Mid-Day Digest

Aug. 1, 2017

IN TODAY’S EDITION

  • Scaramucci fired after 10 days. He wasn’t the right guy for the communications job.
  • What’s the deal with Wasserman Schultz’s Pakistani IT guy?
  • New White House Chief of Staff John Kelly appears ready to steady the ship.
  • Daily Features: Top Headlines, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.

THE FOUNDATION

“If new difficulties arise, we must only put forth new Exertions and proportion our Efforts to the exigency of the times.” —George Washington (1777)

TOP RIGHT HOOKS

Scaramucci in, Scaramucci Out — and Not a New York Minute Too Soon!

That was fast. After just 10 days on the job, White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci is out. Certainly his profane tirade against former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and others in the administration was a factor, though President Donald Trump had to know what he was getting from the pugnacious New Yorker. Trump is a brawler, which won him the White House. It’s also no doubt why he hired a kindred spirit like Scaramucci.

Word from administration sources is that Scaramucci was brought in at least in part to help oust Priebus. With good reason, Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey rejects this spin. “Not to go the full Mooch,” he writes, “but this is unadulterated horse puckey. This explanation conveniently avoids one small detail, which is that Trump could have fired Reince Priebus any time he wanted. He didn’t need the Mooch to offer obscenity-filled interviews that publicly accused the previous chief of staff of schizophrenia and treason to get Priebus to offer his resignation.”

New Chief of Staff John Kelly wasted no time in ousting Scaramucci, doing so immediately after his swearing in. We suspect the firing was a condition of Kelly taking the position. A disciplined Marine general like Kelly wasn’t going to put up with a loose cannon in charge of communications of all things.

(More on Kelly below.)

This White House has struggled mightily with communications from day one, not least because of the president’s seeming inability to stay on message on Twitter. Kelly may be just the man to get things back on track. In any case, Scaramucci’s hiring was a mistake, and his firing shows a willingness to correct mistakes.

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Questions Grow Over Wasserman Schultz’s Connection to Arrested IT Employee

Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s IT guy Imran Awan was arrested last week over allegations of bank fraud. But that may be serving merely as a pretext for nailing him on a much bigger and more insidious crime. The details are still rather sketchy, but there are several issues that don’t quite add up.

First, why after the fraud allegations against members of the Awan family did Wasserman Schultz maintain his employment? Blackmail? Did Awan have dirt on Wasserman Schultz or the DNC? This is hardly an illegitimate question when one considers her strange demand that the Capitol Police return smashed hard drives collected from one of the Awans’ properties because she claimed it to be her property.

Second, why were the Awans paid so much for doing so little? Since 2009, the Awans have raked in $4 million for their IT “work.”

Third, why were they given access to government information without having received the required security clearances? With their close ties to Pakistan, it’s highly unlikely that the Awans would have ever passed background checks, let alone been granted access to highly sensitive information. Tie in the Awans’ various nefarious business dealings and one is left wondering if they aren’t the Pakistani version of the Sopranos.

Finally, why were Democrats and Wasserman Schultz in particular fine with having these crooks work for them? It’s beginning to appear like there may be a big scandal hiding just under the surface of the DC swamp.

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Top Headlines

  • Focus is now taxes as treasury secretary touts simple and fairer tax reform. (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • U.S. companies post profit growth not seen in six years. (Paywall — The Wall Street Journal)

  • Expedited deportations likely to expand under Trump. (The Daily Signal)

  • Refugee admissions under Trump: More Christians, fewer Muslims (CNS News)

  • Russia missile deal with Turkey raises concern inside Pentagon. (The Washington Times)

  • Trump may force Congress to act on ObamaCare insurer payments. (Washington Examiner)

  • Trump could let ObamaCare “implode.” (Hot Air)

  • White House opioid commission to Trump: “Declare a national emergency” on drug overdoses. (The Washington Post)

  • Union PR firm, Seattle mayor coordinated on pro-$15 minimum wage Berkeley study. (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • Los Angeles reaches deal to host 2028 Olympics. (USA Today)

  • Policy: Why people like Al Gore hate the world’s poor. (InsideSources)

  • Policy: Six persistent myths about taxes. (E21)

For more, visit Patriot Headline Report.

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FEATURED RIGHT ANALYSIS

Will Trump Give Kelly the Authority to Succeed?

By Todd Johnson

“Somebody’s got to be in charge. Somebody’s got to be the go-to guy who can go to the Oval Office and deliver a very tough message to the president.” —Dick Cheney on the role of White House chief of staff

With last Friday’s appointment of retired General and Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to the White House chief of staff position, followed quickly by the firing of Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci Monday afternoon, the Trump administration is undergoing yet another radical transformation. It may look like chaos, but the moves are signs that things are being brought under control.

While Republican operatives have lauded the latest shake-up of staff at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, there is still a fundamental question about the way ahead for this beleaguered administration. Will Trump actually empower Kelly to take on the traditional role of a chief of staff or will he continue to facilitate an environment in the executive mansion that is more reminiscent of an episode of Game of Thrones? Kelly’s firing of Trump’s pal Scaramucci gives an indication, as does the fact that all personnel will now go through Kelly. That wasn’t the case with Reince Priebus, which handcuffed him from the beginning.

