IT’S TILLERSON — ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson is Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of state. Everything about Tillerson and ExxonMobil will come under intense scrutiny — not least his and his company’s relationship with Russia and Vladimir Putin. NYT (http://nyti.ms/2gURNdU) … WaPo (http://wapo.st/2hz76wu) … POLITICO (http://politi.co/2hsytpq) … WSJ (http://on.wsj.com/2gCffAf) … FT (http://on.ft.com/2hppwfT).
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— TRUMP STATEMENT: “Rex Tillerson’s career is the embodiment of the American dream. Through hard work, dedication and smart deal making, Rex rose through the ranks to become CEO of ExxonMobil, one of the world’s largest and most respected companies. His tenacity, broad experience and deep understanding of geopolitics make him an excellent choice for Secretary of State. He will promote regional stability and focus on the core national security interests of the United States. Rex knows how to manage a global enterprise, which is crucial to running a successful State Department, and his relationships with leaders all over the world are second to none. I can think of no one more prepared, and no one more dedicated, to serve as Secretary of State at this critical time in our history.”
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— TILLERSON’S CHANCES, FROM JOHN BRESNAHAN: “It’s an open question whether Tillerson’s past pro-Russia statements and business dealings there — combined with the concern over Russia’s alleged meddling in the elections — will sink this nomination. Senate Democrats think they have a real shot at derailing Tillerson — if not in committee then in a full Senate vote. No president has lost a fight over a Cabinet nominee since the Senate rejected John Tower for Defense secretary in 1989, but it could happen again here.
“INSIDE THE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE, Trump and Tillerson can likely count on support from Chairman Bob Corker of Tennessee, who was up for the nomination himself. … Other GOP senators on the Foreign Relations panel are considered ‘gettable’ for Trump. Sens. Jim Risch (Idaho), David Perdue (Ga.) and John Barrasso (Wyo.) are all conservative, but loyal to leadership. GOP Sen. Cory Gardner (Colo.) — who will chair the National Republican Senatorial Committee this cycle — is seen as gettable, as well. Other Republicans may not be as easy. Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), Rand Paul (Ky.), Ron Johnson (Wis.), and Johnny Isakson (Ga.) were all re-elected this cycle, and thus might not be as susceptible to Trump’s pressure. Johnson may not have won without Trump at the top of the ticket, yet he won’t want to look soft on Russia either.
“STRONG SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL and opposition to the Iran nuclear accord will win Tillerson some favor inside the panel. Two of the four Democrats to vote to oppose the agreement — Sens. Ben Cardin (Md.) and Bob Menendez (N.J.) — sit on Foreign Relations. Menendez is under indictment on federal corruption charges, but that trial won’t begin until fall 2017. Tillerson has also advocated relaxing U.S. sanctions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and seizure of Crimea. The ratio on the committee will be 9-8 in the new Congress. Tillerson could easily lose in the panel, depending on how his hearing goes. However, even if he loses in Foreign Relations, Tillerson could get a floor vote, although by that time, it would be hard to see Trump winning that fight.”
— “5 roadblocks that might trip up Tillerson,” by Matt Daily: “Russia, Russia, Russia … It’s the climate … Canada … Iraq … The Exxon punching bag.” http://politi.co/2hzcnnX
— TILLERSON, BY THE NUMBERS. $442,000 in political donations in his career, including Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. He never gave to Trump, but donated $5,000 to Jeb Bush’s super PAC. ExxonMobil doles out lots of cash, shelling out $1.5 million last cycle. It maxed out ($10k) to Foreign Relations members Isakson, Johnson, Paul and Rubio. He also gave $10,000 to John McCain, chair of Armed Services.
— @steinhauserNH1: “Sen. Foreign Relations member @SenatorShaheen says Tillerson nomination ‘raises serious questions’ … #TrumpCabinet” http://bit.ly/2gvn4D4
NBC NEWS POWER DUO OF HALLIE JACKSON and KRISTEN WELKER: “Trump Picks Energy Department Opponent Rick Perry for Energy Secretary: Sources” http://nbcnews.to/2hzyUku
TRUMP’S CABINET, BY THE NUMBERS — 2 generals (Mattis, Kelly), 2 bankers (Mnuchin, Ross), 2 members of Congress (Sessions, Price), 3 business executives (Puzder, McMahon and Tillerson), 1 physician (Carson), a former cabinet official (Chao), 1 billionaire philanthropist (DeVos), 1 governor (Haley), state attorney general (Pruitt). ZERO DEMOCRATS, so far, breaking a long tradition of nominating someone from the opposing party.
