The continuing counterintelligence investigation means that Mr. Trump will take the oath of office on Friday with his associates under investigation and after the intelligence agencies concluded that the Russian government had worked to help elect him. As president, Mr. Trump will oversee those agencies and have the authority to redirect or stop at least some of these efforts.
Chaffetz has said Shaub is acting unethically by offering opinions on conflicts of interest without fully researching the circumstances.
Democrats have countered that Chaffetz is engaging in a coordinated effort to undermine the office responsible for ethics reviews of Cabinet nominees and ensuring they will avoid conflicts of interests.
“Since you will not allow the American people to witness the meeting with Director Shaub, I am requesting that you at least allow the other members of our committee to participate — including Democrats and Republicans,” Cummings wrote. “I cannot think of any reason to deny all members of our committee the opportunity to hear first-hand what Mr. Shaub has to say.”
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is visiting Syria, and no one is sure why or who’s paying for the trip.
Privatizing PBS and NPR, and eliminating money for minority business development, violence against women programs, civil rights, renewable energy, and climate change. Sounds about right for Trump’s budget plans.
“A member of Trump’s transition team floated the idea of including tanks and missile launchers in the inaugural parade.” He was granted a 20-plane flyover instead.
Transition Team & Cabinet Appointees
Trump press secretary turned today’s press conference into an infomercial for Trump’s D.C. hotel, urging journalists to “check it out.” They can’t; the press have been banned from the hotel this week.
Newt Gingrich thinks federal employees are too partisan: “All those bureaucrats overwhelmingly voted for Clinton. There won’t be any real cooperation until we change federal law so we can fire them.”
Pruitt has several lawsuits pending against the EPA. If confirmed as head of the EPA, as Sen. Ed Markey pointed out, he would be “plaintiff, defendant, judge, and jury.” He’s also hugely problematic in other ways:
By focusing on regulatory certainty as a key priority, Pruitt appears to view the role of EPA administrator through the lens of the regulated entity — the polluter — rather than the environment or public health. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) appeared to become frustrated with Pruitt’s process-focused approach during her questioning. She eventually urged: “I need you also to be worried about human health….I need you feel it….I need you to know it.”
The Treasury nominee initially omitted more than $100 million from disclosures. His company once foreclosed on a 90-year-old woman for underpaying her mortgage by $0.27. He defends the bank’s profiting from the foreclosure crisis:
During the hearing, Senate Democrats kept returning to how OneWest handled its portfolio of troubled mortgages. In one heated exchange, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown told Mnuchin, “you’ve been rather defensive, probably for good reason, about this.”
Mnuchin shot back: “It’s not that I’m being defensive; I’m proud.”
He says the unemployment rate is not real. Discrediting accepted statistics is a great approach if you don’t think they’ll be flattering to you later.
The It’s Time to Fight website has a great summary of the awful things Tom Price said in his confirmation hearing.
Trump could name Agriculture Secretary whose drought strategy was to pray for rain. He’s a climate change denier.
The computer scientist famed for being injured by a Unibomber package is being named a science adviser to Trump.
Beyond computer science circles, Gelernter has made a name for himself as a vehement critic of modern academia. In his 2013 book, “America-Lite: How Imperial Academia Dismantled Our Culture (and Ushered in the Obamacrats),” he condemned “belligerent leftists” and blamed intellectualism for the disintegration of patriotism and traditional family values.
Perry tried to claim his views on climate change have evolved, but Al Franken was having none of it.
Republican Lawmakers in Five States Propose Bills to Criminalize Peaceful Protest, and I’m pretty sure they missed the bill in Indiana I mentioned yesterday