Transition 2016

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Addie
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Re: Transition 2016

#1251

Post by Addie » Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:08 pm

LA Times
Senate confirms David Bernhardt, controversial Trump pick, for No. 2 post at Interior

The Senate on Monday confirmed David Bernhardt, who has a history of lobbying for oil, mining and western water interests, as deputy secretary of the Interior Department.

As the No. 2 official, Bernhardt will oversee an Interior Department that has dealings with clients who have paid his law firm millions of dollars in legal and lobbying fees, including two major players in California water: Westlands Water District, the nation’s largest irrigation district, and Cadiz Inc., a company that wants to pump Mojave Desert groundwater and sell it to Southern California cities.

Bernhardt terminated his federal registration as a Westlands lobbyist late last year, after then President-elect Trump nominated him for the deputy secretary position. But Bernhardt has continued to work for the water district, according to documents obtained through California Public Records Act requests.

The Brownstein Hyatt website, along with Bernhardt’s ethics filings, show that he and the firm have performed legal services or lobbied for clients that have dealings with virtually every branch of Interior.They include Cobalt International Energy, which holds major oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico; Rosemont Copper Co., which wants to develop a large open-pit mine in Arizona; the Navajo Nation, which has been involved in water rights settlements; and the Independent Petroleum Assn. of America, which represents oil and gas producers. ...

Monday’s confirmation marks the second time Bernhardt will have moved from Brownstein Hyatt to Interior. He left the firm in 2001 for a series of posts under President George W. Bush, rising to the position of solicitor, the department’s top lawyer. He rejoined the law firm after President Obama was elected.


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Re: Transition 2016

#1252

Post by Addie » Wed Jul 26, 2017 2:46 pm

WaPo
State Department head of diplomatic security resigns

The head of the State Department’s diplomatic security bureau has resigned and will leave his post on Thursday, leaving the two top positions vacant for the foreseeable future in the bureau in charge of embassy security around the world.

Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Bill Miller announced his resignation and retirement from the State Department on July 19 in a note to staff, which I obtained. His last day of service will be July 27. Miller has been the top official in the Diplomatic Security Service since January, when the Senate-confirmed assistant secretary Gregory Starr was asked to resign.

Starr had been singled out by Republicans during the investigation of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya. Starr was asked to resign after President Trump’s inauguration, along with a host of other senior State Department officials. This is common at the beginning of a new administration, although traditionally officials are not pushed out until replacements are found.

Miller, whose official title was principal deputy assistant secretary of state and director of the Diplomatic Security Service, resigned voluntarily and was not asked to resign or fired, a senior State Department official told me. He has been a member of the Diplomatic Security Service since 1987.


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Re: Transition 2016

#1253

Post by Dolly » Wed Jul 26, 2017 6:38 pm

Robert Reich
42 mins ·
When Trump's new communications director Anthony Scaramucci took command, he told reporters he wanted an opportunity to serve the country.

Turns out he also wants a multi-million dollar tax break.

Scaramucci, a Wall Street financier turned Trump loyalist, sold his hedge fund Skybridge Capital in January for a reported $180 million. Confident he would soon have a job in the Trump administration, Scaramucci expected he would be able to avoid taxes on the sale under a loophole for executive-branch appointees.

When that expected job didn't pan out, Scaramucci was on the hook for a multi-million dollar tax bill.

So he was more than happy to take Trump's offer. But he faces two problems: (1) Some tax experts think it's now too late to claim it. (2) The sale is also under review by the Committee on Foreign Investment, which vets these kinds of financial transactions for national security risks. Scaramucci's buyers include a Chinese investment conglomerate. Just days before the inauguration, he solicited buyers by touting a future position in the White House.

Say what you will about Sean Spicer. At least he didn't try to profit off his position. Now we have a communications director who could get a giant tax break off his public position.

What do you think?


OOPS! I forgot to add his link:

Scaramucci Seeks Federal Tax Break on SkyBridge Sale
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... ederal-tax


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Re: Transition 2016

#1254

Post by bob » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:56 pm

Vanity Fair: Why the Scariest Nuclear Threat May Be Coming from Inside the White House:
Donald Trump’s secretary of energy, Rick Perry, once campaigned to abolish the $30 billion agency that he now runs, which oversees everything from our nuclear arsenal to the electrical grid. The department’s budget is now on the chopping block. But does anyone in the White House really understand what the Department of Energy actually does? And what a horrible risk it would be to ignore its extraordinary, life-or-death responsibilities?
A long, scary look at the clueless transition happening in the DOE.


