(CNN)— It had been 169 days since President-elect Donald Trump—then the newly minted Republican nominee—took questions at an open news conference. On Wednesday, Trump broke the streak by hosting reporters, along with top aides, family and applauding staffers, for a wide-ranging, at times chaotic question-and-answer session.
Here’s how it unfolded, minute-by-minute. All times eastern:
10:59 a.m.: Two-minute warning given for beginning of news conference.
11:13 a.m.: Incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer comes to the podium, with Vice President-elect Mike Pence at his hip, and begins speaking as Trump and three of his children, along with a group of high level staffers, look on from the wings.
11:14 a.m.: Spicer calls out and rejects the content of documents made public by Buzzfeed on Tuesday night, saying it is “outrageous and irresponsible for a left wing blog” to publish “highly salacious and flat-out false information on the internet just days before (Trump) takes the oath office.”
Spicer does not deny a CNN report that Trump and President Obama were presented classified documents that included, in a two-page synopsis, allegations that Russian operatives claim to have damaging information about Trump.
11:15 a.m.: Spicer says that Trump does not know a former campaign adviser named Carter Page. (Trump had mentioned Page by name during a March 2016 interview with the Washington Post.)
11:16 a.m.: Pence takes over from Spicer, says he is “honored to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with a new president who will make America great again.” He praises Trump’s energy, twice, and touts the “caliber” of the nominees selected by the transition staff. He then attacks the press as “irresponsible” and introduces Trump.
11:19 a.m.: Trump says he “maybe” won the nomination because of his frequent news conferences.
“We stopped giving them,” he said, “because we were getting quite a bit of inaccurate news.”
11:21 a.m.: Trump speaks for four minutes about the industries (auto, pharmaceutical) he has pressured or plans to and again promises to be “the greatest jobs producer that God ever created.” He also talks about all the military bands that will be at the inauguration.
11:25 a.m.: “Speaking of veterans,” Trump announces that he will appoint David Shulkin to head the Department of Veterans Affairs. Shulkin is currently the VA’s undersecretary for health.
11:28 a.m.: Trump takes his first question, refuses to confirm or deny that he was briefed on Russian claims to have embarrassing information about him. He calls the unsubstantiated, published details “crap” and the work of “sick people.”
11:32 a.m.: Asked if he would undo the actions taken against Russia put into place by the Obama administration in response to the hacks, Trump deflects and says: “If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability.”
11:33 a.m.: After another question about his activities in Russia, Trump describes telling “many people” to beware of “cameras all over the place” during his visits.
He adds: “I’m also very much of a germaphobe. Believe me.”
11:35 a.m.: “I have no loans with Russia,” Trump says. Then claims he was, over the weekend, offered $2 billion to “do a deal in Dubai with a very, very very amazing man, a great, great developer,” but turned him down. Not because he had to, but because he doesn’t want “to take advantage.”
11:37 a.m.: Trump is asked if he will release his tax returns. He says they are under audit, so he will not.
“The only ones who cares about my tax returns are reporters,” Trump tells the questioner, a statement not backed up by recent polling.
11:38 a.m.: Sheri Dillon, an attorney for Trump, steps to the podium to explain why the President-elect will formally leave his businesses but not sell off his interests.
As CNN’s Jill Disis and Jeremy Diamond report: “All of Trump’s business and financial assets will be placed into the trust before he is inaugurated January 20, said Sheri Dillon, a lawyer for Trump. But she said he will still receive reports on the overall profit of the Trump Organization, his worldwide empire.”
11:53 a.m.: Trump returns to the mic, calls Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions’ performance on Tuesday during his confirmation hearing “brilliant.” What is he hearing from many people? That his cabinet will be “one of the great cabinets ever put together.”
11:55 a.m.: Questioned about the plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, Trump says he could have “waited and watched and criticized” and “let it implode” this year, but decided to act because it’s only fair to “the people.”
Of the timing of the replacement, Trump adds, it will happen “on the same day or the same week… could be the same hour.”
12:00 p.m.: On to jobs. Trump again touts the Carrier deal, calling his recent work to name and shame certain companies a statement of intent.
“The word is now out that when you want to move your plant to Mexico or some other place and you want to fire all of your workers from Michigan and Ohio and all these places that I won for good reason… not gonna happen that way anymore,” he says.
