What The Rob Porter Mess Really Tells Us

How White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter’s employment in the Executive Office of the President (EOP) has been handled tells us two different, but important things. The first has to do with his front line supervisor, Gen (ret) Kelly, the President’s Chief of Staff. The second has to do with the degradation of national security norms under the current administration.

Because of the reporting, we now know that Chief of Staff Kelly has known for months that Porter couldn’t get a clearance because of what his ex-wives told the clearance background investigators about his physical abuse of them. As such Porter was doing his job with an interim clearance.

By early fall, it was widely known among Trump’s top aides — including chief of staff John Kelly — both that Porter was facing troubles in obtaining the clearance and that his ex-wives claimed he had abused them. No action was taken to remove him from the staff.
Instead, Kelly and others oversaw an elevation in Porter’s standing. He was one of a handful of aides who helped draft last week’s State of the Union address. He traveled instead of Kelly to the World Economic Forum in Davos last month. And he was one of a select group of aides who shook Chinese President Xi Jinping’s hand during a state visit to Beijing in November.

Subsequent reporting demonstrates that Chief of Staff Kelly’s response to these allegations, and his subordinate’s failure to qualify for a clearance, was even worse.

Porter said on Tuesday that he would resign, after the allegations were first published, people close to him say, even as he told White House officials he had never physically abused women. But he was talked out of it by Kelly and others, according to these people, with Kelly saying he believed Porter’s denials and saw him as a valuable ally in the White House. Kelly continued to press him to stay in his job Wednesday, saying he could weather the storm, but Porter decided the controversy had become too much after the photos of his ex-wife’s blackened eye appeared Wednesday morning.

If you ever wonder why or how sexual harassment, sexual assault, and/or rape is tolerated in the US military, governmental service, the private sector, education, and/or within religious denominations/congregations, Chief of Staff Kelly’s response to Porter’s reported behavior is one of the main reasons. Once presented with the actual photos showing the physical evidence of Porter having beaten one of his ex-wives, Chief of Staff Kelly still tried to keep him from resigning! Porter didn’t just have an abuse problem with his wives – it has now been reported that one of his ex-girlfriends warned White House Counsel Don McGahn. Porter didn’t just do this once. The question to be asked now is how often did Gen. (ret) Kelly also do this before – ignore reports of harassment, abuse, and/or rape when he was still in uniform and in command? It is hard to believe that he developed this course of action just to protect Porter.*

ETA at 11:05 PM EST: From the NY Times:

Mr. Kelly has previously played down accusations against someone he believed served a greater goal. He appeared as a character witness in a 2016 court-martial of a Marine colonel accused of sexually harassing two female subordinates. Mr. Kelly praised the colonel as a “superb Marine officer.

Though in this case the Marine in question was so deeply troubled his former commander issued a military protective order against him. So it is possible that the character reference was given with full cognizance of both this colonels’ transgressions and troubles.

Contrast Chief of Staff Kelly’s response with that of a different military senior leader. LTG Caslen, the Superintendent of the US Military Academy, who is now facing questions as to why reports of sexual harassment, assault, and/or rape have increased over the past year. The answer is simple, he and his staff instituted reforms to encourage cadets to make reports. As a result the reported numbers went up.

Defense Department and West Point officials said the big jump at the Military Academy resulted from a concerted effort to encourage victims to come forward. But the dramatic and consistent increases may suggest more assaults are happening.

“I’m very encouraged by the reporting,” Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen, superintendent at West Point, told the AP in an interview. “I recognize that people are not going to understand” the desire for increased reporting, he said. But, he added, “I’ve got the steel stomach to take the criticism.”

How Porter’s case has been handled by his front line supervisor is also a problem for national security. Because of what his ex-wives reported, Porter has been working on an interim clearance. This is problematic as his job is to handle the paper flow to the President. Moreover, some genius decided it was a good idea to let him sit in on National Security Council meetings. The underlying problem here is that Porter, because of the domestic abuse he perpetrated on his ex-wives and that he’d gone to great lengths to obscure from his employers (Senator Hatch, come on down!), left him open to manipulation and blackmail from anyone who wanted access to the classified material that he handled every day. This problem within the Executive Office of the President and among the President’s staff is not limited to Porter. Jared Kushner, the President’s son in law and senior advisor, still only has an interim clearance, the same as Porter, because of inconsistencies on his SF-86 and financial disclosure forms, as well as reported problematic encounters with Russian and Chinese officials and nationals during the campaign and transition. Attorney General Sessions has lied to the Senate about his meetings with and connections to Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s former ambassador to the United States, as well as neglecting to include them on his SF-86. Stephen Miller has long been associated with white supremacists and neo-NAZIs. All of these individuals activities and actions leave them susceptible to exploitation in an attempt to access classified information.

That I can even point to four examples at the highest level of the executive branch off the top of my head – three senior advisors to the President and the Attorney General of the United States – should be worrying. It shows just how little the current administration actually cares about operational security and safeguarding the Nation’s most important and sensitive information. How many more of the political appointees have similar problems? How many have we not heard about? And this isn’t just among the President’s appointees and gatekeepers. Just last week we learned that what the President disclosed to Foreign Minister Lavrov and Ambassador Kislyak was far, far more sensitive than had been previously reported.

DAVIES: So if I understand it, you know of specific information that the U.S. shared with the Russians that has not been revealed publicly and that you are not revealing publicly?

BERGMAN: The nature of the information that President Trump revealed to Foreign Minister Lavrov is of the most secretive nature. And that information could jeopardize modus operandi of Israeli intelligence.

DAVIES: And this is different from what was publicly reported at the time. There were some question about, you know, plans for, I think, laptop computers on airlines. This – you’re referring to something that we don’t yet know.

BERGMAN: Most of it, we don’t yet know. And there were conflicting reports. I cannot – in order not to be part of disclosing secret information and jeopardizing Israeli and the U.S. ability to track down terrorists and proliferate, I prefer not to go into the details of that.

The failures to take action when credible allegations of domestic abuse and of security risks should worry everyone. They clearly demonstrate multiple moral failures among the senior leaders within the current administration. Tolerating domestic abuse is unacceptable. Tolerating security risks having access to the highest level of classified information is unacceptable. Senior leaders who refuse to take their responsibilities regarding either of these issues – the moral and the operational – are unacceptable. The are unacceptable from civilian leaders. They are unacceptable from military leaders.

The final word on Rob Porter is from one of his ex-wives, Jennie Willoughby:

The first time he called me a “fucking bitch” was on our honeymoon. (I found out years later he had kicked his first wife on theirs.) A month later he physically prevented me from leaving the house. Less than two months after that, I filed a protective order with the police because he punched in the glass on our front door while I was locked inside. We bought a house to make up for it. Just after our one year anniversary, he pulled me, naked and dripping, from the shower to yell at me.

Everyone loved him. People commented all the time how lucky I was. Strangers complimented him to me every time we went out. But in my home, the abuse was insidious. The threats were personal. The terror was real. And yet I stayed.

When I tried to get help, I was counseled to consider carefully how what I said might affect his career. And so I kept my mouth shut and stayed. I was told, yes, he was deeply flawed, but then again so was I. And so I worked on myself and stayed. If he was a monster all the time, perhaps it would have been easier to leave. But he could be kind and sensitive. And so I stayed. He cried and apologized. And so I stayed. He offered to get help and even went to a few counseling sessions and therapy groups. And so I stayed. He belittled my intelligence and destroyed my confidence. And so I stayed. I felt ashamed and trapped. And so I stayed. Friends and clergy didn’t believe me. And so I stayed. I was pregnant. And so I stayed. I lost the pregnancy and became depressed. And so I stayed.

