Freedom Caucus Will Oppose GOP Obamacare Plan

“The Republican congressman who made his name as the instigator of John Boehner’s ouster last year was set to take the reins of the House Freedom Caucus on Monday night. And first up on Rep. Mark Meadows’ to-do list: Torpedoing GOP leadership’s tentative plans to take as long as three years to replace Obamacare,” Politico reports.

Meadows said the proposal will be “the first big fight I see coming for the Freedom Caucus.”

He added: “It should be repealed and replaced, and all of that should be done in the 115th Congress not left to a future Congress to deal with.”

Pentagon Buried Evidence of $125 Billion In Waste

“The Pentagon has buried an internal study that exposed $125 billion in administrative waste in its business operations amid fears Congress would use the findings as an excuse to slash the defense budget,” according to interviews and confidential memos obtained by the Washington Post.

“Pentagon leaders had requested the study to help make their enormous back-office bureaucracy more efficient and reinvest any savings in combat power. But after the project documented far more wasteful spending than expected, senior defense officials moved swiftly to kill it by discrediting and suppressing the results.”

Why Kushner Got Payback Against Christie

Vanity Fair looks at why Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is believed to have sunk Gov. Chris Christie’s chances at a job in the new administration:

Much has been made of Kushner’s familial loyalty even within the Trump campaign, as reports swirled that he convinced his father-in-law to pass over New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, first as the vice-presidential pick, and again, when he got ousted last month as head of the White House transition team. Christie, as U.S. Attorney, was responsible for putting Charlie Kushner behind bars. A source close to the campaign told me recently that there was a major sticking point in the Christie relationship that Jared could not let go of, and that’s what led him to convince Trump to bypass him.

According to the source, Charlie Kushner was going to be released 28 days early from his sentence. The family was ready, eager, anticipating his arrival home. But he ended up finishing out the time. This source claims that Jared Kushner believes that Christie made sure that Charlie Kushner stayed behind bars for the full sentence, even though the family had already started preparing for his early release. “That really sort of twisted the knife in and he just couldn’t let go of that part of it,” the source said. A source close to Kushner confirmed that this is true.

Democrats Pressure Heitkamp and Manchin to Stay Put

“Senior Senate Democrats are putting pressure on their red-state colleagues to turn down any offer from Donald Trump to serve in his administration, warning that their party could suffer if they join forces with the incoming president,” CNN reports.

“Democrats are worried that if Trump adds two Democrats to his Cabinet — potentially North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin — the balance of power in the chamber could tilt further to the GOP. So they are making the case to their colleagues to stay put.”

GOP Elector Won’t Vote for Trump

A Republican member of the Electoral College wrote in the New York Times that he will not be casting his vote for Donald Trump.

Said Christopher Suprun: “The election of the next president is not yet a done deal. Electors of conscience can still do the right thing for the good of the country. Presidential electors have the legal right and a constitutional duty to vote their conscience.”

Gore Meets with Trump to Discuss Climate Change

“Former Vice President Al Gore, a leading voice in the fight against climate change, and Donald Trump, who at one point called it a hoax, met on Monday in what Gore called a ‘productive’ session,” Reuters reports.

Gore “spent about 90 minutes in meetings at the president-elect’s Trump Tower apartment and office building in Manhattan. In addition to seeing Trump, he also met briefly with the Republican’s daughter, Ivanka, who attended a series of high-level meetings since her father won the Nov. 8 election.”

Trump Called a ‘Conspiracy Theorist’

CNN media critic Brian Stelter called President-elect Donald Trump “a conspiracy theorist,” according to Politico.

Stelter said Trump “latched on to a number of theories” during the campaign, including an unsubstantiated claim that he saw thousands of Muslims in New Jersey cheering on 9/11.

He added: “And he’s also in a few different cases tweeted out links to clearly fake news stories. Now, that hasn’t happened in recent days. I would say it’s been about a week since he tweeted something that was clearly false — he said there have been millions of illegal votes. That didn’t happen.”

Attention Turns to the Governor’s Races

Cook Political Report: “The 38 Governors races on the ballot in 2017 and 2018 may end up being the biggest story of the cycle. There is a lot at stake for both parties as most of the Governors elected this cycle will be in office in 2021 when the next round of redistricting takes place. Thus, there is no time like the present to unveil the first iteration of gubernatorial ratings of the cycle.”

“In 2018, Republicans have 26 seats up, at least 16 of which will be open largely due to term limits… Democrats have just nine seats up in 2018, including three that will be open.”

Trump Adviser Defends Taiwan Call

“Stephen Moore, an economic adviser to Donald Trump, defended the President-elect’s recent call with the president of Taiwan, saying in a local radio interview that he didn’t care if it upset China,” CNN reports.

Said Moore: “Taiwan is our ally. That is a country that we have backed because they believe in freedom. We oughta back our ally, and if China doesn’t like it, screw ’em.”

McCrory Finally Concedes In North Carolina

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) announced that he’s conceded the election to Attorney General Roy Cooper (D) and will support transition efforts, the Raleigh News & Observer reports.

Said McCrory: “It’s time to celebrate our democratic process and respect what I see to be the ultimate outcome of the closest North Carolina governor’s race in modern history.”