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Trump claims he signed a law that’s been on the books for decades

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- Commentary

President Donald Trump announced on Monday that he signed legislation that has, in fact, been law for many years:

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Many observers quickly pointed out that Trump was wrong. The Whistleblower Protection Act became law in 1989. The Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act became law in 1998.

On June 23, 2017, Trump did sign the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act — which is the law that the tweet he quoted referred to.

The Ukraine scandal, which has led to Trump’s impeachment proceedings, was sparked by a whistleblower complaint filed under the 1998 law, which offers significantly less protection than the 1989 law. It does, however, require that whistleblowers not face retaliation — though it provides no enforcement mechanism for this provision.

Trump seems to be bemoaning the irony of the fact that he signed a whistleblower protection law (even though he doesn’t seem to know which one), and he now finds himself under political threat because of a whistleblower. He may also be suggesting that he shouldn’t be criticized for going after the whistleblower, given that he signed such a law, though the first reading seems more plausible.

But Trump has previously championed the VA law, which sought to protect whistleblowers for good reason. The troubled agency has long been accused of underserving veterans, and enabling employees to report waste, fraud, and abuses could help improve the department’s ability to serve its clients. Of course, this is why whistleblower protections in all agencies and businesses are a good idea — they can help expose wrongdoing.

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Trump, though, is much more interested in concealing his own wrongdoing than actually helping governmental institutions function better, so it makes sense that he may be rethinking his stance on whistleblower protections.

Maybe then it’s not so surprising that the VA whistleblower law seems to be having trouble of its own, as CNN’s Daniel Dale noted:

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Trump administration heavily redacted documents concerning their withholding of Ukraine aid

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The Trump administration has refused to disclose how key officials at the Department of Defense and the White House Office of Management and Budget reacted to President Trump’s decision to halt military aid to Ukraine.

On Nov. 25, federal district court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ordered the administration to produce records reflecting what these officials said to one another about the legality and appropriateness of Trump’s order. The Center for Public Integrity sought the information in Freedom of Information Act requests filed in late September.

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Donald Trump Jr laughs at the prospect that Bill Barr will eventually lock up Trump’s political enemies

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On Thursday, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted a video of Attorney General William Barr saying that he is constantly asked when Democrats are going to prison for their treatment of President Donald Trump, and he jokingly responded "these things take time."

Trump Jr. repeated that particular line in his tweet, accompanied by a series of laughing face emojis:

These things take time. 🤣🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/TX7DuYgAsr

— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) December 13, 2019

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2020 Election

Jared Kushner is ‘officially overseeing’ Trump’s 2020 campaign ‘from his seat in the West Wing’: NY Times

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The administration of President Donald Trump has had multiple scandals for using federal government resources to aid his 2020 re-election campaign, but senior White House advisor Jared Kushner is his de facto campaign manager, The New York Times reported Thursday.

"Hours before the House Judiciary Committee was set to take a historic vote to push President Trump to the brink of impeachment, campaign officials gathered across the Potomac River for a state-of-the-race briefing in which they described how the Republican Party had been transformed into the “beer and bluejeans party” crafted in Mr. Trump’s image," the newspaper reported, despite the fact Trump claims he does not drink beer and is not known for wearing anything other than suits and golf attire.

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