Great news! Check out the ‘Cat Tweets’ section for a new Simon’s Cat video, released for Valentine’s Day, which is today in New Zealand. It’s cute, and had me laughing out loud twice. Now if you’re a single person too, you’ll understand how much I hate Valentine’s Day, but this video left me feeling good.

On to the Rob Porter Scandal, which I wrote about a couple of days ago. Journalists have continued to look into this story for several reasons:

  • the White House statements have gaps and contradictions;
  • the president has failed to personally express sympathy for Porter’s wives or to condemn partner violence;
  • FBI Director Christopher Wray testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee about the Porter’s background check today (Tuesday 13th US time). What he said completely contradicts the various statements of White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders various. In other words, Sanders lied.


Here is Christoper Wray’s testimony. (Wray is a Trump appointment; he got the job following the firing of James Comey.)


My transcript from the portion of the video on CNN:

Senator Wyden (D) Oregon: … Was the FBI aware of allegations related to Rob Porter and domestic abuse? And if so, was the White House informed it could affect his security clearance, when were they informed, and who at the White House was informed?

FBI Director Christopher Wray: Well senator, there’s a limit to what I can say about the content of any particular background investigation for a variety of reasons that I’m sure you can appreciate. I would say that the background investigation process involves a fairly elaborate set of standards, guidelines, protocols, agreements etc. that have been in place for 20+ years. And I’m quite confident that in this particular instance the FBI followed established protocols.

Wyden: So was the White House informed that this could affect his security clearance? That’s a “yes” or “no.”

Wray: I can’t get into the content of what was briefed … (Wyden interrupts.)

Wyden: But what were they informed?

Wray: What I can tell you is that the FBI submitted a partial report on the investigation in question in March [2017]. And then a completed background investigation in late July [2017]. That soon thereafter, we received request for follow-up inquiry and we did the follow-up and provided that information in November [2017] and that we administratively closed the file in January [2018]. And then earlier this month [February 2018] we received some additional information and passed that along as well.

This is not what Sarah Sanders has been saying. When questioned about the discrepancies today, she passed the blame onto a human resources department within the White House (the personnel security office), which she was quick to point out was not staffed by Trump appointees! As CNN reports:

“The White House personnel security office staffed by career officials received information last year and what they considered to be the final investigative background investigation report in November, but they had not made a final recommendation for adjudication to the White House because the process was still ongoing when Rob Porter resigned,” Sanders said.

But even that statement contradicted claims made days earlier by White House legislative affairs director Marc Short, who on Sunday claimed that FBI officials”have not completed that investigation,” and deputy press secretary Raj Shah, who said last Thursday the FBI’s investigation into Porter was “ongoing.”

“His background investigation was ongoing,” Shah said. “In this instance, in the case of Rob Porter, we relied on the background check investigative process. That process hadn’t been completed, so we were relying on the information that we had.”

As recently as Monday, Sanders also claimed that the White House did not learn “of the extent of the situation involving Rob Porter” until last Tuesday, when the allegations became public.

“We’ve learned of this situation involving Rob Porter last Tuesday evening,” Sanders said.

To be clear, this is the first time this department (the personnel security office) has had a mention in this whole process, and given her track record, it’s hard to know whether what she’s saying is true or not.

In addition, Trump had a couple of chances today to express sympathy for Porter’s victims, or at least make a statement opposing intimate violence, or any kind of violence. He pointedly ignored all questions.

In my post I said that I thought the White House must have known about this before John Kelly was even appointed to the Chief of Staff position, and it turns out that was correct. What I didn’t pick up on, but many journalists are now pointing out, is that White House Legal Counsel Don McGahn surely knew about the issue too. He should have advised about the issues surrounding having so many staff who cannot pass a background check.

However, it is possible that this issue is one that isn’t taken seriously given that senior advisor and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner also does not have a full security clearance yet. Whether he will ever be able to get one is probably a moot point as it’s unlikely the president will sack him, at least not for that reason.

I suspect there’s still a lot more to come out about this. I haven’t even looked at Twitter yet today, or watched Anderson Cooper. I’m probably way behind already. I better look at Twitter at least though before I post this, or all you’ll get is old tweets which is a bit disrespectful given you’ve made the effort to check this post out!

Oh, and TRIGGER WARNING. There’s at least one spider in the Creepy-Crawlies tweets so far. I may find more!


Political Tweets

I love Trevor Noah. Here are a couple of great recent clips from his show.



Well said!
(Via Ann German.)


It’s about time someone in the government started paying attention to this!!!
(Via Ann German.)


Religion Tweets

Why is is that when the terrorist is a Christian, he doesn’t get called a terrorist? Suddenly he’s an activist! As one of the responses (from @mojoagogo) points out:

ACTIVIST: a person who campaigns to bring about political or social change.

TERRORIST: a person who uses unlawful violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.

Activists don’t plan attacks.

And where are Trump’s calls for a shut down of all immigration from Christian countries until we can sort this problem out? And if you think that sounds ridiculous, remember that all murders by Muslim extremist terrorists since 9/11 were by people that were either born in the US, or were from countries not on the list of countries Trump named in his immigration ban.
(Via Ann German.)



Sometimes just running spellcheck isn’t enough!
(Via Ann German.)


Human Rights Tweets

(Via Greg Geisler commenting on WEIT.)


Speaking at the unveiling of her’s and her husband’s official portraits in Monday (US time).
(Via Ann German.)


I watch Fox News in horror while GOP representatives call children who were brought to the US by their parents without visas “illegals.” I understand why they would want to deport criminals who came to the country illegally as adults, but most of the others are not a problem. In fact, they’re a net benefit to the country. It’s good to see others speaking up for them.
(Via Ann German.)


Media Tweets

Good on them for taking a stand. I hope more big companies do this.
(Via Ann German.)


Paleontology Tweets

This is so cool!


Geography Tweets

They’ve just had the annual ceremony to move the marker for the South Pole. It moves ten metres every year due to the movement of the ice.


Space Tweets

Very cool!
(Via Ann German.)


Science Tweets

This one is actually from Facebook, but it’s so cool I had to include it!


Okay, this could be your next pet!
(Via Ann German.)


Very, very cool!


I wrote about the Larsen C Ice Shelf just over a year ago. It’s providing some interesting new opportunities.


Very cool! (And look out for the guy in the red sweatshirt – or rather the words on the sweatshirt! Ha ha!)


Creepy-Crawlies Tweets

I’m not sure this is a good idea! Raspberries are my favourite! I’d want to eat it! Why evolve to look like a raspberry?


Isn’t it cute!


Amphibian Tweets

Frogs that deliver an effective Glasgow kiss!

Other Animals Tweets

Playing in the snow, baby rhino style!


These wolf cubs are so cute!


They’ve just been shorn! They look weird!


Bird Tweets

Most of you have probably already heard about New Zealand goose Thomas. It’s a great story, so I thought I’d include it in case any of you don’t know about him.


I’ve never heard of these. Not that that’s a surprise – there are rather a lot of things I’ve never heard of!


Because why wouldn’t you get a bunch of geese to march through town?


Dog Tweets

I never thought I’d see a cute pit-bull!


Cat Tweets

Here it is!


Cats are at the Olympics in the future!


Turn the sound on – you’ll hear the purring!


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