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Published: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 @ 11:21 AM
Updated: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 @ 11:21 AM
— President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would be replaced with CIA Director Mike Pompeo following reports of ongoing tension between the two.
The New York Times reported in December that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly had developed a plan to replaced Tillerson with Pompeo, but the president denied the report.
Pompeo will be replaced at the CIA by his deputy, Gina Haspel. She would become the first woman to run the agency.
Tillerson’s departure had been widely anticipated for months, but State Department officials said Tuesday in a statement that Tillerson “did not speak to the president and is unaware of the reason” for his dismissal.
The relationship between Tillerson and Trump has been strained by name-calling and public disagreements on multiple major issues.
Here are five times Trump and Tillerson publicly disagreed on an issue:
1. When Trump criticized Tillerson’s approach to North Korea and “Little Rocket Man”
In October, President Donald Trump publicly contradicted Tillerson’s stance on a North Korea and tweeted that Tillerson was “wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man,” Trump’s nickname for North Korea leader Kim Jong Un.
“Save your energy, Rex, we’ll do what has to be done,” Trump wrote, and warned of U.S. military action to the country’s escalating nuclear threat.
Trump also told reporters during a photo op at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf course: “As I said, they will be met with fire, fury and frankly, power – the likes of which the world has never seen before.”
This was one day after Tillerson, who would rather avoid military use to reach a consensus with the country, said he was trying to open the door for talks with North Korea.
Others in Congress also spoke against Trump’s approach.
“North Korea is a global threat that requires American diplomacy,” said Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minnesota, who labeled Trump’s talk “dangerous and risks war.”
2. When the U.S. pulled out of the Paris climate accord
In August, Tillerson publicly disagreed with Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, a pact to voluntarily curb greenhouse gas emissions.
"I was free to express my views. I took a counter view to the decision that was made," Tillerson said.
The United States is now the only country that has rejected the global pact, according to the Times.
3. When Trump blamed “both sides” for the deadly Charlottesville, Virginia, white supremacist rally
Following the Charlottesville, Virginia, rally of white supremacists that resulted in the death of rally protester 32-year-old Heather Heyer, Trump blamed “both sides” for the deadly violence.
Heyer was killed when a neo-Nazi drove a car into her and other demonstrators at the rally.
The president’s comments were widely criticized. United Nations experts, without explicitly naming Trump, said it was “a failure at the highest political level of the United States of America to unequivocally reject and condemn racist violence,” the Times reported.
Amid the backlash to Trump’s comments following the attack, Tillerson addressed State Department interns and staff.
“We do not honor, nor do we promote or accept, hate speech in any form,” Tillerson said at the event. “Those who embrace it poison our public discourse, and they damage the very country that they claim to love.”
When asked whether Trump’s response represented “American values,” Tillerson said on Fox News, “The president speaks for himself ... I have spoken. I have made my own comments as to our values as well in a speech I gave to the State Department this past week.”
4. When Tillerson undercut Trump’s Afghanistan strategy
During an address to military personnel in August, Trump repeatedly said the U.S. would win the war in Afghanistan and do so by military action.
"Our troops will fight to win. We will fight to win," he said during an address to military personnel in August. "From now on, victory will have a clear definition: attacking our enemies, obliterating ISIS, crushing al-Qaida, preventing the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan, and stopping mass terror attacks against America before they emerge."
Tillerson’s approach to the Taliban was more diplomatic and undercut Trump’s.
"You will not win a battlefield victory. We may not win one, but neither will you," he said, addressing the Taliban. "So at some point, we have to come to the negotiating table and find a way to bring this to an end."
“A clear victory,” The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake reported, “is something that basically any military expert will tell you is very difficult to foresee (much less predict) in Afghanistan — especially with only a few thousand more troops on top of already-far-reduced troop levels and an apparently limited amount of patience from the commander in chief.
5. General concern (or lack of) for Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election
Despite growing evidence from the U.S. intelligence community of Russian interference in the election, Trump has repeatledly dismissed or minimized the findings, circling back to U.S. intelligence’s failure 15 years ago regarding Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction to increase doubt about the agencies’ conclusions.
"I remember when I was sitting back listening about Iraq, weapons of mass destruction. How everybody was 100 percent sure that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Guess what? That led to one big mess," Trump said. "They were wrong and it led to a mess. So, it was Russia. And I think it was probably others also. And that's been going on for a long period of time."
Tillerson, on the other hand, is concerned about Russian interference. He has said he’s tried "to help [the Russian government] understand just how serious this incident had been and how seriously it had damaged the relationship between the U.S. and the American people and the Russian people.”
Trump said he started his meeting with Putin by saying, "I'm going to get this out of the way: Did you do this?" According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Trump accepted firm assertions from Putin that it is not true.
Published: Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 10:20 AM
Updated: Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 4:01 PM
HOUSTON — Approximately 1,500 guests attended former first lady Barbara Bush's private funeral ceremony in Houston Saturday.
Barbara Bush, the wife of the nation’s 41st president and mother of the nation’s 43rd, died Tuesday at her Houston home. She was 92.
About 2,500 mourners paid their respect at a public viewing held Friday in Houston, The Associated Press reported.
The service took place at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston. Jeb Bush delivered a eulogy for his mother. Longtime friend Susan Baker and historian Jon Meacham also gave remarks during the 90-minute service. Multiple musical selections were performed.
A procession followed, with burial at the Bush Library at Texas A&M University in College Station. Barbara Bush will be buried next to her daughter, Robin, who was 3 years old when she died of leukemia in 1953, The AP reported.
