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President WTF

Tracking the daily WTF from our nations highest office

Cabinet Nominees Donated to Senators Conducting Confirmation Hearings

The Trump mantra of “drain the swamp” was seen as dubious, at best, from the outset. More and more it’s looking like “corruption” and “outside interests” are relative terms for the Trump administration. The WSJ reports that several of his nominees have donated significantly to the very people who are sitting on the committees conducting their confirmation hearings.

But wait, there’s more! Mr. Trump repeatedly trumpeted that he would not be beholden to wealthy backers, but several of his nominees were also substantial donors to his own campaign. Federal Election Commission data reveals his nominees have collectively donated over $10.5 million to his campaign and associated super PACs during the election cycle.

  1. Betsy DeVos, nominee for Education Secretary has donated more than $220,000 during the past two election cycles to five of the committee members who will conduct her confirmation hearing.
  2. Linda McMahon, nominee to head the Small Business Administration has donated more than $126,000 to five members of the committee that will conduct her confirmation hearing.
  3. Jeff Sessions, nominee for Attorney General has donated $42,500 to seven of the eight Republican Judiciary Committee members who conducted his confirmation hearing.
  4. Dan Coat, nominee for Director of National Intelligence donated $25,000 through his leadership PAC to five members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which will conduct his confirmation hearing.
  5. Tom Price, nominee to head the Department of Health and Human Services has donated $22,500 to six senators who will take part in his confirmation hearings.
  6. Mike Pompeo, nominee to head the Central Intelligence Agency has donated $14,500 through his leadership PAC to three senators of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
  7. Mick Mulvaney, nominated as Director of the Office of Management and Budget has donated $1,500 to a senator who serves on two of the committees conducting his hearings.

Ethics Office Warns of Fast Moving Confirmations

Much has been said about ethics in this election cycle, and possibly even more in the last week.

Remember last week when House Republicans voted without any warning to effectively dismantle the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE)? People all over the country called/emailed/tweeted their outrage resulting in the Republicans backing down and reversing course. President-Elect Trump saw fit to comment as well.

Now the Office of Governmental Ethics (OGE) issues a warning about the rapid pace at which confirmation hearings are moving for appointments of President-elect Trump:

“More significantly, it has left some of the nominees with potentially unknown or unresolved ethics issues shortly before their scheduled hearings,” – Walter Shaub, Director of Office of Governmental Ethics

Senate committees are set to start the confirmation process for several Trump Cabinet nominees:

After Nameless Take Down Streep Receives Shade from President Elect

Never one to let a reasoned and thoughtful critique stand the President Elect attacked Meryl Streep after she spoke at some length during her acceptance speech on Sunday Night during the Golden Globes.

The tweet left readers hanging, but I’m sure we can imagine just a few of the choice words our next President would like to have finished that sentence with.

Meanwhile, he continues to deny that he mocked a disabled reporter…

 

Fortunately for Ms. Streep, she came up through Hollywood and her skin is a bit thicker than the President Elect.

Trump Son-in-Law Tapped as Senior Adviser Despite 1967 Anti-Nepotism Law

Jared Kushner is to be named senior adviser to the president according to the New York Times.

This despite the US having a fifty year old anti-nepotism law on the books forbidding such appointments.

The story behind the law is fascinating and involves one of America’s favorite political families, the Kennedys. Turns out that we can thank Lyndon B. Johnson’s vehement distaste for Robert Kennedy. After JFK appointed Bobby to the post of Attorney General Johnson was so outraged that in 1967 he signed the Anti-Nepotism Law which forbids presidents from appointing family members to cabinet, and by many interpretations, civilian positions within the White House.

Trump Camp Admits Russia Behind Election Hacking

“Russia and other entities engaged in cyber attacks on the United States all day long. He accepts the fact that this particular case was entities in Russia” – Incoming Trump Chief of Staff Reince Priebus

After months of suggesting otherwise the Trump team is admitting there is credible evidence that Russia was involved in hacking the DNC during the 2016 election cycle.

President-Elect Asks for Congressional Funding for Border Wall

After insisting that Mexico would pay for his Border Wall, Trump asks House Republicans to fund the $12-30+ billion project.

I will build a great wall — and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me –and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words. – Donald J. Trump June 16, 2015

Mr. Trump claims he is not breaking his promise in a tweet:

Mr. Trump, however, has not offered any detail on how he expects to collect on such a claim. This is especially troubling because Mexico seems to have no intention of paying for this wall:

“Paying for a wall is not part of our vision” – Claudia Ruiz Massieu, Mexico Foreign Minister

While Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto remains willing and open to working with President-Elect Trump, this is going to prove and interesting challenge between the countries.

Congressional Republicans are embracing the idea of paying for the wall at any cost, and looking for ways to provide the financial support required for the project while Democrats and budgetary conservatives in the Republican party remain opposed to such expenditures.

 

Trump Dismisses All Ambassadors & Special Envoys Effective by Inauguration

Not unheard of, but certainly a hard line: The President-Elect has chosen to require all Obama administration Envoys and Ambassadors to leave their foreign post by January 20.

The edict was issued on December 23 2016, giving the diplomats less than a month (without exception) to wrap their affairs and move themselves and any family back home.

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Full story at NY Times.

Toyota Target of Trump Tweet Threat

President-Elect Trump has blasted import car maker, Toyota, with big border taxes should they proceed with plans to make their popular Corolla cars in Mexico.

No word yet whether they would be subject to similar border taxes should those or other cars be made in other counties.

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