Trump at rally

“You know, I’m, like, a smart person”

Among all of the discussion about the Russian involvement in getting Trump elected, one item hasn’t yet received much play in the press.

In an interview with Fox on Sunday, and excerpted in a New York Times story:

He also indicated that, as president, he would not take the daily intelligence briefing that President Obama and his predecessors have received. Mr. Trump, who has received the briefing sparingly as president-elect, said that it was often repetitive and that he would take it “when I need it.” He said his vice president, Mike Pence, would receive the daily briefing.

“You know, I’m, like, a smart person. I don’t have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day for the next eight years,” he said. He added that he had instructed the officials who give the briefing: “‘If something should change from this point, immediately call me. I’m available on a one-minute’s notice.’”

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Photo of Merrick Garland

No We Can’t Sneak Judge Garland In Through The Back Door

Crooks & Liars put out an audacious plan, based on twitter posts from Daily Kos’ David Waldman.

The foundation of Waldman’s idea is that newly elected senators are not sworn in yet so their positions are vacant. At noon on January 3, previous senatorial terms expire. At that time there are 66 senators whose terms are not expiring: 34  Democrat, 2 independent, and 30 Republican. Therefore, at noon on January 3, Democrats would be in the majority.  Following Waldman’s line of thought, since there are only 66 senators at noon,  it would only require 33 votes to confirm Judge Merrick Garland.

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Jeff Sessions

What kind of damage can a Trump Cabinet do?

If we were to search for the absolute best leaders for the different cabinet positions in the White House, we’d find Trump’s picks directly opposite them. A cabinet leader should support the mission of his or her cabinet, and seek to ensure it operates to the best of its ability. Trump’s picks have been, almost universally and vehemently, opposed to both the work and the premise of the organizations they’ve been picked to lead.

I shudder at who Trump will pick for Department of Interior and the EPA, and suspect that they’ll be very similar to Ronald Reagan’s picks of James G. Watt and Anne Gorsuch, respectively. Both individuals loathed the federal government. Watt spent his short tenure as Department of Interior trying to give away public land resource rights to every polluting industry in the United States, and Anne Gorsuch packed the EPA with industry cronies, starved it of money, and did everything in her power to stop it from enforcing laws it was tasked with enforcing.

The only saving grace is they were so controversial, so inept, and so fanatical that both were forced to resign within their first terms. Even then, their efforts damaged and demoralized the departments they led.

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Obama and his cabinet

Two men and one woman does not make a diverse cabinet

Donald Trump has selected two women for his cabinet: Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, and Nikki Haley, as Ambassador to the United Nations. Rumors have it that he’s selected Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development or as Health and Human Services Secretary. The media has hailed Trump’s recent appointees as a move towards diversity.

It is still early in Trump’s cabinet and senior level picks. We can appreciate him appointing two women and two people of color, but if these selections are the sum and total of his diverse appointments than no, he can’t be congratulated. And diversity is more than numbers: we’ll need to look at who he has selected for what position in order to truly judge Trump’s outreach.

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Donald Trump at rally

Can Trump break the rules (and regulations)?

Last week, we established that Trump can’t abolish the EPA, or any other department or regulatory agency without Congressional support. Even if Congress and Trump do abolish an agency or department, the laws the organization enforces still must be enforced.

What about those laws? Can Trump abolish a law, or refuse to enforce it?

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