obama appointee

Trump administration withdrew memo that found 'ample legal justification' to halt Dakota Access pipeline
The legal opinion was withdrawn two days before an easement was approved.
By ABC News

Two days before the Trump administration approved an easement for the Dakota Access pipeline to cross a reservoir near the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation, the U.S. Department of the Interior withdrew a legal opinion that concluded there was “ample legal justification” to deny it.

The withdrawal of the opinion was revealed in court documents filed this week by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the same agency that requested the review late last year.

“A pattern is emerging with [the Trump] administration,” said Jan Hasselman, an attorney representing the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. “They take good, thoughtful work and then just throw it in the trash and do whatever they want to do.”

The 35-page legal analysis of the pipeline’s potential environmental risks and its impact on treaty rights of the Standing Rock Sioux and other indigenous tribes was authored in December by then-Interior Department Solicitor Hilary C. Tompkins, an Obama appointee who was – at the time – the top lawyer in the department.

“The government-to-government relationship between the United States and the Tribes calls for enhanced engagement and sensitivity to the Tribes’ concerns,” Tompkins wrote. “The Corps is accordingly justified should it choose to deny the proposed easement.”

Tompkins’ opinion was dated Dec. 4, the same day the Obama administration announced that it was denying an easement for the controversial crossing and initiating an environmental impact statement that would explore alternative routes for the pipeline. Tompkins did not respond to a request by ABC News to discuss her analysis or the decision made to withdraw it.

On his second weekday in office, President Donald Trump signed a memorandum that directed the Army Corps of Engineers to “review and approve” the pipeline in an expedited manner, to “the extent permitted by law, and as warranted, and with such conditions as are necessary or appropriate.” “I believe that construction and operation of lawfully permitted pipeline infrastructure serve the national interest,” Trump wrote in the memo.

Two weeks later, the Corps issued the easement to Dakota Access and the environmental review was canceled.

The company behind the pipeline project now estimates that oil could be flowing in the pipeline as early as March 6.

The analysis by Tompkins includes a detailed review of the tribes’ hunting, fishing and water rights to Lake Oahe, the federally controlled reservoir where the final stretch of the pipeline is currently being installed, and concludes that the Corps “must consider the possible impacts” of the pipeline on those reserved rights.

“The Tompkins memo is potentially dispositive in the legal case,” Hasselman said. “It shows that the Army Corps [under the Obama administration] made the right decision by putting the brakes on this project until the Tribe’s treaty rights, and the risk of oil spills, was fully evaluated.”

Tompkins’ opinion was particularly critical of the Corps’ decision to reject another potential route for the pipeline that would have placed it just north of Bismarck, North Dakota, in part because of the pipeline’s proximity to municipal water supply wells.

“The Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux Reservations are the permanent and irreplaceable homelands for the Tribes,” Tompkins wrote. “Their core identity and livelihood depend upon their relationship to the land and environment – unlike a resident of Bismarck, who could simply relocate if the [Dakota Access] pipeline fouled the municipal water supply, Tribal members do not have the luxury of moving away from an environmental disaster without also leaving their ancestral territory.”

Kelcy Warren, the CEO of Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the project, has said that “concerns about the pipeline’s impact on local water supply are unfounded” and “multiple archaeological studies conducted with state historic preservation offices found no sacred items along the route.”

The decision to temporarily suspend Tompkins’ legal opinion two days before the easement was approved was outlined in a Feb. 6 internal memorandum issued by K. Jack Haugrud, the acting secretary of the Department of the Interior. A spokeswoman for the department told ABC News today that the opinion was suspended so that it could be reviewed by the department.

The Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribes are continuing their legal challenges to the pipeline. A motion for a preliminary injunction will be heard on Monday in federal court in Washington, D.C.

The Corps has maintained, throughout the litigation, that it made a good faith effort to meaningfully consult with the tribes.

The tribes contend, however, that the Trump administration’s cancellation of the environmental review and its reversal of prior agency decisions are “baldly illegal.”

“Agencies can’t simply disregard their own findings, and ‘withdrawing’ the Tompkins memo doesn’t change that,” Hasselman said. “We have challenged the legality of the Trump administration reversal and we think we have a strong case.”


Trump fires Acting Attorney General Sally Yates for questioning Muslim ban

  • On Monday, Trump fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates for publicly questioning the legality of his immigration executive order and ordering Department of Justice lawyers not to defend it in court.
  • According to a White House statement, Yates had “betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States,” and was an “Obama administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration.” Read more

Trump replaces acting Director of Immigration Enforcement Daniel Ragsdale

  • Trump also relieved another holdover from the Obama administration from his duties. Monday night, he replaced acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Daniel Ragsdale, NBC News reported.
  • Thomas Homan, ICE’s executive associate director of Enforcement and Removal Operations, will take Ragsdale’s place.
  • Homan is a former New York police officer and Border Patrol agent. No reason was given for Ragsdale’s sudden replacement. Read more

anonymous asked:

Not just drama, Pats, INSANITY. I know democracy held up during Nixon but I have my doubts it can survive Trump. Can you imagine if Obama fired the FBI director whilst under investigation? All hell would have broken loose. As it stands it seems Trump is can do literally anything he wants with little to no push back from the GOP. Checks and balances need to be maintained in order to work, they're instead being denigrated daily not only by this admin, but also by the GOP in general. Crazy times.