— @JesseLehrich: “State – Oil tycoon Labor – Fast food tycoon SBA – Wrestling tycoon HUD – Doctor Ed – Megadonor Treasury – Goldman exec NEC – Goldman exec”
****** A message from the Stop The HIT Coalition: The Health Insurance Tax (HIT) drives up health care costs for small businesses, seniors, state Medicaid programs and middle-income Americans. The consequences are real. We need to repeal the HIT before it hurts small businesses and hardworking American families even more. Congress, please stop the HIT. Once and for all. www.stopthehit.com ******
NEW POLITICO/MORNING CONSULT POLL — Two stories today: “Voters skeptical of bankers on incoming Trump team,” by Jake Sherman: “American voters are happy that Donald Trump is filling his Cabinet with generals. But a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll offers a warning sign to the president-elect as he turns to Wall Street for talent: They still hate bankers….53 percent of voters say they’re heartened by the appointment of multiple retired generals to the top rungs of Trump’s administration. Twenty-three percent say it’s a bad thing, and an identical percentage say they don’t have an opinion.” http://politi.co/2hhXqFK
— “Voters doubt Trump will keep business interests separate,” by Steven Shepard: “President-elect Donald Trump isn’t ready to disclose how he plans to unwind his intricate web of potential financial conflicts, but voters are already skeptical Trump will keep his business interests separate from his duties as president when he takes office next month, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll released Tuesday. … A majority of voters, 52 percent, say Trump’s ‘business interests and positions’ will affect his decision-making as president ‘a lot,’ and another 29 percent say they will have ‘some’ effect on his decisions.” http://politi.co/2hsMuDp
Some other fascinating details:
— A LOT OF PEOPLE DON’T KNOW TILLERSON. Rex Tillerson, the CEO of ExxonMobil and Trump’s choice for Foggy Bottom, is seen as favorable by 21% of those polled, while 32% find him unfavorable. A third of respondents don’t know him.
— PEOPLE TRUST THE MILITARY, LOATHE CONGRESS. 83% of respondents say they have a lot or some confidence in the military. Just 37% say they have a lot or some confidence in Congress, while 20% say they have no confidence in Congress at all.
TRUMP ON TRUMP INC. — @realDonaldTrump at 11:26 p.m. and 11:32 p.m.: “Even though I am not mandated by law to do so, I will be leaving my busineses [sic] before January 20th so that I can focus full time on the……” … “Presidency. Two of my children, Don and Eric, plus executives, will manage them. No new deals will be done during my term(s) in office.” … at 11:41 p.m.: “I will hold a press conference in the near future to discuss the business, Cabinet picks and all other topics of interest. Busy times!”
TRUMP WORLD — “Trump close to building out senior White House team,” by Shane Goldmacher: “Some jobs are now seen as near-locks. Stephen Miller, Trump’s chief speechwriter and policy adviser on the campaign, is expected to be named a senior policy adviser. Rick Dearborn, the current executive director of the presidential transition team and a former chief of staff to Sen. Jeff Sessions, is widely expected to head the White House Office of Legislative Affairs, helping guide Trump’s agenda through Congress. And George Gigicos, one of Trump’s earliest staffers and a veteran of the George W. Bush White House, is in line to serve as director of White House advance. Transition aides and others close to Trump’s team cautioned that no decisions from Trump are ever final until actually announced, and that the exact titles in a Trump White House are still in flux and could differ from previous administrations.
