With Breanne Deppisch
THE BIG IDEA: The uprising inside the House Democratic caucus is about much more than last week's election results.
Yes, Nancy Pelosi poorly managed expectations. At one point, she said that her party could pick up the 30 seats necessary to win the House majority. Even during the home stretch, she mulled a gain of more than 20 seats. She wound up getting only six.
But the blow-up that caused the postponement of leadership elections from this Thursday to Nov. 30 – a decision made at the end of a tumultuous, two-hour meeting – is really about young lawmakers who are frustrated by a seniority system that limits their influence, African Americans who don’t feel like they have enough sway over Pelosi’s strategy and members from the heartland who feel that the dominance of coastal elites in the caucus has made it harder for them to connect with their constituents.
-- For years now, there has been a problematic lack of upward mobility for younger Democrats. Consider:
The top three Democrats in leadership are 76 (Pelosi), 77 (Steny Hoyer) and 76 (Jim Clyburn). The top three Republican leaders, in contrast, are 46 (Paul Ryan), 51 (Kevin McCarthy) and 51 (Steve Scalise). Pelosi and Hoyer have together led the House Democrats for 14 years now. Ryan, of course, replaced John Boehner just last year after an open election process. (And while rank-and-file Republicans get to vote on who will chair the NRCC, Pelosi picks the leader of the DCCC.)
House Democrats do not have term limits for their committee chairs, as Republicans do. The average age of the Democratic ranking members on the 22 House committees this Congress is 68. The average age of the Republican chairmen is 60. On only four of the 22 committees is the top Republican older than the top Democrat.
The seniority rules mean that the most important committees are led by the oldest members. The ranking Democrat on Judiciary, John Conyers, is 87. Ways and Means ranking member Sander Levin is 85. Nita Lowey, ranking on Appropriations, is 79. Maxine Waters, ranking on Financial Services, is 78. For context, the Republicans who lead the four crucial committees are, from oldest to youngest, 78, 64, 61 and 59.
-- There is palpable concern among Democratic elites around town that too many of these ranking members in the House are not pit bull types who can effectively argue for Democratic principles on television and during floor debates. It’s a refrain you hear constantly: Do Democrats really want the 85-year-old Levin running point against the GOP’s drive to repeal Obamacare and negotiating what could be the most significant rewrite of the tax code in a generation? Do they want the 87-year-old Conyers being the tip of the spear against a Trump Justice Department and all the scandals that could potentially bring?
“There is broad angst in the Democratic caucus,” said Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), speaking of no one in particular. “To stick with the same message over four bad election cycles is a mistake. I think part of it is that the messengers have to change.”
-- This is a stark contrast to the Senate, where Democrats have several proven fighters who are ready to rumble with the Trump administration. Pelosi’s team will complain that the aforementioned sentiment is ageist, but it’s really about more than age. It’s about temperament and drive. Bernie Sanders is 75 and Elizabeth Warren is 67, but no one doubts their willingness or ability to go toe-to-toe with the right.
-- Junior House Democrats – chock full of potential and ambition – grumble constantly about how suffocated they feel. The reality, which no wants to grouse about publicly, is that toiling away on the back bench in the minority party is a pretty horrible existence. You think you’re important when you get elected, but then once you arrive it turns out you’re almost totally irrelevant. Only people in your home district actually care about you, and even there your name ID is probably embarrassingly low.
Unlike the Senate, the lower chamber is a purely majoritarian institution. There is no filibuster. There are no earmarks. Unless you’re a crazy firebrand, or have an especially impressive resume (e.g. you’re a war hero), your press secretary probably cannot even get you booked on the three major cable news channels. You get fewer staffers than you assume when you arrive, and many of your employees are basically fresh out of college. They don’t really know anything about legislating, but it doesn’t really matter because leadership calls all the shots.
The young members who do get lavished with attention are the ones in competitive districts that make them vulnerable. But those are the members who have to spend almost all of their time dialing for dollars, begging rich people they don’t know for money from a windowless call center. You may wear the member’s pin proudly, but really it is a life of indignity after indignity.
-- The young generation of Democrats does not want to wait for God knows how long to be heard. Two whippersnappers illustrate this tension perfectly: Ruben Gallego, 36, is from Phoenix and Seth Moulton, 38, is from Boston. Both graduated from Harvard. Both saw combat as Marine infantrymen in Iraq. Both won a second term last week. Both envision themselves doing much bigger things. And both agitated publicly to delay the leadership elections.
“We don’t want to rush to a leadership vote for them to think everything is business as usual,” said Gallego. “Everything is not good. Business as usual is not going to work.”
“Delaying the vote on leadership positions is the necessary first step to have that conversation,” said Moulton, who defeated Democratic incumbent John Tierney in a 2014 primary. “The American people cried out last week, and we’ve got to listen.”
On Monday night, to prepare for the contentious caucus meeting, Moulton convened a strategy dinner of about 20 fellow insurgents at Acqua Al 2, the fancy Italian restaurant in Eastern Market. He declined yesterday to say whether he will back Pelosi.
