Donald Trump’s impeachment is nothing compared to the chaos sweeping his administration.
The biggest upheaval is coming from within. Former White House chief of staff John Kelly sparked a Twitter rage by Trump after he commended Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman for testifying during the House Impeachment probe.
“He did exactly what we teach them to do from cradle to grave,” Kelly said during a speech at Drew University, according to The Atlantic. “He went and told his boss what he just heard.”
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Kelly, a retired Marine General, was unequivocal about his misgivings with Trump on just about every administration initiative, from North Korea, illegal immigration, and military discipline to Ukraine and the news media.
Kelly supported Vindman’s testimony that Trump had conditioned military aid to Ukraine on President Volodymyr Zelensky’s pledge to announce an investigation of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
“We teach them, ‘Don’t follow an illegal order. And if you’re ever given one, you’ll raise it to whoever gives it to you that this is an illegal order, and then tell your boss.’” Kelly said in a speech.
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The former White House chief of staff also said he believed former National Security Advisor John Bolton. who asserts in his new book that Trump directly ordered the Ukrainian quid pro quo last August.
Bolton is the first former high-ranking administration official to directly implicate Trump in the scandal.
Trump suffered another setback when the Defense Department refused to follow his directive to investigate Vindman, whom Trump accused of insubordination.
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Trump was widely criticized for dismissing Vindman from his White House post in a clear act of retaliation. Trump also fired his twin brother, a National Security Council (NSC) lawyer, even though he had nothing to do with the investigation.
Vindman, a Purple Heart award winner, oversaw Ukraine for the NSC during the time Trump’s “personal attorney” Rudolph W. Giuliani was pressuring the country’s new leader to announce investigations into former vice president Joe Biden and Democrats, according to The Washington Post.
Trump also drew criticism, even from within his own party, for dismissing Gordon Sondland, a major Trump donor whom the president had named ambassador to the European Union. He also testified during the impeachment investigation.
The president’s on-going efforts to instigate politically motivated investigations exploded in a credibility crisis for Attorney General William Barr.
The controversy was touch off by a prosecutor revolt over Justice Department meddling, at the behest of the President, in Roger Stone’s upcoming sentencing.
All four Justice Department lawyers assigned to the case withdrew, and, in one instance, quit in protest, after Barr watered down a sentencing recommendation shortly after Trump called his political ally’s conviction unfair.
Democrats called for Barr’s resignation, and the Attorney General was forced to reprimand Trump for Tweeting about cases and “undermining” the department’s integrity.
Amid the uproar over the Stone case, Barr also came under fire for hiring an outside prosecutor to review former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s case– another long-sought goal of the president.
Separately, a federal judge likened the administration to a “banana republic” and described as “disturbing” Trump’s effort to force an investigation of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.
The judge went so far as to say the situation was undermining the integrity of the entire judicial system.
“I just think it’s a banana republic when we go down that road and we have those type of statements being made that are conceivably – even if not – influencing the ultimate decision,’ US District Court Judge Reggie Walton said.
“I don’t think people like the fact that you got somebody at the top basically trying to dictate whether somebody should be prosecuted.”
The Justice Department’s decision to close the investigation without charging McCabe with lying to federal officials over a media leak, reportedly threw Trump into a rage.
“I don’t think I’ll ever be free of this President and his maniacal rage that he’s directed towards me and my wife since October of 2016 for absolutely no reason whatsoever,” McCabe told reporters.
Trump’s humiliating setbacks started last month when John Huber, a conservative U.S. attorney in Utah, concluded a two-year investigation of Hillary Clinton without bringing charges.
Huber found no substance to allegations, long championed by the president and right-wing commentators, involving corruption at the Clinton Foundation, the Clinton State Department and the circumstances surrounding the sale of Canadian uranium mining company Uranium One to a Russian concern.
Trump led chants of “Lock Her Up,” at his 2016 presidential campaign rallies based on the right-wing conspiracy theories. Since Huber’s conclusions the corruption allegations have vanished from right-wing media and the president’s frequent Tweet storms.