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Donald Trump’s inaugural poem contains swipes at Barack Obama, but sadly not the lines, “There once was a Trump who was yuge / he denied he was Putin’s stooge / he had no real plans / but very small hands / and won with Vlad’s subterfuge.” Davos is underway, the annual event featuring that irritating T-Mobile CEO from all those sponsored tweets talking about how the internet of things increases entrepreneurship among HIV-positive inner-city children. And a group of Democrats are boycotting Trump’s inauguration, even though a real mark of congressional courage would be staying in Washington on a Friday. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, January 17th, 2017:
OBAMA COMMUTES CHELSEA MANNING’S SENTENCE – “President Obama on Tuesday largely commuted the remaining prison sentence of Chelsea Manning, the army intelligence analyst convicted of an enormous 2010 leak that revealed American military and diplomatic activities across the world, disrupted the administration, and made WikiLeaks, the recipient of those disclosures, famous. The decision by Mr. Obama rescued Ms. Manning, who twice tried to commit suicide last year, from an uncertain future as a transgender woman incarcerated at the male military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. She has been jailed for nearly seven years, and her 35-year sentence was by far the longest punishment ever imposed in the United States for a leak conviction. Now, under the terms of Mr. Obama’s commutation announced by the White House on Tuesday, Ms. Manning is set to be freed in five months, on May 17 of this year, rather than in 2045. The commutation also relieved the Department of Defense of the difficult responsibility of her incarceration as she pushes for treatment for her gender dysphoria — including sex reassignment surgery — that the military has no experience providing.” [NYT]
@wikileaks: If Obama grants Manning clemency Assange will agree to US extradition despite clear unconstitutionality of DoJ case [From January 12th]
TEAM OF ASSKISSERS – Sam Stein and Christina Wilkie: “A number of experienced Republicans offering to help Donald Trump assume the office of the presidency have effectively been blacklisted from doing so because they were previously critical of his White House bid. On Monday, The Washington Post reported that numerous national security figures from the GOP ranks were concerned that they were being denied jobs on the transition team and in the incoming administration because they had signed a letter pledging to oppose Trump during the months he was running for the Republican nomination. The ostracism is real, multiple sources told The Huffington Post a few weeks back, and it extends beyond the national security realm. According to these sources ― one of whom works on the transition and another who was prevented from doing so ― Trump’s team has identified people who were highly critical of his candidacy and essentially cut them off from being part of the current operation. In one instance, a Republican official working on the confirmation strategy for EPA secretary nominee Scott Pruitt was removed from that team because he had been a Never Trump-er.” [HuffPost]
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THAT AIN’T RIGHT – Manu Raju: “[HHS nominee Rep. Tom] Price bought between $1,001 to $15,000 worth of shares last March in Zimmer Biomet, according to House records reviewed by CNN. Less than a week after the transaction, the Georgia Republican congressman introduced the HIP Act, legislation that would have delayed until 2018 a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) regulation that industry analysts warned would significantly hurt Zimmer Biomet financially once fully implemented. Zimmer Biomet, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of knee and hip implants, was one of two companies that would have been hit the hardest by the new CMS regulation that directly impacts the payments for such procedures, according to press reports and congressional sources. After Price offered his bill to provide Zimmer Biomet and other companies relief from the CMS regulation, the company’s political action committee donated to the congressman’s reelection campaign, records show.” [CNN]
DEM BOYCOTT OF INAUGURATION GROWS – But will they appear at the swearing-in of President Pence when Trump grows bored of the job after three weeks? Jennifer Bendery: “More than 50 Democratic members of Congress are planning to skip President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20, many saying they can’t bring themselves to welcome a man to the White House who ran such a divisive and prejudiced campaign ― and insulted their colleague, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.)…. Lewis, a civil rights icon who said he hasn’t missed an inauguration since he came to Congress in 1986 (although it appears he boycotted President George W. Bush’s inauguration in 2001), said Friday that he will boycott this year’s event and that he does not view Trump as a ‘legitimate president.’ ‘You cannot be at home with something that you feel is wrong,’ he told NBC News. When Trump responded on Twitter, calling Lewis, ‘All talk, talk, talk ― no action,’ more members announced they would boycott the inauguration.” [HuffPost]
TURNS OUT REPEALING OBAMACARE WOULD REPEAL OBAMACARE – Uh oh! Jonathan Cohn: “The Congressional Budget Office just issued a report on the likely effects of a Republican effort to repeal Obamacare immediately but keep some elements of the coverage expansion in place for two years…. Within the first year, the CBO predicts, 18 million people would lose insurance. In addition, premiums for people buying coverage on their own would increase, on average, by 20 to 25 percent relative to what they would be if the Affordable Care Act remained in place…. Ultimately, the CBO concludes, 32 million more people would be uninsured and premiums would be twice as high ― again, relative to what they would be if Obamacare stayed on the books.” [HuffPost]
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) evidently read this CBO report.
