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Homeland Security is ‘vulnerable to manipulation,’ cannot resist Trump’s ‘worst impulses’: National security experts

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Writing for Politico, Georgetown Law professor Carrie Cordero and national security historian Garrett Graff argue that the Department of Homeland Security, as it exists today, does not have the institutional culture necessary to check President Donald Trump’s “worst impulses” and is “vulnerable to manipulation.”

“Unlike the DOJ and FBI, which have powerful and long-held traditions of independence from White House control, DHS, in some ways, was specifically designed to be responsive to political concerns,” they explain. “Whereas the Justice Department’s leader, the attorney general, is meant to be the executive branch’s final authority on the Constitution and the rule of law and is traditionally politically independent — adherence to the law is in the department’s genetic DNA — the DHS secretary is meant to respond to the president’s direction on national security priorities, a realm where the president is traditionally given far more leeway than in ‘rule of law’ issues.”

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This is problematic, they write, because DHS has a sprawling mandate ranging from border security to airports to financial crime to drug interdiction. It’s also a massive department — the 45,000-strong force of Customs and Border Protection alone is “three times the number of armed law enforcement at the FBI and even more gun-carrying personnel than the Coast Guard, the nation’s smallest military branch.” (The Coast Guard itself is also part of DHS, as are the 20,000-strong agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the nearly 5,000 of the Secret Service.)

Unlike FBI Director Christopher Wray, they note, “the two DHS secretaries under Donald Trump—specifically John Kelly and [Kirstjen] Nielsen—did not insulate their workforce from politicization,” using DHS officials in photo-ops. The unions representing CBP and ICE even endorsed Trump.

This is why, they note, Nielsen became the face of the president’s family separation policy — and why Trump’s newest effort to purge the agency and staff it with fresh loyalists, and even offer pardons to his acting officials if they break the law in service to him, has the potential to do so much harm.

“Until Congress gathers the political will to confront these presidential attempts to break the law, we must hope that the next round of DHS’s leadership is strong enough to resist his next ill-conceived order and focus on protecting the DHS workforce from further exploitation and enforcing the law justly,” they conclude. But they offer little reason to hope this will happen.

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‘Brett Kavanaugh’s penis is back in the news’: Bill Maher breaks down the latest Supreme Court scandal

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HBO "Real Time" host Bill Maher broke down the latest scandal facing the United States Supreme Court.

"Brett Kavanaugh's penis is back in the news," Maher said. "The New York Times kind of tripped over his dick on this one."

Maher suggested the report reflects poorly on Kavanaugh's manhood.

"The problem is the woman, the victim, has no recollection of it happening -- which isn't really a ringing endorsement of his penis," Maher said.

Watch:

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‘It’s all up to Republicans’: Columnist wonders when the GOP will stand up to Trump

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President Donald Trump's burgeoning scandal with Ukraine has one columnist wondering when Republicans will put country before party.

"I was going to write today about how House Democrats are handling the impeachment question. But the truth is, it’s largely irrelevant. As long as Republicans are united in opposition, President Donald Trump will stay in office," Bloomberg Opinion columnist Jonathan Bernstein wrote. "That’s not to say that there aren’t bad and worse choices for Democrats, but they’re not the ones who have the real decision to make."

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Kellyanne Conway’s husband scorches Democrats for not impeaching Trump in blistering WaPo op-ed

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President Donald Trump has been "emboldened" by congressional inaction, according to a powerful new op-ed published Friday evening by The Washington Post.

The bipartisan appeal was written by prominent Republican attorney George Conway, who is the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, and Neal Katyal, who served as the acting Solicitor General during the Obama administration.

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