Who is Mira Ricardel and why did Melania Trump want her fired?
- In those few months on the job, Ricardel generated a long list of enemies and developed a reputation for shouting at subordinates, plotting against White House officials she disliked and leaking stories about her administration opponents to the press.
- The former State Department and Pentagon official made enemies of heavyweights within the Trump administration, feuding with chief of staff John Kelly, his deputy Zach Fuentes, and locked horns with Defense Secretary James Mattis, according to people familiar with the White House intrigue.
- But Ricardel seems to have crossed a line in taking on Melania Trump's office over the first lady's trip to Africa in October, making what some viewed as challenging requests and being obstinate, the White House official told CNN.
Opinion: Melania Trump's dangerous move
- Second, Melania Trump has every right to relate her disdain for bad behavior to her husband or Bolton and to ask for a staffer's resignation over not sufficiently respecting the first lady's duties.
- But what is not acceptable, and indeed dangerous, is the extent to which Melania Trump used her status as a family member — unelected, unappointed and unqualified — to dictate national security personnel decisions, in public, as if there are no global consequences to such action.
- Melania Trump's actions are consistent with the mercurial management preferences of the Trump family; indeed, the President is keen on calling the defense apparatus that exists to protect America "my generals." The family has turned national security -- once, not so long ago, immune from the political backstabbing and favor-grabbing that animate the political side of the White House -- into its own TV-style drama.
Melania's hidden hand is now not so hidden
- She is deeply private, rarely offering even the slightest glimpse into what she thinks about her husband's administration -- or the country as a whole.
- The removal of Ricardel may well signal the opening gambit in a broader staff shakeup in the White House, with chief of staff John Kelly and Kirstjen Nielsen, the head of the Department of Homeland Security, rumored to also be on their way out amid Trump's unhappiness with their respective performances.
- But Ricardel's unceremonious ouster offers surefire proof of one thing: Cross Melania Trump and you are going to get got.
- And when Melania isn't happy, things happen.
- The Point: It's exceedingly rare that we are given a window into Melania Trump's thinking -- and how she exerts her influence on her husband to make things happen in the White House.
CNN has sued the president. What will happen now?
- In a statement announcing the suspension of Acosta's press pass, Sanders said the administration will "never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern." But video of the event showed that Acosta did not mistreat the intern.
- Sanders went on to say that "this was not the first time this reporter has inappropriately refused to yield to other reporters." She added: "If there is no check on this type of behavior it impedes the ability of the President, the White House staff, and members of the media to conduct business." So that's apparently the new rationale for the revocation of his press pass.
- Right away, CNN wants a judge to issue a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction so that Acosta's access to the White House is restored.
Michelle Obama opens up about her marriage - and helps us all
- Editor's Note: Kate Andersen Brower is a CNN contributor and the author of "First Women: The Grace and Power of America's Modern First Ladies," "First in Line: Presidents, Vice Presidents and the Pursuit of Power," and "The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House." The opinions expressed here are hers.
- In "Becoming," Michelle Obama reveals a number of personal details, among them that she "stopped even trying to smile" during President Trump's inauguration and that she'll never forgive Trump for the birther movement he led questioning her husband's citizenship.
- But what is just as interesting to me is how she lays bare the Obamas' struggle with infertility and the overwhelming sense of loneliness and exhaustion that accompanied being married to a man with presidential ambitions.
- Michelle Obama's book makes the contrast between Melania Trump and the women who came before her starker than ever.
Maryland Files Federal Challenge to Trump's Appointment of Matt Whitaker as Acting Attorney General
- The state of Maryland is challenging President Trump’s recent appointment of Matt Whitaker as acting Attorney General claiming that the move was illegal and unconstitutional.
- The challenge, filed by Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh Tuesday, argues that the appointment violates the succession statute, which gives the deputy attorney general full authority should the attorney general position become vacant.
- The legal challenge argues that an injunction is warranted and calls on deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein to replace him.
- The challenge was filed as a motion as part of an ongoing lawsuit against the federal government that seeks to uphold protections of people with preexisting conditions and other provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Amid pressure from Trump, Jeff Sessions resigned on Nov. 7, the day after midterm elections shifted power in the House to the Democratic Party.
First Lady Melania Trump Issues Statement Saying John Bolton’s Top Deputy, Mira Ricardel, Should Be Fired
- First lady Melania Trump demanded the ouster of National Security Adviser John Bolton’s top deputy, Mira Ricardel, on Tuesday as reports swirled about an imminent shakeup of President Donald Trump’s administration.
- Ricardel, Bolton’s top deputy, clashed with the first lady’s staff after threatening to withhold National Security Council resources during Melania Trump’s trip to Africa last month unless Ricardel or another NSC official was included in her entourage, one person familiar with the matter said.
- While Bolton likes her, according to Trump administration officials, Ricardel is widely disliked among other White House staff.
- Grisham’s statement comes as several media outlets have reported President Donald Trump is considering a broader shakeup of his administration, including ousting Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
- Nielsen is a close ally of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who preceded her at the Department of Homeland Security.
Trump's likely pick for UN ambassador, former 'Fox & Friends' host Heather Nauert, would be the least experienced person to ever hold the job
- But longtime UN observers say Nauert, who is said to be US President Donald Trump's leading candidate to replace outgoing United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, would also be the least qualified person ever to hold the job and follow in the footsteps of notables such as Adlai Stevenson, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Madeleine Albright, and Richard Holbrooke.
- But critics say Nauert, who is currently the State Department's spokesperson, is almost without policy experience in an administration now largely dominated by National Security Advisor John Bolton, a predecessor in the UN post who has more than three decades of hard-earned policy chops and is known for his overbearing manner.
- David Bosco, the author of Five to Rule Them All: The UN Security Council and the Making of the Modern World, said Nauert's lack of expertise and gravitas, whether in politics or the field of foreign policy, would make her "the least experienced and least qualified person we've had" as UN ambassador.
Trump will be skipping the Kennedy Center Honors for the 2nd year in a row
- NEW YORK (AP) — For the second straight year, President Donald Trump will not be attending the Kennedy Center Honors celebrating cultural achievement.
- Tuesday's announcements continue the Trump administration's unprecedented distance from the arts and science communities.
- No arts or humanities medals have been announced or handed out since September 2016, when Barack Obama was president — the longest gap by months since the awards were established in the mid-1980s.
- Other presidents, including Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, have missed Kennedy Center ceremonies.
- Grisham cited scheduling conflicts: Trump is scheduled to attend the G20 summit in Argentina at the end of the month.
- Had he come to the Kennedy Center, it's unlikely he would have been warmly welcomed by at least some of the honorees, who include Cher and "Hamilton" playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda, both sharp critics.
176 Companies Sign on to Statement Opposing Trump's Efforts to Limit Transgender Rights
- Nearly 200 companies have now added their names to a statement to the Trump administration opposing new policy that would essentially erase transgender people from legal protections.
- On Nov. 1, 56 companies signed the Business Statement for Transgender Equality, which declares solidarity with transgender, gender non-conforming, and intersex people.
- The statement got a boost on Tuesday when 121 more companies added their name to the list.
- The companies that have signed the letter have a total of 7 million employees and a collective annual revenue of more than $3.2 trillion.
- The letter was in response to a New York Times report that the Trump administration and legislators were making attempts to define gender as based on one’s biological sex at birth, a move that would further marginalize the demographic.
- Two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies prohibit discrimination based on gender identity.