Patterico's Pontifications


Kelly: Tillerson Was on the Toilet When I Told Him He Was Fired

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:30 pm

If you work for Donald Trump, you signed up to be humiliated. You thought John Kelly was above that? You thought wrong:

Reporters gathered at the White House on Friday were stunned when Chief of Staff John Kelly shared a very embarrassing story about outgoing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

. . . .

Tillerson, Kelly told the room, was suffering from a stomach bug during a diplomatic swing through Africa, and was using a toilet when Kelly broke the news to him.

Sources were stunned that, even in an off-record setting, Kelly would say this—to a room filled with White House officials and political reporters—about Tillerson, who does not officially leave the State Department until the end of the month.

Kelly is routinely touted as one of the more mature members of Trump’s top brass and has often been branded as one of the “adults” in charge.

I never really shared the whole “Wow John Kelly is so awesome” point of view. Looks like I was right.

I don’t really feel that sorry for Tillerson. Anyone who signed up to work for Trump knew that they would be working for a guy who likes to belittle people and show who’s in charge.

This is just the latest example. There will be more. And one day, I predict, John Kelly’s day of humiliation will come too.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

BREAKING: Andrew McCabe Fired

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:14 pm

The Washington Post is breaking the news right now:

FBI’s Andrew McCabe is fired just before retiring. Former deputy director became lightning rod for Clinton email and Russia probes.

McCabe, who had stepped down from his post earlier this year but remained an FBI employee, had been accused by the Justice Department’s inspector general of authorizing the disclosure of sensitive information to a reporter and misleading investigators when asked about it.

McCabe had been a lightning rod in the political battles surrounding the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe into whether any Trump associates coordinated with Russian agents to interfere in the 2016 presidential race.

He would have been eligible for full benefits on Sunday, in two days.

No sooner does RedState call for this to happen, than it happens.

Behold the power of RedState!!

UPDATE: Hey, remember this?

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

O.J. Simpson: That Colin Kaepernick Guy Really Messed Up by Not Respecting Our Flag

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:00 pm

Look, I get that O.J. butchered two people and everything (at least according to the Fake News Media), but while I don’t like O.J., you have to admit one thing: O.J. Simpson fights for the culture war issues other people are too scared to fight for:

O.J. Simpson says he agrees with Donald Trump — Colin Kaepernick “made a mistake” taking a knee during the national anthem … and completely disrespected the American flag.

“I think Colin made a mistake,” Simpson told The Buffalo News … “I really appreciate what he was trying to say. I thought he made a bad choice in attacking the flag.”

“I grew up at a time when deacons were in the KKK. I don’t disrespect the Bible because of those guys. The flag shouldn’t be disrespected because of what cops do. The flag represents what we want America to be.”

“When he did it the first time I thought, ‘Well, you took a gamble, and I give you credit.’ But it was him continuing to do it where he made the biggest mistake.”

“I’m a firm believer of doing what you think is right, but I would always stand for the flag.”

We need more firm believers of doing what they think is right in politics. I’m going to say something that may be a little controversial: has this guy ever thought about running for office? I’m not saying O.J. Simpson should be our next President, mind you. But if he ran . . . hey, he’d be better than Hillary, amirite?

And if he did actually kill Nicole and Ron, well, that just shows that he knows how to engage in a street fight. And politics is kinda like a street fight.

Of course it would be wrong to have a murderer in the White House. But Obama droned U.S. citizens without a trial, didn’t he? How is that any different? There are a lot of killers. You think our country’s so innocent?

Again: I’m not suggesting that I would vote for O.J. Simpson to be our next President of the United States. But come on.

You have to like a guy who tells it like it is.

Whoa, wait. I just got through reading to the end of the article:

But Simpson says he doesn’t see eye-to-eye with Trump when it comes to politics.

“Somebody asked me if I’d have voted for him … Probably not, but I only know two of my friends I’d vote to be president. Some of my best, best besties I would not vote to be president. That has no bearing on it, you know?”

Doesn’t support Trump? To hell with him. Forget I ever said a good word about him.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]


When Will Trump *Personally* Accuse Putin of Poisoning Someone on British Soil?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:00 am

Over at Hot Air, my favorite blogger Allahpundit notes yesterday’s strong response from the Trump administration against Russia’s use of a nerve agent on a man and his daughter on British soil. The White House put out a strongly worded statement! Nikki Haley took to the floor of the U.N. and blasted Russia (as Caleb Howe noted here)! These statements have to have been approved by Trump, Allahpundit notes, saying: “I don’t know what else hardcore Trump critics could want rhetorically than what Haley serves up here.”

