TRUMP TRANSITION WATCH: How Trump decided on Tillerson
The Washington Post has a deep dive into Trump’s decision-making on Rex Tillerson for the Secretary of State post, complete with juicy nuggets about why he mulled Romney but ultimately looked elsewhere.
The Wall Street Journal also lays out how Tillerson’s name came up in the first place: A suggestion by Bob Gates.
And more, from the New York Times: "While Mr. Tillerson has never officially been a diplomat, he has arguably left an American footprint on more countries than any nominee before him — with an agenda overseas that does not always mesh with that of the United States government. Under Mr. Tillerson, Exxon Mobil has struck lucrative deals with repressive governments in Africa, clashed with China and befriended Vietnam over disputed territory in the South China Sea, learned from hard experience in Venezuela, and built a close rapport with Russia at a time of deepening mistrust between the Kremlin and the West."
"Russian officials greeted President-elect Donald Trump’s choice of a Russia-friendly executive as secretary of state as an opportunity to reboot U.S. ties and push for an end to punitive economic sanctions,” the Wall Street Journal notes.
The big picture today on Russia: “An examination by The Times of the Russian operation — based on interviews with dozens of players targeted in the attack, intelligence officials who investigated it and Obama administration officials who deliberated over the best response — reveals a series of missed signals, slow responses and a continuing underestimation of the seriousness of the cyberattack.”
POLITICO on the mood inside Trump Tower: "Insiders paint a picture of constant score-keeping and simmering suspicion within Trump world — one even called it “vitriolic.” And they foresee incoming White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, the party stalwart, and chief strategist Steve Bannon, the populist firebrand, headed for an inevitable clash. Some have begun to chafe at the power being exhibited by Priebus — who, along with a team of lieutenants, is exerting broad influence over hiring decisions."
Trump has officially tapped Rick Perry to be the Secretary of Energy.
“Alarmed that decades of crucial climate measurements could vanish under a hostile Trump administration, scientists have begun a feverish attempt to copy reams of government data onto independent servers in hopes of safeguarding it from any political interference,” writes the Washington Post.
TRUMP AGENDA: I am NOT drinking any Merlot…
From NBC’s Alex Jaffe: "President-elect Donald Trump said Tuesday that he's fully mended fences with House Speaker Paul Ryan, praising him as being "like a fine wine" — in that he improves with time — after Ryan thanked him for helping states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin "see the light of day" and put a Republican in the White House.” (But remember, Trump doesn’t drink wine or any alcohol…)
Don’t miss the epilogue to our United States of Trump series, by Leigh Ann Caldwell and Benjy Sarlin.
"President-elect Donald Trump's ongoing feud with U.S. intelligence agencies over alleged hacking by Russia is unnerving outside national security experts, some of whom fear the frosty relationship could impact Trump's ability to govern,” writes Benjy Sarlin.