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First Read's Morning Clips: 50% Approve of Trump

A roundup of the most important political news stories of the day
Image: Donald Trump, Mike Pence
President-elect Donald Trump arrives to speak during a rally at the Orlando Amphitheater at the Central Florida Fairgrounds, Friday, Dec. 16, 2016, in Orlando, Fla.Evan Vucci / AP

TRUMP TRANSITION WATCH: 50% approve of Trump

From one of us(!): “Fifty percent of Americans say they approve of the way President-elect Donald Trump is handling the transition and his preparations to take the Oval Office, while 41 percent disapprove, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. But Trump's approval score is significantly below Barack Obama's in December 2008 (73 percent) and Bill Clinton's in December 1992 (77 percent).”

Also, don’t miss this from our new poll, too: “More than half of Americans say they are significantly bothered by the news that hackers working in connection with a foreign government were involved in trying to influence November's presidential election, according to results from a new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.”

NBC’s Jane Timm previews today’s Electoral College vote. “In the aftermath of a wild, norm-busting 2016 campaign, it's only fitting that Monday's Electoral College vote — the next step in formalizing Donald Trump's election to the presidency — has generated frenzied, star-studded arguments to somehow change the results. But regardless of whether you view these efforts as proper and legitimate uses of Constitutional authority, sour grapes or just democracy's version of primal scream therapy, don't expect any reversal of November's overall result.”

More, from the New York Times, on what happens after Monday’s vote.

Amid so much talk of voter fraud, the overwhelming consensus from experts is that very little of it actually happened, writes the New York Times.

The Wall Street Journal: “Fresh signs emerged Sunday that President-elect Donald Trump could embrace the intelligence community’s view that the Russians were behind a computer-hacking operation aimed at influencing the November election. A senior Trump aide said Mr. Trump could accept Russia’s involvement if there is a unified presentation of evidence from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies. This followed weeks of skepticism from the president-elect and his supporters that there is sufficient evidence that Russia was responsible for cyberattacks against the Democratic National Committee or leak of stolen emails.”

(But like with the Muslim ban, what matters most are the words from Trump -- not his aides.)

The AP sums up the argument by Trump aides that complaints about interference in the election are just sour grapes.

“Donald Trump will not accept briefings on his business while serving as president, and he’s open to limits on his ability to talk business with his two adult sons slated to run the company, according to a Trump spokeswoman. But as details emerge on Trump’s plan to separate his private interests from the public, key questions remain unanswered: Trump also wants a way to return to his business when his White House days are over, and he doesn’t want anyone outside the family owning the rights to the Trump name while he’s away, Trump’s friends, business associates and transition staff tell POLITICO.”

Trump is pushing back on Michelle Obama’s comments on the loss of “hope.”


The Presidential Daily Briefing may lose its luster under Trump.

From POLITICO: “Donald Trump’s top advisers are jousting over control of the new political group they are forming to help press the president-elect’s agenda, as rival camps have formed with repercussions for who ends up as senior staff at the White House.”

The Washington Post asks: “Would President Trump go to war to divert attention from problems at home?”

DEM WATCH: That doesn't stand for Abercrombie & Fitch

A former Clinton staffer has created a site tracking Trump’s possible conflicts of interest:

Barack Obama tells NPR: “What I am interested in is just developing a whole new generation of talent.”