“Some people close to Trump said that Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s final campaign manager who has publicly flirted with running a pro-Trump group outside the government and has said she already declined the post of press secretary, is now considered more likely to enter the administration than she had been a week ago. Among the titles under discussion would be serving as a senior adviser or assistant to the president or possibly as a deputy chief of staff for communications, they said. … Meanwhile, Sean Spicer, chief strategist and communications director for the [RNC], is seen as the heavy front-runner to serve as press secretary and the face of the administration from the briefing room.” http://politi.co/2hnWJvm
TRUMP, THE AXE — “Traders scheme to cash in on Trump tweets: On Wall Street, a person who can move a stock is called an ‘axe.’ Trump, with his itchy Twitter finger, is quickly emerging as the biggest axe there is,” by Ben White in New York and Patrick Temple-West: “President-elect Donald Trump issued a single tweet blasting defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. at 8:30 a.m. on Monday. By lunchtime, he had wiped $4 billion off the company’s market value. Wall Street traders began dumping the company’s stock after Trump criticized its fighter jet program: ‘The F-35 program and cost is out of control,’ he tweeted. ‘Billions of dollars can and will be saved on military (and other) purchases after January 20th.’ With his millions of Twitter followers and upcoming inauguration to the most powerful job in the world, Trump presents challenges and opportunities that Wall Street has never seen before. Traders not only have to monitor the president-elect’s every word, they also have to follow his Twitter feed. Some are already crafting strategies to cash in on the president-elect’s penchant for bashing individual companies.
“‘This is a new type of risk, call it presidential tweet risk,’ said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMP Private Bank. ‘And it’s the largest companies that enjoy a global supply chain, relatively low tax rate and have marshaled Washington to their benefit that seem to be at the most risk. But everyone now has to keep their Twitter feed right next to their Bloomberg terminal.’” http://politi.co/2gGpe6i
TRUMP ON TRUMP INC. — @realDonaldTrump at 11:26 p.m.: “Even though I am not mandated by law to do so, I will be leaving my busineses [sic] before January 20th so that I can focus full time on the……” … at 11:32 p.m.: “Presidency. Two of my children, Don and Eric, plus executives, will manage them. No new deals will be done during my term(s) in office.” … at 11:41 p.m.: “I will hold a press conference in the near future to discuss the business, Cabinet picks and all other topics of interest. Busy times!”
— Trump’s tweets follow the news that he was planning to delay his scheduled Dec. 15 press conference on his business succession plans and make an announcement next month. http://bloom.bg/2gvrsBO
DNC WATCH — “Labor Secretary Thomas Perez Is Said to Plan Run to Lead D.N.C.,” by NYT’s Jonathan Martin: “Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez has told three senior Democrats that he intends to run for chairman of the [RNC], challenging the front-running candidate, Representative Keith Ellison, and inserting an ally of President Obama into the contest to rebuild a bruised party. Mr. Perez, who had also been considering a run for Maryland governor, is expected to reveal his plan to seek the D.N.C. chairmanship this week, according to Democratic officials briefed on his decision … He has been wooed by prominent Democrats for weeks to seek the party post, a lobbying campaign that included entreaties from high-level allies of Mr. Obama. Mr. Perez, who has been on the phone with a number of Democratic governors and other party leaders, is expected to meet with the president himself to discuss the position this week.
“‘I like Tom a lot, and if he was to run, I think he would be a formidable candidate,’ said Gov. Dannel P. Malloy of Connecticut, who heads the Democratic Governors’ Association and has spoken with Mr. Perez recently.” http://nyti.ms/2hhSuRy
YOU’RE INVITED — We have TWO excellent Playbook events this week. A breakfast on Thursday with Attorney General Loretta Lynch at the Liaison Hotel (415 New Jersey Avenue, NW). Doors open at 8 a.m., and the program starts at 8:30 a.m.. We’ll talk to her about her time atop the Justice Department, what she is most focused on in the waning days of the Obama administration and what’s next for her. RSVP http://bit.ly/2h73iS9
ON FRIDAY, we have Playbook Cocktails with Sean Spicer, the chief strategist and communications director for the RNC. Spicer is working on the Trump transition effort, and is in the middle of the biggest decisions being made right now. He’s a favorite to be Trump’s press secretary. We’ll talk to him about what to expect from a President Donald Trump, and what we should be watching out for in 2017. This event is also at the Liaison Hotel. Doors open at 4 p.m., and the program begins at 4:30 p.m. RSVP http://bit.ly/2hq2f0C