-- Nancy Pelosi is both beloved and feared by her members. Even many of the young bucks who want to rise through the ranks faster recognize what an incredibly shrewd deal-maker she is. She’s often out-foxed Republican leaders and has capitalized on the unruly and undisciplined House Freedom to extract big concessions at key moments. She’s typecast as a limousine liberal, but the much better way to understand Pelosi is that her dad was the mayor of Baltimore. She learned machine politics in a big city.
Pelosi knows how to keep her caucus in line, or at least the majority, and that’s why she remains VERY HEAVILY FAVORED to stay on as minority leader – even with the postponed election. A smaller Democratic caucus even works to her advantage in some ways. With all but a handful of Blue Dogs gone, she’s got California locked up. The female members adore her (More than 40 of the 54 have signed a letter offering support). And the bleeding-heart liberals, who dominate the Democratic caucus to a greater degree than at any point in U.S. history, see her as a fellow traveler. She’s also one of the best fundraisers in political history.
-- Tim Ryan is the likeliest challenger to Pelosi, but even he may still decide not to go through with it. He told our Paul Kane during an interview this morning that he has not made a final decision. "This is not fun anymore. This is not fun to wallow in the minority,” he said about the morale of rank-and-file Democrats. Asked about the party’s standing, he deadpanned: "You can't fall off the floor."
The Ohioan must consider what happened to Heath Shuler, a moderate from North Carolina, when he challenged Pelosi in 2010 after the party lost 63 seats: She crushed him like a bug, 150-43, and he subsequently left Congress.
Some of the rambunctious youngsters are playing more of the inside game, recognizing the clear risks of crossing Pelosi. Joe Kennedy III, who like Moulton is a member of the Massachusetts delegation in his 30s, expressed support yesterday for retaining her as minority leader. Not only is he a member of the Kennedy clan, which guarantees a national profile, but he is considered the favorite to succeed Warren whenever his former Harvard law school professor decides to give up her Senate seat. (Moulton, if his bid to shake up the House fails, might feel compelled to, hypothetically, run against someone like Sen. Ed Markey in a primary.)
-- The key issue going forward now is whether the Pelosi dissidents stay unified or break up into competing factions. As the trite but true Will Rogers aphorism goes, “I’m not a member of any organized party. I’m a Democrat.” Some people just want to force the old guys at the top of the committee dais to be more politically and legislative active, which is altogether different than those who want to oust the top leaders.
-- The Congressional Black Caucus privately would like to depose Pelosi, if she could be taken out. But, but, but: The CBC is also the leading opponent to creating term limits for committee chairs and steadfastly opposes other reforms that the younger, mostly white, members want. It was a CBC member, 72-year-old Emanuel Cleaver, who formally made the motion to postpone the leadership elections. “We just got a shellacking last Tuesday,” CBC chairman G.K. Butterfield said after the meeting. “We got an unexpected defeat and we’ve got to recalibrate and decide how we go forward.” (For what it’s worth, Cleaver and Butterfield claimed that this was not the first step in a coup d’etat.)
-- Another flashpoint: Coastal elites really have a vice grip on the House Democratic caucus. In the current Congress, 121 of the 186 Democrats come from states on the Left Coast or the Eastern seaboard. That’s two thirds, and the number will actually tick higher next year. Even more starkly, more than one-third of House Democrats hail from just three states: California (39), New York (18) and Massachusetts (9).
Meanwhile, Democrats have gotten totally throttled in the Rust Belt: Pennsylvania’s delegation has 13 Republicans and five Democrats. Ohio’s delegation has 13 Republicans and five Democrats. Michigan has nine Republicans and five Democrats. Wisconsin has five Republicans and three Democrats. The fact that the GOP won big in the 2010 midterms and then controlled the redistricting process is a very important factor here, but it’s a red herring to pretend that it is the only one. Democrats will never control the House again until they figure out how to flip those numbers. That’s partly what animates Ryan’s potential challenge.
-- To be sure, Republicans have their own problems. Namely diversity. Seven of the top eight House Republican leaders are men. Just one is a woman. In fact, there are only 21 Republican women in the House…
Welcome to the Daily 202, PowerPost's morning newsletter.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
President Obama after walking through the Propylaia, the monumental entrance to the Acropolis pic.twitter.com/IVXO51hUQY— Arlette Saenz (@ArletteSaenz) November 16, 2016
- Just 3 in 10 Americans say Trump has a mandate to carry out his agenda.
- Six in 10 say he should seek compromise with Democrats when they strongly disagree with his proposals.
- More than 7 in 10 Americans said the campaign made them “angry” and more than half reported feeling “stressed out” by campaign news. Trump’s supporters say they are largely “ebullient” about the result, while Clinton backers range from disappointed to fearful to “apoplectic.”
- More than 6 in 10 said they expect to see “major” changes in Washington during his presidency.
- Trump supporters want to see decisive action in the next four years: 9 in 10 said they are dissatisfied with the country in recent years, and 8 in 10 say “large scale changes” are necessary to correct the nation’s course. These responses are particularly striking when set against the fact that Obama’s approval rating stands at 56 percent – and the 28 percent who “strongly disapprove” is the lowest level in more than five years.
