Kellyanne Conway Says Sen. Gillibrand, Who Was First Elected in ’06, ‘Protected’ Clinton During Impeachment

Following White House staff secretary Rob Porter’s resignation amid allegations that he abused two ex-wives, President Donald Trump told reporters that he wished Porter well and that Porter has said the accusations are false. He also stated that Porter was “very sad” over the situation and hoped the ex-aide had a “wonderful career.”

During today’s broadcast of ABC’s This Week, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway was pressed on the president’s response to the controversy and his weekend tweet seemingly doubling down on it in which he cited due process. Host George Stephanopoulos brought up reaction from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), who said that Trump has shown that he “doesn’t value women.”

Conway brushed off Gillibrand’s criticism by invoking President Bill Clinton’s indiscretions with women and late ’90s impeachment. After noting that Trump’s accusers had “their day” when they were “trotted out” on television, Conway said the following:

“I don’t need a lecture from Kirsten Gillibrand on anybody else who protected and defended and harbored a sitting president who had sexual relations in the Oval Office and was impeached for lying. I don’t need a lecture from her or anybody else.”

Only one problem with Conway’s counterpoint to Gillibrand — Gillibrand was first elected to Congress in 2006 and didn’t actually get to Washington until January 2007, years after Clinton was impeached over the Lewinsky affair. This fact wasn’t lost on some media figures.

[Mediaite]

Kellyanne Conway’s ‘opioid cabinet’ sidelines drug czar’s experts

President Donald Trump’s war on opioids is beginning to look more like a war on his drug policy office.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway has taken control of the opioids agenda, quietly freezing out drug policy professionals and relying instead on political staff to address a lethal crisis claiming about 175 lives a day. The main response so far has been to call for a border wall and to promise a “just say no” campaign.

Trump is expected to propose massive cuts this month to the “drug czar” office, just as he attempted in last year’s budget before backing off. He hasn’t named a permanent director for the office, and the chief of staff was sacked in December. For months, the office’s top political appointee was a 24-year-old Trump campaign staffer with no relevant qualifications. Its senior leadership consists of a skeleton crew of three political appointees, down from nine a year ago.

“It’s fair to say the ONDCP has pretty much been systematically excluded from key decisions about opioids and the strategy moving forward,” said a former Trump administration staffer, using shorthand for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which has steered federal drug policy since the Reagan years.

The office’s acting director, Rich Baum, who had served in the office for decades before Trump tapped him as the temporary leader, has not been invited to Conway’s opioid cabinet meetings, according to his close associates. His schedule, obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request, included no mention of the meetings. Two political appointees from Baum’s office, neither of whom are drug policy experts, attend on the office’s behalf, alongside officials from across the federal government, from HHS to Defense. A White House spokesperson declined to disclose who attends the meetings, and Baum did not respond to a request for comment, although the White House later forwarded an email in which Baum stressed the office’s central role in developing national drug strategy.

The upheaval in the drug policy office illustrates the Trump administration’s inconsistency in creating a real vision on the opioids crisis. Trump declared a public health emergency at a televised White House event and talked frequently about the devastating human toll of overdoses and addiction. But critics say he hasn’t followed through with a consistent, comprehensive response.

He has endorsed anti-drug messaging and tougher law enforcement. But he ignored many of the recommendations from former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s presidential commission about public health approaches to addiction, access to treatment, and education for doctors who prescribe opioids. And he hasn’t maintained a public focus. In Ohio just this week, it was first lady Melania Trump who attended an opioid event at a children’s hospital. The president toured a manufacturing plant and gave a speech on tax cuts.

Much of the White House messaging bolsters the president’s call for a border wall, depicting the opioid epidemic as an imported crisis, not one that is largely home-grown and complex, fueled by both legal but addictive painkillers and lethal street drugs like heroin and fentanyl.

“I don’t know what the agency is doing. I really don’t,” said Regina LaBelle, who was the drug office’s chief of staff in the Obama administration. “They aren’t at the level of visibility you’d think they’d be at by now.”

Conway touts her opioids effort as policy-driven, telling POLITICO recently that her circle of advisers help “formalize and centralize strategy, coordinate policy, scheduling and public awareness” across government agencies.

That’s exactly what the drug czar has traditionally done.