45’S WHITE HOUSE — “Trump plans personal touch for Oval Office wall,” by Annie Karni: “President-elect Donald Trump is planning to make some artistic changes to the Oval Office that reflect his fascination with his unexpected victory. Trump has told friends he plans to hang in the Oval Office a personal letter written to him in 1987 by former President Richard Nixon that predicted he would win political office … ‘Dear Donald,’ reads the prescient correspondence from Nixon, dated Dec. 21, 1987. … ‘Mrs. Nixon told me that you were great on the Donahue Show. As you can imagine, she is an expert on politics and she predicts that whenever you decide to run for office you will be a winner!’” http://politi.co/2hp7f2t
STICKING AROUND — “Obama to open post-presidency office in World Wildlife Fund headquarters,” by WaPo’s Jonathan O’Connell: “Obama has agreed to lease office space in the headquarters building of the World Wildlife Fund, at 1250 24th Street NW, in Foggy Bottom, according to a two officials familiar with the agreement. … The office is about a mile from the Kalorama neighborhood in Northwest D.C. where he and his family have decided to live when he leaves office while his younger daughter Sasha finishes high school.” http://wapo.st/2hpEHGk
— OBAMA on the “Daily Show” last night: http://on.cc.com/2gvB3IY
SCHOCK UPDATE — “Former Rep. Aaron Schock pleads not guilty in corruption case,” by Heather Caygle in Springfield, Illinois: “‘I look forward to all the facts coming out in this case,’ Schock said in a brief statement following the hearing. ‘I have full confidence in my legal team, full confidence in the good people of this community and I’m confident that in the end, justice will prevail.’ Schock, 35, is set to face trial on Feb. 7, although that date could get pushed back if his lawyers request more time given the large number of documents tied to the case.” http://politi.co/2hhRgpk
MAYOR OF THE WORLD – DAVID LEONHARDT: “Make Colleges Diverse”: “Many college campuses have reacted to Donald Trump’s election with shock and angst. Professors and students are wondering how the rest of the country could be so different from them. The more introspective are asking: What can we do? Michael Bloomberg has an answer. It’s an answer that should appeal to both liberals and conservatives — an answer that isn’t about Trump per se but instead about the alienation that helped him win. Bloomberg wants to make leading colleges more open to the working class. He wants to make them fairer places that look more like America.” http://nyti.ms/2gV0XHg … The Bloomberg Philanthrophies press release http://bit.ly/2hpuF7P
THE WASHINGTON POST has put together a virtual museum of the Obama presidency. http://wapo.st/2gCk50w
THE TRUMP TRANSITION TEAM unveiled their ‘Greatagain.gov’ Medium publication yesterday, where they are posting updates on the president-elect’s preparations to staff his administration. https://greatagain.gov/
JUST POSTED — The Atlantic’s big new Jan./Feb. cover story out this morning by Ta-Nehisi Coates, “My President was Black,” is a 17,000 word “chronicle of the first black presidency, how President Obama’s perspectives on race and the sentiment of the nation led him to the highest office- and how Trump’s election is unmaking that legacy.” http://theatln.tc/2gvjskm … The cover http://bit.ly/2hzveiE
INAUGURATION WATCH — “Trump may have finally found celeb performer for inauguration,” by Page Six’s Emily Smith: “Andrea Bocelli is being personally approached by President-elect Donald Trump to perform at the inauguration. The famed Italian tenor is performing at New York’s Madison Square Garden on Thursday and is said to be meeting with Trump on Friday. A source exclusively told Page Six, ‘Trump has a long-standing relationship with Bocelli, and wants to ask him in person to perform. The plan is to have acts at the inauguration that are meaningful for Trump, and he’s a huge fan of Bocelli.’ … Colony Capital mogul Tom Barrack is in charge of inaugural events and has been working with famed ‘Apprentice’ producer Mark Burnett on the lineup.” http://pge.sx/2hswIIF
MARK LEIBOVICH gets up close and personal with Sen. Al Franken for this weekend’s N.Y. Times Magazine: “[Franken] seemed to be choosing his words carefully, trying to toe the opposition party line about Trump, in so much as there is one: ‘Where there are places we agree, I will try to work with this administration.’ But his despair was obvious. ‘He’s very different,’ Franken said of Trump. ‘And that’s as far as I’ll go in my conjecture of who he is.’ He chortled. ‘That’s become kind of a cottage industry.’ Psychoanalyzing Trump, he meant.