Trump adds: “We don’t have border” but “an open sieve,” and urges companies to shop state-to-state for better deals—“as long as it’s within the borders of the United States.”
12:02 p.m.: Asked how he will make Mexico pay for a “fence” on the Southern border, Trump corrects a reporter: “It’s not a fence, it’s a wall.”
He says negotiations with Mexico will begin shortly after he takes office. The country, he adds, will “in some form” reimburse the US for the cost of construction and says the “deal” will probably happen in less than 18 months.
12:05 p.m.: Trump pledges to name a Supreme Court nominee “within two weeks” of his inauguration.
12:06 p.m.: So what was Trump driving at with his Wednesday morning tweet that asked, “Are we living in Nazi Germany?” a reporter inquires.
He says that recent intelligence leaks were like something the government in Nazi Germany “would have done and did do.”
12:07 p.m.: Trump refuses to answer a question from CNN’s Jim Acosta.
12:12 p.m.: Asked by CNN’s Jeremy Diamond why he spent weeks taking shots at US intelligence before having seen their work, Trump brushed past the question and says, “I think it’s pretty sad when intelligence reports get leaked out to the press. I think it’s pretty sad.”
12:13 p.m.: Another reporter, ABC’s Cecilia Vega steps up to ask the question that Trump refused to hear from CNN’s Jim Acosta—whether the president-elect could “stand here today, once and for all, and say that no one connected to you or your campaign had any contact with Russia leading up to or during the presidential campaign?”
Trump dodges the question.
He speaks for 88 seconds—about the “respect” Russia will have for him; Chinese hackers; if his administration will “get along” with Putin (maybe); Hillary Clinton’s “reset” button—but does not say whether any of his campaign associates spoke regularly with Moscow during the election.
12:15 p.m.: And that’s a wrap.
On the way out, Trump explains that the stacks of papers and folders propped up on the table beside the podium are “all just a piece of the many, many companies that are being put into trust to be run by my two sons.”
12:16 p.m.: Trump exits stage right.
If this pathetic press conference is a sign of things to come over the next four years, then it may turn out to be more of a commentary on Trump’s supporters than on Trump himself.
It’s possible that in the history of the United States, never have so many lemmings lined up, to morosely tumble off so many terraced cliffs, into so many yawning valleys, at the prompting of so few, with so little persuasive power exerted.
Posted by DanielS on Monday, 26 December 2016 15:54.
TNO, “U.N. Vote and Jewish Lobby Hypocrisy”, 24 Dec 2016:
And Alt-Right hypocrisy as well, since The US was the only nation which supported Israel in the UN with regard to their illegal settlements - their chutzpah to fly in the face of the rest of the world probably rests on anticipation of help from their boy Trump
The U.S. Jewish lobby has rushed to defend Israel following the United Nations’ Security Council (UNSC) motion condemning the illegal seizure of Palestinian land—highlighting the fact that they support the right of Jews to preserve their racial identity in their own ethnostate, but always strongly oppose any European demands for that same right.
TNO, “Israeli Illegal Settlements: The Facts”, 26 Dec 2016:
Israel has demanded that the 14 nations who voted against the illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank “explain themselves”—for daring to oppose the Jewish ethnostate’s breach of international law.
In reality, the Jewish settlements are illegal in terms of the Geneva Convention and the Hague Regulations, and if undertaken by any other state, would have resulted in international military intervention.
According to “Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War” of the Geneva Convention, an occupier is forbidden from transferring its own civilians into the territory it occupies.
The construction of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank are clear violations of both these international treaties, and for Israel to demand that nations who uphold this law “explain themselves” is merely an indication of the chutzpah and hypocrisy which underpins that state.
These then, are the facts about the occupied West Bank:
The West Bank—including East Jerusalem—and the Gaza Strip together constitute the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), which have been under Israeli military occupation since June 1967.
Prior to Israeli occupation, the West Bank was controlled by Jordan, and the Gaza Strip by Egypt.
Before the State of Israel was established in 1948, the West Bank and Gaza Strip were simply parts of Mandate Palestine; their “borders” are the result of Israeli expansion and armistice lines.
More than 300,000 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip became refugees during Israel’s conquest in June 1967; the vast majority were unable to return.
In 1967, Israeli forces ethnically cleansed and destroyed a number of Palestinian villages in the OPT, including Imwas, Beit Nuba, and others.
