TBR News May 17, 2020

May 16 2020

The Voice of the White House
Washington, D.C. May 17, 2020: Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.
When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.
I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.
He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.
He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.
It is becoming more and more evident to even the least intelligent American voter that Trump is vicious, corrupt and amoral. He has stated often that even if he loses the
election in 2020, he will not leave the White House. I have news for Donald but this is not the place to discuss it. “
Comment for May 17, 2020: ”If the general public, Republican right or Democratic left, were in the White House and could hear Trump in person, they would call the SPCA and have him caged and removed. Trump is not sane, believe me.
If anyone, be it a foreign head of state or the author of a posted news story about him, dares to either mock him or criticize his totally irrational actions, he flies into a screaming rage and threatens to obliterate the person or agency that dares to question, or worse, mock him.
And I mean a sceaming rage.
He fires anyone who crosses him and spews irrational hatred in the halls of the White House at the top of his lungs.
This man is not sane and does not belong in the Oval Office with his hands on the missle-launch codes. He belongs in an institution that is trained to deal with patients who harbor serious, permanent and untreatable, mental problems.”

The Table of Contents
• The US Senate voted to let Trump spy on your search history. But all is not lost
• The Dangerous Coronavirus Conspiracy Theories Targeting 5G Technology, Bill Gates, and a World of Fear
• Trump vows to strip ‘radical left’ of ‘TOTAL COMMAND’ over FB, IG, Twitter & Google
• Steve Linick: Trump fires state department inspector general
• Report
• Are We on the Brink of a ‘New Little Ice Age?’

The US Senate voted to let Trump spy on your search history. But all is not lost
The amendment, which 10 Democrats voted in favor of, can still be fought against. And we must
May 16, 2020
by Trevor Timm
The Guardian
In a shameful vote this week as part of an extension of the dreaded and controversial Patriot Act, the Senate handed William Barr and the Trump administration the ability to spy on Americans’ web browsing and internet search histories without a warrant.
The vote on a bipartisan amendment to protect this information from government surveillance sparked immediate outrage online – and deservedly so. Our web browsing and search histories contain the most intimate personal information. Any administration – let alone the draconian Trump justice department – should be required to comply with the fourth amendment before trawling through it.
Depressingly, the amendment failed to pass the 60-vote threshold by exactly one vote, 59-37, with two Democratic caucus members, including Bernie Sanders, failing to show up. “As far as I can tell we lost because there were some people absent,” Ron Wyden, who co-sponsored the bill with Republication senator Steve Daines, told Politico.
Even worse, 10 Democrats – including Dianne Feinstein, Sheldon Whitehouse and Mark Warner – sided with Mitch McConnell and the Trump administration and voted against the provision. Time and again, when it comes to privacy and civil liberties issues some Democrats have consistently sided with the Trump administration, despite portraying the president as lawless and unaccountable on a variety of subjects. It never ceases to be infuriating.
But lost in the mix of this damaging loss for privacy, and perhaps even because of it, was some very good news. A second privacy-focused amendment to the Patriot Act – one that garnered far less coverage but is potentially even more substantive – did pass overwhelmingly on Wednesday night. Because the substance of the amendment was much harder to fit into a headline, it received a fraction of the attention. But it may be because the vote on web browsing histories sparked immediate outrage on Twitter, politicians from both parties felt the need to accept it.
The amendment, known as the Leahy-Lee amendment – named after its bipartisan co-sponsors Patrick Leahy and Mike Lee – reforms the secretive foreign intelligence surveillance (Fisa) court in a significant way. The Fisa court, which authorizes national security and foreign intelligence surveillance on US soil, first came to the general public’s attention during the Snowden disclosures.
The court, for decades, would listen to the government’s side of an argument for new surveillance powers in complete secrecy, and almost never heard from the civil liberties perspective. The court was known to rubber-stamp virtually anything the FBI or NSA asked for. This one-sided system, as the New York Times reported at the time, carved out classified exceptions to the fourth amendment and “created a secret body of law giving the National Security Agency the power to amass vast collections of data on Americans” without the public knowing about it.
After the Snowden disclosures, Congress was forced to create an amicus curiae – or “friend of the court” – position, which at very limited times and at the court’s discretion, would be allowed to resist the government’s arguments. Even though the position was extremely restricted, over the past several years, it has been shown to work on the few occasions it’s been used.
The Leahy-Lee amendment significantly strengthens the amicus position, giving the court’s civil liberties representative much more latitude to access classified information and broadens their ability to weigh in on virtually all cases that may infringe upon the civil liberties of Americans.
And here’s where it gets interesting. The House passed a different version of a Patriot Act extension back in March, so now the Senate’s version has to go back to the House, so the bills can match up. It gives privacy advocates another opportunity to get through even more robust changes, like the Wyden amendment protecting our Google search data.
This issue is not the same partisan fight that we have become so accustomed to in Washington. Instead of a Republican-Democrat split, like so many issues in recent years, the fight over privacy and the Patriot Act has pitted a bipartisan left-right coalition against the moderate, pro-national security state establishment of both parties. Many Republicans crossed the line to vote with the majority of Democrats, while 10 Democrats sided with Barr and the Trump administration to hand them this power.
While it’s incredibly depressing Congress has failed to protect online privacy as it has become this generation’s seminal issue, the fight is not over. Especially if representatives hear loud and clear how much this issue means to Americans.
Trevor Timm is executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation

The Dangerous Coronavirus Conspiracy Theories Targeting 5G Technology, Bill Gates, and a World of Fear
April 24, 2020
by Amy Davidson Sorkin
The New Yorker
Over Easter weekend, arsonists set more than twenty 5G cellular towers in the United Kingdom on fire—forming a pattern of bunny-eared infernos that points to one of the many conspiracy theories surrounding the spread of the novel coronavirus. The basic idea is that 5G, a new generation of wireless communication, is responsible for the coronavirus crisis, and the idea has spread rapidly. According to some surveys, it is now the most widely disseminated pandemic-related conspiracy theory in the U.K., and has spread in Europe (there have been cell-tower attacks in the Netherlands and Belgium) and in the United States (where the actor Woody Harrelson posted about it on Instagram, albeit with a note saying that he hadn’t “fully vetted it”). The theory is false: the illness COVID-19 is caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which is highly contagious. But the first question when confronting the theory is how people could even believe that 5G could be responsible. The answer provides the framework for something of a general taxonomy of conspiracy theories, each of which is disorienting and distinct but in related ways.
There are, it turns out, many 5G coronavirus theories, and no simple hierarchy of plausibility. Some adherents have adopted the notion that the 5G frequency spectrum somehow transmits and spreads the virus, as if in a wireless miasma. This variety of theory doesn’t posit any rational connection between the cause and the supposed effect; it seems to rely solely on the perception that both are new and frightening. It is scoffed at by those who prefer to believe that there is no such thing as SARS-CoV-2, and that the story of the virus’s emergence was cooked up to hide the disastrous health effects of 5G itself. Here, bad faith and coördinated lying on a mass scale are assumed to be simpler explanations than those offered by virology.
Both these ideas are looked down on by conspiracy theorists whose medical knowledge, such as it is, tends to be garnered from online venues, and who have decided that 5G destroys the immune system and has thus transmuted a harmless coronavirus into something deadly. (This group bears a family resemblance to anti-vaxxers, and includes some people whose suspicions about the health effects of 5G predate the current crisis.) These theorists display as “proof” side-by-side maps showing the density of COVID-19 cases and of 5G towers. But, as the A.P. noted, all the maps show is that places with more people have more of both. However, even arguing about maps misses the basic point that there is no scientific basis for the idea that waves from towers could harm the immune system. In any event, these theorists would be viewed as amateurs by those who argue not only that powerful people are deploying 5G towers to spread the virus but that the proof of this scheme is to be found on the United Kingdom’s new twenty-pound note, which began circulating in February. Social-media videos point out that a metallic element on the note includes the image of a tower, which, when you tilt it, seems to be emitting rays—5G, of course—and that a design above the tower resembles the circle-with-spines shape of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. In fact, the images depict a lighthouse in the seaside town of Margate and a stylized view of the rotunda of the Tate Gallery, in London, both places associated with the artist J. M. W. Turner, whose portrait is on the new bill. But even the theorists’ basic message is unclear: Is the idea that the notes are a call to action, to rouse a doomsday cult that has somehow infiltrated the Bank of England? Perhaps, in the end, many of those sharing the videos are doing nothing more than looking for omens.
None of this is harmless: if people believe that they are being deceived—or even targeted—by public-health authorities, why would they follow their directives? Why, to note another widely prevalent family of coronavirus conspiracy theories, would they allow their children to eventually receive a COVID-19 vaccine if they believe that the pandemic was engineered by, say, Bill Gates, in an effort to depopulate an overcrowded planet and, while he’s at it, to inject people with free-will-subduing microdots? One version of this theory has been promoted in a YouTube video, posted by the Law of Liberty Baptist Church, which now has almost two million views, and another is featured in social-media posts by Diamond and Silk, who are fixtures at Trump rallies, but other variations have popped up around the world. (Needless to say, this is absurd. Gates has pledged a quarter of a billion dollars to the effort to develop a COVID-19 vaccine; as thanks, he has been subject to death threats.) But the corollary is that when politicians and public-health authorities forfeit trust, they cause real harm by creating a space that conspiracy theorists rush to fill. In that sense, not all the blame can be placed on the most credulous members of the public. The human imagination abhors a vacuum. And, in dysfunctional political cultures, much like the present one, there is a conspiratorialist feedback loop: the less you trust, the more you search for alternative authorities, and the more susceptible you are to untrustworthy figures who maintain their position by attacking what is true.
People are especially vulnerable to unfounded theories regarding the coronavirus, for several reasons. One is that the economic effect of closures has been devastating, and has left people desperate for alternatives—perhaps it is all being exaggerated, and it would be fine to go back to work? And why aren’t more powerful, better-situated people doing more to help them—is someone benefitting from their distress? Another reason is that so much about COVID-19 remains unclear. As more has become known, advice from government authorities (regarding masks, for example) has shifted; sometimes it lurches around in a single White House briefing. (Alongside the conspiracy theories, there is a realm of speculative quackery, with unproven assertions that various medicines or chemicals—or bright light, ultraviolet rays, or injected disinfectants, treatments that Trump mooted this week—can fend off or cure coronavirus.) Conspiracy theories should, in that context, be taken seriously as a symptom of underlying, often structural problems with the pandemic response.
To take another example, China has not been a model of openness with regard to the early spread of the virus. There are still questions about how SARS-CoV-2 initially took hold, such as precisely how and where it jumped from an animal, presumably a bat, to a human, and what other species might have served as intermediaries in the chain of transmission. Chinese officials also gave misleading accounts of the initial outbreak in Wuhan, and these reports served to underplay how common human-to-human transmission was. But those real failures have been exploited by President Trump, who regularly mentions them as a way to distract from his own failings. The United States is not alone in this regard: anger at China is rising in India (where the country’s Muslim minority has also been scapegoated for the virus’s spread). But it is fair to say that the center of super-spreaders in what has been an epidemic of attacks on Asian-Americans has been Washington.
Wuhan is not only where the pandemic first emerged; it is also home to a high-level virology-research lab, and that fact has inspired even more theorizing. One widely circulated notion is that China engineered SARS-CoV-2 and deliberately released it as part of a plan to bring down the world economy and increase its own power. This doesn’t make sense scientifically, since SARS-CoV-2 has the hallmarks of a virus that emerged naturally, rather than one that was engineered. The theory doesn’t even make sense on its own terms: Why would China release such a thing in its home territory first, rather than sending agents on a plane? And how could it count on the weakness of the response in other nations, including this one? (As an example of how politically and jingoistically malleable such theories are, many in China believe that the United States engineered and spread the virus, using a bicycling G.I. who attended the Military World Games, which were held in Wuhan last October, as a vector.)
The biowarfare theory has not been entertained just on the fringes. Earlier this week, Robert O’Brien, the U.S. national-security adviser, was asked about it. “Well, look, I hope it wasn’t done on purpose,” he said. “That’s not something that, that we’re propagating. But I think the point that the President’s making is that there’s a burden on China to allow folks to come in and investigate what actually happened. Did it come from a wet market? Did it come from a lab?” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo echoed those sentiments in remarks on Wednesday, when he complained that China hadn’t given other countries full access to the Wuhan lab. Both their remarks illustrate how distrust can be used, or manipulated, as a bridge between valid questions and wild answers. It’s a dangerous game at a dangerous time.

Trump vows to strip ‘radical left’ of ‘TOTAL COMMAND’ over FB, IG, Twitter & Google
May 16, 2020
President Donald Trump has vowed to break the “radical left’s” apparent control of social media platforms. Earlier, the president thanked his “keyboard warriors” for their support, as they accused the tech firms of censorship.
“The Radical Left is in total command & control of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google,” Trump tweeted on Saturday. “The Administration is working to remedy this illegal situation. Stay tuned, and send names & events.”
Trump was replying directly to Michelle Malkin, a controversial right-wing pundit and opponent of Big Tech censorship. When Trump gave a shout-out to his legions of online supporters on Friday – referring to them as his “keyboard warriors” – Malkin said that right-wingers are still being “ruthlessly purged from the internet,” and asked that the president “maybe do something before it’s too late?”
Conservatives have long maintained that Silicon Valley firms have it in for them. The ‘deplatforming’ of prominent conservative figures like InfoWars host Alex Jones and ‘Proud Boys’ founder Gavin McInnes substantiate their claims of bias, as do leaks, reports, and admissions revealing a left-wingbias among executives at Google, Twitter, and Facebook.
These same arguments have been made by fringe leftists too, who accuse the platforms of censoring anything that goes against the status quo, regardless of partisan politics.
Trump, perhaps understandably, has focused on the conservative complaints. However, Saturday’s tweet is not the first time he’s asked for names and promised action. Before inviting a crowd of right-wing and alternative social media personalities to the White House for a summit last year, Trump asked the public to submit their own stories of bias and discrimination to a White House tips website. A month later, his administration was reportedly mulling an executive order against online censorship, but that order never materialized.
Trump’s administration has moved against the Silicon Valley behemoths in other ways though. According to Attorney General William Barr, the Justice Department has been running an antitrust investigation into Google since last year. The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that charges may be filed against the company as early as this summer.
A group of state attorneys general are pursuing a similar investigation into Google, which controls 90 percent of the world’s web searches. Additionally, Facebook and Amazon are both being investigated by the Federal Trade Commission, Congress, and state attorneys general.
These investigations, however, are not aimed at the platform’s free-speech policies, but their alleged monopolistic behavior. On free speech, Trump has spoken loudly, but as of yet has taken little concrete action.

Steve Linick: Trump fires state department inspector general
May 16, 2020
BBC News
The US state department’s inspector general, Steve Linick, has become the latest senior official to be fired by US President Donald Trump.
Mr Trump said Mr Linick no longer had his full confidence and that he would be removed in 30 days.
Mr Linick had begun investigating Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for suspected abuse of office, reports say.
Democrats say Mr Trump is retaliating against public servants who want to hold his administration to account.
“It is vital that I have the fullest confidence in the appointees serving as inspectors general. That is no longer the case with regard to this inspector general,” Mr Trump is quoted as saying in a letter sent late on Friday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, US media report.
Not long after Mr Linick’s dismissal was announced, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said Mr Linick had opened an investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
“This firing is the outrageous act of a president trying to protect one of his most loyal supporters, the secretary of state, from accountability,” Eliot Engel, a Democrat, said in a statement.
“I have learned that the Office of the Inspector General had opened an investigation into Secretary Pompeo. Mr Linick’s firing amid such a probe strongly suggests that this is an unlawful act of retaliation.”
Mr Engel did not provide any further details about the content of this investigation into Mr Pompeo.
Congressional aides, speaking on condition of anonymity, have been quoted in different media as saying that Mr Linick was examining complaints that Mr Pompeo may have improperly used staff and asked them to perform personal tasks.
Mr Linick, a former prosecutor, was appointed by Mr Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, to oversee spending and detect mismanagement at the state department.
Democrats have been reacting to the move. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Mr Linick was “punished for honourably performing his duty to protect the constitution and our national security”.
“The president must cease his pattern of reprisal and retaliation against the public servants who are working to keep Americans safe, particularly during this time of global emergency,” she added in a statement.
Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, said the Senate Foreign Relations Committee needed to learn more about the dismissal.

This is the latest in a series of dismissals of independent government watchdogs.
Last month, Mr Trump dismissed Michael Atkinson, the inspector general of the intelligence community.
Mr Atkinson first alerted Congress to a whistleblower complaint that led to Mr Trump’s impeachment trial.

The White House revolving door: Who’s gone?
Donald Trump’s administration has had a very high turnover – with senior officials quitting, being fired or getting eased out at a record pace.
Here is a run-down of what they did, and why they left, starting with the most recent.

