Thursday, January 12, 2017

Progressive Breakfast: The Dullest - and Most Shocking - Moment in Trump's Press Conference


Richard Eskow
The Dullest — and Most Shocking — Moment in Trump’s Press Conference
...Trump interrupted his own press conference for a legal presentation from the law firm of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. People joked about attorney Sheri Dillon’s flat affect and boring speaking style. But it was Dillon, not Trump, who provided the day’s biggest shock. If her dullness of tone helped camouflage it, that may not have been an accident. It was Dillon who outlined Trump’s plan for managing his businesses while he’s in the Oval Office. If that plan doesn’t amount to premeditated corruption, it certainly paves the way for it.


Senate takes first step toward Obamacare repeal. NYT: “The vote was 51 to 48 … setting the stage for … a reconciliation bill … The budget blueprint instructs House and Senate committees to come up with repeal legislation by Jan. 27. Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee, and four other Republicans had sought to extend that deadline by five weeks, to March 3. But late Wednesday night, Mr. Corker withdrew an amendment that would have changed the date … [Still, he] described the Jan. 27 date in the budget blueprint as a placeholder … the Senate rejected amendments proposed by Democrats that were intended to allow imports of prescription drugs from Canada, protect rural hospitals and ensure continued access to coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, among other causes.”
Trump’s Obamacare comments upend congressional GOP plans. The Nation: “… Trump [said] any overhaul of the system must both repeal the bulk of the Affordable Care Act and replace it ‘essentially simultaneously.’ … That’s a virtual impossibility, but now congressional Republicans feel obliged to give it a shot [with a] vote on a replacement before the end of March … That gives Republicans two months to come up with something they haven’t been able to decide on for six years. And at least some of that would go through regular order and require the cooperation of eight Democratic senators.”
Repeal schedule also pushed back by HHS confirmation delay. Roll Call: “President-elect Donald Trump said at a news conference Wednesday in New York City that a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act would come once Secretary of Health and Human Services nominee Rep. Tom Price of Georgia wins confirmation. But the chairman of a key committee involved in both the repeal-replace process and in confirming Price said his confirmation may not take place until around the President’s Day recess in February.”
Sanders backs up Trump’s attack on drug companies. HuffPost: “‘We have to … create new bidding procedures for the drug industry, because they’re getting away with murder,’ Trump told reporters. “Pharma has a lot of lobbies, a lot of lobbyists and a lot of power … we’re the largest buyer of drugs in the world, and yet we don’t bid properly. And we’re going to start bidding and save billions of dollars.’ ‘You know what?’ Sanders told The Huffington Post in an interview. ‘He’s right. And I’ve been saying that for years,’ Sanders added …. Sanders isn’t holding his breath on Trump’s pledge. And he’s not very confident Trump actually understands the plan he dashed off in the press conference.”


Trump fails to separate himself from business interests. Politico: “Donald Trump will not sell his business nor place his assets in a blind trust while serving as president … Trump’s company will not enter into new foreign deals and will appoint an ethics adviser who must approve any new domestic deals in writing … his two oldest adult sons will manage the company … The head of the nonpartisan Office of Government Ethics said Donald Trump’s conflicts of interest plan is ‘meaningless’ and sets up the incoming administration for constant controversy … Trump’s organization still owes hundreds of millions in debt to foreign countries, raising additional questions about whether he would be beholden to them.”
“Trump can’t let go,” says Politico: “‘I think he’s incapable of seeing himself as anything other than the CEO of his company,’ said Trump biographer Wayne Barrett … ‘He’s like a boy with his marbles,’ fellow Trump biographer Tim O’Brien said. ‘He just can’t let go of a single marble in his collection.’ … ‘More than any person I’ve ever met, he’s focused on how things impact him,’ said Bruce Nobles, the former president of Trump Shuttle…”


Rex Tillerson’s confirmation not assured. Politico: “Rex Tillerson had terse exchanges Wednesday with Republican Marco Rubio and other key senators during his confirmation hearing … [He] struggled to clarify key issues, stating, for instance, that his company never lobbied against Russian sanctions, even though public records show the oil company repeatedly talked to lawmakers and the White House about the sanctions. He hedged on questions about whether the governments in countries such as the Philippines and Saudi Arabia were human rights violators … Tillerson’s shaky showing, and in particular his ugly clash with Rubio, did not bode well for his chance to get approval from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which has an 11-10 Republican-Democratic split, meaning even one GOP defection could spell trouble.”
Tillerson backs Paris climate agreement. Time: “‘I think it’s 190 countries have signed on,’ he said before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee … ‘We’re better served by being at that table than by leaving that table.’ Tillerson’s support for the Paris Agreement represents a stark contrast with the opinion of his would-be boss … Tillerson’s views on climate change seem progressive in light of Trump’s unscientific denial of the phenomenon, but they remain out of step with the conclusions of climate scientists … but his broader comments nonetheless suggest a skepticism of the urgency … Tillerson also reiterated his support for a carbon tax…”
“Two Congressmen Nail The Problem With The Jeff Sessions Makeover” notes’s Isaiah J. Poole: “…two African-American members of Congress – New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Georgia Rep. John Lewis – on Wednesday made sure that the Senate and the country was not distracted by the makeover that Sessions presented to the country … ‘Sen. Sessions has not demonstrated a commitment to a central requisite of the job to aggressively pursue the Congressional mandate of civil rights, equal light rights and justice for all of its citizens,’ [Booker] said.”
Transportation Secretary nominee Elaine Chao discusses infrastructure at confirmation hearing. Politico: “[Chao] promised to look at creative ways to attract funding for the $1 trillion infrastructure investment that Trump campaigned on — though she was careful to avoid mentioning any specific financial figures … ‘Do you and President-elect Trump support an infrastructure package that will include direct federal spending?’ [Booker] asked. ‘I believe the answer is yes,’ Chao said. That’s the closest the Washington veteran came to stating that federal money would be used…”

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