U.S. Politics

Law professors file misconduct complaint against Kellyanne Conway

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway speaks Thursday during the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland’s National Harbor. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

THE WASHINGTON POST

A group of law professors from around the country has filed a professional misconduct complaint against White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, a graduate of George Washington University Law School who was admitted to the D.C. Bar in 1995.

The letter, filed with the office that handles misconduct by members of the D.C. Bar, said Conway should be sanctioned for violating government ethics rules and “conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation,” the letter says.

The 15 professors, who specialize in legal ethics, cite several incidents, including a television interview in which Conway made the “false statement that President Barack Obama had ‘banned’ Iraqi refugees from coming into the United States for six months following the ‘Bowling Green Massacre,’ ” and the use of her position to endorse Ivanka Trump products.

“We do not file this complaint lightly,” the professors said in their filing. “We believe that, at one time, Ms. Conway, understood her ethical responsibilities as a lawyer and abided by them. But she is currently acting in a way that brings shame upon the legal profession.”

The professors teach at law schools such as Georgetown University Law Center, Yale Law School, Fordham University and Duke University.

[Read the professors’ letter of complaint against Conway]

Continued here>>>

U.S. Politics

The most dysfunctional White House in memory

Illustration by Lauren Hansen | Image courtesy iStock

THE WEEK

It’s three whole weeks into the Trump administration, and this is already looking like the most dysfunctional White House in memory. While we had plenty of other things to worry about when contemplating a Donald Trump victory during the campaign, this should have been utterly predictable.

White House jobs are famously stressful — long hours, high stakes, and public scrutiny combine to exact a toll on everyone working there. That’s why it’s rare for high-ranking staff to last a full eight years; even four is a marathon, and many people leave after a year or two. But we’d normally expect people to last more than a month. For at least one of Trump’s key advisers, this hasn’t happened.

National Security Adviser Michael Flynn got the boot first. He had conversations with the Russian ambassador on the day the Obama administration imposed sanctions on Russia for interfering in the election, yet claimed that the sanctions never came up; among other people, he told this to Vice President Mike Pence, who went out and defended him publicly. Nine separate officials told The Washington Post that Flynn lied; apparently he wasn’t aware that the ambassador’s phone was being monitored, despite the fact that as the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, it might have occurred to him. On Monday, Kellyanne Conway said that Flynn has “the full confidence of the president,” but still: If you have the VP lie on your behalf, you probably aren’t going to be around for too long. And indeed, on Monday night, Flynn resigned.

Some of Trump’s other advisers are surely looking over their shoulders, as well. Press Secretary Sean Spicer has often earned Trump’s displeasure (much as he has proven his loyalty by backing up every one of Trump’s absurd falsehoods to an angry press corps), and seems perpetually on thin ice. Chief of Staff Reince Priebus — the one charged with keeping the whole ship moving forward — has been a frequent target of rumors and backbiting. After meeting with the president, Trump friend and conservative publisher Christopher Ruddy went on CNN and called for Priebus’ ouster, then told Politico that Trump has “always been successful and had strong people around him, and he’s in the process of figuring out who those people are.” Ruddy later said Priebus convinced him things might improve, but it wasn’t exactly a ringing endorsement for the staff.

It’s true that Trump has been successful in his business of real estate and brand licensing — which he’ll remind you, again and again and again. But the Trump Organization, whatever its merits as a business, is not the federal government. Voters often assume that someone with a business background “knows how to get things done” and can therefore “make government run like a business,” meaning, operate with an efficiency and effectiveness that far exceeds the ability of ordinary pencil-pushing bureaucrats. The trouble is that government is nothing like a business.

Its systems work in very different ways. Its fundamental goal is different — not making a profit, which is straightforward, but serving the public interest, which is enormously complex and requires meeting hundreds or even thousands of subsidiary goals. And perhaps most importantly, the president may be the most powerful person in the world, but he has to deal with an array of competing nodes of power, each of which has its own goals. There are 535 members of Congress, interest groups of varying stripes, the court system, entrenched bureaucracies, even members of his own staff, all of whom will be acting in their own interests, sometimes in direct opposition to his.

Trump seemed to be completely unprepared for this fact, and it’s part of the reason why he’s having such a hard time. As a businessman, when he says, “Put more gold leaf on the walls in that foyer,” that’s what his underlings do. But the orders a president gives aren’t necessarily followed. He can try to keep out Muslim immigrants, only to find that some “so-called judge” can overrule him. It’s no doubt a disorienting experience.

