News & Politics

The Morning Briefing: Security Clearances, Border Headaches and Much, Much More

Ivanka Trump, the daughter of President Donald Trump, stands as she is recognized by President Donald Trump as he speaks at the 2019 Prison Reform Summit and First Step Act Celebration in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, April 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Good Tuesday morning.

Here is what’s on the president’s agenda today:

  • The president meets with the secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
  • President Trump participates in an expanded bilateral meeting with the secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
  • The president participates in the departure of the secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
  • President Trump participates in the National Republican Congressional Committee annual spring dinner

Concerns about security clearances at the WH but…

Yesterday a story made the rounds about a whistleblower in the White House who rang the alarm bell about the WH security clearance process.

[White House security advisor Tricia] Newbold told committee staff last month that she and other career staffers denied applications for multiple security clearances, decisions that were later overturned by senior officials in order to allow those individuals to access classified material.

The list of individuals whose clearances were granted despite initial denials totaled 25, according to Newbold.

The Democrats, who take their control of the House to mean the people want them to continually harass President Trump and those in his orbit, have focused in on a “handful” of current and former WH officials for their “investigation.”

But what if the security clearance was weaponized? An article last year by Rowan Scarborough details the story of Adam Lovinger. Lovinger, “a 12-year strategist in the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment,” had his security clearance yanked after he complained about….wait for it…wait for it…wait for it…Stefan Halper. Does that name ring a bell? He’s the spy informant with FBI/CIA/MI6 ties who was spying on the Trump campaign.

“Nobody in the office seemed to know what Halper was doing for his money,” [Lovenger attorney] Mr. Bigley said. “Adam said Jim Baker, the director, kept Halper’s contracts very close to the vest. And nobody seemed to have any idea what he was doing at the time. He subcontracted out a good chunk of it to other academics. He would compile them all and then collect the balance as his fee as a middleman. That was very unusual.”

Crazy, right? And then Lovinger had his security clearance yanked. Imagine that. There is certainly cause for concern about the security clearance process, just not the way the media is portraying it.

Related:

Jared Kushner weighs in on security clearance after whistleblower expresses concern

Borderline, feels like I’m going to lose my mind

DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has ordered an expansion of the “remain in Mexico” program for non-Mexican asylum seekers.

In a memo to Customs and Border Protection, Nielsen also called for the agency to accelerate a plan to reassign 750 customs officers to assist with Border Patrol efforts to process and house incoming migrants.

She added in a related announcement that CBP should explore reassigning more personnel, but should notify her if it details more than 2,000 employees to emergency border work.

“The crisis at our border is worsening, and DHS will do everything in its power to end it,” she said in a written statement. “We will not stand idly by while Congress fails to act yet again, so all options are on the table.”

President Trump is also considering appointing an immigration czar.

The Trump administration is mulling two potential candidates for the proposed position: Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli or Former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, according to sources who spoke with the Associated Press. The selected candidate could be brought on to assist Trump coordinate his goals across the several federal agencies that manage immigration.

It’s getting really bad down there.

Customs and Border Protection officers apprehended or stopped 3,974 illegal migrants on March 19, marking the single biggest day since Trump began his administration. There were six other days in February during which crossings topped 3,595, beating out the 3,530 daily average not seen since 2006. March is expected to have experienced the highest number of apprehensions and encounters in over ten years.

But, it’s not a crisis.

Related:

A Boston Uber driver arrested on rape charges is ‘not subject to removal,’ ICE says

Second Biden accuser comes forward

Who is behind this operation to take down Joe Biden? Kamala? Amy? Robert Francis? Bernie?

Another Joe Biden “accuser” has come forward to say Biden “rubbed his nose” on her and said, “I thought he was going to kiss me.”

Amy Lappos of Connecticut said Biden, a potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, touched her and rubbed his nose on hers during a 2009 political fundraiser in Greenwich, the Courant reported.

“It wasn’t sexual, but he did grab me by the head,” Lappos told the newspaper. “He put his hand around my neck and pulled me in to rub noses with me. When he was pulling me in, I thought he was going to kiss me on the mouth.”

Why did Lappos come forward?

“I am speaking out today because I am so disappointed in my party, the Democratic Party, and the way we have treated Lucy Flores. Biden’s statement in response to Lucy’s article was not only disturbing it was disgusting. I stand by Lucy and any woman with the courage to come forward regarding inappropriate behavior by men,” Lappos said in a statement.

Right. I don’t want to have to defend Joe Biden but this guy has been touching people in a too-familiar way for years. It’s documented on film and in pictures. No one made a peep when he was in a position of power. And by the way, is there a flock of vulture journalists outside Obama’s fancy Georgetown mansion, screaming questions to him about the Uncle Joe allegations?

Here’s the rest of the story: “If Biden truly supports women and gender equality he would step aside and support one of the many talented and qualified women running,” she said. “The same goes for other men who have thrown their hat in the ring. Women are 52 percent of the population. We are not a minority, we are the majority. It is time we are represented as such. After 45 male presidents it is time we elect a woman.”

Related:

Biden’s former press secretary defends his behavior toward women amid allegations

No one seems to care about this: Fairfax accusers detail assault allegations in new interviews

Your daily WTF:

Chinese kindergarten teacher detained after allegedly poisoning 23 children

Historical picture of the day:

One Hippie who refused to cooperate with the police is dragged away to be put in the paddy wagon and taken to jail, April 2, 1967, San Francisco, Calif. Police say that more than twenty persons were arrested for unlawful assembly and refuse to disperse. An estimated 2,000 people were involved in the activities. The people in this photo are unidentified. (AP Photo/Robert W. Klein)

Other morsels:

Ilhan Omar Investigated Over Alleged Personal Use of Campaign Funds

Klobuchar Claims She Will Take on Pharma, Has Taken $400,000 From the Industry

Interesting this standard doesn’t go the other way. NYC Councilman Kicked Off Committee After ‘Palestine Does Not Exist’ Tweet

2 Republican AGs urge court to throw out Obamacare ruling

Martin Shkreli sent to solitary confinement over ‘illegal phone use’

Judge Won’t Be Sanctioned for ‘Embarrassing’ Treatment of Mueller Prosecutors During Manafort Trial

Why is Walgreens still selling tobacco products? Because people want to smoke

AG Barr not legally required to release full Mueller report, Alan Dershowitz tells Sean Hannity

Nxivm member admits to enslaving woman in a locked room for 2 years

Baltimore mayor takes leave of absence while embroiled in book scandal

Maxwell House introduces a Mrs. Maisel-themed Passover Haggadah

Cop: ‘Mass panic and chaos’ at Nipsey Hussle’s memorial

More pigeons found dumped at Indiana freeway rest stop

Michael Brown’s mother making run for Ferguson City Council

And that’s all I’ve got, now go beat back the angry mob!