“I reminded Franken that he was qualified, having presented himself at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia last summer as ‘a world-renowned expert on right-wing megalomaniacs.’ He had received ‘a doctorate in megalomaniac studies from Trump University.’ That was a few days after Trump accepted the Republican nomination, a remarkable development that — if you listened to the dismissive speeches and constant mockery across the spectrum of smug progressives and Never Trump conservatives — still felt at a safe remove.” http://nyti.ms/2hphhAK
WHY NOT — “Clinton campaign backs call for intelligence briefing before Electoral College vote,” by Gabe Debenedetti and Kyle Cheney: “Hillary Clinton’s top political adviser John Podesta said the campaign is supporting an effort by members of the Electoral College to request an intelligence briefing on foreign intervention in the presidential election. ‘The bipartisan electors’ letter raises very grave issues involving our national security,’ Podesta said in a statement Monday. ‘Electors have a solemn responsibility under the Constitution and we support their efforts to have their questions addressed.’” http://politi.co/2hIg4DT
— The group of electors calling for an intel briefing has grown, with at least 19 new signers on the letter: http://bit.ly/2hnXtQS
— “RNC keeps close tabs on Electoral College vote: GOP effort makes sure Republican electors don’t go wobbly on Trump,” by Kyle Cheney: http://politi.co/2gV1GIp
POSTCARD FROM THE FAITH ANGLE FORUM in Miami Beach – on a panel about religious voters in the 2016 election, Brookings’ Bill Galston shared the results of a poll question asking, “Do you think an elected official who commits an immoral act in their personal life can still behave ethically and fulfill their duties in their public and professional life?”: “Of white evangelicals in 2011, only 30 percent gave an affirmative answer to that question and oddly in 2016, 72 percent gave an affirmative answer to that question. I wonder what happened in the interim? Could it have been a doctrinal revolution? Somehow I don’t think so.”
****** A message from the Stop The HIT Coalition: The Health Insurance Tax (HIT) drives up health care costs for small businesses, seniors, state Medicaid programs and middle-income Americans. The HIT is estimated to cost hardworking American families an additional $5,000 over a decade. And since the cost and consequences of the HIT increase over time, America’s small businesses and hardworking families are facing a bigger HIT every year. This translates to real jobs for businesses and real wages for families. That’s why the Stop The HIT Coalition – representing the nation’s small business owners and their employees – is working hard to repeal the HIT before it causes even more damage. Congress, please stop the HIT. Once and for all. www.stopthehit.com ******
HAPPENING TONIGHT — For the third installment of BuzzFeed Brews at The Newseum, BuzzFeed News Senior National Correspondent John Stanton will sit down with Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) to discuss his long career in Congress and the post-election landscape for Democrats. RSVP http://bit.ly/2hpNw2E
HAPPENING TOMORROW — POLITICO is hosting an event about the future of the parties and the press featuring Susan Glasser, Sarah Isgur Flores, Evan McMullin, Ben Smith, and Jeff Weaver at 8 a.m. at The W Hotel. At the event, the Democracy Fund will also be releasing a new report on the “rise of populism and nativism in America.” RSVP http://politi.co/2hyV86b
THE NEW ECONOMY — “Uber said it protects you from spying. Security sources say otherwise,” by Reveal News’ Will Evans: “For anyone who’s snagged a ride with Uber, [former Uber employee] Ward Spangenberg has a warning: Your personal information is not safe. Internal Uber employees helped ex-boyfriends stalk their ex-girlfriends and searched for the trip information of celebrities such as Beyoncé, the company’s former forensic investigator said.” http://bit.ly/2hI3c0v … New Lyft report on its economic impact http://lft.to/2hhQB74
PLAYBOOK INTERVIEW: TUCKER CARLSON
Tucker Carlson, a longtime conservative pundit who loves to needle his colleagues in the media, last month started his own program “Tucker Carlson Tonight” in the 7 p.m. hour on Fox News, replacing Greta Van Susteren. Before joining Fox, Carlson was a host of “Crossfire” on CNN, started The Daily Caller and also wrote for The Weekly Standard. Carlson has boosted viewership for his time slot by 17 percent (to 2.9 million) and already is getting attention and controversy for interviews like his grilling of New York Times public editor Liz Spayd, who criticized political tweets by her own paper’s reporters as “outrageous.” Carlson thinks the answer to “fake news” is more free speech, and journalists who want to shut down fake news sites should leave the profession. But he also told Playbook he’s worried about Trump’s “authoritarian tendencies,” though he compared them to Barack Obama’s, and warned that if Congress continues to be gridlocked, the U.S. could “wind up with a dictator” in 20 years. More excerpts:
Fake news an overblown problem: “I was here when the New York Times told me that Iraq had mass stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction and the Washington Post told me that too. That was fake news and we went to war over it and thousands died and we spent trillions. I don’t believe there’s more fake news than there’s ever been. If some chat room on a website has 19 people who believe something that’s false, yeah that’s bad. I’m not defending it. I’m against it. But is that worse than the New York Times lying to me about something that’s going to move hundreds of thousands of troops into harm’s way? No it’s not … The answer is more information, more conversation, and a more diverse set of views, more people talking, it’s not fewer people talking. What do you do if you see something that you disagree with and you think is wrong? Try and blot it out? No, you argue against it and make a counter case. The impulse is purely authoritarian.”
