Feb 14, 2018

White House staffer resigns over background check issues

George David Banks, a top White House adviser on international energy issues resigned this week, according to an administration source.

Why it matters: His resignation centers on not getting full security clearance, according to Politico, which was first to report the news. Banks, the Trump administration’s lead on climate change issues, told Politico he was informed he couldn't get clearance due to past marijuana use. He led a delegation to Bonn, Germany, last year for a climate conference hosted by the United Nations. He was among a few in the administration who tried to get President Trump to stay in the Paris climate deal.

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Energy deputy secretary nominee in hot water after contradicting Trump

Mark Menezes speaks at a forum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, June 12. Photo: Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Trump administration officials are internally raising concerns about President Trump’s nominee for Energy deputy secretary, who appeared to openly contradict the president on nuclear waste storage at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain last week.

Driving the news: While speaking at a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing last Wednesday, Mark Menezes told members of the panel that the Trump administration is still interested in storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain and that “what we're trying to do is to put together a process that will give us a path to permanent storage at Yucca."

Exclusive: Pompeo says new China media restrictions "long overdue"

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The State Department announced Tuesday that it has designated five Chinese state media outlets as "foreign missions," meaning that they will be treated as arms of the Chinese government.

Driving the news: In his first public statement on the new designation, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tells Axios that the five outlets are "clearly controlled by the [Chinese Communist Party], and we are simply recognizing that fact by taking this action.”

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