Abuse is indifferent to education level, socio-economic status, race, age, or gender. And no one can ever know the dynamics of another’s relationship. My cycle continued for four more years. Afterward, I let go and welcomed the hard work of healing and forgiveness. My experience made me stronger and able to love more deeply. But my heart breaks for him. In the end, who is the real victim of his choices?

Open thread!

Update at 11:05 PM EST

247 replies
  1. 1
    Corner Stone says:

    What I have yet to see a clear explanation of is: Why did Hillary allow this to happen and why didn’t she fire Porter sooner and then commit seppuku?

  2. 2
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Corner Stone: I’m sure her impeachment hearings will get you the answers you’re looking for.

  3. 3
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    Hey, not a problem that Porter sat in on National Security Council meetings and handled classified paper without a clearance!

    Michael Flynn was working for a foreign country (countries?) and he was National Security Advisor. Donald Trump released classified information that could get someone killed to the Russian Ambassador in the Oval Office.

    That’s how business is done now.

  4. 4
    danielx says:

    I blame Obama.

  5. 5
    Corner Stone says:

    I’m still pissed off I didn’t get any love for my Dire Straits rif yesterday with “money for nothing and your Hicks for free”. Harumph. Yeah, it’s an easy one but that’s the genius of it.

  6. 6
    Yutsano says:

    My God. That paragraph…

    She was extremely brave to leave when she finally did. It was obvious she was getting no support. I hope she’s doing better now.

    And fuck Kelly. I hope this gets him some UCMJ attention as well. And a possible review of his whole command.

  7. 7
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    How many have we not heard about?

    As many as are still hiding their wife-beating and money laundering so that they can be blackmailed.

  8. 8
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Not to mention Seb, son of Hugo Drax, and Bannon. The former never seeming to have a clearance and the latter somehow appointing himself to NSC principal while demoting the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

  9. 9
    Corner Stone says:

    WH press briefing guy said Trump was not fully aware of Porter’s security clearance status. Hmmm…

  10. 10
    smintheus says:

    Trump himself has been and continues to be vulnerable to blackmail, as have many of the people Trump hired beginning with Flynn. The US media refuses to acknowledge much less examine this threat.

  11. 11
    TenguPhule says:

    In one year we have had twenty administrations worth of scandals. And this year has barely started.

  12. 12
    Yutsano says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: @Adam L Silverman: I’m just evil enough now to want to see all their tax records. Something tells me more than one of these fuckers is un trouble with my agency.

  13. 13
    Corner Stone says:

    I think the reason John Kelly didn’t believe the stories was because Jennie Willoughby and Porter’s other wife were just a couple of empty barrels. Making the most noise, as empty barrels are wont to do.

  14. 14
    trollhattan says:

    @Corner Stone:

    WH press briefing guy said Trump was not fully aware

    This much at least, is surely true.

  15. 15
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @TenguPhule: So much winning. You wouldn’t have gotten this many scandals with a normal administration. You should be thanking the President for being so generous!

  16. 16
    smintheus says:

    @Corner Stone: It’s Trump’s job to know about the staffers he hires. That’s an admission of failure.

  17. 17
    dmsilev says:

    Meanwhile, everything is going Just Fine with GOP recruitment of candidates for the November elections:

    Arthur Jones, the GOP candidate running for Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District, on Thursday claimed that he’s not a Nazi but defended his belief that the Holocaust is “an international extortion racket by the Jews to bleed, blackmail, distort and terrorize our enemies.”

    “Well, I do not belong to any formal national socialist organization anymore and I haven’t belonged to one since about 1990. Okay?” Jones, who has been denounced by both the state and national Republican party, said on CNN’s “New Day” during an interview with Alisyn Camerota.

    Camerota argued that Jones could “call it whatever you want” but his actions speak for themselves.

    “You’ve been part of anti-Semitic groups since the 1970s, you go to neo-Nazi rallies, we have pictures of you there,” she said. “You were part of the White People’s Party, you dress in Nazi garb and you celebrate Hitler’s birthday. You’re a Nazi.”

    (insert obvious Blues Brothers Illinois Nazis reference here)

  18. 18
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    More seriously, abuse of female partners simply isn’t seen as a problem by these guys. Look at all the old white men in the White House. Look at the President’s record for p***y grabbing. Look at Melania’s facial expressions.

    This is how the world works for them. They see nothing wrong with it. It would never occur to them to think about it.

    Having been in the military, Kelly should have been aware that violence against female partners is not acceptable. But he probably sat through the trainings and let them run off his back.

    That said, I have now seen two people say publicly (Mieke Eoyang, who was a congressional staffer, and a guy who worked with him, I forget who) that Kelly’s behavior is totally different than anything they ever saw when they worked with him. I’ve also heard that from people who know him less directly.

  19. 19
    dmsilev says:

    @Corner Stone:

    WH press briefing guy said Trump was not fully aware of Porter’s security clearance status.

    That’s the most believable thing to come out of the White House press briefing over the entire Trump era.

  20. 20
    TenguPhule says:

    @Adam L Silverman: The Nazi rally was only last September. It feels like it happened years ago. We have discovered Time Travel, but it involves Donald Trump putting the rest of us through the Warp.

  21. 21
    Van Buren says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: I expect that sooner or later we will be told that the assets who got killed were just low level peons, just coffee fetchers, really, and totally replaceable. No harm done.

  22. 22
    Corner Stone says:

    one of his (Porter’s) ex-girlfriends warned White House Counsel Don McGahn

    Which is why I am highly dubious of any planted story that tries to paint McGahn in a positive light. He’s just as much of a fucking snake as every other single person in this WH and admin.

  23. 23
    dmsilev says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Leon Panetta, for whom Kelly was an aide at one point, said something similar as well. Might be in part a sort of self-denialism, “well maybe I missed some warning signs back then. Nah, easier and more comforting to say that he’s changed”.

  24. 24
    Amir Khalid says:

    Two new horrors revealed before lunchtime every day. This White House is digging down to the centre of the Earth, isn’t it?

  25. 25
    TenguPhule says:

    @danielx:

    I blame Obama.

    I blame Obama for not dispatching Trump via the CIA when he had the chance. If anything qualifies as a Godzilla threshold, Trump was it.

  26. 26
    TenguPhule says:

    @Corner Stone:

    He’s just as much of a fucking snake as every other single person in this WH and admin.

    Take that back. Snakes aren’t this bad.

  27. 27
    trollhattan says:

    @Amir Khalid:
    Can you believe all these turtles?

  28. 28
    Corner Stone says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    That said, I have now seen two people say publicly (Mieke Eoyang, who was a congressional staffer, and a guy who worked with him, I forget who) that Kelly’s behavior is totally different than anything they ever saw when they worked with him. I’ve also heard that from people who know him less directly.

    This level of assholishness and disregard for human beings does not just spring fresh from the ground one day. Even before his tenure at DHS my best bet is that there is a backtrail for John Kelly that we will find out one day, sooner or later.
    Trump allows people to reveal themselves, to be who they really are. This can not be a new way of thinking for John Kelly.

  29. 29
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @dmsilev: Certainly possible. Or an example of the degradation that Trump visits on people. Not possible to tell from here.

  30. 30
    germy says:

    Jeffrey Toobin’s one and only tweet on the subject was to criticize a female Democratic senator:

    Gee, is @SenGillibrand so busy being outraged about @alfranken that she has no time to say anything about #RobPorter, a serial wife-beater, easily blackmailed, who controlled the flow of classified information to @realDonaldTrump— Jeffrey Toobin (@JeffreyToobin) February 8, 2018

  31. 31
    Weaselone says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: people say the same thing about serial killers.