One of the first acts of Israeli authorities in East Jerusalem was to demolish the Mughrabi Quarter, expelling 600 residents and destroying 135 homes. In place of the 800-year-old Mughrabi Quarter, Israel created the Western Wall Plaza.
20 Dec 2016: Terror around the world in the past few days…no thanks to these three ‘leaders.’
Pictures speak a thousand words….
How many of you remember that when Obama took office, Turkish President Erdogan was supposed to be his best (only!) friend among world leaders? Later, after she opened the gates to migrant Muslim invaders, Erdogan and Merkel became pals.
Austin, TX mayor works with White House to welcome Syrians against official state position.
Obama State Department approves 100 Syrian Muslims for West Virginia state capitol
Where were you WV Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito and Republican Rep. Alex Mooney? Only two choices!—either asleep-at-the-switch or in support of this move by a local ‘interfaith’ group to be named a federal subcontracting agency for the purpose of beginning a new refugee resettlement site in the state. (Charleston previously received a few refugees through Catholic Charities, but no where near this scale).
If Capito and Mooney had put up significant opposition, we would have heard about it and this decision might have turned out differently.
So why go ahead with this new site at the West Virginia state capitol?
For new readers we have followed the growing controversy in Charleston extensively for months, see here.
West Virginia is one of the Whitest (and poorest) states in The United States. It is also one of the most beautiful, at least where Massey Corporation has not strip-mined its mountain tops (and poisoned drinking water and given cancer to locals with that same operation).
21 Dec: 23 years after Black Hawk Down we admit Somali ‘refugees’ to US at highest rates ever
Here is the map of where they went (again these are the numbers for October 1, 2016 to December 10, 2016). This is the number for resettled refugees only:
Posted by DanielS on Saturday, 24 December 2016 03:52.
TNO, “Is Trump “Draining the Swamp?”, 23 Dec 2016:
At least four senior executives with international bankers Goldman Sachs will get critical posts in the Donald Trump administration—even though he campaigned fiercely against that institution, with his closing campaign ad using an image of that company’s CEO Lloyd Blankfein to condemn the “global power structure” for robbing America’s working class and enriching the elite.
The Goldman Sachs appointments are not the first indication that Trump has no intention of “draining the swamp” in Washington D.C. either.
Former Goldman Sachs partner Steven Mnuchin served as Trump’s national finance chairman and is now Trump’s nominee for U.S. Treasury secretary.
Trump has also nominated Goldman Sachs President (and the bank’s de facto number two) Gary Cohn as his top economic adviser in the White House.
Other Goldman alums in Trump’s inner circle include Anthony Scaramucci, a former Goldman banker and a member of the Trump transition team’s executive committee, as well as Steve Bannon, Trump’s campaign manager.
Trump’s campaign ad described Goldman Sachs as part of “a global power structure that is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth and put that money into the pockets of a handful of large corporations and political entities.”
“Not only has Trump’s election stoked hopes for looser regulatory policies that will make it easier for banks to take bigger risks and book fatter profits, but Goldman also appears to have regained its place at the nexus between Wall Street and Washington,” Bloomberg wrote.
CBS, “Donald Trump’s Cabinet richest in U.S. history, historians say”, 20 Dec 2016:
As he traveled the country on his thank you tour, President-elect Donald Trump touted his choices for his Cabinet and inner circle, a group historians say is the richest in U.S. history.
“And one newspaper criticized me, ‘Why can’t they have people of modest means?’” Trump said at a Des Moines, Iowa rally. “Because I want people that made a fortune. Because now they’re negotiating with you, okay?”
How rich? CBS News estimates seven of Trump’s picks are worth a combined $11 billion.
“I guess they have a few poor millionaires on it, but mostly it’s billionaires,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Critics like Sanders say Trump’s choices fly in the face of his populist campaign message. “You don’t appoint a Cabinet of billionaires to be taking on the establishment,” he said on Sunday’s “Face The Nation.”
Steve Mnuchin, Trump’s Treasury pick has been estimated to be worth as much as $655 million. He and commerce secretary nominee Wilbur Ross, worth $2.5 billion, recently said they were attuned to the plight of working Americans.
“It’s also not true all jobs are created equal. A guy that used to work in the steel mill, now flipping hamburgers, he knows it’s not the same,” Ross said in an appearance on CNBC.
