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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Swamp Thing

Isaac Arnsdorft reports at Politico:
Former government officials are lining up to vouch for ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Donald Trump’s secretary of state, and they all have something in common — a financial stake in the outcome.
James Baker, the George H.W. Bush secretary of state who, MSNBC reported, advised Donald Trump to pick Tillerson, is a partner at a law firm that has represented Exxon as well as Rosneft, the Russian state-owned oil company that partners with Exxon.

The Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Rosneft’s chairman, a close Vladimir Putin ally named Igor Sechin, in 2014 in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
The firm, Baker Botts (named for Baker’s great-grandfather), also represents Gazprom, the Russian state gas company.
Baker’s direct relationship with the companies isn’t clear, but his practice specializes in cross-border transactions, and as a partner in the firm, he probably profits from the range of its clients. He didn’t answer requests for comment.
Tillerson, who was formally nominated by Trump on Tuesday morning, also came recommended by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates. They also work for Exxon through their international consulting firm, Rice Hadley Gates.
Rice and the firm also didn’t answer requests for comment. A Trump transition spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Arnsdorf also reports:
Bob Dole’s lobbying Donald Trump on Taiwan went far beyond a congratulatory phone call from Taiwan’s president.
Dole, the only past Republican presidential nominee to endorse Trump before the election, briefed the campaign’s policy director, set up meetings between campaign staff and Taiwanese emissaries, arranged for Taiwan’s delegation to attend the Republican National Convention, and helped tilt the party platform further in the island’s favor, a lobbying disclosure document filed with the Justice Department and released to POLITICO shows. He even arranged for members of Taiwan’s ruling party to take a White House tour, according to the filing.

Taiwan paid the 93-year-old Dole and his law firm, Alston & Bird, $140,000 between May and October, according to the new disclosure. His spokeswoman declined to comment.