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Reince Priebus Out: John Kelly in as White House Chief of Staff

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President Trump ousted White House chief of staff Reince Priebus on Friday, replacing him with Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly, in a White House shake-up unfolding daily amid the chaos and infighting, which overshadows any tangible accomplishments.

The move according to credible sources was designed to bring order to a West Wing beset for six straight months by power struggles and leaks.

With his legislative agenda largely stalled, Trump became convinced that Priebus was a “weak” leader after being lobbied intensely by rival advisers to remove the establishment Republican fixture who has long had friction with some of Trump’s inner-circle loyalists, according to White House officials.

In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, when pressed to respond to being replaced by General John Kelly, Priebus said he submitted his formal resignation to the President privately on Thursday.  Sources close to Priebus, however, insisted that he was not resigning on when asked on Friday.

Trump announced on Twitter shortly after landing on Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington.

“I am pleased to inform you that I have just named General/Secretary John F Kelly as White House Chief of Staff,” Trump tweeted. “He is a Great American… and a Great Leader. John has also done a spectacular job at Homeland Security. He has been a true star of my Administration.”

Sources close to Priebus contacted reporters to say that Priebus had formally resigned on Thursday after the President named General John Kelly as his new chief of staff on Friday afternoon.  Sources say some White House officials questioned Priebus’ version of events, suggesting he and his allies were attempting to put a positive spin on Trump’s abrupt decision to replace Priebus with Kelly.

“The President wanted to go a different direction,” Priebus told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room” Friday evening.” A president has a right to hit a reset button. I think it’s a good time to hit the reset button. I think he was right to hit the reset button.”

“I’m always going to be a Trump fan,” Priebus said. “I’m on Team Trump, and I look forward to helping him achieve his goals and his agenda for the American people.”

John Kelly (R) will take over from Reince Priebus (L) as chief of staff [Molly Riley/Mike Theiler/AFP]

Kelly’s hiring is expected to render more streamlined structural West Wing, and perhaps the departures of some remaining Priebus allies is likely. Kelly intends to bring some semblance of traditional discipline to the West Wing, where warring advisers have been able to circumvent the chief of staff and report directly to the president and sidestep the policy process, according to people with knowledge of his plans.

A retired four-star Marine general, Kelly earned Trump’s approval for his work combating illegal immigration and his leadership qualities, both in the battlefield and at the Department of Homeland Security.

Trump thanked Priebus on Twitter “for his service and dedication to his country. We accomplished a lot together, and I am proud of him!”

The sweeping change comes after an open display of conflict between Priebus and Anthony Scaramucci, the newly appointed as White House communications director, played out in real time like a script from reality tv on Thursday.  Scaramucci accused Priebus of leaking damaging information about him to the news media later denigrating Priebus in a profanity-laced interview with The New Yorker.

Priebus said in a statement, “It has been one of the greatest honors of my life to serve this president and our country. I want to thank the president for giving me this very special opportunity. I will continue to serve as a strong supporter of the president’s agenda and policies. I can’t think of a better person than General John Kelly to succeed me, and I wish him God’s blessings and great success.”

Allies close to Priebus said he told them he decided to resign because the internal chaos had become “unsustainable,” and that he felt demeaned by the president’s treatment of him. One friend said Priebus said he was frustrated that he could not assert control over basic White House functions, such as policy development, communications and even formal announcements – which were often made impulsively by the president, such as this week’s ban on transgender people serving in the military.

Defenders of Priebus said he was given an impossible job of managing a president who pushed back at attempts to control his more rash impulses.

White House officials were quick to say the decision for Priebus to depart was made solely by Trump. It was announced after Priebus presided over the Friday morning senior staff meeting and accompanied Trump to a law enforcement event in New York.

Trump has long been drawn to military leaders — “my generals,” he calls them — and by appointing Kelly, the president hopes to bring military discipline to his often-unruly West Wing.

Kelly is expected to be sworn into the job on Monday morning and convene a Cabinet meeting. He is being succeeded at the Department of Homeland Security by his current deputy, Elaine Duke, who will become acting secretary.

Kelly, who is widely admired by Trump family members and loyalists, had formed a bond with the president over recent months that was fortified when he aggressively defended the travel ban policy. Their relationship has only grown stronger since, with Trump telling aides that he sees Kelly as someone who dutifully follows through on his agenda—including a border security crackdown and a sharp reduction in illegal immigration — and does not cause him problems.

Because Kelly has little political and legislative experience, many officials in the West Wing expect that policy issues will largely fall under Vice President Pence’s portfolio, said two people familiar with the likely changes. Pence — who spent Thursday evening in the Capitol unsuccessfully trying to convince

Priebus, who as chairman of the Republican National Committee nurtured a close relationship with Trump during last year’s campaign, was named White House chief of staff to bring Washington experience to the administration of a political novice. Part of Priebus’ pitch was that he could use his long-standing relationships with Republican leaders on Capitol Hill — including House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), a personal friend — to help pass Trump’s ambitious agenda.

“On paper, he was a perfect choice, but he didn’t have the managerial skills,” said Christopher Ruddy, chief executive of Newsmax Media and a Trump friend. But, he continued, “That Ryan connection became a burden for him as health care failed. The president felt he had to carry this defective football that had no buy in, thanks to Reince and Ryan.”

Ryan issued a statement praising Priebus, saying he “left it all out on the field, for our party and our country.”

“He has achieved so much, and he has done it all with class,” Ryan said. “I could not be more proud to call Reince a dear friend.”