Having millionaire and billionaire cabinet secretaries is not unprecedented. They tend to attract slots at Treasury and Commerce. But neither President Obama nor President George W. Bush had a single billionaire in their first Cabinets.
Pardon for quoting Bernie and other brackets but these are merely verifiable facts being cited here.
Quartz, “Trump’s 17 cabinet-level picks have more money than a third of American households combined”, 15 Dec 2016:
The 17 people who US president-elect Donald Trump has selected for his cabinet or for posts with cabinet rank have well over $9.5 billion in combined wealth, with several positions still unfilled. This collection of wealth is greater than that of the 43 million least wealthy American households combined—over one third of the 126 million households total in the US.
Affluence of this magnitude in a US presidential cabinet is unprecedented.
It is a game that Republicans have been playing for years, a few dog whistles in exchange for implicit White support of deracinating elite White Republicans in tandem with Jewish interests ....what is a bit new is that they are throwing a few milk bones to placate the explicit Whiteness in the Alt-Right so that they can co-opt White identity, not only into the Republican party but into their global geo-political agenda - on the side of fellow bracketed proposition empires, The U.S., Russia and Israel against Asia. This is a backwards and utterly dangerous friend/enemy arrangement and ultimately eschews Whites to a war footing in the interest of Jews against the ethnonationalism of others and ultimately, irrespective of White ethno-nationalism.
Rex Tillerson, the businessman picked by Donald Trump to be the next US secretary of state, is the long-time director of a US-Russian oil firm based in the tax haven of the Bahamas, leaked documents show.
Tillerson – the chief executive of ExxonMobil – has been a director of the oil company’s Russian subsidiary, Exxon Neftegas, since 1998. His name – RW Tillerson – appears next to other officers who are based at Houston in Texas; Moscow; and Sakhalin, in Russia’s remote Far East.
The leaked 2001 document comes from the corporate registry in the Bahamas. It was one of 1.3m files given to Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung by an anonymous source. The registry is public but details of individual directors are typically incomplete or missing entirely.
Though there is nothing untoward about this directorship, it has not been reported before and is likely to raise fresh questions over Tillerson’s relationship with Russia ahead of a potentially stormy confirmation hearing by the US senate foreign relations committee.
ExxonMobil’s use of offshore regimes – while legal – may also jar with Trump’s avowal to put “America first”.
Tillerson’s critics say he is too close to president Vladimir Putin – and that his appointment could raise potential conflicts of interest.
ExxonMobil is the world’s largest oil company and has for a long time been eyeing Russia’s vast oil and gas deposits. Tillerson currently has Exxon stock worth more than $200m.
Since his nomination, Tillerson’s Russia ties have become a source of bipartisan concern. In 2013 Vladimir Putin awarded him the Russian Order of Friendship. Tillerson is close to Igor Sechin, the head of Russian state oil giant Rosneft and the de facto second most powerful figure inside the Kremlin. A hardliner, Sechin is ex-KGB.
It was put on hold in 2014 after the Obama administration imposed wide-ranging sanctions against Russia. The sanctions were punishment for Putin’s Crimea annexation that spring and Russia’s undercover invasion of eastern Ukraine.
The ban covers the US sharing of sophisticated offshore and shale oil technology. Exxon was supposed to halt its drilling with Rosneft. The firm successfully pleaded with the US Treasury department to delay the ban by a few weeks, with the Kremlin threatening to seize its rig. In this brief window Exxon discovered a major Arctic field with some 750m barrels of new oil.
Tillerson has criticised the US government’s policy on Russia. In 2014 he told Exxon’s annual meeting that “we do not support sanctions”. He added: “We always encourage the people who are making those decisions to consider the very broad collateral damage of who they are really harming.”
It is widely assumed by investors that the new Trump administration will drop sanctions. This would allow the Kara joint venture to resume, boosting Exxon’s share price and yielding potential profits in the tens of billions of dollars. According to company records, Tillerson currently owns $218m of stock. His Exxon pension is worth about $70m.
The senate foreign relations committee is currently split 10 to 9 between Republicans and Democrats. But several heavyweight Republicans, including John McCain, have raised doubts about Tillerson’s nomination and his lack of experience to be America’s top diplomat after four decades spent exclusively in the oil industry.
