Monday, January 16, 2017

THE RESISTANCE - This Week in Trump-Land

And the lies and distortion start.

"Some Trump nominees missing crucial ethics paperwork as confirmation hearings begin" PBS NewsHour 1/9/2017


SUMMARY:  Capitol Hill will be buzzing this week as President-elect Donald Trump's Cabinet nominees answer questions in Senate hearings.  But as of last weekend, some nominees hadn't finished turning in their paperwork or cleared their ethics reviews.  Democrats are calling it a rush job and have threatened to slow down the process.  Lisa Desjardins sits down with Judy Woodruff for more.

LISA DESJARDINS (NewsHour):  The president-elect walked out of Trump Tower with a business leader, Jack Ma of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, but his words were about politics and his Cabinet nominees.

DONALD TRUMP (R), President-Elect:  I think they will all pass.

LISA DESJARDINS:  That after Trump met with a key ally, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who dismissed concerns about vetting.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, Majority Leader:  Yes, everybody will be properly vetted, as they have been in the past, and I'm hopeful that we will get up to six or seven picks of the national security team in place on day one.

LISA DESJARDINS:  All this ahead of a packed week, with two confirmation hearings set for tomorrow, five more set for Wednesday, and at least three slated for Thursday.

But NewsHour learned that education secretary-designate Betsy DeVos and three other Trump nominees have not yet cleared an ethics review.  Democrats with their Senate leader, Chuck Schumer, called it a rush job.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, Minority Leader:  Jamming all these hearings into one or two days, making members run from committee to committee makes no sense.

Even if it takes a few weeks to get through them all in order to carefully consider their nominations, that is well worth it.

LISA DESJARDINS:  Schumer has threatened to slow down the Senate confirmation process if senators don't have all the nominees' information.

Meanwhile, Republicans point to 2009, when the hearing schedule was nearly as packed, and 14 Obama nominees, like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Attorney General Eric Holder, were confirmed in the first nine days after inauguration.

Now that is being called the Obama treatment, relatively fast confirmation.  But Democrats say the difference is that President Obama's nominees all cleared their ethics review process before their hearings, even before they were announced.  The Office of Government Ethics says some Trump nominees have not even filed their paperwork yet.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  So, Lisa, thank you for that report, but take us through this process.  What exactly is required of these nominees?

LISA DESJARDINS:  Well, it depends on what committee you're going in front of.

Take you through what everyone is required of, first of all, three things.  Every one of these nominees has to have an FBI background check, they have to have given financial disclosures to their committee of choice — or the committee that oversees their nomination, and they have to fill out a committee questionnaire.

But, Judy, what depends on each committee is the following, whether or not an ethics review must be filed before a hearing or simply before a vote.  It must be filed at some time.  But that's why we see these hearings this week before the ethics reviews are all in.  Also, only three committees require tax forms from the past.

"In hearing, Sessions says he'll put law above his own views" PBS NewsHour 1/10/2017

IMHO:  A lie.


SUMMARY:  It's the first day of confirmation hearings for President-elect Donald Trump's Cabinet.  Attorney general nominee Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions spent the day before the Senate Judiciary Committee defending his views on race and civil rights and separating himself from the president-elect's campaign statements.  Lisa Desjardins reports from Capitol Hill and joins Judy Woodruff for more.

"Is Trump's plan for his company enough to avoid conflicts of interest?" PBS NewsHour 1/11/2017

NOT really.


SUMMARY:  President-elect Trump says he's going above and beyond in mitigating potential conflicts between his government office and his private interests.  But is his plan for his sons to manage his company while he retains ownership sufficient?  Steve Inskeep discusses with Norman Eisen former Special Counsel to President Obama, and Richard Painter former associate counsel to President George W. Bush.

"What kind of threat does Russia pose to the U.S.?" PBS NewsHour 1/9/2017


SUMMARY:  President-elect Trump has said he would like to improve relations with Russia.  But his choice for defense secretary, Gen. James Mattis, views Russia as America's number one threat.  What's the reality of the White House-Kremlin dynamic?  Steve Inskeep discusses with Evelyn Farkas a former Defense Department official, and Michael McFaul former U.S. Ambassador to Russia.

"What we still don't know after a week dominated by Russia questions" PBS NewsHour 1/13/2017


SUMMARY:  Russia loomed over this week's congressional hearings.  What kind of investigation is needed to look into unverified reports that Russia has information on the president-elect?  And why didn't the White House do more early on to stop Russian hacking?  Steve Inskeep speaks with David Ignatius of The Washington Post, who has been compiling unanswered questions about each of the players.

"Hearings reveal Cabinet nominees' views at odds with Trump" PBS NewsHour 1/13/2017


SUMMARY:  At their confirmation hearings, many of the opinions voiced by the president-elect's nominees were very different from what Mr. Trump proposed during the campaign.  From Sen. Jeff Sessions' position on waterboarding to retired Gen. James Mattis' take on the Iran nuclear deal, nominees made it clear that the administration will have a diversity of opinions.  Steve Inskeep reports.

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