I’ll tell you what we want. We want to hear it from Trump himself.

And we’re not, as noted by a New York Times article titled Trump, Pressured to Criticize Russia for Poisoning, Leaves Comment to Aides:

Mr. Trump, who was visiting Missouri on Wednesday, has not personally addressed the attack since London assigned blame to Russia and left it instead to aides to express public solidarity with Prime Minister Theresa May after she expelled 23 Russian diplomats, canceled high-level contacts and vowed to impose more sanctions.

. . . .

[F]or whatever reason, Mr. Trump avoided saying so personally in public, much as he has generally avoided condemning Russia for its election meddling. He has allowed top advisers to denounce Moscow for its interference in American democracy, but when it comes to his own Twitter posts or comments, he has largely stuck to equivocal language, seemingly reluctant to accept the consensus conclusion of his intelligence agencies and intent on voicing no outrage or criticism of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, for whom he has expressed admiration.

And I’ll remind you, as I said yesterday: what Trump himself says is really all that matters, as Garry Kasparov explains:

The key words there are “Trump himself.” Trump himself still hasn’t unequivocally accused Putin, using his own words coming from his own wordhole. And that is what matters to Putin. Not what his administration says. What HE says.

As, as I write this, he’s yammering on Twitter about a trade deficit with Canada or some other idiotic nonsense like that.

Let me say it now: I will not be particularly impressed should we get a TelePrompTerized statement, read in that sing-song “someone else wrote this for me” voice . . . and later undercut by off-the-cuff remarks that show he doesn’t believe it. You know: kind of like the way Trump has handled accusations that Putin was behind the hacking of the DNC. There’s the official message — but then there’s the casual “I told Vlad I believed him when he said he didn’t do the hacking” undercutting of that official message.

Somehow, I doubt very sincerely that we will ever get a toughly-worded, unequivocal finger pointed personally by Donald Trump at Vladimir Putin. About this — or anything else, for that matter.

BY THE WAY: It’s been taken as an article of faith among the Trump-supporting right that you are clinically insane if you happened to notice that Rex Tillerson was fired right after taking a harder line on Russia than the rest of the Trump administration. Why, it was all about Iran! The Free Beacon tells us so! Sure, it happened right in the middle of Tillerson’s “sorry my boss called y’all s***holes, Africa!” apology tour, and cut that planned trip short. But anyone who thought that sudden timing odd, and notes that it sends a message of weakness to Putin, needs a stay in a mental hospital!

And yet . . .

. . . and yet there is this, from the New York Times two days ago:

At times, White House officials said, Mr. Tillerson’s behavior verged on insubordination. The administration, for example, was extremely cautious in responding to reports that Russia was behind the deadly nerve-gas attack in Britain. But when Mr. Tillerson was asked about it in Africa, he said, “It appears that it clearly came from Russia.”

His statement infuriated the White House, which had crafted its talking points with lawyers at the State Department to keep the United States in lock step with Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain. Instead, an official said, Mr. Tillerson made the White House look like it was soft on Mr. Putin, which he insisted was not the intention.

So, you see, the White House was, in fact, upset with Tillerson over his Russia statements — just as I have been saying. But their defense is that the White House wanted to be in lockstep with the U.K. Okayyy . . . well, the leader of the U.K. just stood up in front of the world and accused the Russian state of being behind this crime, with no ifs, ands, or buts. You can watch the video of it here.

And the fact that Trump hasn’t similarly pointed the finger at Putin personally (and probably won’t) means that being in lockstep with our ally isn’t really that important to Trump. Which means the administration was not telling the truth in citing the need to be in lockstep. Which means something else was going on.

Of course, Tillerson’s head was on the chopping block for a long time. Iran was part of the reason. But the timing was a smooch to Vladimir Putin. And I think it was meant to be.

Finally: to those who say that Trump is just being diplomatic in refusing to personally criticize Putin, I ask: why doesn’t he have the same compunctions about criticizing the head of state in our closest ally: the United Kingdom? Trump has had no problem personally saying that he would have been tougher than Theresa May on Brexit negotiations, or implying through Twitter that she is insufficiently tough on terrorism. So please: save your “Donald Trump, Master Diplomat” defenses for some chump who’ll buy them. No sale here.

If we’re going to be in lockstep with our ally, Trump needs to call out Putin — directly, personally, without caveat, and in his own words.

Outsourcing it to Nikki Haley is not good enough.