Republican senator Marco Rubio – who sits on the committee – said on Tuesday that he had “serious concerns” about giving Tillerson the job. Rubio praised him as a “respected businessman” but said that the next secretary of state “must be someone who views the world with moral clarity [and who] has a clear sense of America’s interests”.
Tillerson is likely to get rid of his Exxon stock if the narrowly Republican-majority Senate confirms his appointment.
Today’s revelation sheds light on the use by multinational companies of contrived offshore structures, now under scrutiny following April’s massive Panama Papers leak.
Exxon Neftegas’s most important oil and gas project is Sakhalin-1. It is located in the sub-Arctic, off the frozen and difficult-to-access north-east coast of Russia’s Sakhalin island. This is 10,700km (6,650m) away from the subsidiary’s official business home in Nassau, the warm semi-tropical capital of the Bahamas. The Bahamas is notorious for secrecy. It has a corporate tax rate of zero.
The documents from the Bahamas corporate registry were shared by Süddeutsche Zeitung with the Guardian and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in Washington DC. They show that Exxon registered at least 67 companies in the secretive tax haven, covering operations in countries from Russia to Venezuela to Azerbaijan.
Exxon Neftegas features in about 25 leaked offshore documents. The oil firm was incorporated in 1998 by a law firm in Nassau, Higgs & Johnson. Another veteran law firm, Lobosky Management Ltd, subsequently took over as registered agent. Company secretary Sophia Kishinevsky signed the paperwork and made annual filings.
Exxon said it had no comment on whether Tillerson should now divest his Exxon holdings and resign from his positions with all Exxon entities. It said the oil firm had incorporated some of its affiliates in the Bahamas because of “simplicity and predictability”.
“It is not done to reduce tax in the country where the company operates,” Exxon said. It added: “Incorporation of a company in the Bahamas does not decrease ExxonMobil’s tax liability in the country where the entity generates its income.”
The firm was one of the largest taxpayers in the world, with an effective global tax rate in 2015 of 34%, it said. Its effective tax rate over the past three years – 2013, 2014, 2015 – was 43%, it added. This compared favourably with other Fortune 100 companies which “have substantially lower effective tax rates than ExxonMobil”.
And if you think that’s interesting, there will be more later.
Posted by DanielS on Sunday, 18 December 2016 01:22.
Tanya Gersh has called upon Sherry Spencer to sell her Whitefish, Montana building.
Richard Spencer’s mother, Sherry Spencer, had no intention of selling her Whitefish, Montana building until she received terrible threats, the threats she said came from Tanya Gersh, a local realtor with links to so-called “human rights” organizations.
According to Sherry Spencer, on November 22nd, Tanya Gersh spoke with her on the phone and she relayed that if Sherry Spencer did not sell her building that 200 protestors and the national media would show up outside - which would drive down the property value - until she complied. Gersh’s other conditions included that Mrs. Spencer should publicly denounce her son in a statement written by the Montana Human Rights Network and that she make a donation to this organization from the sale of the property. As Gersh announced on Facebook, she was “spear heading” the campaign.
Gersh followed up on her conditions in a number of emails, which have been made public. She even shamelessly suggested that she act as Sherry’s realtor! In other words, she and the local “human rights” organizations appeared to seek financial benefit from threats of protests and reputation damage. They also threatened tenants currently leasing space from Spencer’s mom.
Sherry had no intention of selling her property in Whitefish until being harassed and receiving this pressure from Tanya Gersh, as leveraged by threats of protest from the anti-racist protest organizations - Love Lives Here and Montana Human Rights Network - apparently at her behest to serve three functions:
1) To punish her son for promoting White Nationalist sovereignty.
2) To profit her local real estate business by instigating Sherry to a fire sale of her property.
3) To profit liberal groups such as “Love Lives Here” through donation of sale proceeds to them or similar anti-racist organizations: which generally oppose the necessary practice of social classification and discrimination on the basis of those social classifications (a least as Whites may render them - as such, they call it “racism”); despite the fact that capacity for social classification and discrimination is humanly impossible to avoid and absolutely necessary for survival of and against certain human species; as well as a generally necessary practice in defense against predation in order to facilitate human and pervasive ecology.
The mother of white supremacist Richard Spencer claims she is suffering financially due to the backlash against her son’s controversial views.