Richard Spencer, Navy Secretary – 24 November 2019
Mr Spencer, a former Marines pilot-turned-investment banker, was sworn in as the 76th secretary of the US Navy in August 2017.
During his time in the post, he also performed stints as acting secretary of defence and deputy secretary of defence.
Why did he leave?
US Defence Secretary Mark Esper said he asked Mr Spencer to resign over “his lack of candour” regarding the case of a Navy Seal convicted of posing with a corpse while serving in Iraq.
The case of Edward Gallagher has sparked tensions between US President Donald Trump and military officials.
The president reinstated Chief Petty Officer Gallagher’s rank after he was demoted following his conviction, and later hit out at plans to hold a disciplinary review that could have resulted in him being stripped of his Seals membership.
In a statement announcing the firing, Mr Esper alleged Mr Spencer had proposed a deal with the White House behind his back to resolve the case.
Mr Trump, however, said he was not happy with “cost overruns” and how Gallagher’s trial was run, and suggested this was why Mr Spencer was fired.
In his resignation letter, Mr Spencer said it was apparent that he and Mr Trump did not have the same view of “good order and discipline”.
“I cannot in good conscience obey an order that I believe violates the sacred oath I took,” he wrote.
Time in post?
Two years, three months.

Kevin McAleenan, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security – 13 November 2019
Before joining the cabinet, Mr McAleenan worked as commissioner of US Customs and Border Protection.
He oversaw the president’s tough policies aimed at curbing immigration across the Mexican border.
Why did he leave?
In a tweet, President Donald Trump said Mr McAleenan wanted to “spend more time with his family and go into the private sector.”
During his tenure, analysts described a turbulent relationship between the two.
Mr McAleenan has also criticised the “uncomfortable” tone of debate about immigration in America.
Time in post?
Six months

John Bolton, National Security Adviser – 10 September 2019
Mr Bolton assumed the post in April 2018, becoming Mr Trump’s third national security adviser after Michael Flynn and HR McMaster. At that time, the president’s decision to appoint Mr Bolton came as a surprise.
He remained an unapologetic cheerleader of the 2003 Iraq war, which the US president himself once lambasted as “a big mistake”. Mr Bolton was praised, however, by conservative admirers as a straight-talking foreign policy “hawk”.
Why did he leave?
Mr Trump announced Mr Bolton’s departure in a tweet, writing that his national security adviser’s services were “no longer needed”. But Mr Bolton quickly fired back, writing on Twitter that he had actually offered his resignation, but Mr Trump had told him “let’s talk about it tomorrow”.
Mr Bolton’s exit follows and argument with Mr Trump over the administration’s peace talks with the Taliban.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham told reporters: “[The president] didn’t like a lot of his policies, they disagree.”
According to White House sources, the National Security Council – which advises the president – had become a separate entity during Mr Bolton’s tenure.
A former senior Trump administration official, who wished to remain anonymous, told the BBC that Mr Bolton did not attend meetings, and followed his own initiatives.
“He’s running his own show,” said the official.
Time in post
One year, four months.
What is he doing now?
Just a few days after his departure, Mr Bolton resumed his former job as the head of two political action committees: the John Bolton PAC and John Bolton Super PAC.
So-called PACs promote the views of their members on selected issues, and have become an important tool for funnelling large funds into the political process and influencing elections.
Bolton himself has pledged to donate $10,000 to five Republican Congress members seeking re-election in 2020.

Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence – 15 August 2019
As director of national intelligence, Mr Coats oversaw all 17 US intelligence agencies, including the CIA and NSA. His office also had the authority to receive whistleblower complaints and decide if they should be referred to Congress.
But Mr Coats’ assessments were routinely contradicted by President Trump, who has been critical of the US intelligence community. In January, the president called his intelligence chiefs passive and naive in their assessment of the threat posed by Iran.
On 28 July, President Donald Trump tweeted Mr Coats would step down in mid-August and Texas congressman John Ratcliffe would be nominated to replace him.
Why did he leave?
In his resignation letter to the president, Mr Coats said America’s intelligence community had become “stronger than ever” during his two-and-half-year tenure.
“As a result, I now believe it is time for me to move on to the next chapter of my life,” he wrote.
Mr Coats, a former senator and diplomat, said in February the president had asked him to stay in the post, yet their differences on foreign policy appeared irreconcilable at times.
But the timing of his removal has been questioned by critics. The announcement came three days after a phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, which was the subject of a whistleblower complaint. The White House released a rough transcript of the call which shows Mr Trump asked Mr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden, a Democratic frontrunner for the 2020 presidential elections.
Time in post
Two and a half years.

Alexander Acosta, Labour Secretary – 19 July 2019
Mr Acosta, a former federal prosecutor, was sworn in as Secretary in April 2017 – the first Hispanic appointee to the Cabinet. He was chosen for the role after Mr Trump’s first choice, fast-food billionaire Andrew Puzder, withdrew.
During his tenure, Mr Acosta oversaw initiatives to expand on promote workplace apprenticeships. But he was criticised for proposing massive cuts to the International Labor Affairs Bureau, a section of the department that combats human trafficking, child labour and forced labour.
Why did he leave?
Mr Acosta had been defending his role in a 2008 plea deal that saw a light sentence for financier Jeffrey Epstein after he pleaded guilty to prostitution charges. Epstein was charged in July with new sex trafficking charges related to that case.
Top Democrats had called on Mr Acosta to resign for engaging in “an unconscionable agreement” with Epstein.
Mr Acosta said he negotiated the deal to ensure Epstein did not walk free, and that he was happy about the new case moving forward.
While announcing his resignation, the former US attorney from Florida said he felt the “right thing was to step aside” so his past controversies would not overshadow the administration’s accomplishments.
Mr Trump, who stood next to Mr Acosta while he spoke to reporters, noted: “This was him, not me.” He said Mr Acosta was “a great Labour Secretary”.
Time in post
Just over two years.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House Press Secretary – 1 July 2019
Ms Sanders started out as deputy press secretary before replacing Sean Spicer in the top post – the third woman to ever hold the White House role.
While Press Secretary, she was accused of lying to journalists and frequently criticised the media for spreading “fake news” about the Trump administration.
Press briefings also became increasingly rare during her tenure as Mr Trump took charge of his own messaging. Mrs Sanders hosted fewer news conferences than any of the preceding 13 press secretaries, according to the American Presidency Project.
Why did she leave?
Exact reasons are unclear, but President Trump announced her resignation on Twitter and lauded her as a “warrior”.
During her resignation speech, Ms Sanders said her role had been “the honour of a lifetime”.
Time in post
Nearly two years.
What is she doing now?
Ms Sanders is a regular contributor on television news channel Fox News, and is active among conservative groups.
In October 2018 she spoke at a pro-Trump conference, during which a parody video was played showing the president massacring media outlets and political rivals. The video was condemned by media groups, but the Trump campaign denied that it made the video or condoned violence.

Rod Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General – 11 May 2019
Rod Rosenstein eventually submitted a resignation letter, effective from 11 May, after months of rumours about his departure.
It came shortly after the release of the report into claims of Russian interference in the 2016 election – an investigation he oversaw.
Reports say he specially timed his departure to allow for Robert Mueller’s probe to wind down first.
Why did he leave?
His relationship with the president was always publicly fraught – with the lawyer frequently coming under fire on Mr Trump’s Twitter feed.
There were even reports in 2018 that Mr Rosenstein at one point planned to secretly record the president in order to justify his removal under the 25th amendment of the US constitution.
Despite this, Mr Rosenstein’s resignation letter paid tribute to Mr Trump.
In it, Rosenstein said he was “grateful” for the opportunity to serve under him and even signed it off borrowing his campaign slogan of “America first”.
Time in post
Just over two years from his confirmation.

Kirstjen Nielsen, Homeland Security Secretary – 10 April 2019
Kirstjen Nielsen became Homeland Security Secretary in December 2017.
Her sprawling department, responsible for domestic security, covers everything from borders to responding to national emergencies.
She faced criticism for enforcing some of the most controversial elements of President Trump’s domestic agenda, such as the separation of children from their migrant parents at the Mexican border.
In a resignation letter she said it was the “right time for me to step aside”.
Why did she leave?
There have been tensions between her and the president for months, who blamed her for a rise in migrants at the Mexican border.
Days earlier President Trump withdrew his nominee to lead another key department dealing with immigration, saying he wanted to go in a “tougher direction”. It is widely thought he wants someone “tougher” at Homeland Security too.
Time in post?
16 months.
What is she doing now?
Six months after her resignation, the White House announced that she would be rejoining the Homeland Security department.
She is now a member of the department’s National Infrastructure Advisory Council. The council has 30 members – taken from the private and public sector – who advise the White House on reducing threats to US infrastructure.Brock Long was appointed administrator of the US Federal Emergency Management Agency by President Trump in April 2017 and confirmed by the Senate two months later.

