chairman of the republican national committee

Is Trump Unraveling?

Last week, Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, charged in an interview with the New York Times that Trump was treating his office like “a reality show,” with reckless threats toward other countries that could set the nation “on the path to World War III.”

Corker said he was concerned about Trump. “He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation,” Corker said, adding that “the vast majority of our caucus understands what we’re dealing with here … the volatility that we’re dealing with and the tremendous amount of work that it takes by people around him to keep him in the middle of the road.”

Corker’s interview was followed by a report from Gabriel Sherman of Vanity Fair, who wrote that the situation has gotten so out of control that Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly, and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis have discussed ways to stop Trump should he order a nuclear attack. Kelly has tried to keep Trump focused by intercepting outside phone calls to the White House and restricting access to the Oval Office. Many of Trump’s advisors believe he is “unstable” and “unravelling” quickly. 

Is Trump really unraveling? Are Republican leaders ready to pull the plug? I phoned an old friend, a Republican former member of Congress who keeps up with what’s going on. I scribbled notes as he talked:

Me: So what’s up? Is Corker alone, or are others also ready to call it quits with Trump? 

He: All I know is they’re simmering over there. 

Me: Flake and McCain have come pretty close. 

He: Yeah. Others are thinking about doing what Bob did. Sounding the alarm. They think Trump’s nuts. Unfit. Dangerous. 

Me: Well, they already knew that, didn’t they? 

He: But now it’s personal. It started with the Sessions stuff. Jeff was as loyal as they come. Trump’s crapping on him was like kicking your puppy. And then, you know, him beating up on Mitch for the Obamacare fiasco. And going after Flake and the others. 

Me: So they’re pissed off?

He: Not just that. I mean, they have thick hides. The personal stuff got them to notice all the other things. The wild stuff, like those threats to North Korea. Tillerson would leave tomorrow if he wasn’t so worried Trump would go nuclear, literally. 

Me: You think Trump is really thinking nuclear war?

He: Who knows what’s in his head? But I can tell you this. He’s not listening to anyone. Not a soul. He’s got the nuclear codes and, well, it scares the hell out of me. It’s starting to scare all of them. That’s really why Bob spoke up. 

Me: So what could they do? I mean, even if the whole Republican leadership was willing to say publicly he’s unfit to serve, what then?

He: Bingo! The emperor has no clothes. It’s a signal to everyone they can bail. Have to bail to save their skins. I mean, Trump could be the end of the whole goddam Republican party. 

Me: If he starts a nuclear war, that could be the end of everything. 

He: Yeah, right. So when they start bailing on him, the stage is set. 

Me: For what?

He: Impeachment. 25th amendment.

Me: You think Republicans would go that far? 

He: Not yet. Here’s the thing. They really want to get this tax bill through. That’s all they have going for them. They don’t want to face voters in ’18 or ’20 without something to show for it. They’re just praying Trump doesn’t do something really, really stupid before the tax bill.

Me: Like a nuclear war?

He: Look, all I can tell you is many of the people I talk with are getting freaked out. It’s not as if there’s any careful strategizing going on. Not like, well, do we balance the tax bill against nuclear war? No, no. They’re worried as hell. They’re also worried about Trump crazies, all the ignoramuses he’s stirred up. I mean, Roy Moore? How many more of them do you need to destroy the party? 

Me: So what’s gonna happen?

He: You got me. I’m just glad I’m not there anymore. Trump’s not just a moron. He’s a despicable human being. And he’s getting crazier. Paranoid. Unhinged. Everyone knows it. I mean, we’re in shit up to our eyeballs with this guy.

“Would somebody please help me out here: I’m confused,” read the email to me from a conservative Republican activist and donor. “The Russians are alleged to have interfered in the 2016 election by hacking into Dem party servers that were inadequately protected, some being kept in Hillary’s basement and finding emails that were actually written by members of the Clinton campaign and releasing those emails so that they could be read by the American people who what, didn’t have the right to read these emails? And this is bad? Shouldn’t we be thanking the Russians for making the election more transparent?”
 
 


Put aside the factual inaccuracies in this missive (it was not Hillary Clinton’s controversial private server the Russians are alleged to have hacked, despite Donald Trump’s explicit pleading with them to do so, but rather those of the Democratic National Committee and her campaign chairman, John Podesta). Here, laid bare, are the impulses of a large swathe of today’s Republican Party. In any other era, our political leaders would be aghast at the rank opportunism, moral flippancy and borderline treasonous instincts on display.
 
 


Instead, we get this from the president of the United States, explaining away his son’s encounter with Russian operatives who were advertised as working on behalf of the Kremlin: “Most politicians would have gone to a meeting like the one Don jr attended in order to get info on an opponent. That’s politics!” And from elected Republicans, we get mostly silence—or embarrassing excuses.

— 

How the GOP Became the Party of Putin

Party before country, consolidation of power before constitutional values. 

The Republican Party is a disgrace and a threat to America’s very existence. 

Memo to Tillerson about the Moron

To: Rex Tillerson
From: Robert Reich
Subject: The Moron

I can understand why you feel Washington is a place of “petty nonsense,” as you said Wednesday when you called a news conference to rebut charges that you called Trump a moron last summer after a meeting of national security officials at the Pentagon.

I’m also reasonably sure you called him a moron, which doesn’t make Washington any less petty. You probably called him a moron because almost all of us out here in the rest of America routinely call him that.

But you’re right: There are far more important issues than the epithet you likely used to describe your boss.

On the other hand, your calling him a moron wouldn’t itself have mushroomed into a headline issue – even in petty Washington – if there weren’t deep concerns about the President’s state of mind to begin with.

I bet every cabinet secretary has from time to time called his boss a moron. I was a cabinet secretary once, and although I don’t recall ever saying Bill Clinton was a moron, I might have thought it, especially when I found out about Monica Lewinsky. But Bill Clinton was no moron.

The reason your moronic comment about Trump made the headlines is that Trump really is a moron, in the sense you probably meant it: He’s impulsive, mercurial, often cruel, and pathologically narcissistic. Some psychologists who have studied his behavior have concluded he’s a sociopath.

Washington is petty, but it’s not nonsensical. It latches on to gaffes only when they reveal something important. As journalist Michael Kinsley once said, “A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth – some obvious truth he isn’t supposed to say.”

Face it. You are Secretary of State – the nation’s chief diplomat – under a president who’s dangerously nuts.