Journalists who want to block fake news should leave the profession: “I find it amazing that journalists or people pretending to be journalists are actually with a straight face arguing that we need to prevent people from expressing their views. … I just feel like, go away. This is not the right business for you. You don’t buy into the core tenet of our business which is freedom of expression. … Go do something else. Doesn’t mean you can’t be an excellent aluminum siding salesman or you couldn’t be a fantastic ice cream scooper at Baskin-Robbins. But you should not be in journalism if you don’t believe in free expression. … If you’re a vegan, you can’t work in a steakhouse.”
Unhappy about Facebook’s view of free speech: “Talk about authoritarian. Here you have a company that has more power than any company’s had in the history of man — ever since the first cave-dweller grunted the first sentence, nobody has had more power over human communication than Mark Zuckerberg, period. This is a guy who has shown not just irreverence to free speech but antipathy toward it. Designing programs to squelch free expression to placate his Chinese masters. Why should I be happy about that?” More from Tucker http://politi.co/2hsCBWr
MEDIAWATCH — The New York Times announced its new White House team yesterday in a memo sent to staff by Elisabeth Bumiller and Bill Hamilton. Mark Landler, Mike Shear, Julie Davis, Maggie Haberman, along with Peter Baker, who is returning to Washington from Jerusalem, and our departing Politico colleague Glenn Thrush make up the team. http://bit.ly/2hyNpVF
–“Fox News names John Roberts chief White House correspondent,” by Hadas Gold: http://politi.co/2hsxlSN
–Stephen Hayes has been named The Weekly Standard’s new editor-in-chief and Richard Starr has been named editor. Co-founder Bill Kristol will become editor-at-large and Fred Barnes will remain executive editor.
PLAYBOOK INBOX – AEI fellow and Post columnist Marc Thiessen writes in: “I’m the guy who broke the original story on Obama skipping his intel briefings. … For the record it was shameful that Obama skipped his briefings and it will be shameful if Trump skips his as president. Bush attended without fail. Most important meeting on the president’s schedule every day. … If you read my Post column, I quote former CIA director Mike Hayden on why getting the briefing in person is important. [Obama usually reads his every day on an iPad.] You can’t ask an iPad questions, or probe for more information, or have an interactive give and take about what a particular item means. It is a passive, vs. dynamic, process. Anyone who criticizes Trump for not taking the briefings in person while giving Obama is a pass is a hypocrite — but so is anyone who criticized Obama but now gives Trump a pass. … I find it fascinating that so many folks who dismissed my findings about Obama, and made lame excuses for him, are now up at arms about Trump.” http://wapo.st/2hssj8t
PLAYBOOK METRO SECTION — “A David and Goliath Battle: D.C. Fighting GW Hatchet in Court over $17,000,” by Scott Nover in Mediafile: “The District of Columbia is locked in a nearly two-year court battle against the student-run GW Hatchet at The George Washington University over a disputed property tax bill of $17,000, threatening the financial status of the second-oldest newspaper in the city. … Under D.C. law, schools, colleges and universities are exempt from property taxes.… [I]n court documents, the District – which collected more than $2 billion in property taxes in 2015 – argues that neither the The Hatchet nor its real estate arm qualify as educational organizations under D.C. law. … ‘This is . . . where the great journalists of the future are forged,’ said [former CNN D.C. bureau chief Frank] Sesno. ‘Pure and simple, the Hatchet is a pillar of The George Washington University.’” http://bit.ly/2hgtGJv FULL DISCLOSURE: Jake was the editor in chief of the Hatchet.
