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Trump eliminates 70 positions inherited from Obama — including roles on the NSC: report

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President Donald Trump’s decision to fire Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Gordon Sondland (U.S. ambassador to the European Union) on Friday, February 7 has been dubbed the Friday Night Massacre — a name inspired by President Richard Nixon’s infamous Saturday Night Massacre of the 1970s. Never Trump conservative Max Boot, in his Washington Post column, predicted that the Friday Night Massacre was only the beginning — and sure enough, the right-wing Washington Examiner is reporting that a lot more firings are taking place. According to the Examiner’s Paul Bedard, Trump and National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien have decided to cut “70 positions inherited from former President Barack Obama” — including positions in the National Security Council (NSC).

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Bedard quotes John Ullyot, senior director of strategic communications at the NSC, as saying, “This month, we will complete the right-sizing goal Ambassador O’Brien outlined in October, and in fact, may exceed that target by drawing down even more positions.”

The Friday Night Massacre included not only Alexander Vindman and Gordon Sondland, but also, Vindman’s twin brother, Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman (an NSC lawyer).

Trump clearly was not happy that both Alexander Vindman and Gordon Sondland testified during House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry in late 2019. After that inquiry, Trump faced two articles of impeachment — one for abuse of power, the other for obstruction of Congress — in a full House vote, although he was later acquitted on both articles in a U.S. Senate trial. And the Friday Night Massacre has been described by many Trump critics as an act of revenge.


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Trump’s ‘bundle of insecurities’ flies in the face of how leadership has been viewed since the ancient times: historian

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Writing for the Associated Press this Thursday, Jonathan Lemire says that President Trump is reverting to a familiar strategy as the coronavirus pandemic continues to envelop cities across the nation: deflect, deny and direct blame elsewhere.

As the death toll mounts, Trump is compiling a long list of targets he's looking to blame for his failures in tackling the virus early on:

"Democratic governors for alleged mismanagement at the front lines of the crisis. The media, first for hyping the threat of the virus and then for not giving the administration credit for its response. Federal inspectors general, believed to be conspiring to make the White House look bad. The Obama administration, for not adequately preparing. China, initially absolved of responsibility, then accused of covering up worrisome health data. And now the WHO, from which Trump has threatened to withhold funding."

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‘What a disaster’: Health experts shred Wisconsin GOP for forcing voters to the polls during COVID-19 pandemic

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The Wisconsin Republican Party's insistence on having in-person voting at this week's state primary election is being decried by health experts as a "disaster" for the state's effort to beat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Experts who spoke with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel say that this week's primary needlessly exposed Wisconsin residents to risk of contracting COVID-19 during a time when people need to be staying in doors.

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Mike Pence’s office punishes CNN for refusing to air his portion of coronavirus briefing

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Vice President Mike Pence has kept the nation's top health officials from appearing on CNN since the network stopped carrying the daily coronavirus briefings in their entirety.

The vice president's office, which is responsible for booking those officials to deliver pandemic information, told CNN that Dr. Deborah Birx or Dr. Anthony Fauci would not be permitted to appear on the network until it carries the briefings, including Pence's remarks, in full.

"When you guys cover the briefings with the health officials then you can expect them back on your air," a Pence spokesperson told CNN.

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