  32. 32

    I have just the right number for this post
    Tera Noor from Tiger Zinda Hai, avenging angels in abayas!
    Katrina Kaif rocks!

  33. 33
  34. 34
    clay says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Which is why I am highly dubious of any planted story that tries to paint McGahn in a positive light.

    It reminds me of all those stories from last spring and summer that quoted “two high-level advisers to the President” who kept saying how wonderful Ivanka and Jared were.

  35. 35
    Corner Stone says:

    @smintheus:

    It’s Trump’s job to know about the staffers he hires. That’s an admission of failure.

    For most staff I would say that largely weighs on the shoulders of the CoS. But this staff position put every document in front of Trump. Shouldn’t Trump have been told Porter was working with an interim clearance?

  36. 36
    Kay says:

    Three former employees of the famed Cato Institute say they were sexually harassed by Ed Crane, the 73-year-old co-founder and president emeritus of the think tank and one of the most recognizable figures in the libertarian movement.
    One former employee said Crane asked her to take off her bra. Another said he compared her breasts to pornographic images on his computer. A third said he sent her an email on breast augmentation. Crane also settled an additional sexual harassment claim by a former employee in 2012, her lawyer confirmed to POLITICO.

  37. 37
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Eoyang’s remarks that they’d had several long discussions about sexual abuse in the military were interesting.

  38. 38
    Yutsano says:

    @germy: Screen cap it. He’s probably gonna delete it here in a bit.

  39. 39
    clay says:

    @germy: Hrmph. Toobin’s usually better than this. This might’ve been a decent point had he made it two months ago, but now it barely makes any sense. (When was the last time Gillibrand brought up Franken?)

  40. 40
    Mnemosyne says:

    @dmsilev:

    “Well, I do not belong to any formal national socialist organization anymore and I haven’t belonged to one since about 1990. Okay?”

    Holy forking shirtballs. “I haven’t gone to neo-Nazi meetings for 20 years! Get off my back!”

  41. 41
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Corner Stone: We all joke, but this is actually an EXCELLENT opportunity for news orgs to confront their own anti-Hillary bias.

    Hillary: When faced with evidence that a staff member had sexually harassed a colleague, Hillary demoted the offender, removed his ability to technologically contact the victim, fined him several weeks pay and made him attend counseling. The victim was also moved to another (possibly better) job where she wouldn’t have to interact with him, and when the campaign ended the offender was not rehired in another capacity. Hillary admits she could and probably should have done more, but the victim believes the actions taken were sufficient.

    Trump/Kelly: When they discovered a staffer has beaten not one but TWO ex-wives, they kept it secret. Porter was kept in a position where he regularly accessed classified and privileged information despite being unable to obtain a security clearance and his evident potential for blackmail, not to mention the awful moral/ethical situation. Within months, Porter was promoted into an even more senior position, and when the final straw broke and pictures of the abuse surfaced, they attempted to ride out the story and keep him in place. Although Porter has given his resignation letter, he continues to work for the Trump Administration and his character is being publicly defended at the highest levels of the Trump Administration.

    And yet, I’ve heard more condemnation of Hillary’s actions than Kelly’s and Trump’s. Maybe this is (yet another) opportunity for the media to issue a mea culpa?

  42. 42
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Is this some sort of koan?

  43. 43
    germy says:

    @clay: toobin’s an asshole. I remember back during the O.J. trial he criticized the defense lawyers for “playing the race card.”

    If I’m a lawyer defending a Black man in the 1990s and listening to testimony from the LAPD, I’d be committing malpractice not to mention race at some point.

  44. 44
    pathenon partunon says:

    I thinbk what it really tells us is beating a chicks ass every now and again is a lot of fun, great stress relief at some point better than sex.

  45. 45
    MJS says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: I’m just going to go ahead and speculate that Kelly beats his wife. It would be irresponsible not to speculate.

  46. 46
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    I honestly think it’s as simple as Kelly following the rules of the military while he was in the military and following his own inclinations once he wasn’t constrained by those rules anymore.

    Though I do also wonder if the Black and Latinx Marines who served under him have some different takes.

  47. 47
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @MisterForkbeard:

    And yet, I’ve heard more condemnation of Hillary’s actions than Kelly’s and Trump’s. Maybe this is (yet another) opportunity for the media to issue a mea culpa?

    Statements like these make me think you’re not going to pass your next drug screening.//

  48. 48
    MomSense says:

    All this winning. No wonder the whole country is so tired.

  49. 49
    dmsilev says:

    @germy: Several of the replies to that Tweet noted that just a couple of weeks ago Toobin wrote an article lamenting his own role in creating false equivalencies during the election campaign.

    Gee, that personal realization really sunk in well, didn’t it?

  50. 50

    The question to be asked now is how often did Gen. (ret) Kelly also do this before – ignore reports of harassment, abuse, and/or rape when he was still in uniform and in command? It is hard to believe that he developed this course of action just to protect Porter.

    That is an important question. But this sorry-ass administration churns out what would normally be career-ending scandals at such a clip, I have a feeling the media will move on, and we’ll never get an answer, unless maybe some of the women whose reports were ignored come forward…

  51. 51
    guachi says:

    Adam, I appreciate your comments about security and clearance issues and why they are a problem.

    I’m certain our SSO would never have let Porter anywhere near classified information. I was given an intent to deny my clearance years ago because of derogatory (but, thankfully, incorrect) information on my credit report let alone spousal abuse.

    Completely unacceptable what happened with Porter.

  52. 52
    germy says:

    @dmsilev: He’s moved on from attacking Hillary.

    From now on he’ll be attacking Kirsten.

  53. 53
    Yutsano says:

    @MisterForkbeard:

    Maybe this is (yet another) opportunity for the media to issue a mea culpa?

    BWAHAHAHAHA!!!!

    Oh wait you’re serious..

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!!!

    The media will NEVER admit they were wrong about Hillary. For anything. Not even issuing a correction for getting her birthdate wrong. There is this irrational deep hatred of her and everything she does that possesses their every move. They ain’t letting that go for anything.

  54. 54

    @Adam L Silverman: No koan, you are the koan
    Click the link! I just happened on the link this afternoon.
    Tiger Zinda Hai (Tiger is Alive), is the second installment of a spy caper. I am sure its pretty cheesy, I haven’t seen it. But this number is pretty cool.
    Women kick ass, especially Kat. Move over Wonder Woman, Katrina Kaif is here.

  55. 55
    Brachiator says:

    Because of the reporting, we now know that Chief of Staff Kelly has known for months that Porter couldn’t get a clearance because of what his ex-wives told the clearance background investigators about his physical abuse of them.

    The issue of abuse was bad enough. But this thing about lack of clearance was astounding. A White House filled with arrogant amateurs.

    And of course (say it with me) Republicans bashed Hillary Clinton because she supposedly didn’t think the rules applied to her. Trump and his crew are shameless.

  56. 56

    @dmsilev: Great minds think alike!

  57. 57
    guachi says:

    To add to what I said above, in my job in the Navy and interim clearance is really only for enough to not get you reassigned to another rating. You get to sit around doing menial work or admin work until you actually get your clearance.

  58. 58
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @dmsilev: Or it could be the effect that Trump has on everyone & everything. Lie down with dogs, get up with hydrophobia.

  59. 59
    Corner Stone says:

    @clay:

    (When was the last time Gillibrand brought up Franken?)

    People usually don’t make a lot of small talk about the pelt they have drying on their fence.

