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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Transition Items

Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson is reportedly Trump's choice for secretary of state. Elise Viebeck reports at The Washington Post:
President-elect Donald Trump said he does not believe the CIA’s conclusion that Russia intervened in the election to help him win, attributing the assessment to Democrats who supported Hillary Clinton and claiming repeatedly that the U.S. intelligence community has “no idea” what might have happened.
“I think it’s ridiculous,” Trump said in an interview with “Fox News Sunday,” his first Sunday show appearance since the election last month. “I think it’s just another excuse. I don’t believe it . . . No, I don’t believe it at all.”
Trump also denied the importance of receiving the daily intelligence briefing, a tradition for presidents and presidents-elect. He has received the briefings only sporadically since winning the election.
“I get it when I need it,” he said. “I’m, like, a smart person. I don’t have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day for the next eight years.”
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Trump declined to confirm whom he will name secretary of state but lavished praise on his expected pick, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, calling him a “world-class player” and even alluding to Tillerson’s ties to Russia, which are a source of concern for hawkish Republicans on Capitol Hill.
“He’s in charge of an oil company that’s pretty much double the size of his next serious competitor,” Trump said of Tillerson. “It’s been a company that’s been unbelievably managed. And to me, a great advantage is he knows many of the players, and he knows them well. He does massive deals in Russia. He does massive deals for the company.”
Exxon is not necessarily a conservative favorite:



Michael Isikoff reports at Yahoo that a business and lobbying partner of Manafort is helping plan the inauguration. 
The business partner, Rick Gates, was not mentioned in the Trump transition team’s Nov. 15 public announcement naming the members of the inaugural committee. But behind the scenes Gates is serving as the chief deputy to Thomas Barrack, the private equity investor and close friend of Trump who is inaugural chairman, the sources said. One described him as in effect the “shadow” chair of the event, involved in everything from raising the $50 million to $75 million the Inaugural committee is seeking to the selection of entertainers.
...
As first reported by Yahoo News, Gates also was a co-investor with Manafort in a $26.2 million business deal with Oleg Deripaska, a billionaire Russian aluminum baron who had been barred by the FBI from entering the United States due to alleged ties to Russian organized crime. Deripaska later initiated legal action against both men in the Cayman Islands, alleging in court papers they had “simply disappeared” when his lawyers sought to liquidate their joint investment in 2014 and sought to question them about what happened to his funds.
Barrack worked for the law firm of Nixon's personal lawyer, Herb Kalmbach, Says Roger Stone, “John Dean told prosecutors that Attorney General John Mitchell had recruited California lawyer Herb Kalmbach to raise hush money for the Watergate burglars.” Kalmbach had a direct relationship with Nixon campaign aide Herbert Porter, who according to the Senate Watergate Committee Report, paid Stone to undermine the Democrats and the candidacy of anti-war Republican Pete McCloskey.In 2004, Barrack lent money to Manafort’s wife, Kathleen, secured by a lien on property belonging to the Manaforts. Manafort’s clients have also included the Lebanese arms dealer Abdul Rahman el-Assir.  In 1982, Barrack had arranged for the sale of Edwin Meese 3d’s California home while Meese was in the Reagan White House. Just five months later, the Administration appointed Barrack as a deputy undersecretary of the Interior Department. But he resigned in August 1983. During Meese’s confirmation hearings for Attorney General, Meese and Barrack each denied any connection between the Meese house sale and Barrack’s Interior Department appointment.
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Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan confirmed rumors that U.S. President-elect Donald Trump was considering building luxury hotels and resorts in Taiwan’s Taoyuan City, according to media reports Wednesday.
A woman working for the Trump Organization came to Taoyuan in September, declaring the company’s investment interest in Taiwan’s Taoyuan Aerotropolis, a large urban planning development project surrounding the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. 
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 Trump reportedly sold all his stock in June  -- just when he needed cash for legal fees and a potential settlement.  Though he has not released his tax returns, other documents strongly suggest that he is not as rich as he says, and that he has had liquidity problems.