And since it was a core part not just of Trump’s campaign but his genuine feeling that the people who have been running the government in recent decades are incompetent and stupid, it’s no surprise that he has stocked his administration with people who have never worked in government before — and therefore don’t really know how it works. This is particularly true of his inner circle. Their bungles infuriate him, which leads to distrust, which makes them ready to undermine him. The White House at the moment, reports Mike Allen, is characterized by “insecurity, ass-covering, and endless leaking. Those who don’t fear for their hide are busy gaming out how they rise when someone falls. Trump feeds all of this. It’s why an insider describes the White House hierarchy as ‘fragile.'”

Paul Waldman

U.S. Politics

Kellyanne Conway Has An Epic Meltdown And Compares Donald Trump To Jesus

Kellyanne Conway Has An Epic Meltdown And Compares Donald Trump To Jesus

Screen capture

POLITICUS USA

Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway blew up on Fox News Sunday and went on a rant which compared President Trump and his staff to Jesus all because the White House thinks the media is biased against them.

Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway blew up on Fox News Sunday and went on a rant which compared President Trump and his staff to Jesus all because the White House thinks the media is biased against them.

Video:

 

Transcript via Fox News Sunday of Conway ranting about media bias and turning Trump into Jesus:

Conway: There’s no question that when you look at the contributions made by the media, money contributions, they went to Hillary Clinton. We have all the headlines, people should be embarrassed. Not one network person has been let go. Not one silly political analyst and pundit who talked smack all day long about Donald Trump has been let go. They are on panels every Sunday. They’re on cable news every day.

Who’s the first editorial — the first blogger that will be left out that embarrassed his or her outlet? We know all their names. I’m too polite to call them by name. But they know who they are, and they’re all wondering, will I be the first to go?

The election was three months ago. None of them have been let go. If this were a real business, if the mainstream media were a thriving private sector business that actually turn a profit, which is not true of many of our newspapers, Chris, 20 percent of the people would be gone. They embarrassed, they failed to protect their shareholders and their board members and their colleagues.

And yet we deal with him every single day. We turn the other cheek. If you are part of team Trump, you walk around with these gaping, seeping wounds every single day, and that’s fine. I believe in a full and fair press.

I’m here every Sunday morning. I haven’t slept in a month. I believe in a full and fair press. But with the free press comes responsibility. And responsibility is to get the story right. Biased coverage is easy to detect. Incomplete coverage impossible to detect. That’s my major grievance, is the media are not — they’re not giving us complete coverage.

President Trump has signed all these executive orders this week. He’s met with these heads of states. He’s done so many things to stimulate the economy, to boost wages, to create jobs. Where’s the coverage?

In case you didn’t catch the reference, Donald Trump is Jesus walking around with the gaping, seeping wounds that are caused by “biased media coverage.” Kellyanne Conway and the rest of the White House are the disciples who are turning the other cheek while being assaulted by the media.

Conway’s rant demonstrates how the White House can shrug off facts and invent their own reality. They are believers, not in God, but in Donald Trump as their almighty political messiah.

For anyone who thinks that this administration is going be defeated by facts and reality, Kellyanne Conway’s rant should serve as a wake-up call. This White House appears to believe that they are on a mission to save America through the gospels of Trump. Their loyalty is to Trump, not the American people.

Kellyanne Conway is truest of true believers, and she just couldn’t help herself from coming a bit unhinged to defend her boss on Fox News Sunday.

U.S. Politics

Sales of ‘1984’ skyrocket after Kellyanne Conway invents “alternative facts”

Sales of '1984' skyrocket after Kellyanne Conway invents

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

POLICY.MIC

Sales of 1984, socialist author George Orwell’s famous 1949 sci-fi novel about a dystopian future ruled by oligarchical mega-states, have skyrocketed on Amazon after President Donald Trump’s counselor Kellyanne Conway coined the term “alternative facts” to describe blatant lies.

According to Mashable, 1984 rose to the sixth-highest place on Amazon’s best-seller list as of Tuesday afternoon.

Sales of '1984' skyrocket after Kellyanne Conway invents

Orwell’s book describes a nightmarish future where England is one province of a totalitarian mega-state called Oceania. It’s particularly renowned for its impressive additions to world lexicon — from “Newspeak,” Oceania’s official state language which lacks the words necessary to express dissent, to “unperson,” a perceived state traitor who is removed from all historical records.

