What We're Reading

Morning Reads: Trump Makes More Controversial Appointments; Rep. Tim Ryan Challenges Pelosi

A roundup of some of the stories we're reading at BillMoyers.com HQ...

Morning Reads: Trump Makes More Controversial Appointments

Mike Pence, 2016 Republican vice presidential nominee, left, and Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican from Alabama, gesture during a campaign event for Donald Trump in Phoenix, Arizona. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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Jeff Sessions for attorney general –> According to reports this morning, Alabama’s junior US senator has been invited to accept the post. Ryan Reilly at The Huffington Post reports that Sessions was “once rejected as a federal judge over allegations he called a black attorney ‘boy,’ suggested a white lawyer working for black clients was a race traitor, joked that the only issue he had with the Ku Klux Klan was their drug use, and referred to civil rights groups as ‘un-American’ organizations trying to ‘force civil rights down the throats of people who were trying to put problems behind them.'” He will be following two African-Americans in the job, Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, both of whom have championed voting rights and fought GOP efforts to suppress the vote.

Gen. Mike Flynn for national security advisor –> A senior Trump official said last night that Flynn had been chosen. Julian Borger and David Smith for The Guardian: “Flynn broke from other national security experts during the US election campaign who denounced Trump, joining the then-candidate at rallies and leading chants against Hillary Clinton, including those that called for her to be locked up. In a fiery address at the Republican National Convention, Flynn emphasized his view that the threat posed by the Islamic State group required a more aggressive US military, as well as his belief that Washington should work more closely with Moscow.” Flynn brings conflicts of interests to the office, including heading a group that has spent tens of thousands on behalf of Turkish clients. Flynn has written op-eds urging Washington to continue supporting the country’s dictatorial president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Rep. Mike Pompeo as CIA director –> “He’s a sharp critic of the Iran nuclear accord, and gained prominence in the last few years after former Speaker John Boehner tapped him to serve on the House panel that investigated Benghazi. The Kansan founded Thayer Aerospace in Wichita before entering politics,” Politico reports. Fox News: “Pompeo, 53, initially supported Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in the GOP primary but later played a key role in helping Vice President-elect Mike Pence prepare for his debate against Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine.”

A tale of two Ryans –> Not yet, at least, but Tim Ryan, an Ohio congressman from the Youngstown area, is challenging Nancy Pelosi to lead Democrats in the House of Representatives and sit opposite another 40-something midwesterner, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. He may not be the perfect choice to lead a party that’s trying to become more progressive: He only recently became pro-choice, and is a protege of former Ohio Rep. Jim Traficant, who, our contributor Sean Posey notes, “prefigured” Trump. But Ryan’s district is working class and diverse, so his fight becomes part of the discussion among Democrats about whether the party can roll back the influence of corporate donors and reconnect with its blue collar past.

Not normal –> “‘It’s about 20C [36 degrees Fahrenheit] warmer than normal over most of the Arctic Ocean, along with cold anomalies of about the same magnitude over north-central Asia,’ Jennifer Francis, an Arctic specialist at Rutgers University, said by email Wednesday.” There’s more from Chris Mooney and Jason Samenow of The Washington Post.

Big bank’s China policy rejected –> CNN: “JPMorgan Chase improperly hired the ‘unqualified’ children of China’s ruling elite to win lucrative business from the country’s key decision makers, authorities alleged on Thursday. Regulators slapped JPMorgan with $264 million in fines and said the bank ‘corruptly influenced government officials’ with its hiring and internship tactics in China. The settlement follows a three-year investigation into JPMorgan and marks one of the first major crackdowns on a big U.S. bank for running afoul of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Known as the FCPA, the law prohibits companies from making payments or giving ‘anything of value’ to win business from foreign officials.”

Baby, you can drive my car –> “President-elect Donald Trump claimed credit on Thursday for keeping a Ford plant in Kentucky from moving to Mexico. But the company never planned to move the entire plant, only one of its production lines,” Jim Tankersly reports for The Washington Post. (Ford, however, not wishing to ruffle the president-elect’s feathers, issued this statement: “We are encouraged that President-elect Trump and the new Congress will pursue policies that will improve US competitiveness and make it possible to keep production of this vehicle here in the United States.”)


Morning Reads was compiled by John Light and edited by Michael Winship. See a story that you think should be included in Morning Reads? Tell us in the comments!



We produce this news digest every weekday. You can sign up to receive these updates as an email newsletter each morning.