Insanity? Was it insane when Bill Clinton fired William Sessions?  Is it insane that the Trump administration would replace Obama appointees with their own? I fail to see what is insane about something that has been done by past administrations.  Comey was a hot mess and his firing was to be expected. 

There has been NO EVIDENCE FOUND  of any Russian collusion by Trump and he is NOT BEING INVESTIGATED.  No matter how many embarrassing meltdowns Keith Olbermann has about it, those are the facts as they stand right now.

Comey was fired for many reasons possibly including recent inaccurate statements, Ahmad Rahami (and others visited by the FBI who later go on to blow things up) the San Bernardino terrorist’s phone unlocking fiasco etc…   


“But her emails….”   ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The mishandling of classified information by HRC and her people is a big deal and doesn’t become less of a big deal just because people think Trump is a loser piece of crap.   If the laws only apply to the little people, we’re all in a lot of trouble.  Trust and respect for law enforcement is important. 

Acting attorney general Sally Quillian Yates, a longtime prosecutor from Atlanta, began her tenure as an Obama appointee two years ago by saying that pursuing justice was more important to her than bringing federal cases in court.

“We’re not the Department of Prosecutions or even the Department of Public Safety,” Yates said in May 2015, the week after she was confirmed as deputy attorney general, the second-highest-ranking position in the Justice Department. “We are the Department of Justice.”

Read more here: Who is Sally Yates? Meet the acting attorney general Trump fired for “betraying” the Justice Department. 

The acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, has betrayed the Department of Justice…Ms. Yates is an Obama appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration.

this is so badly written I bet Trump wrote it personally.

1/30/17 – Trump fires Acting Attorney General Sally Yates after she refused to enforce his Executive Order banning visitors/refugees from several Muslim-majority countries into the U.S.

Yates said she questions the legality of the order. She is an Obama appointee (as AG) in place until Trump’s appointee Jeff Sessions is confirmed.

Those on the left call her a hero, those on the right call her a traitor.

We can laugh at the inconsistency, but the contrast is striking. Democrats grumble but abide by the rules; Republicans immediately dial up the rhetoric and denounce their opponents as illegitimate, eventually paralysing their ability to act. That was the admitted strategy of congressional Republicans in the first Obama term: a determined effort to prevent him governing at all.

Democrats don’t play that game. Obama constantly strove to be “bipartisan”, even appointing Republicans to key jobs. (The FBI director, James Comey, was a Republican appointee, yet Obama renewed his term – with fateful consequences. A Republican president would not have hesitated to install his own man.)

Again and again, one side bows to the rules and to what’s fair – while the other focuses on the ruthless exercise of power. We’re seeing it now, as Trump stacks his team with a bunch of bigots. I know which approach is the more high-minded and public spirited. But the result is that today, in both Britain and America, the right has power and next to nothing standing in its way. No one wants the left to behave like the right – but it’s time we fought just as hard.
Gutting Net Neutrality also guts innovation, fairness and democracy

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My latest Guardian column, Internet service providers charging for premium access hold us all to ransom, explains what’s at stake now that the FCC is prepared to let ISPs charge services for “premium” access to its subscribers. It’s pretty much the worst Internet policy imaginable, an anti-innovation, anti-democratic, anti-justice hand-grenade lobbed by telcos who shout “free market” while they are the beneficiaries of the most extreme industrial government handouts imaginable.

The FCC promised a fix, and here it is: FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, an Obama appointee and former cable lobbyist, has drawn up rules to allow ISPs to decide which communications you can see in a timely, best-effort fashion and which services will be also-ran laggards. In so doing, Chairman Wheeler sets the stage for a further magnification of the distorting influence of money and incumbency on our wider society. Political candidates whose message is popular, but who lack the budget to bribe every ISP to deliver it in a timely fashion, will be less equipped to reach voters than their better-financed rivals. A recent study looked at 20 years’ worth of US policy outcomes and found that they exclusively responded to the needs of the richest 10% of Americans. Now the FCC is proposing to cook the process further, so that the ability of the ignored 90% to talk to one another, network and organise and support organisations that support their interests will be contingent on their ability to out-compete the already advantaged elite interests in the race to bribe carriers for “premium” coverage.

If you think of a business idea that’s better than any that have come before – if you’re ready to do to Google what Google did to Altavista; if you’re ready to do to the iPod what the iPod did to the Walkman; if you’re ready to do to Netflix what Netflix did to cable TV – you have to start out with a bribery warchest that beats out the firms that clawed their way to the top back when there was a fairer playing-field.

The FCC and its apologists will shrug and say that the ISPs are businesses and they own their lines and can do what they want with them. They’ll say that we can’t expect the carriers to invest in next-generation networks if they can’t maximise their profits from them.

