United States President Donald Trump says that he will not fire White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway for repeated violations of the Hatch Act, which bars federal employees from engaging in political activity in the course of their work. "I think she's a tremendous person, she's loyal, she's a great person".
"No, I'm not going to fire her", Trump told hosts Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade and Ainsley Earhardt.
White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway looks toward U.S. President Donald Trump during a working lunch with governors on workforce freedom and mobility in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., June 13, 2019. Trump said that Conway has a right to answer any questions reporters ask her. "Based on what I saw yesterday, how could you do that?"
The whole thing seems "very unfair", the president said, reported Mark Knoller of CBS. "Others, of all political views, have objected to the (the office's) unclear and unevenly applied rules which have a chilling effect on free speech for all federal employees".More news: Hundreds arrested in Moscow protest against police impunity and corruption
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In its 17-page report, the Office of Special Counsel found that Conway repeatedly attacked 2020 Democratic presidential candidates while she was being interviewed by media outlets in her official capacity and tweeted about the candidates from her official account.
The White House immediately rejected the special counsel office's ruling and demanded that it withdraw its report. It described her as a "repeat offender" who "has shown disregard for the law". Trump went on to criticize the Office of Special Counsel - an independent office tasked with government oversight (unrelated to the Robert Mueller investigation) - with "trying to take away her right of free speech" and suggesting that he wouldn't ask her to dial back her rhetoric, saying he believes government employees should be allowed "to express themselves".
White House counsel Pat Cipollone said Conway and the White House were not given time to respond to the report.