Last weekend, for example, Trump publicly said you were wasting your time trying to open talks with North Korea. Does he have a better idea? Any halfway rational president would ask his Secretary of State to try to talk with Kim Jong-Un.

And there’s Iran. You and Defense Secretary James Mattis have both stated the nuclear agreement should be retained. That, too, is only rational. The International Atomic Energy Agency says Iran has been honoring the agreement. Without it, Iran would restart its nuclear program.

But Trump is on the verge of decertifying the agreement in order to save face (in the 2016 campaign he called it an “embarrassment to America”) and further puncture Barack Obama’s legacy. His narcissism is endangering the world.

You tried to mediate the dispute between Qatar and its Arab neighbors. That, too, was the reasonable thing to do.

But then Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner sided with the United Arab Emirates, where they have business interests. Less than one hour after you called for a “calm and thoughtful dialogue” between Qatar and its neighbors, Trump blasted Qatar for financing terrorism. That was also nuts.

You are rightly appalled at Trump’s behavior. I can understand why you distanced yourself when Trump blamed “both sides” for violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. And why you were horrified when Trump gave a wildly partisan speech to the Boy Scouts of America, which you once headed.

Given all this, I’m not surprised to hear that you’ve talked about resigning, but that Mattis and John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, have talked you out of it.

I urge you not to resign. America and the world need sane voices speaking into the ear of our Narcissist-in-Chief. 

As Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee and chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee said recently, it’s you, Mattis, and Kelly who “help separate our country from chaos.” I don’t think Corker was referring to chaos abroad.

Let Trump fire you if he wants to. That would further reveal what a moron he is.

But if you really did want to serve the best interests of this nation, there’s another option you might want to consider.

Quietly meet with Mattis, Kelly, and Vice President Pence. Come up with a plan for getting most of the cabinet to join in a letter to Congress saying Trump is unable to discharge the duties of his office.

Under the 25th Amendment, that would mean Trump is fired.

An American lobbyist for Russian interests who helped craft an important foreign policy speech for Donald Trump has confirmed that he attended two dinners hosted by Jeff Sessions during the 2016 campaign, apparently contradicting the attorney general’s sworn testimony given this week.

Sessions testified under oath on Tuesday that he did not believe he had any contacts with lobbyists working for Russian interests over the course of Trump’s campaign. But Richard Burt, a former ambassador to Germany during the Reagan administration, who has represented Russian interests in Washington, told the Guardian that he could confirm previous media reports that stated he had contacts with Sessions at the time.

“I did attend two dinners with groups of former Republican foreign policy officials and Senator Sessions,” Burt said.

Asked whether Sessions was unfamiliar with Burt’s role as a lobbyist for Russian interests – a fact that is disclosed in public records – or had any reason to be confused about the issue, Burt told the Guardian that he did not know.

Several media reports published before Trump’s election in November noted that Burt advised then candidate Trump on his first major foreign policy speech, a role that brought him into contact with Sessions personally.

Burt, who previously served on the advisory board of Alfa Capital Partners, a private equity fund where Russia’s Alfa Bank was an investor and last year was lobbying on behalf of a pipeline company that is now controlled by Gazprom, Russia’s state-controlled energy conglomerate, first told Politico in October that he had been invited to two dinners that were hosted by Sessions last summer, at the height of the presidential campaign.

Sessions, a former senator for Alabama who was chairman of the Trump campaign’s national security committee, reportedly invited Burt so that he could discuss issues of national security and foreign policy.

When John McCain, the Republican senator from Arizona who is a frequent critic of Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin, asked Sessions in a hearing this week before the Senate intelligence committee about whether the attorney general had ever had “any contacts with any representative, including any American lobbyist or agent of any Russian company” during the 2016 campaign, Sessions said he did not.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jun/15/lobbyist-russian-interests-jeff-sessions-testimony

buzzfeed.com
BREAKING: Trump Revealed Highly Classified Information To Russians During White House Visit (Corroborated By Four Different News Sources)
The president disclosed classified intelligence with the Russian ambassador and foreign minister last week, two US officials confirmed to BuzzFeed News.
By Jim Dalrymple II, Jason Leopold

President Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian officials during a meeting last week at the White House, two US officials confirmed Monday to BuzzFeed News.

The meeting included Russia’s ambassador, Sergei Kislyak, and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The disclosures were first reported by the Washington Post, which cited current and former US officials who said the information was considered so sensitive that some details had been withheld from American allies and was restricted within the US government.

Two US officials who were briefed on Trump’s disclosures last week confirmed to BuzzFeed News the veracity of the Washington Post report, with one noting that “it’s far worse than what has already been reported.” The official was referring to the extent of the classified intelligence information Trump disclosed to the Russian ambassador and foreign minister.

The information Trump shared included intelligence on an ISIS plot that had been passed to the US by a partner, which was not identified. But Trump’s disclosure was considered a potential blow to the intelligence-sharing arrangement, and White House officials reportedly moved quickly to contain the fallout.

At least one member of the Senate Intelligence Committee was briefed on Trump’s disclosures, an intelligence committee staffer said. Sen. Mark Warner, the ranking Democrat on the committee, was not briefed, according to his office. Other members of the committee also said they did not receive a briefing.

A CIA spokesman declined to comment on the record when reached by BuzzFeed News. The official referred requests for comment to the National Security Council, which did not respond to requests for comment.

Following last week’s meeting, the White House said that Trump spoke to the Russians about ending the conflict in Syria and reigning in the Assad regime there, as well as controlling Iran. The White House also said Ukraine and the Middle East came up at the meeting.

After news of Trump’s revelations broke Monday, Sen. Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican and chairman of the Foreign Relations committee, said “obviously they’re in a downward spiral right now and they’ve got to figure out a way to come to grips with all that’s happening.”

“And the shame of it is, there’s a really good national security team in place…but the chaos that is being created by the lack of discipline is creating an environment that I think makes — it creates a worrisome environment,” Corker told reporters in Washington.

A spokesman for House Speaker Paul Ryan said that “we have no way to know what was said, but protecting our nation’s secrets is paramount.”

“The speaker hopes for a full explanation of the facts from the administration,” said Doug Andres, Ryan’s spokesman.

In a statement Monday evening, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that Trump and Russian officials discussed “a broad range of subjects at their meeting,” including “common efforts and threats regarding counter-terrorism.”