  60. 60
    smintheus says:

    @Corner Stone: Trump should have been told that a high level staffer was accused of beating his former wives.

  61. 61
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @germy: She was supposed to be “aware” of this when Trump was supposedly not?

  62. 62
    mai naem mobile says:

    @dmsilev: I am not making an excuse for John Kelly because I personally think he’s a Nazi but I wonder if losing his kid during the Iraq/Afghan war has changed him. I don’t know how the son died. I am assuming it was related to enemy forces. Maybe it made Kelly racist or more racist.

  63. 63
    Kay says:

    Hope Hicks seems to be the designated person to blame today:

    The crisis also raises questions about Hope Hicks’s decision-making, and whether her romantic relationship with Porter clouded her judgment. According to a source, Hicks did not get a sign off from Trump for the White House’s initial statement defending Porter, in which Kelly was quoted calling Porter a “man of true integrity.” She drafted the statement with her close friend, Kushner’s White House spokesman Josh Raffel, whom she’s known since their days working for Manhattan P.R. strategist Matthew Hiltzik. This morning, Hicks continued to defend Porter in private, a source said, telling people she thinks the allegations aren’t true.

    * Click on the link just to see Ivanka’s dress, which is a horror.

  64. 64
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @MomSense: Obligatory:

  65. 65
    TenguPhule says:

    @MisterForkbeard:

    Maybe this is (yet another) opportunity for the media to issue a mea culpa?

    Which they will miss, as sure as the sun rises and sets.

  66. 66

    @Corner Stone: Women, minorities, immigrants are not people to the noble general. Certainly not important people like his boss or himself.

  67. 67
    geg6 says:

    @germy:

    Well, he does have a point there.

  68. 68
    smintheus says:

    @Kay: Not surprised to learn that Cato is a snake pit of harassment. The most shocking thing in the article are the libertarian rationalizations for doing nothing about it: ‘Crane owned Cato so we all figured he had a right to decide whether to harass young women on his staff. Besides, it was such an honor to be thought good looking enough to be hired by the lech.’

  69. 69

    @mai naem mobile: Possible. I have wondered myself.

  70. 70
    What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us? says:

    The coddling of a wife beater is bad enough but imagine the howls and rending of garments if someone in the Obama administration had put state secrets at risk in this manner. And this isn’t the only instance, by any means, of that happening since Trump has been POTUS. Why does he continue to get mostly a pass on what is at best negligence regarding national security and at worst active sabotage? Seriously, you’d think the press could point this out at least a little. I’m so sick of the obvious double standards. GOP incompetence and outright malfeasance is just expected, so it goes unremarked. A Democratic administration does it and it follows them beyond the political grave. Exhibit A: But Her Emails.

  71. 71
    TenguPhule says:

    @germy:

    From now on he’ll be attacking Kirsten.

    And she will find few defenders among her fellows.

    Loyalty goes to the loyal.

  72. 72
    Kay says:

    @smintheus:

    I love how belligerent his denials are- his defense seems to be “I’m old and I don’t remember anything”

  73. 73
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @guachi: As I think we discussed offline, I was put forward for a contract supervisory position in Spring 2016. My highest level clearance was still good and in the system. The level below that had gone past renewal date. The Special Security Officer (SSO) at the agency I was supposed to go to refused to allow me to be read on unless that lower level clearance was renewed. We put the renewal in ASAP. The interim for that lower level was in place within 72 hours. The regs stated I was good to go. The SSO refused to allow me to be read on. Stated that he would not allow it until the renewal was completed. It took 12 months, there were no issues. Of course the job was given to someone else because they couldn’t wait for a year for me to start.

  74. 74

    @Kay: I clicked just for the dress. Really, the more you gussy something up with flounces and huge flower embroideries, the uglier you make it.

  75. 75
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @schrodingers_cat: I know it isn’t a koan. I was riffing on the structure of the comment.

  76. 76
    MJS says:

    @Kay: I call BS on Trump being pissed about Porter. He does not give a shit about men hitting their ex-wives. Hell, one of his swore under oath that he raped her.

  77. 77
    geg6 says:

    @MJS:

    Yup. Pretty sure you’re not wrong to speculate about this. It would, in fact, be wrong not to.

  78. 78
    TenguPhule says:

    @What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?:

    I’m so sick of the obvious double standards. GOP incompetence and outright malfeasance is just expected, so it goes unremarked.

    Because there are no serious consequences to them for behaving badly.

    It will be all fun and games to them until enough of them die or suffer painful crippling injuries to trigger a correction.

  79. 79
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @mai naem mobile: No one is the same after that happens.

  80. 80
    Mnemosyne says:

    @MJS:

    I already think that Kelly is fucking the new head of DHS on the side, so I wouldn’t be surprised.

  81. 81
    Corner Stone says:

    @Kay: The dress is abhorrent, but it is no where near as bad as the subhead for that article:

    Trump is not happy with the chaos; Jared and Ivanka are trying to right the ship; and even Hope Hicks, one of the president’s closest confidants, is in trouble.

  82. 82

    @What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?: Trump himself paid off that porn star so she’d keep quiet. IOW, he’s not just vulnerable to blackmail. He’s paid it.

  83. 83
    Jake the antisoshul soshulist says:

    According to NPR today, Porter and Hope Hicks were/are an item.

  84. 84
    Kay says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor (formerly Iowa Old Lady):

    The flower is an iris. I thought it was a spider at first. She loves excessively complicated sleeves. There are so many clothing manufacturers in that price range I guess they have to do a lot of gussying up or they’d all look the same.

  85. 85
    TenguPhule says:

    Come the first real crisis not perpetuated by Trump and company, we as a nation are so fucked.

  86. 86
    smintheus says:

    @Kay: Hope Hicks plainly is an idiot, but that dress of Ivanka’s defies all reason.

  87. 87
    Corner Stone says:

    @smintheus:

    Trump should have been told that a high level staffer was accused of beating his former wives.

    “Promote that guy! And ask him if there’s any video we can cue up!”

  88. 88
    Adam L Silverman says:

  89. 89

    I am so old that I remember when Rs ran on bringing honor and dignity to the WH.

  90. 90
    dmsilev says:

    @Kay:

    According to a source, Ivanka and Jared Kushner have been discussing possible chief-of-staff replacements. The problem is there’s not an obvious candidate waiting in the wings.

    Chief of Staff Kushner in 3…2…1…

  91. 91
  92. 92
    Adam L Silverman says:

    Apparently they knew way, way before last fall. Someone ordered the clearance investigation be suspended:

  93. 93

    @Adam L Silverman: That was unintentional, or was it?

  94. 94
    Corner Stone says:

    @TenguPhule: Witness, Puerto Rico.

  95. 95
    trollhattan says:

    @Kay:
    Dang, there’s a lot going on for one dress.

  96. 96
    Sloane Ranger says:

    I am still gobsmacked that anyone can be allowed to handle top secret information without a proper clearance. I mean I get elected officials,in a democracy there’s not much anyone can do to stop that, but their staff? It seems insane.

    As for Kelly, I suspect that he outwardly followed the rules when he was in the Marines but never actually believed in them. In his heart of hearts he knows that a woman’s proper place is in the home, making sure her man has a hot dinner on the table when he gets home and a hot woman when he gets in his bed. She should, of course, have no opinions separate from his. In return for this he will pretend to put her on a pedestal as a domestic goddess.

  97. 97
    Corner Stone says:

    @dmsilev:

    Ivanka and Jared Kushner have been discussing possible chief-of-staff replacements.

    Like Uber, but for geniuses.
    This is the guy that egged on the firing of Comey. He’s got the political instincts and savvy of a dodo bird’s egg.

