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The Journal Gazette

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Friday, October 13, 2017 1:00 am

Politics

White House's Kelly: I'm staying on job

Associated Press

WASHINGTON – The retired general brought in to instill order at a chaotic White House made a rare public appearance Thursday to declare he's staying in his post – and to insist that the president's volatile Twitter feed wasn't making his job harder.

“Unless things change, I'm not quitting, I'm not getting fired and I don't think I'll fire anyone tomorrow,” chief of staff John Kelly said during a surprise showing at the daily White House briefing. “I don't think I'm being fired today, and I'm not so frustrated in this job that I'm thinking of leaving.”

The statement reflected ongoing turmoil in the top ranks of a White House riven by staff changes, internal feuds and reports that Kelly is growing increasingly frustrated in his position.

Trump introduces Homeland choice

President Donald Trump on Thursday introduced his choice to lead the Department of Homeland Security, a former staffer at the sprawling post-9/11 federal agency who he says will need “no on-the-job training” for the lead role. Trump also called on Congress to “put politics aside” and confirm deputy White House chief of staff Kirstjen Nielsen by a “strong, bipartisan vote.”

Nielsen stands to become the sixth secretary of the department, which was created after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. She had been chief of staff to John Kelly when he was Trump's first homeland security secretary.

Cleanup ordered for toxic site

The Trump administration has handed a rare victory to environmentalists, ordering two big corporations this week to pay $115 million to clean up a Texas toxic waste site that might have spread dangerous levels of pollution during flooding from Hurricane Harvey.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt signed a directive Wednesday requiring International Paper and McGinnis Industrial Maintenance Corp., a subsidiary of Waste Management Inc., to excavate 212,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediments from the San Jacinto River Waste Pits.

Both companies opposed the expensive cleanup, arguing that a fabric and stone cap covering the 16-acre site was sufficient. The former site of a demolished paper mill that operated in the 1960s, the island in the middle of the San Jacinto River is heavily contaminated with dioxins – chemicals linked to cancer and birth defects.

Facebook official: Let public see ads

A top Facebook executive says ads linked to Russia trying to influence the U.S. presidential election should “absolutely” be released to the public, along with information on whom the ads were targeting.

Previously, Facebook declined to make the ads public. While Facebook's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, now favors the release, she didn't say Thursday when the company would do so.

The company disclosed last month that it found ads linked to fake accounts – likely run from Russia – that focused on divisive political issues. Facebook has turned over the ads – and information on how they were targeted, such as by geography or to people with a certain political affiliation – to congressional investigators.