Conway’s role has also caused confusion on the Hill. For instance, the Senate HELP Committee’s staff has been in touch with both Conway and the White House domestic policy officials, according to chairman Lamar Alexander’s office. But lawmakers who have been leaders on opioid policy and who are accustomed to working with the drug czar office, haven’t seen outreach from Conway or her cabinet.

“I haven’t talked to Kellyanne at all and I’m from the worst state for this,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican from West Virginia, which has the country’s highest overdose death rate. “I’m uncertain of her role.” The office of Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), another leader on opioid policy, echoed that — although Portman’s wife, Jane, and Conway were both at the event with Melania Trump this week.

Some drug abuse experts and Hill allies find a silver lining, noting that Conway’s high rank brings White House muscle and attention.

“If I want technical advice, I’m going to work with Baum,” said Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), a co-chair of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force. “If I want to get a message to the president, Kellyanne is somebody that I know I can talk to.”

“It’s a really good sign that one of the president’s top advisers has been assigned to such an important topic,” said Jessica Hulsey Nickel, president and CEO of the Addiction Policy Forum.

Baum’s email called the drug office the “lead Federal entity in charge of crafting, publishing and overseeing the implementation of President Trump’s National Drug Control Strategy,” which multiple agencies review. He called Conway’s opioids cabinet an “interagency coordinating apparatus for public-facing opioids-related initiatives” and said that it was not overseeing national policy. But several administration officials did say her cabinet was indeed focused on a variety of policies.

Whatever Conway’s ties to the president, her career has been in polling and politics, not public health, substance abuse, or law enforcement.

Some of her “cabinet” participants do have a broad, general health policy background. But they don’t match the experience and expertise of the drug office’s professional staff. In her circle is Lance Leggitt, the deputy director of the White House’s Domestic Policy Council who was also chief of staff to former HHS Secretary Tom Price. Another top Price aide, Nina Schaefer, recently returned to the Heritage Foundation. The conservative think tank then touted her as having managed “the development of the HHS response to the opioid abuse crisis,” but when POLITICO recently tried to contact her, she said through a spokesperson she was not an expert on the topic.

Among the people working on the public education campaign that Trump promised is Andrew Giuliani, Rudy Giuliani’s 32-year-old son, who is a White House public liaison and has no background in drug policy, multiple administration sources told POLITICO. Nor has Conway spent her career in the anti-opioid trenches.

“Kellyanne Conway is not an expert in this field,” said Andrew Kessler, the founder of Slingshot Solutions, a consulting group that’s worked on substance abuse with many federal agencies. “She may be a political operative and a good political operative,” he added. “But look. When you appoint a secretary of Labor, you want someone with a labor background. When you appoint a secretary of Defense, you want someone with a defense background. The opioid epidemic needs leadership that ‘speaks’ the language of drug policy.”

The set-up befuddles other experts who’ve worked on substance abuse for prior administrations. Fresh ideas are fine, they say. But the drug office has a purpose.

“The whole reason we created ONDCP in 1988 was to be a coordinating force with power in the government and to bring together 20 agencies, many reluctant to be involved in drug control,” said Bob Weiner, who served in that office in both the George W. Bush and Clinton White Houses. “This is exactly when the agency should get maximum support from the White House,” he added.

An ONDCP spokesperson told POLITICO the office “works closely with other federal agencies and White House offices, including Kellyanne Conway’s office, to combat the opioid crisis” but declined to say whether the office’s career experts have attended any of her “opioids cabinet” sessions. The drug office is still crafting the annual drug control strategy, outside the Conway group, administration officials said.

A senior White House official confirmed that officials considered kicking off the media campaign with a big splash during the Super Bowl, but that fell through. Beyond that, many experts on drug policy and substance abuse say messaging alone won’t solve the problem anyway. People with addiction need treatment, and many people get addicted in the first place to painkillers their doctors have prescribed. An ad campaign won’t solve that.

One big test for the drug office will come when Trump releases his budget Monday, which is expected to slash the office’s budget, turning much of its work over to HHS and the Department of Justice. Both departments are developing their own opioid approaches; in past administrations, the drug czar would have coordinated. Lawmakers are already sounding the alarms over the budget plan.