  98. 98
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Kay: Looks like someone unearthed a trunk containing cast wardrobes for “The Love Boat!”

    Don’t you think Jared and Ivanka are shanking Kelly? I bet it’s Lord of the Flies in that place. It’ll be their turn soon enough.

  99. 99

    @Kay: OMG the sleeves and the embroidery.

  100. 100
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    To be fair, he just said it was an opportunity for a mea culpa. One that the people who need to apologize will ignore just as they have all the ones

  101. 101
    Corner Stone says:

    @Sloane Ranger:

    She should, of course, have no opinions

    And we’re gonna have to leave it there.

  102. 102
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Tenar Arha: Good for him.

  103. 103
    trollhattan says:

    @Jake the antisoshul soshulist:
    She can really pick’m, our Hope. To WaPo, last year:

    “President Trump has a magnetic personality and exudes positive energy, which is infectious to those around him. He has an unparalleled ability to communicate with people, whether he is speaking to a room of three or an arena of 30,000. He has built great relationships throughout his life and treats everyone with respect. He is brilliant with a great sense of humor … and an amazing ability to make people feel special and aspire to be more than even they thought possible.”

  104. 104

    @Betty Cracker: Question: Why are you holding a drumstick in your Twitter avatar illustration.

  105. 105
    TS says:

    @smintheus:

    It’s Trump’s job to know about the staffers he hires. That’s an admission of failure.

    It’s only an admission of failure for a democratic President – Republicans cannot fail – hence that do not admit anything.

  106. 106
    Sab says:

    @clay: He is still gone from the Senate because of her. It is not really past history.

  107. 107
    smintheus says:

    @Sloane Ranger: I’m still gobsmacked that Trump got away with offering White House jobs to his daughter and son-in-law. That’s what goes on in banana republics.

  108. 108
    Corner Stone says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Don’t you think Jared and Ivanka are shanking Kelly?

    In this WH the term “shanking” could mean like the prison stabbing meaning or the sexual one. There’s just no telling anymore.

  109. 109
    Mnemosyne says:

    @trollhattan:

    IANA psychiatrist, but I’m going to remotely diagnose someone and say that Hicks had either a narcissistic father or an abusive father (and possibly both). She seems drawn to really creepy and inappropriate guys, and they just get worse the more you look.

  110. 110

    @Adam L Silverman: Is that what Sarah Sanders was snipping about yesterday when she said the lack of clearance was Porter’s choice?

  111. 111
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Sloane Ranger: They purposefully broke the system for him. Same thing they’re doing for Jared. And I would guess the AG too given his issues with his SF 86:

  112. 112
    germy says:

    The Rob Porter/John Kelly story is one where I genuinely wish I could say to Trump supporters, "Are you okay with this?"

    And the answer cannot include the names Clinton or Obama.

    — Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) February 8, 2018

    Hope Hicks has now dated two abusive men in Trump’s orbit. Maybe she’d know that shit’s not okay if she had some female professional mentors who don’t enable assholes for a living.

    — shauna (@goldengateblond) February 8, 2018

  113. 113
    germy says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Was Porter a classmate of Jared’s in college?

  114. 114
    The Moar You Know says:

    Someone ordered the clearance investigation be suspended

    @Adam L Silverman: I’ve been working jobs that require a clearance of one sort or another for almost 20 years now. I have never heard of such a thing and would have told anyone, had they asked, that such a thing was not possible.

    ETA: would have said, if you’d wanted to bail out before it was done, they’d just enter it “denied” and you’d never have a hope in hell of getting one afterwards. But just “leave it there”? REALLY? I’m a bit stunned. This is not how any of this is supposed to work.

  115. 115
    Yutsano says:

    @Betty Cracker: Is it just me or does it look like a sweater a five year old would be forced to wear to church?

  116. 116
    Mnemosyne says:

    @smintheus:

    And the same people who think it’s A-OK for Jared and Ivanka to work in the White House never stopped screaming about how inappropriate it was for Michelle Obama’s mother to live in the White House so she could provide additional support and stability for the girls as grandparents have done for centuries.

  117. 117
    TS says:

    @MisterForkbeard:

    And yet, I’ve heard more condemnation of Hillary’s actions than Kelly’s and Trump’s. Maybe this is (yet another) opportunity for the media to issue a mea culpa?

    They continually carry water for the GOP – none of the hounds who hit Hillary non stop (including the morning ho) will ever apologise for what they do.

  118. 118
  119. 119

    On probably unrelated news (but you never know in Trumplandia), I see the stock market closed another 1000 points down. Being retired is so exciting these days.

  120. 120
    Sab says:

    @Kay: My mother had a very small linen handkerchief that looked like that dress. It looked much better in the tiny handkerchief format.

  121. 121
    MJS says:

    God help me, Chuck fucking Todd did a pretty good job dragging this piece of shit administration just now. Too bad nobody’s watching.

  122. 122
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor (formerly Iowa Old Lady): I have no idea. I didn’t see the briefing.

  123. 123
    Bobby Thomson says:

    Over/under on how much less attention this gets than the guy Hillary reassigned for rubbing shoulders and sending dumb emails? Based on the collective yawn given to serial rapist and former RNC Finance Chair Steve Wynn, I’m thinking at least 50%.

  124. 124

    @Mnemosyne: And they want to take away the ability of citizens to sponsor their parents. They have families, rest of us are just rented mules.

  125. 125
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @germy: That has been reported. That they went to Harvard together. I have no idea if they knew each other though.

  126. 126
    Corner Stone says:

    @MJS: I saw it. Chuckles sounded exasperated. It is to laugh.

  127. 127
    Corner Stone says:

    Can we please tell Joe Biden to STFU and go back to his knitting?

  128. 128
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @The Moar You Know: It is new to me as well. And I’ve got over a decade of experience with this stuff.

  129. 129
    Shana says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: And neither of them left until there was publicity about it.

  130. 130
    efgoldman says:

    @Corner Stone:

    WH press briefing guy said Trump was not fully aware of Porter’s security clearance status.

    I actually believe that (not that he’d have done anything). There are literally millions of things “the president” should know, or know where, how, or from who to find out, about which he has less than zero clue.

  131. 131
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor (formerly Iowa Old Lady): As Ali Velshi said right before close: “it is officially in correction territory”.

  132. 132
    Corner Stone says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor (formerly Iowa Old Lady): I can’t stand to watch or listen to the PQ for more than a few seconds at a time, but she was very clippy in yesterday’s briefing and cut off just about every questioner. So it was difficult to tell sometimes what she was responding to.

  133. 133
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Bobby Thomson:

    I guarantee you there will be no Ruth Marcus roundtable to discuss Trump’s terrible HR decisions like they did with the Hillary story.

    @schrodingers_cat:

    I still want someone to make me a t-shirt saying “Proud Result of Chain Migration.” I would not be here if my great-grandmother had not followed her husband to America and brought my 2-year-old grandfather with her.

  134. 134
    efgoldman says:

    @dmsilev:

    “Well, I do not belong to any formal national socialist organization anymore and I haven’t belonged to one since about 1990. Okay?”

    Asshole might lose 70-30, but he’s still gonna’ get some votes.

  135. 135
    Manyakitty says:

    @Adam L Silverman: The Teutonic Titwillow knew from what she spoke.

  136. 136
    trollhattan says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    I requested and received a “Bad Hombre” tshirt for my birthday last year. MAGA red a nce added touch.

  137. 137
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mnemosyne: Actually Marcus wrote a scathing column and was on Nicole Wallace’s show as part of the roundtable about this today.