-- Trump ditched his press pool again last night, slipping out of Trump Tower in order to dine with his family at the 21 Club in Midtown. The campaign told reporters that the president-elect would not be moving from Trump Tower for the rest of the evening. Less than two hours later, Trump and his family were seen driving away from the building in a motorcade. A Bloomberg reporter happened to be eating at the restaurant when he arrived.
-- Statement from Jeff Mason, the president of the White House Correspondents Association: “One week after the election, it is unacceptable for the next president of the United States to travel without a regular pool to record his movements and inform the public about his whereabouts. The White House Correspondents' Association is pleased to hear reassurances by the Trump transition team that it will respect long-held traditions of press access at the White House and support a pool structure. But the time to act on that promise is now. Pool reporters are in place in New York to cover the president-elect as he assembles his new administration. It is critical that they be allowed to do their jobs.”
-- Donald Jr. pushed back on the media's complaints this morning:
Give me a break! MSM talking about "unprecedented lack of transparency" because DJT takes his fam to diner w/o them https://t.co/ySnNJ7A7Ct— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) November 16, 2016
GET SMART FAST:
- The House passed two sanctions bills targeting Iran and Syria, sending a strong message about how it will try to shape foreign policy in the Trump administration. (Karoun Demirjian)
- German police in 60 cities staged sweeping raids targeting an Islamist missionary group, searching more than 190 mosques, apartments and offices in search of evidence that the group is recruiting for the Islamic State. (Anthony Faiola)
- White House officials urged the technology industry to better secure millions of devices such as fitness trackers and thermostats from hacking, citing runaway security problems in a wide range of devices that have recently been made internet-capable. (AP)
- Bob McDonnell is joining the faculty of Regent University as a distinguished professor. The former Virginia governor will establish the Governor’s Center for Federalism and Civility at the Virginia Beach-based school. (Laura Vozzella)
- Federal prosecutors in Boston are probing potentially illegal campaign contributions from lawyers at the Thornton Law Firm, investigating the firm’s practice of reimbursing partners for millions of dollars in political donations -- often in the exact amount and on the same day. (Boston Globe)
- San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, despite his protests during the national anthem, has never been registered to vote! (Sacramento Bee)
- An Oberlin College professor was finally fired for an outrageous post that said “Israeli and Zionist Jews” were responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks and for the 2015 Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris. (Valerie Strauss)
- The earliest intact stone version of the Ten Commandments is going up for auction today in Beverly Hills. Officials think the white marble slab was engraved around AD 300 to 800, and prospective buyers are bidding accordingly – pre-auction prices have already spiked to $240,000. (Jasper Scherer)
- A study on new cholesterol-busting drugs – known as PCSK9 inhibitors – found them to be highly effective in reducing plaque buildup in heart patients’ arteries. Researchers said the drugs sent plaque volume plunging to “subterranean” levels, and are optimistic that the medicine could one day supplement or replace statin medications taken daily by millions of Americans. (Ariana Eunjung Cha)
- Oklahoma City's airport was temporarily shut down after an airline employee was fatally shot in the parking lot. Authorities said they believe there may be a second victim, but they have not yet disclosed key details. (Mark Berman)
- Stanford sexual assault survivor “Emily Doe” was honored as Glamour’s 2016 Woman of the Year at an award ceremony in Los Angeles. Doe, who made headlines for her wrenching court statement against freshman swimmer Brock Turner, watched the ceremony at home— but said in prepared remarks that she was proud, grateful and still “determined to fight back and create joy in this life.” (Amy B Wang)
TRUMP'S DYSFUNCTIONAL TRANSITION CONTINUES TO GET MESSIER:
-- Vice president-elect Mike Pence, trying to assert more control over Trump’s transition effort, decided yesterday to ban all lobbyists from being officially involved, the Wall Street Journal reports.
-- The bloodletting in Trump’s transition team that began with last week’s ouster of Chris Christie escalated Tuesday with new departures -- particularly in the area of national security -- as power consolidated within an ever-smaller group of top Trump loyalists. From Karen DeYoung and Greg Miller: Ex-congressman Mike Rogers, a former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and the leading candidate for CIA director, was among at least four transition officials purged this week, apparently because of their perceived ties to the New Jersey governor. "As he had during the campaign, Trump appeared to be increasingly uncomfortable with outsiders and suspicious of those considered part of what one insider called the ‘bicoastal elite,’ who are perceived as trying to ‘insinuate’ themselves into positions of power. Those in the inner circle were winnowed to Trump loyalists and campaign staffers who helped devise his winning strategy."
-- A source close to Rogers told NBC that he was "the victim of a Stalinesque purge.”
-- Trump has requested that his son-in-law Jared Kushner sit in on his Presidential Daily Briefing, NBC News’s Andrea Mitchell scooped. Trump received his first full briefing yesterday and has reportedly designated both Kushner and Michael Flynn as his staff-level companions for the briefings going forward.
-- When you have to say that your process is "very organized," it's probably not. Trump tweeted this last night:
Very organized process taking place as I decide on Cabinet and many other positions. I am the only one who knows who the finalists are!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 16, 2016
Trump also denied Andrea's reporting (which is perhaps why whoever leaked it went to her...):
I am not trying to get "top level security clearance" for my children. This was a typically false news story.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 16, 2016
-- Ted Cruz is being considered for attorney general, per Bloomberg. The Texas senator visited Trump Tower yesterday, telling reporters the election was a “mandate for change” but declining to comment on any prospective position. Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier said in a statement that Cruz "looks forward to assisting the Trump administration.".
-- Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who helped write the state's tough immigration laws and is helping Trump’s transition efforts, says the president-elect could push “rapidly” ahead on construction of a Mexican border wall without Congressional approval by re-appropriating existing funds. In an interview with Reuters, Kobach said that Trump’s policy advisers had also discussed drafting a proposal for his consideration to reinstate a registry for immigrants from Muslim countries.
-- “Ethics experts say it’s crucial that the team building the new administration have a formal code of principles. But here’s a little understood fact about presidential transitions: They don’t have to follow a code of ethics unless they want to, and even if they do, they come up with the terms themselves," Lisa Rein and Elise Viebeck report. "In a break with tradition, the campaign — so far — has not produced one. While executive branch employees are subject to a variety of ethics rules, those rules have no power over administrations-in-waiting, which exist in legal limbo. All presidents-elect in modern history have developed codes of conduct, though.” And experts say concerns about Trump turning the management of his real estate empire over to his children are complicated by their appointment as executive council to his transition efforts – essentially empowering them to have a hand in decisions about top appointees who could affect their family business.”
-- Top Trump donors, meanwhile, were rewarded with slots on his official “inaugural committee." From Matea Gold and Elise Viebeck: Chairing the panel will be real estate investor Thomas Barrack Jr., who hosted Trump’s first fundraiser in May. Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam — who collectively gave at least $11.2 million to Trump and Trump-allied groups, were named as finance vice-chairs. Other major financial backers on the committee include Lew Eisenberg, who headed the RNC’s joint fundraising effort with Trump, Diane Hendricks, who gave at least $1.9 million, and Laurie J. Perlmutter, who gave $5 million to a pro-Trump super PAC.
WHO WILL TAKE OVER FOGGY BOTTOM?
-- Bob Corker said he is “unlikely” to be chosen as secretary of state, Paul Kane and Elise Viebeck report. “Has my name been in the mix? I’m pretty sure, yeah. Have I been having intimate conversations? No,” the Tennessee senator said in an interview. “Do I understand that it’s likely that people who’ve been involved in the center of this for some time, and have been surrogating on television, are likely front-runners? I would say that’s likely, yes.”
-- But, but, but: Rudy Giuliani and John Bolton would both have a very hard time getting confirmed.
Giuliani’s business ties are seen by many as a major red flag that should disqualify him from serving as the country's chief diplomat. From Mark Landler, Eric Lipton, and Jo Becker in the New York Times: "He built a lucrative consulting and speechmaking career after leaving City Hall. His firm, Giuliani Partners, has had contracts with the government of Qatar and the Canadian company that is building the Keystone XL oil pipeline, and Mr. Giuliani has given paid speeches to a shadowy Iranian opposition group that until 2012 was on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations. In one year — 2006 — Mr. Giuliani reported in a financial disclosure report that he had made 124 speeches, for as much as $200,000 each, and had earned a total of $11.4 million. He often made extravagant demands in return for agreeing to make a speech, including that the private plane that flew him to the engagement be a certain size."
Rand Paul threatened to filibuster both Bolton and Giuliani. He called on Trump to appoint someone who opposed the Iraq war like Trump claimed he did. This matters a great deal because he is on the Foreign Relations Committee. (Politico)
-- Eliot Cohen writes an op-ed in today's Post explaining why he has reversed his recommendation that Never Trump foreign policy hands try to participate in a Trump administration.
-- “According to GOP insiders, the most likely picks for CIA director include [Rep. Devin] Nunes and former Rep. Pete Hoekstra (Mich.), who served on the House intelligence panel," foreign affairs columnist David Ignatius writes. "Former Defense Intelligence Agency chief Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn is being considered as well, though there are doubts he could be confirmed. A wild card mentioned by one source is ... Frank Gaffney. All four are known as combative personalities who disdain the bipartisan approach that Rogers represented. … Like most of the rest of the government, the intelligence agencies literally don’t know what to expect next.”
-- Top Pentagon officials said they have yet to receive so much as a phone call from Team Trump. From the Washington Examiner: Officials have prepared office space and get-acquainted guides for the newcomers -- Secretary Ash Carter even directed his chief of staff to man the Pentagon while he travels, in case anyone should decide to make contact – but so far, it’s been radio silence. "As of this moment, there's not been any contact from the president-elect's transition team," said Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman. "We stand ready to assist the president-elect's transition team with a smooth and orderly transition in the interest of national security and for our country."
-- Trump is leaning toward outgoing Florida congressman Jeff Miller to run the V.A., per the Times: “As the chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, Mr. Miller has hounded the agency for failing to enact meaningful changes to cut wait times and fire workers who hid delays. If selected, he will be the first secretary of veterans affairs who has never served in the military."
-- Ben Carson took himself out of the running. The retired neurosurgeon, who was under consideration for positions including secretary of health and human services, told Robert Costa he plans to remain an informal adviser instead. “The way I’m leaning is to work from the outside and not from the inside,” he said. “I want to have the freedom to work on many issues and not be pigeonholed into one particular area.”