UPDATE: He sounds like a wind-up toy reciting memorized lines because he’s forced to, but this is still a good thing to see:

I guess it’s asking too much for him to sound as upset about it as, say, black football players taking a knee. But hey. Baby steps.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]


Theresa May Hits Russia for Attempted Murder on British Soil — All Eyes Now on Trump

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:00 am

Looks like Theresa May is done “working through the details” (to quote Sarah Sanders) of who was responsible for an attempted assassination on U.S. soil. The culprit? One Vladimir Putin — and there are going to be (minor) consequences:

British Prime Minister Theresa May announced punitive measures against Russia on Wednesday over the chemical weapon attack on Russian former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury. Speaking on the floor of the British Parliament, May said Russia had provided “no credible explanation” as to how the powerful Novichok chemical nerve agent came to be used in Britain, saying, “instead they have treated the use of a military grade chemical agent in Europe with sarcasm, contempt.”

She said it was part of a “well established pattern” of Russian actions and that she and her cabinet had “agreed immediate actions to dismantle Russian espionage operations in the U.K.” — Britain was formally expelling 23 Russian diplomats who were identified as “undeclared” intelligence agents.

. . . .

May said Britain would not cut all diplomatic contact with Russia, but it would curtail “all planned high level bilateral contacts,” including revoking an invite to Russia’s top diplomat Sergey Lavrov. In addition, she said no members of the royal family or the cabinet would attend the soccer World Cup this summer in Russia.

Although Donald Trump did not go as far as Rex Tillerson in recent days to put the blame squarely on the Russian government, he did express support to May in a phone call. Now that May has pointed the finger directly at Putin’s Russia, the world looks to Trump to see how he will respond.

Generic “we stand with our British allies” statements are all well and good and to be expected. And nobody is expecting us to expel diplomats. The real question is: will Trump actually stand up in public and unequivocally say Putin was responsible for this attack?

I’m going to go out on a small limb and say no. Based on his past attitude towards Putin, we won’t be seeing Trump issuing a clear statement of blame. At best, we’ll get the usual Delphic word-salad pronouncement that will be open to interpretation.

And what Trump says is really all that matters, as Garry Kasparov explains:

I predict that, by the end of the day, many of those who called for Trump to stand shoulder to shoulder with May will explain that this is really England’s problem, and that of course Trump shouldn’t directly accuse Putin. He doesn’t have the evidence that England has! It’s bad for diplomacy! Yada yada. I can already hear it.

I’d love to be proved wrong. I don’t think I will be.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

Victory Over Convicted Bomber and Perjurer Brett Kimberlin in the Fourth Circuit

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:42 am

Last night, in writing about Brett Kimberlin’s latest efforts to get his Wikipedia deleted, I said that his lawsuit against me was still alive — kicking around in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

I spoke too soon. This morning Ron Coleman and Bruce Godfrey informed me that the Fourth Circuit rejected Kimberlin’s appeal.

Meaning — subject of course to some B.S. motion to reconsider or petition for certiorari — that it’s over.

And for that, I owe (again) a huge debt of thanks to Ron Coleman of Mandelbaum Salsburg, PC and the Likelihood of Confusion blog, and Bruce Godfrey of Jezic & Moyse LLC.

If you personally have a need for the services of a lawyer in the greater D.C. area, I ask you to consider contacting Bruce Godfrey. If you know someone who has a need for the services of a lawyer in the greater D.C. area, I ask you to talk to them, right now, and tell them to consider calling Bruce Godfrey. Bruce, and his firm linked above, handle criminal defense cases, traffic defense cases, car accident cases, and especially employment law for matters in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia.

If you have intellectual property issues, Ron Coleman is your guy. He got the Slants case to the Supreme Court and won. That says it all. If you have any other issues in New Jersey or New York, consider his firm.

Thanks to both of these fine gentlemen. Please go let them know that you appreciate their efforts on my behalf:

Ron Coleman

Bruce Godfrey

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


Trump to Unveil Even More Tariffs on Stuff You Buy All the Time

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:30 pm

If you liked the steel and aluminum tax increase, you’ll love this tax increase!

During the meeting, which hasn’t been previously been reported, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer presented Trump with a package of tariffs that would target the equivalent of $30 billion a year in Chinese imports. In response, Trump urged Lighthizer to aim for an even bigger number — and he instructed administration officials to be ready for a formal announcement in the coming weeks, according to two people involved in the administration’s trade deliberations.