“During that exchange the nature of specific threats were discussed, but they did not discuss sources, methods, or military operations,” Tillerson continued.

H.R. McMaster, Trump’s national security adviser who participated in the meeting, said in a statement that “the president and the foreign minister reviewed common threats from terrorist organizations to include threats to aviation.”

“At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly,“ he added.

McMaster reiterated that point during a brief news conference outside the White House Monday night, saying that at no time during the meeting "were intelligence sources or methods discussed.”

“I was in the room, it didn’t happen,” McMaster said.

The Washington Post, however, did not report Trump shared intelligence sources or methods, but rather the contents of the information gathered.

“This story is false,” Dina Powell, the deputy national security adviser, said Monday night. “The president only discussed the common threats that both countries faced,” she said.”

The meeting between Trump, Lavrov, and Kislyak happened the day after the firing of FBI Director James Comey, who had been leading an investigation into Russian interference with the US election, as well as potential ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

Initially, the stated reason for Comey’s firing was his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server. However, in an interview with Lester Holt, Trump later said he was thinking of the Russia investigation when he fired Comey.

Comey’s firing led to speculation that Trump had obstructed justice, as well as numerous calls for the appointment of a special prosecutor to oversee the Russia investigation.

“I don’t know when it will be enough for Republicans to understand that we need to get to the bottom of the connection between the president of the United States and the Russian government,” said Sen. Chris Murphy, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Sen. Lindsey Graham said Monday afternoon that if the reports about Trump revealing information were true “it’d be troubling.” Warner called the revelations “a slap in the face to the intel community.”

Though Trump’s alleged revelations to the Russians last week prompted widespread condemnation Monday, they were probably not illegal, according to Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists.

“This story is more about the president’s competence than his compliance with the law,” Aftergood told BuzzFeed News. “There is probably no legal issue here, since the President controls the classification system and has essentially unlimited authority to declassify or disclose classified information. The reported fact that Trump disclosed intelligence information to the Russians does not necessarily mean that it was declassified.”

BuzzFeed News reporter Emma Loop contributed to this report from Washington.

UPDATE: May 15, 2017, at 7:21 p.m.

A staffer on the Senate Intelligence Committee said the committee had been briefed on Trump’s disclosure. Several members of the committee have since said they were not briefed and this story has been updated with additional information.

UPDATE: May 15, 2017 at 8:49 p.m. 

“Obviously they’re in a downward spiral right now,” @SenBobCorker on Trump’s Russia revelations


THIS POST WILL BE UPDATED

Trump and Bannon’s “America First”

Donald Trump has reorganized the National Security Council – elevating his chief political strategist Steve Bannon, and demoting the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Bannon will join the NSC’s principals committee, the top inter-agency group advising the President on national security. 

Meanwhile, the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will now attend meetings only when “issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed,” according to the presidential memorandum issued Saturday. 

Political strategists have never before participated in National Security Council principals meetings because the NSC is supposed to give presidents nonpartisan, factual advice.

But forget facts. Forget analysis. This is the Trump administration. 

And what does Bannon have to bring to the table? 

In case you forgot, before joining Donald Trump’s inner circle Bannon headed Breitbart News, a far-right media outlet that has promoted conspiracy theories and is a platform for the alt-right movement, which espouses white nationalism.

This is truly scary. 

Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice calls the move “stone cold crazy.” Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who also served under George W. Bush, says the demotions are a “big mistake.” 

Republican Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, told CBS News, "I am worried about the National Security Council. … The appointment of Mr. Bannon is a radical departure from any National Security Council in history.” McCain added that the “one person who is indispensable would be the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in my view.”

Here’s the big worry. Trump is unhinged and ignorant. Bannon is nuts and malicious. If not supervised by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, their decisions could endanger the world.

In Trump’s and Bannon’s view, foreign relations is a zero-sum game. If another nation gains, we lose. As Trump declared at his inaugural: “From this day forward, it’s going to be only America First.”

Some of you are old enough to recall John F. Kennedy’s inaugural, when the young president pledged to support any friend and oppose any foe to assure the success of liberty. 

But Trump makes no distinction between friend and foe, and no reference to liberty. As conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer observes, Trump’s view is that all other nations are out to use, exploit and surpass us.

Not incidentally, “America First” was the name of the pro-Nazi group led by Charles Lindbergh that bitterly fought FDR before U.S. entry into World War II to keep America neutral between Churchill’s Britain and Hitler’s Reich.

Trump’s and Bannon’s version of “America First” is no less dangerous. It is alienating America from the rest of the world, destroying our nation’s moral authority abroad, and risking everything we love about our country.

Unsupervised by people who know what they’re doing. Trump and Bannon could also bring the world closer to a nuclear holocaust.

esquire.com
With Reince Out, Trump's Plan for Survival Is Clear
Simply hire more thugs.

Priebus’s departure is a further indication that, its policy failures now as manifest as its profound ethical disabilities, the administration, from the president* on down, is planning to survive by going full thug. That’s why Scaramucci was brought in, and why his profane indiscretions weren’t enough to fire him. That’s why the president* has opened up on Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III and on the Republicans in the Senate. That’s why he’s been giving those profoundly disturbing slasher film speeches all over the country in recent days…

Priebus lost his job because he was working for an unstable man and because there are more than a few people in that White House who are perfectly happy to have an unstable man running the Executive branch.

To be entirely fair, Priebus did come a long way. This was a guy who couldn’t get elected to the Wisconsin state legislature in two tries. Yet he moved all the way up to chairman of the Republican National Committee and White House chief-of-staff, in which job, if the Times can be believed, he functioned more as a piñata than anything else. Now he can go home, sort through all the memorabilia he’s accumulated over the past decade, and gradually reappear as a person. He no longer is the emptiest suit in American politics.

anonymous asked:

Did Richard Nixon ever meet George W. Bush?

Yes. George H.W. Bush was Ambassador to the United Nations and then Chairman of the Republican National Committee while Nixon was President. In Bush’s excellent book, 41: A Portrait of My Father (BOOK | KINDLE), he described his first meeting with Nixon:

“My first time meeting Richard Nixon came when my father brought me with him to an ecumenical church service that the President held in the East Room…The idea of a church service in the White House struck me as unusual. So did the President. When I shook hands with him, he seemed somewhat stiff and formal. I had voted for Richard Nixon, but I didn’t feel very warm about him.

