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‘Waiting for the guillotine’: Another Trump official reportedly expected to be fired as John Kelly gets kicked out

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With White House Chief of Staff John Kelly heading for the exit — though perhaps a bit later than initially planned — President Donald Trump is preparing for more staff shake-ups, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Unsurprisingly, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen appears to be the most vulnerable. Kelly handpicked Nielsen as his replacement when he left DHS, and multiple reports have made clear that he has continued to protect her even as the president has grown increasingly frustrated with her job performance.

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Without Kelly around, Nielsen’s remaining days in the administration are sure to be brief.

“People there are waiting for the guillotine,” a former DHS official told the Journal.

Before the midterm elections, multiple reports suggested there would soon be many top-level departures in the administration — which has already had a spectacularly high rate of turnover as it is. But so far, the firings of Jeff Sessions and John Kelly have been the most significant changes to the administration since the midterms. Don McGahn, former White House counsel, was forced out before the elections.

According to the Journal, staffing up the White House Counsel’s office is a major priority as the newly elected Democratic House majority plans for expansive investigations of the president and the White House.

Deeply troubling reports about Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke had driven speculation that he would soon be leaving as well. But as the furor around his alleged misdeeds has subsided, so too have calls for his removal.

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Catholic peaders promised transparency about child abuse — but they haven’t delivered

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It took 40 years and three bouts of cancer for Larry Giacalone to report his claim of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of a Boston priest named Richard Donahue.

Giacalone sued Donahue in 2017, alleging the priest molested him in 1976, when Giacalone was 12 and Donahue was serving at Sacred Heart Parish. The lawsuit never went to trial, but a compensation program set up by the archdiocese concluded that Giacalone “suffered physical injuries and emotional injuries as a result of physical abuse” and directed the archdiocese to pay him $73,000.

Even after the claim was settled and the compensation paid in February 2019, however, the archdiocese didn’t publish Donahue’s name on its list of accused priests. Nor did it three months later when Giacalone’s lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian, criticized the church publicly for not adding Donahue’s name to the list.

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Mike Pompeo’s behavior is straight out of Nixon VP’s playbook: historians

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s expletive-laden dust-up with NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly is on message for the Trump-led Republican Party. Complaining that Kelly’s question about Ukraine was “another example of how unhinged the media has become in its quest to hurt President Trump and this Administration,” Pompeo has rallied the Republican base by slamming a journalist doing her job.

Whether he knows it or not, Pompeo is drawing from a playbook written a half century ago and perfected by a politician once voted the worst vice president in American history. Secretary Mike Pompeo, meet Vice President Spiro Agnew.

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‘Our chances of ever exiting the nightmare are shrinking’: Paul Krugman explains how the GOP is getting worse

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It is a great detriment to civil discourse that the divide between left and right in the United States is often depicted as being purely cultural — as if one’s politics were solely mediated by aesthetics, such as whether one prefers shooting guns or drinking lattes. This fabulist understanding of politics is harmful inasmuch as it masks the real social effects of the policy agendas pushed by left versus right. Seeing politics as aesthetic transforms what should be a quantitative debate — with statistics and numbers about taxation and public policy, questions of who benefits more or less from policy changes — and devolves it into a rhetorical debate over values.

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