Brock Long, Administrator of Fema – 8 March 2019
Fema is responsible for co-ordinating the response to disasters and in his tenure he oversaw 220 of them. He was quickly battered by two hurricanes. Harvey hit Texas with catastrophic effect in August 2017, while Maria a month later devastated Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the US.
He was one of those who bore heavy criticism for the response afforded to Puerto Rico.
Why did he leave?
Mr Long gave no explicit reason for his departure, saying in a statement that it was “time to go home to my family”.
During his tenure, he was investigated for using government vehicles to commute from his home in North Carolina to Washington. He was later ordered to pay back the government $151,000 (£117,000) for the cost of several private journeys he claimed on expenses.
Time in post?
21 months from confirmation.
What is he doing now?
Mr Long is executive chairman of Hagerty Consulting, an emergency management consultancy firm where he worked before joining FEMA.

Ryan Zinke, Interior Secretary – 2 January 2019
A former Navy SEAL, Ryan Zinke was picked to lead the agency that oversees federal land, including national parks like Yosemite and Yellowstone.
He served as a congressman in his home state of Montana before the cabinet appointment.
Why was he sacked?
President Trump tweeted that Mr Zinke would be leaving the administration at the end of 2018. He did not offer any further details and it is unclear whether he resigned or was fired.
“Ryan has accomplished much during his tenure and I want to thank him for his service to our Nation,” Mr Trump said.
Mr Zinke was under a number of investigations for his conduct in office. They include a land deal in Montana involving Mr Zinke and the chairman of oilfield services Halliburton.
Time in post?
Almost two years.
What is he doing now?
Since January 2019, Mr Zinke has been managing director of Artillery One, an investment firm specialising in the technology and energy sectors.
While details of the role are unclear, the company said Mr Zinke would help to “pursue investing and development opportunities globally”.

John Kelly, Chief of Staff – 2 January 2019
The retired Marine general was initially nominated to oversee Homeland Security before Mr Trump promoted him to chief of staff in July 2017, replacing Reince Priebus.
However, on 8 December Mr Trump announced that Gen Kelly would leave his post by the end of the year.
Why is he leaving?
By December 2018 his relationship with the president was said to have deteriorated, with some reports saying the pair were no longer on speaking terms.
Earlier in the year Mr Kelly was forced to deny that he had called Mr Trump an “idiot” after the quote was included in a book by the veteran investigative journalist Bob Woodward.
Time in post
About one year, five months. (He was previously Homeland Security secretary from January to July 2017.)
What is he doing now?
Mr Kelly serves on the board of Caliburn International, a professional services firm where we worked . The professional services company has several government contracts, including one to operate a migrant detention centre in Florida.

Jim Mattis, Defence Secretary – 1 January 2019
A distinguished former Marine Corps general, Gen Mattis served in the Gulf War, the Afghanistan War and the Iraq War.
Before his retirement in 2013 he served as head of US Central Command, and went on to several private sector roles before being tapped to join President Trump’s cabinet.
He positioned himself as one of the cooler heads throughout the president’s term, and was referenced by Democrats and Republicans alike as a “grown-up” in the room – a far cry from his “Mad Dog Mattis” nickname.
Why did he leave?
The move came just one day after the president controversially announced the withdrawal of US troops from Syria.
Although not referring directly to that, in his resignation letter Gen Mattis said the president had the right to have a defence secretary “whose views are better aligned” with his.
The two had diverging public views on a number of subjects, including Mr Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.
“My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues,” Gen Mattis wrote.
President Trump was so angered with the letter than he accelerated Gen Mattis’ departure date and said he was “essentially fired.”
Time in post?
Just under two years.
What is he doing now?
Gen Mattis has returned to his former role as Fellow at the Hoover Institution – a think tank based at Stanford University.
As a Fellow, the institute said he plans “to focus his research and writing on domestic and international security policy.”

Nikki Haley, Ambassador to the UN – 31 December 2018
The former governor of South Carolina was the first non-white woman to be appointed to Mr Trump’s cabinet, and the first female, minority governor of her state.
She had limited foreign policy experience prior to her role as US envoy and was a vocal critic of Mr Trump during his campaign.
As ambassador, she affirmed sanctions on Russia would continue, and that the US military could be deployed in the response to North Korean missile tests. But she frequently clashed with the president over several foreign policy issues, including a proposed ban on immigration to the US from several Muslim-majority countries.
Why did she leave?
In a news conference with Mr Trump, Mrs Haley announced she was stepping aside after a “rough” eight years as governor and envoy.
She will be leaving her post at the end of 2018, but said she did not yet know what her next steps would be.
Mrs Haley said she wanted to make sure Mr Trump’s administration “has the strongest person to fight” for the US at the UN.
While accepting her resignation, Mr Trump thanked her and said she did a “terrific job”, making the role “very glamorous”.
Time in post?
One year, eleven months
What is she doing now?
Since April 2019, Mrs Haley has served on the board of directors at Boeing. Critics have suggested that she received the appointment as a reward for the tax breaks and subsidies which Boeing received while she was governor.

Jeff Sessions, Attorney General – 7 November 2018
The Alabama Republican was the first senator to endorse Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy, in early 2016.
During the campaign, he became one of Mr Trump’s closest national security advisers and, in government, was a supporter of the president’s policies on immigration and law enforcement.
Why was he fired?
Mr Sessions became a frequent target of the president’s ire as soon as he stepped aside, in March 2017, from the investigation over alleged Russian collusion with Mr Trump’s campaign. The recusal allowed his deputy Rod Rosenstein to oversee the inquiry, which led to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller.
At various times, Mr Trump publicly belittled Mr Sessions as “beleaguered”, “VERY weak”, and “DISGRACEFUL”. But Mr Sessions reacted to most of the insults in silence.
US media reported that Gen Kelly had called Mr Sessions to say the president wanted him to step down. Mr Trump did not speak to Mr Sessions himself, and announced the departure on Twitter.
In his resignation letter, Mr Sessions made clear the decision was not his own, saying: “Dear Mr President, at your request I am submitting my resignation.”
Time in post?
One year, nine months

Scott Pruitt, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency – 6 July 2018
The lawyer served as the attorney general of Oklahoma from 2011 – 2017.
He had sued the EPA, the agency which he presided over, a number of times in his role as the state’s attorney general.
Why did he leave?
Donald Trump announced that Mr Pruitt had resigned due to “unrelenting attacks” on himself and his family.
Since taking office, Mr Pruitt was mired in series of scandals concerning his spending habits and alleged misuse of office, and is the subject of at least a dozen investigations into his conduct.
He angered many liberals and environmentalists by severely curtailing the agency’s activities and repealing many measures designed to protect the environment.
While accepting Mr Pruitt’s resignation, Mr Trump tweeted that he had done “an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him”.
Time in post?
One year, four months
What is he doing now?
Since April 2019, Mr Pruitt has been a registered lobbyist in Indiana, with a sole client connected to the coal industry.

HR McMaster, National Security Adviser – 9 April 2018
A lieutenant general with the US Army, HR McMaster served in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he worked on a government anti-corruption drive.
He replaced Lt Gen Michael Flynn, who was fired after just three weeks and three days in the job after he misled Vice-President Pence about his contacts with the Russian ambassador.
Time magazine named him as one of its 100 most influential people in the world in 2014, saying he “might be the 21st Century Army’s pre-eminent warrior-thinker”.
Why did he leave?
Mr Trump reportedly disliked his “gruff and condescending” manner and the pair reportedly disagreed on the administration’s policy towards Russia, North Korea and Iran.
Gen Kelly, White House chief of staff at the time, also had little positive to say about him.
Time in post?
Thirteen months.
What is he doing now?
Gen McMaster works as a fellow and lecturer at Stanford University. He is also a board member of Spirit of America, a charity which “improves the safety and success” of US military personnel and diplomats deployed abroad.
In 2020, he is expected to release a memoir called “Battlegrounds”.