Part of the problem was that Nixon’s style of leadership did not seem to fit the times. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Americans were grappling with race riots in major cities, the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Bobby Kennedy, an unpopular war in Vietnam, and a changing culture in which drug use was becoming prevalent and women were demanding their rightful place in society. A country looks to its leaders to set a mood, and the rattled nation needed a President to project optimism, unity, and calm. Instead, Richard Nixon came across as dark and divisive. His White House, led by senior aides H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, seemed cold and conspiratorial. And that was before the news broke about secret tapes and enemies lists.”

Incidentally, in one of the most fascinating and overlooked stories in Presidential history, George W. Bush actually went out on an awkward and all-around terrible blind date with President Nixon’s oldest daughter, Tricia. Bush’s father had tried to play matchmaker, and George W. reluctantly agreed to go on the date when some of his flight school buddies bet him $50 that he didn’t really have a date with the President’s daughter. George W. Bush wrote later that the date was pretty disastrous – he took the President’s daughter to a place called the Alibi Club, at one point he spilled red wine all over their dinner table, and Tricia Nixon actually had to ask him not to smoke when he lit a cigarette as they were eating. However, President Nixon was out of town, so George W. didn’t meet him that night when he “pulled up to the White House gate in my parents’ purple Gremlin, which was outfitted with Levi’s jean seat covers.”

buzzfeed.com
BREAKING: Reince Priebus Replaced As White House Chief Of Staff With Homeland Security Chief John Kelly
Priebus is out.
By Amber Jamieson

In yet another sign of upheaval at the White House, chief of staff Reince Priebus was ousted on Friday, replaced by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, President Trump announced via Twitter.

“I am pleased to inform you that I have just named General/Secretary John F Kelly as White House Chief of Staff,” Trump tweeted. “He is a Great American and a Great Leader. John has also done a spectacular job at Homeland Security. He has been a true star of my Administration.”

In recent days, senior adviser Kellyanne Conway had told people that Priebus was “gone” and that he was trying to figure out his next steps, a source with knowledge told BuzzFeed News. According to Conway, White House staffers who came from the Republican National Committee were out and the administration was “going back to Trump loyalists,” the source said.

Priebus previously served as chairman of the RNC and is considered a Republican Party stalwart, as opposed to a Trump loyalist. During the presidential campaign, he advised Trump to drop out of the race when the lewd Access Hollywood tape was revealed — a fact Trump never let Priebus forgot after his election victory.

As part of his White House role, Priebus was tasked with managing the president’s schedule and who he met with, but he had been widely reported to be a “dead man walking” for months.

His exit comes after months of speculation that the chief of staff could be ousted at any moment, and just a day after Anthony Scaramucci, the new White House communications director, openly accused Priebus of leaking to the media and called him “a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac.“

White House press secretary Sean Spicer, a close ally of Priebus, resigned after Scaramucci was hired on July 21.

On Wednesday, after telling the New Yorker that he believed Priebus had leaked information about him to the press, Scaramucci tagged his colleague in a (now deleted) tweet:

“In light of the leak of my financial info which is a felony. I will be contacting @FBI and the @TheJusticeDept #swamp @Reince45.

On Thursday morning, Scaramucci denied that he was openly threatening Priebus with an FBI investigation for supposedly leaking, instead claiming it was "public notice to all leakers that all s[enio]r Admin officials are helping to end public leaks”.

That was refuted by his interview in the New Yorker, published Thursday afternoon.

Scaramucci also appeared on CNN Thursday morning, and mentioned his foe Priebus, describing their relationship like “brothers”:

If you want to talk about [Reince Priebus], we have had odds. We have had differences. When I said we were brothers from the podium, that’s because we’re rough on each other. Some brothers are like Cain and Abel. Other brothers can fight with each other and get along. I don’t know if this is reparable or not, that will be up to the president.

In the biblical tale, Cain killed Abel.

This is a developing news story. Check back for updates.

“The president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability, nor some of the competence, that he needs to demonstrate in order for him to be successful — and our nation and our world needs for him to be successful, whether you are Republican or Democrat.

He also recently has not demonstrated that he understands the character of this nation. He has not demonstrated that he understands what has made this nation great and what it is today. And he’s got to demonstrate the characteristics of a president who understands that. Without the things I just mentioned happening, our nation is going to go through great peril.”

~~Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Aug. 17, 2017

It’s time to let the Democratic Party sink under the weight of #ignorance since they STILL refused to accept the consequences of giving Clinton the nomination through a rigged primary. And since the party won’t change their attitude as to who’s to blame then they deserve to have Trump as president.

As we approach the 2020 primaries, are party insiders going to rigged the primaries so they can give Clinton or another corporate Democrat the nomination? If this happens then they deserve another 4 years of Trump in the White House (because it wouldn’t be surprising that they’re this stupid).

Former Governor Bobby Jindal once called the Republican Party “the stupid party”. The same can be said about the Democratic Party since it has become the stupid party in the last few decades. Even more during 2016 primaries and choosing Tom Perez as chairman of Democratic National Committee.

nytimes.com
In Virginia Governor’s Race, Immigrants’ Turnout May Be Key
Growing numbers of South Asians, Latinos and Arabs are a major reason for Virginia’s steady march toward the Democratic Party. The question is whether they will vote.
By Michael Tackett

In the past decade, expansive growth has added hundreds of thousands of new residents to the region just outside Washington, making some Northern Virginia counties the fastest growing in the state and the wealthiest in the nation. Among those newcomers are a broad spectrum of Latinos, Arabs and South Asians like Mr. Iyer who are a major reason for Virginia’s steady march toward the Democratic Party.

But with a week and a half to go in the campaign, lack of engagement from the brimming immigrant population here represents a key challenge for Mr. Northam, the lieutenant governor, in his race against Ed Gillespie, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee […].

[…] Outside the Washington suburbs, Republicans dominate vast swaths of the state, mainly in areas where the population and economy are flat or declining. […] If the core constituency that helped Democrats carry the state in the last three presidential elections does not turn out, it will be that Republican Virginia that prevails. 

Also, the Republican officials in this article are, unsurprisingly, drowning in cognitive dissonance:

Many of these immigrants […”are] people of faith. They came here for less government. They are natural voters for the Republican Party,” Mr. Ramadan said. “But they are also emotional voters. They want to feel accepted. They want to feel welcome […].” 

