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Trump administration officials fear the White House counsel is enabling the president’s worst impulses

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President Donald Trump’s new White House counsel has pleased his boss by finding legal justifications for some of his worst instincts, instead of tapping the brakes like his predecessor.

Pat Cipollone took over for Don McGahn six months ago, and he’s turned his office into a central hub in the White House and ingratiated himself with the president, who fondly calls him “Mr. Attorney,” reported Politico.

The 53-year-old former corporate lawyer — part of the so-called “Catholic mafia” that’s gained influence in the Trump administration — is godfather to one of Fox News host Laura Ingraham’s children, and she recruited Cipollone to help Trump prepare for a 2016 debate, and the two “just clicked,” according to one of the attorney’s friends.

Cipollone’s personal chemistry with the president, and his willingness to green-light some of Trump’s dubious policies, has given him newfound power.

Trump critics — both outside and within the administration — are concerned that the White House counsel has abdicated his role in restraining an impulsive president with little understanding or respect for constitutional and political norms.

“One of the best ways to act as a restraint is to raise legal concerns or to play up the economic or political consequences of a decision,” said a former White House official, who said McGahn sometimes angered Trump by pointing out those consequences.

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Cipollone has mapped out legal paths for the president to follow in declaring a national emergency at the southern border, imposing tariffs on Mexico or restricting the use of fetal tissue in medical research, Politico reported.

McGahn, an election lawyer, was mostly concerned with getting conservative judges — and his friend Brett Kavanaugh — confirmed, but Cippolone has beefed up staff in his office, to about 40 now from a low of around 25, and has essentially treated Trump as his client, according to critics.

“With this president, it’s not about what the org chart looks like, it’s about how close you are to the president,” said a White House official. “But Don didn’t care about that. For Don it was, ‘I’m going to get my judges done and I’m going to make no friends in the process. I don’t care whether the president thinks I am his guy.’”

Cippolone and his office’s attempts to fight off congressional investigations have drawn condemnation from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other top Democrats, although some legal experts say those efforts aren’t particularly unusual.

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“White House counsels have generally followed a fairly hostile approach to congressional inquiries touching on White House staff,” said Jonathan Turley, a constitutional law professor at George Washington University.

Trump’s personal lawyers, and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, have adopted Cippolone’s argument that lawmakers have no “legitimate legislative purpose” to subpoena documents they have demanded to investigate the president and his family.

A district court judge, however, shot down that claim last month in a lawsuit filed by Trump’s personal legal team against the president’s longtime accounting firm, which was ordered to comply with congressional subpoenas.

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‘Dangerous linguistic power’: A historian explains how Trump weaponizes nicknames

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Is Donald Trump the modern day Earl Long?

A three-time Louisiana governor, Long mastered the art of political ridicule seven decades ago by weaponizing nicknames. The hilarious names Long pinned on his rivals, and the rollicking stories he told about them, riveted audiences bored by puffed-up rhetoric.

While Long’s stunts may be remembered as silly hijinks, there was a sly, often deadly serious, purpose to his technique. He used it to get voters to laugh at his foes and to put them on the defensive––a place politicians never want to be. Tucked within Long’s jests were razor-sharp attacks aimed at exploiting opposition weaknesses––hidden swords inside a pea-patch cloak.

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Walmart got a $2.2 billion tax cut — now it’s laying off workers

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Walmart announced it will lay off hundreds of workers in North Carolina despite receiving billions in tax cuts that the Republican Party and President Trump claimed would spur job growth.

The giant retailer will lay off about 570 employees and close its corporate office near the Charlotte airport, despite signing a 12-year lease just four years earlier, the Charlotte Business Journal reported.

The work done at the Charlotte facility will be outsourced to a firm in Arkansas, according to the report.

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Melania Trump ripped for bragging about helping children while her husband runs concentration camps for kids

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Melania Trump was ripped on Monday for pushing her signature "Be Best" campaign against bullying while her husband, President Donald Trump, runs concentration camps for children along the southern border.

"Looking forward to collaborating with all of our #BeBest Ambassadors. Delighted to be working alongside so many people both inside and outside of government to better the lives of children everywhere!" Melania Trump tweeted Monday.

The response was some of the harshest since she wore an "I Don't Care" jacked to visit the border.

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 ENOUGH IS ENOUGH 

Trump endorses killing journalists, like Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Online ad networks are now targeting sites that cover acts of violence against dissidents, LGBTQ people and people of color.

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