A Not so Confused Nikki Haley, Pompeo's Problems, and What is Sean Hannity's Role?

This past Sunday Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to the U.N. Security Council, made comments that the US was preparing new sanctions against Russia. These sanctions were to be a response to Moscow's support for the chemical weapon use by the Syrian government. The statement issued by Haley was allegedly not backed by actions from Trump or his administration. In response to Haley's comments the White House claimed she overstepped when making her statement, and White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow stated that Haley must have had a "moment of confusion" when she discussed the proposed sanctions.  Haley's response was simple; "With all due respect, I don't get confused". Prior to Kudlow's comment on the sanctions, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders responded to reports about Haley's comments by saying the administration was "considering additional sanctions on Russia," but that a decision hadn't yet been made. The varying dialogue on a major foreign policy topic between several White House administrators shows just how disjucntive this administration currently is.  A senior administration official from the White House said Trump was privately annoyed by the confusion among his staff. It is unclear whether Trump has talked to Haley since her comment on potential sanctions to come. 

During a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump hinted at  top level talks that were going on between the US and North Korea. The two leaders are set to meet in late May, early June of this year.    Trump told the press that the two countries were already engaged in "very high levels" of discussion.  News broke today that the person directly conducting these "high level" negotiations was Mike Pompeo, the current CIA director and nominated Secretary of State.  Over Easter weekend Pompeo reportedly took a trip to North Korea where he had a secret meeting with leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang. Pompeo allegedly went to North Korea as Trump's envoy to lay the groundwork for direct talks between the two leaders about North Korea's nuclear weapons program. Most recently Pompeo has been facing his confirmation hearing from the Senate, and while he has the vote of many Republican Senators, some Democrats are holding back their support. Democrats have been leery of confirming Pompeo as the next Secretary of State, taking concern with past statements and policy views, particularly those in regards to women's reproductive rights and the LBGTQ community. As it stand no Democrats have committed a "yes" vote to Pompeo, but some are open to the idea and are taking personal meetings with Pompeo before finalizing their decision. 

For those familiar with Fox and Friends, the name Sean Hannity might look familiar. For those who read other new outlets yo may have hear this name in reference to an unofficial chief of staff to Trump. It is no secret that Hannity and Trump talk frequently. The two eat dinner together and speak several times a week about ideas for Hannity's show, Trump's frustrations, and even t times what the Trump should tweet. According to sources in the White House, Hannity is one of the only people who gets patched immediately through to Trump. Hannity recently railed against the raid of Cohen's office and hotel on April 4th aligning himself much more with Trump's view, that the raids were a "disgraceful situation".  Hannity failed to disclose that he had a relationship with Cohen and is now publicly being questioned for journalistic conflict of interest. Tuesday, Hannity addressed the matter on his show; "Let me set the record straight. Here's the truth. Michael Cohen never represented me in any legal matter. I never retained his services. I never received an invoice. I never paid Michael Cohen for legal fees. I did have occasional, brief conversations with Michael Cohen — he's a great attorney — about legal questions I had or I was looking for input and perspective".

The ear of Trump and contact with his personal attorney is not all Hanniity has. A report from the Atlantic indicates that Hannity has employed at least two other lawyers, in addition to Michael Cohen, with links to the president and who are also frequent guests on his show. The two attorneys in question are Jay Sekulow and Victoria Toensing. Sekulow is currently retained by Trump for the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Toensing had been set to join Sekulow in his work for Trump but those plans have recently been stopped over unidentified "conflicts". Toensing did say that at one time she represented Hannity but declined to comment on whether she continued to represent him today.