“We are losing ethnic voters en masse,” Mr. Davis said. “Vietnamese, Koreans used to be the backbone of my vote. They are very Republican in the way they live their lives, but I saw the immigration issue just turn it south.”

[…] That explains why [the candidates] have been running campaigns aimed at base voters, with Mr. Gillespie emphasizing crimes by illegal immigrants and pledging to oppose sanctuary cities — even though Virginia does not have any — and Mr. Northam trying to yoke his opponent to Mr. Trump. 

Shockingly, if you tell people you hate them and call them and anyone who likes them criminals, they’ll get “emotional” and not vote for you!

Anyway. NOVEMBER 7. In Virginia? VOTE. Know people who live in Virginia? Remind them to vote! Push turnout, emphasize Gillespie’s anti-immigrant/anti-brown people stance! It’s the only hope, really.

politico.com
NRSC poll: Moore trails Jones by 12
The poll shows a dramatic turn against Moore in Alabama.

Republican Roy Moore is trailing Democrat Doug Jones by 12 points in the Alabama special Senate election, according to a poll conducted by the National Republican Senatorial Committee after five women accused Moore of pursuing them as teenagers.

Jones led Moore 51 to 39 percent, according to the survey taken Sunday and Monday. The NRSC withdrew its support for Moore after the Washington Post published the first allegations against Moore on Thursday, and the group’s chairman, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) said Moore should be expelled from the Senate if he wins on Dec. 12.

Why I Won’t Vote

By W.E.B. DuBois, The Nation, 20 October 1956

On October 20, 1956, W. E. B. Du Bois delivers this eloquent indictment of US politics while explaining to Nation readers why he won’t vote in the upcoming Presidential election. Du Bois condemns both Democrats and Republicans for their indifferent positions on the influence of corporate wealth, racial inequality, arms proliferation and unaffordable health care.

Since I was twenty-one in 1889, I have in theory followed the voting plan strongly advocated by Sidney Lens in The Nation of August 4, i.e., voting for a third party even when its chances were hopeless, if the main parties were unsatisfactory; or, in absence of a third choice, voting for the lesser of two evils. My action, however, had to be limited by the candidates’ attitude toward Negroes. Of my adult life, I have spent twenty-three years living and teaching in the South, where my voting choice was not asked. I was disfranchised by law or administration. In the North I lived in all thirty-two years, covering eight Presidential elections. In 1912 I wanted to support Theodore Roosevelt, but his Bull Moose convention dodged the Negro problem and I tried to help elect Wilson as a liberal Southerner. Under Wilson came the worst attempt at Jim Crow legislation and discrimination in civil service that we had experienced since the Civil War. In 1916 I took Hughes as the lesser of two evils. He promised Negroes nothing and kept his word. In 1920, I supported Harding because of his promise to liberate Haiti. In 1924, I voted for La Follette, although I knew he could not be elected. In 1928, Negroes faced absolute dilemma. Neither Hoover nor Smith wanted the Negro vote and both publicly insulted us. I voted for Norman Thomas and the Socialists, although the Socialists had attempted to Jim Crow Negro members in the South. In 1932 I voted for Franklin Roosevelt, since Hoover was unthinkable and Roosevelt’s attitude toward workers most realistic. I was again in the South from 1934 until 1944. Technically I could vote, but the election in which I could vote was a farce. The real election was the White Primary.

Retired “for age” in 1944, I returned to the North and found a party to my liking. In 1948, I voted the Progressive ticket for Henry Wallace and in 1952 for Vincent Hallinan.

In 1956, I shall not go to the polls. I have not registered. I believe that democracy has so far disappeared in the United States that no “two evils” exist. There is but one evil party with two names, and it will be elected despite all I can do or say. There is no third party. On the Presidential ballot in a few states (seventeen in 1952), a “Socialist” Party will appear. Few will hear its appeal because it will have almost no opportunity to take part in the campaign and explain its platform. If a voter organizes or advocates a real third-party movement, he may be accused of seeking to overthrow this government by “force and violence.” Anything he advocates by way of significant reform will be called “Communist” and will of necessity be Communist in the sense that it must advocate such things as government ownership of the means of production; government in business; the limitation of private profit; social medicine, government housing and federal aid to education; the total abolition of race bias; and the welfare state. These things are on every Communist program; these things are the aim of socialism. Any American who advocates them today, no matter how sincerely, stands in danger of losing his job, surrendering his social status and perhaps landing in jail. The witnesses against him may be liars or insane or criminals. These witnesses need give no proof for their charges and may not even be known or appear in person. They may be in the pay of the United States Government. A.D.A.’s and “Liberals” are not third parties; they seek to act as tails to kites. But since the kites are self-propelled and radar-controlled, tails are quite superfluous and rather silly.

The present Administration is carrying on the greatest preparation for war in the history of mankind. Stevenson promises to maintain or increase this effort. The weight of our taxation is unbearable and rests mainly and deliberately on the poor. This Administration is dominated and directed by wealth and for the accumulation of wealth. It runs smoothly like a well-organized industry and should do so because industry runs it for the benefit of industry. Corporate wealth profits as never before in history. We turn over the national resources to private profit and have few funds left for education, health or housing. Our crime, especially juvenile crime, is increasing. Its increase is perfectly logical; for a generation we have been teaching our youth to kill, destroy, steal and rape in war; what can we expect in peace? We let men take wealth which is not theirs; if the seizure is “legal” we call it high profits and the profiteers help decide what is legal. If the theft is “illegal” the thief can fight it out in court, with excellent chances to win if he receives the accolade of the right newspapers. Gambling in home, church and on the stock market is increasing and all prices are rising. It costs three times his salary to elect a Senator and many millions to elect a President. This money comes from the very corporations which today are the government. This in a real democracy would be enough to turn the party responsible out of power. Yet this we cannot do.

The “other” party has surrendered all party differences in foreign affairs, and foreign affairs are our most important affairs today and take most of our taxes. Even in domestic affairs how does Stevenson differ from Eisenhower? He uses better English than Dulles, thank God! He has a sly humor, where Eisenhower has none. Beyond this Stevenson stands on the race question in the South not far from where his godfather Adlai stood sixty-three years ago, which reconciles him to the South. He has no clear policy on war or preparation for war; on water and flood control; on reduction of taxation; on the welfare state. He wavers on civil rights and his party blocked civil rights in the Senate until Douglas of Illinois admitted that the Democratic Senate would and could stop even the right of Senators to vote. Douglas had a right to complain. Three million voters sent him to the Senate to speak for them. His voice was drowned and his vote nullified by Eastland, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who was elected by 151,000 voters. This is the democracy in the United States which we peddle abroad.