Though the book is commonly interpreted as a cautionary tale about communism, Orwell was himself an ardent socialist and intended the book as a commentary on the USSR and other totalitarian governments, including Nazi Germany, that failed to match the promises of their revolutions and degenerated into oligarchy.

On Sunday, Conway described White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s decision to present complete and total falsehoods about the size of the crowds at Trump’s inauguration as merely “alternative facts.” NBC News’ Chuck Todd shot back, “alternative facts are not facts. They are falsehoods.”

Spicer backed Trump’s assertion 1 to 1.5 million people attended the inauguration, a claim that was widely mocked as a fabrication. Empirical estimates have concluded attendance was much lower and was likely in the range of 250,000 to 600,000, and thus dwarfed by either of former President Barack Obama’s inaugural celebrations. Protests the next day in D.C. also exceeded attendance at Trump’s inauguration by a significant margin.

Tom McKay

U.S. Politics

Merriam-Webster trolls Kellyanne Conway for calling falsehoods ‘alternate facts’

SPENCER PLATT/GETTY IMAGES

THE HUFFINGTON POST

Merriam-Webster reminds the president’s adviser that facts, by definition, are based in reality.

Kellyanne Conway made headlines this weekend for rebranding the White House’s false information about Donald Trump’s inauguration crowds as “alternative facts.” So, the social media team behind the Merriam-Webster Dictionary felt the need to clarify the definition of the word “fact.”

Linking to a trending topic page for Conway’s quote, Merriam-Webster tweeted, “A fact is a piece of information presented as having objective reality.”

On Saturday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer scolded reporters during a press briefing for spreading what he deemed falsities about Trump’s inauguration, according to CNN. “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period,” he said, despite contrary findings from aerial photos, Nielsen ratings, and Metro reports on subway riders in Washington, D.C.

During a Sunday interview on NBC’s Meet the Press, Conway defended Spicer’s false claims as “alternative facts.”

“You’re saying it’s a falsehood, and they’re giving — Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that,” she said. Host Chuck Todd countered, “Alternative facts are not facts. They are falsehoods.”

The dictionary also linked to a post that it wrote (well, its editors wrote) about how Conway’s comments fueled a spike in online searches for the word “fact.” That people aren’t sure whether “alternative facts” are still facts appeared to get under the skin ― the cover? ― of the dusty, gold-trimmed book that’s been begging for attention on your shelf for at least a decade.

“In contemporary use, fact is generally understood to refer to something with actual existence, or presented as having objective reality,” reads the post.

It’s not the first time the dictionary has inserted itself into the political arena. Last February, Merriam-Webster tried to help make sense of one of Trump’s error-riddled tweets.

Trump has since deleted that tweet, which called Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) a “Leightweight chocker [sic]” twice, and said it was a “Great honer! [sic]” that so many polls showed him winning a debate.

Jennifer Bendery

U.S. Politics

Donald Trump Campaign Manager Kellyanne Conway’s Super-Sad Sunday

NBC Screencap

THE DAILY BEAST

Trump campaign spin master Kellyanne Conway completed another Sunday of acrobatic twists and turns defending her candidate, but something about this weekend’s edition came across as depressing for all involved.

To hear Kellyanne Conway tell it, the Trump campaign is doing just fine. 

The growing list of women who claim Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump sexually assaulted or harassed them are a non-issue. His decision to publicly say he might not accept the results of the election is no big deal. And his standing in the polls––5.9 points behind Hillary Clinton, according to the Real Clear Politics average––is nothing to worry about, because, as she says, “the race is not over.” 

Really, things are going great, if only the media would stop being so hard on her candidate.

On Sunday morning, Conway, who has served as Trump’s campaign managersince August, made the rounds on the political talk shows sporting a toothy smile and red blouse. Her demeanor was as sunny as ever, and she did her best to convince viewers that despite all evidence to the contrary, Donald J. Trump will prevail. 

On CNN’s State of the Union, Conway deflected from the first question, about Trump’s 15-minute tirade against his accusers distracting from the rest of hisspeech in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, by talking about his plan to “create 25 million jobs.” Conway blamed the media for not focusing on that, rather than Trump’s stated plan to sue the women accusing him of wrongdoing after the election is over. 

“Every woman lied,” Trump said at the rally on Saturday. “All of these liars will be sued after the election is over,” he promised the crowd.