SPOTTED at the annual White House TV Christmas party last night: Rupert Murdoch and Jerry Hall, Katy Tur, Kristen Welker, Hans Nichols, Noah Oppenheim, David Rhodes, Chris Isham, John Dickerson, Bill Plante, Norah O’Donnell, Tammy Haddad, Katie Couric, Charlie Rose, Megan Murphy, Jeff Zucker, Alisyn Camerota, Jim Acosta, Wolf Blitzer, Hilary Rosen
OUT AND ABOUT IN NYC — Joanna Coles hosted the annual Hearst 100 lunch at Michaels (which closed the restaurant for it). Joanna gave brief remarks and said she wanted a woman in the White House and that she hoped Ivanka knows what she is doing.
SPOTTED: Diane Sawyer, Megan Murphy, Malin Akerman, Holly Peterson, Dina Powell, Arianna Huffington, Brooke Garber Neidich, Aarthi Ramamurthy, Patti Harris, Charlotte Jones Anderson, Tina Brown, Diane Von Furstenberg, Stephanie Ruhle, Gayle King, Norah O’Donnell, Tammy Haddad, Cecile Richard (who spoke briefly), Stephanie Schriock, Maria Teresa Kumar, Adrienne Arsht, Kim Kingsley, Kimball Stroud, Ilyse Hogue, Ali Wentworth and Christine Quinn.
OUT AND ABOUT — The UAE Embassy and Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba hosted a reception at the Ritz Carlton Monday night to celebrate the release of a new book by Eric Trager of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy called “Arab Fall: How the Muslim Brotherhood Won and Lost Egypt in 891 Days.” $32.95 on Amazon http://amzn.to/2gGnLgk
SPOTTED: Jordanian Ambassador Dina Kawar, Egyptian Ambassador Yasser Reda, Alyssa Saunders, Cara Trager, Rob Satloff, David Schenker, Yousif Kalian, Ian Byrne, Oren Kessler, Jessica Ashooh, Jasmine El-Gamal, Hisham Melham, June Torbati, Eli Lake, Indira Lakshmanan, Doyle McManus, Felicia Schwartz, Erica Wenig, Robert Karem, Mokhtar Awad, Andrew Bowen, Prem Kumar, James Zogby, Karim Sadjadpour.
SPOTTED at Janet Reno’s memorial service on Sunday in Miami: Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who delivered remarks and read a letter from President Obama, President Clinton, former HHS Secretary Donna Shalala, John Podesta, U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer from the Southern District of Florida. Reno’s sister asked that the memorial be more of a celebration. Transcript of Lynch’s remarks http://bit.ly/2gV1BEy
OBAMA ALUMNI — ALYSSA MASTROMONACO is writing a book about her years as one of Barack Obama’s top advisers with the title “Who Thought This Was Good Idea: And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House?” Williams and Connolly’s Bob Barnett did the deal and the book is being published by Twelve, an imprint of Hachette Book Group. (NOTE FROM JAKE: Alyssa is a big Dead and Phish fan) http://apne.ws/2gwPuS7
TRANSITIONS — Bradley Beychok, formerly president of Media Matters and campaign director at American Bridge, has been promoted into a new role as executive chief of staff to chairman David Brock. … Lauren Ehrsam, alum of Carly’s presidential campaign, DCI Group and Javelin, has joined the Presidential Inaugural Committee as the director of credentialing for media. … “House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX), [has] announced the promotion of Tess Glancey to serve as the Committee’s press secretary and Renn Osborne as deputy press secretary” … Lori Harju is leaving House Ways and Means where she serves as senior advisor to chairman Kevin Brady and going downtown.
