Records show the Interior Department spent nearly $139,000 last year for construction at the agency that was labeled on a work order as “Secretary’s Door,” the AP reports.
Jonathan Swan: “Two weeks ago, Zinke made an announcement that surprised the White House (and over Twitter, no less, after telling reporters at the Tallahassee airport): the waters around Florida would be exempt from his agency’s offshore oil and gas leasing program. Zinke’s announcement came shortly after he met with the state’s Republican governor, Rick Scott.”
“Trump has made clear to Zinke that he’s angry about this move… Zinke’s decision is both legally and politically dangerous for the Trump administration. Zinke did not coordinate with anybody, and gave the White House no forewarning of his controversial action.”
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke “spent more than $14,000 on government helicopters this summer to take himself and staff to and from official events near Washington, D.C., in order to accommodate his attendance at a swearing-in ceremony for his replacement in Congress and a horseback ride with Vice President Mike Pence,” Politico reports.
“Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has directed millions of dollars in political contributions since 2014 to a network of Washington operatives that prominent conservatives have accused of profiting by misleading donors,” Politico reports.
“Beneficiaries of Zinke’s largesse include groups linked to Washington-area political operative Scott Mackenzie, organizer of a Virgin Islands GOP political action committee that hosted the secretary at a St. Croix fundraiser in March. Before that, when Zinke was a Republican congressman from Montana, his political operation steered significant portions of its spending to a handful of Washington, D.C.-area consulting firms that also have had ties to Mackenzie and his associates.”
Washington Post: “The inspector general for the Interior Department has opened an investigation into Secretary Ryan Zinke’s travel during seven months in office, from his use of taxpayer-funded charter and military planes to his mixing of official trips with political appearances.”
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke “that nearly one-third of employees at his department are not loyal to him and President Trump, adding that he is working to change the department’s regulatory culture to be more business friendly,” the AP reports.
Said Zinke: “I got 30 percent of the crew that’s not loyal to the flag.”
President Trump “isn’t going to just let Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-AK) no vote on Tuesday’s health care motion go,” the Alaska Dispatch News reports.
“Early Wednesday, Trump took to Twitter to express displeasure with Murkowski’s vote. By that afternoon, each of Alaska’s two Republican senators had received a phone call from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke letting them know the vote had put Alaska’s future with the administration in jeopardy.”
David Nather: “If true — White House and Interior Department spokespeople didn’t respond to the paper’s requests for comment — it would be an unusually blunt retaliation for a senator’s vote. And it raises questions about whether other GOP senators will get the same treatment.”
“The Rio Grande, what side of the river are you going to put the wall? We’re not going to put it on our side and cede the river to Mexico. And we’re probably not going to put it in the middle of the river.”
— Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, quoted by E&E News, suggesting a border wall could be placed on the Mexican side of the U.S. border.
“President-elect Donald Trump has tapped Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT), who has represented Montana’s at-large congressional seat for one term, to serve as secretary of the Department of the Interior,” the Washington Post reports.
Playbook: “Donald Trump Jr., the president elect’s eldest son, was involved with the interview process for Interior secretary, according to sources familiar with the discussions. He sat in on interviews, and made calls to candidates, according to sources familiar with the process. Don Jr. is known as an avid outdoorsman, which is why he might have an interest in the next Interior secretary.”