President Donald Trump defended his chief counselor Kellyanne Conway on Friday, saying he won’t fire her despite the urging of an influential office which serves as the executive branch’s civil service watchdog.
The Office of Special Counsel – a longstanding agency, not Robret Mueller’s today-shuttered team – recommended Conway’s sacking in a report which concluded she abused her position as well as violated a federal law the prohibits politicking by senior political appointees.
‘No, I’m not going to fire her. I think she’s a tremendous person,’ Trump said on ‘Fox & Friends.’
‘Based on what I saw yesterday, how could you do which? They have tried to take away her speech,’ he said, framing Conway’s alleged violations as a First Amendment matter.
The president said he could get a ‘very strong briefing’ about Conway’s situation, although ultimately ‘the idea’s called freedom of speech.’
Kellyanne Conway repeatedly violated federal law when she mixed politics with her administration work, the Office of Special Counsel found –– although President Trump won’t be firing her
The president said Friday which when Conway strays into political commentary while she’s on the job, ‘the idea’s called freedom of speech’
The White House’s top lawyer engaged in a bitter war of words Thursday with finger-pointing ethics officials.
White House counsel Pat Cipollone demanded the OSC retract its 17-page report on Conway which found her guilty of multiple violations of The Hatch Act, the law which bars federal employees through engaging in political activity within the course of their work.
‘We ask which you withdraw as well as retract the report,’ Cipollone wrote within the administration’s response.
The independent watchdog agency, run by Trump-appointee Henry Kerner, refused to back down. Kerner told The Washington Post his recommendation to have Conway fired was ‘unprecedented.’
‘You know what else is usually unprecedented?’ he said. ‘Kellyanne Conway’s behavior.’
Kerner’s agency recommend the president fire his longtime aide, who ran his 2016 presidential campaign.
‘Given which Ms. Conway is usually a repeat offender as well as has shown disregard for the law, OSC recommends which she be removed through federal service,’ the OSC, a federal investigative agency which is usually in charge of enforcing the Hatch Act, announced in a statement.
Office of Special Counsel Chief Henry Kerner defended the agency’s recommendation on Conway
White House counsel Pat Cipollone asked the OSC to withdraw its recommendation to fire Conway
Kerner said the decision to fire or keep Conway was in President Trump’s hands.
‘We respect his decision as well as, of course, the president has any option he’d like—to reprimand or not to reprimand,’ Kerner told Fox News. ‘the idea is usually up to the president’s discretion as well as we respect which.’
the idea’s highly unlike Trump will take the agency’s recommendation. He did not address Conway’s status during a meeting with governors at the White House on Thursday afternoon.
Conway was in which meeting although did not speak to the press.
Cipollone, in his 11-page response, charged Kerner’s agency with not contacting Conway as the idea went through its investigation.
‘OSC did not contact Ms. Conway for comment on these or any some other statements referenced within the Report,’ he charged.
although Kerner said the OSC as well as the White House counsel’s office had ‘several discussions’ as well as the White House had the report on Conway ‘for weeks.’
He told Fox News This specific was ‘not some sort of a drop the idea-on-them situation.’
‘I am a Trump appointee – I have no animus toward Kellyanne whatsoever,’ he said. ‘My job is usually to make sure the federal workforce stay as depoliticized as well as as fair as possible.’
The OSC, an independent watchdog agency, recommended Kellyanne Conway be fired through White House
The White House responded within the hour after the OSC’s 17-page report was publicly released.
Additionally in his response, Cipollone questioned whether the Hatch Act applies to Conway. Certain high-level officials are exempt.
‘First, even assuming which the Hatch Act applies to the most senior advisers to the President within the White House, OSC has violated its statutory obligation to provide Ms. Conway a reasonable opportunity to respond,’ he wrote.
‘Second, OSC’s overbroad as well as unsupported interpretation of the Hatch Act risks violating Ms. Conway’s First Amendment rights as well as chills the free speech of all government employees,’ he added.
He also argued Conway’s Twitter account as well as media appearances ‘do not violate even the standards used by OSC itself.’
Cipollone gave the agency until June 21 to hand over all the documents on Conway the idea used to come to its recommendation.
‘[I]n light of the many significant issues discussed in This specific initial response, I reiterate our request which OSC withdraw as well as retract its Report. If the OSC chooses not to do so, the White House will need additional information to consider fully as well as fairly each of the allegations as well as OSC’s conclusions. Accordingly, we ask which you provide the following information by June 21, 2019,’ he wrote.
The Office of the Special Counsel is usually not to be confused with special counsel Robert Mueller as well as his investigation. They are separate entities.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, the powerful chairman of the House Oversight as well as Reform Committee, weighed in.
He invited Conway to testify before his panel on June 26 when he holds a hearing with the OSC on her Hatch Act violations.
He also said Trump should fire her.
‘Complying with the law is usually not optional. President Trump should terminate Ms. Conway’s employment immediately in light of these dozens of violations of federal law,’ he said in a statement.
The OSC argued if Conway is usually not punished, the idea sends a message to some other federal employees they need not follow the Hatch Act.
”As a highly visible member of the administration, Ms. Conway’s actions, if left unpunished, send a message to all federal employees which they need not abide by the Hatch Act’s restrictions. Her actions erode principal foundation of our democratic system – the rule of law,’ the idea wrote in its report.
The report cited comments Conway made on Fox News about former Vice President Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, as well as Beto O’Rourke.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Steven Groves fired back the OSC was violating Conway’s right to free speech.
‘The Office of Special Counsel’s (OSC) unprecedented actions against Kellyanne Conway are deeply flawed as well as violate her constitutional rights to free speech as well as due process. Others, of all political views, have objected to the OSC’s unclear as well as unevenly applied rules which have a chilling effect on free speech for all federal employees,’ said he said.
Groves made his statement to CNBC’s Eamon Javers, who tweeted he was within the press office when the verdict through OSC came in.
‘I was just standing in an office within the WH press office when Kellyanne Conway came in. I asked for her reaction to This specific. She pointed to the door as well as said ‘can you leave, please?’ Later, I asked her again, as well as she said: ‘I have no reaction. Why could I give you a reaction?,” Javers wrote.
The White House was quick to defend Kellyanne Conway
The OSC said Conway ‘violated the Hatch At on numerous occasions by disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in her official capacity during television interviews as well as on social media.’
Trump as well as Vice President Mike Pence are exempt through the Hatch Act although White House employees are not.
Last month, when Conway was criticizing former Vice President Joe Biden – who’s leading the field for the Democratic presidential nomination – for his Senate record, she brushed aside questions if she was violating the Hatch Act.
‘I’m going to talk about people’s records because I develop the right to,’ she said.
When a reporter asked her about violating federal law, she responded: ‘Blah, blah, blah.’
‘If you’re trying to silence me through the Hatch Act, the idea’s not going to work,’ she said. ‘Let me know when the jail sentence starts.’
In March of last year, the OSC found Conway in violation of the Hatch Act when she promoted then-U.S. Senate hopeful Roy Moore’s Alabama special election campaign.
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Source : Trump says he WON’T fire Kellyanne Conway after official ethics watchdog said she broke the law