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Trump 306
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GOP 52
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270 Electoral votes needed to win This date in 2012 2008
New polls: (None)
Dem pickups vs. 2012: (None)
GOP pickups vs. 2012: FL IA MI OH PA WI

Trump's Cabinet Is Not on the Same Page as Trump

During their confirmation hearings, a number of President-elect Donald Trump's nominees have expressed views strongly at odds with positions Trump has taken during the campaign. For example, Secretary of Defense-designate James Mattis said he supports the agreement with Iran (Trump said it was one of the dumbest deals ever). Secretary of State-designate Rex Tillerson called Vladimir Putin an international threat, rejected a ban on Muslim immigrants, and did not think Japan should acquire nuclear weapons, all of which contradict Trump. Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), whom Trump picked to run the CIA, vigorously defended the agency, which Trump has frequently trashed. John Kelly, who was chosen to run the Dept. of Homeland Security, doesn't think a wall on the Mexican border is a good idea. Finally, Trump has frequently supported waterboarding, but his pick for attorney general, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), said it was illegal.

It is hard to say who will get the final word on all these matters. If Trump absolutely insists on a position, he'll get it, but if he spends 4 years holding rallies and lets the cabinet officers do whatever they want, then they win. (V)

What Will Trump Do? We Should Know February 6

As everybody in America knows by now, with the possible exception of the President-elect himself, Donald Trump has made a series of utterly incompatible promises. He cannot build $1 trillion in infrastructure, keep Social Security intact, cut taxes, replace Obamacare with something "terrific," build a wall along the Mexican border, bulk up the military, balance the budget, etc., and make the numbers work, regardless of how rosy his projections for economic growth are. When Ronald Reagan made a series of mutually exclusive promises like this, George H.W. Bush mocked it as "voo-doo economics," and eventually the Gipper learned that some hard choices would have to be made (for example, a spate of tax increases).

Donald Trump is about to learn the same lesson, and he's likely going to learn it very fast. His first budget is due to Congress on February 6, and at that point his promises of a "terrific" this and a "fantastic" that will no longer get the job done. He's going to need to come up with some cold, hard numbers, and they will all have to add up. Consequently, on that day (or maybe a little after, if he asks for an extension), we're going to know what his actual plans are (including the secret ones he has yet to reveal). Then, we'll be able to judge for ourselves how "terrific" they really are. (Z)

Senate Committee Will Investigate Russian Interference

On Friday, the Senate Intelligence Committee announced that it will be conducting an investigation into Russia's involvement with the presidential election, including looking into the question of whether or not members of Donald Trump's team were coordinating with the Kremlin.

The news came in a joint statement from Committee chair Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) and ranking member Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), who made clear that the initiative has strong bipartisan support. Trump may be able to curtail any investigations undertaken by the intelligence establishment, since they (the CIA, FBI, DHS, etc.) are part of the executive branch and report to the president. The same is not true of the Senate Intelligence Committee, so Trump is not going to be able to bury this issue, no matter how much he tries. He had better hope there's no smoking gun out there to be discovered. (Z)

Inauguration Day Will Be Tense in D.C.

Inauguration Day this year is likely to be tense, as large numbers of protesters are expected to show up. The National Park Service has given permits to at least 28 protest groups this year, compared to five or six in previous years. With so many supporters and opponents of Donald Trump close together, fights could break out in the streets, in hotels, in restaurants, and elsewhere. It is probably a safe bet that no protesters will be staying at Trump's new hotel in D.C., but the Hyatt Place, located just four blocks from the National Mall, reports that its 214 rooms are evenly divided between Trump fans and protesters. The Courtyard by Marriott hotel has hired outside security in case problems develop. The operations manager, Jonathan Kebede, said that this was never done in the past.

Despite the potential melees, some of the hotels are quite happy. The Four Seasons' spokeswoman Lilian Baldassari said that despite room prices starting at $1,925 and going to $20,000 (with a five-night minimum), all rooms are booked. (V)

Mexico Will Respond Immediately to a Border Tax

When Donald Trump sees a problem, he often proposes a quick solution. Too many American companies have moved production to Mexico? Slap a border tax on the products when they come back. What he never sees is the likely response. For example, the Mexican minister of the economy, Ildefonso Guajardo, said yesterday that if Trump imposes a border tax, Mexico will take measures to counter it. Of course, Trump could then devise a new measure, followed by a full-blown trade war. We've been down that road before. In the early 2000s, when the U.S. refused to allow free trade in Mexican sugar, Mexico slapped a tax on U.S. high fructose corn syrup. (V)

Lee May Propose Tariff Bill

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) was at a luncheon for trade lobbyists this week, and heard firsthand how nervous they are about Donald Trump's threats to levy heavy tariffs on imports. Reportedly, Lee told them not to worry, because he is planning to sponsor a bill that will place nearly all tariff-imposing authority in the hands of Congress.

