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Petraeus, who spilled secrets to lover, impresses Trump

Retired General David Petraeus speaks to members of

Retired General David Petraeus speaks to members of the media while leaving Trump Tower on Nov. 28, 2016 in New York City. President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration. Credit: Getty Images / Spencer Platt

A second-chance encounter

Question: When is mishandling classified information not a disqualifier for a job such as secretary of state?

Answer: When the offender is retired Army Gen. David Petraeus and the interviewer is President-elect Donald Trump.

“Was very impressed!” Trump tweeted after their one-hour meeting. “Very good conversation and we’ll see where it goes from here,” Petraeus told reporters in the Trump Tower lobby.

Widely respected as a commander in Afghanistan and later CIA director, Petraeus saw his career implode for sharing official secrets with his biographer and lover, Paula Broadwell. He was sentenced in 2015 to 2 years’ probation and a $100,000 fine.

Trump said during the campaign that Petraeus’ wrongs were “far, far less” than those he asserted that Hillary Clinton should have been prosecuted for. FBI Director James Comey told Congress in July that the “the reverse” was true — unlike Clinton and her State Department email server, the Petraeus case involved “intentional misconduct and a vast quantity of information.”

See Emily Ngo’s story for Newsday.

Does Mitt fit?

Trump’s second session with Mitt Romney, another secretary of state contestant, is set for Tuesday. They will have a private dinner, Politico said, citing sources.

In a reality-show-style spectacle, Romney has been battered like a piñata in recent days by the president-elect’s senior adviser, Kellyanne Conway. She said the former Massachusetts governor “went so far out of his way to hurt Donald Trump” during the campaign.

Romney’s boosters are said to include Vice President-elect Mike Pence.

Reports Tuesday morning citing sources close to Trump said he was “furious” at Conway for trashing Romney — which happened to be a favored pastime of Trump himself during the campaign. Conway called accounts of Trump’s displeasure with her “all false” in a text to MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough.

Health has a Price

Trump has decided to name Rep. Tom Price of Georgia as secretary of health and human services, according to multiple reports.

Price, an orthopedic surgeon, is an original member of the House Republicans’ tea party caucus and a leading foe of Obamacare.

Facts don’t rally to Trump claims

Trump’s team had no evidence Monday to support his tweeted claim that “I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.”

A Trump spokesman cited one debunked theory and mischaracterized a study whose author reaffirmed that while it found out-of-date records, there was “no evidence that voter fraud resulted.”

The president-elect also tweeted that there was “serious voter fraud” in California, Virginia and New Hampshire. Not so, said election officials in those states. Tom Rath, a top New Hampshire Republican, tweeted: “This will probably cost me my spot in the Cabinet but there was no fraud, serious or other, in this election in NH. There just wasn’t.”

‘Landslide. Blowout. Historic.’

That’s what Conway tweeted after Michigan completed its vote tally and declared Trump the winner of the state’s 16 electoral votes (pending a Stein-requested recount), giving him a total of 306.

Is she kidding? Maybe. Conway is a professional pollster, so she knows what numbers mean.

Trump’s EV tally puts him in ninth place among the 14 presidential election winners since 1964, when the Electoral College expanded to its current 538 votes.

Recounts and regrets

Jill Stein is on track to raise twice as much for an election recount effort — $7 million — as she did for her own failed Green Party presidential bid, ABC News said.

But even though Clinton’s campaign organization is now participating in the effort, Politico reports, her closest allies don’t believe it will change the result. Instead, they worry it will hand Trump another claim to victory when the hunt for miscounted votes in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania falls short.

What else is happening

  • Former federal ethics officials say Trump must do much more to prevent conflicts of interest with his businesses, Newsday’s Laura Figueroa reports.
  • Trump’s threat to reverse an expanded U.S. relationship with Cuba could trigger opposition from some Republican lawmakers and corporate leaders, The Associated Press reports.
  • A Texas Republican elector who was considering voting against Trump when the Electoral College meets will resign instead. An alternate will take his place, Politico reports.
  • Clip and save: The Washington Post compiled a list of 282 Trump campaign promises.
  • The billionaire Koch brothers did not put their money behind Trump, but their allies are getting choice positions in the coming administration, Politico says.

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