However, before examining Trump’s frenetic management style, it’s important to look at the three reasons why he chose John Kelly. They will not only provide some insight into Trump’s thought process but also some indicators about the future.

First, the president viewed Kelly’s performance at DHS to be top-notch, and more importantly, Kelly was incredibly loyal to Trump during the administration’s bungled executive order on immigration and travel restrictions in February. Trump has said on numerous occasions that he values the trait of loyalty above all others and he believes Kelly is a person he can trust.

Second, Kelly is a retired senior military officer and Trump loves generals, as evidenced by his selections of Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as National Security Advisor and retired four-star Gen. James Mattis to be secretary of defense. Trump believes a military officer can bring some badly needed order and discipline to the West Wing that was sorely missing under Priebus.

There is some precedence for his logic. Back in 1973, former Supreme Allied Commander Alexander Haig held the chief of staff position in the Nixon administration and was later credited by a former official for “holding the office together” during the final days of the Watergate crisis.

Third, Trump values Kelly’s former experiences in the nation’s capital. During his storied career, Kelly served at the Pentagon and worked closely with significant decision-makers from both parties. He served as a military assistant to both Leon Panetta and Robert Gates and was lauded by both men for his dedication to duty and ability to get things done. More importantly, Kelly was exposed to the contentious political atmosphere surrounding the DC Beltway and the challenges associated with implementing policy.

Which leads us back to the question of whether Trump is serious about enabling Kelly to thrive in his new position. While we believe Trump respects Kelly, we doubt Trump is going to change his leadership style. As a result the chaos surrounding this administration will continue to swirl.

As a septuagenarian former businessman, Trump is loath to change. He believes his business-executive, shoot-from-the-hip style, which has earned him billions of dollars and the presidency, is the template for success. But Trump’s predisposition toward listening to family members and longtime associates over professional staff makes it difficult for him to govern effectively.

In his insightful book, “The Gatekeepers: How The White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency,” Chris Whipple writes about the critical role that chiefs of staff have played since the middle of the 20th century. The major theme of the book is that a strong chief of staff is often the difference between a strong or weak presidency. Whipple writes that a chief can make or break an administration and that each president reveals himself by the choice he selects.

Regarding Kelly, Whipple now says Scaramucci’s dismissal is “a signal that everybody needs to come through [Kelly] — that there needs to be discipline.” He added, “To do it on Day One is a good first step, but it’s a minimal first step. Ultimately you’ve got a much bigger problem, which is Donald Trump.”

John Kelly certainly has the tools to be an outstanding chief of staff, but only time will tell if President Trump will allow him to do what is needed to be successful.

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MORE ANALYSIS FROM THE PATRIOT POST

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

For more, visit Right Opinion.

OPINION IN BRIEF

Cal Thomas: “‘Face the Nation’ host John Dickerson editorialized on his show last Sunday about a video that purports to show President Trump ignoring an 11-year-old boy in a wheelchair while greeting others who attended his health care speech last week. Trump haters claim the video proves how insensitive he is. Dickerson said the first thing the president did when entering the room was to bend down and speak to the child. About the mischaracterized video, Dickerson said: ‘We’re so ready for evidence to confirm the absolute worst about an opponent it snuffs out our charity.’ He’s right and when it suits them both Left and Right engage in this shameful practice. Better build up this president and the good he can do, as he is the only president we have. North Korea and Iraq are becoming imminent threats. Throwing rhetorical ‘bombs’ at our fellow citizens is not helpful. We are not each other’s enemy. There are many who wish to destroy us. Why are we helping them?”

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “I believe that if the people of this nation fully understood what Congress has done to them over the last 49 years, they would move on Washington; they would not wait for an election. … It adds up to a preconceived plan to destroy the economic and social independence of the United States!” —George W. Malone (1890-1961)

For the record: “If I had a staff member, an IT staff member, who had access to all of our data and all of our infrastructure and he had come under investigation and had smashed hard drives with a hammer and was trying to flee the country, you better believe I would be cooperating [with authorities].” —RNC chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel

Upright: “Energy poverty is a greater threat to the world than a sudden climate disaster. Here’s why. According to the International Energy Agency, 1.2 billion people lack access to modern sources of electricity. About 2.7 billion lack consumer access to natural gas, petrol products, propane and kerosene. Rather, they’re dependent on biomass. Though most biomass meant for cooking, like wood and coal, aren’t invalid ways to cook, burning gas and electricity would do wonders for the impoverished populations of the world and, yes, even the environment.” —Michael McGrady

Braying Jenny: “By putting Gen. John Kelly in charge, President Trump is militarizing the White House & putting our executive branch in the hands of an extremist.” —Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)

Non Compos Mentis: “Long before they began their missile tests the U.S. was conducting nuclear bombing runs against North Korea. … They’ve been basically cornered into feeling like they have to develop a nuclear weapon.” —Jill Stein, Green Party presidential nominee

And last… “Venezuela is a woeful reminder that no country is so rich that it can’t be driven into the ground by revolutionary socialism.” —Rich Lowry

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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Managing Editor Nate Jackson

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