After Scaramucci was named communications director last week against Priebus’ vehement objections, White House officials widely believed that Priebus’ position had become more imperiled. His closest ally, press secretary Sean Spicer, resigned in protest last week over Scaramucci’s hiring and at a time urged Priebus to consider his future, officials said, noting that the situation had darkened.

Trump had long questioned the depth of Priebus’ loyalty, often remarking about how last October Priebus encouraged Trump to drop out of the presidential race after The Washington Post published a video of Trump bragging about sexual harassment in a 2005 “Access Hollywood” interview. The senior official described Priebus’ counsel that day as “a stain he was never going to remove “The scarlet ‘ A.H.’”

By LeNora Millen    07-29-17

 

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Former Congressman Harold Ford Jr. Fired by Morgan Stanley for Alleged Misconduct

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Harold Ford Jr., a former congressman, was fired by the financial services firm Morgan Stanley following allegations of misconduct, NBC confirmed on Thursday.

Morgan Stanley declined to say specifically what prompted the firing. The allegations were presented after a woman who was not employed at the firm accused Mr. Ford of acting inappropriately in a professional setting.

Mr. Ford’s termination reported by HuffPost as an exclusive has been challenged by the former Congressman as “false claims.”

Harold Ford Jr., a former congressman, was fired from his position as a managing director at the financial services firm Morgan Stanley for what the company described as behavior “inconsistent with our values.”CreditMike Groll/Associated Press

In a statement provided by his lawyer, Mr. Ford denied the sexual harassment allegations, stating in a tweet on Thursday that he will be bringing legal action against the reporter, for making false claims against him, as well as Morgan Stanley for wrongful termination.

“This simply did not happen,” Mr. Ford wrote. “I have never forcibly grabbed any woman or man in my life.” He added that socializing with members of the press was part of his job, and said that “false claims like this undermine the real silence breakers.”

Mr. Ford served five terms in Congress as a Democrat representing a Tennessee district after first being elected in 1996—serving as Congressman from 1997 to 207.

He joined Morgan Stanley as a managing director and senior client-relationship manager in 2011 as a vice chairman and senior policy adviser at Bank of America.

Amid the heightened scrutiny of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior toppling key figures in the entertainment and political arena, Mr. Ford is the latest high profiled man to lose his job in recent days for similar allegations.

Time magazine on Wednesday named the “Silence Breakers” its Person of the Year. They shared personal stories about harassment and assault and sparked the #MeToo movement.

According to Time, the #MeToo became a hashtag, a movement, a reckoning. But it began, as great social change nearly always does, with individual acts of courage.

In a tweet acknowledging his thoughts on the “Silence Breaker” quite pointed in his statement, Mr. Ford said the following in regards to news of his firing on Thursday, “This simply did not happen.  I have never forcibly grabbed any woman or man in my life.”

In another tweet, Mr. Ford spoke about his professional demeanor and his tremendous respect for the brave women speaking out “in this important national dialogue.”  Mr. Ford was pointed in stating that false claims alleged against him “undermine the real “Silence Breakers.”

Mr. Ford appeared as a frequent guest on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” MSNBC – which is owned by NBC 4 New York’s parent company.

“We are looking into the report about Harold Ford Jr.,” a spokeswoman for MSNBC said. “During that time he won’t be a guest on MSNBC.”

LeNora Millen            12-7-17

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TV One Cancels Roland Martin’s Morning Show ‘News One Now’

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TV One is canceling Roland Martin’s morning show “News One Now,” Roland made the announcement in a tweet Wednesday.

“Fam, the sad news is true. The staff of @tvonetv #NewsnewOneNow was informed this afternoon that after four years of doing groundbreaking and award-winning work, the show will cease production at the end of the year,” Martin tweeted.

Martin, who thanked audiences for their support, said the last episode will air on Dec. 21.

Roland Martin’s morning show “NewsOne Now” was cancelled due to budget cuts according to various reports from reliable sources.

“They called a meeting on Wednesday and told the staff they were canceling the show. They’re having significant financial problems and they have to scale back,” a source said. “After four years of award-winning programming and distinguished service to our viewers as the only black daily newscast on television, the network has made the difficult decision to suspend the production of NewsOne Now as a daily morning news show. The last live show is scheduled [Dec. 21],” TV One’s interim GM, Michelle Rice wrote in a memo.

Host of “News One Now” Roland Martin speaks on stage during ColorofChange.org 10 Year Anniversary Gala. (Rob Kim/Getty Images for ColorOfChange)

The news of “NewsOne Now” cancellation shocked Martin and staffers according to sources. The network had recently expanded the morning show to two hours in September.

The memo added: “While we will continue our long-standing partnership with Roland Martin to ensure his important voice can be heard across all Urban One platforms examining issues of importance to the black community, we regret this decision adversely affects several of our valued colleagues whose positions will be eliminated with the suspension of the show.”

The network issued a statement on Twitter that read, “We are committed to providing quality news to our viewers and to our long-standing relationship with @rolandsmartin #NewsOneNow who will continue to have a voice on #TVOne.”

LeNora Millen         12-07-17

 

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Editor Picks

President Donald Trump will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel

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Why declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is so controversial?

The final status of Jerusalem has always been one of the most difficult and sensitive questions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If the United States declares Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, it would be seen as prejudging that question, deciding an issue that was supposed to be left to negotiations and breaking with the international consensus on the holy city.
Recognizing Jerusalem as the capital also moves the United States one major step closer to relocating the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which would be seen as cementing Israeli sovereignty over the city.

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