Gary Cohn, Chief Economic Adviser – 2 April 2018
The former president of the Goldman Sachs bank was appointed as head of the National Economic Council as Mr Trump took office, so becoming the president’s top economic adviser.
In his time at the White House, he helped push through sweeping reforms on taxes, one of the most significant policy achievements of the administration.
But the two were not reported to be close, and rumours of Mr Cohn’s departure continued to swirl.
Why did he leave?
A staunch globalist, Mr Cohn had reportedly vowed to quit if Mr Trump pressed ahead with plans to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports to the US.
According to US media, Mr Cohn initially planned to resign after Mr Trump blamed “both sides” for violence at a deadly far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017.
Time in post?
Fourteen months.
What is he doing now?
Since leaving, Mr Cohn has become a fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State – 31 March 2018
Mr Tillerson was the first Secretary of State to be appointed under the Trump administration.
A former oil executive, Mr Tillerson pushed for an end to sanctions on Russia and for the resumption of peace talks with North Korea.
But his tenure was reportedly mired by clashes with the president over policy, and by the resignation of several high-ranking career diplomats.
Why did he leave?
Mr Trump said his differences with Mr Tillerson came down to personal “chemistry”.
Indications of the pair’s deteriorating relationship first surfaced after reports that Mr Tillerson had called the president a “moron”. The comment was allegedly made after Mr Trump had pushed for a tenfold increase in America’s nuclear arsenal.
In a subsequent media appearance, the president challenged Mr Tillerson to “compare IQ tests. And I can tell you who is going to win”.
President Trump announced his departure in a tweet, though Mr Tillerson’s spokesperson said he had not told about it beforehand.
Time in post?
Fourteen months.

Hope Hicks, White House Communications Director – 29 March 2018
Ms Hicks served as Mr Trump’s press secretary and handled media requests during his campaign.
She became his fourth director of strategic communications for the Trump White House after Anthony Scaramucci was fired after just 10 days in the job.
The fashion model-turned-spokeswoman previously worked as a publicist for Ivanka Trump’s fashion label before entering politics with Mr Trump’s bid for the White House.
Why did she leave?
Her resignation came a day after she testified to a congressional panel investigating Russian influence on the 2016 election, telling them she had occasionally told “white lies” for her boss.
Her departure came only weeks after another top aide to Mr Trump, Rob Porter – with whom Ms Hicks was reported to have been in a relationship – quit amid allegations by two ex-wives of abuse.
Time in post?
Six years in the Trump Organization, and three years with Mr Trump during his campaign and presidency.
What is she doing now?
Ms Hicks works as chief communications officer at Fox Corporation, an American broadcasting firm.

David Shulkin, Veterans Affairs Secretary – 28 March 2018
A doctor and former healthcare executive, Mr Shulkin had served as undersecretary of veterans affairs for health under Barack Obama.
President Trump had hailed him as “fantastic” when appointing him, and the Senate gave him the only 100-0 confirmation of the Trump team.
Why did he leave?
Mr Shulkin had come under fire for alleged improper behaviour by department staff on a trip to Europe in 2017, including his own acceptance of tickets to the Wimbledon tennis tournament. He denied wrongdoing but agreed to reimburse the government for his wife’s air fare for the trip.
Mr Shulkin won praise from veterans’ groups, but his lack of action on privatising the Veterans Health Administration had angered conservatives.
In parting, he condemned the “toxic, chaotic, disrespectful and subversive” environment in Washington.
Time in post?
Fourteen months
What is he doing now?
In October 2019, the former VA Secretary published a book tracing his 13 months in the Trump administration.

Rob Porter, White House Staff Secretary – 7 February 2018
A former political aide, Mr Porter was described as Mr Trump’s “right-hand man” during his tenure.
As Staff Secretary he helped to manage the flow of paperwork reaching Trump, from policy memos to speeches and news briefing documents. He was also responsible for circulating documents among senior staff for comment.
Why did he quit?
Mr Porter resigned soon after two of his ex-wives publicly accused him of physical and emotional abuse. One, Colbie Holderness, supplied a photo of herself with a black eye to the media.
He denies all the accusations of abuse.
The Daily Mail, which broke the story, reported that Mr Porter did not receive security clearance for his White House job after the FBI interviewed his ex-wives during background checks.
After his resignation, questions quickly arose over how early the president’s chief of staff, Gen Kelly, had been made aware of the accusations by the FBI, and if they had played a role in his diminished security clearance.
Time in post?
One year.
What is he doing now?
Since leaving, the Daily Mail reported that Mr Porter was secretly hired to help with President Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign. In an interview with The Daily Beast, the campaign’s chief operating officer, Michael Glassner, denied the accusation.

Andrew McCabe, FBI Deputy Director – 29 January 2018
Andrew McCabe, a career FBI agent, served as the bureau’s acting director for nearly three months after the president sacked James Comey.
He was sacked days before he could retire with pension rights.
The attorney has faced repeated criticism from President Trump, who claims his ties to Democrats made him partial in the ongoing Russia investigation.
His wife, Jill McCabe, ran a failed Democratic bid for a state senate seat in Virginia in 2015, during which she received $500,000 (£355,000) from a political action group allied with Hillary Clinton – a move which Mr Trump apparently found unforgiveable.
Why was he sacked?
He was fired by US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who said an internal review found he leaked information and misled investigators.
Mr McCabe denied the claims and said he was being targeted because of his involvement in the inquiry into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Before his departure, he had been under an internal investigation into the FBI’s handling of two key inquiries during the 2016 presidential campaign: the revelations that Hillary Clinton had used a private email server while secretary of state; and suspicions that Russia was interfering to help Mr Trump win the presidency.
Time in post?
Two years as FBI deputy director, including a year under Mr Trump’s administration.
What is he doing now?
Mr McCabe has retired from the FBI and is a contributor to news broadcaster CNN.

Tom Price, Health Secretary – 29 September 2017
The former Georgia congressman was a long-standing opponent of the Affordable Care Act – known as Obamacare.
Mr Price was confirmed by the Senate along party lines, amid allegations of insider trading while he worked on healthcare laws – which he denied.
As health secretary, Mr Price was involved in President Trump’s repeated failures to push through bills repealing Obamacare.
Why was he sacked?
An analysis of transport spending by Politico discovered that Mr Price had, between May and late September, spent more than $1m on flights.
Some $500,000 of that was on military flights approved by the White House, but private charter flights made up at least $400,000 where commercial flights were available. Mr Trump said he was “not happy”.
Time in post?
Almost eight months.
What is he doing now?
In 2019, Mr Price put his name forward to replace Johnny Isakson as a Senator for Georgia. Mr Isakson resigned from the role in 2019, citing health reasons.

Steve Bannon, Chief Strategist – 18 August 2017
Steve Bannon joined the Trump campaign after leading the right-wing Breitbart News website, which rose to prominence through its attacks on mainstream Republicans, as well as those on the left.
The website helped to elevate the so-called “Alt-right”, which critics label a white supremacist group.
Like other aides to Mr Trump, he made his fortune as an investment banker, but later turned to financing film and television programmes such as the popular 90s sitcom Seinfeld.
Why was he sacked?
Some of Mr Trump’s most influential advisers, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner, had been pushing for his departure for months.
His firing came amid a public backlash to Mr Trump’s response to a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in which an anti-racist protester was killed by a 20-year-old man with Nazi sympathies.
Time in post?
Fired one year after being named campaign chief.
What is he doing now?
After his departure, Mr Bannon briefly rejoined Breitbart News as executive chairman.
He drew ire from President Trump after the publication of Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury, which detailed several comments made by Mr Bannon that were critical of the administration.
Mr Bannon remains active within politics and has served as an informal advisor to right-wing parties across Europe, Brazil and Israel. As part of this work he co-founded of The Movement, a Brussels-based organisation helping to promote the election of right-wing populist parties across Europe.

Anthony Scaramucci, Communications Director – 31 July 2017
The brash, Wall Street bigwig has known President Trump for years, and defended him in TV interviews.
While in the job, he appeared to accuse then-Chief of Staff Reince Priebus of being responsible for White House leaks in a tweet (later deleted) that also appeared to threaten him.
Mr Scaramucci then attacked Mr Priebus and President Trump’s senior adviser Steve Bannon in an expletive-filled rant on the phone with a reporter from the New Yorker magazine.
Why was he sacked?
Although he had boasted of reporting directly to the president, Mr Scaramucci’s outbursts may have cost him any post alongside Gen Kelly, who was replacing Reince Priebus as chief of staff.
Mr Scaramucci’s departure was announced hours after Gen Kelly was sworn-in.
Time in post?
Ten days (although his official start date was 15 August – so possibly minus 15 days.)
What is he doing now?
Mr Scaramucci is a contributor to several media outlets and has founded his own media group, The Scaramucci Post. He is also a trustee of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Foundation.
Mr Scaramucci has been a vocal critic of President Trump since his departure, and has been the target of several visceral tweets by the commander-in-chief.