That sent senior officials at the White House, Treasury Department, State Department, Justice Department, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and other key agencies scrambling this week to finalize the proposal. Although the details are still in flux, aides said the administration is considering tariffs on more than 100 Chinese products ranging from electronics and telecommunications equipment to furniture and toys.

If you plug it in or put batteries in it, it’s Made in China. And it looks like it’s going to cost more now.

If you missed my posts about why tariffs are bad, trade deficits are good, and we should unilaterally abolish all tariffs, now’s a good time to take a look. (Bastiat makes an appearance in the first post.) The short answer is: when we impose tariffs on China, we hurt ourselves and not China. As pervasive as these tariffs look to be, we’re going to be hurting ourselves a lot.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

Brett Kimberlin: Remove My Wikipedia Page

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:17 pm

Someone claiming to be Brett Kimberlin (and who, with the whiny tone, sounds like him) is seeking to have Kimberlin’s Wikipedia page deleted. (Thanks to A. for the tip.) The request is here, and reads as follows:

Brett Kimberlin Wikipedia page violates its own policies.

This page was originally put up by people associated with Andrew Breibart in order to smear me and deprive me of being able to receive funding for my non-profit organizations. Moderators initially removed it because of WP policies regarding living persons. Finally, the Breitbots, led by Breitbart/Sputnik reporter Lee Stranahan, began a pressure campaign to force WP to keep the page over my strong objections. At the time, Stranahan also launched “Everybody Blog About Brett Kimberlin” to further that smear campaign. I eventually sued the whole lot of them in federal court, and more than a dozen settled the defamation/invasion of privacy claims by removing content and paying me money. I do not fit the description of a “notable person” since the crime I was accused of was local and it was 40 years ago. Even the Breitbots I sued were unable to convince any judge that I was a “public figure” under First Amendment analysis. If I am not a public figure, then I should not be deemed notable by WP.

Parts of the WP read like a tabloid with sensationalism and total disregard for my privacy. I have been the subject of a right-wing smear job that lasted years because of my work running a progressive non-profit. Right wingers have used this WP as part of their toolset against me, knowing full well that anyone who considers working with or funding me will consult WP first. If I were living in Europe, I would have a right to be forgotten and left alone for things that happened 40 years ago. Why should I be treated differently in the US? The right wing uses this WP as a Scarlet Letter to whip and shame me in the public square even though I have spent the past 20 years devoting my life to progressive causes, kindness, and justice. Enough is enough.

In short, the entire WP falsely portrays me, my life and my work. The WP relies on dead links, people I sued and won cases against, and asserts that the criminal trial against me was somehow legitimate when it was based on hypnotic testimony that has since been banned from all federal and state trials in the US and Canada. In fact, my case was the last federal case in the country to allow hypnotic testimony.

What is left in the WP after disregarding the above is non-important. Who cares if I was arrested for a marijuana conspiracy 40 years ago? It’s legal now and WP does not have articles on every person who was arrested for marijuana conspiracies decades ago. Who cares if I have been involved in litigation or got arrested as a teenager for perjury? And why in God’s name does WP talk about a perjury conviction that occurred when I was a teenager and was based on things that occurred when I was a juvenile. That juvenile record was expunged yet WP dredges it up and puts it in the first sentence describing my criminal convictions. Have you no shame? Is that what WP thinks is “right?” Is that not an invasion of my privacy? I was a juvenile for God’s sake.

On a final note, recently Twitter, Facebook, Medium and other social media orgs have begun proactively removing fake news, disinformation, bots, trolls and other data from their platforms. Most of this information was generated by Russian operatives and right-wing operatives who use these tactics to harm their targets. As noted above, my WP page was started by Breitbart/Russian operatives to harm me with disinformation, innuendo and smears. This has become abundantly clear of late with Lee Stranahan now working for Sputnik after working for Breitbart when he started the WP page. That alone should be enough for you to remove the page. You guys got “had” by these right-wing smear artists. Now it’s time to make things right by refusing to be their bludgeon any longer.

In short, please delete these pages. I am not able to do so myself because of all the WP coding required and I do not want to give the right wing trolls another opportunity to smear me more.

He has an even longer complaint at the “talk” page for the entry. It contains this gem of a passage:

I am best known to my kids as a terrific father, and to my wife as a devoted husband. I am best known to my employees as a kind and effective employer. I am best known to activists as a passionate and dedicated promoter of progressive causes. I am best known to musicians as an amazing composer, producer, engineer and musician. I am best known to the environmental community as an innovator of green building and design. I am best known in federal court as a victim of smears by Breitbots, and as the victim of a crime I did not commit involving the now banned use of six hypnotized witnesses.