  138. 138
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @MisterForkbeard:

    And yet, I’ve heard more condemnation of Hillary’s actions than Kelly’s and Trump’s. Maybe this is (yet another) opportunity for the media to issue a mea culpa? not at all surprising and the press will continue to apply the Clinton Rules so long as the name Clinton is remembered.

  139. 139
    Corner Stone says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I’m glad to see some chop in between drops, instead of just down, down, down. Some back and forth may be useful to work out the excesses. Although the acceleration into the close is going to play hell in Asia markets. Short term gut wrench may keep us from hitting the down 20% level. But, eh, who knows about anything any more?

  140. 140
    Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes says:

    I’m going to offer up something which may not be entirely welcome, but needs to be said regardless:

    This guy was clearly a repeat offender, so screw him, fine. That said, there will undoubtedly come a time when some past case is drawn up out of the depths on someone who got some help and didn’t reoffend. If we are going to insist on treatment and redemption, we need to take the one-timer’s following good conduct at face value.

  141. 141
    Manyakitty says:

    @MJS: He was only mad it got out.

  142. 142
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Corner Stone: Normal market volatility.

  143. 143
    Yutsano says:

    @Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes: That’s a Rubicon that can be crossed at another time. Of course the fact that they’re doing this exact same thing to Hillary just gives the both sides folks their needed Viaagra high.

  144. 144
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    They purposefully broke the system for him. Same thing they’re doing for Jared. And I would guess the AG too given his issues with his SF 86

    I think that for Trump, personal loyalty comes first. I think he has no concept of information that must be kept within certain bounds beyond his immediate whims. So yes, of course, do whatever is necessary to get them on the job. Consider that he was using that Israeli information to ingratiate himself with the Russians, or so that he could feel like one of the boys. It’s all about him. He has no concept that corresponds to classification.

  145. 145
    prostratedragon says:

    @dmsilev: Somehow, the Illinois GOP, the poor things, just couldn’t get out in front of this, though Jones has been around and about for years and years.

    Like Goebbels said, if everyone had a favorite Jew, we wouldn’t get rid of anyone.
    Art Jones to interviewer Grant Pick

    What would be Latin for “Always Surprised?”

  146. 146
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes: That’s what the disclosure and/or appeal is for. This is why there are attorneys who specialize in this stuff.

  147. 147
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Yep.

  148. 148
    zhena gogolia says:

    My God, this sentence: “When I tried to get help, I was counseled to consider carefully how what I said might affect his career.” I just finished a 1933 novel by John Galsworthy in which he deals with this very same problem. A young woman leaves her husband because of sadistic abuse, but she doesn’t want to go public about it so as not to harm his career. One More River, I highly recommend it. James Whale made a great film based on it.

  149. 149
    SgrAstar says:

    @guachi: A friend of mine in grad school went to work at one of DC’s super sekrit military/counter terrorism consulting firms after she got her PhD. Her interim sc wouldn’t even get her into their building. 🤔

  150. 150
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Hey, I get high on media-based optimism. My corporation doesn’t have a test for that yet.

    More precisely, this has next to no chance of happening. But it’s absolutely something I’ll bring up whenever I see someone bag on Hillary about this again.

    @Yutsano: Nah, completely unserious. I mean, they SHOULD but it’s obvious they won’t. That’s why I included “(yet another)”, to indicate that they’ve had the opportunity multiple times and never take it. :(

  151. 151
    Sloane Ranger says:

    @Adam L Silverman: So, where’s the penalty? What’s the point of a rule no-one is prepared/has the power to enforce?

  152. 152
    smintheus says:

    @Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes: A wife beater should not be working in the White House because he can be blackmailed. Period. There are plenty of intelligent people who have never assaulted anyone whom a president may hire.

  153. 153

    The thing is Porter may have been good at his job. But he’s not the only person in the world who’d be good at that job but who didn’t have the obvious downside. What were they thinking?

  154. 154
    Yutsano says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor (formerly Iowa Old Lady): He was in Dolt45’s circle. That’s all that matters to him. Any other details are superfluous, especially to the occupier in the Oval Office.

    Also: Shutdown II: Electric Boogaloo is happening!

  155. 155
    eemom says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    which is why I find the last sentence perplexing:

    my heart breaks for him. In the end, who is the real victim of his choices?

    uh, WTF? Sounds like she’s still fucking worried about his career.

  156. 156

    @smintheus: The country is paying the price.

  157. 157
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Sloane Ranger: I have no idea how this plays out. The clearance process has been a mess for a variety of reasons for a while now. Underfunded, backlogs, differing standards between agencies/departments/bureaus/offices, etc.

  158. 158
    Redshift says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: More broadly, he has no concept of the national interest except his own personal interest.

  159. 159
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @eemom: Stockholm Syndrome. Remember the religious community they are part of.

  160. 160
    Nelle says:

    Does anyone think that Porter was the manager of the Toddler President? Maybe that is why they are panicking – now they have to find someone else with the skills of manipulating without appearing to manipulate. To me, that also fits with the profile of an abuser. But maybe he wasn’t abusing Trump, but very very skilled at maneuvering him. Not only Trump depended on him – they all did.

  161. 161
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @germy: I don’t even understand the criticism. “Kirsten Gillibrand was vociferous in ousting sexual harassment from her own party that she has control over, but she hasn’t yet issued a statement on the man who beat his wives and who works for a man Gillibrand has also noted is a sexist asshole but Gillibrand has no power over”?

    I mean… sure? But how is this an indictment of any kind?

  162. 162
    Mike in NC says:

    Everybody in the Trump orbit is some form of bottom feeder. Recall there were a bunch of generals and admirals who publicly said they wouldn’t touch him with a ten-foot pole.

  163. 163
    debbie says:

    “And so I stayed.” Time for another hash tag.

  164. 164
    Gravenstone says:

    @Kay: Guess it was early enough in their relationship that Porter hadn’t taken a swing at her yet. Or maybe he reserves that for after the wedding.

  165. 165
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Don’t care. She has zero credibility with me thanks to her Hillary is so evil! idiocy.

  166. 166

    @smintheus: oops that was meant for sloane ranger’s comment. My bad.

  167. 167
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mnemosyne: I’m not defending her, just answering your question. I personally have never liked her oeuvre.

  168. 168
    Redshift says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Which is why I am highly dubious of any planted story that tries to paint McGahn in a positive light.

    I am entirely willing to believe that McGahn too some kind of action to distract 45* long enough to forget he was going to try to fire Mueller. I’m not willing to believe that he had any kind of public-spirited motivation, but I’d believe he did it to avoid the unpleasant choice of risking serious legal jeopardy for himself, or losing out on the grift by resigning.

  169. 169
    Formerly disgruntled in Oregon says:

    @MisterForkbeard: It’s not news when male Republicans are abusers or enablers, so let’s find a female Democrat to hold accountable (is that how this works?)

  170. 170
    debbie says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    They purposefully broke the system for him.

    Same line that law enforcement uses for domestic abuse situations.

  171. 171
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Shouldn’t Trump have been told Porter was working with an interim clearance?

    Would Trump have known what that was? Would he have cared? Would it have made a particle of difference?

    He doesn’t give one single, solitary hoot about the abuse, or the egregious violations of national security. He cares only when he realizes that news is “out there” that will make him look bad.

  172. 172
    eemom says:

    @Mike in NC:

    Everybody in the Trump orbit is some form of bottom feeder.

    wrt McGahn, who folks were talking about above: my husband knew him at his former law firm. Said he was an incompetent moron who nobody paid attention to, so hubs doesn’t understand how he got his current position. I’m like, this surprises you WHY, exactly?

