OnPolitics: $1.8M lawsuit filed against former Secretary of State

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Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Capitol Hill on April 21, 2021.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Capitol Hill on April 21, 2021.

Happy Monday, OnPolitics friends!

Remember him? Gordon Sondland, a hotel magnate who served as former President Donald Trump’s ambassador to the European Union, filed a $1.8 million lawsuit Monday against former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for legal fees. He contends Pompeo assured him his legal fees would be covered when he was subpoenaed for testimony about Trump’s dealings with Ukraine during the former president's first impeachment.

Meanwhile, our current president's honeymoon phase may be over. For President Joe Biden, the second 100 days are turning out to be harder than the first.

It's Mabinty, with the news of the day.

President Biden learns that words matter

Biden, whose verbal missteps and chronic foot-in-mouth moments have been the stuff of legend for much of his political career, has stayed surprisingly on message since moving into the Oval Office in late January.

As president, not only is Biden careful in what he says and how he says it, “he does exceptionally well in terms of getting out his message,” said expert Stephen Frantzich, a retired political science professor at the U.S. Naval Academy and author of a book about political candidates’ verbal stumbles.

Now that he’s president, Biden seems to understand that “the microphone is always on and whatever he says is going to be captured,” Frantzich said.

More news to know today:

'This is another example of leadership failure'

After coming out as a lesbian and being a victim of an alleged rape by a fellow military member Kaylie Harris died by suicide.

Her mother, Carey Harris, later learned some damning truths: Her daughter had filed a sexual assault complaint against a fellow service member. The assault allegedly occurred 10 days after she'd disclosed her sexual orientation on Facebook. Kaylie had expressed thoughts of suicide and was under counseling and a do-not-arm order. And finally, a misstep by the military led to her daughter coming into contact with her alleged assailant, despite a protective order designed to keep them apart.

Harris' death represents a confluence of currents that have ripped the military for decades: sexual assault, suicide and integrating LGBTQ troops. Her family believes she would have survived if the military had taken her reports more seriously. They view the alleged assault that upended her life as a hate crime and want military law changed to protect LGBTQ troops.

"There are so many points of failure," said Jennifer Dane, executive director of the Modern Military Association, an advocacy group for LGBTQ troops and veterans. "This is another example of leadership failure. It's awful."

She noted that Harris' superiors had multiple chances to intervene and her purchase of the weapon she used to take her life could have been prevented.

The alleged assault is under investigation by the service's Office of Special Investigations, said Ann Stefanek, an Air Force spokeswoman.

Read more of USA TODAY's Tom Vanden Brook's story on military suicide.

Take it easy out there, like Bob Dylan 🎂 —Mabinty

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Joe Biden stays surprisingly on message

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