Notable guests included first lady Melania Trump, former President Bill Clinton, former first lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama, The AP reported.
Published: Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 1:02 PM
Updated: Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 2:02 PM
HOUSTON — Former President George H.W. Bush is known for wearing festive socks. He wore a special pair of socks Saturday to the funeral of his wife of 73 years, Barbara Bush, in tribute to her work in literacy awareness.
Barbara Bush, the wife of the nation’s 41st president and mother of the nation’s 43rd, died Tuesday at her Houston home. She was 92.
Bush family spokesman Jim McGrath posted on Twitter that the former president is wearing socks festooned with books.
The socks worn by the 41st President of the United States of America at today’s funeral for former First Lady Barbara Bush. pic.twitter.com/12libHt1Jv— Jim McGrath (@jgm41) April 21, 2018
To honor his wife of 73 years and her commitment to family literacy, for which she raised over $110 million over the course of over 30 years, @GeorgeHWBush will be wearing a pair of socks festooned with books at today’s funeral service for former First Lady Barbara Bush.— Jim McGrath (@jgm41) April 21, 2018
McGrath went on to say that Barbara Bush's literacy campaign raised over $110 million in 30 years.
Published: Monday, April 16, 2018 @ 10:02 AM
— Former first lady Barbara Bush, who died Tuesday night, had strong family ties to Dayton and southwest Ohio.
Her grandfather Scott Pierce was one of the founders of the Dayton Rotary Club. Her parents, Marvin Pierce and Pauline Robinson, met at Miami University in Oxford.
When the family lived in New York years later, Marvin would bring Barbara on trips to Dayton when he worked for McCall Corporation. He went on to be the president of McCall’s, the publisher of Redbook and McCall’s.
“When I was four or five years old, my father would take me with him on business trips to Dayton, the site of a McCall plant,” Bush wrote in her memoir.
Marvin was a 1916 graduate of Miami University. He was a standout athlete nicknamed Monk. He played basketball, football, baseball and tennis. He was inducted into the Miami Athletic Hall of Fame in 1972.
In her memoir, Bush wrote about her father saying, “Daddy was really bright and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, while at the same time waiting tables and tending furnaces.”
“Miami is where Daddy fell in love with Mother who was studying to be a teacher.”
Pauline and Marvin were married in 1918 in Union County, Ohio.
Pauline was born in Richwood, Ohio, on April 28, 1896. Her father was Ohio Supreme Court Justice James Edgar Robinson.
Pauline died in a car accident in 1949 in Rye, N.Y. When Marvin who was driving the car lost control. She was 53 years old.
Barbara’s brother, Scott Pierce, also attended Miami University. He is 88 years old.
Barbara Bush’s grandfather, Scott Pierce, was an insurance salesman for a while in Dayton.
In her memoir, Bush said her grandfather and grandmother “lost all their money in the 1890s, and my grandfather never recovered. He sold insurance in Dayton, Ohio, but the family lived humbly.”
Pierce was among a group of 16 men who formed the Dayton Rotary Club in 1913 and he became the its first president, according to David Williamson, the club’s historian.
The story goes that during the Great Dayton Flood of 1913, Scott Pierce’s teenage daughter Charlotte — Bush’s aunt — became separated from her family and had to ride out the flood waters in the attic of another Rotary member. It was several days before her family got word that she was safe.
Rotary International members then came to Dayton’s rescue, making the flood recovery the organization's first ever national relief effort.
“(Scott Pierce) was a big deal in Dayton Rotary,” Williamson said. Words he wrote are presented to each outgoing club president on a plaque to this day.
Bush’s grandmother Mabel Pierce was born in Hamilton County in 1869 and died in Dayton in 1955. Scott Pierce died in Dayton in 1945.
Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 11:56 AM
The legal fight over the 2016 elections expanded further on Friday, as the Democratic National Committee filed a wide-ranging lawsuit against President Donald Trump’s campaign, top aides, one of Mr. Trump’s son, as well as his son-in-law, the Russian government, and others caught up in the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 race for the White House.
The 66 page lawsuit, filed in the Southern District of New York, where an FBI raid recently took place on the President’s personal lawyer, alleges a broad conspiracy involving Russia, its intelligence service, and members of the Trump inner circle, like former campaign manager Paul Manafort.
“No one is above the law,” the lawsuit begins. “In the Trump Campaign, Russia found a willing and active partner in this effort.”
The charges cover everything from racketeering, conspiracy, computer fraud, trespass, and more, claiming the hacking effort was a coordinated effort with the Trump Campaign, designed to damage the bid of Hillary Clinton for the White House.
Along with the Russian government and intelligence service known as the GRU, the Democratic lawsuit names Julian Assange
and Wikileaks, the Trump Campaign, Donald Trump, Jr., Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, Jared Kushner, and two campaign aides who
have already agreed to help the Russia investigation, George Papadopoulos and Richard Gates.
The document did not seem to make public any brand new details about how the hacking occurred at the DNC or with members of the Clinton campaign.
In the lawsuit, Democrats charge “Russia’s cyberattack on the DNC began only weeks after Trump announced his candidacy for President,” in June 2015.
“In April 2016, another set of Russian intelligence agents successfully hacked into the DNC, saying that “massive amounts of data” were taken from DNC servers.
The lawsuit makes no mention of the FBI warning to the DNC that it was being hacked, and how that was ignored for weeks by officials at DNC headquarters in Washington.
If the lawsuit actually goes forward, it would not only involve evidence being gathered from those being challenged by the Democrats – but some made clear it could open the DNC hacking response to a further review as well in terms of discovery.