  173. 173
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes:

    In my experience, the “one-timer” situation is almost always the result of a mental health issue, whether it’s an active addiction or another mental illness. If that person gets the mental health treatment they need, they usually won’t do it again as long as they keep up with their treatment.

    I unfortunately have some current knowledge of this (friend of a friend). Alcoholic falling off the wagon while under huge stress = restraining order for the family.

  174. 174
    trollhattan says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:
    “Rules are for little people.” Repeat as often as required.

  175. 175
    J R in WV says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    ….That said, I have now seen two people say publicly (Mieke Eoyang, who was a congressional staffer, and a guy who worked with him, I forget who) that Kelly’s behavior is totally different than anything they ever saw when they worked with him. I’ve also heard that from people who know him less directly.

    OK, now we’re getting somewhere. What can change a person’s whole outlook on life? A stroke or other physical brain damage. A psychosis suddenly occurring.

    Maybe his retirement, no longer under the UCMJ after years of holding his prejudices back? People can and do work to conceal prejudice that would destroy their job. I’ve worked with people that suddenly revealed unpleasant things about themselves after years, even as simple as breaking out as an manipulative arrogant and condexcending asshole suddenly after being promoted into management level work. That guy (you knew there was an archytype lurking in there) died right after he retired sitting in his recliner. Good job, Doug! Just relieved I never worked for him !!

  176. 176
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Formerly disgruntled in Oregon: Said action is “Female Democrat fails to decry (one of many) Republican sexual abusers within arbitrarily short time period, thereby proving she’s even worse than Republicans. Both sides y’all, peace out!”

    Yeah, sounds about right for our press corpse.

    @Mnemosyne: Agreed – this is why I supported Hillary’s solution for the harasser in her ’08 campaign. He had a much less serious offense, but she punished him, got him counseling and gave him ONE second chance.

    A single incident (especially when nonviolent or non-criminal) shouldn’t destroy someone forever. Sometimes there are accidents, sometimes people have temporary issues, and sometimes things are misunderstood. Second chances are important in most cases precisely for this reason. When someone fits a pattern (two ex-wives) or when the behavior becomes unsafe (Porter was in a very important position but was a huge blackmail risk) is when you don’t take chances.

  177. 177
    TenguPhule says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    IANA psychiatrist, but I’m going to remotely diagnose someone and say that Hicks had either a narcissistic father or an abusive father (and possibly both).

    By all accounts her parents are liberals in good standing and completely horrified by her choices to date.

  178. 178
    Steve in the ATL says:

    Once presented with the actual photos showing the physical evidence of Porter having beaten one of his ex-wives, Chief of Staff Kelly still tried to keep him from resigning!

    I almost fired a C-suite executive once after he refused to accept the resignation of one of his lieutenants who had been indicted for securities fraud. We worked at a bank.

  179. 179
    Fair Economist says:

    @MisterForkbeard: If Gillibrand, or anybody else, tweeted about the various scandals in the Trump administration as much as those scandals deserve, she’d have no time to get work done. You just can’t keep up!

  180. 180
    TenguPhule says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    The clearance process has been a mess for a variety of reasons for a while now. Underfunded, backlogs, differing standards between agencies/departments/bureaus/offices, etc.

    Burn it all down and start over?

  181. 181
    debbie says:

    @J R in WV:

    Or maybe he’s just a dick.

  182. 182
    Mnemosyne says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Go read the Raised By Narcissists boards at Reddit. There are plenty of toxic narcissists who identify themselves as liberals.

  183. 183
    Barbara says:

    @The Moar You Know: Sotto voce, I know someone who told me this happened to them. You just don’t hear. It probably depends on what your role is, and if it is essential, yes, they have to tell you because you cannot have ongoing access to information if you really can’t get clearance. If it isn’t essential, you just never get access to begin with.

  184. 184
    debbie says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    London Whale?

  185. 185
    J R in WV says:

    @TenguPhule:

    “Which they will miss, as sure as the sun rises and sets.”

    No way, dude. Look what time it is!! Sun sets and rises at this time of day, every day !!!

  186. 186
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Fair Economist: I hadn’t caught this, but apparently Toobin ALSO has a history of possible sexual harassment, including leaving explicit phone messages for co-workers:

    https://twitter.com/kellyawallace/status/961733333666410496

    @TenguPhule: Drain the Swamp, you mean?

  187. 187
    rikyrah says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    A poster at another blog that I frequent. Her husband, lifer Marine, could not stand Kelly. Yes, he is Black. So, yes, I believe that non-White soldiers have a different view of Kelly.

  188. 188
    cain says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I already think that Kelly is fucking the new head of DHS on the side, so I wouldn’t be surprised.

    Who is that?

  189. 189
    TenguPhule says:

    @MisterForkbeard:

    Drain the Swamp, you mean?

    No, swamps are fragile ecosystems which do good in the world.

    This is a mold infested deathtrap where the roaches and rats rule over. Only judicious applications of cleansing flame can rid us of them.

  190. 190
    TenguPhule says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Go read the Raised By Narcissists boards at Reddit. There are plenty of toxic narcissists who identify themselves as liberals.

    I’m not gonna accuse them of bad parenting unless actual evidence arises that disputes them being good parents with the bad luck to have a rebellious stupid child.

  191. 191
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @J R in WV:

    People can and do work to conceal prejudice that would destroy their job.

    Funny thing that happened to me a few years ago: black employee accused white employee of race discrimination. White employee defends himself with “I couldn’t *possibly* be racist—I’m vice-chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party!” Oh, how we laughed.

    Could have been worse, I suppose—if he were vice-chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party.

  192. 192
    germy says:

    @MisterForkbeard:

    Toobin ALSO has a history of possible sexual harassment, including leaving explicit phone messages for co-workers:

    Quite a lot of that goes on at the New Yorker.

    (See Lizza, Ryan)

    Actually, the culture there goes back to Harold Ross, William Shawn and Brendan Gill.

  193. 193
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @debbie: earlier than that. The only good news was that he was indicted for things he did prior to working for us. One of the NY I-banks; forget which one.

  194. 194
    Mnemosyne says:

    @cain:

    She is this asshole. She was Kelly’s hand-picked successor and has been embarrassing herself in front of Congress ever since. She also apparently helped fuck up the Katrina response in New Orleans, so she has a long history of failing upwards.

  195. 195
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @MisterForkbeard: I really don’t get the lewd or threatening voicemails. Those are surprisingly common. Never leave documentary evidence, you morons! Same with dick pics.

  196. 196

    @cain: I think it’s that Kirsten woman who claimed she wasn’t sure if Norway was a white country.

  197. 197
    debbie says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    It’s amazing how they’ll try to hang on to an obvous scumbag if he or she’s a real money-maker.

  198. 198
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Mnemosyne: My wife reads a lot of that subreddit, as well as a “crazy in-laws” subreddit. It’s pretty eye-opening.

    @TenguPhule: This is one of those specific cases where it’s very clear that higher-ups were protecting Porter. The *system* needs to be overhauled to address the problems Adam outlined, but regardless of the system it would still be gamed by the Trump admin. The problem here is Trump and his awful administration/illegal actions, NOT the process. :(

  199. 199
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @J R in WV: @Cheryl Rofer: I remember people saying similar things about the seeming metamorphosis of Dick Cheney from the SecDef version to the VP version.

  200. 200
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Okay, what about combining the two? What about lewd and threatening dick pics?

    Or you could go the other direction, and not send them. But then how would you show your wang to the ladies in a savvy, sophisticated way?

  201. 201
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @MisterForkbeard:

    A single incident (especially when nonviolent or non-criminal) shouldn’t destroy someone forever.