Reince Priebus, Chief of Staff – 31 July 2017
The former Republican National Committee chairman was one of few Washington veterans given a top role in the Trump White House but was unable to assert his authority.
He grappled with competing powers in an administration where Mr Trump’s daughter Ivanka, and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, played key roles.
Why was he sacked?
President Trump lost confidence in him and clearly wanted a shake-up in the White House, opting for a general to replace the Republican Party operative, who was seen as weak.
The announcement also came as the Republicans failed in their efforts to repeal Obamacare in the Senate.
Time in post?
Six months.
What is he doing now?
Mr Priebus is president of law firm Michael Best & Friedrich, and works as a human resources officer with the US Navy reserve.

Sean Spicer, Press Secretary – 21 July 2017
Mr Spicer famously kicked off his tenure as White House press secretary by defending a seemingly indefensible claim about the crowd size at President Trump’s inauguration.
Over the course of his time behind the podium he became – unusually for a press secretary – a household name, and was parodied on Saturday Night Live.
Why did he leave?
Unlike most others on this list, Mr Spicer appears to have left on seemingly good terms with the president.
He stepped down after Mr Scaramucci was appointed to a role he had partially filled, saying he did not want there to be “too many cooks in the kitchen”.
Time in post?
Six months.
What is he doing now?
Mr Spicer is a public affairs officer with the US Navy and was appointed by President to serve on the US Naval Academy’s Board of Visitors.
He has also written a book called The Briefing: Politics, the Press and the President in which he referred to Trump as “unicorn riding a unicorn across a rainbow”.
In a surprise public appearance, he entered as a contestant on popular TV show Dancing with the Stars.

James Comey, FBI director – 9 May 2017
Mr Comey played a dramatic and controversial part in the closing stages of the election when he announced, a week before the vote, that the FBI had reopened an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
He was criticised first by Democrats for the timing, then by Republicans when he said a week later that no charges would be brought.
The president grew less appreciative of him as the FBI director led an investigation into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Why was he sacked?
The Trump administration first claimed Mr Comey’s handling of the Clinton email investigation rendered him no longer able to credibly lead the bureau and that Mr Trump had acted on the deputy attorney general’s recommendation.
However Mr Trump soon contradicted this, calling him a “showboat” in a TV interview and saying he was thinking of the “Russia thing” when he made the decision to sack him.
Time in post?
Three years, eight months. Less than four months under Mr Trump.
What is he doing now?
Mr Comey teaches a leadership course at the College of William & Mary in Virginia.
Since leaving he has been highly critical of the Trump administration.
In August 2019, a Department of Justice report concluded that, after losing his job, Mr Comey divulged unclassified information from a memo he had written on his private conversations with Mr Trump.
It ruled that he broke FBI rules by giving the contents of a memo to a friend so that it could be shared with a reporter. But the inspector general did not recommend Mr Comey be sued for the breach.

Michael Flynn, National Security Adviser – 13 February 2017
Technically, Michael Flynn resigned, but he was asked to do so by the president.
His departure followed weeks of deepening scandal in which it emerged that he had misled White House officials, including the vice-president, over his contact with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak.
Mr Flynn has admitted to lying to the FBI about their pair discussing US sanctions against Russia with Mr Kislyak before Mr Trump took office.
Why was he sacked?
It is illegal for private citizens to conduct US diplomacy, and once it was established that Mr Flynn had lied about his contact with Mr Kislyak there was no question that he had to go.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that the president needed the time to investigate Mr Flynn and establish his guilt, but the scandal prompted fierce speculation over what the president knew of Mr Flynn’s contacts with Mr Kislyak.
Time in post?
23 days.
What is he doing now?
Mr Flynn has agreed to a plea bargain and is due to appear in court on 18 December.
Since resigning, he has co-operated with Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in America’s 2016 presidential elections. President Trump has called the investigation a witch hunt and denies there was any collusion between his team and Russian officials to try to secure his election victory.

Sally Yates, Acting Attorney General – 30 January 2017
The president fired Sally Yates after she questioned the legality of Mr Trump’s travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries.
Ms Yates, who was appointed by Barack Obama, believed it discriminated unconstitutionally against Muslims, and ordered justice department lawyers not to enforce the president’s executive order.
Why was she sacked?
A White House statement said Ms Yates had “betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States”.
It also described her as “weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration”.
Time in post?
10 days. She previously served as deputy attorney general from May 2015 until January 2017.
What is she doing now?
Ms Yates is a partner at law firm King & Spalding, and lectures at Georgetown University Law Centre.

Preet Bharara, New York federal prosecutor – 11 March 2017
It is not uncommon for prosecutors appointed by the previous administration to be replaced as the White House changes hands, but the widely-respected Preet Bharara had been told specifically by the Trump administration that he would be kept on.
At the time of his sacking, he was overseeing several high-profile cases, including allegations of sexual harassment at Trump favourite Fox News.
Why was he sacked?
Mr Bharara was one of 46 prosecutors asked to resign by the Trump administration, which contended that it was part of a simple changing of the guard.
But there was speculation among Democrats and others that Mr Bahara’s jurisdiction, which included Trump Tower, may have concerned the president.
Time in post?
Seven years, seven months. Less than two months under Mr Trump.
What is he doing now?
Mr Bharara is a Scholar in Residence at New York University Law School, and co-hosts a legal podcast called “Cafe Insider”.

Paul Manafort, Chair of Trump’s presidential campaign
Paul Manafort, a long-time Republican political operative, was supposed to marshal some of the chaos around Mr Trump but ended up falling prey to it.
He was sacked after five months with Mr Trump’s campaign, three of those as campaign chair.
Why was he sacked?
The Trump campaign didn’t give a reason for Mr Manafort’s departure, issuing only a statement wishing him well.
But a wave of reports in the week before the announcement alleged that Mr Manafort had received secret cash payments from a pro-Russian political party for representing Russian interests in Ukraine and the US.
He has since been jailed for hiding $55m (£42m) from US tax authorities – money he was paid by pro-Russia politicians.
Time in post?
Three months.
What is he doing now?
Mr Manafort is serving 90-month prison sentence, and is expected to be released at the end of 2024.

Dealing with Trump, at a high level, is like trying to herd cats or pick up mercury.
Not possible.
He waffles, lies, erupts and generally behaves like the ego-centric he is.
Here is a clear description of the narcissist. “In psychological terms, narcissism doesn’t mean self-love—at least not of a genuine sort.
It’s more accurate to say that people with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) are in love with an idealized, grandiose image of themselves.
And they’re in love with this inflated self-image precisely because it allows them to avoid deep feelings of insecurity.
But propping up their delusions of grandeur takes a lot of work—and that’s where the dysfunctional attitudes and behaviors come in.
Narcissistic personality disorder involves a pattern of self-centered, arrogant thinking and behavior, a lack of empathy and consideration for other people, and an excessive need for admiration. Others often describe people with NPD as cocky, manipulative, selfish, patronizing, and demanding. This way of thinking and behaving surfaces in every area of the narcissist’s life: from work and friendships to family and love relationships.
People with narcissistic personality disorder are extremely resistant to changing their behavior, even when it’s causing them problems. Their tendency is to turn the blame on to others. What’s more, they are extremely sensitive and react badly to even the slightest criticisms, disagreements, or perceived slights, which they view as personal attacks. For the people in the narcissist’s life, it’s often easier just to go along with their demands to avoid the coldness and rages. However, by understanding more about narcissistic personality disorder, you can spot the narcissists in your life, protect yourself from their power plays, and establish healthier boundaries.

Signs and symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder

Grandiose sense of self-importance
Grandiosity is the defining characteristic of narcissism. More than just arrogance or vanity, grandiosity is an unrealistic sense of superiority. Narcissists believe they are unique or “special” and can only be understood by other special people. What’s more, they are too good for anything average or ordinary. They only want to associate and be associated with other high-status people, places, and things.
Narcissists also believe that they’re better than everyone else and expect recognition as such—even when they’ve done nothing to earn it. They will often exaggerate or outright lie about their achievements and talents. And when they talk about work or relationships, all you’ll hear is how much they contribute, how great they are, and how lucky the people in their lives are to have them. They are the undisputed star and everyone else is at best a bit player.

