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Trump whistleblower protection office under investigation — for retaliating against whistleblowers: report

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An office created by President Donald Trump to protect military whistleblowers is apparently doing the opposite — and is now the subject of an inspector general investigation.

Government Executive reported Tuesday that the Veterans Affairs IG is probing whether the agency’s Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection retaliated against whistleblowers.

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“It’s a crooked system where literally the fox is guarding the hen house,” Jay DeNofrio, an administrative officer at a VA facility in Pennsylvania, told GovExec.

DeNofrio, the report noted, had been a whistleblower prior to the office’s creation by Trump in 2017 when he reported a VA doctor who he said was losing mental capacity and potentially putting veterans at risk.

According to him, the OAWP “coordinated with VA headquarters to find blemishes on his own record after he reported wrongdoing. When questioning his coworkers after he blew the whistle, DeNofrio said the office told them he “does not walk on water” in spite of his protected status and that they should report him for “any instances of poor behavior.”

Dan Martin, an engineer at a VA facility in Indiana, said the agency’s inspector general had him secretly record conversations when he blew the whistle in 2016 — but it wasn’t until OAWP got involved that “supervisors became aware of that cooperation.”

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“OAWP set me up,” Martin told GovExec. “They incentivized [my facility] to go after me.”

As the report noted, the office was initially touted by the Trump administration and bipartisan legislators as a means to protect and prioritize whistleblowers.

At one point, the president even said that the OAWP “protects whistleblowers who do the right thing.”

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“We want to reward, cherish, and promote the many dedicated employees at the VA,” Trump said when he signed the bill that created the agency.

The website, meanwhile, spoke with three VA employees who said they’d been interviewed by the IG about the office.

Read more reports of the office’s retaliation via Government Executive.

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New testimony adds 2 stunning — and previously unknown — details about the Ukraine extortion

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New testimony released Monday from the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation of the Ukraine scandal included at least two new stunning details about the quid pro quo scheme at the heart of the matter.

Overall, the transcripts for depositions of Catherine Croft and Christopher Anderson, who were advisers to U.S. envoy Kurt Volker, built on the story of that we already know: that President Donald Trump pushed a shadow foreign policy to pressure Ukraine into investigating his political opponents, a scheme that involved using his office and military aid as leverage over the country in opposition to the official policy.

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Trump blasted for his ‘Endorsement of Doom’ after Sean Spicer loses on ‘Dancing with the Stars’

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Team Trump had gone all in urging supporters to vote for former White House press secretary Sean Spicer on the game show "Dancing with the Stars."

Votes had been urged by RNC officials and Trump himself had urged his 66 million Twitter followers to vote for Spicer.

Despite the full heft of the Trump campaign, Spicer lost on Monday's show.

Trump deleted his failed tweet urging votes for Spicer -- and instead said it was a "great try" by his former advisor.

Looks like this endorsement was as successful as your last one!

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‘He’s misunderstood’: Nikki Haley tells Fox News how Trump is actually a really good listener

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Former Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley defended President Donald Trump during a Monday appearance with Fox News personality Sean Hannity.

Hannity asked the former South Carolina governor if Trump was "misunderstood."

"I do think he’s misunderstood," Haley replied.

"I can tell you, from the first day to the last day that I worked for the president, he always listened, he was always conscious of hearing other voices, allowing people to debate out the issues, and then he made his decision," Haley claimed.

She argued that, "I saw a president that was very thoughtful, looked at all of the issues, made decisions, and it was a pleasure and honor to work with him."

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