Currently, the president has power to impose tariffs in certain special cases, such as if he believes a country is engaging in anti-competitive behavior. Lee's hypothetical bill would presumably eliminate nearly all of these scenarios. The Senator has not confirmed the news, but if it's true, it represents another big wrench in Trump's plans. Lee is among the most conservative, and the most cautious, members of the Senate, so if he moves forward, it is probable he has the support to get the bill passed. And with that, Donald Trump's main weapon for punishing companies that export jobs would be gone. (Z)

For Liberal Media, Trump is Good For Business

Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, and other conservative yakkers of their ilk have fairly little in common with liberal bastions like the Daily Kos, the Huffington Post, and Mother Jones. There is one thing, however: Both sides benefit enormously when the opposing party controls the White House. This gives an endless supply of things to talk (and complain) about, and also allows their audiences to unify in their opposition.

Consequently, the liberal outlets named above—and many others—are already experiencing a boom in interest. Readership is up, cash flow is improving, and they are looking forward to attracting and developing a new generation of progressive journalists. Talking Points Memo is already hiring new staff, as is Mother Jones; the new hires will be tasked with doing investigative pieces. With a president who is as unpopular as Trump, and an administration that has as many skeletons as his does, it could well be a new golden age for investigative journalism, on par with the Progressive Era, or the Nixon years. (Z)

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Jan13 Senate Committee Approves Waiver for Mattis
Jan13 FBI, DOJ to Be Investigated
Jan13 Russia Could Now Focus on Hacking Members of Congress
Jan13 Trump Gets Pushback on Plan to Move Israel Embassy
Jan13 Obama Ends Automatic Residency for Cuban Refugees
Jan13 Both Parties Have Unstable Coalitions
Jan13 Why Trump Can't Let Go
Jan13 Majority of Americans Want Trump to Quit Twitter
Jan13 Bush Daughters Write Letter to Obama Daughters
Jan12 Trump's Presidency Will Be Like No Other
Jan12 Senate Takes First Step Toward Repealing Obamacare
Jan12 Tillerson Evades Senators' Questions
Jan12 Booker and Lewis Testify Against Sessions
Jan12 Chao Sails Through Easily
Jan12 Mattis Aggravates House Democrats
Jan12 Cubs to Visit Obama on Monday
Jan11 Russia May Have Dirt on Trump
Jan11 Sessions Denies Racism Charges
Jan11 Is McConnell Pulling a Fast One?
Jan11 Clinton's Cabinet Shortlist Leaks
Jan11 Trump Wants the ACA to Be Replaced Quickly
Jan11 Trump Meets With RFK, Jr.
Jan11 Obama Bids Farewell, but Is Not Leaving on Jan. 20
Jan11 Majority of Voters Don't Like Trump's Transition
Jan11 Bad News Just Keeps Coming for Crowley
Jan10 Booker to Testify Against Sessions
Jan10 Jared Kushner to Be Named Senior Adviser to the President
Jan10 Kushner: Trump Didn't Really Believe Conspiracy Theories
Jan10 What Can Trump Do on His First Day in Office?
Jan10 McConnell: Trump's Hopes on Russia "Will Be Dashed Pretty Quickly"
Jan10 Anti-Trump Movement Will Operate in California and New York
Jan10 Trump Fires Back at Streep
Jan09 Cabinet Confirmation Hearings Will Start This Week
Jan09 Do As I Say, Not As I Do
Jan09 Unpaid Trump Advisors May Also Have Conflicts of Interest
Jan09 McConnell: Repeal of the ACA Will Begin This Week
Jan09 Toll Roads Are Coming
Jan09 Golden Globes Turns into the Anti-Trump Show
Jan09 Trump to Inaugural Announcer: You're Fired
Jan08 Trump Insiders Dive into the Swamp
Jan08 Trump: Only Stupid People Oppose a Good Relationship with Russia
Jan08 Sessions Not a Civil Rights Activist, After All
Jan08 Cabinet Nominees May Be Confirmed Before Ethics Reviews Are Finished
Jan08 Kushner Has His Own Conflicts of Interest
Jan08 Monica Crowley Plagiarized Large Parts of Her Book
Jan08 A New Era of Muckraking is Upon Us
Jan08 Get Ready for More Bathroom Bills, Other Anti-LGBT Legislation
Jan07 Putin Ordered Russian Hacking to Help Trump
Jan07 Donald Trump is Elected President
Jan07 Fourth GOP Senator Won't Vote for Repealing the ACA without a Replacement