Sherry Spencer, who lives in Whitefish, Montana, said she is being forced to sell a building she owns in the small town because residents are rebelling against her son.
Sherry Spencer says she is being forced to considering selling the building she owns at 22 Lupfer Avenue (pictured), because of backlash against her son.
Richard Spencer shot to prominence last month when footage emerged of him delivering a ‘hateful speech’ at a white nationalist meeting held to celebrate Donald Trump’s election win.
A video by The Atlantic taken inside the Ronald Reagan building showed Spencer, leader of the National Policy Institute, shouting, ‘Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!’ as some of the people in attendance lifted their hands in a Nazi salute.
He also claimed America belongs to white people, who he suggested are faced with the decision to either ‘conquer or die’.
The speech drew intense criticism from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, which said in a statement Spencer made: ‘several direct and indirect references to Jews and other minorities, often alluding to Nazism.’
‘He spoke in German to quote Nazi propaganda and refer to the mainstream media. He implied that the media was protecting Jewish interests and said, “One wonders if these people are people at all?”’
And according to Sherry Spencer, the criticism has been echoed by people in her hometown - where he son also has a business registered and visits regularly.
Sherry Spencer told KTMF she is selling a building she owns at 22 Lupfer Avenue, which she currently sublets. It houses a beauty salon and vacation rentals. She also runs a real estate business from the building.
‘As painful as this is, I am exploring a potential sale of the building,’ she said.
She also took aim at a local human rights group, Love Lives Here, and accused it of damaging her family.
‘We are stunned by the actions of Love Lives Here, an organization claiming to advocate tolerance and equal treatment of all citizens, yet coursing financial harm to many innocent parties,’ she said.
One of the strongest opponents to Sherry is local real estate agent Tanya Gersh, who said Spencer has backed her son and allowed him to spread his views.
‘She is profiting off of the people of the local community, all the while having facilitated Richard’s work spreading hate by letting him live and use her home address for his organization,’ Gersh told the network.
Love Lives Here also responded to Sherry’s remarks, saying it ‘did not know what she (was) talking about’.
‘We don’t cause financial harm to anybody,’ co-founder Ina Albert said, before going on to say the group does not have a specific problem with the Spencers.
‘I don’t know what (Richard) does when he comes here. But that is not our problem with Richard Spencer.
‘It is the National Policy Institute and what that stands for and our town being smeared by his philosophy.’
The National Policy Institute was established in 2005 by Spencer, and it is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as ‘hate group’.
Gersh went on to call for Sherry to sell the building immediately, and then use the money to help human rights causes.
‘(She) Could address this by selling the building, making a donation to human rights efforts, and making a statement in opposition to white supremacist ideas spread by Richard,’ Gersh said.
Sherry Spencer also told the network she loves her son, but does not agree with his ‘extreme positions’.
Sherry Spencer is pictured with her husband Dr. Rand Spencer at a benefit in April 2016
As Sherry Spencer writes:
These threats came from Tanya Gersh, a local realtor with links to “human rights” organizations Love Lives Here [Phone: 406-309-5678] and the Montana Human Rights Network [Phone:406-442-5506].
On November 22, Gersh and I spoke on the phone. She relayed to me that if I did not sell my building, 200 protesters and national media would show up outside — which would drive down the property value — until I complied. Gersh’s other conditions included that I make a public denunciation of my son in a statement written by the Montana Human Rights Network and that I make a donation to this organization from the sale of the property. As Gersh announced on Facebook, she was “spear heading” the campaign.
Gersh followed up on her conditions in a number of emails, which I’ve just made public. She even shamelessly suggested that she act as my realtor! In other words, she and the local “human rights” organizations appeared to seek financial benefit from threats of protests and reputation damage.
Posted by DanielS on Monday, 12 December 2016 06:23.
Update: New York Times, “Trump Picks Rex Tillerson, Exxon C.E.O., as Secretary of State”, 12 Dec 2016:
WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald J. Trump on Monday settled on Rex W. Tillerson, the chief executive of Exxon Mobil, to be his secretary of state, dismissing bipartisan concerns that the globe-trotting leader of the energy giant had forged a too-cozy relationship with Vladimir V. Putin, the president of Russia, transition officials said.
