MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow has had much to say this week about Republicans and the vetting process. And having chastised the GOP over domestic violence allegations involving former Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, Maddow turned her attention to Vice President Mike Pence and another “vetting disaster” on Wednesday night — taking him to task for failing to vet his former national security advisor, Andrea L. Thompson (now serving as undersecretary of state for arms control and international security affairs).
Maddow noted that Thompson has had close relationships with admitted Russia agent Maria Butina as well as with Butina’s boyfriend, veteran GOP activist Paul Erickson — and that Thompson’s connection to Butina and Erickson was detailed by the Washington Post’s Josh Rogin in a June 19 report.
“The Marina Butina story is just nuts,” Maddow asserted, describing Butina’s connection to Russian government officials and her efforts to infiltrate and influence the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the Republican Party in favor of Russia. Maddow, describing Rogin’s Post report, noted that in June 2017, Butina “turned up at the wedding of Mike Pence’s national advisor” — and Erickson “was officiating the wedding.”
In the spring 2018, Maddow recalled, the U.S. Senate held confirmation hearings for Thompson, who had been nominated for undersecretary of state for arms control and international security affairs. And despite the fact that former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation was in full swing and Erickson was being investigated for allegedly trying to establish “secret backchannels to the Kremlin,” Maddow explained, Thompson’s connection to Butina and Erickson wasn’t even discussed at the confirmation hearings.
Maddow explained that as part of the position Thompson was nominated for, “you negotiate with Russia. You negotiate with the Russians on arms control treaties. That’s your job.” And Thompson, Maddow added, “never disclosed” to the Senate her ties to Butina or her husband, Wilbert H. Frazier’s Russian ties.
In his Washington Post article, Rogin pointed out, “To be clear, Thompson’s connections with Erickson are not a crime, and Erickson is innocent until proven guilty.”
Butina has been sentenced to 18 months in prison and will be deported back to Russia after serving her time.
Trump is ‘a soulless man with a broken mind’: George Conway calls out his wife’s boss in scathing op-ed
George Conway, the prominent Republican attorney married to White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, blasted his wife's boss in a new Washington Post op-ed published online on Friday evening.
"Until three brief months ago, President Trump never faced a serious crisis, at least one not of his own making. But now he has faced two, and is failing two, in short order: the covid-19 pandemic, with its concomitant economic devastation; and now social unrest, and rioting, stemming from the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody," Conway wrote. "Lacking in humanity, Trump has had no idea how to handle either one."
Fox News triggers outrage with graphic comparing how much stocks have risen after racist tragedies
On Friday, Fox News displayed a graph that appeared to compare the amount the stock market has risen in the week after various racial tragedies, including the assassination of Martin Luther King, the beating of Rodney King, the Ferguson incident, and the death of George Floyd.
2. Here’s the video of the graphic as it aired on Fox News this evening. pic.twitter.com/Iww2DnzkkI
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) June 5, 2020
Bill Barr denies giving the order to gas protesters for Trump photo-op
America's top law enforcement office on Friday denied giving the highly-controversial order to gas protesters prior to a photo-op with President Donald Trump holding a Bible.
"Attorney General William Barr says law enforcement officers were already moving to push back protesters from a park in front of the White House when he arrived there Monday evening, and he says he did not give a command to disperse the crowd, though he supported the decision," The Associated Press reports.
"Barr’s comments in an interview with The Associated Press on Friday were his most detailed explanation yet of what unfolded outside the White House earlier this week. They come after the White House and others said repeatedly that the attorney general ordered officers to clear the park," the AP reported. "Shortly after officers aggressively pushed back demonstrators, President Donald Trump — accompanied by Barr, Pentagon leaders and other top advisers — walked through Lafayette Park to pose for a photo at a nearby church that had been damaged during the protests."