Joe Nassar, the director of Interior’s office of facilities, said the work was needed to stop water from coming into Zinke’s office during rain storms, which was damaging wooden floors in the office. Nassar said bottom panels of the old doors had been temporarily fixed with cardboard and duct tape and were replaced by fiberglass doors with new locks.

Swift blamed the cost of the fix on rules for historic preservation and procurement.

Environmentalists decried the expense, which was more than double the median U.S. household income in 2017, according to the Census Bureau.

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Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, said, “Taxpayer dollars don’t grow on trees, but Mr. Zinke and his fellow grifters in the Trump administration repeatedly raid the federal treasury like it does.” 

 
Zinke is being investigated by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel on whether be violated the Hatch Act, which bars executive branch employees from engaging in political activity, when he gave a speech to a professional hockey team owned by a political donor last year.

He is also being investigated by the Interior Department’s inspector general in connection with travels and the use of private charter flights.

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Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Cynthia Osterman


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Black carbon from air pollution found in placentas: study

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Black carbon particles typically emitted by vehicle exhaust and coal-fired power plants have been detected on the foetus-facing side of placentas, researchers said Tuesday.

The concentration of particles was highest in the placentas of women most exposed to airborn pollutants in their daily life, according to a study in Nature Communications.

"Our study provides compelling evidence for the presence of black carbon particles originating from air pollution in human placenta," the authors said.

The findings, they added, offer a "plausible explanation for the detrimental health effects of pollution from early life onwards."

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‘You’re a witness — act like it’: Congresswoman owns Lewandowski when he tries to filibuster

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Corey Lewandowski had a difficult time debating Democrats who treated him like a hostile witness in a Congressional hearing Tuesday. When he tried to go off on a tangent and complaint, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) wasn't having it.

"We’re seeing a pattern of the president doing anything and everything to hide his misconduct from Congress and from the American people," she said. "The president tried to get you to deliver a secret message to the attorney general, all in an attempt to prevent the special counsel from exposing the president’s own misconduct. As soon as the special counsel published his report and the president’s misconduct was exposed, the president tried to cover that up, too. Isn’t it true that the president has repeatedly tried to discredit your and other witnesses’ testimony to the special counsel in the published report?"

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Edward Snowden responds after Trump DOJ sues whistleblower over new memoir the US government ‘does not want you to read’

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The Justice Department filed suit the day Snowden's memoir Permanent Record was published.

Citing what First Amendment advocates have called an "unconstitutional" system of controlling what federal employees can and cannot say about their work, President Donald Trump's Justice Department on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden over the publication of his new memoir.

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