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Re: Transition 2016

#1255

Post by AndyinPA » Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:29 pm

I don't think he knows what religious freedom means.

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/2 ... ump-241007
President Donald Trump has formally nominated Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback to serve as the State Department’s ambassador at large for international religious freedom.

Brownback has served as Kansas’ governor since 2011. His name has been in the mix for the post for weeks, before announced his pick.
Apparently, Brownback helped pass the bill that created this office and position in 1998 while in the Senate.



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Re: Transition 2016

#1256

Post by Dolly » Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:50 pm

from FOX
Pres. Trump tapping Kansas Gov. Brownback for ambassador at large for international religious freedom

Five years ago, Gov. Sam Brownback made Kansas an economic laboratory for the nation by aggressively cutting taxes. He’s expected to leave office with his Kansas reputation in tatters and his home state an example of trickle-down economics that didn’t work.

The White House on Wednesday announced that President Donald Trump plans to nominate Brownback to serve as ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom. If confirmed by the Senate, he’ll run the State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom.

Kansas officials expect Brownback to step down as governor when he is confirmed by the U.S. Senate, but his office wouldn’t discuss his plans Wednesday evening. Brownback’s fellow Republicans called the job a good fit for him, and some conservative religious groups had pushed for the appointment.

“Sam has always been called to fight for those of all faiths, and I am glad he has been given an opportunity to answer this call,” said Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, a fellow Republican.

ETA: Brownback’s departure would automatically elevate fellow conservative Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer to governor.
<SNIP>
http://fox4kc.com/2017/07/26/pres-trump ... s-freedom/


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Re: Transition 2016

#1257

Post by RTH10260 » Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:08 am

bob wrote:Vanity Fair: Why the Scariest Nuclear Threat May Be Coming from Inside the White House:
Donald Trump’s secretary of energy, Rick Perry, once campaigned to abolish the $30 billion agency that he now runs, which oversees everything from our nuclear arsenal to the electrical grid. The department’s budget is now on the chopping block. But does anyone in the White House really understand what the Department of Energy actually does? And what a horrible risk it would be to ignore its extraordinary, life-or-death responsibilities?
A long, scary look at the clueless transition happening in the DOE.
:like:

It looks to me as if no federal department will ever get functional within this first term of presidency.

What's worse will be the legacy of this failure called "Trump administration". Whoever follows up will be using a major part of their first term to fix the administration bodies and trying to rebuild the various agencies knowhow.



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Re: Transition 2016

#1258

Post by Slim Cognito » Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:18 am

Dolly wrote:from FOX

ETA: Brownback’s departure would automatically elevate fellow conservative Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer to governor.
<SNIP>
http://fox4kc.com/2017/07/26/pres-trump ... s-freedom/
Kansas legislature passed the Medicaid expansion a while back but Brownback vetoed it. Anyone know if they'll try again? Or is the subject moot?



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Re: Transition 2016

#1259

Post by Addie » Thu Jul 27, 2017 12:39 pm

Just Security
Top Middle East Advisor out on the National Security Council

National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster has removed Derek Harvey, the top Middle East advisor on the National Security Council (NSC), from his post on Thursday, according to a source with knowledge of the personnel move. The reason for him losing his current job was not immediately clear.

The two men had a long relationship that dated back to their Army service in Iraq and their shared mentor of retired Gen. David Petraeus, but they had been known to have butted heads during their short time together in the Donald Trump administration.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Harvey had been picked for his role on the NSC by McMaster’s predecessor, retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. After Trump reluctantly removed Flynn in February, a handful of Flynn’s people left, but Harvey and others remained in their jobs.


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Re: Transition 2016

#1260

Post by Sunrise » Thu Jul 27, 2017 3:22 pm

Addie wrote:Just Security
Top Middle East Advisor out on the National Security Council

National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster has removed Derek Harvey, the top Middle East advisor on the National Security Council (NSC), from his post on Thursday, according to a source with knowledge of the personnel move. The reason for him losing his current job was not immediately clear.
Reason seems pretty obvious. Do-everything, know-everything Kushner will replace him. :sarcasm:I



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Re: Transition 2016

#1261

Post by Slartibartfast » Thu Jul 27, 2017 3:49 pm

RTH10260 wrote:
bob wrote:Vanity Fair: Why the Scariest Nuclear Threat May Be Coming from Inside the White House:
Donald Trump’s secretary of energy, Rick Perry, once campaigned to abolish the $30 billion agency that he now runs, which oversees everything from our nuclear arsenal to the electrical grid. The department’s budget is now on the chopping block. But does anyone in the White House really understand what the Department of Energy actually does? And what a horrible risk it would be to ignore its extraordinary, life-or-death responsibilities?
A long, scary look at the clueless transition happening in the DOE.
:like:

It looks to me as if no federal department will ever get functional within this first term of presidency.