A bipartisan group of senators last week wrote a letter to White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, urging him to reconsider and maintain the office’s programs that “prevent and fight against the scourge of drug abuse.”

Pushback to a similar proposal last year led the Trump administration to reverse the decision and maintain the office’s budget. Lawmakers hope that there will be a similar outcome this time — along with a smarter utilization of the drug policy office.

“What we haven’t seen is the kind of coordination of critical programs that ONDCP has traditionally done,” said Sen. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat from New Hampshire, another state with one of the highest overdose death rates in the country.

Trump officials say it was the Obama administration that began undermining the drug policy office, demoting the director from the Cabinet, shrinking the staff and stressing the health aspects more than a law enforcement-focused “war on drugs.” They say the emergency requires a new approach.

Bob Dupont, who served as the second White House drug czar under President Gerald Ford, before the formal drug policy office was created, and still informally advises the Justice Department on drug policy, believes the White House will eventually realize it needs the expertise that ONDCP has to offer.

The West Wing doesn’t “have the staff or capability” to carry out drug policy work like ONDCP does, Dupont told POLITICO. “I don’t think swashbuckling your approach is going to last very long.”

[Politico]

Kellyanne Conway denies ever saying ‘fake news’ as Trump attacks NBC

Kellyanne Conway claims she doesn’t use the term “fake news,” saying her beef with the media is “incomplete coverage.”

“I’m a person in the West Wing who’s never actually uttered the words ‘fake news,’ ‘enemy of the people,’ ‘opposition party,’” Conway, a White House senior adviser, said Wednesday during a discussion at Fortune magazine’s Most Powerful Women summit in Washington.

“I don’t speak that way,” Conway said, responding to a question from Fortune’s Pattie Sellers about whether the president’s tweeting has added to “division and rancor” across the country.

Trump, who has used “fake news” to describe media outlets including The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN, has recently turned his ire on NBC News following its reports that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson once referred to him as a “moron.”

After NBC published a follow-up story on Wednesday claiming the insult came when Trump told officials he wanted to increase the military’s nuclear arsenal tenfold, the president lashed out on Twitter, going so far as to suggest challenging NBC’s license to broadcast.

“I think we need a full and free press in our nation, of course,” Conway said.

“But with that freedom comes responsibility,” she said. “So my grievance is never about fake news. I talk about incomplete coverage.”

“What I’m concerned about is that this president — and I hear this from people who did not vote for him and from people who don’t always cover him fully and fairly either — so there is a concern they’ve literally never seen a president covered this way,” Conway said.

When pressed on whether she’s ever used the term “fake news” — a phrase made famous by Trump on the campaign trail to rail against media coverage — Conway repeated, “I don’t speak that way.”

Conway has, however, classify at least a few stories as “fake news,” telling CNN “The biggest piece of fake news in this election was that Donald Trump couldn’t win.

And writing on Twitter last year and in March:

[The Hill]

Kellyanne Conway Says Russian Interference is Not ‘An Issue of National Security’

In a late-night Thursday interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, senior counselor Kellyanne Conway tap danced around any questions concerning the grand jury investigation, subpoenas and the meeting between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russians.

Conway maintained that the American people didn’t care about Russia or the scandals surrounding it. Cuomo explained to her that sometimes the news has to cover issues that are important but not always popular. However, polling reveals that Americans do care about the Russia investigation and ensuring that it moves forward ethically.

“This investigation isn’t about Russian interference,” said Conway about the investigation on Russian interference.

“Sometimes you have to cover things even when they are not popular,” he said. “This is an issue of potential national security.”

“How is that though?” Conway asked. “How is it an issue of potential national security? What is the basis for saying that?”

Cuomo explained that when a foreign adversary hacks and election and tries to influence an election and meet with one candidate over another, it’s concerning.

As Conway has done many times before, she attacked Cuomo and CNN for not covering anything other than the Russia scandal. She specifically bashed the network for not talking about what Trump supporters care about. That’s when the conversation got a little heated. CNN regularly does panels with Trump voters. Some were even aired on Cuomo’s morning show “New Day.”