Lives in a fantasy world that supports their delusions of grandeur
Since reality doesn’t support their grandiose view of themselves, narcissists live in a fantasy world propped up by distortion, self-deception, and magical thinking. They spin self-glorifying fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, attractiveness, and ideal love that make them feel special and in control. These fantasies protect them from feelings of inner emptiness and shame, so facts and opinions that contradict them are ignored or rationalized away. Anything that threatens to burst the fantasy bubble is met with extreme defensiveness and even rage, so those around the narcissist learn to tread carefully around their denial of reality.

Needs constant praise and admiration
A narcissist’s sense of superiority is like a balloon that gradually loses air without a steady stream of applause and recognition to keep it inflated. The occasional compliment is not enough. Narcissists need constant food for their ego, so they surround themselves with people who are willing to cater to their obsessive craving for affirmation. These relationships are very one-sided. It’s all about what the admirer can do for the narcissist, never the other way around. And if there is ever an interruption or diminishment in the admirer’s attention and praise, the narcissist treats it as a betrayal.

Sense of entitlement
Because they consider themselves special, narcissists expect favorable treatment as their due. They truly believe that whatever they want, they should get. They also expect the people around them to automatically comply with their every wish and whim. That is their only value. If you don’t anticipate and meet their every need, then you’re useless. And if you have the nerve to defy their will or “selfishly” ask for something in return, prepare yourself for aggression, outrage, or the cold shoulder.

Exploits others without guilt or shame
Narcissists never develop the ability to identify with the feelings of others—to put themselves in other people’s shoes. In other words, they lack empathy. In many ways, they view the people in their lives as objects—there to serve their needs. As a consequence, they don’t think twice about taking advantage of others to achieve their own ends. Sometimes this interpersonal exploitation is malicious, but often it is simply oblivious. Narcissists simply don’t think about how their behavior affects others. And if you point it out, they still won’t truly get it. The only thing they understand is their own needs.

Frequently demeans, intimidates, bullies, or belittles others
Narcissists feel threatened whenever they encounter someone who appears to have something they lack—especially those who are confident and popular. They’re also threatened by people who don’t kowtow to them or who challenge them in any way. Their defense mechanism is contempt. The only way to neutralize the threat and prop up their own sagging ego is to put those people down. They may do it in a patronizing or dismissive way as if to demonstrate how little the other person means to them. Or they may go on the attack with insults, name-calling, bullying, and threats to force the other person back into line.

Gay Persecution
Gender norms imprison us all, dictating our social behavior out of fear of abuse – and that extends to who we sleep or fall in love with
New research has shown that the long fabled “gay gene” does not exist; that a variety of different genes contribute to same-sex attraction. There are cases where identical twins, from the same egg, have different sexual drives. One twin might be hetrosexual while the other is homosexual. The same egg but a different genetic mixture is the obvious cause.
All LGBTQ people grow up in homophobic societies, whether that bigotry is imposed by coercive religious attitudes or by the state.
Then there is the homophobic fiction that people choose to be gay, and that falling in love with someone of the same gender is a “lifestyle choice” – a perverse myth long used to punish LGBTQ people and fuel the horror of so-called gay conversion therapy which is, in essence, totally useless.
. Believing that gay people choose their sexuality belongs in the same class as flat-Earthism, anti-vaxx theories and climate emergency denial.
Almost all gays endure agonizing periods marked by fear and shame, and struggle to ‘come out’, to themselves, their family, friends and society: the idea they deliberately opted out of heterosexuality is clearly fantasy.
What is more interesting is that we will not know how fluid sexuality truly is until homophobia – and its parent, sexism, because it’s really about enforcing gender norms – is vanquished.
Although younger men are comfortable showing feelings for each other, many men still fear that even expressing affection for another male will have them pejoratively labelled as gay.
Polling shows that younger people are increasingly less likely to identify as heterosexual, a symptom of growing emancipation. According to YouGov survey this year, while 83% of 18 to 24-year-olds in Britain identified as heterosexual just four years ago, now only 75% do, with 16% now self-describing as bisexual, an astonishing 14 points higher than 2015.
Sexual and gender norms imprison us all, dictating our behavior for fear of reprisal – abuse or even violence – and that extends to who we sleep with or fall in love with. When the struggle for sexual freedom and general public acceptance succeeds, those boundaries will finally be overcome.
When a child hears from their parents whom they both love and trust, that certain types of people are inherently evil, and so evil that God will savagely punish them, the seeds are sown for future damage.
Imagine a child, trusting and naïve, learning these attitudes from their parents only to discover as they mature into adolescence, that they are one of these wicked and loathsome creatures.
They begin to perceive that they are the despised, evil and vile ones being spoken of.
A naïve and trusting child, who experiences parental rejection because of a possible sexual identity the parents firmly intone is disgusting and unacceptable, becomes ashamed and frantic to hide their feelings from their parents, and further, if this negativity is reflected in the dogma of a family religion, almost always Evangelical Christian, the negative feelings are increased.
A consequence of all this negativity manifests itself in anxiety, shame and very often self-hatred on the part of the victim.
Other prejudices stemming from religious or racial negativity expressed from outside the family circle can be muted and dealt with by the family but prejudice against gays expressed from inside the family circle is an entirely different matter.
The psychological damage to a developing child by a strong family rejection of their perceived homosexuality is deep and destructive and if a youth is expelled from the family or becomes homeless out of desperation, the barriers and shame experienced by the rejected family member has a very negative effect on their development and often destroys or seriously cripples both self-esteem and any form of affection for others.

Are We on the Brink of a ‘New Little Ice Age?’
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