What's worse will be the legacy of this failure called "Trump administration". Whoever follows up will be using a major part of their first term to fix the administration bodies and trying to rebuild the various agencies knowhow.
The Democrats should be shining light on all of the governing infrastructure being crippled and explain how they plan to rebuild them (to make them more effective and prevent this sort of thing from happening again -- at least without everyone noticing) once they regain power. Even if that were done, it's likely that there is an enormous amount of institutional knowledge that is gone and not coming back.


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Re: Transition 2016

#1262

Post by RVInit » Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:14 pm

:yeah: That is probably one of the biggest potential problems. Who knows how many career employees who are not political appointees, but part of the everyday staff, who have years of experience, will be or have already left their government positions. Part of what is scary is the kind of people that would be hired to replace them during this administration. The next administration may be left with lots of dead weight and the kind of people that, in spite of the fact that their positions are not supposed to be political, will lace all of their future actions on the job with politics because this is the sort of people likely to be hired and/or likely to be willing to work under this administration.


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Re: Transition 2016

#1263

Post by Addie » Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:02 pm

The Hill
Candidate for top Homeland Security job withdraws over Trump transgender troops ban

A candidate for a top position at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) pulled his name from consideration for the job on Thursday after President Trump's announcement that transgender Americans would be banned from serving in the armed forces "in any capacity."

Politico reported on Thursday that John Fluharty, a former executive director of the Delaware Republican Party, was no longer seeking the position of assistant secretary of partnership and engagement with the agency after Trump's announcement on Twitter Wednesday morning.

In an email to Politico, the agency confirmed Fluharty's decision and stated that none of the other candidates being considered had notified the agency that they were dropping out of consideration.


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Re: Transition 2016

#1264

Post by maydijo » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:10 pm

bob wrote:Vanity Fair: Why the Scariest Nuclear Threat May Be Coming from Inside the White House:
Donald Trump’s secretary of energy, Rick Perry, once campaigned to abolish the $30 billion agency that he now runs, which oversees everything from our nuclear arsenal to the electrical grid. The department’s budget is now on the chopping block. But does anyone in the White House really understand what the Department of Energy actually does? And what a horrible risk it would be to ignore its extraordinary, life-or-death responsibilities?
A long, scary look at the clueless transition happening in the DOE.
I grew up just the other side of the river from Hanford. When this clean-up was first starting, the DOE chose three local high schools to select student-panels to rewrite a 500 page manual on the clean-up in plain English; I was on my high school's panel. While it wasn't implicitly stated, I was led to believe that our job was basically to write something along the lines of, "Don't worry, they've got this, the grown-ups are in charge." Which is how, as a 15 year old, I found myself on a bus touring parts of Hanford that are usually not open for tours. The tour guide was an old worker who clearly believed things weren't as bad as they were. I remember him saying that we really didn't have to worry about this stuff, I mean, cesium, it's pretty much just table salt so it's not dangerous. (As my sister said when I told her, "Just don't sprinkle it in the water when you're cooking your spaghetti.") There are huge pipes running through the desert filled with heaven only knows what - some of it might be as harmless as paint, some of it might be nuclear waste; they just stuck it there and now nobody wants to touch it. There were so many secret burial sites, every so often (which is actually fairly often, it happened a few times a year when I was living there) something starts leaking and they don't know what it is and just have to make a decision on the fly about how to deal with it. But the area is so poor, and people will take any job they get, so if you try to point out that this is actually a really scary, dangerous situation, they get mad at you. Unless you've lived there, or somewhere like there, you really can't understand the mindset. I remember a local news anchor saying that, if there was ever a protest, they'd purposefully choose the most scruffy, unkempt people to film and show that footage. It was very much a conscientious decision, in keeping with the Tri-Cities' attitude towards Hanford. This was not a Fox news station, I believe it was NBC - it was one of the Big 3 at any rate.

It's not just the Tri-Cities, it's the entire region of south-east Washington/north-east Oregon. About 10 miles from where I lived is the Umatilla Army Depot which used to have one of the world's largest stockpiles of chemical weapons. For years they didn't store them properly, either. Just as I was moving away a coal-fire power station moved in. I remember my dad saying that it was good thing because it was clean coal so it was good for the environment. I also remember nearly straining my eyes when I rolled them. (He's since become much more liberal and environmental in his thinking.) When people are desperate they'll take any job you offer them. When communities are poor they'll look the other way while you do whatever the hell you want to the ecosystem. And let's face it, it's a pretty ugly area, so most of the time you look out and think, "Well, how much worse can they make it?"