-- Top donor Carl Ichan, who has turned down a job in the administration, tweeted that Trump is leaning to his campaign finance chairman, Steven Mnuchin, and economic adviser, Wilbur Ross, for Treasury and Commerce. He did not specify who would receive which title, but Mnuchin has been considered by Trump insiders as a top pick for Treasury and Ross as an option for both jobs. (Ylan Q. Mui)
-- TREND: Trump is having a hard time getting many of the best people to work for him. From the New York Times: “Rebekah Mercer, the scion of a powerful family of conservative donors and a member of Mr. Trump’s executive transition committee, has had little success in her mission to solicit names and résumés for potential administration posts, according to a person familiar with her outreach efforts. Ms. Mercer, 42, the daughter of the New York investor Robert Mercer, has told Republican operatives and members of previous administrations that she was having trouble finding takers for posts at the under secretary level and below. She also made it clear that the transition team was more than a month behind schedule and on a tight timeline.”
BANNON BLOWBACK CONTINUES:
-- IF YOU READ ONE STORY --> “How Bannon flattered and coaxed Trump on policies key to the alt-right,” by David A. Fahrenthold and Frances Stead Sellers: After last year’s terrorist attacks in Paris, Trump faced sharp criticism for saying the U.S. had “no choice” but to close down some mosques. “Two days later, Trump called in to a radio show run by a friendly political operative who offered a suggestion. Was it possible, asked the host, [Steve Bannon], that Trump hadn’t really meant that mosques should be closed? ‘Were you actually saying, you need a [New York police] intelligence unit to get a network of informants?’ Bannon asked. Trump — presented with a less controversial but entirely different idea than what he’d actually said — agreed.”
Now, Trump is president-elect, and Bannon is slated to be one of his most influential advisers. “The clearest public sense of how the two will work together — and what policies Bannon may try to push — can be gleaned from a series of one-on-one interviews on Bannon’s radio show. … In those exchanges, a dynamic emerged, with Bannon often coaxing Trump to agree to his viewpoint, whether on climate change, foreign policy or the need to take on Republican leaders in Congress. At times, Bannon seemed to coach Trump to soften the harder edges of his message, to make it more palatable to a broader audience, while in other cases he pushed Trump to take tougher positions. He flattered Trump, praising his negotiating skills and the size of his campaign crowds. The conversations marked a coming-together of Trump … and the alt-right …”
-- Meanwhile, a growing chorus of Democrats is seeking to rally the party around a common goal of resisting Trump, while pressuring moderate Republicans to reject Trump’s most controversial administration appointments. Abby Phillip and John Wagner report: “Congressional Democrats say they have not ruled out working with Trump on areas of common ground, especially on infrastructure and populist economic policies ... But they plan to train their attention on the immediate challenge of contesting Trump’s appointments to key roles ...” Meanwhile, organized labor leaders, who share a middle ground with Trump on certain economic issues, said the ascension of such figures as Bannon must be addressed before cooperation is put on the table. “We can’t do business with this guy as long as he’s in the business of hate,” the official said.
- Harry Reid called on Trump to retract his appointment of Steve Bannon in an impassioned Senate floor speech on Tuesday, calling the former Breitbart CEO a “champion of white supremacy”: “If Trump is serious about seeking unity, the first thing he should do is rescind his appointment of Steve Bannon,” Reid said. “Rescind it, don’t do it.” (Elise Viebeck)
- “This just keeps going back to, what is [Trump] going to do?” Elizabeth Warren said. “And he’s now giving us at least the first tangible sign of his vision of how to run a Trump presidency and a big part of that are lobbyists and Washington insiders and the other part of it is to bring someone who is a white supremacist into the White House to be a senior strategist.”
-- Paul Ryan continued to dodge questions on Bannon, whose publication continues to aggressively criticize his leadership and promoted his opponent in the GOP primary. “I’m not looking backwards; I’m looking forward,” Ryan said. “I’m looking to the future and I’m looking forward to how we make this work for the American people and how we make President Trump the most successful president in a lifetime." (Politico)
-- Was Bannon being paid illegally during the campaign? From The Daily Beast’s Betsy Woodruff: “A campaign watchdog group filed a complaint with federal election officials that alleges [Bannon] may have gotten paid illegally during Trump’s campaign by pro-Trump billionaires. And now, a new set of [FEC] filings that haven’t yet been reported on may give the group’s case some additional heft. At issue are payments of nearly $200,000 that a super PAC called Make America Number 1 made to a company tied to Bannon … On Aug. 17, Bannon left his post as chairman of Breitbart News and became the Trump campaign’s CEO. Available FEC filings show the campaign didn’t pay Bannon a salary. Larry Noble, General Counsel for the Campaign Legal Center, said he believes the super PAC covertly paid Bannon for his campaign work through his moviemaking company. Neither the super PAC nor Bannon provided a response to Noble’s comment.” (Bonus read: Buzzfeed News published a transcript of rare public remarks delivered by Bannon in 2014, in which he lays out his global vision, says racism in the far right gets “washed out,” and calls Vladimir Putin a kleptocrat.)