Brett Kimberlin is best known to me as the guy who blew off Carl DeLong’s leg and lost a wrongful death claim to DeLong’s widow.

Interesting that he claims that the people who settled (like Ace of Spades, for example) paid him money. Money that he then used to pursue people like me.

I guess you can’t blame Kimberlin for trying to get his entry removed. He got it removed once before, in 2012. It was restored, but he (or someone sounding a lot like him) tried again later that year. And Wikipedia editors threatened to remove the page after people insisted on including the accurate description of Kimberlin as “a convicted drug dealer, bomber, and political activist.”

Anyway. This time, the Wikipedia editors are not buying it. In comment after comment, they recommend keeping the page, with many calling it “well sourced.” One editor says: “FWIW, I think he is materially misrepresenting the outcome of some of those court cases above.” And another says:

Just his tone of attack on other people makes me want to keep this article. It is well sourced and shows his long standing role as a disruptive litigator. Assuming the claims of forcing bloggers to remove content on him are t[ru]e, it shows that current civil procedures are not as protective of the First [Am]endment as they should be, and also the success of lawfare, the waging of war through civil litigation, where the process become[s] the punishment, and the fact that most people would rather save money than stand for princip[le]s leads to victory.

Wow. Someone really gets it.

Oh, by the way: his lawsuit against me was dismissed, but he still has an appeal pending in the Fourth Circuit. Filed in October 2013 and still alive!

He never repented, he never sought forgiveness, and he still owes money to Carl DeLong’s widow. Yes, I know I already said that. It still bears repeating.

Kimberlin can try to scrub his past on the Internet, but he’ll never succeed. He can try to pretend that he didn’t do what he was convicted of, but the world will never believe.

Hey. At least he’s still alive. Carl DeLong is still dead.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

President Trump: If You Don’t Have A Wall System, We’re Not Going To Have A Country

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:00 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Moving toward fulfilling a key campaign promise of a border wall, President Trump inspected border wall prototypes near San Diego today. Trump claimed that “the wall will save hundreds of billions of dollars — many, many times what it will cost.” Whether he can secure the estimated cost of $25 billion from Congress to pay for the wall, remains to be seen. Certainly Mexico won’t be paying. Saying that a massive border wall would be a “first line of defense,” the President looked at eight different possibilities:


According to reports, after viewing the walls, Trump said he preferred the “see-through” walls and claimed that the new versions would “stop smugglers who have the skills of professional mountain climbers”.


Trump also insisted that California political leaders actually want walls, despite what they say in opposition. “The state of California is begging us to build walls in certain areas, they don’t tell you that,” he said.

That was hardly the only shot he took at state leaders and their policies, especially the so-called sanctuary laws that are the subject of a new administration lawsuit.

He said the laws limiting local government cooperation with federal immigration enforcement officers are “the best friend of the criminal…the smugglers, the traffickers, the gang members. They’re all taking refuge.”

Trump also had harsh, yet fitting criticism for “nice guy,” California Gov. Jerry Brown:

“Governor Brown does a very poor job running California,” Trump said. “They have the highest taxes in the United States. The place is totally out of control. You have sanctuary cities where you have criminals living in the sanctuary cities, and then the mayor of Oakland goes out and notifies when [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] is going in to pick them up. … The governor’s doing a terrible job running the state of California.”

Noting that he owns property in the state, Trump said, “The taxes are way, way out of whack, and people are going to start to move pretty soon.”

The Governor tweeted in response:

“Thanks for the shout-out, @realDonaldTrump. But bridges are still better than walls. And California remains the 6th largest economy in the world and the most prosperous state in America. #Facts”

This is particularly rich given that Gov. Brown has come under fire for his idiotic pet legacy project (aka California bullet train), where costs for the project have risen $13 billion from estimates a mere two years ago.

On a side note, last year, California’s Senate passed a bill that would blacklist any California company that helped build the border wall:

Senate Bill 30 will prevent the state of California from entering or renewing a contract with a company that accepts a federal contract related to President Trump’s border wall.

“Senate Bill 30 sends a clear message that we want our businesses to stand with us and support our core values. There is plenty of work to do in the state of California that is going to move us forward,” said Senator Ricardo Lara. “It is not enough to simply oppose the wall in theory. Rhetoric can only go so far. It is time for us to act and be courageous.”

