Trump’s Finest People: A to Z, pt. 2

A president cannot accomplish his goals of separating children from their parents at the border, tear-gassing mothers and children, claiming that there are good people on both sides of the neo-Nazi issue, banning Muslims, waging war against transgender people in the military, being duped by Kim Jong Un, running up record setting deficits, and being a fawning asset of Putin, without the help of some very questionable employees.

Continuing my chronicling of Trump’s finest people that are helping him become, as the Washington Post suggested, the most corrupt president in U.S. History, we will finish out the letter “B” in the list of his “best people in the world.”

Previously covered:  Mukhtar Ablyazov, Steve Bannon, and Eric Blankenstein.

JOHN BOLTON

John Bolton is the National Security Advisor of the United States, and is an unapologetic hawk whose views are described as American nationalist and ultra neo-conservative. He was a regular on Fox News where he demonstrated his beliefs against multilateral institutions, international agreements, free trade, and advocated for a foreign policy based exclusively on American interests.

He believes that the United States can act unilaterally without regard to international law, treaties or political commitments of previous administrations, if it is in our “best interests” to do so. (NYTimes)

In a September 2018 speech to the Federalist Society, the right-wing organization of conservatives and libertarians that seek to reform U.S. law to adhere to an “originalist” interpretation of the Constitution, Bolton announced unequivocally that the U.S. would not in any way cooperate with the International Criminal Court, the international body whose jurisdiction is to prosecute people for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

He claimed “the ICC’s authority is invalid, subverts American sovereignty, and concentrates power in the hands of an unchecked authority in a way that is ‘antithetical to our nation’s ideals.’” (CBSNews)

In the past, he has argued for attacking North Korea (WSJ) to neutralize its threat, claiming “it is perfectly legitimate for the United States to respond to the current ‘necessity’ posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons by striking first,” and called for the bombing of Iran in a personal op ed (NYTimes).

Bolton was instrumental in derailing a biological weapons conference in Geneva in 2001 that was convened to enforce the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (Wikipedia) saying that it would put our national security at risk because it would allow spot inspections of our weapons sites that we claim don’t exist.

Bolton was a huge proponent of the war in Iraq, claiming that the Iraqis would welcome American troops and that the U.S. military involvement would be over quickly (NYTimes). He told the BBC the U.S. was confident that Saddam Hussein has hidden weapons of mass destruction and production facilities in Iraq” (theatlantic).

In 2013, Bolton set up a Super Pac that raised $11.3 million for Republican candidates in 2014 and 2016 and spent an additional $5.6 million in part to pay Cambridge Analytica for voter data analysis and digital video ad targeting in support of candidates. (Wikipedia)

Yes, that Cambridge Analytica.

Major donors to the Bolton Super PAC were: Robert Mercer, the right-wing hedge fund billionaire who backed Trump’s campaign and helped install Bannon to run it; Bernard Marcus, the co-founder and CEO of Home Depot who recently came under fire for claiming the GOP Tax Plan helped the middle class and told the Democrats to “use your stupid brains”; and Geoffrey Palmer, the wealthy real estate developer and investor whose gigantic Da Vinci project recently burned to the ground in downtown L.A. resulting in a negligence lawsuit.

In his memoir, Surrender Is Not an Option, Bolton said of the State Department, “State careerists are schooled in accommodation and compromise with foreigners, rather than aggressive advocacy of U.S interests, which might inconveniently disrupt the serenity of diplomatic exchanges, not to mention dinner parties and receptions.” (theatlantic)

John Bolton scorecard:  nationalist, neo-conservative, war hawk

TOM BOSSERT

Tom Bossert is the former Homeland Security Advisor to Trump, and currently an ABC News Homeland Security Analyst.

He headed the Trump administration’s cyber-security efforts, which included its response, or lack thereof, to the Russian interference in the 2016 election, as well as the Trump response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

Bossert claimed that the U.S. has been holding Russia accountable for the interference in the 2016 election in “known and unknown” ways, without providing any specific details other than vague sanctions against Russian oligarchs. He also claimed, “no voter in this country was influenced by those ads,” which is directly counter to the U.S intelligence community’s assessment of the Russian social media campaign. (BusinessInsider)

Bossert also defended Trump’s incendiary comments on white supremacist protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, and repeatedly tried to blame Jake Tapper and the media for focusing on Trump’s refusal to explicitly condemn white supremacy. (BusinessInsider)

After the summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Bossert claimed that the meeting would result in North Korea “turning over their missiles and their warheads – the actual bombs,” within “three to six months,” and that the summit would result in normalized relations with the DPRK. 

Tom Bossert scorecard: lying, incompetence, white supremacist

RACHEL BRAND

Rachel Brand was nominated by Trump and confirmed to be the U.S Associate Attourney General.

She helped lead the Justice Department’s effort to extend section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act that “authorizes the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance program.” (Wikipedia)

Brand is the chairman of the Federalist Society’s Litigation Practice Group. The Federalist Society is a hugely powerful and influential conservative organization that is actively attempting to reform U.S. law to follow an “originalist interpretation of the Constitution.” It opposes regulation of businesses, argues that courts should not take race into account when making decisions, and is against regulations on guns.

The Federalist Society has been extremely influential in the Trump administration by hand selecting conservative judges, including Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. They have argued that the Mueller investigation is unconstitutional.

Trump promised during his campaign that his judicial nominees would “all be picked by the Federalist Society.” (slate)

Rachel Brand scorecard: neo-conservative, nationalist, originalist

KATJA BULLOCK

Katja is a delightful example of Trump hiring the “very best” people. 

She is the 75-year-old special assistant to Trump who worked as an administrator in the Presidential Personnel Office (PPO) under Reagan and Bush. Trump also appointed her to the Federal Salary Council, the advisory board that suggests government pay scales.

The PPO oversees the selection and placement process for over 4,000 political appointees who carry out the president’s policies and run federal agencies. (WaPo)

Katja Bullock gave five of her family members political appointments to federal agencies while working in the PPO.  Her grandson, Dillon Seamus Bullock, was given a $50,000 salary immediately after graduation, and had no professional experience. 

Her son became the deputy assistant administrator at the U.S. Agency for International Development. His wife is a White House liaison at the Office of Personnel Management. One of their sons serves as a “confidential assistant” at the Social Security Administration. Another son received a “staff assistant” appointment at the Millennium Challenge Corporation. (WaPo)

According to voter registration records, all four live in the same Kensington home.

Many in the Trump administration’s version of the PPO received jobs after working on the campaign, often with little or no professional experience. A few of the employees forged resumes and had criminal histories (more to follow on these very best people). (NYMag)

The PPO employs largely 20-something workers, and has hosted many happy hours, including in January of 2018 where they hosted an “icing” game for the deputy director’s 30th birthday. Icing is a drinking game where the guest of honor is forced to guzzle a bottle of Smirnoff Ice to the encouragement of the rest of the staff. (CBSNews)

Katja Bullock scorecard: corruption

Next up:  Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Michael Cohen

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