Negroes hope to muster 400,000 votes in 1956. Where will they cast them? What have the Republicans done to enforce the education decision of the Supreme Court? What they advertised as fair employment was exactly nothing, and Nixon was just the man to explain it. What has the Administration done to rescue Negro workers, the most impoverished group in the nation, half of whom receive less than half the median wage of the nation, while the nation sends billions abroad to protect oil investments and help employ slave labor in the Union of South Africa and the Rhodesias? Very well, and will the party of Talmadge, Eastland and Ellender do better than the Republicans if the Negroes return them to office?

I have no advice for others in this election. Are you voting Democratic? Well and good; all I ask is why? Are you voting for Eisenhower and his smooth team of bright ghost writers? Again, why? Will your helpless vote either way support or restore democracy to America?

Is the refusal to vote in this phony election a counsel of despair? No, it is dogged hope. It is hope that if twenty-five million voters refrain from voting in 1956 because of their own accord and not because of a sly wink from Khrushchev, this might make the American people ask how much longer this dumb farce can proceed without even a whimper of protest. Yet if we protest, off the nation goes to Russia and China. Fifty-five American ministers and philanthropists are asking the Soviet Union “to face manfully the doubts and promptings of their conscience.” Can not these do-gooders face their own consciences? Can they not see that American culture is rotting away: our honesty, our human sympathy; our literature, save what we import from abroad? Our only “review” of literature has wisely dropped “literature” from its name. Our manners are gone and the one thing we want is to be rich–to show off. Success is measured by income. University education is for income, not culture, and is partially supported by private industry. We are not training poets or musicians, but atomic engineers. Business is built on successful lying called advertising. We want money in vast amount, no matter how we get it. So we have it, and what then?

Is the answer the election of 1956? We can make a sick man President and set him to a job which would strain a man in robust health. So he dies, and what do we get to lead us? With Stevenson and Nixon, with Eisenhower and Eastland, we remain in the same mess. I will be no party to it and that will make little difference. You will take large part and bravely march to the polls, and that also will make no difference. Stop running Russia and giving Chinese advice when we cannot rule ourselves decently. Stop yelling about a democracy we do not have. Democracy is dead in the United States. Yet there is still nothing to replace real democracy. Drop the chains, then, that bind our brains. Drive the money-changers from the seats of the Cabinet and the halls of Congress. Call back some faint spirit of Jefferson and Lincoln,and when again we can hold a fair election on real issues, let’s vote, and not till then. Is this impossible? Then democracy in America is impossible.

slate.com
A Morally Empty Man Gave a Morally Empty Speech. This Is Who He Is.
Kellyanne Conway promised Donald Trump’s inaugural address would be self-effacing. “He actually will convey today, I predict, that this is not about hi ...

Biff Tannen is the President. The egomaniacal and narcissistic character, bully Biff Tannen, was inspired and based on the life and times of Donald Trump. Back to the Future 2 was prophetic in this case.

Kellyanne Conway promised Donald Trump’s inaugural address would be self-effacing. “He actually will convey today, I predict, that this is not about him,” she said Friday morning on Fox and Friends. “And that’s a very non-Trumpian thing,” she blurted, inadvertently telling the truth. Hours later, Trump read the whole speech from the teleprompter. Deprived of ad-libs, he used the word “I” only three times.


WILLIAM SALETAN
Will Saletan writes about politics, science, technology, and other stuff for Slate. He’s the author of Bearing Right.

Offstage, however, Trump couldn’t restrain himself. The night before the inauguration, he spoke at a dinner for Republican donors. “We have a speech that I wrote, and worked on with Stephen Miller,” he told his guests, referring to the aide who was assigned last month to write the speech. On Twitter, Trump posted a photo of himself with a pad and pen. “Writing my inaugural address at the Winter White House, Mar-a-Lago, three weeks ago,” the tweet said. In the photo, preposterously, Trump fixed a steely gaze on the camera while holding the pen as though writing.

A normal president doesn’t do this. He doesn’t assert authorship of speeches and fake a picture of himself writing them. At what ought to be the apex of his popularity and grace, Trump is still groping for praise, even for a speech that was supposed to be about other people.

Compare Trump to the last Republican president, George W. Bush. Like Trump, Bush came into office after losing the popular vote. Unlike Trump, Bush used his transition to reach out to Americans who hadn’t supported him. At a rally in Texas three days before his inauguration, Bush spoke of humility, diversity, bipartisanship, and the nobility of politics. “I’ve never been a cynic about public service,” he said. “My dad taught me in the way he lived that life is more than personal gain.”

Bush praised Democratic politicians by name. He called for “putting aside all the partisan bickering and name-calling and anger.” In Texas, he explained, “The respect among elected officials is an extension of the values and diversity of our state. When you talk about Texas today, you’re talking about people from so many different backgrounds, different cultures, and different languages. Any conflicts that once divided us now belong to history. We’re all Texans, and we’re all Americans.”

Two days before his inauguration, Bush addressed a meeting of the Republican National Committee. He challenged his party to become more “inclusive” and to “accept new faces and new voices.” He spoke in Spanish: “El sueño American es para todos. The American dream is for everybody.” Despite the partisan setting, he called for an agenda that would “help people regardless of their party.”

On the eve of his inauguration, Bush went to a concert at the Lincoln Memorial. He spoke with awe of the Great Emancipator. “Whatever your political party, thank you for taking part in this great tradition,” said Bush. He joked that the crowd had come to see his running mate, Dick Cheney. Bush spoke for just three minutes. He was equally brief and modest in a series of “candlelight dinners” for inaugural donors that night.

Bush continued this emphasis on humility in his inaugural address. He introduced America as a “slaveholding society,” a land of “flawed and fallible people united across the generations by grand and enduring ideals.” He warned of the persistence of “hidden prejudice.” He praised mosques for cultivating humanity. He said America’s role in the world was to “protect but not possess, to defend but not to conquer.” He rejected the notion that “our politics can afford to be petty.” He stressed the importance of “private character,” “civic duty,” and “unhonored acts of decency.”