The bill’s dimwitted lead author also said – without an ounce of self-awareness (*Hello, $77 billion bullet train boondoggle*):

President Trump’s wall will be a multi-billion-dollar boondoggle dragging down California’s economy, hurting our environment and separating our communities – without making us any safer.

None of the border wall finalists are companies from California.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Was Russia the Reason for Rexit?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:00 am

I’m not suggesting Russia was actually responsible for Tillerson’s exit, of course. After all, Russia would never try to interfere with the U.S. President’s pick for Secretary of State!

But perhaps Rex Tillerson’s aggressive response to Russia’s attempted assassination of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia was the last straw for our Putin-loving President.

Let’s review the bidding, including the incident and the different responses from Tillerson and the rest of the administration.

Skripal, recall, was a double agent who betrayed Russia, was convicted of treason, and was traded as part of a swap of traitors. He had been poisoned with a nerve agent that very few possess. Putin is among that very few, and the use of the agent is Putin sending the message that, while he will publicly deny it, he is the one behind the attack.

Theresa May has said it is “highly likely” Russia was behind the attack:

The PM said it was “highly likely” Russia was responsible for the Salisbury attack.

The Foreign Office summoned Russia’s ambassador to provide an explanation.

Mrs May said if there is no “credible response” by the end of Tuesday, the UK would conclude there has been an “unlawful use of force” by Moscow.

May’s only caveat was that maybe Russia lost control of the nerve agent: “Either this was a direct action by the Russian state against our country, or the Russian government lost control of its potentially catastrophically damaging nerve agent and allowed it to get into the hands of others.”

Meanwhile, our boy Vlad is just laughing it off, smirking as he responds to questions about it.

For the most part, the Trump administration has been curiously silent about responsibility for the attack. Just yesterday, Sarah Sanders refused to go as far as Prime Minister May, and reporters noticed:

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders stopped short of blaming Russia for a poison attack Monday, shortly after British Prime Minister Theresa May said it was “highly likely” Russia was responsible for the incident in southwest England.

“The attack was reckless, indiscriminate, and irresponsible,” Sanders said at the daily White House press briefing.

But when pressed on responsibility, Sanders said only: “Right now we are standing with our U.K. ally. I think they are still working through even some of the details on that.”

Note that I said that the Trump administration had been silent about responsibility “for the most part.” Guess who wasn’t silent at all? If you said Rex Tillerson, you get the kewpie doll. Yup: Tillerson, uniquely among Trump administration officials, had already placed the blame squarely on Moscow:

“We have full confidence in the UK’s investigation and its assessment that Russia was likely responsible for the nerve agent attack that took place in Salisbury last week,” Tillerson said in the statement.

He continued, “There is never a justification for this type of attack — the attempted murder of a private citizen on the soil of a sovereign nation — and we are outraged that Russia appears to have again engaged in such behavior. From Ukraine to Syria — and now the UK — Russia continues to be an irresponsible force of instability in the world, acting with open disregard for the sovereignty of other states and the life of their citizens.”

The State Department’s position on the attack appears [to] be much stronger than the White House’s response.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders called the attack “reckless, indiscriminate and irresponsible,” but stopped short of blaming Russia.

Unlike Sanders, Tillerson did not mince words:

Speaking to reporters while traveling in Africa, Tillerson said the attack “clearly came from Russia” and would “certainly trigger a response.”

If you believe the White House’s timing, Trump told Tillerson on Friday that he was going to be replaced. If true, that would tend to undercut the notion that the ouster was over the response to Russia’s evident assassination attempt. Prime Minister May’s direct accusation came just yesterday — supposedly long after Trump had made his decision.

Then again, that means the news wasn’t leaked for the entire weekend — an amazing job of secrecy from a White House not known for keeping such things under wraps. And then there’s this:


Also, while May only yesterday directly pointed the finger at Russia, Skripal was poisoned on March 4, and it was immediately evident who the prime suspect was. Perhaps T Rex and Trump were already having disagreements about how to handle it.

This controversy is hardly the only issue Trump has had with Tillerson, of course. Trump has publicly identified the Iran deal as a point of contention, and always lurking in the background was Tillerson’s continual refusal to deny that he had called Trump a “f***ing moron.” The writing has been on the wall for a while.

Still: the timing of all this is, shall we say, interesting. My guess is that we have not heard the last of it.

UPDATE: Tillerson called Trump a “f***ing moron” and not a “f***ing idiot.” I have fixed the post to reflect the correct insult.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

Next Page »

Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.2085 secs.