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John Bolton caught using a ‘shadow’ council to funnel new personnel into the White House

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Donald Trump’s third national security adviser John Bolton has a group of associates outside the White House some call the “shadow” National Security Council for their influential role in shaping the adviser’s operations within the administration.

The New York Times reported Monday that Bolton’s “shadow NSC” includes Charles M. Kupperman, a former official in the Ronald Reagan administration that currently holds a temporary leadership position on the council. Three other Bolton associates — Frederick H. Fleitz, Sarah Tinsley and David Wurmser — are also in consideration for jobs on the NSC as well.

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After being hired in March to replace H.R. McMaster, Bolton, the Times noted, “engaged in his own speeded-up transition process” with the help of his outside advisers. They work out of downtown D.C. offices associated with the adviser’s various conservative political organizations, and help provide advice on the NSC’s operations as well as assisting in vetting “prospective new hires for views that would be compatible with his own.”

Bolton’s use of temporary and informal advisers “has raised concerns among government watchdog organizations and N.S.C. veterans and scholars, who say it raises questions of conflicts of interest, and creates an echo chamber of identical views with little room for dissent at the agency charged with coordinating policy throughout the government’s military, foreign policy and intelligence communities and synthesizing the best advice for the president.”

One such associate is Matthew C. Freedman, a conservative operative Bolton met in the 1980’s considered to be the most influential of all the “shadow NSC” members.

“After his early foray in government,” the Times reported, “Mr. Freedman went on to become a foreign lobbyist working with Paul Manafort in the 1980s and 1990s for sometimes unsavory but well-paying foreign leaders, including Ferdinand Marcos, the Philippine strongman.”

Freedman also worked on the Trump transition team, but was kicked off after he used an email address from one of his lobbying jobs to conduct government business. He interviewed potential NSC hires from one of Bolton’s DC offices, and has reportedly been a driving factor behind massive firings at the NSC since Bolton took over as national security adviser — an allegation Freedman denies.

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‘How dare you’: Pastor infected with coronavirus slams faith leaders who kept their churches open

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A California pastor is urging other religious leaders to heed lockdown orders and keep their churches closed during the coronavirus pandemic. Reverend Johnnie Clark with Word Assembly Church in East Oakland says it's a matter of life and death -- something he's familiar with since he's now recovering from the virus.

Clark says he misses the church he's been preaching at for 15 years, which has been empty since March when the lockdown orders started, Fox 9 reports.

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Pennsylvania Dem unloads on GOPers who pushed to reopen as they hid colleague’s COVID-19 infection

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Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Sims (D) lashed out at Republican lawmakers who remained silent after testing positive for COVID-19.

Democrats this week accused Republicans of withholding information after Rep. Andrew Lewis (R) tested positive for the virus.

"It's been a week, perhaps longer, that House Republican leadership knew that at least one of their members had tested positive for COVID-19," Sims explained in a Facebook post. "But they didn't go on quarantine until they were done serving alongside us, especially those of us that serve on the State Government Committee."

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‘Art of the Deal’ ghostwriter: ‘Psychopath’ Trump is ‘driven by an insatiable narcissistic hunger’ and an obsessive ‘need to dominate’

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President Ronald Reagan, in the 1980s, famously asserted that someone who agreed with him 70% of the time was a 70% ally and not a 30% enemy. But President Donald Trump, on the other hand, is furious if someone disagrees with him even on rare occasions. Author Tony Schwartz, who co-wrote or ghost-wrote Trump’s famous 1987 book, “The Art of the Deal,” analyzes Trump’s mentality in a May 28 article for Medium — stressing that the president is motivated, above all else, by a “need to dominate.”

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