The News Journal with their headline is saying a fight is brewing on the Delaware Compensation Commission’s alleged proposal to raise salaries for legislators by two percent and allowing the governor to increase cabinet secretary salaries by up to 10 percent and bumping up judges’ salaries by as much as 10.5 percent. But it seems that both party leaders in the House, Speaker Schwartzkopf (D) and House Minority Leader Daniel Short (R) are opposed to this proposal and will seek to quash it through legislation. And given the budget shortfall and given the General Assembly’s inability to raise taxes on the wealthy to meet even minimal budgetary needs, there is no fight.
David Remnick: “One should continue to demand even more information from the U.S. government, and one can readily concede that Trump won his Electoral College victory for a variety of reasons, including the disaffection of the white working class in states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ohio; the F.B.I. director’s two letters, late in the campaign, about Clinton’s e-mail server; and Clinton’s deficiencies and tactical errors as a candidate.”
“And yet how is it possible, if these intelligence reports are true, to count the 2016 Presidential election as unsullied? We are two weeks away from Trump’s Inauguration, and American intelligence agencies, flawed as they are, have declared, publicly and clearly, that they have convincing evidence that Russia, at its President’s direction, interfered in a Presidential election.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a widespread influence campaign intended to help elect Donald Trump, according to a declassified report released this afternoon.
From the report: “Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.”
President-elect Donald Trump emerged from a meeting with the nation’s top intelligence officials declaring that the session had been “constructive,” but concluded that whatever hacking had occurred “there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election,” the Washington Post reports.
“Trump’s statement seemed designed to create the impression that this was the view of the intelligence officials… But weighing whether Russia’s intervention altered the outcome of the 2016 race was beyond the scope of the review that the nation’s spy agencies completed this week.” Trump also said that there had been similar attacks against the Republican National Committee but that those attacks failed because of the RNC’s “strong hacking defenses.”
Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) says he’s thrilled with the “unbelievable” access he’s getting to Donald Trump, noting that the president-elect will answer his phone calls even when he doesn’t know who’s calling, Politico reports. Said Corker: “The president-elect, as you know, still answers his cellphone number.”
President-elect Donald J. Trump’s transition staff “has issued a blanket edict requiring politically appointed ambassadors to leave their overseas posts by Inauguration Day… breaking with decades of precedent by declining to provide even the briefest of grace periods,” the New York Times reports.
“The mandate — issued ‘without exceptions,’ according to a terse State Department cable sent on Dec. 23, diplomats who saw it said — threatens to leave the United States without Senate-confirmed envoys for months in critical nations like Germany, Canada and Britain. In the past, administrations of both parties have often granted extensions on a case-by-case basis to allow a handful of ambassadors, particularly those with school-age children, to remain in place for weeks or months.”
A new Kaiser Family Foundation poll finds that 75% of Americans say they either want lawmakers to leave Obamacare alone, or repeal it only when they can replace it with a new health care law. Twenty percent of those polled say they want to see the law killed immediately.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) announced this morning that she is running for reelection in 2018, the Boston Globe reports.
Said Warren: “The people of Massachusetts didn’t send me to Washington to roll over and play dead while Donald Trump and his team of billionaires, bigots, and Wall Street bankers crush the working people of our Commonwealth and this country. This is no time to quit.”
She added: “I don’t kid myself: the upcoming fights in the Senate – and our campaign in Massachusetts in 2018 – are likely to be uglier and nastier than anything we’ve ever imagined. I’m not taking anything for granted.”
“Some of the most conservative members of Congress say they are ready to vote for a budget that would — at least on paper — balloon the deficit to more than $1 trillion by the end of the decade, all for the sake of eventually repealing the Affordable Care Act,” the Washington Post reports.
“In a dramatic reversal, many members of the hard-line House Freedom Caucus said Thursday they are prepared later this month to support a budget measure that would explode the deficit and increase the public debt to more than $29.1 trillion by 2026, figures contained in the budget resolution itself.”
Washingtonian: “And you thought the $14 cocktail was too pricey? The Trump hotel’s lobby bar has raised its cocktail prices yet again. The cheapest option now is $24, while the most expensive is $100. It’s safe to say the Trump hotel’s Benjamin Bar & Lounge is now the most expensive overall bar in all of Washington, and its price hikes are the hugest I’ve ever seen, especially in such a short period.”
Wall Street Journal: “From 6:19 a.m. to 7:42 a.m., Mr. Trump posted six messages on Twitter in which he criticized the media, tweaked a promise to pay for a border wall and derided Arnold Schwarzenegger for a TV ratings flop—on a show that Mr. Trump himself is producing.”
“It may have been par for the course for candidate Trump, but it capped an extraordinary first week of a new Republican-controlled Congress eager to do business with President-elect Trump, who in turn got a taste for what life will be like in the nation’s capital as the 45th president two weeks from now.”
“It was a study in contrasts. Mr. Trump’s rapid-fire missives about an assortment of topics clashed with typical Washington political tactics that prioritize message discipline and avoiding overexposure.”
New York Times: “That aggressiveness served him well in the presidential campaign, and allowed him to muscle through scandals and self-inflicted management mistakes that would have scuttled a lesser politician. But Mr. Trump’s postelection effort to minimize intelligence assessments about Russia’s actions came to an abrupt end Friday after a detailed classified briefing from the nation’s top intelligence officials at Trump Tower and the release of an unclassified report concluding that the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, had a ‘clear preference’ for Mr. Trump.”
“By the end of the day, it was clear that the strategy of intimidation and bluster that served Mr. Trump so well in the presidential campaign would not prove nearly as effective in Washington. Here was a reminder, should Mr. Trump heed it, that a president’s critics, especially the lords of Washington’s national security establishment, can’t always be cowed by a flash-grenade tweet or a withering quip about the possibility that a “400-lb. hacker” might have breached Democratic servers.”
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