In a related, kind of surprising development, NBC News and the Wall Street Journal are out with a new survey showing Obamacare is more popular than it’s ever been, although still not as popular as, say, pizza with melted cheese injected into the crust.
THANK GOD WE’RE GETTING RID OF THAT TYRANT OBAMA – Ronald Reagan: Who can forget that executive-order-issuing, amnesty-granting, big-government lackey? Kristen Bialik: “President Barack Obama has averaged fewer executive orders per year in office than any U.S. president in 120 years…. As of Jan. 13, Obama had issued 275 executive orders, or 34 per year in office. That’s slightly fewer than the 36 per year that George W. Bush issued and the lowest average since Grover Cleveland, who issued 32 per year during his eight nonconsecutive years in office, according to data from the American Presidency Project at the University of California at Santa Barbara…. Overall, Obama ranks 16th among presidents in total number of executive orders issued and 22nd in the average number issued per year. Historically, the use of executive orders peaked under Franklin D. Roosevelt, who issued 3,721, or 307 for every year of his tenure. Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge and Theodore Roosevelt also issued more than 1,000.” [Pew Research Center]
PEOTUS BEING SUED FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT NOW A THING – Dana Liebelson: “Summer Zervos, who claims President-elect Donald Trump sexually assaulted her in a hotel room in 2007, filed a defamation lawsuit against him on Tuesday. Zervos is one of more than a dozen women who have accused the president-elect of sexual assault, including groping or kissing without consent. She publicly came forward with her story in October, not long after video surfaced of Trump boasting about grabbing women ‘by the pussy.’ Zervos alleged that after appearing on the reality show, ‘The Apprentice,’ she contacted Trump about potential job opportunities. She said he asked her to meet him at the Beverly Hills Hotel, where he aggressively kissed her and placed his hand on her breast.” [HuffPost]
TIME TO KILL US SOME PRAIRIE DOGS – Matthew Brown and Matthew Daly: “In control of Congress and soon the White House, Republicans are readying plans to roll back the influence of the Endangered Species Act, one of the government’s most powerful conservation tools, after decades of complaints that it hinders drilling, logging and other activities. Over the past eight years, GOP lawmakers sponsored dozens of measures aimed at curtailing the landmark law or putting species such as gray wolves and sage grouse out of its reach. Almost all were blocked by Democrats and the White House or lawsuits from environmentalists. Now, with the ascension of President-elect Donald Trump, Republicans see an opportunity to advance broad changes to a law they contend has been exploited by wildlife advocates to block economic development.” [AP]
DAVOS IS AWFUL – Apparently attendees left their self-respect in their Audis. Felix Salmon: “What’s more, [incoming Director of the Office of Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs Anthony Scaramucci] has a whole new level of celebrity now: he’s part of the Davos 1%, the tiny subset of delegates who get mobbed by television cameras and business-card wielding networkers and miscellaneous selfie hunters wherever they go, and who have unfettered access to every soirée. If Davos is FOMO in its most rarefied form, then Scaramucci is now up there with the likes of Bono and Bill Clinton in the select group of people who can rest assured that there’s no party they’re not invited to. That status alone has helped bring a minimum (and entirely unwarranted) level of respect to the incoming Trump administration: you’re much less likely to be overtly rude about someone if they’re in the same small town that you’re in and if you want them to come to your party. But beyond that, the substance of Scaramucci’s public remarks has also done a pretty good job of disarming the Davos crowd.” [Fusion]