Asked if she knew ahead of time that Trump planned to devote so much time to campaigning against the various women who claim they were groped, kissed, or otherwise improperly treated by him, Conway said, smiling, “Well, he delivers his own speeches. This is his candidacy. He’s the guy who’s running for the White House.” 

On NBC’s Meet the Press, Conway admitted “we are behind” but said it was because Clinton has “tremendous advantages,” like her surrogates, former president Bill Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama, who she said are, “much more popular than she can hope to be.” In other words, Trump’s problems, and even potentially his eventual loss on Election Day, can be blamed on Clinton rather than his own behavior.

“Our advantage going in,” Conway said, “is that Donald Trump is just going to continue to take the case directly to the people.”

Conway then said Trump threatening to sue his accusers (which seems unlikely since it would require him to be subjected to a discovery process) is just “a way to defend himself.” 

She also said that the real-estate mogul won’t sue the women immediately because, “We’re busy winning the presidency. We’re a little bit busy over here doing that…He’s just putting people on notice.”

Recently, Conway has mystified her Twitter followers and the press by retweeting statements that were complimentary to her, but reflected negatively on Trump. When BuzzFeed reporter McKay Coppins tweeted a supporter had yelled at Trump to “stay on the issues,” Conway remarked, “That was me! I was there…” And during the presidential debate on Wednesday, Washington Post reporter Robert Costa tweeted, “‘Bad Hombres’ = Trump being Trump. Trump’s other answers = Conway-esque.” Conway retweeted the comment with an added, “— >.” 

When host Chuck Todd asked Conway about her social-media behavior, she responded, “Just on those tweets, because I actually have a sense of humor that maybe some are lacking…as does my client here, Donald Trump, [who said], ‘That’s all good, we’re having a great time here.'”

conway_trump

That same morning on Fox News Sunday, when host Chris Wallace asked Conway how she planned to fix Trump’s collapse with only two weeks left before Election Day, she again stated that Trump was “taking the case directly to the voters,” something the campaign believes sets them apart from Clinton, because her events are smaller than his rallies, and she holds them with less frequency. 

Asked if Trump’s plans to sue his accusers “step on his serious agenda,” Conway said, “He’s just trying to defend himself against, uh, false accusers, as he says.”

Conway is the quintessential happy warrior, a much more reliable and eloquent spokesperson for Trump than the other talking heads who work on his behalf. Still, the alternate reality she presents on television is hard to reconcile with what Trump says himself, onstage at his rallies, and the apparent negative effect that has on his precious poll numbers.

“If you see me sitting here as a campaign manager, then that’s where my heart and my head are,” Conway assured Wallace.

Oh, Kellyanne

ASAWIN SUEBSAENG

OLIVIA NUZZI

U.S. Politics

Megyn Kelly lectures Kellyanne Conway like a child for whining that Hillary isn’t playing ‘nice’

Megyn Kelly, Kellyanne Conway -- (Fox screen grab)

Screen Grab

RAWSTORY

Donald Trump campaign spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway walked into a buzzsaw Wednesday night on the normally welcome Fox News network, only to have Megyn Kelly blitz her with a rundown on Trump’s lifelong history of demeaning and smearing women.

As Conway attempted to reframe Monday night’s debate,  the Fox News host cut her off and took issue when the Trump campaign manager complained about Clinton running “not nice” ads against  Trump.

“Kellyanne, come on,” Kelly said to her as she were a child. “It’s not nice? They are running for president! Of course she going to hit him with negative ads. The ads that she is running about him, when it comes to his comments about women, use his words, Kellyanne.”

When Conway tried to change the subject and ask why Clinton wasn’t running ads detailing her vision instead of picking on Trump, the Fox host jumped all over her.

“Because there are two facets of a campaign!” Kelly shot back. “You know that better than anybody. You hit your opponent and disqualify him or her and then you sell your own vision. I mean, she’s allowed to hit him with negative ads and he should be hitting her right back,  should he not?”

The Fox host also smacked down Conway’s assertion that Trump has made a “few comments about women over the years.”

“You know that’s not true,” Kelly lectured her. “You know he has repeatedly made comments about women.  About their looks, about their size, their weight. Even in this campaign, about Carly Fiorina’s face, retweeting a negative picture about Heidi Cruz’s face, criticizing Hillary Clinton and her ‘look.’ And, Kellyanne, this is an issue for him.”

Watch the video below via Mediaite on YouTube: