TRUMP AGENDA: Flynn’s out
Breaking last night from NBC’s team: “Michael Flynn abruptly quit as President Donald Trump's national security adviser Monday night, hours after it emerged that the Justice Department informed the White House that it believed he could be subject to blackmail. The resignation also came after previous disclosures that Flynn had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other senior officials about his communications with Sergey Kislyak, Russia's ambassador to the United States. Pence repeated the misinformation in television appearances. "Unfortunately, because of the fast pace of events, I inadvertently briefed the Vice President Elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian Ambassador. I have sincerely apologized to the President and the Vice President, and they have accepted my apology," Flynn said in his resignation letter.”
From the Washington Post, shortly before the resignation announcement: “The acting attorney general informed the Trump White House late last month that she believed Michael Flynn had misled senior administration officials about the nature of his communications with the Russian ambassador to the United States, and warned that the national security adviser was potentially vulnerable to Russian blackmail, current and former U.S. officials said. The message, delivered by Sally Q. Yates and a senior career national security official to the White House counsel, was prompted by concerns that Flynn, when asked about his calls and texts with the Russian diplomat, had told Vice President-elect Mike Pence and others that he had not discussed the Obama administration sanctions on Russia for its interference in the 2016 election, the officials said. It is unclear what the White House counsel, Donald McGahn, did with the information.”
The frontrunner to replace Flynn? Vice Adm. Robert Harward.
Hillary Clinton, by the way, had this to say.
More on the upheaval in the White House, from the Washington Post: “Upset about damaging leaks of his calls with world leaders and other national security information, Trump has ordered an internal investigation to find the leakers. Staffers, meanwhile, are so fearful of being accused of talking to the media that some have resorted to a secret chat app — Confide — that erases messages as soon as they’re read. The chaos and competing factions that were a Trump trademark in business and campaigning now are starting to define his presidency, according to interviews with a dozen White House officials as well as other Republicans. Most spoke on the condition of anonymity to candidly discuss internal White House dynamics and deliberations. Some senior officials are worried about their own standing with the president, who through his casual conversations with friends and associates sometimes seems to hint that a shake-up could come at a moment’s notice. Aides said they strive to avoid appearing “weak” or “low energy” — two of Trump’s least favorite attributes.”
And speaking of security issues, from the New York Times: “President Trump and his top aides coordinated their response to North Korea’s missile test on Saturday night in full view of diners at Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida — a remarkable public display of presidential activity that is almost always conducted in highly secure settings. The scene — of aides huddled over their computers and the president on his cellphone at his club’s terrace — was captured by a club member dining not far away and published in pictures on his Facebook account. The images also show Mr. Trump conferring with his guest at the resort, Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister.”
Leigh Ann Caldwell: “The Senate confirmed Steven Mnuchin, President Donald Trump's pick to head the Treasury Department, in a vote mostly along party lines Monday night as Democrats criticized him as a Wall Street-friendly banker who breaks with Trump's promise to stand for American workers. The Senate voted 53-47, with all Republicans voting for him and all Democrats voting no except Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Shortly thereafter, all 100 senators voted to confirm David Shulkin to be veterans affairs secretary.”
NBC’s Ali Vitali reports on Trump’s meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The New York Times wraps another weekend of tough conversations for Republicans about health care.
Pro-ACA group Save My Care is hammering Paul Ryan and Republicans on their health care repeal plans in a new video.
The Wall Street Journal reports on how “the White House is exploring a new tactic to discourage China from undervaluing its currency to boost exports.”
Speaking of China, keep an eye on this AP thread: “President Donald Trump is poised to receive something Tuesday that he has been trying to get from China for a decade: trademark rights to his own name. After suffering rejection after rejection in China's courts, he saw his prospects change dramatically after starting his presidential campaign.”
From POLITICO: “Donald Trump never exactly fit the conservative mold — a fact that has unnerved the GOP’s true believers. But as the Trump administration takes shape, Vice President Mike Pence has used his position atop the transition team and in the White House to install conservative allies throughout several agencies and at almost every level of government, giving the government a more orthodox cast.”