Buyer’s remorse: “Scott Ford said he wishes he had just skipped voting for president altogether, rather than casting his ballot for Trump. Ford said he voted for Democrats for 18 years and supported Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the primary against Clinton. During the general election, he went back and forth on who to support. Ultimately, he chose Trump, and has gotten grief from friends and strangers from doing so…. ‘I really thought this was going to be an election that was going to [create] change,’ Ford said. ‘That was Trump’s whole thing: ‘We’re going to clean up Washington, we’re going to drain the swamp.’ The swamp is full again. It’s actually fuller.’” [HuffPost’s Elise Foley]
ALL THE SPIES HATING TRUMP COULD COME BACK ON HIM – Shane Harris: “’I think it’s the right and indeed the responsibility of the president of the United States to challenge the conclusions of the intelligence community,’ Mr. Brennan said. ‘We don’t expect our information and our assessments to be swallowed whole.’ ‘It’s when there are allegations made about leaking or about dishonesty or a lack of integrity, that’s where I think the line is crossed,’ he continued, taking particular umbrage at Mr. Trump’s comments last week that leaking intelligence on political figures was something that Nazi Germany ‘would have done and did do.’ ‘Tell the families of those 117 CIA officers who are forever memorialized on our wall of honor that their loved ones who gave their lives were akin to Nazis,’ Mr. Brennan said. ‘Tell the CIA officers who are serving in harm’s way right now and their families who are worried about them that they are akin to Nazi Germany. I found that to be very repugnant, and I will forever stand up for the integrity and patriotism of my officers who have done much over the years to sacrifice for their fellow citizens.’” [WSJ]
DOES ANYONE ACTUALLY KNOW WHY RICK PERRY WILL RUN THE ENERGY DEPARTMENT? Dominique Mosbergen: “Perry’s disdain for the department he’s been tapped to run is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to reasons why critics say he’s a poor choice for the job. His supporters argue that Perry, who governed Texas for 14 years, is a solid pick because of his experience managing a massive annual budget and heading up a sizable bureaucracy with thousands of employees. But Perry has also demonstrated a dangerous lack of scientific knowledge, including rigid climate skepticism, as well as eyebrow-raising ties to the fossil fuel industry and a reputation for cronyism and ‘pay-for-play.’” [HuffPost]
BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR – Here’s “Star Wars” recreated with cats.
OH HAIR NO Free work? What is she, a writer? Emily Heil: “A Washington-based hairstylist says the president-elect’s second wife tried to get out of paying her to style her tresses and those of her 23-year-old daughter, Tiffany Trump, for Inauguration Day. Freelance stylist Tricia Kelly says she was contacted by a longtime client with ties to the Trumps about a job coifing Marla Maples and the younger Trump daughter for the big event. Kelly expressed her interest and she explained her rates — a $150 fee to travel in addition to the cost of her services — but Maples, through her assistant, balked. ‘I was told they had a $300 budget for both of them for hair and makeup,’ Kelly says. After some back and forth, Kelly agreed to be paid $200 total and a makeup artist $150 to get the women camera-ready. That’s when Maples’s assistant came up with another proposal: Would Kelly and the makeup artist be willing to provide their services for free? In exchange, they would get ‘exposure,’ and Maples would mention them on her social-media feeds, the assistant told her.” [WaPo]
We look forward to grabbing bagels at So’s Your Mom with the Obamas and Leon Wieseltier: “President Barack Obama’s stay at the White House doesn’t officially end until Friday, but he’s already getting a head start on moving into his new home. Movers were spotted Tuesday afternoon pulling boxes out of an unmarked white truck at the site of the first family’s post-White House digs in Washington’s Kalorama neighborhood.” [CNN’s Betsy Klein]
– This guy had a much better visit to the zoo than you.
– The Hostess power rankings.
– Vine closed today. RIP Vine.
@wexler: The key to a smooth confirmation hearing is being a potential Senate candidate in a swing state where the opposing party is in cycle.
@pourmecoffee: Springsteen Cover Band Clarifies Commitment To NATO
@aedwardslevy: If you are a person who rightfully mocked crowd sizes as an election indicator, probably don’t read too much into crowds at inauguration
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