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Trump battles back against charges of transition tumult

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Vice President Joe Biden shakes hands with Vice President-elect Mike Pence after they had lunch at the Vice President’s residence, the Naval Observatory, in Washington, Wednesday.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani arrives at Trump Tower, Wednesday.

NEW YORK >> President-elect Donald Trump and his team are battling back against charges of chaos and infighting as they race to set up an administration. The incoming Republican administration got an unlikely boost from outgoing Vice President Joe Biden, who said that “no administration is ready on Day One.”

Trump stayed out of the public eye Wednesday, meeting with a stream of visitors at his New York skyscraper. But he took to Twitter to dispute reports of internal tension, declaring the transition operation was proceeding “so smoothly.”

Trump’s team said Wednesday night that it would be rolling out teams to interact with federal agencies during the transition, starting with national security advisers who would work with officials at the State, Justice, Defense and other national security departments.

They also said transition and administration officials would be required to sever lobbying ties and pledge that they will not lobby the government for five years after departing the Trump administration.

Campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said Thursday she expects initial announcements of Cabinet choices to come “either before or after Thanksgiving” and told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program, “It’s Donald Trump and Donald Trump alone who makes the ultimate decisions.”

Trump’s team was essentially starting its transition planning from scratch after scrapping much of the preliminary work New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie conducted during the campaign. After winning the election, Trump demoted Christie and put Vice President-elect Mike Pence in charge.

The result has been a series of new additions to the transition team and several departures, mainly among those aligned with Christie.

Pence met Wednesday with Biden at the Naval Observatory, the vice presidential residence in leafy northwest Washington, D.C. Biden expressed confidence that by Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration, “everything will be in good hands.”

Trump planned to meet Thursday in New York with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, his first get-together with a world leader as president-elect. The State Department has said it had yet to hear from Trump’s transition team, raising the prospect of the Republican holding the meeting without any input from career diplomats with deep experience dealing with Japan.

Trump also plans to meet Thursday with an assortment of GOP officials, including former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling.

Trump aides and allies suggested some of the commotion within the transition team was to be expected given the enormous task at hand.

“The beginning of any transition like this has turmoil because it’s just the nature of the process,” former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said as he left Trump’s transition headquarters in Washington. He said the picture of Trump’s administration would become clearer over the next two or three weeks.

Former Michigan Rep. Pete Hoekstra, who has informally advised members of Trump’s national security team, blamed Trump’s detractors for the reports of drama.

“When you’re doing a transition that is trying to push the kind of change that Mr. Trump wants to be doing, it’s going to be even harder,” Hoekstra, a former House Intelligence Committee chairman, said.

But others close to the transition process described advisers “fighting for power.” Trump has long stoked internal rivalries among his staff — both in his businesses and his campaign — and has created ambiguity in his transition about who has authority to make key decisions.

Eric Trump, the president-elect’s son, raised expectations of imminent progress Wednesday, telling reporters in the morning that appointments were “likely” to come during the day. Then, other Trump aides suggested a slower pace.

“We’re not going to rush to put names forward until we’re absolutely sure,” Trump spokesman Jason Miller said hours later. “We’re going to make sure that they’re people we’re confident will pass confirmation and we think can implement the president-elect’s vision.”

Trump’s team noted that President Barack Obama waited until a few weeks after the 2008 election to announce many of his Cabinet appointments.

Trump appeared to be weighing an eclectic mix of individuals for top Cabinet posts, including longtime loyalists, former rivals and even a Democrat. Transition officials said Trump met Wednesday with Eva Moskowitz, a former New York councilwoman and charter school founder who is being considered for education secretary.

Other meetings included Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., a potential pick for Health and Human Services, Ray Washburne, a Dallas businessman and top GOP fundraiser in the mix for Commerce secretary, and Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan. New England Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft and New York Jets owner Woody Johnson were also spotted near the lobby’s gilded elevators during the day.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who spent two hours at Trump Tower on Wednesday, has been angling for secretary of state, though his consulting work for foreign governments has emerged as a potential roadblock. Trump is also said to be seriously considering John Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, for the top diplomatic job.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who tangled ferociously with Trump during the Republican primary but ultimately endorsed the businessman, could get a top job such as attorney general. An official said, however, he is not viewed as a top contender. The official, like others, wasn’t authorized to speak publicly on the transition talks and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Trump aides have released few details about the president-elect’s schedule or phone calls since the election. They tried to play catch-up Wednesday, releasing a list of 29 world leaders who have spoken with Trump or Pence in recent days. Most of the calls had previously only been confirmed by those leaders’ governments.

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  • And no we hear that the national security advisor will be an ex-general who was dumped by the Defense Intelligence Agency and is known to be so divisive that no one in the national security community wants to have anything to do with him. Even worse, he’s been on Putin’s payroll as a shill for Russia on Putin’s propaganda television network, Russia Today. And Republicans, the supposed party of national security, seem to be fine with a Russian agent advising Trump on national security. But then the President-elect announced that he had a wonderful phone call with Putin on the same day that Russia bombed three hospitals in Syria and Bashir Assad announced that he and Trump have a lot in common. Is this really want Republicans wanted?

  • November 14, 2016 is the date when the U.S. Department of Interior “final rule” 43CFR50 took effect, creating a pathway for a small percentage of ethnic Hawaiians (30,000 out of 600,000) to create a government that is guaranteed to get federal recognition as an Indian tribe.

    The Trump transition team is already assembling a long list of Obama regulations and executive orders to be nullified by executive order from President Trump. It’s important to make sure that “Fed Wreck” 43CFR50 gets included IMMEDIATELY on Trump’s list for repeal, because that list is already being compiled.

