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The Week in White House Drama: Staff Shake-Ups and Cambridge Analytica

Cambridge Analytica was involved in the 2016 election and we’ve got a new National Security Adviser.

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The major drama in the White House this week is all about the President, his staff shakeups, and his decisions during the campaign and in the White House. Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe was fired, John Bolton was hired to be the new National Security Advisor, and campaign matters continue to shake the White House and impact the Mueller investigation.

Deputy Director Andrew McCabe addresses the audience during Director Christopher Wray’s formal installation ceremony at FBI Headquarters on September 28, 2017. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

The Big Drama

The most dramatic moment this week was when Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired former FBI deputy director McCabe two days before he could claim his pension. Americans reacted with outrage to the news, and the cruel timing of the move. McCabe’s firing is suspicious, considering the context – namely, his role in the Mueller investigation.

When McCabe testified before Congress in May, he failed to confirm the President’s claim that former FBI Director James Comey had lost the confidence of the Bureau before he was fired. He also stated that the Russia investigation was “highly significant” to the Bureau, further drawing Trump’s ire. Perhaps Sessions was instructed to fire McCabe to discredit him as a witness, or just to be petty… but the timing is suspicious.

One positive to come out of McCabe’s firing?

He is finally able to speak his mind – and it is going to be difficult for Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to put a positive spin on his cutting comments.

Speaking of suspicious, the huge story of this week involved Trump’s less-than-scrupulous moves during the campaign, as it came out that he hired political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica to convince Americans to become supporters.  The company then proceeded to use the data of approximately 50 million Facebook users without their permission.

Creepy.

Another creepy twist to the saga is former Chief of Staff Steve Bannon’s involvement with the founding of the consulting firm when he convinced the company’s donors to provide funding.

Bannon’s involvement plus an increasing number of shady stories coming out about the consulting firm, including their possible involvement in Brexit, make this invasion of privacy all the worse.

Maybe it is time to drain the swamp?

More Drama Bombs:

While Steve Bannon’s involvement in this week’s chaos is an interesting blast from the past, the recent hiring of John Bolton to be the new national security advisor – replacing recently resigned H.R. McMaster – is quite the throwback.

Bolton has a long history in Washington, working in Reagan’s Justice Department, and the State Department until he was appointed the ambassador to the United Nations in 2003. In other words, he has been in the game a while. Unfortunately, time has not mellowed his views: Bolton is a war-hawk, supporter of the Iraq War, frequent antagonizer of North Korea, and generally abrasive person.

His appointment could be a signal of Trump’s mindset going forward: reinvesting in democratizing the Middle East and making the United States the world’s police once again. A New York Times report also tied Bolton’s super PAC to Cambridge Analytica.

What about that swamp again, Mr. President?

Other Major Players:

  • Trump’s lawyer for the Russia investigation quits after the President starts interviewing other lawyers. Unfortunately for Trump, he has had a difficult time getting new lawyers to join his legal team.
  • Jim Carrey drew criticism for drawing an unflattering portrait of Sarah Huckabee Sanders. While criticizing the position of the White House and Sanders’ comments at the podium are fair game, increasing attacks on her looks show hypocrisy in the era of the “Me Too” movement.

Are you looking for digital journalism training and experience? Are you a journalism major who wants to take your career to the next level? CMN’s Digital Journalism course gives you real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to journalism influencers and mentors, and a great place to display your work. You can get academic credit too. Check out the Digital Journalism Course here.

Rachael Blandau is a senior political science major at Centre College, in Danville, Kentucky. She enjoys writing about the news and her favorite topic - politics.

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