A DIVIDED AMERICA BECOMES EVEN MORE POLARIZED:
-- A West Virginia mayor resigned after her racist comments on a Facebook post comparing First Lady Michelle Obama to an “ape in heels” gained national attention. (Lexi Browning and Lindsey Bever)
-- A Connecticut bonfire party is being investigated as a potential hate crime after video footage showed a man dressed in Ku Klux Klan robes and waving a Trump flag on the back of an ATV. Police say the ATV driver wore a Trump hat and believe other attendees may have been wearing white supremacist badges. (Cleve R. Wootson Jr.)
-- Multiple NBA teams are now avoiding Trump hotels while traveling on the road. From Des Bieler: “On Tuesday, ESPN’s Marc Stein and Zach Lowe identified the Dallas Mavericks, Milwaukee Bucks and Memphis Grizzlies as having ‘moved away from Trump hotels in New York City and Chicago, which bear Donald Trump’s name through a licensing agreement.’ In addition, the pair reported that another, unidentified Eastern Conference team has decided to stay elsewhere after its contract with New York’s Trump SoHo hotel expires at the end of the season.”
-- An Upper West Side apartment complex called “The Trump Place” has agreed to change its name after hundreds of its tenants complained, signing a petition to demand their buildings be disassociated with the president-elect. Officials said the three rental buildings will be renamed for their street addresses instead. (Bloomberg)
-- A cybersecurity CEO found himself out of a job after he joked on election night about assassinating Trump. “I’m going to kill the President Elect,” he wrote in an alcohol-fueled Facebook rant. “Bring it secret service.” The internet has since responded in kind, publishing his home address and issuing a deluge of threats so severe that he said he had to relocate his wife and children. (Derek Hawkins)
-- A Texas mother is under investigation for forcing her elementary-aged son to leave the house after he voted for Trump in a mock election at his school. Video footage shows her shooing the sobbing boy out the front door and handing him a packed suitcase. “Bye, Trump lover,” she said. (Lindsey Bever)
-- Politico's top editors sent a note to staff addressing the alarming spike in anti-Semitism after several reporters and editors received threatening correspondence in the mail. “Your personal safety is of the utmost importance to us,” John Harris and Carrie Budoff Brown wrote, outlining a list of safety protocols. (Erik Wemple)
-- Officials are investigating graffiti on the bathroom walls of a Montgomery County elementary school reading “Kill Kill Kill Blacks.” (Donna St. George)
-- More than 2,000 D.C.-area middle school and high school students staged a walkout to protest Trump’s election, closing down several lanes on Pennsylvania Avenue and gathering in front of his new hotel. Students billed the demonstration as a show of unity and acceptance in the aftermath of a hotly divided election. (Perry Stein and Joe Heim)
-- Sonia Sotomayor carefully weighed in on Trump’s election during an interview with Bill Press, declining to say whether she was “apprehensive” about the future president-elect. “I’m going to demur from answering that question that way,” said Sotomayor, who was appointed by Obama in 2009. “I will answer it in a different way, which is I think that this is the time where every good person has an obligation both to continue being heard and to continue doing the right thing.” She also said she looked forward to a nomination that will restore the court to full strength. “It’s not an ideal situation. We function better as nine,” she said. (Robert Barnes)
-- George W. Bush waded into the political fray during a discussion about trade, making a passionate argument that “anger should not drive policy.” From the Dallas Morning News: “One of the things that is important for people who are frustrated and angry [to know] is that in order to close the wage gap, for example, trade is beneficial,” he said, speaking to members of the North American Strategy for Competitiveness. “Trade shows a confidence in our workers and in our businesspeople, because trade really means we are willing to compete.” Regarding NAFTA, Bush recalled going to the Rio Grande Valley as a child and said it was like “a Third World country on both sides of the border.” “I would urge people to go down to the border now and see how transformed the border is,” he said. “There is a thriving middle class on both sides of the Rio Grande. It is in our interest for our country that that be the case.”
-- We're going to win so much that we'll get tired of winning: President-elect Trump hasn’t even taken office yet, but Republicans are already feeling the difference. Gallup reports that, just before the election, 16 percent of Republicans said the economy is getting better. Now 49 percent say the exact same thing...
-- 20 million people watched Trump’s sit-down with Lesley Stahl on “60 Minutes” Sunday night.
-- What a difference three weeks can make:
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley put out a press release on Oct. 27: “This election has really turned my stomach upside down. It has been embarrassing for both parties. It’s not something the country deserves…”
Speaking yesterday about the incoming Trump administration during a press conference at the Republican Governors Association meeting in Orlando, Haley said: "I'm just giddy, and if you talk to any of the governors here, we are so excited at the possibility and the opportunities that are going to be here.”
THE WORLD REACTS TO TRUMP:
-- President Obama held a joint news conference with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Athens, warning against a “crude sort of nationalism” taking root in populist movements around the world. From Juliet Eilperin and Greg Jaffe: “Obama … refrained from criticizing [Trump] directly as he discussed the impact of his electoral victory last week. But the president made it clear that he sees a dark side to the kind of populist movements Trump's campaign embodied — ideals that other conservative leaders are advocating in Europe and elsewhere.” “We are going to have to guard against a rise in a crude sort of nationalism, or ethnic identity or tribalism that is built around an us and a them, and I will never apologize for saying that the future of humanity and the future of the world is going to be defined by what we have in common, as opposed to those things that separate us and ultimately lead us into conflict,” Obama said.
