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This Week: EPA Won’t Say Why Director Of Children’s Health Protection Was Put On Leave

September 27, 2018 5:20 p.m.

In an unusual and suspicious turn of events, the director of the EPA’s Office of Children’s Health Protection was put on administrative leave Tuesday for unspecified reasons. Dr. Ruth Etzel later wrote in an email obtained by BuzzFeed that “I appear to be the ‘fall guy’ for their plan to ‘disappear’ the office of children’s health.” She added: “It had been apparent for about 5 months that the top EPA leaders were conducting ‘guerrilla warfare’ against me as the leader of OCHP, but now it’s clearly official.”

The Trump administration EPA has a history of ousting or reassigning civil servants for political reasons. An EPA spokesperson told TPM: “We do not comment on personnel matters.” Another EPA spokesperson, John Konkus, told TPM in part: “Children’s health is and has always been a top priority for the Trump Administration.”

“To take away the badge and access from a top career official and shove them out the door is very rare,” George W. Bush’s EPA chief Christine Todd Whitman told the New York Times, which reported that the children’s health office had repeatedly objected to an EPA plan to weaken Obama-era chemical safety standards for children.

It’s official: FEMA Administrator Brock Long’s abuse of government resources — vehicles and personnel time — cost the government $151,000, a Department of Homeland Security inspector general’s report found. Long has been under scrutiny and criminal investigation for his use of FEMA resources to repeatedly travel back and forth to North Carolina, from Washington, D.C. According to the DHS IG report, Long also used government resources on a family vacation to Hawaii (where he also had some official business), evidence of which an aide attempted to destroy.

The aide, Keith LaFoucade, has been suspended. DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has instructed Long to repay the government “as appropriate,” she said. Long said he will “accept full responsibility for any mistakes that were made by me.”

Sure, Rudy Giuliani is the President’s lawyer, but who says he can’t moonlight as a cheerleader for an Iranian opposition group? That’s exactly what he did Saturday, telling the National Council of Resistance of Iran and its supporters of the country’s current leadership: “I don’t know when we’re going to overthrow them. It could be in a few days, months, a couple of years. But it’s going to happen. They’re going to be overthrown.”

Last month, Giuliani contradicted the State Department in his private capacity by criticizing anti-corruption efforts in Romania, in a letter to the country’s president and premier, written as part of his work for his global consulting firm.

In June, months after the Trump administration’s family separation policy went into effect, DHS Secretary Nielsen falsely claimed that “we do not have” such a policy.

We now have yet more proof that was a lie. Newly reported documents show Nielsen signed off on the family separation policy in April, around the same time Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a similar policy. The two agencies together, DHS and DOJ, made the family separation policy happen.

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