Transition Briefing: Dan Coats Expected to Be Named Intelligence Director

by admin January 5, 2017 at 10:09 pm

So the conservative Club For Growth, a big supporter of Republican candidates, jumped in on Thursday.

“The President-elect’s threat of a ‘big border tax’ is bad policy and bad precedent,” said the political action committee’s president, David McIntosh. “American consumers, workers and businesses would be the big losers if tariffs were used to arbitrarily punish companies.”

The auto industry has been a popular target of the president-elect’s, especially as he campaigned on bringing back jobs to the United States. It has managed to knock the industry on its heels, as it comes off a record year of sales. Ford, an early target of Mr. Trump’s, said on Tuesday that it was ditching plans to build a plant in Mexico and instead would invest millions building out production in Michigan.

But keeping or creating more of these auto manufacturing jobs in the United States may not necessarily be a good thing for everyone. In Mexico, wages rarely cross $10 an hour, a third of what a majority of unionized workers in the United States earn.

For Americans looking to buy cars, those higher wages could add up to higher sticker prices.

One last effort to derail Trump’s presidency

Could Mr. Trump’s presidency be derailed on a technicality? Probably not, but his opponents keep trying.

A joint session of Congress will convene on Friday, with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. presiding, to count the electoral votes and officially name Mr. Trump the 45th president of the United States.

But wait!

A team of anti-Trump lawyers has done a painstaking, exhaustive look at each of the 300-odd electors who cast their votes for Mr. Trump. Their conclusion: at least 50 were ineligible to serve as electors, either because they did not live in the congressional district they represented or they held dual posts — elector and some other position — contrary to the rules of their states.

“We urge you, our representatives, to prepare written objections for Jan. 6th,” the team wrote at the top of a 1,000-page legal brief.

Such an exhaustive examination may well have turned up such issues for each of the recent presidential elections, but it is a mark of the continuing resistance to Mr. Trump that it was undertaken this go-round.

Will the Republican Congress listen? To ask is to answer.

A pointed missive from Obama

President-elect Trump enjoys tweaking his critics with early-morning 140-character Twitter postings; Mr. Obama prefers the 1,800-word letter.

On Thursday, the White House released an 18-paragraph missive from Mr. Obama to the American people, which recounts the challenges faced and accomplishments achieved over the eight years of his presidency — and includes some subtle digs at Mr. Trump.

“We’ve actually begun the long task of reversing inequality,” Mr. Obama writes in the letter, noting that there is more to do on that front. “What won’t help is taking health care away from 30 million Americans, most of them white and working class; denying overtime pay to workers, most of whom have more than earned it; or privatizing Medicare and Social Security and letting Wall Street regulate itself again — none of which middle-class Americans voted for.”

Mr. Trump and congressional Republicans have made it clear that some of those moves — including rolling back Mr. Obama’s signature health care law and slashing Obama-era regulations — are priorities as the president-elect prepares to take office.

Mr. Obama’s letter, along with “exit memos” from each of his cabinet secretaries to be released on Thursday, is intended to make a closing argument against the rollbacks.

Trump posts his response, sort of

Mr. Trump did not respond directly to the president’s farewell message, but he did take to Twitter to answer Mr. Obama’s dig on the Affordable Care Act repeal — in his inimitable way.

Of note, the president-elect’s Twitter posts came out as Washington was more tuned in to intelligence leaders testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Russia’s suspected hacking efforts to help Mr. Trump get elected. But diversionary tactics aside, the message was not quite right. Democrats, led by Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, the man who would have been vice president, had just issued an appeal to Republicans to “fix” the Affordable Care Act instead of barreling toward repealing it.

Also, so much for cordial relations between the incoming president and the new Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer of New York.

Subcontractors on Washington hotel sue Trump

Throughout the presidential campaign, Democrats hammered Mr. Trump for stiffing small businesses that subcontracted on his company’s construction jobs. In fact, some Democrats say, Hillary Clinton may well have fared better in blue-collar states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin if she had hit the theme harder.

Well, two Washington area small businesses have filed liens on the Trump International Hotel, which recently opened just blocks from the White House, claiming they are owed millions for unpaid work, The Washington Post reported.

Joseph J. Magnolia Inc., a local plumbing company, is seeking nearly $3 million. A & D Construction of Sterling, Va., said it was owed $79,700 for wall base and crown molding work.

House to rebuke Obama on Israeli settlements

The House is expected to approve a measure on Thursday objecting to the recent United Nations resolution against the construction of Israeli settlements. That would counter the Obama administration’s decision not to shield Israel from condemnation last week by the United Nations.

The House resolution, which argues the United Nations resolution is counterproductive to peace talks, amounts to little more than congressional finger-wagging.

But the measure is expected to align House Democrats and Republicans with President-elect Trump, who took the unusual step of intervening in foreign policy before being sworn in when he pressured Mr. Obama to veto the resolution. The Obama administration instead abstained from the vote, breaking from the nation’s longstanding policy of protecting Israel from United Nations action.

Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat, denied that Democratic support of the House resolution would undermine Mr. Obama.

“The question’s going to be for members, ‘Do they agree that the United States abstaining was a positive, or do they believe it was not?’” he told reporters on Wednesday.

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