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How did the White House wind up with such an HR clusterfuck? Practice, practice, practice! Last night Axios dropped a whole mountain of leaked transition documents purporting to "vet" candidates for positions in the Trump administration. And by "vet" they mean let some twenty-something at the RNC run a cursory Google search and type up all the mean things candidates had said about Trump during the campaign.

Well, except for Rudy Giuliani, who was gobbling up so much cash from foreign interests that the panicked vetters whipped up a 25-page "Rudy Giuliani Business Ties Research Dossier" to map out exactly how conflicted the Secretary of State candidate would be when dealing with his former clients. Spoiler Alert: "Giuliani Has Ties To A Firm With Deep Russian And Putin Ties." To which Giuliani responded, "I conduct my self honorably and ethically... and I find that this kind of gossip is extremely unfair to people's reputation because much of it is unfounded and exaggerated and not explained properly." Live by the access journalist, die by the access journalist, asshole!

This is really not how this shit goes. Axios points out that the Bush administration began vetting efforts 17 months before the election, and Obama was similarly prepared when he was sworn in. Chris Christie led similar efforts in the waning days of the 2016 campaign, but then Jared the Boy Genius got him shitcanned and tossed all his work, which meant that Mike Pence had to start from scratch. And by "start from scratch," we mean fob it off on the RNC and let a handful of inexperienced researchers tell Donald Trump that whatever grifting hack he came up with to run a major federal agency might have one or two little ethical problems.

"To be honest, the process was such a disaster and such a shit-show and there were so many unqualified people coming through that the issues with [future HUD Secretary Ben] Carson don't really stick out to me," said one RNC vetter. "You know, I'm like, 'Oh gentle Ben is unqualified and thinks that pyramids store grain or whatever. Great. At least he's not beating his wife and his wife's not appearing on Oprah.'"

"We'd be sitting around and Trump would be like, 'Oh, hey, I'm bringing like Joe Shmoe up to Bedminster for Department of Interior,' and then we were like, 'F---, we need to run a vet on this guy to make sure he's not a kid-toucher,'" said one source involved in the vetting. "It was just a clown show."

ALL THE BEST PEOPLE. Which is how they wound up with a ragtag band of incompetent grifters running the entire executive branch.

It's going to take several days to unpack the hundreds of pages of documents, but here are a few standouts on first glance:


  • General David Petraeus was flagged because he opposed torture, argued against Trump's Muslim ban, and believed we should get tougher with Vladimir Putin;
  • Former economic advisor Gary Cohn was once reported to have "An Abrasive, Curt, And Intimidating Style," and "Would Sometimes Hike Up One Leg And Plant His Foot On A Trader's Desk, His Thigh Close To The Employee's Face, And Ask How Markets Were Doing." He was also a registered Democrat, so the RNC recommended asking, "Will you cease all donations to Democratic causes while working within the administration?";
  • Medicare and Medicaid Administrator Seema "Dragon Lady" Verma was simultaneously advising Indiana on how to spend its Medicaid dollars and working for a recipient of state Medicaid funds, although it's adorable that the RNC kids thought DJT would be worried about conflicts of interest.
There was the obvious stuff about Kris Kobach being in bed with white supremacists, John Bolton wanting war with Iran, and errrrybody calling Trump a racist reprobate during the campaign. But then there was a whole bunch of WEIRD SHIT. Like Tulsi Gabbard being considered for a position in the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Here's Hollywood super-agent Ari Emanuel, who repped Trump in his previous career as a carnival barker, being looked at for ... something. Which was not that unusual, as one vetter told Axios, "I think I truly understood what less than half of the people were being vetted for." But whatever, the important thing is, if a bunch of people get slaughtered by a gun nut, will you say anything that will get Trump in dutch with his patrons at the NRA?

At least Emanuel had the sense to stay in California. KT McFarland, who these guys knew from the jump was an absolute crank who had repeatedly violated election law by maintaining multiple, concurrent voting registrations and voting wherever she felt like it any given year, got hired anyway!

Also, she's an evil, gaybashing ghoul.

Luckily it all worked out fine for KT. Well, except for the part where she had to "revise" her statement to the FBI about never not ever talking to Michael Flynn about his sanctions discussions with Russian Ambassador Kislyak after Flynn's guilty plea. And then getting pushed off the NSC by HR McMaster, in a shocking betrayal of the People Who Go By Initials For Whatever Reason fraternity. Plus there was that time when she had to withdraw her nomination to be ambassador to Singapore because Senate Republicans quietly refused to bring her up for a vote. But other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?

And that's how we wound up with Scott Pruitt, Ryan Zinke, Linda McMahon, Betsy DeVos, Ben Carson, and Rick Perry. But not David Clarke, who has nothing to say to you dirty commies!

Axios is a site that publishes nothing complimentary or positive about Sheriff (ret.) Clarke and as a result he does not expect anything different from your drive by hit piece so no, he is not interested in participating in your leftist anti Clarke bias.

SO THERE.

[Axios / Axios, again]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.

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