Shrapnel

So much ordure hitting so many fans I need an omnibus post just to list it all.

Rachel Brand is leaving her job.

Rachel L. Brand, the No. 3 official at the Justice Department, plans to step down after nine months on the job as the country’s top law enforcement agency has been under attack by President Trump, according to two people briefed on her decision.

Ms. Brand’s profile had risen in part because she is next in the line of succession behind the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, who is overseeing the special counsel’s inquiry into Russian influence in the 2016 election. Mr. Trump, who has called the investigation a witch hunt, has considered firing Mr. Rosenstein.

Such a move could have put her in charge of the special counsel and, by extension, left her in the cross hairs of the president.

Kelly says he’s willing to leave his job.

John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, told officials in the West Wing on Friday that he was willing to step down over his handling of allegations of spousal abuse against Rob Porter, the staff secretary who resigned in disgrace this week over the accusations, according to two officials aware of the discussions.

The officials emphasized that they did not consider a resignation imminent, and that Mr. Kelly — a retired four-star Marine general who early in his tenure often used a threat of quitting as a way to temper President Trump’s behavior — had made no formal offer.

But his suggestion that he would be willing to step down if the president wanted him to reflected the degree to which the scandal surrounding Mr. Porter has engulfed the White House.

All the more so after two senior staffers called the Post to report that Kelly had just told them to lie about when he pushed Porter out.

For all the turmoil, Mr. Trump on Friday warmly praised Mr. Porter, saying it was a “tough time” for his former aide and noting that Mr. Porter had denied the accusations.

“We wish him well,” Mr. Trump said of Mr. Porter, who was accused of physical and emotional abuse by two ex-wives. The president added, “He also, as you probably know, says he is innocent, and I think you have to remember that.”

“He worked very hard,” Mr. Trump told reporters in the Oval Office when asked for a comment about Mr. Porter. The president said he had only “recently” learned of the allegations against his former aide and was surprised.

“He did a very good job when he was in the White House, and we hope he has a wonderful career, and he will have a great career ahead of him,” Mr. Trump said. “But it was very sad when we heard about it, and certainly he’s also very sad now.”

The glowing praise of a staff member accused of serial violence against women was in line with the president’s own denials of sexual impropriety despite accusations from more than a dozen women and his habit of accepting claims of innocence from men facing similar allegations. Among them was Roy S. Moore, the former Republican Senate candidate in Alabama, who is accused of molesting teenage girls.

#MeToo #TimesUp etc etc.

On Friday morning at the White House, Mr. Kelly appeared to be trying to paint his handling of the matter in a more favorable light. At the end of the senior staff meeting, Mr. Kelly volunteered that he had something he wanted to “clarify,” according to people with knowledge of his remarks.

Mr. Kelly went on to say that he had learned of Mr. Porter’s true situation less than an hour before he removed him from his job. Two people familiar with the comments said that most of the staff appeared incredulous; one person said several people in the room knew that the timeline Mr. Kelly had presented was false.

As the meeting broke up, Ms. Hicks loudly complained about what had transpired, a person briefed on the meeting said.

And The Intercept claims that the CIA is wary of intel that implicates Trump because Pompeo is, shall we say, not exactly non-partisan.

Many intelligence officials are reluctant to get involved with anything related to the Trump-Russia case for fear of blowback from Trump himself, who might seek revenge by firing senior officials and wreaking havoc on their agencies. For example, Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence and thus the man supposedly in charge of the entire U.S. intelligence community, has said he does not see it as his role to push for an aggressive Trump-Russia investigation, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The call came from inside the house.

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