    If you know how to contact any Republican on Trump’s transition team, or in his future Department of Interior or Department of Justice, please forward this notice to them. Please include a webpage newly created on November 14 which provides links to hundreds of published articles by well-known conservative commentators and civil rights groups during the past 16 years opposing the concept of tribalism in Hawaii. Those authors and institutions who protested the Hawaiian tribal concept should also be contacted, along with Republican members of the upcoming 115th Congress and their staffers.

    See “Repeal 43 CFR 50” at
    http://tinyurl.com/zkbd22p

  • Obviously the media hasn’t learned a thing from the last election. Trying to spread propaganda just isn’t going to fly anymore. Nobody, except the far left loons, are buying.

  • I have no problem with getting to know Russia better through people like General Flynn and Trump’s own contacts in the Soviet Union. Trump’s people are right that communism does not mean Russia could not be an ally of the USA. Just watch for what Russia wants– they are expanding as an international power. They want to rival Europe and Nato and keep the Balkans aligned with Russia and not the European Union. They want to be power in the middle east as the US– including Trump– want to stay out of the Middle East and treat everyone there, including allies like Saudi Arabia as enemies. Russia wants to take over airbases in Syria (they have), Saudi Arabia (once we make enemies of Saudi Arabia), and Turkey (once they get Turkey to throw us out and they are getting close). Russia will build alliances in the Middle East, Mexico, and South America, and it is improving relations with Canada– so we must do the same.

    • First, the Soviet Union doesn’t exist, so I wouldn’t put much faith in Trump’s contacts there.

      Russia doesn’t “want to take over airbases in Syria.” They’ve had bases there for decades, as well as a naval port. The Syrian air force has flown Russian aircraft for 50 years. Russia recently built a new airbase in Syria.

      Russia is “expanding as an international power” by invading the Ukraine and supporting tyrants like Assad, who is committing genocide against his own people in Syria (and who likes Trump).

      Trump does have contacts in Russia, but you’ll never know who they are because he won’t release his tax returns. How much does he owe the Putin-controlled Russian banks that have kept his businesses afloat after American banks blacklisted him? After American intelligence agencies said that it is clear that Russians hacked the DNC, planted false news stories and tried to disrupt the election, why did Trump refute that investigation, claiming “we” don’t know who did it and suggest that it might be a 400-lb guy sitting in bed?

      “Trump’s own contacts” comprise shady characters like Paul Manafort, who has made millions while on the payroll of a Ukrainian autocrat and Putin puppet.

  • Chad Blair has an article in Thursday’s Honolulu Civil Beat about the Trump victory and how it might affect efforts involving Hawaiian sovereignty. More than 90 minutes ago I tried to post a comment to Blair’s article. But Civil Beat has a standing policy of refusing to post my comments until they are approved by editor Patti Eppler or one of her minions. Civil Beat pretends to encourage openness and dialog, but is clearly hypocritical. The comment is informative and perfectly civil. There’s no reason whatsoever for delaying it. Civil Beat’s prior censorship of commenting by selected authors holding opposing political views is contrary to standards of good journalism, and the delay (sometimes for hours) to obtain censors’ approval cripples the free exchange of ideas which Civil Beat pretends to encourage.

    Here’s the comment I tried to post more than 90 minutes ago. Let’s watch to see whether they ever pass it through, and how long it takes them. Thank goodness Star-Advertiser does not censor comments except for foul language, even when a commenter’s views are critical of the newspaper.

    A Republican will soon be President. And Republicans will control both the Senate and House in the 115th Congress.

    It is Republicans who blocked the Akaka bill in the Senate for 13 years, from 2000 to 2013 through personal “holds” and also a two-day fillibuster. Hundreds of articles in nationwide publications were authored by well-known conservatives. The U.S. Civil Rights Commission warned three times against both the Akaka bill and, more recently, the Department of Interior rule-making process.

    All those people are being contacted to repeal the Department of Interior “final rule.” President Trump can add it to his list of hundreds of Obama regulations and executive orders he promised to nullify. In Congress, language can be added to repeal it in bills that fund the Department of Interior. The job will be done.

    New webpage about how to “Repeal 43 CFR 50”, including links to 16 years of publications opposing this concept as illegal and immoral, at
    http://tinyurl.com/zkbd22p

  • Washington Post has a great story about Paul Horner, who makes his living posting false news stories on sites like Facebook. Corey Lewandowski and Eric Trump have tweeted links to his faux-articles. Here’s how he describes what he does:

    “Honestly, people are definitely dumber. They just keep passing stuff around. Nobody fact-checks anything anymore — I mean, that’s how Trump got elected. He just said whatever he wanted, and people believed everything, and when the things he said turned out not to be true, people didn’t care because they’d already accepted it. It’s real scary. I’ve never seen anything like it.

    “My sites were picked up by Trump supporters all the time. I think Trump is in the White House because of me. His followers don’t fact-check anything — they’ll post everything, believe anything. His campaign manager posted my story about a protester getting paid $3,500 as fact. Like, I made that up. I posted a fake ad on Craigslist.”

  • As hard as they tried, the media couldn’t get Clinton over the finish line. The guys who can’t win an election are now focusing their energies on discrediting the winner. I wonder how awesome our country could be if we had everyone rowing in the same direction, including a fair and objective press.

    • Libs can’t come to the reality that they LOST. Sad. Libs… #SUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP!
      BUT it’s great that we’ll have PRESIDENT TRUMP/VP PENCE come Jan. 20! #MAGA!

  • Bernie Sanders pledged to help Trump and support him if he makes good on promises he made late in his campaign to appeal to the working man and Sanders supporters. But I think maybe Trump forgot about these promises because he is not appointing working class supporters or those who support his promises he made that were similar to those advocated by Sanders.

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