When most of us think about Ice Ages, we imagine a slow transition into a colder climate on long time scales. Indeed, studies of the past million years indicate a repeatable cycle of Earth’s climate going from warm periods (“interglacial”, as we are experiencing now) to glacial conditions.
The period of these shifts are related to changes in the tilt of Earth’s rotational axis (41,000 years), changes in the orientation of Earth’s elliptical orbit around the sun, called the “precession of the equinoxes” (23,000 years), and to changes in the shape (more round or less round) of the elliptical orbit (100,000 years). The theory that orbital shifts caused the waxing and waning of ice ages was first pointed out by James Croll in the 19th Century and developed more fully by Milutin Milankovitch in 1938.
Undefined ice age conditions generally occur when all of the above conspire to create a minimum of summer sunlight on the arctic regions of the earth, although the Ice Age cycle is global in nature and occurs in phase in both hemispheres. It profoundly affects distribution of ice over lands and ocean, atmospheric temperatures and circulation, and ocean temperatures and circulation at the surface and at great depth.
Since the end of the present interglacial and the slow march to the next Ice Age may be several millennia away, why should we care? In fact, won’t the build-up of carbon dioxide (CO²) and other greenhouse gasses possibly ameliorate future changes?
Indeed, some groups advocate the benefits of global warming, including the Greening Earth Society and the Subtropical Russia Movement. Some in the latter group even advocate active intervention to accelerate the process, seeing this as an opportunity to turn much of cold, austere northern Russia into a subtropical paradise.
Evidence has mounted that global warming began in the last century and that humans may be in part responsible. Both the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the US National Academy of Sciences concur. Computer models are being used to predict climate change under different scenarios of greenhouse forcing and the Kyoto Protocol advocates active measures to reduce CO² emissions which contribute to warming.
Thinking is centered around slow changes to our climate and how they will affect humans and the habitability of our planet. Yet this thinking is flawed: It ignores the well-established fact that Earth’s climate has changed rapidly in the past and could change rapidly in the future. The issue centers around the paradox that global warming could instigate a new Little Ice Age in the northern hemisphere.
Evidence for abrupt climate change is readily apparent in ice cores taken from Greenland and Antarctica. One sees clear indications of long-term changes discussed above, with CO² and proxy temperature changes associated with the last ice age and its transition into our present interglacial period of warmth. But, in addition, there is a strong chaotic variation of properties with a quasi-period of around 1500 years. We say chaotic because these millennial shifts look like anything but regular oscillations. Rather, they look like rapid, decade-long transitions between cold and warm climates followed by long interludes in one of the two states.
The best-known example of these events is the Younger Dryas cooling of about 12,000 years ago, named for arctic wildflower remains identified in northern European sediments. This event began and ended within a decade and for its 1000-year duration the North Atlantic region was about 5°C colder.
The lack of periodicity and the present failure to isolate a stable forcing mechanism a la Milankovitch, has prompted much scientific debate about the cause of the Younger Dryas and other millennial scale events. Indeed, the Younger Dryas occurred at a time when orbital forcing should have continued to drive climate to the present warm state.
A whole volume that reviews the evidence for abrupt climate change and speculates on its mechanisms was published recently by an expert group commissioned by the National Academy of Sciences in the US. This very readable compilation contains a breadth and depth of discussion that we cannot hope to match here. [ “Abrupt Climate Change,” National Academy Press, 2002].
Presently, there is only one viable mechanism identified in the report that may play a major role in determining the stable states of our climate and what causes transitions between them: It involves ocean dynamics.
In order to balance the excess heating near the equator and cooling at the poles of the earth, both atmosphere and ocean transport heat from low to high latitudes. Warmer surface water is cooled at high latitudes, releasing heat to the atmosphere, which is then radiated away to space. This heat engine operates to reduce equator-to-pole temperature differences and is a prime moderating mechanism for climate on Earth.
Warmer ocean surface temperatures at low latitudes also release water vapor through an excess of evaporation over precipitation to the atmosphere, and this water vapor is transported poleward in the atmosphere along with a portion of the excess heat. At high latitudes where the atmosphere cools, this water vapor falls out as an excess of precipitation over evaporation. This is part of a second important component of our climate system: the hydrologic cycle. As the ocean waters are cooled in their poleward journey, they become denser. If sufficiently cooled, they can sink to form cold dense flows that spread equatorward at great depths, thus perpetuating the circulation system that transports warm surface flows toward high latitude oceans.
The cycle is completed by oceanic mixing, which slowly converts the cold deep waters to warm surface waters. Thus, surface forcing and internal mixing are two major players in this overturning circulation, called the great ocean conveyor.
The waters moving poleward are relatively salty due to more evaporation at low latitudes, which increases surface salinity. At higher latitudes surface waters become fresher as a consequence of the dominance of precipitation over evaporation at high latitudes.
The freshening tendency makes the surface water more buoyant, thus opposing the cooling tendency. If the freshening is sufficiently large, the surface waters may not be dense enough to sink to great depths in the ocean, thus inhibiting the action of the ocean conveyor and upsetting one important part of the earth’s heating system.
This system of regulation does not operate the same in all oceans. The Asian continent limits the northern extent of the Indian Ocean to the tropics, and deep water does not presently form in the North Pacific, because surface waters are just too fresh. Our present climate promotes cold deep-water formation around Antarctica and in the northern North Atlantic Ocean. The conveyor circulation increases the northward transport of warmer waters in the Gulf Stream at mid-latitudes by about 50% over what wind-driven transport alone would do.
Our limited knowledge of ocean climate on long time scales, extracted from the analysis of sediment cores taken around the world ocean, has generally implicated the North Atlantic as the most unstable member of the conveyor: During millennial periods of cold climate, North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) formation either stopped or was seriously reduced. And this has generally followed periods of large freshwater discharge into the northern N. Atlantic caused by rapid melting of glacial or multi-year ice in the Arctic Basin. It is thought that these fresh waters, which have been transported into the regions of deep water formation, have interrupted the conveyor by overcoming the high latitude cooling effect with excessive freshening.
The ocean conveyor need not stop entirely when the NADW formation is curtailed. It can continue at shallower depths in the N. Atlantic and persist in the Southern Ocean where Antarctic Bottom Water formation continues or is even accelerated. Yet a disruption of the northern limb of the overturning circulation will affect the heat balance of the northern hemisphere and could affect both the oceanic and atmospheric climate. Model calculations indicate the potential for cooling of 3 to 5 degree Celsius in the ocean and atmosphere should a total disruption occur. This is a third to a half the temperature change experienced during major ice ages.
These changes are twice as large as those experienced in the worst winters of the past century in the eastern US, and are likely to persist for decades to centuries after a climate transition occurs. They are of a magnitude comparable to the Little Ice Age, which had profound effects on human settlements in Europe and North America during the 16th through 18th centuries. Their geographic extent is in doubt; it might be limited to regions bounding the N. Atlantic Ocean. High latitude temperature changes in the ocean are much less capable of affecting the global atmosphere than low latitude ones, such as those produced by El Niño.
Whether the pathway for propagation of climate change is atmospheric or oceanic, or whether changes in oceanic and terrestrial sequestration of carbon may globalize effects of climate change, as suspected for glacial/inter-glacial climate changes, are open questions. Yet we begin to approach how the paradox mentioned above can happen: Global warming can induce a colder climate for many of us.
Consider first some observations of oceanic change over the modern instrumental record going back 40 years. During this time interval, we have observed a rise in mean global temperature. Because of its large heat capacity, the ocean has registered small but significant changes in temperature. The largest temperature increases are in the near surface waters, but warming has been measurable to depths as great as 3000 meters in the N. Atlantic. Superimposed on this long-term increase are interannual and decadal changes that often obscure these trends, causing regional variability and cooling in some regions, and warming in others.
In addition, recent evidence shows that the high latitude oceans have freshened while the subtropics and tropics have become saltier. These possible changes in the hydrological cycle have not been limited to the North Atlantic, but have been seen in all major oceans. Yet it is the N. Atlantic where these changes can act to disrupt the overturning circulation and cause a rapid climate transition.
A 3-4-meter, high latitude buildup of fresh water over this time period has decreased water column salinities throughout the subpolar N. Atlantic as deep as 2000m. At the same time, subtropical and northern tropical salinities have increased.
The degree to which the two effects balance out in terms of fresh water is important for climate change. If the net effect is a lowering of salinity, then fresh water must have been added from other sources: river runoff, melting of multi-year arctic ice, or glaciers. A flooding of the northern Atlantic with fresh water from these various sources has the potential to reduce or even disrupt the overturning circulation.
Whether or not the latter will happen is the nexus of the problem, and one that is hard to predict with confidence. At present we do not even have a system in place for monitoring the overturning circulation.
Models of the overturning circulation are very sensitive to how internal mixing is parameterized. Recall that internal mixing of heat and salt is an integral part of overturning circulation. One recent study shows that for a model with constant vertical mixing, which is commonly used in coupled ocean-atmosphere climate runs, there is only one stable climate state: our present one with substantial sinking and dense water formation in the northern N. Atlantic.
With a slightly different formulation, more consistent with some recent measurements of oceanic mixing rates that are small near the surface and become larger over rough bottom topography, a second stable state emerges with little or no deep-water production in the northern N. Atlantic. The existence of a second stable state is crucial to understanding when and if abrupt climate change occurs. When it occurs in model runs and in geological data, it is invariably linked to rapid addition of fresh water at high northern latitudes.
And now perhaps you begin to see the scope of the problem. In addition to incorporating a terrestrial biosphere and polar ice, which both play a large role in the reflectivity of solar radiation, one has to accurately parameterize mixing that occurs on centimeter to tens of centimeter scales in the ocean. And one has to produce long coupled global climate runs of many centuries! This is a daunting task but is necessary before we can confidently rely on models to predict future climate change.
Besides needing believable models that can accurately predict climate change, we also need data that can properly initialize them. Errors in initial data can lead to poor atmospheric predictions in several days. So one sure pathway to better weather predictions is better initial data.
For the ocean, our data coverage is wholly inadequate. We can’t say now what the overturning circulation looks like with any confidence and are faced with the task of predicting what it may be like in 10 years!
Efforts are now underway to remedy this. Global coverage of upper ocean temperature and salinity measurements with autonomous floats is well within our capability within the next decade as are surface measures of wind stress and ocean circulation from satellites.
The measurement of deep flows is more difficult, but knowledge about the locations of critical avenues of dense water flows exists, and efforts are underway to measure them in some key locations with moored arrays.
Our knowledge about past climate change is limited as well. There are only a handful of high-resolution ice core climate records of the past 100,000 years, and even fewer ocean records of comparable resolution. Better definition of past climate states is needed not only in and of itself, but for use by modelers to test their best climate models in reproducing what we know happened in the past before believing model projections about the future. We are not there yet, and progress needs to be made on both better data and improved models before we can begin to answer some critical questions about future climate change.
Researchers always tell you that more research funding is needed, and we are not any different. Our main message is not just that, however. It is that global climate is moving in a direction that makes abrupt climate change more probable, that these dynamics lie beyond the capability of many of the models used in IPCC reports, and the consequences of ignoring this may be large. For those of us living around the edge of the N. Atlantic Ocean, we may be planning for climate scenarios of global warming that are opposite to what might actually occur.

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