Trump’s Tech Summit

Silicon Valley leaders walked through the gilded doors of Trump Tower to meet with President-elect Donald Trump, who promised the group his administration was only a call away.

“We’ll be there for you and you’ll call my people, you’ll call me, it doesn’t make any difference, we have no formal chain of command around here,” Trump said to the dozen or so tech giants, many of whom he’d had a combative relationship with during the course of his campaign.

Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Larry Page and Eric Schmidt of Google, Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook and Tim Cook of Apple were among the attendees, reports Newsday’s Emily Ngo.

The president-elect told the companies he would strike “fair trade deals” and ease border restrictions to make it easier for them to operate.

#Snubbed

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Notably missing from Trump’s tech summit was Twitter, despite the social media outlet being his preferred platform of choice.

Politico reports Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was not invited to the meeting because earlier in the year he blocked the Trump campaign’s attempt to offer users an emoji of stolen “money bags” to appear alongside the hashtag #CrookedHillary.

Trump campaign director of digital advertising and fundraising, Gary Coby, shared his account of the emoji issue last month, accusing Dorsey of restricting the campaign’s advertising efforts.

King of commentary

Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), a longtime defender of the CIA, was among those in recent days who confidently stated that Russians were behind the hacking at hand, even as the president-elect denied it. But now the veteran Congressman is taking a position that puts him back in alignment with the incoming GOP administration of Donald Trump, who he once saw as unfit for office.

"All we’ve heard from the intelligence community over the last several months is that they could not say that there was any attempt to undermine Hillary Clinton [or] to help Donald Trump," King  said on Fox News. "The consensus was that there was an attempt by the Russians to put a cloud over the election, to create disunity. Well, that’s what’s happening right now, but it’s the intelligence community that’s doing it."

King's rebuke followed the cancelation of a planned House Intelligence Committee briefing. It also happens to preced by a couple of hours his scheduled meeting with the president-elect at Trump Tower in Manhattan, where he is due alongside Suffolk GOP Chairman John Jay LaValle. 

RNC’s new chief is a Romney

Michigan GOP Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel was tapped by Trump to serve as the new head of the Republican National Committee.

McDaniel, the niece of Mitt Romney, will replace Reince Priebus as he assumes the role of Trump’s White House chief of staff.

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“Ronna has been extremely loyal to our movement and her efforts were critical to our tremendous victory in Michigan, and I know she will bring the same passion to the Republican National Committee,” Trump said in a statement.

Trump also named Bob Paduchik, who served as the Ohio State Director for Trump’s campaign, as deputy co-chairman of the RNC.

The take-away: Humiliate first, interview later

Rick Perry “put glasses on so people will think he’s smart,” Donald Trump said last summer of his then-GOP rival. “And it just doesn’t work! People can see through the glasses.”

Perry, the former Texas governor, said of Trump: “A man too arrogant, too self-absorbed to seek God’s forgiveness is precisely the type of leader John Adams prayed would never occupy the White House.”

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None of that matters now. Trump has picked Perry for secretary of energy.

To act in ways that go against his earlier words already forms a clear pattern for the president-in-waiting, writes Newsday’s Dan Janison.

Yellen’s cloud of uncertainty

As the U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates for only the second time in nearly a decade, chairwoman Janet Yellen said it was too early to determine how Trump’s proposed economic agenda would impact the Fed’s future policy decisions.

“We’re operating under a cloud of uncertainty at the moment and we have to wait and see what changes occur and factor those into our decision-making as we gain more clarity,” Yellen said at a news conference.

Yellen, an Obama appointee whose term expires in 2018, said it wasn’t her role to advise Trump on his online “conduct” when she was asked to weigh in on Trump’s use of Twitter to berate companies, at times causing their stocks to dip.

“I’m not going to offer the incoming president advice on how to conduct himself in policy,” she said. “I’m a strong believer in the independence of the Fed.”

Trump is no fan of Yellen. In September he accused her of not raising interest rates to boost President Barack Obama’s popularity.

Rising interest rates could threaten some of Trump’s economic agenda which calls for large investments in infrastructure spending, economists tell Politico.

Flynn “inappropriately shared”

Trump’s National Security Adviser appointee, retired Army Gen. Michael Flynn, “inappropriately shared” classified information with British and Australian military officials in Afghanistan, according to the findings of a U.S. Army investigation obtained by the Washington Post.

The Army documents disclose that Flynn was investigated in 2010 after a U.S. naval official complained that Flynn was sharing classified information with the foreign military officials, without authorization.

Flynn, who frequently criticized Hillary Clinton for “mishandling” classified information as secretary of state, was never disciplined because investigators concluded that he did not act “knowingly” and sharing the information did not pose a threat to national security.

While the NSA post does not require Senate confirmation, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D- N.H.), have written a letter to FBI, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the Office of Personnel Management, questioning whether Flynn should be provided security clearance because of his role in leaking classified information.

Today's truthless Trump tweets

The president-elect issues two off-the-mark complaints on Twitter this Thursday morning:

"If Russia, or some other entity, was hacking, why did the White House waite (sic) so long to act? Why did they only complain after Hillary lost?"

(Actually it was made known during the campaign).

"The media tries so hard to make my move to the White House, as it pertains to my business, so complex - when actually it isn't!"

(Actually there are a web of potential conflicts widely described at length in various media which are not a single entity that collectively "tried" to do much of anything).

Trump hasn't faced a press conference since July 27 when he called for Russia "if you are listening" to release more Clinton e-mails.

What else is happening:

  • A judge ordered Trump to sit for a deposition of up to seven hours in his lawsuit against chef José Andrés, which is to occur before the inauguration
  • Ivanka Trump will keep an office in the White House East Wing, an area typically reserved for the first lady and her staff, according to a CNN report.
  • Sean Spicer, the Republican National Committee spokesman who has assumed the same role for the Trump transition team, has emerged a top contender for White House Press Secretary, Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle has also surfaced as a possible pick.
  • Rex Tillerson, Trump’s pick for Secretary of State, resigned his post as ExxonMobil CEO, leaving room in his schedule for those grueling confirmation hearings.
  • The oil and gas industry is seeing a resurgence in the tone set by the Trump transition, the Washington Post reports.
  • John Bolton, a former Bush administration official who helped promote the erroneous claim that Saddam Hussein was stockpiling WMD's, is drawing fire in some GOP headquarters as a presumptive Tillerson deputy.
  • Libertarians could form the main resistance to Trump in Congress, a Politico piece suggests.
  • Senate Democrats have called on Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to pay $5.3 million in fines her PAC “All Children Matter” was issued in 2006 by the Ohio Elections Commission for campaign finance violations.
  • The latestMarist Poll shows 44% of voters say Trump is changing the nation for the better, 34% say the change he is bringing about is for the worse, and 17% do not think the president-elect is creating any real change. Four percent are unsure.
  • Democrats staged a mock corruption hearing on Trump’s business ties, according to Politico.