Obama’s remarks came during a trip to Europe meant to quell fears of a Trump presidency among U.S. allies. Tsipras, for his part, thanked Obama for his support over the years and said he was hopeful the U.S.-Greece alliance would “remain unchanged.”
-- European and NATO defense officials cautioned Trump about his warming relationship with Putin, saying that they welcome dialogue but that the United States should not abandon its allies in a bid for improved ties with Moscow. Michael Birnbaum reports:
- German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen urged Trump to be cautious in his dealings with Putin: “It is always good for us to remain in dialogue with Russia,” von der Leyen told reporters ahead of a meeting of European Union defense ministers in Brussels. “But for us it’s also important that we not forget our principles. That means that international laws should not be broken.”
- NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said it is “very normal” for Trump to speak to world leaders such as Putin, but warned against abandoning countries that have taken hits from Russia in recent years: “We think it is important to respect the territorial integrity and the sovereignty of all nations, including Ukraine,” he said.
-- John McCain said Trump’s efforts to work more closely with Putin amounted to “complicity in [the] butchery of the Syrian people” and “an unacceptable price for a great nation." (Karen DeYoung)
-- “Trump’s administration could upend the Middle East,” by Liz Sly: “The Middle East is bracing for an incoming American president who seems intent on radically reordering the regional balance of power, heralding new uncertainty and perhaps new turmoil for a part of the world already engulfed in multiple wars. So vague and contradictory were many of [Trump’s campaign] pronouncements … that governments and analysts are puzzling out which ones he meant and how he would be able to implement them all. Will Trump be an isolationist, continuing the risk-averse instincts of Obama? Or an interventionist, more in the mold of George W. Bush, whose global war on terrorism took the United States into wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?” “There is the potential for a chaos factor,” said Theodore Karasik, a Gulf State Analytics adviser who has held discussions on the region with several Trump advisers. “But the idea now is to shake up the arrangement of nation-states in the region in order to move forward and allow them to police themselves.”
ON THE HILL:
-- Paul Ryan unanimously won the nomination of his Republican colleagues to continue as House speaker on Tuesday, advancing to a full floor vote in January. “Welcome to the dawn of a new unified Republican government,” he told reporters ahead of Tuesday’s vote. (Mike DeBonis)
-- Rep. Steve Stivers of Ohio won the race to become NRCC chairman, beating out Rep. Roger Williams (Texas) to replace outgoing Oregon Rep. Greg Walden. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
-- NARAL chief Ilyse Hogue is weighing a bid for DNC chair, potentially throwing her hat into the ring alongside Howard Dean, Keith Ellison and South Carolina party chairman Jaime Harrison. Other rumored contenders are Labor Secretary Tom Perez and former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley. (Politico)
-- “The troubled lives of Secret Service agents,” by Joe Davidson: “This is a story about the troubled lives of Secret Service agents. It is not a story for supermarket tabloids or a TMZ expose. But it is a scandal, though not in the sense of misdeeds that have sullied the Secret Service in recent years. Secret Service agents lose tens of thousands of dollars, because they are required to work many hours, days and weeks for no pay. That’s a scandal. Agents’ annual pay, including overtime, is capped at $160,300. But during presidential campaign years they can easily work far more time than covered by that amount. They don’t stop working when they reach the cap. They stay on the job without pay. No wonder the Secret Service ranks 319 out of 320 agencies on the Best Places to Work in the Federal Government rankings published by the Partnership for Public Service.”