Trump’s week has been nothing like that. On Twitter, he insulted NBC, CNN, “the Democrats,” and the director of the CIA. He branded Hillary Clinton a criminal. He called Rep. John Lewis, who was beaten for his courage in the civil rights movement, a liar who’s “all talk … no action.” (Trump also said Lewis should stick to fixing “crime infested inner-cities.”) Meanwhile, Trump retweeted a picture of himself as “golfer-in-chief” and quoted a supporter who said it’s not Trump’s fault that America is divided.

On Tuesday, speaking to Fox News, Trump escalated his attacks on Lewis. On Wednesday, in what was supposed to be a tribute to Vice President–elect Mike Pence, Trump bashed Republican Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin (“He can be really nasty”), Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas (“a little late to the plate”), and Republicans who had formed the #NeverTrump movement (“They’re really right now on a respirator”). He even razzed Pence for having supported Cruz.

Like Bush, Trump spoke at the Lincoln Memorial on the eve of his inauguration. But he showed none of Bush’s modesty. Trump bragged about the crowds he had drawn during the campaign. He complained about the media: “The polls started going up, up, up. But they didn’t want to give us credit.” After the event, Trump falsely claimed he had broken the record for crowd size at a Lincoln Memorial concert: “They never had so many people.” He accused the press of failing to acknowledge his “very good speech.”


The night before he took office, Trump, like Bush, spoke at a candlelight dinner for donors. He boasted that he had trounced the Democrats: “The entire country, practically, other than a couple little points, was red!” He joked, “The other side is going absolutely crazy.” He predicted he would win re-election. He heaped scorn on the media: “All of those live television cameras, I can’t stand ’em.” He summoned Conway to the stage and extolled her prowess against TV interviewers: “She just destroys them.”

The donors applauded Trump’s jibes. But anyone watching his performance with unclouded eyes could see that his ego left no room for loyalty to party, much less to country. Trump mocked donors who hadn’t given to him until after the election. He claimed that his incoming chief of staff, Reince Priebus, had favored him in the 2016 primaries—the way a coach helps his favorite player, Trump said—when Priebus was chairman of the Republican National Committee. Far from crediting previous nominees or presidents, Trump declared: “I outworked anybody who ever ran for office.”

Trump’s narcissism and cynicism seemed boundless. He said blacks had stayed home on Election Day “because they liked me.” He implied that the agency in charge of enforcing immigration laws had supported his candidacy: “ICE endorsed Trump.” He suggested that Phyllis Schlafly, the conservative activist who died last year, had endorsed him out of sheer opportunism. Trump, speaking of himself, paraphrased Schlafly this way: “I don’t care what exactly he is. He’s like an unknown quantity. But he is gonna win.” Trump said Priebus had made the same calculation. In Trump’s mind, these people didn’t care what sort of person he was. They just wanted power. And he admires them for it.

On Friday, a morally empty man gave a morally empty speech. There was no talk of humility, no acknowledgment of enduring prejudice, no plea for decency. Instead, Trump railed against foreigners and “a small group in our nation’s capital” that “has reaped the rewards of government.” In place of Bush’s praise for mosques, Trump spoke of Islam only as a source of terrorism. The man who ran on a platform of “take the oil” fumed that American wealth had been “redistributed all across the world.” He accused countries of “stealing our companies and destroying our jobs.”

This is why Trump is unworthy of your respect. It’s not because he didn’t win the popular vote. It’s not because of his party or his policies. It’s not because of Russia. It’s because of who he is. For all his faults, even those that turned out to be disastrous, Bush was a decent man. He believed in something greater than himself. Trump doesn’t.

Wishful Thinking: First Hundred Days after November 8

1. Hillary Clinton is elected President.

2. Democrats take over the Senate, and reduce the Republican margin in the House to just 3 votes.

3. Elizabeth Warren announces she’ll challenge Hillary in the 2020 Democratic primaries if Hillary isn’t sufficiently progressive and bold during her first term.

4. The Democratic National Committee issues new rules eliminating “superdelegates” and requiring open primaries.

5. In her inaugural address, Hillary Clinton promises to “wrest back control of our democracy and economy from the moneyed interests that have taken over both.”

6. President Hillary Clinton nominates Barack Obama to the Supreme Court, who immediately pledges to reverse “Citizens United.” Senate Democrats make a rule change that allows Obama to be confirmed with 51 Senate votes. He is.

7. President Clinton nominates Bernie Sanders for Treasury Secretary and Michelle Obama for Attorney General. Both are immediately confirmed.

8. The chairman of the Republican Party officially repudiates Donald Trump, saying “shame on us for having nominated him.” Mitch McConnell, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, and Mike Pence appear in a joint news conference in which they apologize for having ever supported Trump.

9. Disgraced and with his brand in tatters, the value of Trump’s properties drops 80 percent. His creditors demand that his personal assets – homes, planes, furniture, all he possesses – be liquidated to pay his bills.

10. Rupert Murdoch fires Sean Hannity from Fox News.

You start out in 1954 by saying ‘n[—–], n[—–], n[—–].’ By 1968 you can’t say ‘n[—–]’—that hurts you, it backfires. So you say stuff like, ‘forced busing’, ‘states’ rights’, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and the byproduct of them is blacks get hurt worse than whites. And, subconsciously, maybe that is part of it; I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract and that coded then we’re doing away with the racial problem one way or the other, you follow me?  ’Cause obviously sitting around saying ‘we want to cut taxes,’ ‘we want to cut this,’ and ‘we want to cut…’ is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘n[—–], n[—–].’
—  Lee Atwater, Chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1989-1991 and political adviser to Reagan and Bush Sr., in a 1981 interview.
buzzfeed.com
Bernie Sanders Still For Accepting Refugees, Slams "Racism" And "Islamophobia"
Sanders rejected calls to put a freeze on accepting Syrian refugees after the Paris attacks Monday night. He also said his economically-focused campaign can go forward as planned despite the new fo...
By Evan McMorris-Santoro

Rejecting what he called “cheap political talk” in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris, Bernie Sanders told a large crowd on the campus of Cleveland State University that he opposes banning refugees from Syria from entering the U.S.

“I am disturbed by some of what I am hearing from my Republican colleagues, and I will just say this: During these difficult times, as Americans we will not succumb to racism. We will not allow ourselves to be divided and succumb to Islamophobia,” Sanders said. “We will not turn our backs on the refugees.”

Sanders said he supports building an international coalition — including Iran, he said — to fight ISIS on the ground. He said Republicans calling for direct military action are forgetting the lessons of Iraq.

“We will learn the lessons of history. Yesterday, the chairman of the Republican National Committee stated, ‘never before have we seen an American president’ — meaning President Obama — ‘project so much weakness,’” Sanders said. “Well as many of you will remember, back in 2002, we had a president, President Bush. He was very, very tough. But not very smart.”

The crowed booed.

“Oh you remember President Bush, do you?” Sanders said, to laughter.

Keep reading

nytimes.com
Firings and Discord Put Trump Transition Team in a State of Disarray

President-elect Donald J. Trump’s transition was in disarray on Tuesday, marked by firings, infighting and revelations that American allies were blindly dialing in to Trump Tower to try to reach the soon-to-be-leader of the free world.

One week after Mr. Trump scored an upset victory that took him by surprise, his team was improvising the most basic traditions of assuming power.  That included working without official State Department briefing materials in his first conversations with foreign leaders.

Two officials who had been handling national security for the transition, former Representative Mike Rogers of Michigan and Matthew Freedman, a lobbyist who consults with corporations and foreign governments, were fired.  Both were part of what officials described as a purge orchestrated by Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and close adviser.

The dismissals followed the abrupt firing on Friday of Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, who was replaced as chief of the transition by Vice President-elect Mike Pence.  Mr. Kushner, a transition official said, was systematically dismissing people like Mr. Rogers who had ties with Mr. Christie.  As a federal prosecutor, Mr. Christie had sent Mr. Kushner’s father to jail.

Prominent American allies were in the meantime scrambling to figure out how and when to contact Mr. Trump.  At times, they have been patched through to him in his luxury office tower with little warning, according to a Western diplomat who spoke on the condition of anonymity to detail private conversations.

President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt was the first to reach Mr. Trump for such a call last Wednesday, followed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel not long afterward.  But that was about 24 hours before Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain got through — a striking break from diplomatic practice given the close alliance between the United States and Britain.

Despite the haphazard nature of Mr. Trump’s early calls with world leaders, his advisers said the transition team was not suffering unusual setbacks.   They argued that they were hard at work behind the scenes dealing with the same troubles that incoming presidents have faced for decades.

And Mr. Trump himself fired back at critics with a Twitter message he sent about 10 p.m.  “Very organized process taking place as I decide on Cabinet and many other positions,” he wrote.  “I am the only one who knows who the finalists are!”

The process is “completely normal,” said Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York mayor, who emerged on Tuesday as the leading contender to be Mr. Trump’s secretary of state.  “It happened in the Reagan transition.  Clinton had delays in hiring people.”

Mr. Giuliani, who made his comments in a telephone interview, added: “This is a hard thing to do.  Transitions always have glitches.  This is an enormously complex process.”

There were some reports within the transition of score-settling.

One member of the transition team said that at least one reason Mr. Rogers had fallen out of favor among Mr. Trump’s advisers was that, as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, he had overseen a report about the 2012 attacks on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, which concluded that the Obama administration had not intentionally misled the public about the events there.  That report echoed the findings of numerous other government investigations into the episode.

The report’s conclusions were at odds with the campaign position of Mr. Trump, who repeatedly blamed Hillary Clinton, his Democratic opponent and the secretary of state during the attacks, for the resulting deaths of four Americans.

Eliot A. Cohen, a former State Department official who had criticized Mr. Trump during the campaign but said after his election that he would keep an open mind about advising him, said Tuesday on Twitter that he had changed his opinion.  After speaking to the transition team, he wrote, he had “changed my recommendation: stay away.”

He added: “They’re angry, arrogant, screaming ‘you LOST!’ Will be ugly.”

Mr. Cohen, a conservative Republican who served under President George W. Bush, said Trump transition officials had excoriated him after he offered some names of people who might serve in the new administration, but only if they felt departments were led by credible people.

“They think of these jobs as lollipops,” Mr. Cohen said in an interview.

Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona and the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, weighed in as well.  On Tuesday, he issued a blunt warning to Mr. Trump and his emerging foreign policy team not to be taken in by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, whom Mr. Trump praised during the campaign.

“The Obama administration’s last attempt at resetting relations with Russia culminated in Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and military intervention in the Middle East,” Mr. McCain said.

Some of the early transition difficulties may reflect the fact that Mr. Trump, who has no governing experience or Washington network and campaigned as an agent of change, does not have a long list of establishment figures from the Bush era to tap.  His allies suggested that might ultimately prove positive for Mr. Trump if he was able to assemble a functioning team that would bring new perspectives to his administration.

For advice on building Mr. Trump’s national security team, his inner circle has been relying on three hawkish current and former American officials: Representative Devin Nunes, Republican of California, who is chairman of the House Intelligence Committee; Peter Hoekstra, a former Republican congressman and former chairman of the Intelligence Committee; and Frank Gaffney, a Pentagon official during the Reagan administration and a founder of the Center for Security Policy.

Mr. Gaffney has long advanced baseless conspiracy theories, including that President Obama might be a closet Muslim.  The Southern Poverty Law Center described him as “one of America’s most notorious Islamophobes.”

Prominent donors to Mr. Trump were also having little success in recruiting people for rank-and-file posts in his administration.

Rebekah Mercer, the scion of a powerful family of conservative donors and a member of Mr. Trump’s executive transition committee, has said in conversations with Republican operatives and previous administration officials that she was having trouble finding takers for posts at the under secretary level and below, according to a person familiar with her outreach efforts.  She told them that the transition team was more than a month behind schedule and on a tight timeline.

In another delay, Mr. Pence did not sign legally required paperwork to allow his team to begin collaborating with Mr. Obama’s aides until Tuesday evening, a transition spokesman said.  Mr. Christie on Election Day signed a memorandum of understanding to put the process into motion as soon as the outcome was determined, but once he was ousted from the job, Mr. Pence had to sign a new agreement.

The paperwork serves as a nondisclosure agreement for both sides, ensuring that members of the president-elect’s team do not divulge information about the inner workings of the government.

Teams throughout the federal government that have prepared briefing materials and reports for the incoming president’s team are on standby, waiting to begin passing the information to counterparts on Mr. Trump’s staff.

As of Tuesday afternoon, officials at key agencies including the Justice and Defense Departments said they had received no contact from the president-elect’s team.

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