A report in the Taiwan News say that the President of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, may visit with President Elect Donald Trump’s expected White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus when she’s in New York next month. She may also meet with Trump’s Transportation Secretary designee Elaine Chao who is a native of Taiwan, the report says.
Given Trump’s unorthodox approach to diplomacy it wouldn’t be surprising if he met with Tsai himself. Their pre-scheduled phone call served as the first contact between the President of Taiwan and an American President or President Elect since 1979.
Tsai met with Priebus in October 2015 when he visited Taipei with an RNC delegation.
Tsai is stopping off in New York on the way to the inauguration of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega who was just re-elected to his third term under a cloud of scandal with accusations of massive vote rigging.
KT McFarland, longtime national security analyst and Donald Trump’s pick to serve as his Deputy National Security Advisor in the White House once condemned Wikileaks and Julian Assange as terrorists, but changed her position once they started publishing Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta’s stolen emails (which the FBI suspects were hacked by Russian intelligence agencies).
In November 2010, shortly after Wikileaks started publishing classified diplomatic cables stolen from the State Department, McFarland wrote an op-ed for Fox News entitled Yes, WikiLeaks Is a Terrorist Organization and the Time to Act Is NOW.”
In the op-ed, she offered President Obama advice on dealing with Wikileaks and Assange:
If President Obama failed to follow through on her suggestions, she suggested that every American take on Wikileaks directly:
But once Wikileaks started to publish Podesta’s hacked emails, she quickly changed her tune, even referring to Assange as someone who wants to root out corruption:
I have obtained Steve Bannon’s full divorce and custody file (the full files are linked in this post at the bottom) which includes many details of his second marriage to Mary Piccard that have never been revealed publicly and a troubling portrait of him as a father to his daughters.
Among the allegations and revelations:
Bannon failed to pay or underpaid child and spousal support at a time when he was making $500,000 a year and was, according to documents he shared, worth much more.
Letters filed with the court by two school administrators allege that Bannon threatened them.
Bannon rarely saw his daughters and at one point did not see them for a full two years. During that time they had no idea where he lived.
In sworn declarations submitted to the court, Piccard says that Bannon was abusive towards his daughters.
Bannon, who is set to serve as President Elect Donald Trump’s chief strategist in the White House, has faced a torrent of criticism for what some perceive to be views steeped in anti-semitism, misogyny, and white supremacy . Bannon, 63, and his allies have aggressively pushed back on those characterizations.
The file, which includes court filings from 1995-2008 related to his divorce from his second wife, Mary Piccard, and various family squabbles reveals a startling portrait of a man the public still knows very little about.
I want to share why I believe it’s important for the public to see these documents. Trump has decided Bannon should serve in the White House in a role that will arguably lead him to have the office directly next to the Oval office. Bannon will have full access to sensitive national security information and will be involved in helping a President Trump make key decisions that will have a significant national and global impact.
If Bannon were set to serve as the head of the Republican Party, I would probably not feel comfortable sharing this information. I believe that most people have a fundamental right to privacy. I do not believe that the President of the United States and his key aides have that same right…they simply have too much power and must be aggressively vetted.
These files reveal a great deal of detail about Bannon’s role in his children’s lives. I want to be clear that if his children were not over twenty years of age at the time of this post, I would not be sharing the details in these files…I believe that minor children have an absolute right to privacy.
I’ve decided to include the actual documents in the file because I think people deserve an opportunity to look at them unfiltered. I decided to redact the names of Bannon’s twin daughters (even though the names can be found online) and any other sensitive information. The only pages I chose to not include involve progress reports written about the Bannon twins by their teachers and letters they wrote to a judge when their father was trying to have them removed from a school he deemed to be unfit. Both of these documents offer no information about Bannon at all.
When Bannon was named as the CEO of Trump’s campaign in August, Politico, the New York Post, and NBC News reported on some of the information in these files. It’s unclear if they had full access to the files or were just given certain pages as there are many important details that have never been reported on.
A couple of important details. These files include a mix of sworn personal declarations by Bannon and Piccard, letters from their lawyers, emails exchanged between them, and financial documents.
With respect to sworn personal declarations you should view those just as you would view testimony in a court…which means that if Bannon or Piccard were caught lying they would face perjury charges which could include jail time.
