December, 2016

Trump Still Has Four Top Jobs to Fill

“With less than a month before the inauguration, President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet still has four major spots waiting to be filled,” The Hill reports.

“Trump has picked most of his top Cabinet nominees already. But outside groups are getting restless as they wait to see who will lead the Departments of Agriculture and Veterans Affairs, as well as the U.S. Trade Representative’s office and the Council of Economic Advisers.”

Palin Calls for Trump to Leave United Nations

Sarah Palin said this week that President-elect Donald Trump should withdraw the U.S. from the United Nations, The Hill reports.

Said Palin: “By exiting the U.N., where injustice is actually rewarded, we then will be able to uphold America’s reputation as the leader, and as the kind and compassionate and generous nation that we are – as the nation sharing values that, when emulated by any other nation, can bring justice and equal rights to any other nation.”

A True Moment for Journalism

John Avlon: “Given everything we know about Donald Trump from his divisive, demagogic presidential campaign, the next four years will be a stress test for the American system.”

The Trump Years promise to be full of Oval Office insults, Twitter attacks and disregard for facts. But rather than viewing the prospect of covering a Trump administration with exhaustion, we should feel invigorated. Because when this time is done, we will look back on it as the best and most important time to be a journalist – not because it was easy, but because it was hard and our sense of mission was clear: to respect the office of the President while holding the person in power accountable against a standard of enduring American values.

Trump Wants Interviews Replayed Without Sound

Chuck Todd tells Politico that after several appearances as a candidate on Meet the Press, Donald Trump would lean back in his chair and request that the control room replay his appearance on a monitor without sound.

Said Todd: “He wants to see what it all looked like. He will watch the whole thing on mute.”

He added: “He’s a very visual guy. He thinks this way, and look, it’s an important insight in just understanding him. The visual stuff is very real beyond just himself.”

GOP Lawmaker Defends Russian Hacking

Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) refused to condemn Russia’s apparent meddling in the U.S. presidential election, instead suggesting the cyber attacks on Democratic organizations and officials may have actually been useful, The Week reports.

Said Franks: “If Russia succeeded in giving the American people information that was accurate, then they merely did what the media should have done.”

GOP Lawmaker Urges Rollback of Campus Rape Rule

Incoming Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) recommended that the Trump administration roll back 2011 campus sexual assault guidelines that “deny the often-innocent accused basic due process rights,” USA Today reports.

Meadows says the rule “has pressured colleges to spend hundreds of millions of dollars and to create vast campus bureaucracies” to investigate sexual assault and date rape — “the incidence of which may be overstated.”

Sessions Omits Decades of Records for Hearings

“President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for attorney general, Jeff Sessions, is withholding decades’ worth of records from his career ahead of his Senate confirmation hearings early next month, according to an exhaustive report issued by progressive advocacy groups,” the Huffington Post reports.

“He left out major details from his years as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, from 1981 to 1993; as attorney general of Alabama, from 1995 to 1997; and as a first-term U.S. senator, from 1997 to 2002. The gaps encompass the time, for example, when Sessions was nominated to be a federal judge in 1986 ― and then rejected after being deemed too racist.”

McCrory Makes Last Attempt to Stick It To His Successor

“With just one day to go before he leaves office, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) threw a legal Hail Mary to the U.S. Supreme Court in another apparent effort to undermine his Democratic successor’s ability to govern,” the Washington Post reports.

“McCrory filed an emergency request to the Supreme Court, asking the justices to pause court-ordered special elections for more than two dozen state legislative districts in 2017 — special elections in which Democrats could have an opportunity to pick up seats in North Carolina’s GOP-dominated legislature.”

Rick Hasen: “My guess is that the Court does not issue the stay.”

Meanwhile, the Raleigh News & Observer reports McCrory hung his official portrait in the governor’s office for Gov.-elect Roy Cooper (D) to see upon taking office on New Year’s Day.

Ex-Lawmaker Blasts Clinton for Being Too Insular

Former Rep. George Miller (D-CA) chastised the strategy of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, which he called an “insular group of people who were smoking one another’s exhaust,” the East Bay Times reports.

Said Miller: “We didn’t go to Wisconsin at the end of the campaign because they’re always with us? Michigan, where you saved the automobile industry and tens of thousands of jobs and you never went to tell them about it?”

He added: “You never get to that point in my mind in politics. You have to renew those contacts and relationships and that trust all the time.”

GOP Lawmaker Wants Porn Declared a Health Hazard

Virginia Del. Robert Marshall (R) “is asking the state legislature to declare pornography a public health hazard — a move he hopes will pave the way for limits of some sort,” the Washington Post reports.

The measure does not call for any sort of ban, only a broad recognition of “the need for education, prevention, research, and policy change at the community and societal level in order to address the pornography epidemic that is harming the people of the Commonwealth and the nation.”

Trump’s Country Club Sold Tickets to Party with Trump

“Mar-a-Lago, the pricey private resort in Palm Beach, Florida, sold hundreds of tickets at more than $500 a piece to an annual New Year’s Eve extravaganza planned for Saturday night that will feature a very special guest: the president-elect of the United States of America and his family,” Politico reports.

“President-elect Donald Trump owns the members-only luxury resort, which each year sells tickets to swank parties it throws on holidays and special occasions, including New Year’s Eve, Thanksgiving and Christmas.”

Judge Blocks Law Weakening North Carolina Governor

“A North Carolina judge has temporarily blocked a law, passed by the state’s Republican-controlled legislature and signed by GOP Gov. Pat McCrory, that would curb the incoming Democratic governor’s ability to control statewide and county election boards,” Politico reports.

“Gov.-elect Roy Cooper filed a lawsuit over the new law Friday afternoon, asking a Wake County Superior Court judge to stop it from taking effect while the suit proceeds. The judge granted the stay request and scheduled another hearing on the case next week.”

Russia Apparently Infiltrated U.S. Electrical Grid

“A code associated with the Russian hacking operation dubbed Grizzly Steppe by the Obama administration has been detected within the system of a Vermont utility,” the Washington Post reports.

“While the Russians did not actively use the code to disrupt operations of the utility, according to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss a security matter, the penetration of the nation’s electrical grid is significant because it represents a potentially serious vulnerability. Government and utility industry officials regularly monitor the nation’s electrical grid because it is highly computerized and any disruptions can have disastrous implications for the function of medical and emergency services.”