    What if that incident is ordering a Bud Lite at a brew pub?

  202. 202
    Corner Stone says:

    @debbie: He’s just a dick.

  203. 203
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Nelle: Nice point. I guess we’ll see.

  204. 204
    Tom says:

    NOW can we have them all sent to Guantanamo for life for treason?

  205. 205
    Mnemosyne says:

    @MisterForkbeard:

    It’s really fascinating when the patterns start emerging. No personal boundaries, inappropriately treating your child/teenager as a spouse/love interest, gaslighting, inability to accept responsibility for one’s actions … Trump fits all of them to a T.

  206. 206
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @MisterForkbeard: dick pics today are like neon ground effects on Hondas in the ‘90’s. Track record is 0% success at wooing the ladies.

  207. 207
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Corner Stone:

    He’s just a dick.

    Do you have a pic?

  208. 208
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @FlipYrWhig: That’s true. Or Don Rumsfeld. Could just be the acquisition of great power breaks some people.

  209. 209
    John Fremont says:

    @Mike in NC:I remember there was an admiral that Mattis wanted to serve with him and the admiral turned the position down to spend more time with his family.

  210. 210
    TenguPhule says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    What if that incident is ordering a Bud Lite at a brew pub?

    A week in the stocks, to be pelted by rotten produce.

  211. 211
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    I’m sticking with my construction from above: they’re fine when they have a structure and limits put on them, but they lose their minds when that structure is taken away and they’re put in charge because they have no internal moral compass.

  212. 212
    John Fremont says:

    @rikyrah: I would be interested to hear what he had to say about. I served in the Corps in the 80’s and I served under a black Gunny who was moved to a subordinate position because of some bulls hit from some higher ups.

  213. 213
    lollipopguild says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Cheney saw himself as the guy in charge of actually running things. Bush would play at being Prez while Cheney would be the man behind the curtain.

  214. 214
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I unfortunately have some current knowledge of this (friend of a friend). Alcoholic falling off the wagon while under huge stress = restraining order for the family.

    That’s really sad. I thought BillinGlendale was doing better.

  215. 215
    Shana says:

    @Yutsano: It’s not just you.

  216. 216
    bemused says:

    @Kay:

    Ivanka found the perfect dress for her little daughter and just had to get a mommy-sized duplicate for herself.

  217. 217
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Hey, I ordered a Porter. Who ordered the bud lite, because I think s/he may need to be stoned for their heresy.

  218. 218
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    IANA psychiatrist, but I’m going to remotely diagnose someone and say that Hicks had either a narcissistic father or an abusive father (and possibly both).

    From the Wikipedia article on Hope, there’s the following about her father’s career, which may or may not be enlightening:

    Her father was Regional CEO, Americas of Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, and executive vice president of communications for the National Football League from 2010 to 2015, before his current position of managing director of the Glover Park Group.

    This was during a period when domestic abuse among NFL players was rampant. The whole “football culture” thing, with its violence and misogyny, was part of regular conversations and news reporting — not just in sports, but as a central societal issue. I’m not saying that five or six years of professionally defending the NFL every day turned Daddy Hicks into an abuser, not saying that at all; but I do think it’s a rather telling career choice.

  219. 219
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Mnemosyne: This is precisely what my wife has been telling me. He even fits most of the response patterns – there’s an acronym she keeps quoting at me that escapes me at the moment.

    @Steve in the ATL: But neon ground lights are cool NOW, right?

  220. 220
    bemused says:

    @Kay:

    All Republican men in office or running for office must be required to turn over their devices to be checked for pron.

  221. 221
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @efgoldman:

    Asshole might lose 70-30, but he’s still gonna’ get some votes.

    Perhaps I have unclean hands and shouldn’t judge because back in the late ‘80’s I voted for a candidate whose platform was “kill whitey”. I did it solely to vote against Harold Ford’s uncle. Who was far, far worse than Harold has ever been.

  222. 222
    lollipopguild says:

    @MisterForkbeard: I ordered a milk but I had them put it in a dirty glass with a hair in it.

  223. 223
    Leto says:

    @MisterForkbeard: It’s LEDs now. They haven’t used neon in over a decade.

  224. 224
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @MisterForkbeard:

    But neon ground lights are cool NOW, right?

    Hey, YOU got married so they must work!

    Zing!

  225. 225
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @MisterForkbeard:

    Hey, I ordered a Porter. Who ordered the bud lite, because I think s/he may need to be stoned for their heresy.

    As did I, as you no doubt recall. The Bud Lites were at the Red State meet up two tables over.

  226. 226
    Corner Stone says:

    @Steve in the ATL: What am I? Some kind of weiner?

  227. 227
    Incitatus for Senate says:

    @MisterForkbeard:

    Do an impressionistic watercolor, like a male version of Georgia O’Keeffe.

  228. 228
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @clay: Toobin has revealed himself to be just another Broder prion infected asshat.

    Tumbrel manifest entry confirmed.

  229. 229
    TheronWare says:

    @Adam L Silverman: It’s twoo!, It’s twoo!

  230. 230
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @J R in WV:

    OK, now we’re getting somewhere. What can change a person’s whole outlook on life? A stroke or other physical brain damage. A psychosis suddenly occurring.

    Having a son killed in combat would probably qualify.

  231. 231
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Corner Stone: you’re from Vienna? I thought you lived in Houston!

  232. 232
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Steve in the ATL: That is insane.

  233. 233
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: It’s possible. It may have made him want to burn the whole thing down, and he’s doing splendidly at the moment, seeing he’s working for an outright Kremlin agent.

  234. 234
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @TenguPhule: No.

  235. 235
    efgoldman says:

    @smintheus:

    There are plenty of intelligent people

    See, there’s your basic problem

  236. 236
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @FlipYrWhig: A good friend and former teammate served on Cheney’s personal security detail when he was Secretary of Defense. He has said repeatedly that VP Cheney was a very, very different person – outlook, attitude, demeanor – as vice president compared to what he knew of the man from when he was Secretary of Defense.

  237. 237
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @MisterForkbeard:

    Hey, I ordered a Porter.

    See, both sides!!

  238. 238
    zhena gogolia says:

    @eemom:

    She is, based on the clip I saw.

  239. 239
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I saw one theory that Cheney’s extensive heart surgeries affected his brain function.

    @Steve in the ATL:

    Har har.

  240. 240
    Mnemosyne says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    If they have kids, she probably can’t support them by herself and needs his child support contributions. That’s one reason she might be concerned about his career.

  241. 241
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Mnemosyne: Cheney has been a reactionary asshole dating back to the Nixon administration.

  242. 242
    Corner Stone says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Cheney has been a reactionary asshole dating back to the Nixon administration.

    Anyone who tries to tell me Cheney was not an asshole as SecDef needs to check their ignorance at the fucking door.

  243. 243
    Magda in Black says:

    @Corner Stone:
    With all due respect, i laughed. I gave it a thumbs up….granted, it was at the end of comments….so ya missed it 😎

  244. 244
    Boatboy_srq says:

    @germy: Motes and beams, people, motes and beams.

  245. 245
    Boatboy_srq says:

    @MisterForkbeard: Perhaps this is because the GOTea campaigns on the right of men to behave exactly like this, and Dems, OTOH, feel compelled to address the issue constructively. So the reaction for each is “FVCK YEAH!!11!1!” and “well, duh,” respectively.

  246. 246

    @Steve in the ATL: No she said “friend of a friend”, I have no friends.

  247. 247
    stinger says:

    @Kay: Good lord. $$$ /= taste

Comments are closed.