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Trump rejects firing Conway over violating law

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Washington, June 15 (IANS) US President Donald Trump has rejected firing his aide Kellyanne Conway for several violations of a law banning high government officials from using their positions to influence elections.

"No, I’m not going to fire her. I think she’s a terrific person. She’s a tremendous spokeswoman. She’s been loyal. She’s just a great person," Efe news quoted Trump as saying on Friday in a TV interview.

The President’s comments came a day after the news went public about a report Trump received from the Office of the Special Counsel (OSC), an independent organization that keeps a lookout for possible legal infractions within the government, accusing Conway of violating the Hatch Act on numerous occasions.

Conway, a high-profile White House official, violated that law "on numerous occasions by disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in her official capacity during television interviews and on social media", the OSC said in a its document.

Far from accepting that his counsellor had done anything wrong, Trump said: "It looks to me like they’re trying to take away her right of free speech," something he said was "just not fair."

The same agency had already determined last year that Conway had violated the Hatch Act, which dates back to 1939 and which prohibits using a position in the federal government for partisan ends, when she promoted in interviews the senatorial candidacy of Roy Moore, a former Judge accused of sexually abusing minors and who finally lost the election.

In 2017, Conway also had to receive legal counselling after doing TV advertising for the clothing brand of Ivanka Trump, the President’s eldest daughter and senior White House advisor.

Conway was Trump’s third and last campaign chief during his 2016 presidential campaign, and since he took office she has been closely involved in issues related to party policy and election strategy.