A frustrated Cuomo informed Conway he’s deeply invested in every issue, most specifically the opioid epidemic, explaining that he’s working on a documentary for CNN that focuses on the crisis in New Hampshire, a state that voted overwhelmingly for Trump last November

[Raw Story]

Media

Kellyanne Conway Attacks News Agencies for Covering Trump’s Tweets

Top White House adviser Kellyanne Conway issued a new broadside against the media on Monday when she attacked reporters for covering things that the President of the United States says on Twitter.

Appearing on NBC’s Today, Conway knocked the press’s “obsession with covering everything [President Donald Trump] says on Twitter, and not what he does as president.”

However, co-host Craig Melvin called out Conway for knocking the media’s “obsession” with Trump’s Twitter feed by noting that Twitter is “his preferred method of communication with the American people.”

“That’s not true!” Conway objected.

“Well, he hasn’t given an interview in three weeks,” Melvin shot back. “So lately it has been his preferred method.”

Despite Conway’s assertions, Trump White House officials have often stressed that the president’s use of a Twitter is a way for him to communicate directly with the American public without having to go through the filter of the American media.

[Raw Story]

Media

Kellyanne Conway blames negative coverage on ‘sexist’ and ‘Trumpist’ media

It’s all about the “feigned pained look, the furrowed brow, the curled lip.”

Or comments such as, “That makes no sense” or “You must be lying” that anchors make anytime an advocate of President Trump goes on television to defend him.

Kellyanne Conway said that’s what television anchors and hosts have resorted to — all in the pursuit of going viral.

“They think it’s the job of the news media now, which it’s not, of course,” the White House counselor said Sunday during an interview with Fox News host Howard Kurtz.

Conway doubled down on her criticisms of the media, specifically on the level of negative coverage of the Trump administration and how the president’s surrogates are treated on air. The harshness and combativeness of TV interviews, she suggested, are attributable to “the quest to go viral,” especially “when there’s nothing else to say.”

“It really doesn’t help democracy and it doesn’t help the body politic because people are looking for the news,” Conway said. “They’re not looking for conjecture. They don’t care that something goes viral and a late-night host gets a couple of laughs out of it. The idea that people are so presumptively negative toward so much that’s going on.”

Her comments, it appears, were inspired by her combative interviews with CNN anchors Anderson Cooper and Chris Cuomo last week in the aftermath of Trump’s abrupt firing of FBI Director James B. Comey. Cooper rolled his eyes in response to a statement by Conway, inevitably paving the way for a viral GIF of his eyeroll. Cuomo, on the other hand, berated Conway throughout the interview.

Cooper’s eyeroll is “possibly sexist,” Conway said, and “definitely what I’d call Trumpist,” a new term that apparently describes anything anti-Trump.

She added that the media — without naming any news outlet or individual reporter — has largely focused on criticisms while ignoring “the news reports or the facts.”

“It feels like there’s this conclusion in search of evidence,” she said, adding later: “No good comes out of it … having to hear all the blather and having to hear all the nonsense and the negativity and the falsities.”

Toward the end of the congenial and largely uninterrupted interview, Kurtz asked about Trump’s tweets and what the media is supposed to do when the president says or tweets something controversial, such as this tweet last week: “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”

“How do you not cover that as a story?” Kurtz asked.

Conway did not comment on the tweet and instead further criticized media coverage — specifically the media’s “obsession with every tweet and every comment,” while ignoring things such as job growth and the “amazing trade deal” with China.

“That’ll impact more people. it’s like, ‘Trade deal on beef with China. Yawn!’ ” Conway said as Kurtz chuckled. “That’s news. That affects people. That’s significant movement.”

Conway was probably referring to a recent government report stating that the U.S. economy added 235,000 jobs in February and that the unemployment rate dropped to 4.7 percent, compared with 4.8 percent in January. A report the following month, however, had lower numbers. Employers added 98,000 jobs in March, the lowest gain in nearly a year.

The Trump administration also recently reached deals with China to ease market access for a variety of sectors, including beef and financial services.

Conway was a constant presence on cable news interviews in the months immediately after Trump’s victory in the 2016 election. Her appearances on Cooper and Cuomo’s shows this past week aren’t the first combative interviews she has had. The now-famous “alternative facts” comment was made by her during a tense back-and-forth with NBC’s Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press.”

Her TV interviews have become less frequent in recent months. The hiatus has prompted rumors that she had been sidelined, and it led to a “Saturday Night Live” sketch mocking her prolonged absence.

[Washington Post]

Media

 

Conway Denies Suggesting Wider Surveillance of Trump

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway is denying she suggested there was wider surveillance of President Donald Trump during the campaign, telling CNN Monday that her comments in a recent interview were taken out of context.

Sunday night, Conway appeared to expand Trump’s allegations that the Obama administration wiretapped his phones at Trump Tower — a claim for which the President has not yet provided evidence — when she told the Bergen Record there could have been even wider spying on the Trump campaign, including the use of microwaves and television sets.

She did not provide any evidence for the claims.

Pressed about the comments by CNN’s Chris Cuomo on “New Day,” Conway insisted she was not alleging actions by the Obama administration against the Trump campaign.

“I was answering a question about surveillance techniques generally,” she said.

When Cuomo pressed Conway on her answer — saying the question posed to her was “asked specifically” rather than generally — Conway shot back, countering that she was not responsible for providing proof of such surveillance.

“I’m not Inspector Gadget,” Conway said. “I don’t believe people are using the microwave to spy on the Trump campaign. However, I’m not in the job of having evidence; that’s what investigations are for.

Rather than alluding to wider surveillance of the Trump campaign, she said she was simply noting that there were news reports of advanced technologies that facilitate spying, an observation that had been warped thanks to people’s desires to “fit things how they want,” Conway said.

“I was talking about surveillance generally, but people are going to fit that the way they want to fit it,” Conway said.

When Cuomo brought up current controversy over Trump campaign officials’ relations with Russian politicians — “this seems to be a distraction” from that controversy, Cuomo said — Conway shot back.

“Maybe (it seems that way) to you and maybe to other people who don’t necessarily want Donald Trump to be president, but to other people, they see it as what it was — talking about news articles and talking about surveillance generally,” Conway answered.

“My questioning of you … is not about not wanting the President to be President,” Cuomo countered. “That’s unfair and it’s hurtful because you are feeding people’s animosity.”

“Feeding people’s animosity? Look over your shoulder,” Conway shot back. “I have 24/7 Secret Service protection because of people feeding people’s animosity. Don’t claim that privilege.”

(h/t CNN)

Media

Following Embarrassingly Bad Conway Interviews, Trump Slams ‘Rude’ Media

President Donald Trump complained Monday morning that members of the media have treated officials from his administration rudely and advised the media that “you will do much better” if his officials are treated nicely.

Trump’s tweet, which did not reference any specific interactions between his administration and the media, followed interviews with counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway on four networks.

“It is amazing how rude much of the media is to my very hard working representatives. Be nice, you will do much better!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

On ABC’s “Good Morning America,” anchor George Stephanopoulos challenged Conway to explain an interview she gave to the Bergen (N.J.) Record, in which she seemingly suggested that former President Barack Obama had used household electronics such as televisions, computers and smart phones inside Trump’s Manhattan skyscraper to spy on him.

Asked for evidence to support such a claim, Conway said she had none and insisted that she had been speaking about surveillance broadly and not leveling a specific allegation against Obama.

In response to a similar line of questioning on CNN’s “New Day,” a program Conway and other White House officials have largely avoided in recent weeks, the counselor to the president said it was not her responsibility to provide evidence for an allegation.

“I’m not Inspector Gadget. I don’t believe people are using the microwave to spy on the Trump campaign,” she said. “However, I’m not in the job of having evidence. That’s what investigations are for.”

CNN host Chris Cuomo pushed Conway on the issue, asking her why she even raised the use of household gadgets for surveillance purposes if it were not her intention to imply that Obama had done just that inside Trump Tower. “The question is why were you doing that?” Cuomo said. “Because this goes to personal integrity.”

“I’m allowed to talk about things that are in the news without you questioning anybody’s personal integrity,” Conway replied. Accusations that she intentionally leveled an allegation against Obama without evidence have come from at least in part from “other people who don’t necessarily want Donald Trump to be the president,” she said.

And on NBC’s “Today,” Conway struggled to offer an explanation as to why the White House trumpeted a positive jobs report last week as an early success of the Trump administration when the president regularly derided similarly positive reports as phony and inaccurate when they were released during the Obama administration.