I go through periods now where I get very angry about it. I'm angry that my government intentionally and knowingly put me in harm's way like that. I'm angry they felt that I, and my family, and all of these communities, and the local environment, are expandable. I joke to my kids that I glow in the dark; but it hides an anger that, between the chemical waste and the nuclear waste, my death sentence is probably already written.

Edited to add: I didn't even mention the dams and what they've done to the ecosystem. They've decimated the salmon, which in turn has been a disaster for birds, which in turn has been a disaster for other predators. Richard White's The Organic Machine is a great introduction, but at the same time I find that book maddening because he doesn't really understand the river, not in the way you do when you've grown up on it. That river is a part of me. I've never known it in its natural state, but I've seen pictures. If you look at pictures of, say, Celilo Falls, and compare it to what it is now, it's a dead river today.



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Re: Transition 2016

#1265

Post by bob » Fri Jul 28, 2017 7:19 pm

"For completeness," Elaine Duke is now the Acting DHS Secretary. She was easily confirmed by the senate in March for the deputy secretary position. In addition to being a career civil servant, she was an undersecretary for GWB and Obama.


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Re: Transition 2016

#1266

Post by Kendra » Fri Jul 28, 2017 7:31 pm

Edited to add: I didn't even mention the dams and what they've done to the ecosystem. They've decimated the salmon, which in turn has been a disaster for birds, which in turn has been a disaster for other predators. Richard White's The Organic Machine is a great introduction, but at the same time I find that book maddening because he doesn't really understand the river, not in the way you do when you've grown up on it. That river is a part of me. I've never known it in its natural state, but I've seen pictures. If you look at pictures of, say, Celilo Falls, and compare it to what it is now, it's a dead river today.
I have seen those pictures. Imagine what that river was like before the dams.



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Re: Transition 2016

#1267

Post by pipistrelle » Fri Jul 28, 2017 7:42 pm

Kendra wrote:
Edited to add: I didn't even mention the dams and what they've done to the ecosystem. They've decimated the salmon, which in turn has been a disaster for birds, which in turn has been a disaster for other predators. Richard White's The Organic Machine is a great introduction, but at the same time I find that book maddening because he doesn't really understand the river, not in the way you do when you've grown up on it. That river is a part of me. I've never known it in its natural state, but I've seen pictures. If you look at pictures of, say, Celilo Falls, and compare it to what it is now, it's a dead river today.
I have seen those pictures. Imagine what that river was like before the dams.
Lewis and Clark were to have opened the U.S. to trade and all, but I've often wondered what they would think of places like Great Falls and Celilo Falls today.



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Re: Transition 2016

#1268

Post by Kendra » Fri Jul 28, 2017 7:59 pm

pipistrelle wrote: Lewis and Clark were to have opened the U.S. to trade and all, but I've often wondered what they would think of places like Great Falls and Celilo Falls today.
Off Topic
They would have a sad I suspect. I have heard of the descriptions forests of the early settlers and see what there is now...there are very few old growth forests still standing that can give us a perspective.



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Re: Transition 2016

#1269

Post by RVInit » Fri Jul 28, 2017 8:54 pm

:crying: :crying: :crying:


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Re: Transition 2016

#1270

Post by Addie » Sat Jul 29, 2017 9:22 pm

Politico
Kelly to bring DHS staffer to the White House

Incoming Chief of Staff John Kelly will bring a former Department of Homeland Security staffer to the White House, according to an administration official and two other people familiar with the arrangement.

Kirstjen Nielsen, Kelly's chief of staff at the DHS, will follow him to the White House, the sources said. CNN reported earlier Saturday that she is likely to become deputy chief of staff to Kelly, but the sources cautioned that her title is still in flux.

"She'll be the one person Kelly brings with him," an administration official said.

The White House did not immediately comment. ...

His departure from the DHS has created uncertainty over whom will be named to replace him atop the department. Among those reportedly rumored as candidates for the post are Thomas Homan, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, an outspoken opponent of illegal immigration, as well as Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, the Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee who has emerged as a leading candidate for the post.


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Re: Transition 2016

#1271

Post by Addie » Tue Aug 01, 2017 4:55 pm

The Hill
Top EPA official resigns over direction of agency under Trump

A top Environmental Protection Agency official resigned Tuesday in protest of the direction the EPA has taken under President Trump.