Mr. Trump planned to announce the selection on Tuesday morning, finally bringing to an end his public and chaotic deliberations over choosing the nation’s top diplomat — a process that at times veered from rewarding Rudolph W. Giuliani, one of his most loyal supporters, to musing about whether Mitt Romney, one of his most vicious critics, might be forgiven.
Russia’s Prime Minister Putin speaks with Tillerson in Sochi in 2011
President-Elect Trump ‘will name Exxon CEO with close links to Putin as his secretary of state’, snubbing Mitt Romney.”
Trump is expected to name Rex Tillerson as secretary of state.
Exxon Mobil chief emerged on Friday as the leading candidate.
Favored status was revealed as Giuliani withdrew.
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump is expected to name the chief executive of Exxon Mobil as the country’s top diplomat, NBC News reported Saturday.
Exxon chief Rex Tillerson emerged on Friday as Trump’s leading candidate for U.S. secretary of state and is expected to meet with him later on Saturday, a transition official told Reuters.
NBC News cited two sources close to the transition team in reporting that Tillerson will be named as secretary of state.
The president-elect had interviewed 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney twice – taking him to a three-Michelin starred dinner on one of those occasions.
Should Tillerson be nominated, his business ties, too, will come under scrutiny. Exxon Mobil has operations in more than 50 countries and boasts that it explores for oil and natural gas on six continents.
In 2011, Exxon Mobil signed a deal with Rosneft, Russia’s largest state-owned oil company, for joint oil exploration and production. Since then, the companies have formed 10 joint ventures for projects in Russia.
In 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin awarded Tillerson his nation’s Order of Friendship.
‘He has had more interactive time with Vladimir Putin than probably any other American with the exception of Henry Kissinger,’ John Hamre, a deputy defense secretary to Bill Clinton told the Wall Street Journal.
But U.S. sanctions against Russia for its incursion into Crimea cost Exxon Mobil dearly, forcing it to scrap some projects and costing it at least $1 billion in losses. Tillerson has been a vocal critic of the sanctions.
Trump has spoken of wanting warmer relations with Moscow, which has sparked concerns in Congress that he could lift or loosen some of the sanctions on Russia.
Tillerson has been chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil since 2006. He is expected to retire from the company next year.
Should Tillerson be nominated, climate change could be another divisive issue. The company is under investigation by the New York Attorney General’s Office for allegedly misleading investors, regulators and the public on what it knew about global warming.
Posted by DanielS on Saturday, 10 December 2016 09:15.
Reuters, “The CIA has concluded that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help President-elect Donald Trump win the White House, and not just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, the Washington Post reported on Friday.” 9 Dec 2016:
Citing U.S. officials briefed on the matter, the Post said intelligence agencies had identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, to WikiLeaks.
The officials described the individuals as people known to the intelligence community who were part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and reduce Clinton’s chances of winning.
“It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,” the Post quoted a senior U.S. official as saying. “That’s the consensus view.”
The Post said the official had been briefed on an intelligence presentation made by the Central Intelligence Agency to key U.S. senators behind closed-doors last week.
The CIA, in what the Post said was a secret assessment, cited a growing body of evidence from multiple sources. Briefers told the senators it was now “quite clear” that electing Trump was Russia’s goal, the Post quoted officials as saying on condition of anonymity.
In October, the U.S. government formally accused Russia of a campaign of cyber attacks against Democratic Party organizations ahead of the Nov. 8 presidential election.
President Barack Obama has said he warned Russian President Vladimir Putin about consequences for the attacks. But Russian officials have denied all accusations of interference in the U.S. election.
A CIA spokeswoman said the agency had no comment on the report.
Trump has said he is not convinced Russia was behind the cyber attacks. His transition team issued a statement on “claims of foreign interference in U.S. elections” on Friday but did not directly address the issue.
The hacked emails passed to WikiLeaks were a regular source of embarrassment to the Clinton campaign during the race for the presidency.
The CIA presentation fell short of a formal U.S. assessment by all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies, the Post said. A senior U.S. official said there remained minor disagreements among intelligence officials about the assessment because some questions are unanswered, it said.
Intelligence agencies did not have specific intelligence showing the Kremlin directed the individuals to pass the hacked emails to WikiLeaks, another senior official told the Post. The actors were “one step” removed from the Russian government rather than government employees, the official said.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has said in a television interview that the Russian government was not the source of the emails, the Post said.