Conway’s justification for the discrepancy, under repeated questioning from “Today” hosts Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie, was to say that “there’s a lot of fakery going on for people who were promised something that never came to be,” during the Obama administration, pointing to broken promises on health care as an example.

Lauer and Guthrie also sought answers from Conway about her Trump Tower surveillance remarks over the weekend, questions that prompted the counselor to the president to criticize the media for talking too much about Trump’s wiretapping claim.

“Can I stop you right there? The media did not bring up this topic. President Trump did,” Guthrie interjected as Conway sought to steer the conversation away from the president’s claim that Obama tapped his phones during the election. Conway replied that the media has focused too much on the wiretapping allegation and not enough on health care and other issues “that the American people also want to hear about.”

“All the more reason to question why it is that he would bring that up and then therefore throw the discussion” away from the White House’s preferred topics, Guthrie replied. “I mean, it isn’t like something a blogger wrote. It’s something the president of the United States accused his predecessor of tapping his phone.”

(h/t Politico)

Kellyanne Conway Suggests Even Wider Surveillance of Trump Campaign

The White House is offering yet another wrinkle in its attempt to support President Trump’s allegation — unfounded, so far — that his campaign headquarters in Manhattan was wiretapped by the Obama administration. The latest comes from Trump’s senior counselor Kellyanne Conway.

She says the “surveillance” may be broader than even Trump suggested.

In a wide-ranging interview Sunday at her home in Alpine, where she lives with her husband — who was a possible nominee for U.S. solicitor general — and their four children, Conway, who managed Trump’s presidential campaign before taking the job as one of the president’s closest advisers, suggested that the alleged monitoring of activities at Trump’s campaign headquarters at Trump Tower in Manhattan may have involved far more than wiretapping.

“What I can say is there are many ways to surveil each other,” Conway said as the Trump presidency marked its 50th day in office during the weekend. “You can surveil someone through their phones, certainly through their television sets — any number of ways.”

Conway went on to say that the monitoring could be done with “microwaves that turn into cameras,” adding: “We know this is a fact of modern life.”

Conway did not offer any evidence to back up her claim. But her remarks are significant — and potentially explosive — because they come amid a request by the House Intelligence Committee for the White House to turn over any evidence by Monday that the phones at Trump Tower were tapped as part of what the president claims to be a secret plot by the Obama administration to monitor his campaign.

The White House has not said whether it will provide any corroborative support to back up the president’s claim of the alleged wiretapping. The allegation came to light nine days ago when Trump wrote in an early-morning Twitter message that he “just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory.”

Trump did not offer any evidence in his original Twitter message. And while criticism mounted in the following days that Trump may have overreached, neither he nor the White House provided any means to verify the claim. Indeed, the wiretapping claims have dominated much of the discourse in Washington, often overshadowing the president’s attempt to promote changes in the Affordable Care Act and institute new immigration regulations.

Now comes Conway’s insinuation of a much broader surveillance plan against Trump. Her suggestion, while further stirring up the debate, appears to indicate that the White House does not plan to back down from Trump’s original Twitter claim in spite of strong assertions that it is not true from the U.S. intelligence community as well as from former president Barack Obama himself and members of his inner circle.

In the interview, Conway reiterated the request by the White House that the allegations of wiretapping  — and what she hinted might be other forms of surveillance — should be wrapped into a Congressional investigation into whether Russian intelligence operatives tried to influence the outcome of last November’s election.“What the president has asked is for the investigation into surveillance to be included into the ongoing intelligence investigations in the House and Senate,” she said.

The strategy of dueling inquiries — along with Conway’s suggestion of even broader surveillance by the Obama administration besides wiretapping — certainly complicates any investigation that involves Russia. But it may also confuse the issue.

While Conway seemed to call for a closer look into the so-far unfounded allegations of wiretapping by so-far unnamed members of the Obama administration, she also was dismissive of the extent and impact of the alleged Russian scheme. The Russian attempt to hack into computers within the Republican and Democratic campaign organizations is largely not disputed within the U.S. intelligence community.  What is disputed is whether the Russian scheme had any impact on the outcome of the election.

Conway’s remarks, however, may complicate the matter in other unforeseen ways.

She claimed in the interview that Democrats who called for a deeper investigation of the alleged Russian links – while also ignoring Trump’s claim of wiretapping by Obama — were really trying to undermine the Trump presidency. “The investigation is about a bunch of people who can’t believe that Hillary Clinton lost the election,” Conway said, her voice rising when asked about the possibility that Russian operatives may have helped to defeat Clinton and insure that Trump won.

“I was the campaign manager,” Conway added. “I was there every day and every night. I talked to people in Macomb County, Michigan, not in Moscow.”

She said that “this whole conspiracy” is a “waste of people’s oxygen, and air and resources and time when we could be helping those who are hungry, who need health care, who are in poverty, who need tax relief, entrepreneurs who want to get off the ground.”

In the interview, Conway addressed a variety of topics, including Trump’s efforts to assemble a coalition of support for his plan to revamp the Affordable Care Act, and her belief that Gov. Chris Christie may eventually join the Trump administration in some capacity, perhaps not for several more years, however. Conway even noted that Christie had come to her home recently to discuss his effort to improve services for drug addicts.

“The president likes Governor Christie a lot,” Conway said. “They talk all the time.”

But at various points, she continued to return to a seeming favorite topic — that Democratic critics of Trump are incapable of accepting the fact that he was able to defeat Hillary Clinton.

“They haven’t gotten over it,” Conway said, noting that she found many Democrats still working through “the stages of grief,” which range from anger to disbelief and, finally, acceptance of a loss.

“I know they’re not in acceptance,” Conway said. “That’s too bad for the country. The campaign is over. Now it’s time to govern.”

It’s an understandable — even laudable — suggestion that the opposing sides in Washington should stop fighting. But as Conway concedes, governing and the more difficult task of finding common ground among political adversaries is difficult amid allegations of a complicated plot involving Russia.

“It’s a big agenda,” Conway said of Trump’s first 50 days in the White House. “It’s very ambitious. And it’s very Trumpian.”

But that agenda still seems to keeps tripping over the election itself — and the questions about it.

(h/t USA Today)

Media

Kellyanne Conway Tweets Love to White Supremacist

Late Monday, coming off a long evening of responding to Gen. Mike Flynn’s resignation as national security adviser, senior Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway found solace in a tweet from a user named Lib Hypocrisy:

Conway not only retweeted the message but also wrote, “Love you back,” and wished her “Hapless Haters” a happy Valentine’s Day.

But there was just one problem: Lib Hypocrisy is an explicit promoter of white nationalism and other bigotry. This is evident from the account’s profile, which includes the hashtags “#WhiteIdentity” and “#Nationalist.” It features a cartoon image connoting Pepe the Frog, the adopted mascot of the racist “alt-right” movement, and a shout-out to Geert Wilders, the far-right Dutch politician who wants to shut down mosques.

These are some of Lib Hypocrisy’s recent tweets and retweets:

Asked about her retweet of Lib Hypocisy by BuzzFeed on Tuesday, Conway implied that she hadn’t been in control of her account at the time. She said she “obviously” had no idea who Lib Hypocrisy was, adding, “I denounce whoever it is.” The tweets were soon deleted.

Conway’s move continues a long-standing pattern of Trump and his inner circle engaging with white nationalists and then claiming ignorance when confronted about it—as Mother Jones documented in multiple investigations since last summer. Other such “mistakes” include:

  • Trump failing to disavow support from former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke when asked about it repeatedly on CNN, and then blaming a “bad earpiece.”
  • Trump appointing a white nationalist leader as a delegate to the Republican National Convention, and then blaming a “database error” for the move.
  • Trump tweeting an image of himself superimposed over a picture of WWII-era Waffen-SS soldiers, and then blaming a mistake by an intern.
  • Gen. Michael Flynn sharing a #NeverHillary tweet that said, “Not anymore, Jews. Not anymore,” and then claiming it was a mistake.

Those are just the cases in which Trump and his backers have backpedaled. There are many other similar instances in which they haven’t even bothered to explain or apologize:

The most charitable interpretation of this behavior is ineptitude. Regardless, the result is clear: According to one study of 10,000 Twitter accounts that followed Trump, more than a third also followed the account of at least one prominent booster of white nationalism—a movement now widely regarded as having a direct line into the Oval Office.

(h/t Mother Jones)

 

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