ENGAGED — Sarah Makin, Vice President-elect Mike Pence’s coalitions and outreach director, got engaged last night at Bluejacket to Thomas Acciani, a researcher at NIH. The groom-to-be proposed to Makin at the site of their first date and they celebrated with family and friends after she enthusiastically said yes. Pic http://bit.ly/2hpSOuW
WEEKEND WEDDING – Stephanie Psyllos, manager of polling at NBC News, earlier this fall married Brian Perry, technical sales and service manager at Pfister Energy. “My husband and I actually met in high school though we weren’t friends. We connected in college through mutual friends and had been dating for almost 10 years. … It was a traditional Greek Orthodox wedding at the church I grew up in.” SPOTTED: John Lapinski, Mark Lukasiewicz, Bob Epstein, Marian Porges. Pics http://bit.ly/2gC5XEm … http://bit.ly/2hyZGJT
WELCOME TO THE WORLD – Greg Minoff, SVP at SKDKnickerbocker, and his wife Bonnie Minoff, email friends and family: “[P]lease meet our newest family member, Jaclyn Mila. Born happy and healthy at 2:33 p.m. [Sunday]. She tipped the scales at 7.26 pounds. Mom is doing great and Maddie has been an amazing big sister already.” Pic http://bit.ly/2gUSfbR
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Mo Elleithee, the pride of Tucson, a DNC alum and now executive director of Georgetown’s Institute of Politics and Public Service, is 44 — read his Playbook Plus Q&A: http://politi.co/2gGOSYj
BIRTHWEEK (was yesterday): Andrew Platt, Maryland State Delegate, and the pride of Gaithersburg (h/t Geoff Burgan)
BIRTHDAYS: Todd S. Purdum … Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the only original Obama cabinet appointee still standing and the pride of all of Iowa and Pittsburgh, is 66 (h/ts Meg Campbell and Teresa Vilmain) … Jeffrey Schneider, ABC News alum, now principal at The Lead PR … Ben Bernanke is 63 … former Secretary of State George Shultz is 96 … Herman Cain is 71 … Brian Baenig is 41 … Riva Litman, manager of global comms and public affairs at Google and a CMR alum, is 31 … Kelly Gleeson, director of events at the Internet Association and a DGA alum … Amy Mitchell, founder of ProYOGA Corporate Wellness and president of Coo’ee Communications and a National Review alum … Stephenie Foster (h/t Jon Haber) … Washington Institute’s Stephanie Valdes (h/t Ian Byrne) … Nancy Fitzpatrick, owner of The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Mass. … Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) is 74 … Morgan Williams (h/t Katie Lewallen) … Rep.-elect Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) is 54 (h/t Marina McCarthy) … Rep. Donald Norcross (D-NJ) is 58 … DGA alum Bharat Krishnan …
… Rajeev Chopra, CIO of Obama for America and president of The MIS Department Inc., a tech consulting firm the campaign used … Nick Payton, marketing director at Comprehend Systems … Conor Chrisom, account manager for finance at Google and a TFA alum … Peter Ogburn, senior producer of “The Bill Press Show,” is 37 … Atefeh Yazdi … Karen Hicks … Joe Rozek, executive director of homeland security and counterterrorism at Microsoft Licensing … Martin Whitmer, founding partner of Whitmer & Worrall and a Bush 43 DOT alum … William Todd … Ruth Wedgwood … Viviana Hurtado … Bush 43 WH alum Elizabeth Dial Pinkerton, now principal at Rosslyn Partners … Leighann Lenti … Randy Riddle … Pat Peyton, the pride of Madison, Wisc. … Alan Julson (h/ts Teresa) … Bernard Duffi is 44 … Jill Latham … Vera Jordan of Sen. Shelby’s office … Alec Zender, LA for Rep. Guinta … George Fishman of House Judiciary (h/ts Legistorm) … Dick Van Dyke is 91 (h/t Curt Viebranz) … Christopher Plummer is 87 … Ted Nugent is 68 … Steve Buscemi is 59 … Jamie Foxx is 49 … Taylor Swift is 27 (h/ts AP)
****** A message from the Stop The HIT Coalition: The Health Insurance Tax (HIT) drives up health care costs for small businesses, seniors, state Medicaid programs and middle-income Americans. And since the cost and consequences of the HIT increase over time, America’s small businesses and hardworking families are facing a bigger HIT every year. We need to repeal the HIT before it causes even more damage. Congress, please stop the HIT. Once and for all. www.stopthehit.com ******
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