Archive

November 30th, 2016

TV networks learned nothing from covering Donald Trump

    Monday night's edition of "NBC Nightly News" featured a report on President-elect Donald Trump's transition. "President-elect Donald Trump met today with more prospective members of his administration as his team released a video of Trump talking about his legislative priorities. At the same time, questions remained about how Trump will separate the work of his businesses from his work on the nation's business." Hallie Jackson followed up with a detailed account of Trump's overseas holdings and their implications for a Trump presidency.

    All well and good. But: What anchor Lester Holt didn't detail was a meeting that he himself had attended at Trump Tower earlier in the day. He wasn't alone, as a number of other network dignitaries from five outlets -- CNN, ABC News, NBC News, Fox News and CBS News -- huddled with the president-elect. Attendees included Chuck Todd (NBC News), Phil Griffin (MSNBC), Norah O'Donnell (CBS News), Gayle King (CBS News), Charlie Rose (CBS News) and Jeff Zucker (CNN).

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Trump’s Demand for Love

    I had just shaken the president-elect’s normal-size hand and he was moving on to the next person when he wheeled around, took a half step back, touched my arm and looked me in the eye anew.

    “I’m going to get you to write some good stuff about me,” Donald Trump said.

    It’s entirely possible. I keep an open mind. But I’m decided on this much: Winning the most powerful office in the world did nothing to diminish his epic ache for adoration or outsize need to tell everyone how much he deserves it.

    He sat down for more than an hour with about two dozen of us at The Times on Tuesday afternoon, and what subject do you suppose he spent his first eight minutes on? When the floor was his, to use as he pleased?

    The incredibleness of his win two weeks ago.

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Trump Reassures the Media (For Now)

    “I think you’ll be happy, I think you’ll be happy.”

    That was President-elect Donald Trump, talking to a group of New York Times journalists today about his views on the First Amendment.

    The real issue, of course, is not whether journalists are happy. (We’re not exactly a popular bunch with most Americans.) The issue is whether the next president and his administration plan to remain faithful to the Constitution.

    And there are reasons to worry. During the campaign, Trump referred to the reporters covering him as “scum” and said that he wanted to “open up” libel laws to make it easier to sue media companies for unfavorable coverage.

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Trump may have just flatly and openly admitted to a conflict of interest

    Donald Trump just wrapped up a meeting with editors and reporters of the New York Times. Reporter Maggie Haberman relays that this happened:

    "I might have brought it up," Trump says of Farage meeting and wind farms.

    In saying this, Trump may have flatly and openly admitted to a conflict of interest, according to Noah Bookbinder, the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

    Trump's admission that he "might have brought up" wind farms in his meeting with Nigel Farage is a reference to today's New York Times story reporting this:

    ---

    When President-elect Donald Trump met with the British politician Nigel Farage in recent days, he encouraged Mr. Farage and his entourage to oppose the kind of offshore wind farms that Mr. Trump believes will mar the pristine view from one of his two Scottish golf courses, according to one person present.

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Trump can't (entirely) shut down federal agencies

    Many Republicans hope, and many Democrats fear, that Donald Trump's administration will close or shrink a variety of federal agencies and offices. Both the hope and the fear are justified -- even without a supermajority in the Senate, there's a lot Republicans can do to restrict the actions of the executive branch.

    Let's start with what Trump can't do: Acting on his own, could he disband an agency or department -- say, the Department of Energy? Absolutely not. He would need Congress for that, and almost certainly 60 votes (and it's not going to get close to that). But his administration could work to cut staff, if only by refusing to fill vacancies, and it could certainly work with Congress to reduce appropriations.

    Far more important, Trump could do a lot to reduce agency activity.

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Markets would struggle to digest corporate tax reform

    Financial markets have been optimistic since the election of Donald J. Trump in the U.S., in part because investors assume that the incoming administration will pass some sort of business-friendly tax reform. But some of those reforms could hit investors in unexpected ways.

    One plank of Trump's business-friendly tax reform, which Hillary Clinton proposed as well, entails giving multinational corporations a one-time chance to repatriate overseas cash at a lower tax rate. Some investors fear that this would create a large one-time tax payment that would suck liquidity out of financial markets.

    U.S. corporations hold over $2.5 trillion in cash overseas. President-Elect Trump has proposed that the repatriation tax rate for this cash be 10 percent. Perhaps after negotiations with Congress as part of a larger tax reform bill, the rate ends up being more like 15 percent -- still a hetfty discount on the U.S. corporate income tax rate of about 35 percent. And then let's imagine that $1 trillion gets repatriated at that tax rate, for a one-time tax bill of $150 billion. How would that affect markets?

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In 'Trump effect,' nations adapt to uncertainty

    During the presidential campaign, many foreign ambassadors quietly warned that a Donald Trump presidency would be a disaster.

    It's easy to see why. As Robert Kagan, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a Clinton supporter, put it in a column over the weekend, Trump's victory marks the end of America as the anchor of a liberal international order.

    This was certainly how the president-elect campaigned. On the trail, Trump shattered the bipartisan foreign policy consensus on issues ranging from the NATO alliance to the prohibition of torture. He mused about a nuclear Japan and boasted that he knew more than the generals.

    So one might expect that after Trump's victory, U.S. allies and adversaries would begin exploring new relationships in a post-American world. It's early days, but this is not yet apparent. Instead, America's friends and foes are exploring whether Trump is a man with whom they can do business -- someone they can meet halfway.

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November 29th

Far from draining the swamp, Trump seems poised to deepen the muck

    It is our duty to demand ethical integrity from our presidents, and Donald Trump cannot be allowed to make himself an exception.

    He is already trying hard to do so.

    Amid the hustle and bustle of his transition, according to The New York Times, President-elect Trump found time last week for a visit from the Indian partners with whom he is developing a pair of residential towers in Pune, a sprawling city not far from Mumbai. And Trump received a congratulatory phone call from Argentine President Mauricio Macri, with whose father Trump had business dealings in the past. Trump and Macri denied published reports that Trump lobbied for an office building project he and a group of partners want to build in Buenos Aires.

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After this election, what I can do for my daughter

    I voted for Hillary Clinton for a dozen reasons. Not surprisingly, one of those reasons was fueled by my hope to finally have a woman at the executive helm. Raising a daughter, one who is an impressionable 9 years old, made me want it all the more. For her to see a female leader in that role would validate paths I did not actually see myself while I was a young girl.

    Wednesday morning after the election, we both shed tears when it did not come to pass.

    I am now coming to terms with the error in my messaging to myself and, perhaps more important, to my daughter. Over the past nine years, I have shortchanged so many other competent women who are equally viable role models, whether they be leaders or the sturdy cogs that keep things moving. I have deep regret about that now.

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What Democrats owe the country

    Senate Democrats think they can hold Donald Trump accountable by challenging him to deliver on issues where he has made populist noises.

    Supporters of this strategy insist that offering to work with Trump where he shares Democratic goals is the best way to split the Republican Party or, alternatively, to expose Trump's flimflam if he fails to deliver for working-class Americans whose cause he rhetorically championed.

    In normal circumstances, this approach might be just the ticket. Unfortunately, this moment is anything but normal.

    Millions feel vulnerable to Trump's moves on immigration and doubt his commitment to equality before the law. We should be alarmed by his flouting of widely accepted norms governing conflicts of interest and the right to dissent. There is good reason to ask Democratic leaders to send unambiguous signals of resistance.

    His selection of right-wing figures such as Stephen K. Bannon and Michael Flynn for White House posts and of longtime civil rights foe Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general only feed legitimate demands for a strong pushback.

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