The files include many sworn declarations from Piccard and few from Bannon. The portrait of Piccard that emerges in these files is of a very organized, detail-oriented person. She has documents, dates, times to backup all of her assertions. The same cannot be said of Bannon.
In all of these documents, the “petitioner” is Mary Piccard and the “respondent” is Steve Bannon.
Bannon Offers Little Defense
Bannon does little to push back against her assertions of abuse, neglect, and financial control. In fact in one of the declarations he makes it clear that he doesn’t want to push back against her accusations, this is troubling because she accuses Bannon of behavior that many people would see as abusive.
It’s clear that Bannon and Piccard’s relationship and marriage was fraught from the start. The New York Post was first to reveal that Bannon told Piccard that he would only marry her if their twins were “normal”:
After they separated, Bannon told Piccard that he would be arranging to purchase the house that he was renting for her and their twin daughters. He then (which was typical of him) decided they needed to leave.
After he demanded they vacate the home, Piccard moved with their daughters to a one-bedroom apartment. Piccard says that Bannon didn’t even know where his daughters lived:
Bannon Evasive About Personal Finances
In the process of their divorce, Piccard was working with her lawyers to set an appropriate level of spousal and child support. In the late 90’s Bannon was making over $500,000 a year (in addition to untold assets — key among them, royalties from the NBC show Seinfeld) but was willing to spare very little of that money for his ex-wife and daughters. In order to determine support, they repeatedly requested key financial documents, Bannon ignored or denied requests for these documents. Piccard was forced to ask the court to intervene.
Bannon’s Monthly Pay stub
A portion of Bannon’s financial statement filed with the court:
Bannon said he only had $6,000 a month in personal expenses during this time:
Bannon Failed To Pay or Underpaid Spousal and Child Support
Piccard had to repeatedly seek legal support/court orders to receive spousal and child support. In fact, for some time, Bannon did not pay child support at all.
Bannon Had To Be Ordered To Reimburse Daughter’s Expenses, Including Medical Bills
Bannon Bounced Check To Piccard Despite Making $41,000 Per Month
Piccard Says Bannon Was An Absent, Erratic Father – Did Not See Young Daughters For Two Years
Piccard Says That Bannon Could Not Tell The Difference Between His Twin Daughters
Piccard Says Bannon Antagonized Her Over Money
Piccard shares many stories (again, in sworn declarations) of Bannon antagonizing her over money, making her beg for financial help.
Piccard Says Bannon Did Not Care When Daughters Were Sick
Piccard Says Bannon Was Uncaring And Abusive Towards Daughters
Part of this story was first reported by the New York Post.
Piccard Says Bannon Arranged Dinner With Daughters – Left Early Taking Their Food With Him
Bannon Threatened Schools That Wanted To Admit His Daughters
NBC News and New York Magazine both reported on Bannon allegedly making anti-semetic remarks about a private school his daughters wanted to attend. But the Bannon divorce files reveal a disturbing portrait of a man who wanted to control where his daughters went to school not because he cared about their welfare but purely to be in control.
When the Bannon twins were five, Piccard arranged for them to tour and apply to several private schools. For an unknown reason, Bannon decided to threaten any school that was considering admitting his daughters. In the court file are two letters from school administrators who say that Bannon threatened them if he they admitted his daughters.
I spoke with Dr. Steven Mecham of the Odyssey Program in Malibu, California and Janie Lou Hirsch who served as the director of the Westland school in Los Angeles. Both Mecham and Hirsch confirmed the authenticity of the letters they submitted to the court. The full letters are in the files at the end, here are the relevant excerpts.
Letter Submitted By Hirsch
Letter Submitted By Mecham
Piccard then gave up on private schools and enrolled their daughters at a public school in Santa Monica, California. Still, Bannon threatened that administrator as well.
Seven Years Later — Bannon Attempts to Thwart Attempts By Piccard To Enroll Twins in Prominent Private Middle School
When the Bannon twins turned twelve, Piccard (after touring several schools) decided that the best place for them to attend was the Archer School in Los Angeles. Bannon did everything he could to make this an uncomfortable experience for his ex-wife and daughters.
Emails Between Bannon and Piccard
In one of these emails, Piccard says to Bannon “As far as the % of Jewish girls at Archer I have no idea what it is…” While Bannon’s alleged anti-semitic comments have been reported on this is the first time we see Piccard refer to them in a private email. You can see all of the emails in the files below.
A court finally ordered Bannon to pay for the twins tuition at Archer.