The State Department’s inspector general briefed congressional aides Wednesday about an apparent attempt to smear the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, who is seen by House Democrats as a key witness in their impeachment inquiry.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee is quietly amassing documents on allegations of politically-motivated retaliation at the State Department; it’s looking into whether Trump has violated foreign emoluments and conflict of interest rules; and lawmakers are working to find out more about the president's relationship with Vladimir Putin and how he leads American foreign policy behind the scenes — all without the fanfare associated with the other committees’ work.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo weighed in on British politics during a closed-door meeting with Jewish leaders, saying he would not wait for Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn to become prime minister of Britain to “push back” against him or any future actions he might take against Britain’s Jews.
Now that Tillerson has been fired, the vaunted "Redesign" initiative he launched faces an uncertain future, but at least one clear legacy: around $12 million spent just for private consultants who in some cases charged the State Department more than $300 an hour.
White House and State Department officials conspired with prominent conservatives, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, to purge the State Department of staffers they viewed as insufficiently loyal to President Donald Trump, two top House Democrats allege in a letter released Thursday.
As Russia’s virtual war against the United States continues unabated with the midterm elections approaching, the State Department has yet to spend any of the $120 million it has been allocated since late 2016 to counter foreign efforts to meddle in elections or sow distrust in democracy.
The woman who Secretary of State Rex Tillerson chose to help him streamline the State Department just quit after only three months on the job. It’s the latest in a string of high-profile resignations that highlights growing chaos and declining morale at the top agency in charge of carrying out US foreign policy.
In a letter to Mr. Tillerson last week, Democratic members of the House Foreign Relations Committee, citing what they said was “the exodus of more than 100 senior Foreign Service officers from the State Department since January,” expressed concern about “what appears to be the intentional hollowing-out of our senior diplomatic ranks.”
Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson insisted on Wednesday that he has never considered resigning, despite what associates have described as deep frustration. But he did not deny a report that he has grown so disenchanted with President Trump that he once referred to him as a “moron.”
When President Trump’s top foreign policy advisers gathered recently at the White House to discuss plans to revamp the administration’s Afghanistan strategy, the makeup of those in the room was indicative of a significant turn in U.S. foreign policy. Seated front and center at the Situation Room table were four current or retired generals who dominate just about every big national security decision Trump makes.
Despite repeated efforts by President Trump to curtail refugee resettlements, the State Department this week quietly lifted the department’s restriction on the number of refugees allowed to enter the United States. The result could be a near doubling of refugees entering the country, from about 830 people a week in the first three weeks of this month to well over 1,500 people per week by next month, according to refugee advocates. Tens of thousands of refugees are waiting to come to the United States.
Details coming out of Rex Tillerson’s State Department tell a story of staff vacancies, scarce meetings, and general bewilderment from aides who have worked through multiple administrations. The emerging picture is of a secretary of state who has given little direction to his team on how he plans to run the diplomatic wing of the US government. State Department employees are even discouraged from making eye contact with Tillerson while he’s in the office, the Washington Post reported last week.
Much of seventh-floor staff, who work for the Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources and the Counselor offices, were told today that their services were no longer needed. These staffers in particular are often the conduit between the secretary’s office to the country bureaus, where the regional expertise is centered. Inside the State Department, some officials fear that this is a politically-minded purge that cuts out much-needed expertise from the policy-making, rather than simply reorganizing the bureaucracy.
Americans were stunned to learn of the State Department rogue Shadow Government which operated in secret from the 7th floor. They were behind the corrupt handling of the Clinton documents. CBS News announced that Rex Tillerson, the new Secretary of State, fired most of the 7th floor policy makers who so famously called themselves the “shadow government”.
All are career foreign service officers who have served under both Republican and Democratic administrations. “It’s the single biggest simultaneous departure of institutional memory that anyone can remember, and that’s incredibly difficult to replicate,” said David Wade, who served as State Department chief of staff under Secretary of State John Kerry. “Department expertise in security, management, administrative and consular positions in particular are very difficult to replicate and particularly difficult to find in the private sector.”
Secretary of State John Kerry warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel on Wednesday that the Israeli government was undermining any hope of a two-state solution to its decades-long conflict with the Palestinians, and said that the American vote in the United Nations last week was driven by an effort to save Israel from “the most extreme elements” in its own government.