But this is nonsense. The big US carriers are already deriving bumper profits from their ISP business, while their shareholder disclosures show that they’re making only the most cursory investment in new network infrastructure (Americans have been waiting for fast “fiber-to-the-kerb” connectivity for decades, mostly what they’re getting is “fiber-to-the-press-release” puff pieces from ISPs who gull uncritical reporters into repeating their empty promises of fast networks, just around the corner).

Internet service providers charging for premium access hold us all to ransom [Cory Doctorow/The Guardian]

(Image: Evidence A: The Ransom Note, Jared and Corin, CC-BY)

Fact checking the second debate

9:30 p.m.: Trump continues to insist Clinton’s 2008 campaign launched Barack Obama citizenship conspiracy theories

Trump, who was an aggressive leader of the birther movement which insisted President Barack Obama was actually born in Kenya, is not a U.S. citizen, and thus is an illegitimate president, repeated a common misrepresentation of the origins of the theory. Numerous fact checks have concluded the Clinton campaign did not, in fact, launch the birther movement.

9:48 p.m.: Trump: “I was against the war in Iraq. It has not been debunked.”
Trump repeatedly insisted he was against the war in Iraq. But in 2002 before the war began, when radio host Howard Stern asked him if he supported overthrowing Saddam Hussein’s government, he responded: “Yeah, I guess so.”

9:52 p.m.: Trump insists he was endorsed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Trump repeated a claim that he was endorsed by ICE. That would be big if true, seeing as ICE is a federal agency whose director, Sarah R. Saldana, is an Obama appointee. Trump was actually endorsed by a union of ICE employees, which is not the same.

10:03 p.m.: Trump misrepresents his tax plan — and Clinton’s

Trump said his tax plan was about “cutting  taxes for the middle class, and I will tell you, we’re cutting them big-league for the middle class. And Hillary Clinton is raising your taxes, folks. Really high.”

In August, economists told the Washington Post those details of Trump’s tax plan which had been released actually indicated he was more concerned with lowering taxes for wealthier taxpayers. According to Slate, another analysis of Trump’s tax plan by the conservative Tax Foundation found that middle-class taxpayers would get “very little, while upper-income Americans reap a windfall.”

10:16 p.m.: Trump says the U.S. military just needs to launch “secretive” surprise attacks on ISIS

In fact, the U.S. and its partners in the coalition forces have launched numerous special operations raids and air strikes on ISIS strongholds and leaders — attacks which often rely upon the element of surprise to succeed.

In August, the commander of the U.S. campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, Army Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland, said in a briefing the U.S had killed over 45,000 ISIS fighters in the past two years.

9:55 p.m.: Trump claims taxes in the U.S. are “just about the highest in the world.”

Not true.


A two-year investigation by the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee has found that the CIA and the military acted properly in responding to the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, and asserted no wrongdoing by Obama administration appointees.

Debunking a series of persistent allegations hinting at dark conspiracies, the investigation of the politically charged incident determined that there was no intelligence failure, no delay in sending a CIA rescue team, no missed opportunity for a military rescue, and no evidence the CIA was covertly shipping arms from Libya to Syria.

In the immediate aftermath of the attack, intelligence about who carried it out and why was contradictory, the report found. That led Susan Rice, then U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, to inaccurately assert that the attack had evolved from a protest, when in fact there had been no protest. But it was intelligence analysts, not political appointees, who made the wrong call, the committee found. The report did not conclude that Rice or any other government official acted in bad faith or intentionally misled the American people.

The House Intelligence Committee report was released with little fanfare on the Friday before Thanksgiving week. Many of its findings echo those of six previous investigations by various congressional committees and a State Department panel. The eighth Benghazi investigation is being carried out by a House Select Committee appointed in May.


The Associated Press (via the New York Times), “House Intel Panel Report Debunks Many Benghazi Theories.”

Hey, I wonder how much Fox “News” covered this story.

Obama Justice Official Threatens Americans Who Criticize Migrant Programs

President Barack Obama’s top legal appointee in Idaho is threatening to prosecute Americans who criticize the federal immigration policies which enabled Sudanese and Iraqi Muslim migrants to perpetrate a vile sexual attack against a five-year-old girl in Twin Falls, Idaho.

by Katie McHugh

Since then [the rape and sexual assult on a Twin Falls, Idaho 5 year old girl by muslim migrants], locals have begun to furiously criticize the federal program that is sending migrants into their formerly peaceful city. To reduce local protests, Obama appointee and U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson openly threatened to suppress Americans’ speech if they talked about the Third World Muslims imported into their neighborhoods.

Olson’s statement echoes Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s December 2015 pronouncement to take “aggressive action” against Americans who criticize Muslims with speech that supposedly “edges towards violence.” That threat was made just one day after two Muslims in San Bernardino slaughtered 14 Americans and wounded another 22.

The refugee resettlement industry is very secretive because very few Americans want poor, unskilled and culturally antagonistic migrants to settle in their communities. For example, one Vermont-based refugee manager urged supporters in 2015 that “I cannot emphasize enough the importance of not sharing the information” with the public.