Elizabeth "Betsy" Southerland ended her 30-year run at the agency with a scathing exit letter in which she claimed that “the environmental field is suffering from the temporary triumph of myth over truth.” She last worked as the director of science and technology in the Office of Water.

“The truth is there is NO war on coal, there is NO economic crisis caused by environmental protection, and climate change IS caused by man’s activities,” Southerland wrote, directly rejecting many of Trump’s claims.

Southerland said that since EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt took over the agency, dozens of regulations designed to protect the environment had been repealed, and Trump’s proposed budget cuts to the agency would devastate its ability to enforce existing protections and create new ones.

She took aim in particular at Trump's demand that two federal regulations be struck from the books for every new one added.


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Re: Transition 2016

#1272

Post by Addie » Tue Aug 01, 2017 5:04 pm

Update:
Political Wire: Wray Confirmed as FBI Director
-------------------------------------------

Bloomberg
Senate Poised to Confirm Wray to Lead FBI Past Political Squalls

The U.S. Senate was poised to confirm Christopher Wray as FBI director, handing the former federal prosecutor the challenge of steadying a law enforcement agency buffeted by political pressures and public attacks from the president.

Wray, who won bipartisan praise from senators Tuesday in advance of a vote, has vowed to defend the independence of the Federal Bureau of Investigation after President Donald Trump fired his predecessor, James Comey, over the criminal probe into whether the president or anyone close to him colluded with Russia to interfere in the 2016 elections.

"Mr. Wray possesses the skills, the character and the unwavering commitment to the impartial enforcement of the law that we need in the FBI director," said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican. "I was impressed with his plain-spoken, candid answers. And I take him at his word when he says that his loyalty is to the Constitution and the rule of law."

The new director will be tested early on in getting his leadership team up and running and determining how to deliver on his confirmation-hearing pledge that “I will never allow the FBI’s work to be driven by anything other than the facts, the law, and the impartial pursuit of justice. Period. Full stop.”


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Re: Transition 2016

#1273

Post by Addie » Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:57 pm

CNN
Kelly eyes DHS spokesman for communications director, sources say

President Trump's new chief of staff, John Kelly, is eyeing his Homeland Security spokesperson David Lapan for the role of White House communications director, two high-level administration sources told CNNMoney.

Lapan, who has worked with Kelly for over a decade, is at the top of a short list to serve as the White House's top official on messaging and communications. He would take the position formerly held by Anthony Scaramucci.

Kelly's interest in Lapan suggests that he is as eager to impose discipline on the White House messaging strategy as he is to impose order on the chaotic and fractious West Wing. Lapan has a background that, like Kelly's, is steeped in years of military experience. Before DHS, he led press operations at the Defense Department and the Marine Corps.

Reached for comment, Lapan told CNNMoney he had not spoken to Kelly or anyone else at the White House about the position.


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Re: Transition 2016

#1274

Post by Addie » Wed Aug 02, 2017 6:57 pm

The Hill
Senior director Ezra Cohen-Watnick out at National Security Council

The senior director for intelligence on the National Security Council left the agency, the White House confirmed Wednesday.

A White House official said Ezra Cohen-Watnick, who was hired during the brief tenure of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, “has left the National Security Council [NSC].”

"[National Security Advisor] Gen. McMaster appreciates the good work accomplished in the NSC's Intelligence directorate under Ezra Cohen's leadership,” a White House official said.

“He has determined that, at this time, a different set of experiences is best-suited to carrying that work forward," the official continued. "Gen. McMaster is confident that Ezra will make many further significant contributions to national security in another position in the administration."

Cohen-Watnick's departure is the latest in a string of exits from the National Security Council under H.R. McMaster, who has reportedly sought to purge Flynn appointees.


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Re: Transition 2016

#1275

Post by Tiredretiredlawyer » Thu Aug 03, 2017 9:54 am

https://www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/ ... 017/08/03/
Trump urged Mexican president to end his public defiance on border wall, transcript reveals

President Trump made building a wall along the southern U.S. border and forcing Mexico to pay for it core pledges of his campaign.

But in his first White House call with Mexico’s president, Trump described his vow to charge Mexico as a growing political problem, pressuring the Mexican leader to stop saying publicly that his government would never pay.

“You cannot say that to the press,” Trump said repeatedly, according to a transcript of the Jan. 27 call obtained by The Washington Post. Trump made clear that he realized the funding would have to come from other sources but threatened to cut off contact if Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto continued to make defiant statements.

He described the wall as “the least important thing we are talking about, but politically this might be the most important.”


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