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
Former Speaker John Boehner reflected on one his more memorable quotes from the campaign:
Boehner to @cnbc on having said there aren't enough white males to elect Trump after he insulted so many others: "apparently there are"— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) November 15, 2016
From a Penn State demographer who specializes in rural sociology (click for a pretty remarkable scatterplot):
A disheartening Facebook note from a former Reagan administration official:
There are some very troubling signals that a few rank-and-file Republicans in the Capitol are following Trump's lead in blacklisting reporters whose coverage they don't like. A Politico reporter says Richard Burr, who narrowly won reelection in North Carolina, would not speak to him yesterday:
.@SenatorBurr is walking around with photos of reporters he won't talk to. I'm on it.— Burgess Everett (@burgessev) November 15, 2016
This Reuters correspondent did not specify who:
Just called a Republican congressional office I deal with often and was told the press relations staff is no longer speaking to reporters.— Patricia Zengerle (@ReutersZengerle) November 15, 2016
House Republicans all got Trump hats:
Rep. Joe Wilson, R-Southern Gentleman, tells me he's not wearing his MAGA hat out of conference meeting because he only wears hats outside— Kasie Hunt (@kasie) November 15, 2016
Trump seems sensitive about his loss of the popular vote:
If the election were based on total popular vote I would have campaigned in N.Y. Florida and California and won even bigger and more easily— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2016
Shortly after, he changed his tone and defended the electoral college:
The Electoral College is actually genius in that it brings all states, including the smaller ones, into play. Campaigning is much different!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2016
This is what he posted after Mitt Romney lost in 2012 -- just four years ago:
The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 7, 2012
From the DNC's national field director (a former HRC aide):
Found while cleaning. Hillary won the popular vote, so I'm framing and sending this to her. pic.twitter.com/4lwvEii7ZX— Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko) November 16, 2016
Donald Jr. is still in awe of the attention and scrutiny that comes with being the president's son:
Not sure why a picture of me going to lunch with my brother made the cover of The NY Times. Decent pic though. pic.twitter.com/NoXreyqM44— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) November 16, 2016
From a Texas Supreme Court justice who was on Trump's list of possible Antonin Scalia replacements:
Working on my next Court opinion. pic.twitter.com/2tpIVKv4Zs— Justice Don Willett (@JusticeWillett) November 16, 2016
Rep. David Cicilline (D-Rhode Island) is circulating a letter against Bannon:
Larry Kudlow suggested the campaigns won't work:
Liberal media trying to run Steve Bannon out of town. Not gonna happen. Nor should it. He's force for change. https://t.co/Zf6uJy9HPT— Larry Kudlow (@larry_kudlow) November 15, 2016
Brian Schatz is concerned about a potential head of the EPA under Trump:
Margaret Atwood made this crack about the incoming president:
Sorry for typos of today... not so good posting things from my phone. Meant to write Presidential but it came out Pestilential. Dang.— Margaret E. Atwood (@MargaretAtwood) November 15, 2016
A frightening chart in the wake of Facebook belatedly moving to crack down on fake news getting top billing on its platform:
This is pretty remarkable. More readers "interacted" with Fox/Breitbart articles on FB than CNN/HuffPo/NYT/WashPost/WSJ articles combined. pic.twitter.com/12ZMTfBJyy— DavidKenner (@DavidKenner) November 15, 2016
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska) retweeted this picture:
GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:
-- The New Yorker’s Alexandra Schwartz reflects on the Paris terrorist attacks one year later: “Security for freedom has always seemed something of a false trade-off when it comes to terrorism. A year after the attacks, a new kind of testimony is necessary. We continue to mourn the horrors of November 13th; they were terrible, and finite. What we need now are stories of survival, the hard work that doesn’t end. ‘Of course, having a culprit, someone to take the brunt of your anger, is an open door, a chance to temporarily escape your suffering,’ [Antoine] Leiris writes, of the terrorists who took his wife. ‘You think about him in order not to think about yourself. You hate him in order not to hate what’s left of your life. You rejoice at his death in order not to have to smile at those who remain.’ Leiris has every claim to vengeance, to raise his son with the cold flame of hatred in his heart. He renounces it so that they both can live. That courageous trade-off is the one worth making.”
At the White House: The Bidens hold a luncheon for the Pences at the Naval Observatory and, later, a reception in honor of Diwali.
On Capitol Hill: Senate Republicans hold leadership elections. The Senate meets at 2:30 p.m. to resume consideration of the American Energy and Conservation Act. The House meets at 12 p.m. for legislative business, with first and last votes expected between 5 and 6 p.m. on H.R. 5711, prohibiting the treasury secretary from authorizing certain transactions by a U.S. financial institution in connection with the export or re-export of a commercial passenger aircraft to Iran.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“It’s an absolute knife fight,” a Trump insider told Politico. “But that just makes it Tuesday.”
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- A few more mild days before potential SNOW FLURRIES head our way this weekend, the Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “A weak disturbance moving through shouldn’t produce any precipitation, but could make skies partly cloudy at times. A mild breeze from the west-southwest … counters the cooling effect of any clouds, however, as afternoon highs head for the low-to-mid 60s.”
-- D.C. Council passed an assisted suicide bill, giving final approval to legislation that would allow physicians to prescribe fatal drugs to terminally ill residents in the District. Washington is the seventh jurisdiction in the country to allow the practice. (Aaron C. Davis and Fenit Nirappil)
-- Two off-duty federal agents helped subdue an armed man on the Metro who began swinging a knife at another passenger, coming within inches of his face. Officials said the suspect had been asking passengers for money prior to the attack, and appeared to be in an “altered mental state.” (Faiz Siddiqui)
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
President Obama, in Greece a few minutes ago, said American democracy is bigger than any one person:
Listen to some clips from Breitbart's radio show which offer a window into Trump's relationship with Bannon:
This video from February of Arabella Kushner reciting a poem in Chinese has taken off on Chinese social media:
Elizabeth Warren spoke to the Wall Street Journal's CEO Council:
Seth Meyers walked through Trump's first moves as president-elect. He makes fun of Paul Ryan for saying he doesn't personally know Bannon so he can't offer an opinion by noting that he didn't know John Wilkes Booth but can still reach a judgment based on what he's heard:
Lin-Manuel Miranda talked about channeling Ja Rule as he wrote Hamilton:
New York City built a wall of sticky notes to protest Trump:
This leopard cub was rescued from a well in eastern India:
Finally, watch a drone deliver Domino's pizza in New Zealand: